The War Inside My Head: An Interview with E-L-R

To the uninitiated, the The War Inside My Head interview series was meant as a way for me to provide a glimpse into the minds of some of my favorite current musicians, all while avoiding the heft and, honestly, labor, both emotional and physical, that goes into sustaining the "flagship" interview series, The Albums of the Decade. And as it turns out, without any real intention, this series has also become that place where I get to converse with artists that, to my mind at least, represent the cutting edge of what's going on in the global music scene right now.

Thus, it gives me much pride to present the next installment of this series with the members of Swiss post-metal band E-L-R. I first encountered the band via their stunning 2018 demo that, in fact, blew out of the water to such a degree that I wrote to them begging to see if there was a chance there was a lost copy of there then sold out demo tape. The miracle did take place, the tape, along with its amazing packaging, arrived at my door, and I have been a fan ever since. Because of the music, naturally, but also because of the humanity and seeming never-ending attention to detail. Shortly after they were signed to Prphecy Productions, and released their debut, Mænad, the following year. Taking on everything that was already so accomplished in their demo further, it was and remains a masterful manipulation of atmosphere and feeling and remains one of (if not "the") best post-metal albums to come out in 2019. After a busy run of shows with such legends as Amenra and Yob they found the time to answer my "music appreciation" questionnaire, and for that I am, again, more than grateful.

However, before getting to the music I would just like to add that you can follow Machine Music on any one of our social media outlets (FacebookInstagramSpotify) and also, if so inclined, support us on Patreon. My aim has been to use whatever support we can get to produce interviews like these, focusing on the art and life of that art, as well as other projects supporting our local scene, such as the newly launched music compilation MILIM KASHOT VOL. 1 of amazing local metal, hardcore, and noise. This includes, I should add, our brand new podcast MATEKHET, that is my somewhat philosophical take on a metal podcast, and can be found in all your favorite podcasting platforms (SpotifyYoutubeApple Podcasts). On to the wonderful E-L-R.

What was the first album you bought with your own money?

I.: Bon Jovi – Keep the Faith.
I bought it around 1994 in the shopping mall of my hometown.

M.: 50 Cent – Get Rich or Die Tryin’
Yes, I was a hip hop kid! Breakdance was a big part of my youth, so of course I did get in touch with other music but Fifty was cool!

S.: Avril Lavigne – Let Go

I really liked her because she was a bit more of a rebel than the average artist in the 2000’s pop scene. I remember how I grew out my hair and forced my mother to join me for one of her shows.

What 2–3 albums/artists did you hear the most growing up?

I.: Bon Jovi – Keep the Faith; Lenny Kravitz – Circus; Die Toten Hosen – Kauf mich!

On long car drives with my family. I guess, they also know every note by heart.

M.: Queen, Bruce Springsteen, Vaya Con Dios

In my parent’s car when I was a child.

S.: Status Quo, Queen, Jimi Hendrix

My parents didn’t own a lot of CDs but luckily the few they had, were one of the classics. True diamonds! 

What two albums taught you the most about making music (mixing, production, performance)?

I.: Our own (Mænad)

Personally, it was the most instructive experience so far. I am really looking forward to our next recording process.

S.: Our own

For me it was my first professional recording session ever and it took me a while to get comfortable with the entire studio situation. I usually do not enjoy playing in front of people, so it felt a bit forced in the beginning.

M.: Our own and everything by The Mars Volta

Mænad wasn't the first recording that I've been part of, but by far the most intense. I am really happy about how it turned out.

What is the last album that absolutely shocked you?

I.: Herder – Herder

This band and their sound are just so brute – I'm their biggest fan. Too bad they split up.

M.: Regarde Les Hommes Tomber – Ascension

I heard of this band from our new friends in Hangman’s Chair and their new record really gives me goosebumps! Cannot wait to see them in a live setting.

S.: Trepaneringsritualen – Kainskult

I have the highest respect of Thomas’s work. All of his recordings are incredibly intense. If you ever have the chance to see him live: Don’t think about it twice! We will talk about your traumas afterwards.

What album relaxes you or centers you the most?

I.: Wolvennest – Wolvennest

One of my favorite bands – this is where I belong.

M.: Palms – Palms

Beautifully aesthetic atmosphere over the whole album. Perfect.

S.: The Devil’s Blood – The Time of No Time Evermore

Their music found me in the perfect moment many years ago and brought me through the most difficult times. When I listen to them, I feel the same relief as I felt back then when I discovered them. The purest form of light. 

What are the 2-3 albums you’ve listened to the most recently?

I.: Fotocrime – Principle of Pain; Cult of Luna – A Dawn to Fear; Hangman’s Chair – Banlieue Triste.

Especially Fotocrime, I can’t get enough of it!

M.: Regarde Les Hommes Tomber – Ascension; Hangman’s Chair – Banlieue Triste; Wolvennest – Wolvennest

All of them influenced me already in my drumming style and will definitely inspire me/us for the next album.

S.: Omega Massif – Karpatia; Emptiness – Nothing But The Whole; Emma Ruth Rundle – Marked for Death

Omega Massif for the riffs, Emptiness for the atmosphere, and Emma for the mood.

What album is grossly underrated?

I.: Ataxia – Automatic Writing

A friend recommended them to me, what a great album!

M.: Kowloon Walled City – Container Ships

I saw this band live last year as a support act of Neurosis and Yob – they totally blew me away! Tight but laid back drumming, exactly what I like.

S.: Nico – The End

She has always had a big influence on me and I am in awe with her work after the Velvet Underground. Unfortunately she wasn’t recognized as the stunning performer as she was.

What album would you recommend from your local scene?

I./M./S.: Posthumanbigbang – Jungle Eyes

This absolute masterpiece is the second album of our studio engineer, friend and head of Posthumangigbang, Remo Häberli.