INTERVIEW: MATTHIAS SOLLAK, HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY,
10 August 2018, Brutal Assault
It was great seeing you live at Brutal Assault. What are your impressions from the concert today?
It was really great as we played very early and usually people are sleepy or hangover at this time. Usually I would be sleeping at 3 PM. The response was very great and I’m happy about it and thanks to all the fans at Brutal assault. It was a great experience
It was really great to see you live, the concert was amazing and it seemed that it lasted for like 20 minutes. It was so great that the time just run out too quickly…
At the festivals we usually play for 45 minutes, but then it was cut down to only 40 and our songs are usually over 8 minutes long so we were not able to squeeze one more song.
How do you like the Brutal assault festival, the atmosphere around the stages?
The Check Republic is always a bit laid back, cool people and everything is quite relaxed. Quite opposite to Germany as there are clashes with their kind of mentality. The Check Republic is always awesome. We enjoyed our stay and the surroundings and everything are nice. I was a visitor here 4 years ago and liked it back than already. It’s nice to be back and play here.
What is your favourite festival to play at?
It hard to say. Four years ago we played at the small festival in the Austrian Alps, called Funkenflug. It’s limited to a think a 3.000 visitors and it has a very unique kind of atmosphere. I think it was my favourite one to play, but I always enjoy playing live as long as we get some positive response from the audience. To see people react to what we do in a good way. It doesn’t matter is to 20, 200 or 2000 people.
How was this summer for you? Is it becoming a bit exhausting: all the traveling and concerts and all other obligations?
The travelling is always exhausting but the concerts make up for it. Nobody like to sit for 8 hours at time, it’s never fun. In the end we do what we love to do. Play at shows and bring our music to the people. So it’s always worth it.
Could you tell me something more about the creative process around making of new songs. What is the influence of other band members? How do you collaborate?
In the studio there are only two members: the singer, Michael and myself. I always write the music and send it to him and he writes the lyrics in accordance to what he sees appropriate. We get together to discuss it and see what parts fit well and how we can make it to be one unique hole peace. We have a strict separation of me doing the music and him doing the lyrics. As soon as it fits perfectly with us we go to the studio and record.
Does the songs go through some further transformation after the live performances? Is there any influence from the other band members?
No, not at all. When it’s done- that’s it.
The music is honest by being very close and personal
I’m mostly interested in inspiration for the lyrics, could you tell me something about it?
That the part we need the singer for. But on this behalf, I know it’s all very personal, he works on very personal stories, something from the past he deals with and which are important to him. He always tries to put it in a metaphoric way. No to be too tiring, so other people can relate as well. Apparently it ends up good. There must be something right about that approach. But every time I read his lyrics as he comes with new song lyrics- I can always relate to them and know what it is about. I’ve known him for 10 years and it’s never some shallow bullshit or something he just made up. It’s always something that has been on his mind for a very long time. He never just combines stuff and pieces, it’s always very close and personal. I think it’s important: that the music is honest.
I see that you put a lot from yourself into the music and as I see from reading all your previous interviews- you do understand the responsibility towards the audience and the very important aspect of therapeutic effects from the music you create. For instance in dealing with past trauma or feelings of grief and similar. How do you see the therapeutic effects triggered by the music?
Music is a very strong way to channel your emotions. Definitely that’s a very good way to work on a range of negative emotions that build up and do it in a constructive way. The music is always a good medium to deal with things that are hard to deal with. And in fact make it into something that is an enjoyable experience. You can turn something very negative into something positive and find a source of strength. If you bury things inside, at some point you might explode. It’s never a good solution.
What are the bands you love? What is the music you listen at home?
Oh…we could talk for hours on that subject. I don’t listen to a lot of Metal music at home. I listen to a lot of singer-songwriter staff and folklore…from Spain for example; Indie- Rock, Alternative- Rock and all kinds of staff. Of course, Metal as well…but not as much people might think. Lately I’m into Placebo, some acoustic Spanish artists and really a lot of different stuff. It really depends on the mood. I don’t always listen to same kinds of music and it depends whether I’m alone or with friends and it varies depending on the mood.
As long as we are around your favourite things, could you tell me what is your favourite dish? Is it a Serbian or an Austrian one?
I can’t say. There are too many good things. Can not pick one. It always depends on the surroundings. If you travel to another country and are in the right surrounding- I think it has a lot of impact on how you taste and perceive things. For instance, if you try a Serbian dish somewhere in some sleazy bar in Vienna it’s not the same if you try it somewhere nice in Serbia.
What is your opinion about the scene in Austria?
It’s a small scene. I think people are a bit jealous as everybody are just trying to promote their own stuff. If someone is more successful they talk shit about them instead of helping each other. As the scene is so small, I think it should be more connection there and more support to each other but the people don’t get it. That’s why the scene is kind of divided and broken. The Austria is a fucking small country. But we definitely have bands in Austria that deserve more attention. For me, creating the music is not about creating and maintaining a scene, such as The Black Metal Scene or any other kind, it’s more about seeing the people enjoy what we do. It a beautiful thing for us to see people at our concerts coming from different kind of scenes, not only from one fragment such as Die Hard Black Metal fans or Hard core or whatever. I think it fights prejudice- it’s a beautiful thing to see.
How do you see the Austrian society today? Do you see it as a modern society or is it becoming more traditional, filled with prejudice maybe?
Now we do have a problem as our government is a big pile of shit. The problem is that nobody thinks rational in our country. We have this politically correct left idiots and the right wing. I think nobody thinks rational anymore, people divide themselves to one or the other side. That makes me think: What’s wrong? We are a secular country with good education, so it’s not clear how people can think that way and be indoctrinated in that way, because neither of those sides have a proper argument for the shit they do or propose. I don’t like going into politics, but I believe that you should listen to everything and make up your own opinion and not just follow blindly. We already had that a while ago and it didn’t work out that well. It’s very important to make your own opinion based on the facts.
I agree. Being an active citizen is hard for the majority of people. I personally come from Croatia and am outraged by the lack of civil movements of any kind of civil resistance after scandalous events that would normally lead to fall of the Government in other countries for instance.
The situation in the Balkans in generally complicated, the recent past is very complicated. My personal opinion is that the situation is not as bad as it seems as I’ve been talking to young people from Croatia and surrounding countries. The people are very open-minded and in some aspects maybe even a more modern society than we currently have in Austria. So that’s a positive thing.
Could you tell me something more about the future?
The thing is that we don’t wanna be stressed. We don’t have a deadline for a new album. We work continuously, when something comes to our mind. I can’t say when our next album will be out. When it’s finished- it’s finished. Maybe next year, maybe in 2 years. We will see. The quality is important, we don’t want to speed things up and release some shit and we don’t have this pressure from a label company.
Are there any plans to come to Croatia any time soon; are there any concerts set out for this part of Europe?
This year no, but it would be feasible in 2019 as we already have some request from Serbia and it would be nice to combine it somehow with Croatia. We made some good friends from Rijeka last time, so maybe we can do something. I cannot promise anything but would love to come back. I personally like Croatia a lot.
Very nice thing to hear. Please bear in mind that you do have a lot of fans so really am hoping that there will be a concert in Croatia soon. Could you pick just one big wish you have that was left unfulfilled up to now- for instance a collaboration or to play somewhere you never been before?
Actually I would love to tour South America- that would be my big wish. Complete South America and pretty much all countries included. I love that continent and if that would work out in the future I would be very happy.
There is a lot of passionate audience there. I believe you feel the feedback from the audience and love to play before fired up audiences?
Yes, it’s a special occasion for the audience from distant areas to have the chance to see someone live as it’s not like in Vienna where you can choose between 5 different concerts every week. They really embrace music so that’s a different felling on the stage for the musicians. That’s something we would like to experience. That’s my goal.
Could you point out one country or several ones where you had the best feedback, most fans or the most passionate audience? Or the greatest audience you ever saw?
Russia was really amazing, surprisingly French are awesome and really enthusiastic, Germany also…I don’t want to pick favourites now. We pretty much enjoyed every show we had and it would be unfair to pick favourites.
It was really great to see you play today and thank you so much for the interview.