Interview with Swiss Metallers ‘freaKINGS’


freakingsfreaKINGS is a thrash death metal band from Basel, Switzerland. They will release a new album called “Gladiator” this September. “Gladiator” is the follow-up to “No Way Out” which came out in 2011 as an independent release. About the upcoming album and more you can read in the following interview.

TMR: Hey guys this is ‘The Metal Resource’ from Holland, how are things going there in Switzerland?

Joe: Everything is fine eventough as Swiss we usualy are stressed: working during the day, family time in the evening, band rehearsal in the night (where at the moment incredible things are happing  ).

TMR: Will you Introduce yourself and the band please ! [name and instrument]

Joe, Vocals and Guitar
Simon, Drums
Toby, Bass

TMR: Tell us the brief history of ‘freaKings’

Joe: After a long baby break from a first band we decided in 2008 to start a new one. Since then we released our debut album „no way out“ in 2010. Last week we heard the mix of our new album „gladiator“ which will be released in September.
Toby: During the ten years we didn’t play music together each of us had played in other bands at certain points. But then we came together again after all these years because of a project. We only had played a few notes, when we knew that our trio must stay together.
Simon: We love thrash metal. You find us inbetween hard riffs and hard shouts.

TMR: What is your musical background? [for everyone personal]

Joe: I grew up with sisters who listened mostly to metal and hard rock. Yeah, to have three sisters is not always a disadvantage. It was custom in our family to learn an instrument. It wasn’t the guitar in the first place. But as a teenager things came together. I grew up mainly with METALLICA, IRON MAIDEN etc. Later I discovered bands like VENGEANCE RISING and DELIVERANCE. And now it cannot be fast enough. 
Simon: I play the drums for 20 years now and I cannot be without it anymore.
Toby: In principle I grew up with the guitar sound. My father was in is still a fan of JIMI HENDRIX, DEEP PURPLE, TEN YEARS AFTER etc. So I heard, felt and learnt to love the „rock“ already inside my mother‘s womb. I took the leap to the harder sound mainly during my teenage years… but as you can see now it wasn’t just rebellion. Even today it sends a chill down my spine when I hear a good song. As a kid I learnt to play the trumpet in the first place but after a few years I quit. As a teenager I got the opportunity to try a bass guitar and I knew right away that this was my instrument.

TMR: Why the name ‘freaKings’ ? Is there a story behind it ?

Joe: No, not a story, more of a word play. The three uf us are all freaks in some ways. From time to time we freak out. Be it by anger or by joy. Again we are a trio, three bandmembers – three sounds almost like „frea..“. And last but no least we play like kings. So when you mix everything together and shake it well you get freaKings.

TMR: Who writes the music/lyrics in ‘freaKings’ ? … how do you get in the mood for writing music? And which bands/situations have influenced you for writing music and lyrics ?

Joe: Hmmm, our music develops always around jamming. We love it to search for a song or a riff together. I think there was never a situation when one of us would have brought a complete song from home. But for the lyrics Simon is the man. Though for the new album I could contribute one songtext.
Simon: The lyrics arise from different situations. They are mostly inspired by experiences, newspapers, news, world affairs but also by movies and documentaries that I watch on TV.
Toby: In the beginning we were influenced very much by the riffs of METALLICA. And we were compared a lot with them. But if you listen to how we advanced you can hear now the influence of bands like VIOLATOR, MUNICIPAL WASTE, HAVOK, VENGEANCE RISING etc.

freaKINGS 2014TMR: What are some key principles or philosophies that you hold onto as foundational stones as who you are as a person? [for everyone

Joe: I’m a loved by my creator Jesus. If someone has understood this fact he is a free person.
Simon: You shouldn’t be afraid to take risks to make your dreams come true.
Toby: For me every single human being is precious, one-of-a-kind and has the right to be treated respectfully. No matter where he comes from or what might look suspicious about him. I’m convinced that every one of us is created for certain things. That’s why I believe it’s important for every human being to listen to his creator and to find out what he is destined to personally. One can compare it with an electro engine. If I’d build a ventilator from an engine which is designed for short turn-on time it won’t last for long. It would start to burn. Likewise it is with the human race: we all are different and everybody is important.

TMR: Is there a highlight you will always remember, since the beginning of ‘freaKings’? [for everyone personal]

Joe: For me it is the last concert (25.05.14 at Metalchurch) where we had a breakthrough when playing the new songs in my opinion. It was so thrilling to feel the energy of these new songs. For me personally a total new chapter for the band is opend. FreaKings arise!
Simon: My highlight is our first gig ever. Because of a misunderstanding of the booker our sound was much harder than the audience expected.
Toby: Every band rehearsal is a highlight… At the Releaseparty of „no way out“ there was this tremendous atmosphere and we got great feedback. This was a highlight indeed. Another highlight for me personally was to play ‚Elements of Rock‘ in 2011. We shared the backstage room with WHITECROSS. When I was young they were one of my favourite bands. More than once I visited a concert, I had my room decorated with posters and owned a lot of CDs by them – and then all of a sudden you play with this band at the same festival. I certainly was very nervous.

TMR: And the worst thing were ? (if there is one) [for everyone personal]

Simon: It’s things like when you have to cancel a show on short notice because of illness. This is always bad, expecially for the one who lies in bed at home.
Toby: The worst thing for me is when I’m not at home during the weekend and know that my wife or my kids would need my asisstance just this very moment.

TMR: What is the last album you bought ? [for everyone personal]

Joe: MUNICIPAL WASTE – the art of partying and HAVOK – time is up
Simon: VIOLATOR – Scenarios of burtality
Toby: TIM BENZKO und MARC SWAY! But it was only a gift for my wife… The last album for me personally was TESTAMENT – Dark roots of earth – just an amazing band!

TMR: What makes you laugh? [for everyone personal]

Joe: Uh, my family gives me a lot of joy. And of course I need my abdominal muscles a lot when I’m with my bandmates.
Simon: Many things. Funny movies and series and yes, in the bands rehearsel room we laugh a lot.
Toby: It’s definitely my bandmates who make me laugh… At our meetings we not just make music. We tell each other about our everyday life, do funny talk and enjoy our night out with the boys. It happens a lot that I need to wipe off tears and my rips are hurting because of all the laughter. Besides I love to watch comedy. I’m a person who likes to laugh a lot.

TMR: What is your biggest fear ? [for everyone personal]

Joe: Often I have fear of failure. But otherwise nobody can frighten me. Fear mostly comes from the inside.
Simon: I’m not afraid of anything, I’m the drummer of a thrash band! : -) Just a joke. I believe there’s much in this world to be scared of. So you try no to think of it.
Toby: I tell you I’m very thankful to be born in Switzerland and to have the opportunity to live here. We have all we need. That’s why the issues I’m afraid of are not very existential.

TMR: What are some of the things you like to do away from the band? [for everyone personal]

Joe: Chilling!!!!!!!! Bad joke. I love to have time with my familv and friends.
Simon: Beside work, family and band I take time to watch movies or series in the TV.
Toby: In my job I accompany youth with problems to get along in life. I work manually with them and so have two areas (social and manual) which give me a lot of joy and where I can use my gifts. I love to spend time with my family – especially in the countryside: to hike, to start a bonfire, to barbeque, sleeping outdoors. And I enjoy working in and around the house.

Gladiator artworkTMR: Your new album “Gladiator” will be released in September, what can you tell us about the album [such as: The recording process sofar, the songs, record-label, cover artwork etc.]

All: As “no way out” we recorded „gladiator“ in our rehearsel room. Mixing and mastering is done by Christoph of Iguana-Studios in Germany. We don’t have a label contract. Gladiator ist self labeled :- ). The cover artwork was painted by Quirill, a Swiss artist and friend, according to our wishes, but the layout of the booklet is done by Simon. The sound has changed quite a lot since our last album, we developed, it’s more « thrash ».

TMR: How do you promote your band and shows ?

FreaKings: Mainly via Facebook, e-mails and by word-of-mouth.

TMR: How do you prepare for a show? [for everyone personal]

Joe: First I check the gear: guitar, strings, amp etc. Most times I drink an apple soda to get a certain slime in my throat. This helps my to do my shouts more elastically. Just before the gig I do a warm up for ten minutes and after a prayer with my bandmates we start.
Simon: A short retreat to the backstage area and a short prayer with my bandmates.
Toby: For sure everything starts with practicing alone and together. This is most important. But for me personally it is likewise important to settle little fights or disagreements as possible and to check that the set list is ok for everybody. The gear needs to be checked (change the batteries, check the wires and cords.) During the evening of the gig I like to hang out with the attending people. But shortly before the gig we meet as a band to go „into silence“ before it gets loud for real.

TMR: Are you visiting many gigs and what do you listen to these days? [for everyone personal]

Joe: Usually once a month. As a father of soon five kids I have my limits. At the moment I’m totally crazy about HAVOK und MUNICIPAL WASTE which I soon we’ll be seeing live.
Simon: I cannot go to concerts very often these days – which is sad. I listen to different thrash bands, but at the moment most of the time I listen to our own sound material because we’re in the mixing procress.
Toby: To relieve my family I don’t go to every concert that I‘d like to go to. I choose carefully and then savour these chosen evenings. At the moment I listen much to TESTAMENT, VIOLATOR, MUNICIPAL WASTE, VENGANCE RISING, DELIVERANCE, ULTIMATUM, AMON AMARTH, which will be having a concert in Switzerland soon… and I already have the tickets, yeah! I started to listen to the older CDs in my collection. There are bands which I still like to listen to. Per example BRIDE, DIE HAPPY, STRYPER, RED HOT CHILLI PEPPERS and on and on…

TMR: Name some of your favorite bands to play with live [past and future] and tell us why ? [for everyone personal]

Joe: SLECHTVALK are great guys on and off stage. And it was an big honour to share the stage with WHITECROSS.
Simon: To share the stage and the backstage room with WHITECROSS was just cool – when you think about the fact that you know their music for already 20 years. But there are many cool bands which we played with and hopefully yet will.
Toby: The following bands are coming to my mind: SLECHTVALK from Holland and BROKEN FATE, RADWASTE and PATH OF CONFUSION from Switzerland. The why is simple: 1. Great guys. From time to time you meet a band and there is this chemistry. 2. It’s sound which speaks to me.

TMR: What is the dumbest question you have ever been asked? [for everyone personal]

Simon: Are there any at all? There are only dumb answers…
Toby: „Hey Toby, do you know dumplings?“ The German love to eat dumplings but the word sounds very funny in Swiss German dialects. On the top of it the question was completely out of context. I was working very focused when calculating complex angles.

TMR: What are the biggest obstacles for bands ?

All: It’s definitely the lack of time from job and family. But we learnt to achieve quality with the smallest effort possible – or that it sometimes takes a bit longer, which is beneficial to learn.

TMR: What advice would you give to fellow bands?

All: Persist! Show a certain impertinence. Make a lot of contacts and cultivate as many as possible.

TMR: What are your plans for the near future ?

Joe: Concert, concert, concert and …. concert, concert. In September we have planned a few concerts in Switzerland (ca. 6-7). Then we hope to gain slots at some festivals in 2015. And on the way of course we hopüe to write a few more amazing songs.

TMR: Guys thanks for your time and the interview. We wish ‘freaKings’ all the best … Is there anything you wanna say at last ? [any final
statement ?]

Please buy our album…  :- ).
Thank you!

Release freaKINGS

freaKINGS show

Upcoming Shows:
06 09 2014 Met-Bar, Lenzburg, Switzerland
14.11.2014 Altes Wasserwerk Lörrach, Germany

Weblinks: Facebook  / Website / Reverbnation

Video below ‘Thrash Metal’

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