ORDEN OGAN : relentless worker Seeb

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  • Le mercredi, 26 juillet 2017
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Orden ogan

I had the huge pleasure to talk a bit with SEEB, ORDEN OGAN's singer, guitar player, composer and also producer in a small hotel in Paris.

Matthieu : Could you introduce the band and yourself please?

Seeb : I'm SEEB, I'm the singer and guitar player of ORDEN OGAN. I'm also the producer if you will so. We're labeled as a Power Metal band, but I think that Power Metal is a modern approach to that, with very hard riffs and I would say maybe... One of the hardest Power Metal band. Still very melodic, with cheerful choruses. What more ? (laughs)

Matthieu : So you will describe the band to someone who never heard about you as a Power Metal band?

Seeb : Harder than any other Power Metal band, I think, yes.

Matthieu : Your sixth album...

Seeb : Hey, you say sixth ? Everybody says that it's the sixth album, but to me it's the fifth one! There is a demo we released on 2004. It's Testimonium A.D. but we don't really call this an album. We actually just count the first album release from 2008. We can read a lot of shit on Wikipedia, and stuff like that, but we really count that the first full-length was released on 2008. What we did before, and even the name has nothing to do with what the band does now. Even the split on 2004, we put a new band together and we deliberately choose a the name ORDEN OGAN again in 2008, but sorry I don't want you to drop your question ! (laughs)

Matthieu : It's just like a "rebirth" of the band ?

Seeb : Yeah, definitely !

Matthieu : So, Gunmen, will be released on the 7th of July, how do you feel about it? How was the work on this album for the band?

Seeb : Especially for us, months have been pretty hard. I'm the producer and I think everything was planned pretty well and worked perfectly. At the end of last year I got the offer to mix the new RHAPSODY OF FIRE as well and it's a band I was a fan when I was younger so it's a dream to do that. It had to happen in january, and we were already in the middle of the ORDEN OGAN recording and mixing process. So yeah, I did that but we were late because of the RHAPSODY OF FIRE mix, but we had to record guitars and stuff and bla bla bla. We put everything at later and later and so at last... I don't know, maybe six weeks around, I must have been working eighteen hours a day or something like that. It was just sleep - go back to work - sleep - go back to work, seven days a week to get this finished in time, because that was already scheduled and rehearsals planned... We really managed to get this finished in time but it was worth of it. The guys of RHAPSODY OF FIRE are happy with my work, and I'm quite okay with everything so... (laughs)

Matthieu : Gunmen's artwork is very dark and gloomy just like Ravenhead's one was while you play a happy and joyful music, is this contrast necessary for you ?

Seeb : I wouldn't necessary say that we play what you say "happy music"... I mean that it's optimistic maybe, but... we're not FREEDOM CALL! I think also big part of the ORDEN OGAN sound is very... melancholic melodies actually, lot of people keep telling us. Also, the lyrics are pretty dark actually, we don't sing about swords, dwarfs and stuff !

Matthieu : Yeah, just let unicorns for RAINBOW!

Seeb : (laughs) Yeah ! It happens. We're funny guys and we have funny parts as well just like in 2010 in a previous record, a song called We Are Pirates. It's like a march to RUNNING WILD and this of course is not serious, but most of the stuff we did with the band is pretty dark and melancholic, and stuff like that. We put it in the lyrics, so in my opinion there is not a really big contrast with the artwork. That's what I think at least.

Matthieu : The video clip which was released for the song Gunman stays in a dark atmosphere but sets the scene in a sort of Wild West universe, which seems really different from what you did with the video clips of The Things We Believe In or F.E.V.E.R, could you explain us this change?

Seeb : You really think that F.E.V.E.R. is happy ?

Matthieu : I think it's a happy atmosphere yeah.

Seeb : It's interesting, how people connect with our music and what they're experiencing with it. There's nothing wrong with it, you can say. There's no wrong taste. I can understand for The Things We Believe In, because if you take away the guitars and the drums, just add an acoustic guitar and it's folkish. It sounds really folkish. But I would disagree for F.E.V.E.R. ! (laughs)

Matthieu : Could you explain us this change ?

Seeb : You mean darker tunes ?

Matthieu : Yes, tunes are really darker than previously.

Seeb : Yeah, what I said before, I didn't think there is a change between records. It's what we've got in all the records. There are always tunes that are in my mind optimistic. I would personally say optmistic and not really happy. I would say for The Things We Believe In that we're not FREEDOM CALL, we said... Okay we can do it so let's go ! I will also say that there is darker songs like The Lake for example. Also Ravenhead itself, the title track. There is no happy tunes. We really like it, and personally for me there is nothing like I hate more than unicorns and dragons ! (laughs)

Matthieu : Hey, dragons are cool !

Seeb : It depends ! On Game Of Thrones they might be cool. But when I see the original artwork of the old RHAPSODY... (laughs) Blue or red dragons ? I have huge influences from those albums, but I think that people are more connected with the universe if it's more serious. If it's not... "cheesy".

Matthieu : So that's why you choose the Wide West universe?

Seeb : Actually, we had that in mind for a long time, to do like the scenery of a Dark Fantasy in Wide West. But the main reason why we did that was because of Vampire In Ghost Town and Down Here (Wanted: Dead Or Alive), and both have melodies that sounds like Wide West tunes. So it can sound like a detail itself, but in two songs we had this feeling, so we just did that dark Wide West version of our record.

Matthieu : So it's a universe that you like ?

Seeb : The universe that we created, yeah we like it.

Matthieu : Which bands are you main influences? For you personally and for the whole band?

Seeb : That's difficult. For example, I mean... I listened to Pop music at the university and I'm totally open to all kind of music. As a producer, I can't say... Some music are better at mixing, but I wouldn't have a problem to mix a Pop record. When I was younger, I obviously listened to stuff like that, but there was a long time ago. At home, I'm more into the 90's Death Metal scene. I love BOLT THROWER! For the other guys, DIRK for example is listenning to MESHUGGAH, PERIPHERY and Modern stuff like that. TOBI is more into Progressive stuff like DREAM THEATER and stuff like that. We all have these things in mind, and we all keep this in mind as an influence for musicians. I wouldn't necessary say that we have only one main influence. ORDEN OGAN is just the way our band sounds and the way I would like to hear myself, my vision of Melodic Metal.

Matthieu : How does the musical process work in general in ORDEN OGAN? Who composes the music and who writes the lyrics? Do you go in special areas to work on your songs?

Seeb : On To The End record in 2012 for exemple, I did most of that myself. For most of the songs on Ravenhead, it changed a little bit. For this one it's really different, I wrote almost all the songs with DIRK, the drummer, who is sitting outside and doing... stuff (laughs). And also with TOBI, our guitar player. They know that I'm the man that know how the band should sounds like, so that's why I'm also the producer. I have high respect of their musical skills, they're really good musicians. But if there's a choice to make, when I say "that doesn't work", we don't have discussions. We put it away, and that's it. On the other hand, if they say "hey, let's try out this !", we try out, I doesn't say immediately "no, that doesn't work". I'm okay with trying to see how it sounds like. If like three people say "we like this better" and I'm like "no", I will of course think about that, but if I stay with "no", this is "no". It will always be my decision in the end. But I'm not resistant to advices (laughs)

Matthieu : Are you more the type of guys who work for hours on something or more like those who get the inspiration in the middle of the night?

Seeb : Hmm... Both. (laughs) In the last month I was the guy that works from eight to... four in the night !

Matthieu : Sleep isn't important !

Seeb : It was important but I had no time for sleep actually. On the other hand of course it happens that I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea and just sit in front of the computer and record it. I think that if you're really a musician, and not only doing a job, you can wake up in the night and record, or sing something.

Matthieu : I saw a statement about HERI, TYR's guitar player who said "oh, why do inspiration come out at night ?"

Seeb : They're great guys, have been on tour with them in the states, and I was the guitar player for SUIDAKRA for this US tour, I have great memories with them.

Matthieu : What would be your best memory on tour?

Seeb : There's so many great memories, so I can't say for sure which one is the best. I can tell a funny story from last month. We were on the 70 000 Tons Of Metal cruise, and this was really hard. I have to take care of my voice as a singer. We had a show on the last day on... I don't know maybe 3 o'clock on the afternoon or something like that and went to bed at seven in the morning. It was really quite late for a singer and I had to wake up at eleven. So I talked with my guitar player Tobi, and I said "Tobi please can you do the interviews for me ?" ! He was like "oh no problem, no problem !". So he did the interviews, he came back at twelve. I had five hours of sleep. He said "You know what ? I just met Dirk !" "You met Dirk ?" "Yeah, at eleven thirty ! He was doing speed dating !". I was like "Why is he doing speed dating so early in the morning ?" "I don't think it was early in the morning, I think it was late at night for him !" (laughs). So he was awake all the night, and we had to go on stage in a hour or something like that and I was on my phone : Dirk, where are you ? No answer ! No one knew where he was, so we were about to cancel the show because we cannot play without him, we get on stage, set everything up, also the drums and like... half an hour before the show, he arrived there, looking like nothing happened. I was really pissed off about him but he didn't miss any note. Not a single at all. Not a single mistake, it was a perfect show. I really wanted to shout at him after the show, but it couldn't happen because it was a perfect show ! I was like "fuck about it !"

Matthieu : And your best memory with your fans?

Seeb : (laughs) I think there is private maybe ! That's the good answer.

Matthieu :ORDEN OGAN’s first album, Testimonium A.D., was released in 2004.

Seeb : We count it as a demo. Oh, that's why you told me that Gunmen is the sixth !

Matthieu : That's it ! Did you ever think that the band would last for so long? What is the most important change you noticed between your first album and the last one Gunmen?

Seeb : Pff... I think maybe. We hoped for that to happen, even back then. But that were just... a little boy's dream. It was a lot of work and a lot of efforts putted into that. I mean, you can do that but it needs to really want to do that. It's not like a dayjob, you wake up at the morning answer few emails and stuff like that. I mean, a good example is that every people I talked about it said that I'm totally insane. We got the rough cut for the video last week on Thursday. I was "Okay..." I got a call from Timo from AFM, "Can you go to the director and talk with him to see if he can work a bit more on the video to got something better ?". I was like "Fine, okay, I'll do it." He worked on near from fifteen hours on saturday and sunday to get what it looks like now. It was a day that people wouldn't work, how do you call it ? Kind of free day, it was sunday and Mother's day in Germany. I actually would have to go to have lunch with  my mom and my girlfriend as well, I would have say "Sorry I can't do that even if I work in Metal". And the director was working and it was... five minutes to midnight on the sunday night, a free day actually. My phone rings and it was the guy from AFM Records, Timo, he was like "Hey man ! Can you tell me your birthday and the birthday of the drummer for booking the flight?". "Timo, it is sunday night, midnight, you're talking about flights for interviews..." "Yeah, you know, I have to work !". It's awesome people you know ?

Matthieu : Did you noticed any important changes between the first demo and now ?

Seeb : From the first demo yes, it was an entirely different time. Songwriting and stuff like that. Even when I listen to an old record now, I mean... At that time, we wanted the record to sound really progressive, we worked on a lot of stuff. I think we figured out that a good sound isn't necessary a sound that has fourty parts and six minutes. But it's okay to have sometimes less or more. We can still do that because of the feeling we have on a song, the last song of the Gunmen record sounds progressive and longs for eight minutes or something like that. It's quite a progressive structure and stuff. I think this is one of the most important things. We can do "simple" songs as well. Gunmen has not the most progressive structure of all time but...

Matthieu : You work as singer, guitar player and song writer for ORDEN OGAN, but also as producer, isn’t it too hard to combine all of these roles?

Seeb : It comes naturally to me. It can be hard to work alone if there's too much to do and too little time for it. It can be tough, but actually I don't mind about that. The thing is it gets especially stressfull if you have a deal with a record company that calls every day and wants you to tell them if you need to pick this or stuff, bla bla bla... Actually it's quite natural to me.

(DIRK comes in the room)

Seeb : The answer is no ! (laughs)

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Matthieu : A lot of really famous bands, especially playing Power or Heavy Metal such as HELLOWEEN or SCORPIONS , are from Germany. How would you describe the Metal culture in your country because from what we’ve heard, it is really different from the French Metal culture?

Seeb : Difficult question... I would say yes it is. Because, correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't know any really popular Melodic Metal band from France. Really popular.

Matthieu : Really popular... Maybe you could know, even if they sing in french, TRUST, for their song Antisocial. Also GOJIRA.

Seeb : But GOJIRA isn't really melodic.

Matthieu : No, they're not. There's no huge french bands.

Seeb : That's what I though. I would say maybe that's different but concerning the fans, we had some great shows in France. That's not necessary to say that the french fans are different from the german fans, basically. Sounds stupid maybe but I love all fans, they're all great.

Matthieu : It seems that a lot of young Metalheads are listening to Metalcore and more electronic stuff but not so much Power Metal, do you think this genre as a real future? Or does it have to evolve to remain alive?

Seeb : I think you get this impression because the people listening to Metalcore are mostly young people. That doesn't necessary mean that as many young people listening to Sabaton for example. The audience is more mixed, middle old and old people. I experienced that in our audiences as well, people from 15 to 60 maybe. So I think this is basically the advantage of being in a Power Metal band. You can also see that your audience could just... die, so... (laughs) They're getting too old to listen to our music you know. And on the other hand, small underground bands have a lot of problems playing shows because all the other bands, especially in Death Metal scene. I think that's really interesting, they're not really melodic. Metal bands around, especially in the underground, I don't know how they can find a singer... There's so many bands.

Matthieu : That's also the drummer's problem, I tried to create bands but drummers already have three or five bands !

Seeb : Drummers always have five bands (laughs) Dirk has other bands as well !

Matthieu : If you could chose three bands to go on tour with, who would it be?

Seeb : Unlimited money ? I don't think that anyone else would say something like that but I'd say METALLICA, IRON MAIDEN... Third one is hard... I don't know, MEGADETH!

Matthieu : You're an old school guy ?

Seeb : Maybe, but it sounds more like a business decision. Because I think that all those bands will bring a lot of people, so that means if they come to the audience themselve, they could also like Sabaton for example, and those three bands will drag an insane amout of people.

Matthieu : What is the first Metal band you ever listened and see on stage? How old were you at the time?

Seeb : The first stuff I had on cassette tape... It was SEPULTURA - Arise, I think. And Death Or Glory from RUNNING WILD. That's the two ones I had first. The first live concert I was at were small local bands, I think. The first bigger show I saw... It took me quite a while before going to bigger shows... It must have been BLIND GUARDIAN on the Nightfall tour, but I'm not sure. It could have been MEGADETH as well. When did they released Nightfall ? I guess it's 1996, so I was 15. (EDIT : it's 1998)

Matthieu : Why did you chose to play Metal music as a professional?

Seeb : I don't think that I choosed that, I think Metal music choosed me ! (laughs) Something more like that. I don't know, we just start making music. From the beginning, that's what I wanted to do, that's what I like the most. It sounds stupid but it's like that. That's what I think it's worthy enough to work for it in my life. An interesting story is that a guy in the area I live, has a club of 800 capacity or something like that. Internationally it's not really known, it's more nationally renowned. We've got... 200 people living in the area, it's a very small city. On our very first shows, on the beginning, he told me "You can forget about this, there is no more money in music. When I was young, that was the way to go, but now you can forget about it". I was like "You know what ? Fuck you ! I think it's possible !". It's interesting to see that it happened to you on the really early stages of your life, and you can see where you are now. Thinking about stuff like that is totally relevant of my life nowadays, but I still think that being where I am now, sitting in Paris doing interviews and traveling with my band.

Matthieu : Maybe you call him back to tell him that he was wrong ?

Seeb : No, the pretty funny thing is that he is a nice guy. I don't even know if he would remember what he told that to me. I know that I'm kind of proud. To begin as a little guy and be what I am now.

Matthieu : Could you recommend us some bands, like you last musical crush for example?

Seeb : Hmm... There's a lot of stuff I like to listen to at the moment. I really like the new GHOST record. But I think everyone seems to love that band. It's like everywhere. I really like the new Testament, and the new GOJIRA as well. Even if a lot of people dislike it.

Matthieu : Because it's not the same sound that they played like five years ago, that's why.

Seeb : It took me quite a while to get into that sound, and I also checked their older records and I still like the latest one. I don't know, it's not maybe that progressive. I have no idea, I'm into it. If I have the choice, i'd definitely pick, what's its name, Magma ? Yeah, Magma.

Matthieu : May we expect a European tour for this album?

Seeb : Yes, we will be touring in October, and our special guests will be RHAPSODY OF FIRE.

Matthieu : Holy shit ! Where do I have to sign to be part of this tour ? Sounds awesome !

Seeb : (laughs) I think that the crew is already complete, sorry !

Matthieu : More especially, could we hope to see you in France for a concert soon?

Seeb : Of course ! How do you say, the Petit Bain...? On a boat.

Matthieu : It's a nice stage, on a boat yes. It's an awesome venue, maybe a bit warm, but still awesome.

Seeb : The last interviewer was like "oh, it's too small for you guys !", it's like 500 capacity ? That's fine for us.

Matthieu : The last band I saw at Le Petit Bain was BATTLE BEAST, and it was sold out. I think that you could play a sold out show too.

Seeb : I think so !

Matthieu : The last words are yours.

Seeb : I don't know if you heard that before but I keep repeating it myself. I really want to say it, I don't know if the fans are really aware of how important they are. When they come to the show and buy merchandising or buy CD instead of downloading it, we have awesome moments on stage and with them. The only thing I keep repeating is : thank you very much. I keep telling it because I want fans to know that they are important for us. I don't even know if people know that. Lots of people think that it's not important for us, but when they buy stuff it helps us. So thank you.


Interview realised by Matthieu from ACTA INFERNALIS.

Orden Ogan

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