SL(Dan Koven): Gentlemen, let's start by introducing the band, duties and how you met/formed. Where did the name 'Seabound' originate from? What was the first demo song recorded and who discovered it
Frank: Martin and I met through joint friends. We virtually came from different worlds and would it have not been for the third party intervention, the two of us would have probably never met. Having such different personalities, we weren't certain on how a musical collaboration would work out. Giving it a go, we quickly discovered that being different personally and musically that the output yielded a fruitful source for electronic music that is full of contradictions.
The name Seabound comes from my love of the ocean, and the fact that Martin was born near the shore. The name also implies a ship leaving from a safe harbor into the unknown and sometimes treacherous seas. This can be used as a metaphor for Seabound: Sail or drown, smooth or rough, destination unknown.
The first demo song we ever recorded was called "Questions". It is not officially available.
SL: It's been a few years since the stunning debut release, "No Sleep Demon" and its preceeding single, "Travelling." What changes has the band gone through since then and give us your reaction at the album's surprisingly sudden worldwide success? What hopes had you initially had for it?
Frank: "No Sleep Demon" surprised quite a few people. One of our main surprises was the fact that it found its way into the hearts of so many people, especially in the US where the album was only available via mail-order. Honestly, it felt very good that so many people could relate to the emotional tone of the album which was one of its major strengths. The combination of deep and personal subjects, thoughts and fears, paired with a strong and unusual electronic programming worked - and that goes beyond any hope we had for this release.
For the new album, we have upgraded our equipment, especially with regard to the vocal gear. The vocals on "Beyond Flatline" sound much more personal which was one of the main goals on our "to do" list.
Overall, "Beyond Flatline" has been characterized as more mature by some of our friends who have already heard the album. This time, we will take you on a journey that could be compared to a rollercoaster that is much more demanding than the last ride. But we promise that you will be safe - or not? (laughs)
SL: Why was NSD's most popular track "Hooked" released as a promo-only single and not within an official capacity?
Frank: "Hooked" was almost not released at all. We thought that the album version was too much synth-pop to reflect our music appropriately. When Martin came up with the idea for the "Radical Mix" which was released on the Septic II CD, we were astonished how positively people responded to it. I talked to Rogue and Chris from the Cruxshadows the other day, and they also said that "Hooked" was a major club hit in the States.
SL: Since the debut, what activities, musical or otherwise has the band been involved in and when did work initially begin on the next record?
Frank: We have been touring with good friends of ours - Stromkern in the US and with Covenant in Europe - in 2002 which was a unique experience for us partly because it gave us a chance to meet the people who enjoy our music and partly because we reached a completely new audience.
All the Seabound tracks we play live were reprogrammed to make them more suitable for a liveset which was quite labor intensive, too. However, we will continue creating special live versions in the future, because from my own perspective when I go to a concert, I love to see variation and little surprises in the music compared to the CD versions.
Work on the new album started sometime in 2002, I believe. The first track we recorded was "Transformer", the album's opening track. The song was inspired by a Gary Larson cartoon about a psychological experiment in which a dictator wakes up just to find a couple of scientists standing around him and telling him, that his time as a dictator is up, that the country he rouled never really existed, because it was all part of a huge experiment, and that it was time for him to go home… We had the lyrics and the music early but it took forever to get it together the right way. Things got much easier along the way when we entered the flow of things in mid-2003.
SL: Let's talk about the recording process. Give us a snapshot of what happens during a typical Seabound studio session. Is there any specific methodology involved?
Frank: There is no single process because both Martin and I might come up with a demo-snippet of a musical idea. We typically send each other an early demo and the further process depends on an initial yes or no from our "evil twin". If we think that an idea has enough potential, usually Martin works on the programming and the sound whereas I write the words and the vocal line. Ideas might be exchanged during the process, but even though we live in the same city, we usually communicate via e-mail. When both music and vocals are advanced enough, we get together to record the vocals and sometime later for a revision of the mix.
Thus, the typical Seabound working style probably differs from a traditional approach when you go into the studio to work and sweat it out together. The typical Seabound track is the result of individual creativity followed by negotiation and the search for a final synthesis that both Martin and I enjoy.
SL: The new single, 'Contact' was released as part of Dependent's Club Invasion series along with other label artists. What influenced the decision to participate in this venture?
Frank: Releasing a box with three singles from different electro acts for the price of two was actually our label's idea. It has become more difficult to market singles in our genre given the status we have at the moment. That's why innovative ideas can help to reach the audience with an original release despite the vast peer-to-peer sharing activity.
From a personal viewpoint I liked the concept to actually get one CD free for you to check out a band that you might not yet know but that carries the "Dependent Seal of Approval" (laughs). Honestly, I like the idea of a label as a kind of guarantee for a certain quality. In the Eighties, I would buy Nettwerk CD releases (Canadian label of early Skinny Puppy, Severed Heads, Chris & Cosey, etc.) blind, because I trusted the label's quality. That's how I discovered various great bands I might never have heard of otherwise. The "Dependent Club Invasion" seemed like a good opportunity to do something in a similar spirit.
SL: Many fans anticipate your sophomore album to exceed expectations. What can we look forward to, musically speaking, with regards to lyrical composition and structure?
Frank: TMartin and I know that expectations are high and we find this both inspiring and challenging. That's why we worked hard to create a coherent album that is more than just the sum of its songs. At the same time, we wanted "Beyond Flatline" to be diverse in terms of musical style and lyrics. One of the songs, for example, is called "Watching Over You". It's a song in the musical tradition of "Avalost", with landscape-like sounds and a strong emotional tone. It tells the story of a ship that returns from the ice with a mystical freight. What starts out like a scene from Bram Stoker's "Dracula" develops into a lovesong in which the main character assures his beloved that he will be watching over her. Another track called "Digital" is a harsh rhythmical piece with virtually no melody or harmonies which is narrated from the perspective of a sadistic killer. Musically, the album ranges from vocal-oriented to (almost) instrumental, from pop with an undercurrent to a reminiscence of industrial sounds. Yet the concept of the album ties even these disparate pieces together and the listeners will discover and understand the different facets of the meaning of "Beyond Flatline" through the songs.
SL: Seabound is known to be a difficult band to classify or place within a genre since you encompass so many aspects of electronic music. Give us your thoughts on this. Why is it so difficult?
Frank: We've always wanted to offer something slightly off the mainstream within the independent electro scene and that's why we don't fit into the classic subgenres. But even this statement smells like cliché, doesn't it? I guess that many artists coquet with the attitude that they are not what everybody else think they are.
Being more descriptive might help: Seabound are determined to offer electronic music with personal lyrics and many layers. We want you to discover new facets even after you have heard one of our songs a number of times. I think that's why people have told us that it takes a little while to get hooked to our music. But we think it's worth the time.
SL: Finally, please divulge your plans for 2004 and beyond including tour schedules and recording. What would you like to say to all your fans worldwide?
Frank: During the first quarter of the year we will focus on promoting the album: Joining release parties, talk to fans and respond to e-mail inquiries, doing interviews and preparing additional in-depth insights for our website (www.seabound.de). At the same time, we will start working on live versions for the songs from "Beyond Flatline" and start rehearsing. Our tour management is currently negotiating various options for a European and/or US tour.
Because the "Contact" single went into the Top10 of the German Alternative Charts, we might even have the opportunity to release another Seabound CD with unreleased material and selected mixes later in the year. For example, Seabound and The Cruxshadows will exchange remixes early next year. If I told you who else has already mixed one of our new songs, you would probably drop dead… (I almost did). Check out the website where we will post up-to-date information as soon as something's definite. What I can promise is that 2004 is going to be a really exciting year, seaboundwise.