Still Patient? interview with Andy Koa by DJ Luna

Still Patient? are one of the finest Gothic Rock bands to ever come out of Germany. Drawing their inspiration and passion from such notable Gothic Rock acts like The Mission, The Sisters of Mercy, and Fields of the Nephilim, Still patient? is celebrating 30 years strong. The band was first founded in 1988 by vocalist Andy Koa and then guitarist Th. Kraniny. Debuting their first album, Salamand, in 1992, followed up by Cataclysm in 1994, Chameleon in 1996, Nightmare Revival in 1997 (which is a compilation featuring favorite tracks and exclusive material) and Demondive in 1999. By 1999, the band spilt up to work on their own projects. In 2012, the band reunited but with changes to their lineup. Hard at work in the studio, the EP Selective Perception was released in 2014. Since then Still Patient? has steadily released emotionally charged albums full of energy, hypnotic melodies, and originality in true Gothic Rock style. Andy Koa, Still Patient?’s vocalist joins us to answer some questions and talk about their new 2018 album, Zeitgeist Weltschmerz.


 

DJ Luna: Still Patient is celebrating their 30th anniversary at Wave Gotik Treffen. That’s a remarkable number. Are you doing anything to celebrate the milestone?

Andy: 30 years is a long time for a band. As you might know, we have disbanded in 1999 due personal reasons and because we did not feel to get any further with what we were doing at that time. We tried to evolve something that was not our main musical direction. So after almost 13 years of being around somewhere else but the Goth Scene we came back together, to think about a new beginning. And here we are again. I have to admit, that it feels much easier now from what we expect from us and our music than before the break. And now this band turns 30 years and I still cannot believe it. This is something very special for us and especially the new album which bends the arc back to our roots more than our latest releases. In fact, this makes us very happy and proud and we hope to find more people who feel the same about it. We have re-recorded two songs from the past which we thought needed a facelift for we thought the old versions did not transport the atmosphere as we wanted in the first place. And we plan to do a documentary in the late year about the band and our fans. That’s why we made an appeal on Facebook to everybody to send us a video with their thoughts and stories about Still Patient?. I think this will complete the anniversary year in a wonderful way.

Let’s touch on your latest album, Zeitgeist Weltschmerz. What inspired the new album?

The album was mostly inspired by life itself. The is no common thread that leads through our recordings, But we wanted to go back a little bit in time and try to make this album sound on one side as powerful as our releases before and on the other side with a little more touch of the older times. We wanted to foreground the guitars again. Lyrics-wise a variety of topics have always inspired our songs. MY DARKNESS DIVINE was obviously inspired by darkness and gloom that breeds inspiration and vision. HELL AND BACK I wrote for my little son, who had a rough start into this world and THE GHOSTS OF TIDES is about the unexpected return of bitter memories that should have been buried a long time ago. THE LAST CHIME is somewhat of a midlife crisis swan song.

What satisfies you the most about the Zeitgeist Weltschmerz and this next phase of the band’s career?

Releasing a new album is always a satisfying relief because of the huge amount of stress you go through during the production. We have worked almost 3 years on some of the songs and some of them were written just a few weeks before we did hit the studio. And it is very satisfying that we get a lot of positive feedback as well. We are very proud of this album and the effort and work we have put into it and this again confirms the decision, that it was right to start again with a sort of fresh and clear mind.

Tell me about track 5, Metropolis, the only song on the album that features a saxophone?

METROPOLIS is one of your very few cover songs and it is more like a tribute song to the singer Norbert Schwefel who passed away in 2015. This song is very popular in Germany because it was on one of the first Zillo Compilations in the early 90s, at a time when there were very few compilations with this kind of music. We played the song for the first time on a show in Mannheim, which was the hometown of Norbert Schwefel, a few months after he passed away. After getting benevolent feedback we decided to continue to play the song on our following shows. More and more people kept asking us to find the song on the upcoming album and so we decided to record it. For our live shows we used a samples Saxophone but we needed to find someone to play a real one. So I contacted Horacz Bluminth, who was the original Saxophone Player in the 80ies, through Facebook, and he was immediately excited about our idea. He sent us his recording and we are honored to have one of the original members featuring on this very special track.

What is your favorite track off the album?

That is quite a very difficult question, just because I think I have listened to the songs more than a thousand times. It varies from week to week. But I think I really like THE LAST CHIME sometimes more than MY DARKNESS DIVINE. Both of them are very deep and rich of metaphors and I love the guitar and bass work on them very much.

What was it like working on your latest video, The Ghost of Tides?

We had been invited to play on a private show in the UK and a few weeks before I had the idea to find some nice places to film a clip there. We stayed some days longer to drive around and do some sightseeing and we found a nice park in London to be our Plan B for the filming. Because we had discovered a place in Dover right by the sea to be our desired location. The footage of the park was not used, but we are glad to have the chance to do the filming right in front of the white cliffs of Dover which was a great background for the song combined with the waves rolling along the shore. The place is called Samphire Hoe and it was built from all the ground that came out from constructing the tunnel under the English Channel. We had to walk quite a bit to reach the pepple shore and we needed to be fast in order to get to the ferry to bring us back to the continent. We used a mobile phone and some action cams and I think the result is quite acceptable if you consider no money was spent at all. I really enjoy making music videos, even if sometimes we don’t have the equipment, but for me, it is like another way to support the songs. That is why none of our clips look the same. We are currently working on a much more complex video for DRAG ME DOWN, where about 25 people are involved including dancers and fire artists. I am very curious about the result.

I see that the band has starting announcing on your website (http://www.stillpatient.de/) tour dates in support of the new album. What other tour dates/locations can you share with us?

Unfortunately, we are not planning a tour in 2018. It is very hard, even in Germany, to get a tour organized. But we will play on a new Festival in Mannheim on September 1stand there are some other shows in the planning. Maybe we get a little tour together next year. We are working on it.

What do you like most about performing live? And what do you hate the most about performing live?

Well, of course, there is only joy in playing live. If you don’t think about the huge amount of time you spend in traveling and waiting. The moment we hit the stage all of the stress is gone and we give all we have to give. And when the lights go out and people come to tell us about how great the show was, these are the moments we live for. I love to get in contact with our fans and listen to their stories about when they heard about us for the first time and what our music means to them. Of course there a bad things that can happen or some technical problems but in the end, we are always enjoying to play live.

How has touring changed for you from the ‘90s, ‘00s, and today? 

Absolutely yes! In the 90s, I have no idea about the 00s, it was possible to play not only on weekends. So it was much more easier and economic to set up a tour. Nowadays you have to find a slot on Fridays and Saturdays and during the week you fall back to the daily grind. One of the biggest changes came from the technical side. In the 90s sometimes, you had to face the fact, that the sound equipment was totally a waste and you really could not do a show with a decent sound. Today, even in crappy looking venues, you’ll find good equipment and a good engineer to transport your desired sound. We also have updated your own equipment, so we are save to play everywhere. Another good thing is, that we now meet a lot of new and old friends and fans and we stay in contact through social media.

What do you and your bandmates do to relax while you are tour?

Sometimes we find some time to relax between arrival, soundcheck and the show and have some chats with our friends and fans. A nice cold beer is always very much appreciated. But most of the time it’s just waiting. If we get the chance to play abroad and hit a place or a city which is worth to explore, we often try to make it a small holiday and add some more days.

How has the audience changed during your career?

It is a different time now and the scene has changed a lot. Even we as a band have changed a lot in our behavior. In the 90s it was mandatory to stay away from the crowd and other musicians to maintain the mystery every goth band tried so hard to create. When I look back, I realize, that we missed a lot of opportunities for meeting great people and other bands. I often find myself in a situation when people tell me, that we have already met a lot of years ago, or we even shared the stage on a festival, and I have to admit, that I don’t remember anything. In some cases we made new friends, even if we have already met 20 years ago.

The people who are still going to see bands play live have changed a lot too. The scene for our music is like a small family. A lot of people know each other from concerts and social media. Some of them became quite good friends to us. Even if the audience is smaller than in the old days, we get back much more feedback and enthusiasm. Especially social media is great to get immediate feedback, a thing we never had the chance to experience in that amount in the 90s.

What is next for Still Patient?

Besides preparing ourselves for that bigger festival in Mannheim I mentioned before, and the 30th anniversary documentation, for which we are already receiving clips from our fans and supporters, we will start to work on new songs in few a weeks. There are some more video clips to be organized, recorded and edited. Especially the ones for DRAG ME DOWN and METROPOLIS will stand out of the ordinary in the effort we normally invest. And hopefully, we will have some more occasions to play our music to people all over the world. Would be great to have the chance to play the US but with all these problems, especially with that work visa crap, it seems very unlikely.

 

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