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GOTHMINISTER (BJORN ALEX BREM)

HI! HOW ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU? WHO ARE YOU? Hello, I’m really working hard these days preparing the big European tour with LACRIMOSA. I am sorry it took a while before I could answer this interview, but we have also been on Scandinavian tour and a lot do to, so… Right now I am sitting in my house (an old new-gothic house from 1859) answering this interview. I am also at this moment in contact with a German couple who will do the first German fan-site on the internet. I am Bjorn Alex Brem AKA GOTHMINISTER himself 😉 FIRST OF ALL I’D REALLY LIKE TO KNOW WHICH INSPIRATIONS LED TO THE TERM “GOTHMINISTER”? ANY SPECIAL, PERSONAL MEANING OR DOES IT JUST SOUND WELL? Off course you want a name which sounds good, but there is off course more to it. I had always been fascinated by horror movies and heavy music. Me and a friend visited the local now legendary goth pub “Shadowpub” in Oslo, it was about 1998-99. They played normally a lot of Goth rock and the people who went there were just like a normal Goth crowd. But in our opinion then, it would be cool if there was a leader” in this scene, And I asked my friend; “what if he was called GOTHMINISTER”. We both looked at each other and laughed, and had a few more beers. Little did I know that this was the start of something much bigger. Later we met some friends but the after party was cancelled, so I had to walk home alone in windy -17 degrees C with only a t-shirt. I got really, really sick and during my illness I started to write the first GOTHMINISTER song, “GOTHIC ANTHEM”. GOTHMINISTER was born. Originally just a joke, but you know, people like to be entertained and since then I have tried to create the band I would want to buy records from and the kind of show I would appreciate to see at a concert. YOUR SECOND EFFORT WILL BE OUT SOON IN GERMANY. WHAT ARE YOUR FEELINGS AND EXPECTATIONS NOW AS WORK IS DONE? Well, it has been A LOT of hard work but I am really, really happy with the result. My goal was to make a different album from the first one, especially in the way of making it sound more real, more organic, more band. We are going on a big tour in Europe with LACRIMOSA, getting to play for (my guess) more than 30.000 people in 4 weeks; it’s a big chance for GOTHMINISTER to reach out to people who maybe never heard us before. What is really important to me is also to reach out to rock and metal audience; because I think they can find the new GM album interesting. I think I should allowed to have big expectations, and as long as we do our thing on stage, put up a good show, its up to people to decide what they think and if they like what we do. And we always do 110% on stage, to the fainting point… WHERE DO YOU SEE THE MAIN IMPROVEMENTS COMPARED TO GOTHIC ELECTRONIC ANTHEMS? IT SOUNDS MUCH HARDER TO ME NOW WITH MORE EMPHASIS ON GUITAR RIFFS… I agree!;) The main word to me is: BAND. We recorded live drums on this album, which gives a totally different feel. Also the guitars are much more present in the mix, more heavy, the electronics are stripped down a bit and we made room for pompous orchestral parts instead. If the first album was 50%rock 50% electro I would say the new album is 70% rock/metal and maybe 30% electronic stuff. NOW GOTHMINISTER IST MORE LIKE A “BAND THING” – SO WHAT HAS CHANGED REGARDING SONGWRITING AND RESPONSIBILITY WITHIN THE BAND? ARE YOU THE MAIN COMPOSER? ARE THE OTHERS ALLOWED TO GIVE SOME INPUT? The fact that we now are a rehearsing band with live drums changed a lot. But I would say on this album the production part especially was developed with a fantastic effort from especially Rico Darum & Peder “Goatfather” Kjellsby, but also Stefan Glaumann off course. Musically I write everything but it’s good to have band members who can tell you what they like and what they don’t like. When it comes to the moody musical parts and off course the visuals, I have to give a lot of credits to Dementia, who inspired me a lot here. YOU HAVE PLAYED MANY SUCCESSFUL GIGS IN GERMANY. WHAT DO YOU REMEMEBER ABOUT THE M’ERA LUNA 2004 AND THE ON A DARK WINTER’S NIGHT 2003 IN OBERHAUSEN? HOW WAS THE CONTACT WITH OTHER MUSICIANS IN THE SCENE? M`Era Luna 2004 was special for GM; first of all because we were invited second year in a row – first time was in 2003 as German debutants but we pulled a lot of people very early in the day – many, many thousand – so it was an immediate success! Also we filmed the show with Paddy & Crazyclipshow – you can see three songs of the result on the new CD bonus live video tracks from ML2004! Oberhausen-Kønig Pilsener Arena – what can I say – man the venue is normally for motocross events! I think they could have around 12-14.000 people in there. We were told it was 8-9.000 when GOTHMINISTER was on stage. We had pretty much pyro back then, actually so powerful that Dementia stumbled on one of the monitors and broke three ribbons during the first three songs. But she finished the show, having really difficult to breathe afterwards. Also our second keyboardplayer missed his plane so we were only 4 on stage. Still the crowd was great and I think we did good also considering the circumstances…;) AND HOW DID YOU GET ERIC BURTON OF CATASTROPHE BALLET TO ACT ON STAGE WITH YOU, CO SINGING YOUR HIT “HATRED”? WAS IT BECAUSE HE IS YOUR GERMAN PROMOTER? When I was signed to Tatra Records in 2002 they had plans for the promotion. But through my producer and friend Rico Darum I soon found out about Hardbeat Propaganda and Eric Burton, they promoted more rock/ industrial/ alternative and that’s where my heart always has been though GOTHMINISTER started out more electronic. I always wanted GM to go into the alternative rock/ metal scene so when I read the bands Eric Burton had worked with (among them promo for NINE INCH NAILS, RAMMSTEIN instead of only electro acts) I wanted to work with Eric at once. Me and Halfface spent two summers in a row driving my car from venue to venue through the whole of Germany with promos. I remember in the east some places only had a mail box; a whole in the wall, we heard the promostuff hit the floor on the other side but never knew if anyone was going to read it, ever…but when we came to Hamburg, we had an appointment with Eric & Hardbeat at the house of PP. He was really cool to us, we got the grand tour and stayed in touch ever since. I have to thank both Eric and Pee Wee Vignold from Sonic Seducer who did the first article about GM after being pushed intensely by a crazy fan, Holger Winkelmann for the GM success. It was how it all started. Last years WGT Eric wondered if I wanted to join his band CATATROPHE BALLET on one song and I asked him for one song on GM, just for fun. They videotaped that show too but it turned out so crappy we had to use another video team; Paddy and Crazyclip show who did a great job at M`Era Luna. Hatred wasn’t supposed to be on the new CD but it turned out very cool with Eric along on stage, so…. Puuh – conclusion: Eric is much more to us than a German promoter, that’s why he’s on the stage with GM…;) HOW IMPORTANT IS SANDRA JENSEN AKA DEMENTIA FOR THE “PRODUCT” GOTHMINISTER? YOU SEEM TO CARE A LOT ABOUT STYLE, CLOTHES, IMAGES AND SO ON. IS THIS EQUALLY IMPORTANT AS MUSIC NOWADAYS? Last thing first: yes and no. In my opinion, the bottom line is the music. But imagery can create a whole new dimension to it, and even make music sound better! That’s what I think Sandra does, both on the CD cover art and on stage with the pompous costumes. But you have to give it a chance…you have to be somewhat open for a theatrical mood. In my opinion people who pay a lot to see concerts these days, deserve more than 4 black t-shirts and a boring face. They deserve a show – I mean, that’s what it’s called and like it or not – any artist has to be an entertainer. I didn’t t realise that before I was 25 years old, and had played gigs on stage since I was 14(!) WHY ARE YOU SO FASCINATED OF JAPANESE/ SAMURAI STYLE REGARDING YOUR COVER ARTWORK? BY THE WAY DID YOU LIKE TARANTINOS “KILL BILL” SAGA? Yes I liked both of them, but I liked “The Ring” and “Dark Water” even more, because they are more horror/ scary. Sandra also likes “Crouching Tiger”, so she was the one with the Japanese ideas. Also our new drummer looked like a demon manga people said, so there s the inspiration. YOU HAVE ONCE BEEN THE SINGER OF THE NORWEGIAN CULT THRASH ACT CONCEPTOR I BELIEVE. HOW DID YOU COME ACROSS BEING PART OF THE “GOTHIC SCENE”? HAS HE ALWAYS BEEN INTERESTED? I was a singer and bassplayer in the Norwegian trash band CONCEPTOR. right. I have always been interested in horror movies and ALICE COOPER, but also SISTERS OF MERCY and some other goth acts but I never enjoyed the early postpunk that much – I was more into the American deathrock. I think my goth interest developed from novels, cartoons (Batman off course was the favourite) to horror movies to music and today even a big interest in gothic architecture as my family live in a new gothic mansion in a gothic part of Oslo (actually, a lot of different old buildings, the part of the city was called “little Europe” because lots of interesting European inspired buildings). AND THERE WAS AN ASSAULT BY A GUY CARRYING A KNIVE. HAVE YOU PSYCHOLOGICALLY OVERCOME THIS ATTACK? HAS THIS INCIDENT IN ANY WAY CHANGED YOU AS A MUSICIAN/ SONGWRITER? Yeah well that wasn’t a nice story at all. But it just shows how the dark side of a man can suddenly explode. It was all about “happiness in darkness” – this guy was really angry with GM being on national TV etc. But he misunderstood – I never meant to mock people who are really in trouble with the dark side of their mind – what I try is to encourage to face the dark sides and overcome your problems, like I had to do with my own troubles, through writing, through music – I have often talked about this incident in interviews as an example how fear of your own dark sides can lead to aggression and disaster, but I managed to explain the message to him and calm him down. It still reminds me each time making the message even clearer so nobody will misunderstand again; We’re not happy because live is dark and shitty, we are happy because we won’t let it break us but on the contrary meet our darkness and inner fears and challenge it in order to gain more inspiration and self confidence. WOULD YOU SAY THAT GERMANY IS YOUR MAIN MARKET IN EUROPE? AND HOW DO YOU PROFIT OF DRAKKARS (BERTELSMANN) MARKETING POWER? Yes Germany is GM`s main market in Europe. Drakkar did a very good job on the first album “Gothic Electronic Anthems”, which for instance had stands with headset in every WOM store in Germany Actually they wrote an article about that in many magazines because it was unusual for a gothic/ industrial underground act to get that kind of marketing. Off course I am interested in GM selling as much albums as possible mostly because it s a kick that as many people as possible hear your music and read your lyrics/ messages. The greatest profit of all is each time a fan says to me that I inspired them to cope with a problem or even to start their own band, which actually has happened quite a few times. That’s profit to me;) YOU WILL SUPPORT LACRIMOSA ON TOUR. WHAT DO YOU EXPECT OF THIS PACKAGE? DO YOU BELIEVE YOU WILL COVINCE THEIR FANS? WHICH NEW SHOW ELEMENTS WILL YOU USE? It’s really gonna be exciting. Off course, LACRIMOSA has gone in different directions musically (like for instance the previous album “Echoes”) but when I recently heard their new stuff I was thrilled because its in my opinion the best LM album up to date. I have no clue if GM will convince the LM fans, but as long as we do our best, it’s up to them actually. But I must say it’s an honour for us to support the legends of German symphonic metal. 😉 I COULD IMAGINE YOU WOULD REALLY LOVE TO BE ON STAGE WITH RAMMSTEIN, AM I RIGHT? AND DID YOU SEE THEM ON THEIR LATEST TOUR? Yeah I saw them on their last tour in Oslo, was a great show with a lot of pyro as usual. But I am not the fanatic fan. A friend of mine is, he’s a journalist in a Norwegian metal magazine (Scream Magazine);) He went to London with his girlfriend and watched three shows three days in a row. Ask him if he’s a big fan he he. But off course, it’s a great band 😉 ARE YOU IN ANY WAY IN CONTACT WITH THE NORWEGIAN BLACK METAL SCENE? DO YOU KNOW SOME OF THE MUSICIANS PERSONALLY AND DO YOU LIKE THIS STYLE AT ALL? Well, first of all our GM drummer plays in a black metal band called TSJUDER. I also barely know some of the people from MAYHEM (I meet Rune occasionally from time to time in the scene), I won a trial for KHOLD etc. and GM s Norwegian label Tatra also runs Moonfog (which almost only has black metal bands) I like some of it, EMPEROR for instance was a great BM band. WHAT ARE THE GOTHMINISTERS INTERESTS BESIDES MUSIC? Everything that has a dark vibe, cartoons (Batman), horror movies, architecture, literature and I also have to exercise in order to keep up with the touring. 😉 ANY LAST GOTHIC WORDS FOR YOUR GERMAN FANS? Face your darkest demons and get inspired!;) THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR TIME AND GOOD LUCK ON TOUR AND WITH YOUR ALBUM Thank you very much, again sorry for the late answers

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