What was the reason you moved to the USA?
After Double-Crosser, our third studio-album (released in 2006) Martin decided to move to the United States. This was of course a major break and for some time our creative work came to a halt. The technical challenge involved shipping his studio across the Atlantic. If I remember correctly, it wasn’t before 2010 that Martin began sending song sketches again. After a couple of demos back and forth, we realized that our workflow had returned and in the autumn of 2013 we finished our fourth full studio album, Speak In Storms.
The track Everything on Speak In Storms is a wonderful synthpop classic, perfect for an open road in your car having it as the music as you open up the throttle and cruise (Within the speed limit of course). What are the ideas behind Everything?
I always wanted to write truly misleading lyrics for a catchy Seabound song. The idea was to find words that - at first glance – transported something light and endearing in a sing-along style. On closer examination, however, I wanted the lyrics to reveal a darker layer. When Martin sent the instrumental demo for “Everything” I had the right song for this idea at hand. The repeated chorus line “You are everything” seems to imply that someone deeply cares for a significant other. What it actually describes is a situation in which several individuals are so dependent on one person that – one by one – they cross the line and harm themselves in the desperate attempt to please the malevolent object of desire. The second verse reveals parts of that player’s psyche: “This is life as you script it/Governed and construed/ In accordance with your laws/ You're beyond explanations/ So you watch the next companion/ Being put to the sword”
The inspiration behind both the title of Speak In Storms and also behind some of the lyrics is very interesting to say the least, can you tell our readers about this inspiration please?
At its core, the title Speak In Storms combines the sensation I often have when I am at the sea (which is feeling humble and small, yet strangely at ease) with the power of my ever-smoldering temperament which at times makes me want to scream out of loud. At an angry sea, if you want to be heard at all, you have to scream from the top of your lungs. When I came across the title phrase in an old literature piece, it clicked immediately, and I took it hostage.
Seabound is not a band that has released an album or EP every year, but more every couple of years or more between releases. What do you feel are the advantages and disadvantages of releasing material in this way?
We will never make a living from our work in Seabound. That’s a given and may be regarded a disadvantage, but I don’t feel this way. For me it is more of a carte blanche: We will only release what we feel is right and there is no force outside the band that could tamper with our art or coerce us into doing something we don’t want to do. Martin is a lawyer, I am a psychologist. Who dares to pick up this fight? (laughs)
What do you feel is the true heart of Seabound?
For me, the core of Seabound is multi-layered, dark yet melodic synthetic music in combination with multi-layered vocals and psychological insights into the abyss that we all are. All of this comes free of make-up or exaggerated role-play on stage or in our public appearances. We are authentic and there is substance to what we do. We don’t need fangs.
Frank you are a very intelligent and talented man being both a musician as well a professor of psychology. Seabound explores musically in some songs the human psyche, at what point did the two aspects of your life mingle and when did you realise it worked?
Early on, I realized that I was not the world-policy-content type of writer. Instead I was always fascinated by what happened in the human psyche, particularly when it was twisted and haunted, yet sophisticated. It’s been my poison ever since and I can’t stop being curious in the “why” that lies behind our actions. This is the bridge between my day-job and my nightlife.
Which came first, was it the music or did your intelligence win?
Music had snatched me away from feeling anything close to ordinary way before I could even understand how strong my emotional reservoir was. An efficient brain in a sensitive and maybe even fearful skin can be a devilish bland. When I realized how certain types of music gave me strength and confidence, a strong desire to make music myself was sown. I am certain that making music was a strong part in becoming a much less frightened individual.
Do you find it hard to separate musical Frank from Professor Frank or are they one and the same?
They have gradually merged. I feel much less schizoid today then I used to (laughs).
Can you draw any similarities between the way the human mind works and the way music works?
I think the common denominator is curiosity and a structured approach. When I work as a scientist, I stick to these two skills. As a musician I can add other dimensions such as metaphors and disguise plus the whole palette of emotions through my vocal performance and effects. At the end of the day, I believe that this is what makes a finished new song more valuable to me than a scientific result.
Who was the mutual friend that introduced you to each other and what was your first meeting like?
Both Martin and I studied at the University of Bielefeld in the mid 90s when my girlfriend at the time mentioned him to me. Her best friend was living together with her boyfriend and Martin, and since they realized we shared an interest in making electronic music they suggested we met. The first get-together was a little awkward if I remember correctly. We exchanged tapes and listened to each other’s demos. What I vividly recall is that even back then I was impressed by his programming skills whereas I used to focus on simpler songs structures.
A lot of early Seabound tracks are true dance floor fillers, so why move to a more deeper meaningful sound for Speak In Storms?
Part of it may be due to the fact that on our first album we still shared the song-writing. Songs such as Travelling or Hooked are based on demos I wrote. Gradually though, we split responsibilities because we did not want to become a synthpop act but an electronic project with a deeper sound approach. Don’t get me wrong: I love the synthpop of the 80s, but it was not what we wanted to be ourselves.
Thank you so much for giving Vampire Freaks this interview, is there anything you would like to add?
We are about to disembark on our fourth Northamerican tour on 27 Mar 2015 which is two weeks from now. It’s been a challenge to make it possible but finally we will be able to play 14 shows around the East Coast and the Mid-West together with the talented and mindblowing Architect. The latest list of live dates is available at www.seabound.de. Why not come to see us and party together. We love to meet our fans and make new friends along the way. It’s about time…
"Pictures by Claudia Schöne (except Photo of Martin by Jamais Vu)"
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