The Swiss industrial rock band Stoneman has always been a worker bee in the metal scene. Formed in 2004, Stoneman already performed as a support band for power metallers Within Temptation, followed by their first record Rough Demos And Unofficial Bootleg. The demos opened the doors for the band to tour Europe hand in hand with Finnish black metal idols Impaled Nazarene in May 2006. Soon after that Stoneman signed with the German label Twilight and emerged on MTV and VIVA, and in autumn of the same year Swedish industrial metal folks Deathstars invited Stoneman to hit the road together. Year 2008 saw Stoneman do a gig at Wave Gotik Treffen, Europe’s biggest dark scene festival. After the next two albums the band decided to record their fourth and latest album to date, Goldmarie completely in German. The longplay was released at the label Danse Macabre, founded by members of Das Ich, in August 2014. This year the band will have an honour of rocking at Wacken Open Air. The singer of Stoneman, Mikki Chixx and dummer Rico H revealed to Alterock.net who they had most fun on the road with, what famous lady they would like to meet, and much more.
January 16, 2015
What were the main highlights of the past year for Stoneman?
Mikki: It was a big year for us. We played so many tours, festivals and shows. And we released Goldmarie, the brand new and first totally German-language record, which had a big impact on the scene in Germany and Switzerland. We are just happy with the reaction of the people. It was the best year in 10 years of Stoneman career.
Rico: For us it was also a risk of changing our music style and language, so we are really happy that all of these things happened.
Mikki: We’ve been on the road with the band called Megaherz. We were a special guest but it was great ’cause we could meet the people who hadn’t known us before.
Your last album, Goldmarie is a German language album. Usually, bands that aim for international recognition go just the other way round: from their mother tongue to English. Why did you change for German lyrics only?
M.: Because it’s wonderful to express your feelings in your own words, in your own language. It’s impossible to do it in English. Sorry to say that, but English is a really small and short language: they have one word, when the Swiss have five words with the same meaning. I also think that German language suits this kind of music better: hard staccato guitar, staccato drum sounds. Surely, people like it to be in English but we’ve got no problem with that. We’ve got a booking at the biggest festival in Belgium, Eurorock. So there’s no problem with German (laughs).
R.: We’d been thinking about it for years. Now it is like that, and it’s cool.
M.: It’s the first album in German but we’ve had German songs on all the records for the last 10 years.
Are you excited about performing this year at Wacken Open Air?
M.: We’d been waiting for this opportunity for as long as the band exists. And we ARE excited. I think now it’s the right time for Stoneman to play there.
Among the bands you ever hit the road together with, which common touring experience was the most memorable and why?
M.: We’ve had so many tours but if somebody asks to pick just one, we always say: the Deathstars tour. It was the biggest one: we did 42 shows together, we were in one bus, it was really crazy.
R.: It was at the beginning of Stoneman, everything was new. We were really young, and it was a big party the whole time.
M.: But the most successful tours are now, those which were a few weeks ago. Success is not a new thing, but it always feels better when you you have a new toy.
In one of the earlier interviews you said in Switzerland Stoneman weren’t as appreciated as abroad and that you only gave a few shows a year in your homeland. Has it changed since then?
R.: It’s really growing. Swiss people always look over the borders, always check out what is going on in other countries. Now that it’s working for us in Germany and in other countries, I think it’s going really well.
Stoneman members often say in the interviews that every country and city they wake up in for another gig is just the same as all the rest.
M.: No, it’s not true. We just have no time to see anything. We jump out at the venue, go in, have the soundcheck, eat, drink, play, fuck… No! (laughs) We jump back onto the van and drive through the night to the next city or to the airport.
Are there are countries or cities that stand out for you personally as unforgettable and unique?
M.: We loved Prague.
M.: Riga was cool, Tallinn… But it’s not about cities. It’s about people. And if we have good time with people, then it’s a good city. We don’t care about the buildings. If they serve good food, there is a nice promoter, nice people, nice talk afterwards, then it was a good city.
When we first met, the band members said: “If you have never heard Stoneman, it’s a little bit like Rammstein”. What do you think makes Stoneman similar and different from Rammstein?
M.: It’s easier to explain to people, because it’s German, it’s hard, it’s staccato sounds. If you have these kind of guitars and German lyrics, then it may sound similar to Rammstein. But it’s more like Ville Valo kisses Britney Spears, it has Satiricon, or Immortal, or whatever in it. It’s Stoneman of course, but if you have to explain it, you have to do it with the words that everybody understands.
Who usually comes up with the idea of new tunes in your band?
M.: We have been doing the whole music and the lyrics together for 10 years.
R.: Well, our guitarist and bass player are just for the shows.
How would you describe each other?
M.: As for me and Rico, we’ve been like a married couple for so many years.
R.: Yeah, we are similar (laughs).
M.: We have to be like the generals, the headliner guys, so we are loud, we are fast, sometimes we are fuckers. That’s why everybody hates us and why everybody loves us.
How is Mikki on stage different from Mikki in everyday life?
M.: It’s a private question, we won’t tell you!
R.: We’ll tell you later but not here.
Is there anyone in the rock scene you’d love to chat with over a beer?
M.: No, we know everybody. We’ve met everybody we want to meet. We’ve met Marilyn Manson, we know Dave Mustaine (Megadeth). We don’t care. They are just normal people, like us. We don’t give a shit.
R.: We have the same hobbies: Porsche, boats, girls…
M.: I like to meet people I already know. I like to meet you again and so on. This is more important. If we want to meet somebody, believe me, we do it… I’d like to meet Pamela Anderson, to be honest. This is something I haven’t achieved yet.
Have you tried?
M.: No, I haven’t actually (laughs). I don’t even know where to start. But no problem if it doesn’t happen.
R.: We have many other girls on tour (laughs).
As the new year starts, in many countries people make new year resolutions, sort of promises to themselves and the others what they will or won’t do this year. Can you think of anything you hope to do or change about your life in 2015?
M.: This year we will come up with a new show. We’re producing a new show at the moment. We will bring the same album to people but we will bring it in a new way, so people who saw us 2-3 times will be happy to see us the forth time. And this year we want to see everybody we met last year, again.
Would you like to change anything about your lifestyle this year?
R.: Less work. More money. More time to relax.
M.: And we’ll start work on new records, on new demos.
Is there another single from the album Goldmarie coming up in the near future?
M.: Yes, there will be the last new single from Goldmarie album. We can’t tell you now which song it will be ’cause it’s a secret. But I think it’s the right one. We have one for “Freundlich Sein”, one for “Liebe Liebe”, and one for “Mort Ist Kunst”. There will be the fourth single. Which one will it be?.. (says mysteriously, making sounds of suspence).
Thank you for the interview.
Both: Thank you. And we hope to see you soon on our tour.
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