Crematory Interview With Guitarist Rolf Munkes

Anniversary time! For 25 years now, Germany’s leading gothic metal act Crematory have enthralled their countless fans at home and abroad. Since the band was founded in 1991, they have released twelve studio albums, in addition to a number of live recordings, singles, EPs and compilations. A proud record which is about to reach new heights with Crematory’s upcoming thirteenth studio album Monument. Their latest recording is scheduled for global release on Steamhammer/SPV on 15 April 2016 and will mark an unmistakable return to metallic toughness by the band from Mannheim. Infinitely more strongly than on its predecessor Antiserum (2014), the twelve tracks on Monument are based on brute guitar riffs and hard-as-nails drum grooves, replete with sinister keyboard hooks and that mix of growls and clear vocals – some in English, some in German – that is so typical of this band. The group’s fans will be thoroughly delighted with Monument and its dynamic sound.

Felix Stass – vocals
Rolf Munkes – guitar
Tosse Basler – guitar
Harald Heine – bass
Markus Jüllich – drums
Katrin Jüllich – keyboards

 

CCTV . 25 years of Crematory as a band and you’ve been in the band for about a year?

Rolf Munkes – guitar….I’ve been in the band for about 9 months or so.

How did you get involved with the band?

Rolf Munkes – I’m a producer these days and for 3 years I’ve done almost nothing live, just a couple of things here and there, i really love producing and last winter i thought i really love to be in a new band, as luck would have a friend told me Crematory me had an opening for a guitarist and i know they are living not far from my house so i reached out to the guys, did some rehearsals, i recorded some stuff for them and after a couple of days it was clear and that was it.

You did a video for ravens calling?

Rolf Munkes – we did 2 new videos so far around one month ago for misunderstood the first song on the new album and ravens calling which came out on the album release date and we will shot another video for a 3rd song but i have no idea when this will come out.

How well received has the new album been?
Rolf Munkes – as far as i see really great lots of great comments, the band as well as the label are really happy with the effort.

Are there any magazines or writers you look to for information on music to purchase?
Rolf Munkes – its really tough to find something new and attractive i listen to alot of older stuff and music outside of the genre, about 2 years ago i heard a cd by the band Shinedown and i really fell in love with it, such great music i have two albums by them, its just one hit after another the songwriting is really outstanding

Favorite songs on the new Crematory album?
Rolf Munkes – there is a difference between playing a song and listening to a song, sometimes times you hear a song and its just ok but when you play it its wow its much better and the same could be said in reverse, we have decided to play live six songs from the twelve on the new release, which i think is quite a lot. I love ravens calling because the singers doing a really excellent job on that and Falsche Tränen is also very good.

You have been playing guitar since you were 12.
Rolf Munkes – I started towards the end of 12 almost 13

Are you still involved with Razorback and Empire
Rolf Munkes – I founded the bands, wrote all the music and most of the lyrics, right now they are just not active bands, the last release from empire was 2007, we would love to go on but circumstances and the market was not supporting for those kinds of songs, it ws tough. Ive been in contact with a guy who promised he would find a label for the band and great music and I could get the line up back and i would love to but its tough, the money is not there like it used to be that you would need to make a good production, so its no use to do it with a $1000 and release a poor product

You use Gibson Explorers with Crematory but throughout your career you have used mainly Fender Stratocaster
Rolf Munkes – I played strats up until the early 2000’s around 2004 i got my first explorers and i have my strats to mostly as back ups, spares. i really fell in love with the explorer guitar for a couple of reasons, but most importantly they are when I’m standing they hang at the right position for my body to play, the strat leans off to the left. It feels really comfortable its like leaning against a bar.

What are your thoughts on the industry today with streaming, downloading etc.
Rolf Munkes – i see we are still in a progressive change, the markets will tell us where to go, people are fed with up with music that is very sterile and inorganic, i thing more organic stuff is coming back, I think we are still at the starting of the digital age and i have no idea. I still see in the studio people using old traditional ways of recording and a lot of taking advantage of both digital and good sounding analog gear.

How relevant was Prince in your musical life.
Rolf Munkes – I’ve never really been much of a Prince fan, more of a Michael Jackson fan. The Beatles were really a big influence on my life, i remember having cassettes from The Beatles and listening to them endlessly. The Beatles pretty much did everything that has needed to done in music, you can find everything in their music.

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