Presenting a band who is sure to become a force to be reckoned with in 2011. The Very End has received high praise from metal giants such as Tomas Lingberg of At The Gates and Tom Angelripper of Sodom. And now The Very End’s latest magnum opus Mercy & Misery has been unleashed on SPV Records – a grand mixture of thrash and modern metal that should really garner these musicians a good deal of attention. Here is an interview we conducted with Björn Goosses (Singer of TVE) to find out more about this tremendous entity ready to break on through to the worldwide metal arena…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in The Very End, and how long the band has been together.
Hey Ken! Sure, my name is Björn and I´m the singer in THE VERY END. The band has been around since 2005 and after 2 demos and our debut album Vs. Life we are just about to release our new album Mercy & Misery!
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We are from the Ruhr Area in north-west Germany, a huge cluster of cities that have been shaped by the industrialisation. But especially the mining industry went down to zero during the last decades. That fact has caused a lot of structural changes in this region and still does. Finally the Ruhr Area has become a perfect soil for metal music. You can find established acts like Sodom, Rage, Kreator or Grave Digger as well as a varied new generation of Ruhr Area metal bands such as Caliban, Japanische Kampfhoerspiele, Enemy Of The Sun or finally The Very End. Many clubs & venues are spread throughout the whole region, and though the oversupply sometimes even turns into a luxury problem, for example when local promoters have a hard time attracting enough people to the shows, the live scene is really active. Usually you can choose between half a dozen shows each weekend, ranging from small underground gigs to shows of international acts in big venues. Apart from the band & live scene this area has quite some labels, e.g. Drakkar, Century Media, promotion agencies, web & print magazines etc., too… so after all this region has a quite strong metal scene and we’re proud to get the chance to not only draw on this region’s tradition, but to push its sound to the next level as well!
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Mercy & Misery?
Mercy & Misery hasn’t been conceived as a concept album, but finally all lyrics more or less circle around the same themes, that just might be viewed from another perspective from song to song. So in a way you could still say it’s – at least lyric wise – a concept behind it. We wanted to have a strong, meaningful and above all big title. A title that reflects on superior matters instead of details. You know, not something like „666 bloody tears went down her cheek after I strangled her with my penis,“ rather something like „War & Piece“ or „Life & Death“ without being too cheesy or dull. My lyrics very often deal with personal misery, yet there’s also a spark of hope or light or mercy or whatever you may call it. So we thought this title would fit quite well!
Please select two songs from the new CD and tell me what the lyrics are about/inspired by?
Hmmm ok, so let’s go for „Rat Nation“ and „A Hole In The Sun“. „Rat Nation“´s basic theme could be described as some kind of mental revolution / rebellion. Being part of a community that has been oppressed for way to long, you feel the urge to unite and rise. On the one hand you have the will to stand up for your needs, but on the other hand you realize that your very own condemnable way of life left you with rotten minds and sick habits which finally turn this attempt into a pathetic farce. „A Hole In The Sun“ is about those little black spots on the perfect white robe you may think you wear. It’s about questioning morals and virtues, „good“ and „bad“, about simply shifting perspective on things that may he been „just this way“ for way too long. Sometimes it’s good to point at your own black spots, to pour some salt in your very own wounds, or to tear a hole in your sun if you will…
What was it like working with producer Waldemar Sorychta and what was his biggest contribution to your overall sound?
To be honest I think this was the smoothest cooperation with a producer I ever had. I mean, this is just the second THE VERY END album, but as I have been active in other bands I already worked with producers here and there. However, Waldemar is a great guy with a vision. He lives for and with music and is totally dedicated to what he’s working on. Indeed he has been contributing to our sound the way that we did a small pre-production before the actual recordings to check out what could be improved here and there. And though we as a band of course always had the final word on new arrangements or the like, we and Waldemar had a matching vision of the new songs. So the final recording process went totally cool. Relaxed yet focused. Of course we have a lot of respect for Waldemar. I mean, this guy has produced dozens of great albums, is a great musician himself and finally was a bandmate of Dave Lombardo haha! But on the other hand we didn’t really have him on the map as our producer, because most of the stuff he has produced is more into the darker direction, you know, Samael, Lacuna Coil, Sentenced, Tiamat – so not exactly the style we play. It all happened by chance, but as usual these random occassions can turn into something great, and after the first timid contacts we became a well-running team soon. I really hope we will get the chance to work with Waldemar for one our our next albums again!
What is a live The Very End show like for those of us who have yet to see you play?
Loud and sweaty as a metal show should be! Of course we have some stuff like banners / sidedrops, but unfortunately we can’t afford expensive show elements like pyros, video projections or stuff like that yet. So we concentrate on rocking the shit out of us and the crowd haha…! It may sound pathetic, but we definitely always give 110%, no matter if it’s in front of 10 or 1000 people…
Have you ever played in the States or plan to do so in the future?
Not yet. But hopefully we will do so in the near future! Now, with a domestic THE VERY END release in the states, this should at least be generally possible. So, if there’s any booker out there – get in contact!!
A lot of noted musicians have heaped high praise on your band. How does it feel to have people such as Dan Swanö and Tom Angelripper saying such nice things about your band?
We’re definitely honored by those supportive words! Since my early metal days I have been listening to bands these people were involved in… Especially Edge of Sanity and At The Gates are 2 of my all time faves. So it’s sweet to have guys like Dan Swanö, Tompa Lindberg or a living thrash metal legend like Tom Angelripper, who not only like THE VERY END but also agreed on giving those comments. You know, we didn’t just ask random „VIP“s, we are in contact with all of them in one way or another… I don’t know if this helps anything, but finally it’s something like a seal of quality which finally makes us a bit proud to be honest!
Who did the cover art and how much input did you have on it?
We had 100% control over the artwork, because we did it ourselves haha…! Killustrations is my design studio, and I simply had to do the „Mercy & Misery“ artwork myself. It would have simply felt wrong if I didn’t. Fortunately my band mates are demanding but not picky or fussy, which as a graphic artist can be a pain in the ass… According to the „big“ album title we wanted to have something straight & atmospheric, stylish yet powerful. So we chose to work with our band symbol, which is the flying, coffin-shaped speaker. We already use this symbol since our demos, and I think the atmospheric illustration with a wooden coffin in the clouds benefits the meaning and feeling of the album title…!
What are your plans for the New Year? Any touring coming up?
First „Mercy & Misery“ is going to be released in Europe, USA and Australia throughout January. We will also premiere the video clip of „A Hole In The Sun“ in January, so watch out! We shot this clip together with Filmefahrer Pictures from Berlin, and it’s a great short movie with a good story, actors, explosions, dirt, fire & rain… and some metal haha…! Our website theveryend.net will be relaunched in January, too! You should take a look at it, especially at the small online store, were we will be able to offer the best prices for any THE VERY END item! We have some shows coming up, but I damn sure hope there will be a lot more. There’s no tour yet, but we’re constantly checking out options… a few summer festivals would be nice as well, but many promoters / bookers first want to wait for the reactions on the new album, which makes it hard for us to predict our live activity this year… However, there’s always a shitload to do in the TVE camp, so the metal keeps us busy haha…!
What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most after hearing your new CD for the very first time?
Above all the listener should feel the urge to push the play button again!! No, really… what else should we wish for? Music is always a matter of taste, and everybody perceives it in another way… I couldn’t care less if somebody, after hearing the new album for the first time, puts us into a certain category or something like this. Of course I wish people would recognize the well crafted songs, the thoughtful lyrics or the artwork… simply all the heart’s blood we put into the album. And it’s probably not an easy job to listen to the whole album haha… I mean, we incorporate various metal styles and there are a lot of details to discover, but finally the biggest compliment would be if the listener thinks something like „Damn, that was awesome! Let’s listen to this again!“…
Any final words of wisdom?
Dunno if this is wise, but I’d like to thank you for letting me spread the word of THE VERY END haha! Check out our new album „Mercy & Misery“ and the „A Hole In The Sun“ video clip!! Cheers!
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
The Very End Official Website