Oomph! have been delivering pumping tunes blending heavy guitars with electro beats for 30 years now, and show no signs of slowing down with their latest hybrid Industrial Metal offering, ‘Ritual.’ Frontman and programmer Dero Goi reflects on how the new album expands on the palette of the band’s previous offering, ‘XXV,’ both in terms of its inception and concept.
“Right after our very successful tour throughout Russia, we decided to go straight into our studio to transform all those positive emotions, enthusiasm, energy, power and overwhelming reactions from the Russian audience into brand new songs. It was the very first time that we did it this way, because usually we have a break after a tour. It took about three or four weeks to finish almost 80% of the song writing for ‘Ritual.’ Later on, we added some older ideas that everybody on their own had created before in their small home studios, and worked them out together into some proper songs. After this, we produced and recorded the whole material, which took us almost one year as we’re still doing everything on our own, except the mastering. The album title should be as mysterious, international and versatile as possible concerning interpretation, and as our lives are still packed with different forms of rituals, we found this to be the perfect title for our new record. Some rituals are still helpful for a society to keep their cultural identity, some prevent us from growing. Other rituals are dangerous and scary, like ‘ritual murders’ for example.”
With regard to the song writing, Goi reveals, “This time it was far more session oriented! But from time to time we need space and distance from each other. So there’s also times when everybody writes stuff on their own, at home in our small home studios. There are songs where the lyrics were first, and vice versa. Sometimes the rhythmical structure of a riff leads you to a lyrical hookline and vice versa.”
As for how it compares musically, Goi adds, “No doubt that it’s far heavier than ‘XXV’ or ‘Des Wahsninns Fette Beute.’ Many people so far said that it’s far more forward to them, concerning attitude and tempo in contrast to our former album ‘XXV.’ I would claim that it’s definitely more controversial, provocative, critical and extroverted than ‘XXV.’
One of many exciting elements of the new album is that it features a guest appearance by Lord of the Lost frontman Chris Harms. Goi says of working with Harms, “We’ve known each other for a few years now. We were always joking about doing something creative together, and then there was this song called Abracadabra on the current Lord of the Lost album. Chris invited me to sing together with him as a duet, and I agreed with the offer for him to do the same on the forthcoming OOMPH! album! As we had all the songs composed, there was this very special track called Europa which is pretty doomy and perfect for deep and dark voices, so Chris and the offer came to my mind again and I immediately called him to ask for this duet. As he heard the song he was immediately hyped. So he recorded his vocals and we all found that our voices match perfectly here!”
Reflecting on the band’s 30-year career, Goi ascribes its longevity to, “Stubbornness! Definitely! Of course you have to also be able to not take everything to personal and the main thing is: don´t take yourself too seriously!” Looking back on Oomph!’s influence on the inception of Industrial Metal, he adds, “As people who grew up in the 80s we were basically influenced by two different music genres which were still strictly separated back then. Everybody hated anything about rock and Metal when they were into synth music, and vice versa. But strangely we three liked both genres, and decided to combine those two universes to form a new one out of them. Our main influences back then were The Cure, Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk, D.A.F. and Soft Cell on the one hand, and Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Motörhead and Black Sabbath on the other. These two types of genres made Oomph! back then, and somehow it’s still like that. As Metal and Electro have evolved, our way of combining those two types of music has developed, too. As Metal and Electro have both existed as genres since the late 70s, I’m pretty confident that Neue Deusche Harte (which has existed as a “brand” since 1995) will also survive in the long term!”
With Electro being alive and well, Goi considers which artist he would most like to hear remix his work. “Since her debut album, I really adore Bjork, so it would be fantastic to hear her remixing one of our tracks. Maybe I should consult a serious witch concerning this wish!”
After having so many successes under their belt, Oomph! are still encountering new experiences, including their recent performance at the Gothic meets Klassik festival. “It was stunning! We had so much fun with it that we decided to do more shows like that. That’s why we transformed seven or eight more songs into classical orchestra versions and did two more shows with a whole symphonic orchestra in Moscow and St. Petersburg at the end of 2018. As the reactions were overwhelming again, we decided to add one more show like that for Kiev / Ukraine in February 2019!”
As for whether Oomph! fans might be able to expect an Australian tour in the future, Goi enthuses, “That would be a dream come true! Plus New Zealand and Japan! Greetings and best wishes to all of our Australian fans!”
OOMPH!’S ‘RITUAL’ IS AVAILABLE NOW FROM NAPALM RECORDS! GET YOUR HANDS ON IT HERE!