***Interview by Luke Hayhurst, writer for Morbid Wings (Print) Zine, VM Underground Fanzine and Doom-Metal.com***
Luke Hayhurst: Greetings Konstantin and to all of Lifetaker. How is life right now in Germany?
Konstantin Shepes (Lifetaker): Hey Luke, thanks for having us! Since we can not speak for every soul living in this country. Indeed; to us life seems quite bearable at the moment because we are stoked about our new record that came out on Friday!
LH: I won’t lie, until you messaged me about your new album I had not heard of Lifetaker. With that in mind, can you tell me about the genesis of the band? How you came into existence, and how you came to choose the provocative name, Lifetaker?
KS: Lifetaker was formed back in 2018, and we’ve known each other for years. However, we played in different bands up until this point. So, forming Lifetaker became a lucky twist of fate in a way. The band turned out to subjectively fulfill every aspect of being in a band that each member was missing at some point in the past. So, the genesis of Lifetaker lies in the fact that four dudes who share the same vision on art and musical direction happened by mere accident.
You are right! The name itself may appear kind of provocative but so does the music!
LH: You are about to unleash an absolute colossal panzer attack of a second album entitled ‘Der Letzte Raum’ which translates into English as The Last Room. What can you tell me about the concept behind the album name?
KS: We went with “Der letzte Raum” because we thought it’s a decent allegory for the word “crypt” and at the same time the title is not over-explaining things to the listener. On the other hand, it made sense to choose a German title since the songs are performed in German. This is an idea we finally decided to do on this record because it allows us to put lyrics to songs that the songs deserve. Overall, the record is not meant to follow a specific concept. Every song stands on its own.
LH: I’m intrigued by the artwork for the new album. Who designed the piece and what instructions did you give them? How happy are you with the final piece?
KS: The artwork for “Der letzte Raum” is an actual painting by the Russian artist Veronika Polonskaya. We loved it at first sight and worked things out so no instructions were needed.
LH: I mentioned in my review that I’m not massively well versed in the style you play. You combine the very best elements of Grind, Sludge and Hardcore. Which bands would you say are direct influences to the Lifetaker sound?
KS: To be honest, and by saying this I am really honest… We are not influenced by any band out there. We love music to the fullest, of course we do, and we listen to a lot of stuff out there for sure. But, over the years we figured out that being influenced by other artists leads to nothing but the past. We record all the time and besides the records we have already put out, there is an uncountable amount of b-sides on our hard drives that never made it on a record. What drives us is vaguely motivated by music. It is more likely that we let things happen naturally based on our experiences as artists, as musicians, as human beings…true to the motto: If it feels right, it is right. By saying this, I mean that there is not a lot of overthinking going on and we do not plan everything down to the last detail. When you think of a Lifetaker record, and everything that lies beyond, you can think of a car crash. Things happen when you do not expect them to happen!
LH: I saw on your social media that you describe yourself as an anti-fascist band. Do you consider yourself a politically influenced band and how does that channel into your work?
KS: To our understanding anti-facism, or identifying as an anti-facist band, means that you are embracing the future with a healthy mindset and respect for your environment. And the people you are surrounded by, no matter who they are and where they come from. Lifetaker is not meant to be a political band because we prefer the subject of art over the subject of politics. In my opinion, there is no such thing as political art. It is always art, or politics, never both. The moment you try to inject your political taste into art, you are a politician and not an artist. This is what propaganda means. As a band, we really don’t feel like betraying the potential of art because of propaganda that is based on nothing but personal taste. Overall, political views are never channeled into our work.
Album Review – Lifetaker / Der letzte Raum (2022)
LH: Have you had any dealing with bands of a fascist nature? How prevalent in Germany would you say National Socialist ideals are within the music scene?
KS: No, we never had to deal with artists or bands of fascist nature and never will. We do not deal with facism, we smash it!
Concerning National Socalist ideologies within the German music scene. I would say there are people who do not make a secret out of it and are proud to carry these ideals. And there are people who flirt with these ideals but would never admit it in public.
In both cases, the only thing we as a band can say is fuck them!
LH: Getting back to your music. You released your debut album ‘Night Intruder’ back in 2020. How do you feel your sound has progressed since your first album going into your second?
KS: The sound has progressed in a way that we have managed to let go and get rid of certain aspects that are not necessary. The overall statement of a song/record is based on how we have pictured it before recording. Compared to our debut, the new record is straight to the core madness! Both in sound and songwriting, you will find a more punk and noise inspired approach to it.
LH: You have released the new opus on a great looking LP through Black Omega Recordings, who also released your first album. How did this collaboration come about? Why did you decide to stay with the same label?
KS: John who runs Black Omega Recordings used to be the vocalist for a band that I am friends with. At the time, Lifetaker was looking for a label when it came to the release of Night Intruder. We asked John if he would be interested in releasing the record. Since John is a really cool guy, who shares the same views and beliefs, plus the fact that he obviously must have enjoyed the record, it came to the collaboration that lasts until today.
The fact that we stay with the same label is based on the principle that we only work with people who share the same vision and who are truly dedicated towards what they do. We like authenticity, that is why we go with Black Omega Recordings and Lower Class Kids Records.
LH: Do you take much notice of your local music scene? Are there any bands local to you that you feel people should be paying more attention to?
KS: Sure, we always keep an eye open for what is going on right now! We would love to shout out our friends in Isocult. Check them out, they definitely deserve more attention. It is your way to go if you are into cold post/wavy electronic tunes!
LH: What are the upcoming plans for Lifetaker once the album is unleashed? Will you be touring the new album? How hard is touring right now in Germany, what with the current energy crisis?
KS: We have already started working on new material for future releases. Hopefully we’ll be able to properly tour the new album since COVID-19 made it nearly impossible to play live for the past two years. Furthermore, we hope that the energy crisis will not get us in too much trouble. We are constantly working on things so that we can do what we love most, play live! Let’s see what the future holds for us.
LH: That is all I have for you. Thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions. I shall leave the final words for you.
KS: All the best to you and everyone out there! Stay safe!
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