Interview date

31 Mai 2010




Interview Lutz de Putter (by mailer)

Three years passed between the release of "Mary Celeste" and "Innocence Weakness". What did you do during all that time?

Oh a lot. I have written some new songs for my project VON BRANDEN and do many things beside music. In 2007 I started with my job as a teacher and in the first years it takes much time to do this job. In February 2009 I started writting new material for Mandrake. The recording took place in the Soundlodge Studios in Northern-Germany in July 2009. So, the album is done since Summer 2009 and as you see, it's not that much time between "Mary Celeste" and "Innocence Weakness".

"Innocence Weakness" has been release few days ago. What's the best compliment you had on it?

Oh, the best compliment came from Arthur from He likes the album very much and he said, it's the best album since our Debut "Forever". That really makes me happy 'cause I take care a lot of his opinion.

The cover of this album is darker and gloomier than the other ones. According to you, does it express the evolution of your music?

Yes of course. I mean even the lyrics are darker then "Mary Celeste" or "The Balance of Blue". The feeling of being emotional alone and being an underdog in our society fits very well with the cover.

To your mind, what makes "Innocence Weakness" a unique album?

I think it doesn't sound like a typically Gothic-Metal album. It isn't that orchestral or bombastic like bands as Within Temptation or Nightwish. We really don't want to sound like them. Even Birgit is not the typically Gothic-Metal singer. And the guitars: on "Innocence Weakness" you will not really find simple guitar-hooklines. It goes much deeper than that.

According to you, which are the catchiest song, the most emotional one, and finally the most surprising song on this album?

The catchiest song: maybe "Existence". Emotional songs: "Silhouette" and "A Serenade to the Sea". Surprising song: "Among the Demons" or "Coma".

"Prelude" and "Weakness" are the "same" song even if "Weakness" is longer. Is it a way to say you've come full circle in this album?

It became an idea to introduce and to close the album while composing the song in the studio. I mean, it's only one guitar-line and it takes about five minutes to compose it.

"Innocence" is an instrumental song and it's on the middle of the album. Why this "break"?

Yeah, that's it. The guitar-lines doesn't sound very cool as a song with drums and vocals. So we said: "Hey, why not doing this as an instrumental version without any drums or any other stuff ?!".

There are songs, as "A Serenade To The Sea", on which we only hear Birgit singing and when you are the main singer as in "Coma", she's still singing. Do you think all the songs of this album really needed female vocals?

No! Maybe the complete album could be a very good one without any female vocals. But Birgit does not play any instruments and so it would be boring to sit behind the stage and have nothing to do, ha ha. As we started playing with Mandrake in 1997, there were no female vocals at all. So, yeah it's not a must have.

There is a contrast between Birgit voice, keyboards, which are ethereal, and the guitars, bass, drums and your voice, which are darker. Why such a contrast?

I don't know. We did not make a plan to do this. We always start composing a song with a guitar line. After that, we make some demos of the songs only with drums and guitar and then the demos are sent to the other people in Mandrake. So it was Birgits' idea to sing very peacefully and soft. It's her part.

How do you see Mandrakes' evolution from your debut album to "Innocence Weakness"?

Our Debut "Forever" was much more Death-Metal and harder. The evolution is a result of the evolution in the complete Gothic-Metal scene. I mean Theatre of Tragedy also went from simply hard to softly pop-songs, ha ha. After "Mary Celeste" was released we said: "No more softer!!! We have to go back to where we started in 1997!" And that's what we are doing now. Playing a sound somewhere between "Forever" and "Calm the Seas". We are very happy with the last evolution.

It seems you don't really consider "Forever" as a real part of Mandrakes' career as it really started with "Calm the Seas". Why?

Oh, that's simple. "Forever" was released without any label. "Calm the Seas" was our first label release and after that, we get many many good reactions and reach many countries with our music. So we did a big step forward with our second album.

What are your best and your worst memories with Mandrake?

Oh, there are so many good memories I had with Mandrake. Having good friends and being part of a music group with excellent musicians is a good feeling. Also all the good time in the Soundlodge Stuidos are wonderful. Worst memory: we had to cancel a tour because of time problems, it makes me sad.

Is there a thing you'd really love to do with this band and why?

Oh yeah. Enter the Soundlodge Studios and being in a wonderful mood to create songs. Hanging around with some friends in the studio and have a good time.

What do you think about the band have the same style as you (gothic metal)?

I don't like the Gothic Metal how it is today. In the meantime I listen to bands like Cold World, Deinonychus, Nhil Novi Sub Sole or Slowdive and Sigur Ros and of cours Gothic Metal in the style of the 90's like My Dying Bride or old Anathema.

In a country as prolific in metal as Germany, how did you get your reputation?

Being very unique and playing live is the important thing. You need your own style and image.

What else can you say about "Innocence Weakness" and the band to conclude this interview ?

Mandrake will alway be not a mainstream band. It needs more time to get in the sound of Mandrake. So please readers: take the time and check out some of Mandrakes' new and old songs under you will be directed to the myspace-side. Cheers and thank you very much.