Tribal: Is musical art indeed worthless nowadays?
Since 2004 the Swiss band Tribal has been delivering multi-faceted Rock music. Tribal recently they released their third album „I-Dentity“, containing 13 songs, one of those is in German language: „ Die Kraft ist in dir“. Greg (Vocals), Mark (Guitar) and Urs (Bass) tell us more about it.
First of all, could you introduce the band to people who don´t know you?
Greg: Tribal are from Switzerland and play a diverse Rock sound. We have been around since 2004 as a band and released 3 studio albums, first „Cardboard Heroes“ (2005), which we produced ourselves. 2009 „Corner Of A Circle“ came out, a much darker and heavier album, a big step forward, it was produced by Rolf Munkes produziert. In May 2012 we released our third CD „I-Dentity“ where we refined our style once again, you´ll find many contrasts and a lot of playfulness.
In your career you have received many good reviews for your releases. How would you describe your sound, what is your trademark?
Greg: Our style could perhaps be called Modern Rock with Gothic and Alternative influences. For our albums variety is an important factor. We don´t enjoy an uniform album, we have brutal riffs as well as frisky melodies. We don´t design our songs according to a formula. All songs are created through emotion.
Your third record „I-Dentity“ was recorded in German Empire Studios. Why did you choose a German studio and not one in Switzerland?
Urs: For our taste Swiss productions are way too smooth, maybe even over-produced. The experimental touch is missing most of the time. Moreover, there´s the question of fees, Swiss studios – even the small ones – are ridiculously expensive.
Greg: And it is important that the producer agrees with us also on a human level, which was the case with Rolf Munkes. Having a lot of fun in the studio is important. It increases creativity.
You usually write songs with a message, e.g. your latest single „Die Kraft ist in dir“ (the power / force is with you); could you tell us more about it, what is this song about?
Mark: Greg will surely add some comments about the lyrics. The song says a lot also on the musical level and it was one of the basics on which we built the whole „I-Dentity“ album. It has a lot of personality and identity; with floating open sound, those low-key, warm dark guitars a special cosy atmosphere is created – something quite appealing, you should be able to relate to it. Although the instruments are tuned low, the song seems light, open and positive. With the first notes you know to which destination this journey will go. Still this seems to be a natural way, implicated by this expressive instrumentation. There are only a few songs that get as quicklu to the point as „Die Kraft ist in dir“. We all love this song!
Greg: As a Kindergarten kid you are as you are, full of curiosity, imagination and lust for adventure. As time goes by you lose all those in the tribulations of life, and some morning you wake up and realize that you don´t recognize yourself any more. This song is about becoming the person once again you have been once, as it is still there deep inside of you. I hope that many people will manage to do just that. I myself am about to give it a try.
Why did you write this song in German language? As a Swiss, what is more difficult to master, standard German or English?
Mark: The mere German version just happened. Greg had a chorus in English first, then the verse was written in German. We had a similar combination in the song „Too many times“, one of the early Tribal songs released on „Cardboard Heroes“. We thought that it would be worth to try both a German and an English version, simply because in one the verse sounded cool, in the other the hookline of the chorus. It was an experiment that was worth it, as both versions have their own appeal and charme.
Greg: The German version was finally the one we liked best, this is why it ended up on the album. In German language the message is more explicit. The English version is called „A Smile On Your Face“ and can be found as bonus track on the single release of „Die Kraft ist in Dir“ .
When it comes to the language, it was no problem at all. On the contrary, it was great to sing a song all in German. And I think I made it just fine.
How does the songwriting process look like, is it just one person´s job or is it teamwork?
Mark: It depends, there are songs that are created in the rehearsal room, others are created individually. We don´t have a formula or a special way for songwriting, we leave it open. On the new record most of the songs were not created by the whole band. I myself was much involved into the arrangements, I took a lot into my own hands, which was a new situation for the band and a challenge for us all. In a positive way, because finally the result was a lot of good songs and everybody could get involved into the final versions. The way to the result was quite untypical for the band.
You have played some shows in Germany, but it´s rather the Swiss audience that knows you. Do you think it is more difficult for a Swiss band to become popular in the music scene? h
Greg: Unfortunately we haven´t managed to get abroad, despite our efforts. It is not easy nowadays to convince promoters. We hope that in the near future we get to play some shows in German speaking countries.
I don´t think it´s more difficult for a Swiss band. The requirements are the same for everybody. Fact is that it didn´t get any easier. I remember that around 2000 I was touring with my band back then in London. We could arrange 7 gigs without problems.
What do you think about the Swiss Rock scene in general? What could be improved, in your opinion?
Urs: Unfortunately there are not enough Rock-Clubs where less known bands can play and still draw some audience. The trend goes to spend a lot of money on tickets of well known bands, so that there is nothing left any more for newcomers. This makes us wonder. Is musical art indeed worthless nowadays?
The music industry goes down because of illegal downloads and music sharing. What do you think can be done about it, how to change it?
Mark: The legal downloading is a reality to accept. It is a part of the business that got established and we can accept that easily. Illegal downloads, however, is much more difficult to swallow, because it has to do with fairness towards people who take their work seriously. Who would even think of fetching bread from the bakery for free, or who just walks into a movie theater without buying a ticket? Sure, there are always fare dodgers to be found on the bus, but soon it´s no longer worth the risk. The fines are too high!
What are your plans in the coming months? Will you go on a promotion tour?
Mark: There will be some concerts, as after this intense recording process we want to play live again and will focus our activities on booking.
OK last but not least, some final words for our readers?
Greg: Stay curious and give new bands a chance. There is a lot of good music worth to be discovered.
Thank you for the interview and good luck for the future.