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Interview with Sebastian (Seeb) Levermann- Orden Ogan | FESTIVALPHOTO

Interview with Sebastian (Seeb) Levermann- Orden Ogan


I spoke to Seeb from Orden Ogan to talk about their new album and touring plans.....

Festivalphoto: OK for anyone who hasnt listened to Orden Ogan before, can you tell us a bit about the band?

Seeb: We're melodic power metal sort of band with orchestrations. We've got our new record "To the end" coming out on AFM records. It's our third album.

Festivalphoto: Your new album, "To the end" is due for release at the end of October. Can you tell us a bit about the album?

Seeb: It's got a loose kind of concept about let's say after the end of the world, so the world is not five to twelve anymore but twelve to five, and its basically another ice age, and a lot of the songs are loosely connected with this ice topic but it can also be metaphorical - emotional coldness and whatever. While we had a concept for the records that came before, this Alister Vale is kind of our Mascot and he is an immortal who has been cursed and has to roam the earth foreverm to walk on and on and can't stop. The really annoying thing about that is everything he leaves decays or dies behind him, so if you see it in that light then maybe "To the end" is the final chapter in his journey.

Festivalphoto: How would you say your sound has evolved since you first started?

Seeb: Starting from Vale in 2008, basically we did the same kind of music. The thing is that we used to orchestrate a lot, on the "Eastern Hope" album that was the peak - we had something like 160 tracks of orchestral instruments and choirs. I write most of the songs and melodies on the guitar then on the Eastern Hope album we changed a lot of them to flutes or whatever, but this time I thought "Why should we do that? Leave it on guitar because we'll be playing it on the guitar when we play live anyway", so I would say we lost some weight, we tried to have the production more in your face, it's harder and faster than anything we've done before. Song-wise there are still songs that are very complex, but not that kind of Prog-monster that eastern hope was.

Festivalphoto: Did scaling back the orchestrations make the album easier to produce?

Seeb: I produced the record myself - I've got my own studio in Germany so can record, mix and produce everything myself, so from that point of view I can say no it doesnt. Metal is by far the most difficult sound to mix. I really can say that because I'm very open minded. At the moment I've got an Irish folk band in the studio, I've done Acapella productions, I've done 60s music and stuff like that, so really its hard to get that sound you want in Metal. Obviously yes you've got around half the tracks - 80 instead of 160 but it's still enough.

Festivalphoto: You're due to tour with Luca Turilli's Rhapsody later this year. Are there any more shows planned?

Seeb: For this year it's the only tour we have, but we are planning on doing a headining tour in Spring 2013. There will be just one UK (London) date on the Rhapsody tour and we're really looking forward to that. We were here with Tiamat in 2010 and that was by far one of the best shows of the whole tour. The UK seems to be a good market for us - we've sold a lot of records here, and at the London show there were a lot of people turning up just for us. If you play in a band it's hard to get an idea of how big you are, and I try and stay grounded but people were singing the songs and that was really great to see. There were even people approaching me saying they'd never heard of Tiamat and were just there for us.

Festivalphoto: Any plans for festival appearances next year?

Seeb: There are some festivals confirmed but unfortunately until they are announced I can't say.

Festivalphoto: You have Andreas Marschall doing the cover art for all your albums. How important is the cover art to the experience in your opinion?

Seeb: It depends on the kind of music and the band. If you look at a band like Cannibal Corpse, they're probably the biggest death metal band in the world, and I think at least half of their success is because of their provocative cover art at the right time when nobody else did it. When I was a kid I bought their records because of the artwork. I don't think it works the same way with melodic metal. The thing for us is that everything in Orden Ogan is handmade - I've never seen the band as a commercial product, I'm just doign what I like to do. I would never want to have a need to earn an income just from the band because I think that would lead me to some decisions that I wouldnt do
otherwise. So for us that's one of the points. There have been people saying we're crazy as you can get some artwork for a few hundred euros if you get some chinese guy do it with photoshop, but obviously a German guy with that reputation who paints it all by hand is very expensive but right from the beginning we accepted that - it's art, and the whole concept has to fit, so I hope Andreas Marschall stays with us like Derek Riggs with Iron Maiden.

Festivalphoto: Thats one area where vinyl was so much better - the album artwork was much bigger so you could see more detail and enjoy it more

Seeb: AFM records are doing a vinyl edition of the album, so I'm really looking forward to seeing that.

Festivalphoto: They're also doing the box set which is absolutely fantastic - one of the best looking box sets I've seen.

Seeb: AFM is doing a really good job. I'm very happy with them as our record label. AFM is not the biggest label in the metal industry but they are focussing a lot on us and we are one of their priority bands. It's better to be a priority band at a reasonable sized label than to be one of 400 or 500 bands at a major label.

Festivalphoto: When you buy music, which do you prefer and why - CD or legal mp3 downloads ?

Seeb: If I look at my music collection I have almost all limited edition collectors box sets, especially stuff with bonus DVDs included. The behind the scenes stuff and stuff about the production is sometimes more interesting to me than the record itself

Festivalphoto: What was the last album you bought?

Seeb: I bought four albums last week. The latest Meshuggah record because those guys are just amazing. I bought the latest Trivium record, In Waves. I'm not a huge fan of the band, but I'm a fan of Colin Richardson the producer - I think that he and Andy Sneap are the best producers of metal.

Orden Ogan are playing London's Islington Academy on 12th November supporting Luca Turilli's Rhapsody


Writer: Anthony May
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