Interview with SpiteFuel (Heavy Rock, 2017)

SpiteFuel are a powerful and relatively young Heavy Rock band from Germany. Their roots go back to the days when Strangelet were still around. This legendary formation brought to life the well respected "First Bite" record that presented the band playing old school Deep Purple vibes all along mixed up with a lot of emotion and slightly modern metal elements while sticking overall to the oldschool sound package.

Following the split up of Strangelet three members (vocalist Stefan Zörner, Tobias Eurich und Finn Janetzky)  joined forces with the Ex-Devil's Darling members Timo Pflüger and Björn Hessenmüller. They didn't waste time and gave birth to a new combo called SpiteFuel that aims at a much heavier sound while keeping the spirit of Strangelet alive through the use of hooklines that people will remind and sing-along to.

After a strong first album teaser in form of the "Sleeping With Wolves" single their debut album "Second To None" is getting closer with each day. While we wait for the release on 7th of April 2017 we seized the time in between to have a prelisten to the songs and talk with vocalist Stefan Zörner about the details of the impending full length release. Have a listen to the first single while reading the interview in the player below.

Heavy Metal Underdogs: The first appetizer to the album was the Maxi CD "Sleeping With Wolves". It came out in the good old tradition some time before the album release as a physical disc (and also download). This is a courageous decision in my eyes.
What gave the point to finally decide to put it out as a real disc in a digital age?

Stefan Zörner: Ha! Yeah, just as you said! In the good old tradition! That was the intension! We decided this together with Markus (Rösner), our label-boss and friend. We wanted to release the single in a physical form to set an first exclamation mark. Also we are no big fans of that “download-Thing” and we wanted to give a first “real” CD to our supporters and fans. And to be a worthy appetizer to the album, of course, haha!

Do you write the songs as a band do you have a strict limitation who is reliable for certain aspects of the songs?

Both! Most of the songs are created by one of us and come in as demos. In rehearsal we put the tracks together, change some parts or discus the parts, refrains or bridges. When the music feels good and right for all of us, Tobi and Timo think about their solos and I start to write the lyrics and vocal-melodies. Even when I write songs on my own, there is always the music the first in my mind. Tobias is our main songwriter, but Timo and I are writing songs, too. A very comfortable situation for a band, haha! There are so many new songs in stock, we can´t wait to bring them in form and put them on an album!

The album put's a signature with many outworked and long guitar solos. Was this something you had in mind when you composed the music for the album or how did it come together?

Ha, we all love guitar solos and -old school or not- we want solos in our songs! Timo and Tobi are great solo guitarists and so there was no other way for us to create the music! We don´t give a fuck if it´s hip or not, we just do the shit that we love and we would even buy, haha!
These two boys spend hours over hours in their solos and riffs, and I really love the way, they give a special note to the songs! SO all I can say is... more solos, please!!!

Some vocal parts on "Second To None" sound experimental or are performed in a unusual way. How do you work on them and how long does it take until you feel fine with them? Do the other band-members maybe also contribute ideas to them?

Uhhh, most of the hmmm “stranger” (*laughs*) vocal-arrangements happened just as we (Martin Buchwalter and I) recorded them! But ok... I had a kind of concrete vision in my head HOW they should sound, hahaha! In fact, no joke, there was a real close connection between Martin and my humble self, he knew exactly how to push or demand me in a real creative and kind way! This was a so fantastic experience for me to record the vocal-lines!

Vocalist Stefan Zörner performing live, (c) by Tiffany Anne, used with kind permission

Let's have a closer look upon the lyrics. Who writes them?

Most of the lyrics are children of my weird and colourful mind, haha! Sometimes, there are concepts, words, even song-names, that Tobi wants me to write or to complete his music with my lyrics, as you know, we are not just band-mates, we are also close friends (Tobi and Timo are two of my best friends!). A very cool way to write lyrics, too! And I really LOVE new challenges!

Obviously the texts talk a lot about real life aspects. Did you had certain situations on your mind when you wrote these lines?

Definitely! Always! As you can say, SECOND TO NONE is a diary of my inner thoughts, reflections and reactions to all that I experience, feel and even dream. Drama baby, drama! (*laughs dirty*)
To write about shiny demons, castles and how bloody mad or tough I am... no, Sir, sorry, not my cup of tea in the SpiteFuel-context. The real life is the real shit. And I still think, just a hand full of (cool) people read lyrics anyway, so I can write WHAT I want and very intimate... no one cares, hahaha!

Would you say that the lyrics for various tracks are somewhat linked on the album? (I had the feeling)

Okay... YOU are one of the few cool lyric-readers, hahaha! Yeah, it´s kinda funny, some reviewers and even close friends asked me about the “concept” behind SECOND TO NONE. The first reaction was “there is no concept, dear!” But... hell the fuck, there IS a loosely concept! This happened in a ... more subconscious way. But the concept IS there, yes. There are three blocks of lyrics, three emphases. Love, Faith and my reflection on the music scene and the industry... try to figure it out! Haha!

Is there a sort of message you would like to transmit to the listener this way?

No! It really doesn´t matters if the listener just enjoys the music or if she or he is willing to go deeper into the album and it´s lyrics. The only thing I would like to say is: Have fun with the songs, enjoy the sound and let your fantasy do the rest!

The band logo of SpiteFuel, (c) by SpiteFuel, used with kind permission

What do think about the thought of being able to change your past? Do you believe in the Butterfly-Effect? (this refers to the movie of the same name - strictly part 1. In this film the main character is able to change his past using a certain book. In the end every change he does make his life and those of his friends even worser in the present time.).

I really love that movie! I am a great fan of science fiction and theories like used in “Butterfly-Effect”. To answer your question: I think, that every thing we do, every good, every bad word or act comes back to use one day. Karma. Also I am a Christ. I try to do my fucking best. Every day I try not to be a big asshole, haha! And... hmm... no, I won´t change the past. Because all that we are now are the results of what we did once.

The track "Regrets" got me. Do you think that regret also can have a positive effect for someone who has to deal with it?

Jah, of course, man! As I always say... we all are human. In all the brilliant moments, with all the gifts, we are able to use... and in the same way with all the mistakes, defective doings and shit. We are both. Angels and demons. But we can choose. Always! Ant to regret is a basic step into the light, out of that fucking void called “desperation and hatred”.

The cover artwork is outstanding. Would you mind and give us a little hint on the meaning of it? I also had the feeling that the title "Second To None" could have a double-meaning behind it...
(Explanation: This could be related to the saying "We have beat you second to none". Or it's a second leading into nothingness...)

The cover artwork and inlay of SpiteFuel's "Second To None" CD, (c) by SpiteFuel, used with kind permission

Yeah, the artwork by the great Travis Smith is outstanding! We are very honoured! And yep, double-meaning is correct! You can also say hmmmm every song on the album is second to no other track (to none)! Or: The album is second to none before. There are so many ways to interpret the title, yeah!
And the tower, the angel, burning wings, the clock... it all stands for strong symbols. Time is flame that will burn our wings. Live life now. Be human. Just be. There is so many within this artwork. I am very happy with this cover!

Some elements of the "Second To None" sleeve and the "Sleeping With Wolves" single are to be found in both artworks (e.g. the clock). How are both connected to each other?

No big deal! We just wanted to give a hint to the full album within the artwork for the single. So there is the tower/ angel in the background. The more essential details are the wolf and the dollars, of course! “Sleeping” is a statement to the industry and the “Lemmings” nowadays. Same story in “Whorehouse Symphony”. I think, it is important to make a stand. Popular or not... well, I don´t give a fuck!

Finally: was there a moment in your life when music became something outstanding for you? Was there a key situation that maybe changed it all?

Uhhhh... I think, that was when I first listened to David Bowie´s masterpiece “Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars”, must be in the early 80´s. That sound, that championship to use lyrics, that coolness and glitter and (slightly) rock... it never let my down. From that day on I used to sing (ant I am still trying, hahaha!) 

You can preorder the album at the online shop of MDD Records or place your order through Amazon.
If you live in the USA you can order the record through Lone Star Metal based in Texas.  Make sure to have a look upon the band's Facebook account to follow them on the next steps towards the album release and have a look at the tourdates (directly to be found as the sticky first post on the page). 

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