Lothar Weise
(Drums & orchestral percussions)

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At Friday, 4th May it’s becoming reality: PERSEPHONE are doing another record. Starting things off with the drums we visit Lothar “The Lion” Weise at his ‘Groovewerkstatt’ (Groove-Facility). After having a nice cup of tea Lothar starts playing his bits on the “5/8-Massacre” (how he entitled one of the songs) and even successfully copes the “brushes-nightmare” which caused him sleepless nights. We are looking forward to the next day when it comes to even more drum-recordings. And to make these sound even more ‘organic’ we invite Robert Beyer to join the session and add some extra dBs of groove with his steely thumb on his bass-guitar. And due to Lothar’s perfect preparation work the session ends earlier than planned. That was a good start which makes us feel happy about things to come. And if it weren’t enough, Lothar gratifies the record with marvellously played timpani, tubular bells and orchestral bass-drum on 18th May.

    Tim Warweg

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Next runner up is Tim Warweg who joins us at the Groovewerkstatt at 10th May. He will be playing one song. Unfortunately we have to deal with several problems on this one. After a short while of looking for a place he can park his van we are now able to bring the Vibraphone down into the room but we definately underrated the available space of the spiral staircase! Thanks to Lothar who helped us – he must have a little experience with that already ;-)
And if it weren’t enough there appear some technical problems which take most of the day to get rid of – but in the end everything works fine and Tim delivers us the most beautiful Vibraphone-sound we’ve ever heard....

    Holger Wilhelmi

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Whilst Martin is heading off to the Groovewerkstatt in a crammed car Holger, Johannes, myself and three celli take the metro. As we get there I feel completely lost for everything looks so different! Luckily enough we quickly find the way to the Groovewerkstatt which appears to be situated right around the corner... Martin is already expecting us with tea and cake (it’s weekend, goddamnit!). Checking and sorting this and that we finally start the session. First time they play their parts jointly and not as before, in turn. “Works pretty well” thinks I, who has taken the responsible position of pushing the record-button... The first time I had to do this, as well – but I think we all did a good job today...

    Johannes Kramer
(Cello & Doublebass)

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Next day is a verrry special day: Mother’s Day! Reason enough to start with a nice cup of coffee and the rest of the cookies. We’re making good progress today as everything is still set up the way we need it to be so this is a kinda relaxed session.
After the cello-recordings are finished Johannes switches over to play the double-bass. The last bit he plays is his solo we’ve been looking forward to since we came up with the idea that there should actually be one! We aren’t disappointed: In his usual state of ‘madness’ he is starting to play, even increasing the amount of ‘madness’ from take to take and in the end - listening critically at the bits he has played. Mother’s Day – quite fascinating, isn’t it?

    Thomas Vogel

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Today is going to happen something completely new: First time in band-history there will be brass on a record! At 14th May Thomas Vogel arrives on spot at 2pm at the MetalfactoryX Studio. As I arrive a bit delayed I find him perfectly prepared and properly instructed by Martin. Sensitively and brilliantly he plays the short passage – and 15 minutes later we’re done... This must have been the shortest sessions ever seen.

    John Abdelsayed

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Say a big hello to John Abdelsayed who enters the studio on 16th May. To work together with him is always joy because he plays very inspiring stuff. As on this record the drums take the main part of the rhythm-section, John did not have to come up with his whole armada of percussions.
So he has to play less compared to previous releases. Nevertheless the percussions take an important part to create the right atmosphere of the songs. As usual John can easily drown into the music – a passionate aura seems to surround him and the Metalfactory. It’s a pity, though that this session ends so fast. But this also gives us the luxury of chatting a bit and listen through all the stuff recorded so far. Especially the Drums and the Vibraphone are fascinating John most.

    Friedrich Thein
(Head of engineering & Producer of the orchestra)

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

      The Philharmonic Chamber-Orchestra of Wernigerode
Conducted by MD Christian Fitzner
Recording-engineer: Friedrich Thein

Today is a big day! We are heading to Wernigerode to record the Philharmonic Chamber-Orchestra of Wernigerode for our new record. Especially Martin is same keen and nervous about the orchestra: He has been working for weeks and weeks again to prepare, check and doublecheck the arrangements. And within a while we will see if it works.

At 20th May Martin and I arrive at Wernigerode and meet recording-engineer Friedrich Thein with his assistant Lars Reichmann. In order to start the next morning with recording we have to install all the technical stuff, devices and so on. We visit the room we want to record the orchestra in but after a quick check Friedrich is troubled with the sound of the room. So what are we doing? Fortunately it is possible to reveal another room which lays right around the corner: a school’s auditorium will help us out. Now Friedrich looks confident and with the comment “This will sound great” even calms our upcoming panic down. So we start preparing the room, getting all the required stuff inside – the stands, cables, mics – and as well are arranging the whole scene to be able to start properly the next morning. After that work done we’re roaming towards the hotel and relax from a tiring day...

    Philharmonic Chamber-Orchestra of Wernigerode
(Conductor: MD Christian Fitzner)

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      The Philharmonic Chamber-Orchestra of Wernigerode
Conducted by MD Christian Fitzner
Recording-engineer: Friedrich Thein

After starting into the day with a lovely breakfast we head off to the school which will serve us as a recording room. Friedrich once again checks everything before the first musicians arrive. We have been knowing some of them of the concert we played together with them and so they give us a warm welcome back.
We commence with an only-orchestral and very passionate piece. And in order to get some extra-dB’s of emotion out of the music conductor Christian Fitzner treats his men quite severely. As we are optically linked to the recording-room we also get a good visual impression of what’s going on. After a short while there’s a little break and some of the members of the orchestra step into the truck to listen to first results. They listen critically and reveal some details which deserve to be fixed. Thrilling, all this! Whilst Martin is sunk in the partitures, making notes, checking and doublechecking this and that I am listening to the feel of the whole thing, making some notes myself. And I find out that listening highly concentrated to an orchestra is a tiring job...

Next day we continue where we stopped yesterday. Later that day we can release the horns and flip over to the strings-only parts. At noon the man whom we are owing the collaboration with the orchestra, Dr. Christian Juranek, pops in to get a glimpse of the very secret material the orchestra is playing on. After we are finished we spend the night with him and his wife in a nice restaurant.

As planned we spend the last day with the quartet-recordings. Meanwhile the guys have been getting comfortable with our music so we make good progress and just have to explain little things. The very last bit we record is the viola-solo which is kind of uncommon for the viola in the orchestra is usually not playing such exposed parts. By midday we are done! Everything gets back into the truck, the data is copied – we really did it. We recorded orchestra for our record. It takes us the hole travel back home to actually believe what happened the last three days.
We want to say a big “Thank you!” to all who made these recording become reality. It’s great!

    Robert Beyer

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We remember 25th May as a very hot day. But instead of relaxing somewhere outside where the heat is soon to be gone we are doing our work in the studio. As our guest today we have Robert Beyer around. When he arrives it is still too warm even though nightfall already started. Three poeple inside the small studio and the whole recording-paraphernalia helps the heat even increasing!
Rob is playing on two songs. He already played one song together with Lothar so we’re doing good progress on this one. Also the second, a bit more experimental song is done quite fast – literally. It’s not just the heat outside making us sweat but also the hot grooves! After we finished this session we are preparing for our travel to Vienna for even more recordings...

    Florian C. Reithner

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Travelling to Vienna just for one song? – many poeple were asking us this question. But let us explain: We’re dealing here with a tango which deserves an enthusiastic and passionate playing. When Martin first showed me ‘Mean’ I knew that we would need the services of Florian C. Reithner. When I am working together with the “Ensemble Herzbruchstück” (Ensemble Heartsplinters), a theatre group around Harald Buresch, Flo always plays the piano. And that’s why I was so sure that he would be the man for us on ‘Mean’. So, Martin and I were going to Vienna......

*krrrrrsss*zzzieeeep*chchrrrrsshhhh*„It’ll stay as hot as the days before.......” is what we hear from the radio when we wake up very early in the morning at 26th May, remembering the journey which lays ahead of us. To avoid unneccessary traffic-jams we hit the road early. Everything is fine but it definetly gets hotter and hotter. Flo has organized a grandpiano for this session. But unfortunately he has to tell us that the owner of the grandpiano suddenly had to go to the hospital. So we need to go somewhere else. Luckily enough there is a priest’s house which will help us out. When we arrive, Flo is already expecting us and we enter the house. The piano turns out to be very, very old and completely out of tune. So this is of no use at all. We’re trying to think of an idea helping us out of this emergency when Flo receives a phone-call of a friend of his. He tells him about the desastrous situation we are in and asks him jokingly if he would have a piano – in tune! – somewhere around. And... He DOES! We agree to meet tomorrow to do the recordings and rest from the tiring travel and stormy incidents at Flo’s favourite coffeeshop.
The next day we meet at Flo’s friend’s place and find a perfect-in-tune grandpiano. Now we know that nothing can go wrong. The song is recorded quite fast as Flo is getting into the music easily. And rather than to loose time we put all our equipment back into the car, accompanied by an old woman shouting at us that it has not been allowed to park a car on the drive-up for the past 30 years. And before we’re running danger of the woman’s nervous breakdown we head back home - with a big smile in our faces about this successful session.

    Vassliy Dück

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At 13th June Vassily Dück arrives at the Metalfactory X Studio to add once again his bajan onto one of the tracks. Usually the sessions are prepared quite detailled but with Vassily we know that this is not necessary for he did a great preparation work as we quickly find out when he shows us his ideas for ‘Mean’, the tango. Maybe it is so easy for him to play along the score due to his participation in a tango-ensemble – or just because he is a real expert on the bajan. Whatever. His instrument adds another, unexpected depth to the song which gives the vocals perfect harmony. After a short time we say good bye to Vassily. Now it’s up to Martin and me to finish the rest of the recordings before we head off to England into John A. Rivers’ Woodbine Street Recording Studios...

    Martin Höfert
(Cello, Grandpiano, Fender Rhodes)

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After doing the sessions with all guest-musicians you might be wondering what happened in between, when those weren’t around. Well, it must have been something, though, and today we tell you what it was: Martin is not just responsible for all arrangements, other preproduction-stuff and leading the sessions but also plays some instruments on ‘Letters to a stranger’. His biggest challenge was again the piano-parts. And again we are allowed to use Holger Wilhelmi’s parents’ grandpiano. And again they are leaving in a hurry, when we arrive. And AGAIN Martin is the most desperate person in the whole wide world when it comes to the piano-parts...
Let me clue you in: When Martin trys his parts on the quite difficult-to-play grandpiano he does not hestitate to utter strange murmuring noises. In the ‘White Saloon’ how we entitled the room where the grandpiano is located – because everything is white in there – for those of you who know this track, DIMMU BORGIR’s “Mourning Palace” gets a completely different spin, though, eh? *sigh* But personally I think that it is necessary for him to go through this valley of vast “suffering” because this is what the mics pick up as well. That’s why the piano on PERSEPHONE-songs sounds so desperate and lost. Whatever. In the end he gets it and that’s what we’re there for. The cello-session was over quickly as Martin didn’t have to play too many tracks – we already recorded some cello-stuff earlier on, together with Johannes and Holger. And last, Martin played the Fender Rhodes. For those of you who know about the Rhodes you can imagine that it meant big pleasure to Martin to do that. Weeks before he was talking about that session again and again. And I must say: he did damn well. And after finishing this session I suspect myself to be the next – actually the last – runner up.

    Sonja Kraushofer

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As usual vocals are recorded at the end of a production. It’s good to sing along the finished tracks but also the problem that the deadline is in sight. There are two weeks to go until we’re heading off to England and I’ve got to finish the tracks by then. Still it is very hot outside and in the little room I’m standing in it seems to be even hotter!
There are always tracks which are done quite fast, and others driving me insane. It may occur that I am listening to the result the next day and have Martin delete it – and do it once more. Gladly enough Martin does not try to hold me back if I’m in that state of ‘inner turbulence’ so I can just start again. The last few days we were pretty knackered so it was hard to make good progress there – no wonder, after 6-7 weeks of persistent, daily work in the studio... I suppose we’re not able to finish the vocal recordings in time which means that I have to spend a little time in England to do the rest. Time which we won’t have for mixing, then. But whatcha wanna do?
Soon we’re going to get over into Woddbine Street Recording Studios and meet John A. Rivers again after a long time. The last night before our journey we’re trying to relax and think of something else than music, studio and..... flying!

    John A. Rivers

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On Monday, June 18th we get up very early. We are going to England into John A. Rivers’ Woodbine Street Recording Studio. We are given a warm welcome when we arrive there about mid-day. First things first: We celebrate the arrival with a cup of tea.
After that we start right of with the first song. An orchestra-song. We are doing better progress than we thought and again we say a big ‘thank you’ to Friedrich Thein, who did a marvellous job on the orchestra-recordings! Also John is impressed – not only by Friedrich Thein but also the new material. He obviously wants to bring the mix in perfect shape which makes him sometimes forget his tea – more than once we hear “I’ll get it, and if it kills me!” when he’s creating the most overwhelming reverbs we’ve ever heard.
I have to sing some small parts here and there but that is easily done and also Martin, who is finishing the edits of some orchestra-parts is doing good progress. At the beginning we are a bit nervous running short of time for mixing but after two days we already catched up again. We spend the weekend relaxingly.The first after weeks and weeks again, anyway. It’s good just to do absolutely nothing. Just making tea from time to time, whilst outside the rain is persistantly pouring. Which makes us feel even more comfortable in the yellow-room-chill-out-area.
As well ijn the second week we are doing good progress and listen carefully to each song over and over again, doing some minor changes here and there. The last day we suddenly hold the master-CD in our hands. A strange feeling, though: You’ve worked on this for weeks and months and all you get in the end is a small silver disc... Anyway: Time to celebrate a bit! Together with John we take a couple of longdrinks, chatting around... With one word: we didn’t have much sleep this night. And it was just the headache the next morning and the master-CD in my bag reminding me that all this has really happened...

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