Interview With COBURG: unveiling it all about the band and the album!

  Van Muylem    23 oktober 2017

Sometimes you follow individual people and when they decide to start a band you can be very happy or very disappointed with it, well in this case I saw the transformation and was absolutely amazed by the result. COBURG is simply 1+1=3! Time to get to know the band and have a chat about their first album!

Hi, can you tell our readers a bit more about yourself: eg what did you all do before you started up this band?

Dean: It was a project that evolved over about a year. As the songs were being written a style was being developed and it became obvious that we wanted certain people to bring their talent to the table. Mark and I had previously been bandmates in both Galahad and Twelfth Night and knew each other extremely well.

Sarah: Anastasia, Pietro and I have worked together in numerous bands over the last 10 years including Jet Noir. Dean and Anastasia are the founder members of COBURG but the rest of us got involved fairly quickly. I know Anastasia had a list of people she was very keen to work with.

Anastasia: I had a very particular vision of how I wanted the band to be and I knew exactly who was needed to achieve that. I personally view COBURG as a hybrid band incorporating the talents of musicians from noticeable and established bands to create something truly incredible.

Mark: What makes us different from other bands is that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. We all bring something special to the table.

Tony: I had worked with Anastasia and Dean when they were in Naked Lunch and we had worked together on tracks, so it was a very natural progression for us to join forces and create COBURG.

As you are a band, why did you choose COBURG as the name?

Sarah: We had been struggling to find a name that we felt fit the look and sound of the band, eventually I think it was Pietro who suggested we simply call the band COBURG. Anastasia was reluctant at first and took some convincing but was out-numbered.

Anastasia: That is the thing with COBURG, we are a democracy. We had a completed album in the process of being mixed and mastered by the amazing Karl Groom at Thin Ice Studio but had yet to decide on an album title and band name! Now we are on the eve of the album release, I've gotten used to us being called COBURG and can't imagine being anything else. It feels 'Right'.

Tony: When COBURG was suggested as a name I instantly said yes, it has such a cool and fresh sound to it.

Anastasia, you collaborated together with Sub Culture, did some PR for them, how was it?

Anastasia: I used to work at Sub Culture as their' Head of Promotions until I escaped a couple of years ago. It was a nightmare and Per was the Boss from Hell, I still carry the emotional scars. I am of course, just joking. Per was a wonderful boss and I really miss Sub Culture, it was hard work but incredibly rewarding and we remain great friends. I'm very grateful to have learned so much which I am now able to use to promote COBURG. The experience has been invaluable.

You also worked with Roy Julian Digre (Technomancer/Laboratory 5, Zone Tripper), I got the feeling you connected well with him whilst working together, how was/is it to work together?

Anstasia: Roy is such a lovely and talented man and I have known him for a number of years now. I met him through Per Aksel when I worked at Sub Culture. He also designed the COBURG album art work based on an original photograph of me by Dollhouse Photography and did an absolutely brilliant job. We all really hope to work with him again in the future.

Tony: I liaised with Roy about the Album art work and would like to add what a pleasure it is to work with him and how well he took our ideas on board.

Tony, you still toured with Naked Lunch, there also new work coming out soon? How is it to combine both?

Tony: To be honest I originally thought that I could combine both but with the level of interest that COBURG is receiving and the amount of my time it is taking in responding etc , I really can’t. COBURG has to be my priority and so sadly Naked Lunch activity will cease but I am very excited about the future for COBURG.

Tony, Dean & Anastasia, you toured with Naked Lunch and met Covenant on the road, how was it?

Anastasia: Covenant really are the loveliest people, it was a pleasure touring with them. I've managed to stay in touch with both Eskil and Andreas via Facebook which is really nice. Per Aksel also joined us as Naked Lunch's tour manager and was amazing. It is definitely one of the happiest times of my career so far and I wish we could all do it again.

Dean: It was great to tour with Naked Lunch and it was the first time that I've toured in the U.K as most of my gigs are in mainland Europe. The band were on top form throughout and I hope that we do the same with COBURG in the future.

Tony: It was great meeting Covenant and they were loads of fun to have in the van with us and I seriously missed them at the end of the tour. Per also came with us as tour manager and not only was he a great help he joined in with all of the humor. The whole vibe was one of team work and support with masses of good humor, I too wish we could do it all over again.

You just released your first album, how does it feel? How are the reactions so far?

Dean: This is an album that I'm most proud of as it has generally been an effortless way of working (at least from my perspective) as it felt so natural being part of the process. I can't believe how much positivity has come from so many people for a debut album from a new act.

Anastasia: I feel happy, excited, nervous and exhausted! Like Dean, I feel incredibly proud of what we have all accomplished. So far, the feedback from people has blown my mind. I'm really overwhelmed by how positive people's reactions are and how good the reviews have all been. The fans we already have in such a short time have been so supportive, I really couldn't wish for more.

Tony: I am blown away by how it is being received and I am so proud to have been part of this and to be working with people I not only get on with but also have a great amount of respect for.

I was impressed by the instrumental part too, how did you manage to sound as good as in such a short notice?

Dean: The key was that although we're a new band we all have many years of experience between us. I'm glad that people have picked up on how good the production, sound and arrangements are.

Anastasia: We are all very accomplished musicians in our' own right so although this is a new band, we're all experienced musically already. COBURG is very lucky to have that kind of advantage.

Anastasia, at some point I described your voice as coming close to Tina Turner/Bonnie Tyler, how does it feel?

Anastasia: I can't feel anything other than immensely flattered by the comparisons. Both are incredible singers. My voice is still developing a style and I'm having vocal coaching now due to having issues with throat nodules. I kind of fell into singing by accident as I found it hard to get the kind of vocalist I really wanted for a previous band so I've had to work really hard. I'm not what I view as a 'natural singer so I don't take my voice for granted. I look after it now with lots of Throat Coat Tea and practice, practice, practice! I'm sure my neighbors love me!

Can I say that Coburg are taking gigantic step forwards and are improving with every step, feeling like you can already figure next to the biggest artist on earth? Who are your idols?

Dean: for me it's bands like Muse, Rammstein, Linkin Park and Marilyn Manson that get me excited.

Mark: My influences are everything from Metallica to Mahler, via Chic and Devin Townsend.

Anastasia: Thank you, that is incredibly flattering. My idols are Freddie Mercury, David Sylvian and David Bowie.

Tony: My influences are Velvet Underground, Faust, Neu, Kraftwerk and David Bowie

I read that you are already working on new songs, and the new album is only out now, seems like you caught the creative vibe? Can you unveil some details?

Dean: We're always working on new material. That side of our lives never stops. With the technology available to us now we can write on our laptops, tablets and phones so there's no reason to ever stop. Hopefully we'll be able to get another release out at some point next year.

Anastasia: We hope to have a new EP out by June next year to accompany the start of our live performances and a remix version of 'The Enchantress' out by Winter 2018. Now I've walked away from modelling to concentrate on music, I feel like a certain pressure has lifted and I'm feeling a creative spark I thought I had a lost. It's good to feel excited by life again.

Touring might be hard as Anastasia is suffering from a certain sickness. Do you feel like playing an important role in unveiling the downsides of it and try to help people with the same thing to reach out?

Anastasia: Well, I managed to tour in Naked Lunch with both Combichrist and Covenant so I'm not overly concerned. Having Agoraphobia is incredibly tough and I do wish I'd been more open about it in the past and asked for support rather than just trying to struggle on. I am having both CBT and Hypnotherapy which is a tremendous help and of course, the rest of COBURG will be with me every step of the way. I urge anyone suffering from Agoraphobia or any form of anxiety to seek professional help and not be afraid to reach out. I firmly believe in being open about these things. I learned the hard way how damaging it can be to keep it hidden, nobody should have to suffer in silence or feel ashamed.

Tony: May I add that I believe it is also important for people to be understanding and to be able to provide support when a friend or colleague needs it. Anastasia did well on both tours and I am sure she will do even better with COBURG.

Can you say something about the changes you made to A Cold Day in Hell (as it has grown out to be the perfect version)?

Dean: I loved the original rap style vocals but when Anastasia played me the proper sung version then it made so much sense to take the production in a different direction. It unleashed our creativity.

Anastasia: I wanted to have a sung rather than spoken word version for the album with a lot more symphonics going on. I far prefer this' new version. For me, it really goes to show how far the sound has progressed and evolved in such a short space of time.

Warrior’s Blood is one of my favorite tracks on the album, it fits you like a glove, any words about it?

Dean: We had the riff and Anastasia had a very clear idea about the vocal content and feel of the track. We decided quite early on that this was going to be the "epic Progressive symphonic" number so we went a bit wild with our imaginations on this track. I'm immensely proud of how it's turned out.

Anastasia: The original demo I wrote was basically a guitar riff, drums and bass guitar. Then Dean waved his' magic wand over it and transformed it into something special. I wrote the lyrics one night after a marathon viewing session of the television show 'The Last Kingdom'. A lot of my inspiration for lyric writing comes from film, books and television. I find it easier to write from another person's perspective and get into character rather than writing from an Autobiographical perspective.

Your album ends with Rise a gentle and fragile ballad that changes into a symphonic Rock ballad, is that the way you want to go?

Dean: This was a very new way of working for me. We actually spent a lot of time discussing how the song would feel and how the arrangement would go before actually playing or singing a note. The idea of a haunting vocal over a piano before hitting a gentle verse that explodes with a wall of guitar for the chorus was decided way before we picked up our instruments.

Mark: For me, Rise is the definite highlight of the whole album. It has the perfect balance of light and shade and showcases Anastasia's amazing voice.

We wish you all the best and let’s hope we can see you on stage in our country!

You can read the album review here