Soul Cages

Soul Cages have been inactive, in a way, for more than 14 years. Thankfully they didn’t lose that unique and lyrical music feeling they have had since their beginning. The drummer Jörg Nitschke talked to Grande Rock, about the band’s music, their past and their future plans. Read this very interesting interview below…
Soul Cages band pic

Hi Jörg. Welcome back to action after 14 years of inactivity. I guess this is where we say “better late than never” huh?! “Moon” is an exceptional album! Congrats!
J: Yes, as you say, “Better Late Than Never”. We were not really inactive though these years, but not that kind of active like people wanted us to be. We’re very proud to be back with our new album “Moon” and hope to be in a way successful with this and the forthcoming albums like through the years during our first three albums.
It took you several years to come back since the last album “Craft”. “Moon” was more than a good 14 years or so later than your last effort or after you were let go from Massacre anyhow... What took you so long?
J: The time between the “Craft” – album and the “Moon” – album is really long- we know – but we had some changes in musicians. Enrique, the keyboard- player on the last album went away – no big miss for us, cause on the “Craft” – album there were too much keys and too loud mixed keys in comparison to the guitars and the rest. You know, if you have a constant keyboard-player in the band, he also wants to play, but we only need the keys mostly for background and fills. So In the end we’re absolutely OK with this decision. A few times later Stephan quit the job as bass-player, what we were really sad about, but he decided to spend more time in his real job and more qualifications in this job, that he didn’t had that much time to work together with Soul Cages. We are still good friends, but met only a few times from then until now.
Then we searched for a new bass-player for a long time, cause we didn’t only want a good bass-player, but a friendly nice person with a good character, that fits in the band. In a way we are extremely special and different from mostly musicians. During that time some of us had big and difficult personal problems in family etc. so we didn’t spend that much time for the music like we had to and others expected us to do. So we found Jörg (normally no bass-player, but a guitar player) and it took a long time to work out the old and new songs also for live performances. In the beginning of 2012 Jörg quit the job as bass-player and we started to search someone again. At first we contacted Stephan again. We met him, but he wasn’t interested in playing the bass again. He wasn’t involved in music anymore. Then we asked Ingo Vieten a very good friend of us for a very long time and the recorder and the producer of the “Moments” – album, to do the job and he did. We are very proud about his decision, cause he is a very good friend of us for a long time and fits in our characteristics very, but very well. And he is a good bass-player, too. So we are complete again.

Which leads to the obvious question, how come you released the thing on your own? Weren’t any companies interested? Or were their offers just not worth considering?
J: We wanted to release it by our own and build up our own label and try to distribute it only by internet. We thought that the internet is a great platform for us after such a long time out of the business. We didn’t sent a lot of promos around, but we heard from others, that records companies don’t want to pay that much for the recordings etc. and don’t give you as a band so much money from the sales of your product. So we tried it with our own label called “SoundCage music” and we are very satisfied with this way until now. (i.n.: Sometimes it’s better to do it your way…)
Today most bands prefer to release their albums independently and have the total control of their work. Is it worth doing so after all? Or a label support would have been a valuable help for the band?
J: I personally think, that it’s nice to have the total control of the music with your own label. Today it’s difficult to trust people in the music business. We are much more flexible with our product right now, cause we want to promote it wherever we like to and we get more contact to the base like the fans. The priority is our product. At a record company you never know where the main priorities are. Surely it will be the band that sells a lot and the rest start at the end-place. Nowadays the internet is a perfect platform to promote your product by yourself. You could search for contacts and will get contacts that you need. It only depends on time. If your product is great and has a standard sound quality that shouldn’t be much of a problem. You’ll find a base, where people sit and listen to your style of music. Surely you have to spend more time and work but you have the result in your hand and could manage something or not.
How come the title “Moon”, why not “Sun” or some other celestial entity? Do you think the band’s music has a “nocturnal quality” to it?
J: We choose the title “Moon”, cause we like that song the most. The lyrics mostly talk about live-situations, which happened to somebody or can happen to anybody in future. We like people to think about the described situations for getting their own opinion about the spoken point. It’s important for us, that people can identify themselves inside the spoken words sometimes. No, we don’t think that our music has a “nocturnal quality” on it.
Can you indulge a bit to the theme behind the songs in a little more depth?
J:Always Meet Twice”: The lyrics describe a normal live situation. Everybody has to respect everybody in life, cause people mostly meet sometime again in life.
“Darkness”: The lyrics describe situations that are going on around us at a normal day to think that over and find a way out.
“The Moon”: The lyrics describe the situation, that there is something around us, that knows everything from us from the beginning of life and is still watching and moving us from outside our lives.
“Tomorrow”: The lyrics are about a lonesome person searching for a relationship.
“Waiting”: The lyrics are about things people search for in life.
“Beautiful”: The lyrics are about a lonesome person who is searching for a partner.
“Point One” (even though this is an instrumental track there are some lyrics on the booklet. Why’s that?): It’s a mistake. Normally we had lyrics for that song, but we decided to make an instrumental of it. (i.n.: I would love to listen to that version of the song as well!)
The album was recorded at your own Soundcages studio in Hemer, mixed and mastered at Studio 25 by Ingo Vieten and produced by the band. Are you satisfied by the final outcome in general? Are there any things that you would change if you had the chance again?
J: Yes, we’re very satisfied with the recordings and with the sound of our new album. We would not change something afterwards. As you know, we always recorded and will record and release songs, which whom everybody in the band is satisfied with. Then you have the possibility to play all songs live with fun and you are not getting bored by listening to them after years.
Who have influenced you as a player and as a band? The whole sound of the band is quite unique, I think?
J: I personally like a lot of different kind of music styles. That turns from Enya to Messuggah. It depends in which situation I am at the part of time. The most important thing is, that the music gives a special feeling to me. That’s not important from one or two special musicians. The few bands that all in Soul Cages like are Rush, Pink Floyd, Marillion and Fates Warning. Mostly we are influenced by their kind of music. Everybody in the band listens to a lot of different kind of music styles away from these. Maybe this is the reason, which makes us quite unique from other bands. On the other hand we don’t have to live from the music. So we can continue our very personal & unique way. If you have to live only from the music, you have to be a lot trendier, more commercial or you have to sound like the well-selling bands at the special part of time… (i.n.: I feel you dude…)
What is Soul Cages to you?! How did you get the name and is there a deeper message behind it?
J: For me Soul Cages is a great friendship with very nice people with great and complete personalities. When we meet, we always have a lot of fun and we really enjoy to create music together, which all people in the band are satisfied with in the end. It really is a deep friendship between all of us with a lot of helpings in the normal life, too. We also meet each other in our free time not only cause of the music. As you see, we only change the bass player since the beginning. The others are still the same from the start. No, the name has no deeper message behind it. It sounds great – we think – and stands by itself.
How do you think the internet has affected the “music” business/distribution... positive or negative?
J: For us the internet is extremely helpful to promote our music by ourselves & built up the label “SoundCage Music”. For smaller bands like us, the internet is extremely helpful, but for well known and famous bands it may be a bit different. I don’t really know how they think about that. For smaller bands and labels the internet is a nice platform for distributing their products. If the product is great and listeners have the chance to listen to it and like it, you don’t need a big budget from a big record company for promotion in magazines, radio stations etc. If a record company gives a big budget for a product, which is not that great, to make it great by spending tons of money to be played at radio for a lot of times during a day and to have big posters at walls and big advertisements in magazines a star can be made. Maybe big companies don’t like the internet and the distribution of small great and creative music at the internet, cause of the competition of their own not so great bands, where they like to be at the top. Normal reviews in magazines would not be that great, if they wouldn’t put that money in to get these great reviews so as to increase the sales. (i.n.: I’m so with you on that!)
Soul Cages band pic

Having played in Greece for the first time? What are your memories? Would you like to return?! Are you going to try to tour more?
J: Yes, we played in Greece for the first time and we enjoyed it very much. It really was amazing for us to come to Greece with such nice and enthusiastic fans. Really amazing!!! We’ll never forget that experience and hope to come back again somewhere in the future. Maybe we have the possibility to promote our forthcoming album there. If people like us to come for concert we will definitely come, if someone from Greece manage this for us. Again a big thanks to Greg Varsamis, Stella and George Georgiou and Vivian for managing that unforgettable time for us.
What are your plans now? More tours and more frequent recordings? Are you going to try and become more active again?
J: We plan to release a new album in 2015/2016 which maybe is realistic for us. We definitely like to play a lot of shows again like in the past, during our first three albums. We will play wherever people like us to come. There are some shows planned for 2014 in Germany. Surely we will play some shows together with Mayfair from Austria in 2014. We will definitely be more active again after our actual album “Moon”.
It’s time for our “weird questions”!!! If you were God for a day...? What would you do?
J: If I would be God for one day, I would make all people healthy, I would give everybody food, I would end all wars, I would make a free day from work for all people and I would let the sun shine everywhere all day long for relaxation.
Put the best prog rock/metal band together (vocals, guitars, bass, drums, keys)...
J: Warrel Dane (Nevermore) on vocals, Jeff Loomis (Nevermore) on guitars, Alex Lifeson (Rush) on guitars, Joey Vera (Fates Warning) on bass & Thomas Haake (Meshuggah) on drums… there would be no keys at all!
What is missing from today’s music industry? What are albums missing? Is it that quality they used to have back in the 70’s and 80’s?
J: One important thing for me which is missing from today’s music is personally: Openness and acceptance of emotional handmade music with true background.
Who is the most overrated artist/band today?
J: I’m sorry, I don’t really dare to answer that. There are so many in different music-styles.
Is there some sort of music that you don’t particularly like?
J: I personally don’t like the traditional blues-music and German-style called “Schlager-music”, you could maybe translate as German country-music.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music evolution, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
J: I would choose the Rush album “Clockwork Angels”.
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
J: I would be very angry about that, but I know, that she would never ever do this, cause she also likes almost the 50% of the music that I like.
Salute the fans and close the interview anyway you want… Thx for the music! Take care!
J: We like to thank all the people who are still interested in us and our music and hope, that they will accompany us on our hopefully long way through this music journey in the future. We wish everyone all the best for 2014 at first health and hope to come back to Greece as soon as possible for visits and concerts. Take care of you all…
PS: Special thanx to Rockavlon for his great help...