I don’t write reviews yet I write about music and what music causes me to feel, what I relate with what I hear, and why I like what I hear, perhaps at which point I would wish something different. So let me introduce you to the Lone Gunmen and their EP “Dawn”!
I listened to their songs a couple of times before I met Hendrik Noack (vocals) and Robin Görss (guitar), two out of four of the Lone Gunmen from Siegen (Germany). Simple, straightforward, raw and authentic songs the four men aimed to come up with when they founded the band roughly one year ago. The band name, by the way, goes back to a side kick of the good, old X Files series.
|From left to right, the Lone Gunmen are: Marius (drums), Hendrik (vocals), Robin (guitars), Stefan (bass).|
is to me exactly this, straightforward, raw, simple sound they intends to show. I feel a sort of very basic aggression not overloaded with emotion and arrangements but plain and honest. Hendrik tells me about the madness you feel being mad for the person you love and being mad with this person for the quirks that go with that one. Robin describes how the riffs go up and down the scales which pretty much reflects the inner conflict. I find some kind of unconventional songstructure leaving its simplicity. In particular, I like the intro reflecting perfectly the EP’s name: Dawn. Think of the moment when it’s not getting brighter gradually as it did until then but the sun has risen so far it gets all of a sudden noticibly quickly brighter. This is the moment when the intro switches into the song.
We discussed the style of the band’s music for a moment. “Sometimes it seems the modern metal band battle each other in their virtuosity. Who can have the most complicated riffs?”, Hendrik explains. And Robin adds: “We don’t want to proofe to anyone that we are good musicians. We just want to play the music we love.” They let their thoughts flow for a while, going back to the roots of jazz and the spirit that came from this very early time. They value a very natural and emotional approach that too often might have gotten lost by now, before resuming that they don’t like over perfection in music. “It’s also cleaned up. It’s not natural”, Hendrik says. They sum up that their music has and should stick to the spirit of punk in some degree.
reminds me very much of Post Pulse in the best of senses. The song comes to a sudden end but has many peaks, is dominated by the intense bass play with some slight note of industrial (yeah Sam, again ….). Hendrik explains that the song deals with drones dropping bombs over Syrian children and homes, describing the death from above made of plastic. He is happy with my industrial impression as he feels that I caught the inhuman distance to industrialised killing of current wars he wished expressed. If I “stumble over a riff and that could be a good one and wait if I find it still good the next morning”, Robin explains his way of composing. “I am a very visual person”, Hendrik say. “And if a riff creates an image it is a good riff to me.” And here Robin’s riffs made him see the destruction of war. The sudden end of the song reflects the total silence once the final bomb dropped and the sounds of the explosion faded out.
For another moment, we stick to the question of style and spirit. Hendrik explains: “If someday a critic comes and says ‘it is punk. Why do they call themselves metal heads?’ Then I will say: ‘Go with it. Then it is punk.’ It is just a name. Just a word. I mean, we love metal. We listen to metal. But if someone decides of our stuff this is more punk or whatever. We’re fine with it. We don’t think that much if it is metal spirit. It is just what comes out of us. And to us it feels like metal.” They point out that they don’t want to be categorized but then, of course they intend to develop a sound that is recognisable as the sound of the Lone Gunmen. Robin says: “You have to hear the style!” – “And that’s what we’re working on.” Hendrik. I say that in my perpective it takes a very long time for a composer and a band to develop some kind of own hand writing, which is their aim.
reminds me in the first moment to the straight and uncompromising honesty I found in S-Tool’s music but also the interview I did with the band. The song is a good deal faster, feels hasty and very groovy to me. The riffs form circles with spines and corners in my imagination. The way the lyrics are presented bears some sort of absolutism. Despite the speed, I find it less aggressive and even relatively bright. It is “get up and move your ass kind of party song”, Hendrik says. They admit laughing that they had an association with the music of Scooter that I do not share! Robin points out that it is the simplest and punkiest song of the EP. ‘Go with us or go to hell’, they some up song and lyrics with a frown.
Time to introduce the Lone Gunmen. It was a long discussion to find the one word describing Hendrik’s most valuable feature for the band. Literally: one word. And the ideas range from creator to artist and finally result in spirit reflecting his graphical and lyrical work for the band. No doubt, Hendrik is also the voice of the band but to me he is also full of visions for their music but also in wider sense.
The image for Robin, is quickly found, as he is the motor of the band. If it wasn’t for him there was nothing his spirit could connect to, Hendrik describes. And the quiet, sensible man is the head composer of the band coming up with new riffs and tunes again and again in my impression from meeting them. So perhaps I’d rather see him as the sensitive and complex high-tech motor – quite opposing the style of the band’s music.
And Marius Müller (drums)? Robin says: “he is the rock, I would say. You can always count on him. He is always there.” Hendrik adds that he would have a “soft spot as he tends to be struggling.” Marius was the one to say that a song or riff is not that fun to play when all other already agreed on it being fun to play this one. So he initiates reconsidering, making him the critic of the band.
Bass player Stefan Ries is first described as the band’s jester, being funny and always inspiring good vibrations. I am not sure he wants to be the “perfect son-in-law” and “sweetheart of the band” they mention a bit later, declaring him even to a “sweet gummibear” (I admit in my mind some other bands pop up whose bassists would be perfectly described here. I see a pattern, don’t I?)
is one of the longer songs of the EP and the catchy riff in the beginning once more reminds me of S-Tool. I find some darkness and momentum in the song perhaps due to the slower passages of the song. It is more complex and has time to unfold to the listener. Robin also highlights the variety especially in the vocals including some clean vocals. The complexity they describe as a result of the groovy, faster parts with the slower parts resulting in a massive soundwall in the break down.
“How about the freedom of making songs in which ever style you want? Is that metal spirit?” I ask. “I think this is the origin of metal spirit” Hendrik says. “I think we don’t have limitations. We bring in a riff and we play it. And if it feels good You can see because somebody is headbanging or looking like that” Robin imitates a happy face. “Then it’s a good riff and we keep it.”
“They give me an idea how they come up with lyrics. They try to catch the atmosphere of the song and reflect it in the lyrics. Dark songs, dark topics perhaps. But then there are songs”, Hendrik says “that implicate something to me. It sounds like this and that. And then I go home, put on my headphones and dive into the song, the riffs and think about how I get it.” It would take him a long time to get the tale he wants to tell in this particular song.”
I ask if there is a motif. And Robin explains that there is a rhythmic motif of some kind of groove. And Hendrik highlights that the EP’s name “Dawn” would be the motif of the lyrics and for the band’s current status, at the Dawn of their being. But it would also reflect that they see their musical development for the band in a starting point of a journey. They describe Athropy also as the song that is preparing for the status. Everything was coming down, melting down to the point at which they are as a band.
starts with a dark majestic intro bearing the massive heaviness of a Wagner opera. It is again a bit more complex and has a spirit of destruction and doom to me while in the end the tune is rising. Somewhere the sun shimmers softly through heavy, dark clouds. Just like the EP as a whole this song follows the classical construction lines of a drama. Hendrik points out the role of the song to make curious for what is to come on the album. The song is meant to show as much the destruction as also the perspective of hope of a post-apocalyptic setting and resembles the fight of the band to make it to where they are. Robin points out the joy of playing the dissonant chords of the song.
I wonder if they have an endgoal? It is not about becoming famous rock stars, they say and sound very authentic in it. It is Robin’s personal goal that some “13/14 years-old, teenage boy, a young metal head, just getting into metal music, sits at home, listens to our music and identifies and sees something or maybe gets goosebumps from us.” Robin says: “My wish would be that we could be a retreat or inspiration for somebody else.” – “And that’s the very deep side.” – “Yeah that’s the very deep goal. We want to play gigs and have fun.” – “And see girls cheering at us.” “Yeah that would be nice”, admits Robin.
Hendrik tells me about his first time on stage, back when they were like 17/18. His eyes shine and he speaks of the deep confidence he felt when he got aware that people were banging to their music and shouting for their music. Cheering. It was pushing his ego he said.
The frame of their first gig was more than weird. They were a support gig for some teenage girl singer. So there were hords of 12 or 13 year old girls in the first row. And when Hendrik shouted at them a mosh pit formed right behind the line of girls. But the girls smiled. Well, we will never know if for joy or hysterical fear … But they screamed, even more when the drummer took off his shirt. We can speculate on the reasons for that as well … Hendrik points out that in the end it made no difference to them that the crowd had not come for them as “they coudn’t escape the energy. And we felt so good being the bad boys. But that’s the same today.”
Hendrik describes the EP is resembling the evolution of the former band and the transformation into the new band, Lone Gunmen, finding its summit in the fourth song.
They tell me of their songs for the first full-length album and admit a growing complexity in these songs. Before parting I have the chance to sneak into some of their new, yet only demoed songs and feel the spirit of Lone Gunmen but also that the journey might still take a totally new direction at some point.
I enjoyed meeting the musicians, speaking with them, listening to their music with them together. And I really enjoyed writing this. And clearly, I will not do many articles of this kind. Those who are in for straight, groovy and heavy music, I’d recommend to give it a try. And this is why I introduced the Lone Gunmen and their EP “Dawn” to you.