R13 caught up with vocalist Andy Dörner of German metal core exponents Caliban before their gig at Manchester Academy 3.

R13: Is it good to be back in the UK? What sort of following do you have here?
AD: I like the people, the crowd are crazy all the time, especially in London but all around they are very into the music, crazy guys, so it's good.

R13: This tour is in support of your new album 'The Undying Darkness', which is out this week?
AD: Yeah, the 27th.
R13: Are you pleased with it?
AD: Yeah, we are all happy with the album. The sound is better than before, also the songwriting and especially my voice, it's more brutal than before.
R13: In terms of the overall sound do you think it's changed since the last record?
AD: Not really, it's a little bit better, another step and the production is better. The songwriting is a little bit better than before and we worked a lot on the chorus parts, I think they are very nice and bright and I don't know, it's quite the same.

R13: How's the new material been going down live?
AD: Good so far, I mean it's already on the internet so you can see which guys already know the songs. It's ok because it's only been on the internet for a month and the cd's coming up, so the reactions are very good. Some of the guys who don't know the songs move anyway so I think it's good.

R13: You've already released five albums but it wasn't until the fourth album 'The Opposite From Within' that you really broke through, do you find that frustrating that it took that long or are you just glad that you made it at all?
AD: Yeah, it just came this way, we never worked through this. We just do the music and we were getting bigger and bigger and it just happened! Then we were at the point where our old label said we can't push you more so if you have the chance to go on another label then do it because we can't do anything more for you. So we were looking around for a bigger label and there was Roadrunner. They can push us well and they are big everywhere so they have much power. So it just came that way and we're very happy because it's a kind of dream come true as we all love the music, playing and being on the road. Now we can do it for a full time job and it's awesome!

R13: Do you think coming from Germany made it harder for you to break through into the mainstream?
AD: Yes because some places don't like German bands that much, they prefer bands from the States. In the UK it's the same, they don't really like German people that much so it's sometimes hard to play here and get well known. Generally we are well known in Europe but in the States it's tough because it's so big. This time we have a name there and it's getting bigger all the time because we're going over there and touring so it's getting better and better.

R13: Germany has more of a reputation for power metal than metal core, when you first started was there a scene you came out of or did you try and do something different?
AD: We were one of the first to do this style of music, that's what the people say, that we were the pioneers of the metal core scene in Germany. I don't know exactly, that's what people say and I believe them!
AD: More and more people came and started doing the same style and we've been doing it now for almost ten years. It's a long time for us but it's getting big because there's big hype everywhere so bands like us are getting the chance to go the mainstream way. I hope the people will stay when the hype is over, that's what I'm scared of a little bit.

R13: How do you think being signed to Roadrunner has helped you as a band? Particularly in America I'd think that would help?
AD: In the States we're not on Roadrunner, we have another deal with Abacus, we had a one record deal for 'Opposite...' and now we get another contract for I don't know how many records on Abacus because Roadrunner US was not interested. I don't know why, because the last time the chief of Roadrunner was pissed was because one of the Roadrunner guys was against signing us and then he saw how many records we sold! So he was pissed that Roadrunner US didn't sign us but now they still don't, so I don't understand it, whatever! Worldwide we are Roadrunner though and they are pushing us hard and doing a good job. They do a lot of promotion and magazine stuff and it's awesome. It's all about promotion for bands, almost every magazine you get in will give you a name and it's very important for bands to get bigger.

R13: You've got a good relationship with Killswitch Engage and I suppose you could say that your music is quite similar in sound and overall production, do you ever worry about sounding similar to other bands or other bands sounding similar to you?
AD: I take it as a compliment, you know it's the metal core style with mosh parts, fast parts, melodic parts in the mix and we have the same mixing guy so it's almost the same sound. Sometimes we have parts that sound like Killswitch but I don't know, we take it as a compliment. I have no problem with it because we're friends. Especially Mark, Adam and Mike D, they are always in touch over emails and we are working with them. Mike D is doing most of our t-shirt designs and he did the cover of our new record, so it's cool.

R13: When you decide who does what in the studio is there a reason why Dennis sings the melodic parts and you do the main vocal? Did you want to create contrasting sounds?
AD: It's because I can't do the clean vocals!
AD: I tried it in the past but I can't really sing, so I had some singing lessons but it didn't work out. I tried it but it was always not good, every time out of tune and stuff, so that's not the way it is. We had to try something else and we all sing in the studio when we were doing the last record. Then we found that Dennis can sing so we pushed him and said he had to take singing lessons. Now he's doing it for almost two years and he's getting better and better. He's not perfect and sometimes he's out of tune but he's working on it and we're very happy with the new record. So he was singing for the first time on a full length record and we're very happy with it.

R13: How do you see the band developing in the future? Are you where you want to be in terms of the sound, is this where you were always striving to be or are you always thinking that next time you'll do something different?
AD: Actually I don't know, we will see, I think maybe we will do this style for a time.
R13: Until you get bored of it?
AD: Yeah maybe and then we'll do something else but we'll just see what comes.

R13: Are you going to be doing any festivals over here this year?
AD: I don't know, I hope we can do Donington again, we played last year on the smaller stage.
R13: What was that like?
AD:Awesome, wicked, we had the biggest wall of death in our career. It was so awesome, we have it on tape and all the people were going insane and it was just great. I hope we can come back this year.
R13: Nothing booked yet though?
AD: No, not yet.

R13: OK, well good luck with the rest of the tour.
AD: Thank you.