By Lindsay Smith-Boam
Orden Ogan meaning ‘The Order of Fear’ are: Seeb Levermann – vocals, guitars Dirk Meye – drums Tobin Kersting – guitars Niels Loffler – bass, are a force to be reckoned with predominantly in Europe. Formed in 1996, the German quartet have a reputation for being innovative, a fusion of power metal with modern progressive rock and folk undertones producing a very big sound. We chatted with Seeb and Dirk......
1.YOU HAVE BEEN AROUND SINCE 1996. HOW DO YOU STILL FIND THE CREATIVITY FOR YOUR NEW MUSIC?
Seeb: Yeah, that's a common misconception. In 1996 I was 15 years old and learning to play the guitar. We have been making music as a garage band for many years, but that was not what you think of when you hear the name "Orden Ogan" today.
Dirk: We count the story of Orden Ogan since our first official release "Vale" via Yonah Records, this was in 2008. Vale was rereleased by AFM in 2010 after the release of the "Easton Hope" record.
Seeb: Yes. The garageband split up in 2006 and after that we actually founded what is Orden Ogan today - in 2008. So that's the correct start of the timeline.
Dirk: I think, if you are passionated in music, creativity is surrounding you every day and you'll get new impressions and ideas by listening and just making music.
Nowadays you're able to record ideas directly on your cellphone when they come into your mind... So you can capture ideas wherever and whenever you want... That helps a lot.
2. FOR EACH OF YOU, WHO OR WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER?
Dirk: You can find the most of my influences in the early 90's death metal/grindcore, but my all time favourite and inspiring band is Meshuggah.
When I was kid I also listened a lot to bands like Running Wild, Helloween, Manowar and so on... but when I became a Teenager I was more and more interested in the harder stuff.
Seeb: I can just speak for myself. In my life everything is about music all the time. So if you are a "real" and passionate musician everything that you (acidentially) listen to can be an influence - if its a nursery rhyme, a popsong, a folk song or a classical piece of music. Speaking for Orden Ogan - that's the sound we want to make, that comes right out of us. The kind of music that we love to play and that we actually missed in the metal-landscape. I think Orden Ogan has a pretty unique sound actually.
3. SEEB, YOU ARE THE ONLY ORIGINAL MEMBER OF THE BAND, HOW HAVE THE VARIOUS LINE-UPS HELPED OR CHALLENGED YOU CREATIVELY?
Seeb: Speaking about our history (See question 1) there was actually just one big lineup change, from "Easton Hope" 2010 to "To The End" 2012, where we lost Ghnu, Lars and Nils. Actually that didn't help or change my creativity. I kept going making the music I wanted to all these years. One change though is that I am writing more and more music with our actual drummer Dirk now, that works pretty well for us. And also (although he is in the band since the debut "Vale" in 2008) this time I also wrote 2 Songs (Gunman and Fields of Sorry) with our guitarplayer Tobi. Funny thing is that they turned out to be the first two singles of the record. So something was done the right way this time.
4. SEEB, HAVE YOU A FAVOURITE ALBUM?
Seeb: I have a lot of favourite records. But I still think "Death or Glory" from Running Wild is the best heavy metal record ever produced in terms of songwriting and creativity. Unfortunatley not sound... haha
5. YOU HAVE A BIG SOUND AND YOUR STUDIO ALBUMS ARE VERY WELL ENGINEERED. HOW DO YOU GET THIS BIG SOUND ACROSS FOR LIVE PERFORMANCES?
Dirk: At first I have to say that Seeb is not only the singer of Orden Ogan, he is the producer too. On every album he did a great job and I think that Orden Ogan sounds better with every album because Seeb grew with every record as a producer over the years
Seeb: Thanks, it was a lot of hard work.
Dirk: Speaking Live: we are in the lucky situation to have 2 great sound engineers that we work with since many years. They exactly know how to transport the Orden Ogan sound that comes from the stage to the big speakers. We are very happy to work with this great guys.
Seeb: Knowing how to play your instrument and do that in a proper way helps, too, haha...
6. HAVE EACH OF YOU GOT A FAVOURITE TRACK TO PERFORM LIVE?
Dirk: At the moment my favorite song to perform live is "Forlorn and Forsaken", but I love to perform nearly every song that I had to play live with this Band till now.
All time faves are F.E.V.E.R, Things we believe in, We are Pirates and Sorrow is your Tale. These songs are perfect live songs for me!
Seeb: Fields of Sorrow, To new shores of sadness and F.E.V.E.R as well.
7. WHAT DO YOU FEEL ARE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR NEW POWER METAL BANDS COMING INTO THE INDUSTRY?
Seeb: It's all about stamina and the will to make it, really. Things progress slowly. You won't be a rockstar over night. It's a long, tiring way and a lot of work. Many bands don't seem to see that. You will have to have a driving force in the band. And it's at least 50% of working everything related to your band and for your band compared to the other 50%, that are the actual music, stage presence, instrumental skills, presentation...
8. HAVE YOU STILL ANY AMBITIONS TO FULFILL AS A BAND?
Dirk: At first, I've to say, that we've achieved more, than each of us has ever expected. But there are still some countries and festivals, we haven't played or toured yet. Going to Japan would be one of these, extensive touring in the USA another. So, there are some ambitions to fulfil as a band.
Seeb: I always had the dream to do nothing else than being a musician. This is already fulfilled. I am doing only Orden Ogan and my producer job at my own Greenman Studios, where I am working with bands like Rhapsody of Fire for example just recently. It's a great life, man...
9. DO YOU ALL HAVE ANY RITUALS BEFORE A LIVE PERFORMANCE THAT YOU GO THROUGH?
Dirk: Everybody is preparing himself before a show, I do warm up exercises...and before entering stage, we do a band knuckle knock
10. ONE INTERESTING FACT ABOUT EACH OF YOU NOT MUSIC RELATED....
Dirk: When I was a teenager, I was a passionate table tennis player and had a chance of playing professional, but I liked to sit in dirty and stinky rehearsal rooms, trying to do some serious music. Another fact is, that I recently recognized that you cannot party a whole weekend long, without a week hangover, when you are over 30.
Seeb: I am a big fan of horror movies and have a huge collection incl. a lot of odd and rare stuff from the 80ies, haha...