Crust Punk, Death Metal, Metal, Punk

Manøver – Taken (Interview)

Genre:Crust, Death Metal, Doom Metal
Country:Germany (Münster)
Release Date:3rd of April 2023
Released viaSanta Diabla; Fucking Kill Records
Cover ArtworkManøver

Having spotted the infamous “ø” on numerous flyers somewhere around my hometown, I immediately got interested with a combo that goes by the name of Manøver. It seems that this very special letter serves as ingredient, impacting instant quality. So I was keen to find out and got to know these Crust guys from Münster with their previous release Raid, that instantly convinced. Also eagerly following both the output of Santa Diabla as well as Fucking Kill Records and seeing Manøver release their latest EP Taken on both of those labels, I knew that I had to ask some questions. This is why Manøver took the time to answer inquiries regarding their current EP, having experienced their initial time as a band during the pandemic, the subject matter of war and many more aspects.

Interview with Manøver

Hello Manøver and thanks for taking the time to answer some questions! Hope you’re doing alright right now!

Thank you Roman for inviting us to this interview. We are definitely doing well right now. We are just releasing our newest ouput “Taken” and are allowed to present our music on many stages at the moment. Great times!

First things first! You’re still quite a young band so I was wondering – how did the paths of you as musicians cross that eventually lead to forming the band Manøver?

Manøver was founded by Jannis and Julian in 2019. When their black metal band “Danos” gradually disbanded, they formed the new project Manøver. Jannis has his roots in crust from former projects and Julian in Death Metal. The common idea was to combine these influences with a touch of Doom but with a very unique sound that strongly distances itself from metal clichés. When Malte joined the band in late 2020 with a lot of sludge influences, the final genre was found. A mixture of crust and sludge with a hint of black metal.

To answer your question, our path as musicians in former projects has brought us to the point of wanting to create something new which was not there before. And until now we hadn’t  heard something similar as Manøver.

Is it possible that we might know any of your musicians from earlier projects?

As previously said, Julian and Jannis were together in the black metal band “Danos” which is disbanded. Jannis was also in the crust band “Unrest”. Julian was in the technical death metal band “Wrath” (disbanded) and is guitarist in the death metal band “New World Depression”. Malte has another band with a weird (metal)genre- mix, called Hitzbold.

Taking a look at your discography, your debut release “Død” was released in March 2020, right when the pandemic hit us. This means that the major share of your band history lies within the times of lockdowns and regulations. What was this like for you?

When we released Død we wanted to play live a lot. But we played just 2 shows when the pandemic slowed down the world. We used the time and just wrote and recorded the next EP “Raid”. Right when “Raid” was released and a few shows were set, we were hit by the next pandemic wave and had to cancel all shows again. That was a real bummer. But we locked ourselves in the rehearsal room again and wrote “Taken”. At the end of 2021, when the pandemic was coming to an end, we could finally play live. Since then we could play in many squats, DIY places and clubs. We are happy to see that with time we get more and more requests for shows. This whole way of forming the band is not common but has given us the opportunity to grow musically as a band in the rehearsal room and go on stage coordinated with each other. 

This also means that you released music while not being able to perform live in the beginning. When was your first live show set, then, and what was it like to finally perform your music on stage?

The first show after the pandemic and its restrictions was in November 2021. For us it was clear from the beginning that Manøver belongs on stage. The songwriting and recording was fun but there was a certain pressure to play live. When we could finally stand on stage, we didn’t want to leave it. For us, the biggest drive is to present our music in front of an audience and get a direct response. We think it won’t be long until we play a bigger tour. We have already spent entire weekends on the road.

Your latest EP “Taken” was released yesterday. Congratulations, first of all! When observing your discography, though, it becomes evident that on your previous releases “Død” as well as “Raid” you recorded, mixed and mastered at Liquid Aether Audio. Now you switched places and visited Role at the Tonmeisterei. What was the factor that had you switch your recording situation?

There was no particular reason for this. Julian was already at Liquid Aether Audio with New World Depression and Danos. We had a good experiences with Mario from Liquid Aether Audio. But as musicians we wanted to make new experiences and learn other approaches of producing music. Since we are big fans of the output of Tonmeisterei (Minenfeld, Yacøpsae, Black Shape Of Nexus, etc..) and Jannis was already there with Unrest back in the days, we chose to record “Taken” there. Role took a long time for our sound and hit exactly what we wanted. For us it was the right decision. The result speaks for itself.

Another aspect that can be highlighted is the fact that you not only released your EP via Santa Diabla on tape as has been done before, but also via Fucking Kill Records on vinyl. How did you establish contact with Chris for your vinyl release?

Julian already released 2 albums at Fucking Kill Records with New World Depression. Chris  became aware of Manøver and we had a talk about working together concerning the next release.
This was about a year ago and now we have the finished vinyl in our hands.
Those who are in the vinyl business know how fast that is. Chris is very uncomplicated and like us fully committed to the DIY scene.

One aspect that instantly crossed my mind when listening to your latest output is also connected with your choice of studio. Due to the different production, your sound bears a way more tremendous Death Metal tone, shifting it further towards a stage where it becomes difficult to even distinguish between Death Metal and Crust. Do you deliberately seek to find this soft spot in between those genres or do you try to rank yourself at one specific genre?

As far as the difference in sound goes, much is just due to the different studio. Additionally we also used different Bass- and Guitar-Effects between Raid and Taken already use new ones again, the gear-game never stops! It’s always interesting to hear what people associate with our music. We didn’t really had death metal in mind.

As far as songwriting goes, we try to not lock on to a specific genre but also don’t really search for the soft spot in between genres. It’s nice to hear that we seem to hit it for you though! Till now it always worked pretty great to just bring in ideas to the rehearsal and work on them together without a specific genre in mind. We guess it’s important to write somewhat cohesive songs, so they work together in an album- or EP- context, but that always came pretty naturally.

It is no novelty that current Death Metal acts find great interest in the depiction of the events of World War I. A closer look at the cover of “Raid” already shows that your releases are obviously not set in this timespan. What is the perspective on war that drives you to make use of this framework and terminology?

We are not focused on a specific period of time. War was always fucked up and it will always be. In our videos that use war-footage we tried to use material of different times and wars for the same reason. The randomness, chaos and brutality of war is a topic worth talking about and is also fitting for extreme music. We don’t want to use war as an image, we really want to say something about it. It effected members of our families, some of them still live, it effects many, many people in the world and it could effect us in the future as well.

Since it is made very clear on your Bandcamp page that you are an antifascist band, what is it that interconnects the subjects of antifascism and war on your releases?

We, as individualists, are all antifascists, so naturally it found its way into our music. Antifascism and war are both political topics and a lot of wars were and are led by fascists. So it’s relatively easy to write anti-war songs that also have an antifascist theme.

When comparing cover and overall arrangement of song titles, it seems as if the background on this EP, compared to “Raid,” shifts from an external or plural perspective to an internal or singular perspective (many against one, one against many). Is there an overarching theme to this EP?

That is definitely true. The main reason for the change in lyrical style and themes is, that some of the lyrics on “Raid” were still written by our old vocalist Jonas, who you hear on “Død”. Most were already written by Malte, but he oriented his lyrics on the themes and the perspective Jonas brought up. While writing lyrics for “Taken”, he strayed a little more from this path and found a different style of writing lyrics. This is also the first time he writes lyrics in english, as his other band “Hitzbold” has german lyrics.

But besides this, we are not locked on to the theme of war. A lot of new lyrics are already written and only very few of them are focused on war. We will definitely stay an antifascist band and focus on antifascist themes for our songs, but at some point you have said everything you want or can say about war.

I absolutely fancied your decision to go with an earlier release of “Taken” without any announcement only because of the fact of an early delivery of your vinyl. In my opinion, this decision transports a strong DIY spirit. What were your thoughts on this decision – just go for it or was there a prior discussion?

Chris from “Fucking Kill Records” brought up this idea. He knew about the upcoming weekender with “Spit Acid”. As we are a band that will probably sell more at shows than we will online, it seemed like a good idea to release before these four shows so we can start selling the Vinyl there. We all pretty much agreed on this instantly without any discussion. You could say that it was a practical decision and we are all pretty hyped about the release so we just went for it.

I have to be honest – when talking about Münster, I primarily think of Hardcore and Screamo. Since having you on my scope definitely put a Crust spot onto this city, you might want to help me with three additional recommendations from your city or surroundings within the spheres of your musical style that I (and the readers) should know.

There have been 2 Bands in the early 2010er years which can be known regarding this kind of music, which were “Alpinist” und “Unrest”. Today you should know “No Sun Rises” and “Rană”, that consist partly of members based in Münster.

Thanks a lot for your taking your time answering my questions. The last words shall belong to you!

Thanks is all ours!

When writing these last words we just came back of some days on tour with “Spit Acid”.

We were touched again about how dedicated people of the DIY-Scene still are to set up shows and make you and the audience just feel good at the venue! As well as people like you, spreading the word and helping bring bands closer to the people out there!

Support your local DIY-Scene, make a difference!

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