Welcome to Sun-signed, a Sunday based salute to the unsigned metal bands of the world! This week we focus on Comaniac, a four piece thrash band from Switzerland (I know it’s Monday and this thing is meant to be on a Sunday, but with the hard drive’s death everything is running out of time.). Our thanks go to frontman Jonas Schmid for sitting down and answering some of our questions for this piece.
Formed in 2010, the band (at this time a two piece consisting of Cédric Iseli and Jonas Schmid) followed the familiar route of covering the classics before going on to create their own material. In 2012 they were finally able to get this material down on record, creating a demo known as the “Cowshed Demo” (named as such due to it being recorded in a studio based in a cowshed). The strength of the demo quickly led to the completion of the line-up with Raymond Weibel stepping up on bass and Dominic Blum taking lead guitar duties.
From their 2013 demo; Tumor Troop
With a full line up and a demo recorded, Comaniac were finally ready to look toward the next step; live performance. Where does the Comaniac name come from first though? “Comaniac is a symbiosis from the words “co” (short for company) and maniac. It’s pretty obvious we’re not always easy to handle, but even though we started as a savaged horde we kind of work as focused as we can, to evolve to “real” musicians…because that’s what we wanna be!” says Schmid.
Mere weeks after completing the line-up, the band took to the stage. We asked Schmid how these early shows were for the band; “Looking back they were pretty messed up! But at the moment it just felt like you’re launching for world domination! We still have some ultra rare footage from these times and we love to look back on how clumsy we were back then. We don’t wanna say we’re playing perfect now but there’s a huge development to see. Not only playing wise but also the stage presence and song writing took a big step forward.”
Riding the momentum of these performances, they entered a professional studio to record their second demo, Tumor Troop. With a higher quality demo in hand they were able to present the band to industry professionals, leading to their supporting of bands like Coroner and Toxik. With studio and live experience firmly under their belts, they set their eyes on recording a full length debut.
“We all grew up by listening to the 1980s thrash mania, led by bands like Exodus or Metallica. And you can’t deny those influences in our sound! Still we listen to any kind of heavy music – from The Rolling Stones to Satyricon. That’s what really makes you a good songwriter in our opinion. And you have to say: every of those bands and in between are great musicians with their own style.” Schmid on the bands influences
That brings us to the present. Return to the Wasteland drops at the end of February and we can already tell you that the hard work has paid off. We’ll have a separate review up later in the day which we’ll link here (it was originally going to be included in this article, but the length was becoming more of an essay than a feature). As you can imagine from the quote above, it’s fast, it’s heavy and is most definitely a thrash record.
One thing I keep getting surprised about is the recording quality we’re getting from unsigned bands these days. You would be forgiven for thinking Return To The Wasteland had a labels worth of budget behind it. It’s only been a couple of years since the band were in the demo phase, but everything from the recording quality to song writing to the performance has improved tenfold.
From the upcoming album
The common source of inspiration for thrash band lyrics is war and gore. Yet Return to the Wasteland takes a different route, instead focusing on subjects such as social injustice, exploitation and manipulation. What made them decide to write about these topics? “This is something we get confronted with every day! As we all live in a country where you don’t have to fear for your life, it would be ignorant to sing about war or physical violence as many thrash metal bands do. We’re much more confronted with stuff like classical conditioning, political manipulation or following instructions blindly. Still we don’t want to preach something, we’re just trying to locate a phenomenon which disturbs us.”
The obvious question to ask any unsigned band is their aspirations for joining a record label. In 2015 the industry is a very different place and many bands are choosing to strike out alone, others though still chase that elusive contract. What sort of direction are Comaniac leaning toward, independent or label? “This is a very sensitive question. We worked our asses off to release this album and tried to promote this album as much as we could so we’re very thankful to everyone who’s supporting us (at this occasion: Thank you Chris Morton and Sound the Charge – You’re welcome!). That’s the reason why we want to release this album on our own and not let this effort be neutralized by a label. You really need to have detailed time management to get a good deal and still release your album on time. For a Debut Album this is very difficult.
Many bands think they can only get any attention with a label pushing their asses – well, that’s kind of true. On the other side we don’t want to burn out in 2 years just because the label is pushing you too hard and you can’t fulfill the pressure. We want to gain solid ground in our pace. And we will!”
With this article coming to an end, we’ll look forward, what’s in store for 2015? “We want to play live as much as possible and gain attention with our music – live as well as online! We’ve already received some tour offers but at the moment we just can’t afford them. But as soon as the right offer arrives we’ll hit the road immediately, hopefully in 2015! Furthermore we want to work hard on evolving our own style and always keep going with writing new material as soon as possible! That’s just what you have to do if you want to keep the people entertained. And again: we will!”
For a band who are all relatively young (“all between 23 and 26, yet still trying to grow up” says Schmid), they have already achieved a decent amount and more importantly, appear to have a clear mind set and mature attitude on what lies ahead. Not taking tours because they can’t afford them is smart, too many musicians plummet into debt this way, and not idealising a record contract has allowed them to release their album their way.
It’s always good to support new and exciting music, with that in mind remember to click the Youtube embeds and consider buying the album if you like it. More money means more tours, and more tours means more gigs for you to see, and everyone likes going to see gigs, it just makes sense.
Jonas Schmid (Vocals, Guitar)
Cédric Iseli (Drums)
Dominic Blum (Lead Guitar)
Raymond Weibel (Bass)
You can follow them on Facebook for more information here.