Novalis (deux)

NovalisNovalis from Germany has a melancholic and romantic musical sound, somwhere between neofolk and dark wave. Since their first EP in 2001 the band gradually evolved, with concerts and releases getting better everytime. Their latest album “…Paradise?” is their strongest work so far. Stev Schumann (vocals/guitar) tells us somewhat more about the band. The interview was delayed a little, because Novalis was confronted with a German band from the 70’s with the same name. Therefore they decided to change their name slightly to “NOVALIS deux”.

First of all: can you shortly introduce Novalis and its members and tell us how it all started?

Novalis @ Summer DarknessNovalis was founded in 2001 with First Cadence that we produced on ourselves. This time the band had only 2 members ? Marcel at the keyboards and me. By chance the EP found its way to Gerald from Black Rain. He decided to sell our music. Than in the year 2002 after we?ve recorded Last years calling, Mario completed Novalis with his drums.

A question that cannot fail: why are you called Novalis?

That is easy to say. We only wanted to find a name or something that is conform our music and reminds of the landscape we come from. So this is Novalis.

Can you name some of Novalis’ (musical) inspirations?

As often the personal experiences are most inspiring. Some months ago I moved to a little village. Here you are spoiled with meadows, wood, mountains and valleys, horses and old stories. That gave the theme for songs like ‘Humans Front’, ‘Wild Horses’ or others. But also fear, fantasy, wishes, hope and definitely my little son give me ideas for writing our songs.

How did you ended up on the Black Rain label, which was mostly known for its dark electro releases?

First I want to say, that Black Rain is not only an electro label. With Ars Musica Diffundere they got an outlet for wave – and folk ? projects. And you can see, that there are also other fantastic non ? electro ? bands, look at Kutna Hora or Lamia.

What do you think of the other acts on the Black Rain / Ars Musica Diffundere label?

We are like a big family that meets from time to time. We really enjoy the fun we have together (and that is not only slimy blabla). We respect each other and the music we make.

I think “Paradise…?” is Novalis’ most mature work so far. Did you work long on it and are you satisfied with the result?

Thank you very much. Yes we?ve worked nearly a year from the first simple ideas until the finished album. It took all of our free time and I believe 2,3 billions of our brain-cells and nerves.

But at the end we are content with the result. We wanted to find new musical sounds to refine our style. I think we did the next step.

Does the album has a central theme? The mood is very romantic and melancholic…

A central theme was not planned. I believe that the single moods, reminds and our preference to melancholia gave those impression.

Novalis @ Summer Darkness

What would be paradise for you?

I think it is not a special place or something you only can find after you lived a hard and lonesome life. I rather believe it is inside anybody?s heart. It is a feeling that is special to every person; it is nothing you can wait for. I think everyone has to realize his own paradise?

On this album Novalis sounds more like a band, with more musicians. Is that only for this album or is it structural?

We wanted to bring some more electrical parts to our music without loosing the natural sound of acoustic music. So we tried to realize our intention together with some guest musicians. Also in future times our friends will support us also on stage.

I think that it would perhaps be interesting if you sang some songs in German. Have you ever tried that?

Yes, there is a song at the album Last years calling that?s called ‘Vom Traum’. We also wanted to have a German song this time but that was refused us in different ways. So I think at the next CD you will probably find one again.

Is there a lively musical climate in the part of the country where you come from?

I don?t think that it is another one than anywhere else. I think there a lot of interesting young bands all over the world that deserve a chance.

How did you experience the concert at the Summer Darkness festival in Utrecht last summer? It was perhaps a bit strange playing late at night for not so many people?

Novalis @ Summer DarknessWhat do you want to hear?! It was great!!! We love to play especially in the Nederland. Every time we?ve been there everything was perfect ? the sound, the crews, the audience, catering and all the little things around. I mean the time was a little bit adventurous, especially because we played in Germany the previous night. So there was almost no sleep ( 2 hours). And sure we like to play for a lot of people, but we are not used to having full houses. It is fun if people enjoy the concert. So if you got something, we like to come!!!

Do you look forward to playing at the Wave Gothic Treffen?

WGT ? we are trembling! We are glad and very proud that we are allowed to take part this year. Maybe we will find some intimate faces at the audience?

Can you name some records (new or old) which you enjoyed lately?

Nick Cave is all the time in my player.

Any final remarks?

We wish you a nice summer with a lot of romanticism. Special greetings to the blond girl in our video.