Interview: Jan from Long Distance Calling

By Magda Wrzeszcz

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German progressive rock band Long Distance Calling are about to release their new album The Flood Inside and they will embark on a big European tour to promote the album. Magda Wrzeszcz asked bass player Jan Hoffmann a couple of questions regarding the new album and the band.

(((o))): For who doesn’t know Long Distance Calling, can you please introduce yourself, tell us who is in the band and what instruments they play?

Hey, we are a German progressive rock band that used to be mainly instrumental on the first 3 albums but have a singer now on the new album The Flood Inside, who sings on 3 songs plus one song with guest vocals from Vincent Cavanagh (Anathema) and Petter Carlsen. The line-up reads as follows: Martin “Marsen” Fischer (vocals and sounds), David Jordan (guitar), Florian Füntmann (guitar), Janosch Rathmer (drums), Jan Hoffmann (bass).

(((o))): How would you describe the music you play? 

See above, I think progressive rock music is the best description for our sound. Some people call it post-rock or new art rock as well.

(((o))): It seems that a lot has changed in the band before the release of The Flood Inside, for instance you now officially have a singer. Can you tell us more about the changes and the impact they had on the new record?

We parted ways with our electronic sound guy Reimut van Bonn in spring 2012 and when we began to write the new album, we felt that we wanted to do more with vocals and evolve with our music. So we asked Marsen if he would join the band and as he is also a great keyboard player and sound guy, he took over those duties as well. The writing itself wasn´t really that different compared to the previous record as we mainly write songs with guitars, bass and drums first before adding the electronic sounds and vocals.

(((o))): Was it a difficult process to write and record The Flood Inside?

It wasn´t really difficult, we just wanted to improve in terms of songwriting and production and we had fun working with the vocal songs as well. We did a complete pre-production for the album and this was good to reflect the songs and go into details. I think this really paid off, it´s the most detailed album we have ever done and the vocal songs add a new flavor to our sound.

(((o))): You collaborated with some great names while working on this album, what inspired you to approach these particular people?

We wanted to gather talented people to work with, that´s way more important than “names”. Henrik Freischlader is probably the best German blues guitar player, that´s why we asked him and also for the electronic stuff, we wanted to great and  experienced people, who are able to achieve a new level for us and we found them with Robot Koch, Alex Komlew and Mario Cullmann. Also the guest vocals by Vincent and Petter…we met them on our tour with Anathema back in 2011 and after we toured with them we wanted to do a song with them, because they are people that we really respect on both the musical and personal level.

(((o))): Even though Reimut von Bonn, your electronic wizard, left the band, electronics in your music still play a vital part. You say that it opened up possibilities for other band members- can you tell us more about those possibilities and how you took advantage of them?

Well, we use a lot of effects on guitars and bass anyways so this means there´s more room for that. But as you said, the electronic stuff is an important part of our sound and we didn´t want to let this go. That´s why we decided to work with the “guest wizards” on this album haha. In the live situation, we are able now to jam and improvise a lot and Marsen brings a lot of gear on stage (keyboard, Rhodes, Hammond Organ etc), so this opens a lot new possibilities for us.

(((o))): One of my favourite tracks on the album is ‘Waves’ - what was the inspiration behind it?

I also like this track a lot. It´s the “quiet place” on the album, very atmospheric. We did that song with Mario Cullmann from the German hip hop band Fünf Sterne Deluxe, which is a friend of ours. He adds his on style to our music, which is very interesting for us. We like to get new input. The title refers to two different levels. The first level, of course, refers to the album title, the second level refers to the human ear, how we hear and what music is on a physical level.

(((o))): ‘The Man Within’ opens with a Buddhist quote ‘Form is emptiness’ - can you tell us what this means to you and how did it end up on your album?

That´s something we don´t really want to talk about. :-)

(((o))): You’re supported by Initiative Musik gGmbH with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and Media - how did it happen and in what ways does the band benefit from that?

It´s a great thing! We worked with them for the last album (self titled), we applied for this funding in terms of promoting the album on an international level and they helped us out with that.

(((o))): As a band you’re definitely evolving, do you have an idea of the direction you’d like to take after The Flood Inside?

I have no idea, haha. We always go with the flow and see what happens. We don´t like to plan this really, we evolve as human beings and so do we as a band. An album is pretty much like a picture in a certain period in our lives and we will see how we feel and where we are when we start to work on the next album. We like to surprise ourselves and out fans.

(((o))): Finally, you must be looking forward to be back on the road again? Are there any places in particular you’re looking forward going back to or to visit for the first time?

We are VERY much looking forward to finally hit the road again. It´s also always fun to work on a new album, record it, etc but the main reason to be in a band is playing live shows and we can´t wait to do this again!

We really like the UK, it´s still one of the most important music countries in the world and we are happy to play for you guys! Come to the shows and check us out! Thanx a lot for the interview!