Interview: League Of Distortion
The album is strong and modern and has a very positive vibe dealing with heavy topics but giving you power and strength to hold on and go for it.
League Of Distortion are a new band who feature members of Exit Eden and Kissin’ Dynamite and whose take on modern metal is an exhilarating prospect. Their self-titled debut album is packed full of metal anthems and Gavin Brown caught up with vocalist Anna Brunner to hear all about it and how it came together as well as discussing League Of Distortion’s stunning music videos, touring plans and the challenge of playing in multiple bands.
E&D: Your self-titled debut album came out at the end of last year. How has the album been received so far?
Anna: Oh, we are just so happy that it’s finally released. The album is strong and modern and has a very positive vibe dealing with heavy topics but giving you power and strength to hold on and go for it. The feedback has been very positive as well which makes us even more happy of course.
E&D: Did you feel there was any pressure on you being a brand new band and bringing out your debut album?
Anna: You know what, actually we didn’t fell pressure at all. Since we started the songwriting without any guidelines from anyone, this just let us create what we truly wanted to. We followed our own guts and vision to make an album that is authentic, real and raw.
E&D: Was the creation of the album a good experience?
Anna: Yes, absolutely – to be honest it helped me a lot to get through the “Covid time“ and lockdowns. Having the time due to the Covid stagnation (no tours, no gigs, nothing to prepare for as usual), made me process personal topics I had pushed aside for years. So creating this album was a trip through personal emotions as well as finaly working together with my band on a project I had wanted to create for years.
E&D: What subjects do you deal with on the songs on the album?
Anna: There are lots of personal topics from the past. Some topics and songs, did bring me to my limits. There is a lot of anger or disappointment in some lyrics and also provocation but always wanting to have an empowering message and vibe. I want the listeners to know that they are not alone, that it helps to talk about painful experiences and it will get better. Topics are for example search for identity, dirty secrets, toxic relationships, standing up for yourself, gender equality, sexual abuse or also our vision of community, inviting everyone to be a part of this strong league.
E&D: Was it a fun experience making the videos for album tracks ‘Wolf Or Lamb’, ‘My Revenge’ and ‘I’m A Bitch’?
Anna: Oh yes, it was awesome! I still remember the video producers call when he said, that we were able to work with real wolves. This had been a wish but I didn’t really think that it would happen. Check out our video to ‘Wolf Or Lamb’ if you haven’t seen it. We had a great team for the videos, working with the same video producer Mirko Witzki for all of them. He is incredibly creative, professional and down to earth. We are so lucky and grateful to be able to work with great people from the very beginning. The band shots were also super fun, in the different settings from the videos, the energy among us was strong and it gave us a taste of how it would be to play these songs in front of a crowd.
E&D: How was it working with Christoph Wieczorek from Annisokay on the track ‘It Hurts So Good’ and what did he bring to the song?
Anna: Working with Christoph Wieczorek was great. He is such a nice person, relaxed and very talented. He was part of our production team with Hannes Braun and Julian Breucker from the very beginning and this established a connection. Christoph not only features on the song ‘It Hurts So Good’ but also co-wrote it. It’s a delight to work with him.
E&D: Have you had any thoughts about the possibility of new material as yet?
Anna: Yes, in fact I have topics, some lyrics and melody ideas in my head already, also the video shoots with Mirko Witzki inspired me for new (and even crazier) ideas – I’m really looking forward to sitting down with out great team and working on the next album.
E&D: Who are the biggest influences on the sound of League Of Distortion?
Anna: I’ve alway been into the NuMetal era, loving Limp Bizkit, Korn and Linkin Park. We all love the modern metalcore sound, strong riffs and melodies, songs with a message and edge, but have a strong variety of personal band influences. For this album we even have some pop influences going on.
E&D: How did League Of Distortion start as a band in the first place?
Anna: I’ve had the idea to form a band with a strong statement, together with friends who share my vision for quite a long time. The stagnation, that came with Covid in 2020, suddenly shifted my focus, highlighting what I had had in mind all these years. I put down first drafts of songs and lyrics, teamed up with Hannes Braun who helped us create this unique album. We also got together with Julian Breucker and Christoph Wieczorek. Jim (Arro) has been a friend since I got to know Kissin’ Dynamite and since I knew that we work well together I gave it a shot to ask him. Felix (Ax) was part of one of my first bands and I’ve know Tino (Aeon) since my music studies in Mannheim. We got together and used the time of uncertainty to create tremendously powerful music with a strong message.
E&D: Is it a challenging task balancing the band with members other acts Kissin’ Dynamite and Exit Eden?
Anna: Yes it is and I think it will be even more challenging in the future, but we only have this one life and not to do something, just because things will/might get hard at some point isn’t an option for us. We give 100% to the bands we are a part of and creating League Of Distortion, a brand new band, was absolutely the right thing to do in spite of the challenges that this will bring with it.
E&D: What have those bands got planned for 2023?
Anna: Well, League Of Distortion will be on tour (in March/April) and so will Kissin’ Dynamite – but not together this time! Exit Eden will soon awake from it’s sleeping beauty slumber…so this will be a busy year and I am so looking forward to it.
E&D: Are you looking forward to your upcoming tour with Kamelot and getting back on the road again?
Anna: YES! Playing our music for people is the most important thing for us. We want to tour as much as possible, play as much as we can. League of Distortion is a band representing community. We want to build a powerful union, welcoming everyone to be a part of this. The tour through Europe with Kamelot, Eleine and Myrath is the next step to meet new people and inspire them with our music. This will be lots of fun because I got to know the guys from Kamelot before and they are great. We can’t wait for this tour with them.
E&D: You’ve just finished a tour with Kissin’ Dynamite, Dynazty and Formosa. How was that experience for you?
Anna: This was an awesome experience. It was our second tour so far and to be honest I was still fighting the flue before we got started. And then Ax, our bass player broke his arm a week before tour start and we managed for Max, a friend of Aeon to jump in for him – plus we had a sub for Arro (Jim) on board, so this was pretty crazy but you know what? This is life – things don’t always go the way they’re planed but we made it happen. Met wonderful people and had a great time and experience.
E&D: How was it for Jim playing double duty on the tour?
Anna: We had one show in the summer, where Arro (Jim) played a double show with League Of Distortion and Kissin’ Dynamite and this was crazy, much work for him. So Jim said after this gig that he didn’t want to do “double duty“ again. We all understand this and want it to be enjoyable for him. So we got Olli on board, a friend of Jim who we had all met at our first show with League Of Distortion – a really great guy and top guitar player. Of course it was wired for Jim not to be on stage with us but as I said it will get challenging… But this doesn’t keep us from doing what’s best for the band and getting out there.
E&D: Did you play a lot of material from the new album and how did it go down?
Anna: Well, since we only have this one album…I’m gonna say, yes!
E&D: How did your tour with Caliban at the end of last year go and what were some of the highlights?
Anna: The main highlight for me was to simply be on tour with League Of Distortion. This was our first tour and it was super special and I’ll never forget this. The guys from Caliban were super low key and nice and so are Ghost Kid and Resolve. We felt very comfortable with them and the whole crew. This was a perfect first tour.
E&D: What have been some of the most memorable that League Of Distortion have ever played?
Anna: For me this was the very first show we played – last summer. It was in our release week. We had released 1 song: ‘Wolf or Lamb’, of course we had been active on social media but there was only one song to know. When we played the concert, there were fans in the first row, wearing self made League Of Distortion band merch, holding a banner with our logo and having the greatest time to be a part of this very first gig. For us it was a wonderful feeling. It felt like the 4 of us had been playing this music all our life and the crowd felt this too. They were head-banging, moshing and dancing, some were even singing along to the new songs and simply having a great time. It was incredible!!!
E&D: Who are your biggest influences as a musician?
Anna: Two of my personal influences next to women like Lzzy Hale or Melissa Etheridge are Dave Grohl and Chester Bennington.
E&D: What have been some of the most memorable moments of your musical career so far?
Anna: Wow… that’s a hard question. But thinking of it, the first thing that comes to my mind right now, is our video shoot from ‘Wolf or Lamb’. Having this one life opportunity to work with, touch, feed and be close to real wolves was extraordinarily special for me. I love animals and dogs are one on my favorite but these wolves we’re something else. They we’re tamed of course but still they had this “wildness” inside, unpredictable but proud and elegant, beautiful creatures. This memory will stay for ever.