Long Distance Calling | Interview with Jan Hoffmann

[Long Distance Calling]

Hi Jan! Your new album is out on the streets right now and it’s open to public scrutiny, and from what I’ve been reading it’s overly getting some great reviews. Which is harder in your opinion, writing and recording an album, or releasing it out into the world for everyone to hear and judge?

“Well it's both part of the game. The first part (writing and recording) is the active part, the release is the passive part for the band. The writing process of the new album was very easy this time and we are happy to get all this good reviews.”

In preparation for this interview, I re-read an interview you did for us around the time your previous work “Avoid the Light” was released where you said, “The songs work without vocals, but we are still open to give it a try when we meet the right guy”. I take it the right guy have never crossed with Long Distance Calling, and to tell you the truth that’s a bit of a relief ‘cause it could change the very essence of what most people have come to appreciate in the band. Are you still considering adding a full-time singer if you eventually find the right person?

“From our point of view right now I don’t think we would not really consider having a fix vocalist. The new album shows very well that we are on the right way but we want to keep the future open for us.”

Let’s leave that issue behind and move forward to the new album, and I first need to ask you why a self-titled record at this point, does it holds any significance for the band?

“Well it’s the third album and this is always a very important one for a band, so it's kind of a statement. But it also follows the concept of the album which deals with space, time and distance which goes along very well with the name of the band. So it's a bit both of it.”

The new album builds on the shifting dynamics and subtle instrumental textures of “Avoid the Light”, but adds more nuances and moods. There’re elements on this record that stretches to other musical genres like classic rock, jazz and even funk. What prompted that direction? Was it a conscious effort to break away from genre standards or it was just circumstantial?

“Good question. We just wanted to have a more open minded approach to the album and move a little forward but we didn’t say "hey, we need some funk on it" or something like that. This just happened, there were just no rules for this album. There is as well more electronics on the album, it just happened to fit very well to the whole pool of sounds and influences.”

Also, there seems to be a more blissful mood to this record, I mean whereas “Avoid the Light” was the sound of a person depressed and in sorrow, the new album sounds like that same person finding comfort and accepting life as it is. Do you feel that the new songs are more high-spirited so to say?

“I agree, it's more uplifting or positive but still melancholic this time. ‘Avoid The Light’ was pretty dark and the new one is a bit more kind of ‘this is the time we got so let's make the best out of it’. But it’s still pretty deep and much more detailed.”

Which song on the record are you the most proud of or the most connected to, and why?

“I just can speak for me personally, so I would choose the album opener "Into The Black Wide Open", it's the essence of the new album, bringing new elements to the band's sound while showing all our trademarks at the same time and I love the guitar melody in the end of the song a lot.”

It’s becoming a tradition for the band to invite a singer to guest on one of their songs in each new release and this time it is John Bush of Armoured Saint and Anthrax fame providing vocals for "Middleville". How did you hook up with John Bush, you simply invited him?

“Basically yes. We asked a guy from our US label if he got any contact to John and he did, so we asked him and John was into it, which was awesome. We are very happy to have him on the album as he is an awesome singer and person.”

His performance is as always remarkable, are you big fans of Armoured Saint and Anthrax?

“Yes we are, John has a very unique and strong voice and he always delivers a great performance. He is the master to find the balance of power and great harmonies at the same time.”

This seems like a good opportunity to get this out of my system, but I’ve always imagined how Metallica would sound like nowadays if Bush ever accepted their invitation to join them. Do you think that would be a remarkable partnership?

“I really don’t know :) of course he is a way better singer in comparison to James Hetfield but it’s strange to imagine someone different singing for Metallica. James Hetfield is so much associated with this band. Everything happens for a reason.”

What are your plans for the immediate future?

“Thanks for the interview! We want to play as much as possible with this new album to get more people into our universe. Spread the word!!”

David Alexandre