Gothic Rock | Post Punk | Wave & Alternative

Interview with Christian Leding | Salvation AMP

salvation AMPIf  you’re into the underground of the 90’s, and if you’re a collector, probably the name The Home Of The Hitman is familiar to you. Christian Leding is back in this new decade with a new line-up and a new name under him arm. Salvation AMP is one of the most promising bands of this decade. They are mixing old school from the 80’s with the 90’s school, creating their own sound and being one of the most honest bands, musically speaking, of the third wave. Their organic sound makes them deserve very well the tag of gothic rock, with all the strength of those words. Christian talked about the past, present and the future. Here is a band that you can say is Gothic Rock with capital letters. Forget about traditional old school or any kind of description – they are just gothic rock. ►by Oskar Terramortis

First question is: how did you decide to create Salvation AMP, because 11 years have passed without activity since The Home Of The Hitman split up?

Christian Leding: Actually I always loved music. But to make music and especially to write songs and to work them out you need some special energy. At the end of the 90´s this energy had gone so thats why Hitman had split up at that time. And then in 2010 somehow I felt that this kind of energy has been back. The time had come to pick up the guitar again and now I hope this state will last for a while.

And you came back with Salvation back in 2010 with some new tracks, but at that time the name of the band was Salvation. I remember a discussion starting on my Facebook page about the name of the band, because there already was a UK band called Salvation. You decided to name your band Salvation AMP.

Christian Leding: I have chosen the name Salvation for very personal reasons. It took me a while to remember that there has been a UK band with the same name and I also didn´t know that this band still exists. So in respect of Salvation UK we changed the name into salvation AMP and that´s the whole story.

What did you with music during the silent years?

Christian Leding: After the split of Hitman an old fellow called me and asked if I would be interested in a cover-band. I said no, but in the end joined this band just to keep on playing the guitar.

Your demo is one of the best demos I received on this new decade, and not just because of the sound, but because you are a very talented band, and you sound organic and old school. How was the reaction outside when this demo came out?

Christian Leding: Coming back to „selfmade“ music there was a big difference to the times back in the nineties: the internet. It´s so easy to spread music via internet nowadays and to reach people from all over the world. This is the medium we always wished for in the past. There has also been a kind of revolution in the case of recording-equipment. I recorded the first demos with a very small 4-track digital recorder with internal guitar-preamp and a simple drum-machine. In the past we never had the privilege to record in professional studios, but the sound of these demos seemed to be much better than all recordings we did in the old days. I’ve been amazed by the reaction to this simple recordings and I realized that there are still people that love this kind of music today. And so I decided to look out for musicians to make the band complete and to play gigs. The drummer and the bass-player from the cover-band I played in for serveral years joined me and I´m very happy and proud to have these top-blokes in the band. They are very experienced and well skilled musicians and they are not coming from the so called „scene“. This is really an advantage especially in a scene that is in some cases based on a kind of image where the visual aspect is more important than the music in itself.

How many copies of this demo did you make?

Christian Leding: There have just been a few copies.

Last year we finally had your debut album called Hidden Faces, which in my opinion is a brilliant debut, and you remind me of those bands of the 90’s who deserved the label of ‘gothic rock’. How was the process behind Hidden Faces.

Christian Leding: Well Hidden Faces is the product of the energy I was talking about before. After finishing the songs we did absolutely everything concerning this album on our own. From recording, producing, mastering and finally to the distribution of the CD. Of course there are lots of albums with a better sound and production, but on the other hand we can say that this album is completely our own. When you´re listening to our music you are only listening to us, to the musicians who made it. So we can say that we are absolutely independent. We are not interested in money or intend that „the scene“ likes us. We´re doing the music we love. It´s as simple as that. And when there are people who really enjoy listening our songs the better it is.

Recently I noticed that you are playing the bass for another great band Reptyle. How did that happen?

Christian Leding: Yes the Reptyle thing! The story is that my longtime friend Roland who played the drums for Hitman many years joined Reptyle a couple of years ago. And when the bass player of Reptyle wasn’t able to play his instrument for a while they called me and asked me if I would play the bass-guitar for some gigs. So it was really fun to go on stage with Reptyle (often together with salvation AMP). Now the original bass-player is back and they are currently working on new material. But we are planning to play gigs together again in near future.

I read on your Facebook page that you are recording new tracks. What’s coming up next?

Christian Leding: To be honest: I don´t know what´s coming up next. Yes we are working on new stuff, but if there will be another album or maybe an EP…who knows. We are focussed on playing live. I think there is not enough real live music around, especially in that what is called the gothic-scene. There are so many laptops to be seen on „livemusic“ stages, so many bands doing a kind of halfplayback…so in that case we see ourselves as a classic rock´n´roll band. Admittedly using a drummashine sometimes in the case when our drummer is busy.

It’s inevitable to ask you about the Home of The Hitman. Why did you decide to split up?

Christian Leding: The Home Of The Hitman split up in 1999 when the energy was gone. We did the Hitman thing for at least 10 years. But in the end we were feeling empty and especially myself frustrated according to the fact that I found myself not having good ideas anymore. Looking back it seems that the hitman-days simply ran out.

Any plans to re-release The Home Of The Hitman albums? As far as I know they’re very hard to find.

Christian Leding: There are no plans to re-release the old Hitman-albums. Why should we? It´s the past. And due to the fact that I was the guitarist and songwriter of the Hitman-sounds, this spirit is always to be found in the works of salvation AMP. The only plan I had was to call my old fellows to reanimate Hitman just to play one or two gigs a couple of years ago. But it wasn´t possible to convince all members to do so.

You re-recorded the HOTH track Leviathan, and I podcasted it on Necromanteion. After Hidden Faces came out, people started to ask me why that track is not on your debut album. What is the reason?

Christian Leding: I always loved to play Leviathan, it was a Hitman favorite. After we were rehearsing this song with salvation AMP we put it in our live-set and also recorded a version of it during our Hidden Faces sessions. It´s not on the album because it´s a Hitman-song. So we decided to release it as a free download. We don´t grab on old songs to put it on new releases with one exception: She In The Rain is a very personal song I wrote back in 1990. We never released a proper version of it. So I felt that I had to do it on Hidden Faces.

How do you see the underground nowadays?

Christian Leding: That’s a difficult question. I have not been thinking about it yet and I see myself not as an expert on the scene. I´m just a listener and being that I can only say that music – any kind of music – has something to do with personal, individual taste. Good music touches me deep inside no matter from what time, genre or scene it is from.

You have been playing a few gigs in Germany. In a few weeks you will come to play in Helsinki to This Is Gothic Fest. Do you know anything about the Finnish scene?

Christian Leding: The only thing about the Finnish scene I know is that there are Silent Scream and Murnau’s Playhouse, two bands that we´re looking forward to share the stage with. The third band from Finland I’ve been listening to was Neu Zaum. I really like these bands. To be honest I really don´t know much about the scene in Germany, so it´s no wonder that I don´t know anything about the north European scenes. I don´t care where a band is coming from. I believe that music is beyond nationality.

ABOUT the New Wave
Can you tell us what are your favorite albums of the new millennium? Do you have any favorite artist or band in this new millennium? What do you think about the revival of old school and the new wave?

Christian Leding: Musically I grew up in the eighties and I have to admit that I´m a bit old-fashioned. But of course I recognize that there are still great bands on the run. Every band has got it´s special influences and heroes which can be heard in their sound or the way they dress or act. But I do have problems when bands are much to close to their idols. The best example for me in that case have always been The Merry Thoughts. They are so close to the early Sisters, they sound like an honorable Sisters-coverband even though they wrote their own songs. But anyway, the Merry Thoughts are history. And I have problems with bands with bad musical skills or even a lack of playing any instrument except a computer which isn´t an instrument in my eyes. New bands or albums? There are bands that follow the traditional way and I like many of them. But there are a few that sound different, especially Christine Plays Viola or Soror Dolorosa. I think these two bands are the ones from the new ages that are the most impressive for me. Real rock-bands with great live-performances and charismatic musicians and a unique sound.

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2013

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