STILL PATIENT? … Now and then
Classic Goth Rockers from the 90’s scene, doing some great music in the New Millennium. Still patient rises again, and they have a new album called “Shape Shifters” this album has an interesting combination of experience, and the excitement of being an active band again. They are ready and willing to write a new page…
Thanks to the band for sharing some words with us (and you, of course) about the old days, their new album, and more! ► by Daniel Olvera
What can you tell us about the origins of the band?
Andy Koa: It was in 1988 when I met a guy named Thorsten (Th. Kraniny) in a club and found out that he came out of the same hometown and that he liked the same kind of music like me. And when we were talking about the great bands of that time and the lack of new material, we decided to form a band – without any knowledge of playing an instrument. We took some guitar lessons, which I gave up quite early, focusing on keyboards and drum machines. This is how it started. We began to write some very simple songs and recorded them on tape and with overdubbing we added some more guitar and synth tracks. All very simple but for us it was a great thing. After a while we had a guy playing bass and we already had a gig on a birthday party in a garage. The bass player left and we found a second guitar player who we wrote some of the first songs like Agoraphobia and Mascara Osiris back in 1990. We had our first concert in 1991 and after some shows he left and we found Bec Kes to be our new man on guitar. Also T. Kaluza joined the band on Keyboards. After writing some more songs, we recorded the debut album Salamand in 1992 and played some more shows and worked on new material to record the second album Cataclysm which lead us to play more and bigger shows on festivals all around Europe.
What’s the meaning of both the name of the band and the original logo?
Andy Koa: As mentioned before, when we started the band we had the feeling that there was a great lack of new material from our mainly influencing band, and so we thought it would be a good idea to name the band STILL PATIENT? to be the question if you are still patient to wait for new music. The logo was designed by me in the very beginning and it symbolizes the impaled beauty (a woman) over a solar eclipse. The hour glass stands for time is running out, completed with the initials of the band name.
This one is for original members) Still Patient was your first band?
Andy Koa: I had no idea how to make music, so Still Patient? It was my first approach to music making. Same thing for Th. Kraniny.
Bec Kes: Still Patient? was not my very first band, as I made some experiences playing in bands before. But it was the first band in which I seriously worked on writing Songs, recording them and playing live shows.
What can you tell us guys about those musicians who inspired you to start a band, and to make some good music?
Andy Koa: For me the initial influences came from bands like The Sisters Of Mercy, The Mission and Fields Of The Nephilim. I remember that I started to listen to Gothic Music when I got a tape from a friend with some Songs of The Sisters, Cassandra Complex and Joy Division. That made me curious for more and since them I am connected to this kind of music.
Bec Kes: Basically I came from a totally different Scene of Rock Music. When I heard Deep Purple “Speed King” for the first time (at the age of 12 years), I was totally flashed by the energy of this song. And Ritchie Blackmore on Guitar was my influence to start learning to play Guitars. A couple of years I mainly listened to Hard Rock and Heavy Metal (I still do like). Later at the Age of around 18 or 19 years (in the end of the 80’s) I discovered Bands like New Model Army, followed by Fields of the Nephilim and The Mission.
Pogue-o: My very first “Idol” was Elvis Presley, which had to give way to bands like AC/DC, Motorhead when I was around 10 or 12 years old. But the real impact for me making music by myself came in the beginning of the 80’s, encouraged and inspired by the multiplicity of Punk bands and the early “Neue Deutsche Welle” (New German Wave). Bands like Fehlfarben, Abwärts, Einstürzende Neubauten, Dead Kennedys, Joy Division, The Clash, UK Subs or Exploited took it emotionally to the point for what I have been searching for in music. And this energy is still very present for me.
Please share some of your impressions about the German Gothic scene in the 90’s
Andy Koa: I have to say that it was quite different to the scene nowadays. It was a lot bigger but also a bit introverted. Compared to today we had much more people going to concerts and we had much more places to go to listen to our kind of music. But I also think that, even the scene is quite smaller today, nowadays it is much more like a family. There are lots music enthusiasts around who are very thankful for people keeping the scene alive. In the 90’s there were a lot of bands doing the same we did, which made us one of a hundred. I think that today the quality is the measure. We met a lot of new friends which confirm that what we are doing now is exactly what they have been waiting for years.
Bec Kes: In the 90’s I had sometimes the Impression that a lot of People were into the Gothic Scene because it was “en vogue”, whereas now I think the People are really enthusiastic for the music and the Lifestyle of Gothic.
Pogue-o: I remember the scene in the 90’s was very open, curious and tolerant. They played classic Batcave/Gothic and Psychobilly, Punk, New Wave, New Romantic, Industrial and Pop in the same club on the same night. And you were happy that you found a place where you were tolerated being yourself. It was a complete new, particular and vibrant lifestyle … far away from what I sense today.
How you can describe the first show of Still Patient?, how did you felt back then?
Andy Koa: Not considering the first gig on that particular birthday party, we had our first real show in 1991 with DAS ICH, and a band which renamed itself to UMBRA ET IMAGO a few years after. It was a great experience and you might understand that it was THE big thing for us. It was our start as a live band.
You were close, or even friends with other local bands in that time?
Andy Koa: The bad thing in the 90’s, as far as I can recall, was, that the bands mostly stayed separate in their backstage rooms without getting in contact or speak to each other a lot. Especially if we played with bigger and successful acts, we had too much respect to talk to them – quite silly, right? We met some bands and became friends and also stayed in contact for several years – a lot of them are met again when we started to reactivate our activities, which is really great.
How did you managed to get a record deal with Hyperium?
Andy Koa: We sent them our first Demo Tape and some new Home Recordings, they liked it and invited us to sign the contract. Not a very big story to tell.
I remember “Cataclysm” especially because it was my first Still Patient? album, and I like it because you came with synths and electronic rhythms, mixed with classic Gothic Rock style, it was refreshing and different. Did you used to listen to some industrial bands back then?
Andy Koa: For me it wasn’t quite interesting to listen to other bands doing the same kind of music. Some of them I liked but most of them I found a bit boring. I got my personal influences from various genres and I would say that was one of the reasons that made the sound of Still Patient? more unique. We always liked to add more electronic sounds to our songs to make them diverse than the classic Goth Rock. I also used to listen to some EBM bands, when they were not that uninspiring like today, and to some Metal and Industrial stuff too.
Believe it or not, your band was very well known in Mexico in the 90’s: Tracks like “Mascara Osiris” “Agoraphobia” and “Praying Game” were popular in Gothic nights, and it was because your music was aired in a Gothic radio show of Mexico City called “Gaveta 12” I know your music thanks to the good-old tape trading! Did you know something about fans in USA, and Latin America?
Andy Koa: It’s quite hard to believe, but we had no idea. There was nothing like social media back in the days, the communication was very basic. The first time I heard about the success of some of our songs abroad was, when a girl from South Africa told me, that Agoraphobia was a club hit there for a lot of years. And of course that made us very proud. When we disbanded in 1999, I was quite away from the scene and did not monitor any activities. I guess that was the time when all that happened. I heard that the scene in Latin America is quite big but we never really had the chance to find that out by ourselves. I also met a DJ based in USA and a guy who moved to Germany from the US who told me that we have a lot of fans there from the beginning.
Bec Kes: Yes, it is really great to know that apparently we have fans in those parts of the earth. Communication in the 90’s was totally different. From time to time we received a fan letter from Portugal or the UK, but not that often like now that we get feedback through current social media platforms. We received very few information from our record label about sales, such as we sold a few CD’s in Australia or somewhere else abroad. We couldn’t really get a clear picture of where our fans were located.
In the early years of The New Millennium Gothic Rock was very, very, deep in the underground; this was due to the disappearance of those record labels who were working with the Gothic bands… How did Still Patient? cope with the arrival of The New Millennium? It was a hard time for you guys?
Andy Koa: We disbanded just before the New Millennium; just because we had the feeling it was time to stop. For me the scene got to superficial and so did the music. It was a kind of sell out and I had the feeling that simple structured electronic music was more interesting than songs with melodies and substance. On the other side I had the feeling that the former life style degenerated to style – it seemed for me, that it got more important what you wear than what you hear. So we skipped the New Millennium and all of its side effects.
Bec Kes: When we disbanded in 1999, I actually knew that I was going to be a father and most of the time between 2000 and 2010 I focused on my Job and my Children. I noticed that the Gothic Scene had changed, but I definitely had other priorities at that time.
Last year you released “Selective Perception” It has a new logo, and some new perspective regarding to your sound, and I really liked this work. How did you felt about this work? How many years did you spent without making some new recording? What was the status of the band before this release?
Andy Koa: The songs on Selective Perception were written quite fast. When we started to get together as a band again, with new and old members, we had to find out if we still have the ability to write songs which will work for us and for the genre. We never had the intention to do strictly Gothic Rock, we just wanted to do music and see what will be the result. Once we found our new sound, the song writing process went quite fast. Also because we had the chance to play the Wave-Gotik-Treffen in 2013, which put us into a situation we hadn’t planned, we had to work a lot on the old material as well as on the new songs. So basically some of the songs which we published on the EP were written in very short time. In the beginning it wasn’t even planned to release an EP but a full album. But there was a huge demand after the first shows for a new release which also presents our new sound. And so we decided to put those 5 songs together on that EP, also because we thought they fit perfectly together.
I’m glad to listen to this full-length album of yours; it took only a year to have this full album. Who was in charge of the recording and the mixing of “Shape Shifters”?
Andy Koa: Writing an album always takes a lot of time. But we already had some rough versions of some of the new songs ready to be finalized. Since a lot of years and with our experiences from other project and bands we have played after the first end of Still Patient?, we are recording all the tracks by ourselves which gives us full control of the quality and time needed. We are not earning our living from making music, so time is short. We are working very target-oriented. After all recording is done we book the studio and let a professional guy doing the rest of the work. Which works out quite fine.
I like the energy of this album, because it feels totally like a new work, new stuff, a mature perspective of an experienced band trying with new sounds; but at the same time it is very loyal to the essence of Still Patient?. How did you felt during this entire creative process; while writing new songs, and recording this new album?
Bec Kes: It was definitely a good feeling to get back into the creative process and working on new songs with new band members. That was an outstanding experience for me.
Pogue-o: For me it was a great experience and a complete new way of composing. It was an exciting challenge to merge my musical past with this band. Although this genre wasn’t a complete unknown territory for me: In the end of the 80’s I was playing with Guido in a Dark Wave band called Giants Causeway.
Andy Koa: Our creative process is quite different from song to song. Sometimes it takes just a couple of days and sometimes it takes some weeks to finalize a song. And sometimes you get that feeling if a song really works. We never release songs we don’t get that particular feeling – We would never put filling songs on an album. But it always depends on how the listeners feel about it. Of course we are happy with the album but you never know if other people think of it the same. And we have already started working on songs for the next one.
It’s time to talk about the lyrics in this new work of the band… Please share some thoughts about it, What do you want to express through your lyrics in this new album?
Andy Koa: As the writer of all of the lyrics it seems to be fair to say, that they all have a meaning for me. But as I have learned from some feedback, most of them are understood quite different from what I wanted to say. And this is what makes it much more interesting. It doesn’t matter what I want to say but what people interpret into it. Some of them are autobiographic, some of them come from fictitious inspirations and some of them are more ironical than you would think in the first place.
Do you have some plans for live shows in the near future, in order to support to this new release?
Andy Koa: We did some album release shows on the past weekends and the next concerts in Germany are scheduled for spring 2016. That gives us some more time to work on new songs for the upcoming release. Currently we are also working on some videos and some other activities to promote the album.
You are using the social media, and I think that you have noticed to some new bands. Do you like some of the new Gothic Rock bands? Do you have contact, or maybe a friendship with some of them?
Andy Koa: Of course we are monitoring the scene since the day we got back on track. We met a lot of old fellows who are still active and we met a lot of interesting new bands keeping the flag of Gothic Rock flying. Most of them are good friends now and we try to support each other wherever we can.
Finally I have some kind of Quiz for you.. I will give you some word and you can share your thoughts about it….
Andy Koa: An almost deserted island in the sea of the mass-market Gothic Culture.
Pogue-o: Siouxsie, Sisters, Fields, self-designed clothes and eyeliner
Pogue-o: Joy Division, the first contact with the scene.
Andy Koa: Never made a big difference between PP and GR (Sorry!). When I started listening to dark music, nobody cared about labeling.
Pogue-o: Alien Sex Fiend, Specimen – A constantly recurring resurrection 😉
Andy Koa: The right place to park the Batmobile.
Bec Kes: Bedroom for bats?
Pogue-o: Blessing and curse… but one of the most important ways of communication nowadays.
Andy Koa: Pervasive – And we still need to learn how to use it for the personal and for the greater good.
Bec Kes: What you cannot find here, has not yet been invented.
Pogue-o: Life, Nature, Friends…. listening to music 😉
Andy Koa: Life
Andy Koa: Adaption, illusion, delusion.
Bec Kes: Our new album. I will never forget the great time we had when writing those songs.
Pogue-o: Dream world versus reality, responsibilities versus freedom … and our new album!
Andy Koa: Change.
Pogue-o: …it will outlive me
Andy Koa: The heydays of Gothic Rock. The rest I forgot.
Pogue-o: A very creative and experimental phase of my life
Pogue-o: Good for take-along music, but not for listening to the real sound of music.
Andy Koa: Boon and bane.
Bec Kes: Nice to listen to when doing sports or the like. But I definitely prefer CD or even Vinyl.
Andy Koa: Sometimes.
Pogue-o: Yes please 😉
Pogue-o: Absolutely essential!! The most intense exchange between the band and the fans
Andy Koa: The fuel that keeps our engine running.
Bec Kes: The main reason why I ever joined a band.
I saw the video clip of “We Came In Peace” and I noticed to some very familiar faces (talking about the Gothic scene) The video was shot in England, please share some words about the shooting of this video clip and the special guests featured in it.
Andy Koa: When I wrote the lyrics for We Come in Peace I had the idea to dedicate the song to all the people out there looking a bit different and sharing the same love for the scene and the music. The song was finished just a couple of weeks before we had the chance to play at the Sacrosanct Festival in Reading and I thought it would be a great idea to ask the people there to be part of the video clip. I knew there will be a lot of familiar faces there and so we asked all the visitors if they want to come on the next day to help and support us. We had a small corner in the nearby pub which we could use and we filmed a lot of people each singing a line of the song. On the same evening we had some more volunteers who wanted to be part and we did some filming in the backstage area of the venue. One day we were off to visit London and especially Camden Town, which had a great meaning for the scene in the 90’s, and I took the camera and asked various people on the street if they want to be part a music video – and a lot of them agreed. That’s why we have some strangers from Camden Town in the clip as well. After coming home and putting the footage together we had still some parts to be filled and so I asked some close musicians if they wanted to be in it too. Felix of Crematory is a very close friend of mine and when he came over for a visit I asked him too.
We have made a lot of new friends in Reading and all over the place and it was big fun and a great experience to have all this people involved helping us to make it happen. Mainly because this song is directly dedicated to all of them, and the people of the scene.
Thank you very much guys, please give us some words for the readers of Gothic Rock.com:
Andy Koa: First of all we would like to thank all of our supporters and friends, all music lovers and enthusiasts who are keeping the scene alive with their sweat and blood. Without them, the scene for this kind of music would be dead for years. And to all the music lovers around the world: Don’t spend your time on Youtube watching concerts, go to real shows and support the bands and the promoters. If you won’t, there won’t be smaller festivals or shows in the future with interesting bands apart from the big festivals where the line-up is the same year by year.
And please give us a like on our Facebook page – this is very important for many reasons.
Thanks for supporting us, and to the supporters!