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It has been quite a while now, since I did an Interview with HARASAI – created on September 13th 2011, published on October 6th 2011 with the upcoming new album “Psychotic Kingdom” one of the major topics back than. Today as I send out the questions for this Interview, March 19th 2013 we come down to a month before the second full-length record will finally be released – the official release party will take place at “Endzeit” metal pub in Essen-Altenessen on April 26th 2013. Several concerts and festival are scheduled for the entire open air season so far and new dates are added almost every week. What else is going on, guitarist and founding member Yannick Becker tells us now.

Yannick, last time I talked to Martin, guitarist Henrik Tschierschky – now member of your buddies WORDS OF FAREWELL, has just left and has been replaced by Dennis Baron (FINAL DEPRAVITY, CADAVER DISPOSAL).

At the given time we were in desperate need of a new guitarist for our upcoming shows, and Dennis seemed like a good fit. We knew he was capable of playing our stuff and also he’s a pretty cool dude, so we just went ahead and asked him if he wanted to help us out for a few shows. This line-up did work quite well, so we decided to keep playing together for a while. As he is very busy with his own band FINAL DEPRAVITY, it came to overlapping of gigs, Dennis being too stressed out for his own good and other complications. So we agreed that it would be best to focus on our respective main-bands, and that’s that.
Patrick was actually around for quite some time, he auditioned for us way before we had Dennis in the band, but back then he couldn’t really fit into the band in terms of his playing skills. About one year later when Dennis left, he auditioned again. Man that guy practised his ass off like there was no tomorrow; he literally made our jaws drop. And since he was a great guy the choice couldn’t have been more obvious, and we’re very happy he is now part of the HARASAI family!

HarasaiThe current line-up (from left to right) featuring Arne Laßen – Bass, Voice, Piano, Martin Wittsieker – Throat, Lyrics, Patrick Wassenberg – Guitars, Yannick Becker – Guitars and Nicolas Becker – Drums.

Three years have passed since the release of “The I-Conception”. Is there a main reason it took so long?

Yes, we’re poor, haha! No, but seriously, it is really hard to fund the production of an album all by yourself, especially when you’re still a student, like me at that time. Also when we finally hit the recording studios in December 2011, the whole process got kinda messy. We originally planned to record during the holidays, but that didn’t work out, so we had to stretch out the entire recordings until… April or May, I think, with weeks in between each recording session, due to our producer being very busy with his band ORDEN OGAN and my A-levels, amongst other stuff. It really was not as ideal as we would have wanted it to be.

This time you did not work with Dan Swanö (EDGE OF SANITY/BLOODBATH) again and got Sebastian Levermann of ORDEN OGAN as a producer – who has done the mastering?

Dennis Koehne, he also worked with bands like TIAMAT, LACUNA COIL and CALIBAN, and we’re very pleased with the result!

Do you like to reveal the guest-musicians we will be able to enjoy on “Psychotic Kingdom” (in the last Interview Jens Basten from NIGHT IN GALES and Niklas Pietsch from KADAVRIK were named)?

Jens Basten did a guest-solo in the opener “Resist To Rebuild”, and he did a kick ass job with that! I couldn’t even believe how much ass it kicked when I first heard it in the premixed version of that song. Niklas Pietsch however doesn’t have an appearance on the album, would’ve amazing though.

How come the new album will be published via Quality Steel Records/Soulfood Music Distribution and not via Firefield Records?

We got screwed over by Firefield, bad. They denied to pay us our part of the sales profits (which would have been incredibly meagre, but nonetheless), tried to lure us into giving up the rights for “The I-Conception” even after the contract expired and some other shady stuff. Oh, and the distribution service (Twilight Distribution) went bankrupt.

Is it still the case that you compose most of the songs and Martin writes the lyrics or has that changed with the new guitarist and bassplayer Arne on board?

No, I still write the majority of our music. Nico also adds some of his riffs and ideas, for instance the riffs for the song “Three Kings” were written entirely by him.

Talking about Arne Laßen – he does not only play bass and piano, he also has quite a voice. Can we expect more experiments in this field with the new songs?

Absolutely! He did such an awesome job with the vocals in “The Art Of The Sun”, it would be a shame to disregard talent like that. I think this song shows that Arne is capable of creating truly unique vocal arrangements, and we’re definitely going to expand on clean vocals. He has always been more like ‘the second singer’ instead of ‘the bassist’ to me really, haha.

How did you finance “Psychotic Kingdom”- I know about at least one rather unusual idea you guys had to raise money, as Arne and Nico competed in a TV quiz, which was also really fun to watch, did you have other creative ways to deal with this matter?

Hey I was in that too! Unfortunately apart from that quiz, we had to rely entirely on our savings. But I feel we’ve put them to good use.

Tell me about the upcoming release: Are you getting nervous at this point or do you feel confident with a date set for April 26th and a number of live dates ahead of you?

I don’t see why anyone would get nervous at this point, I’m freaking excited! I can’t wait for the album to finally be released, after all the blood, sweat and tears we’ve put into it. And damn, it feels so good to be back with new songs and being on stage again after that hiatus we took, so the more live dates the better!

HararaiHARASAI live at Matrix, Bochum – Courtesy of Daniel Horlbogen

What can we expect from HARASAI in the near future, how about a promo-tour and what festivals are planned by now?

We will definitely be entering the stage a lot for promoting the new release, for instance at the BREAK THE GROUND OPEN AIR in Ahnsbeck and NORD OPEN AIR in our hometown Essen. They will be part of a promo-tour, on which we’ll post more details soon!

Anything else you’d like to say?

Hm, I always wonder what the interviewee is supposed to answer to that question. I had a delicious sandwich earlier. Anyway, thank you for this interview, it’s been a pleasure, cheers!

Thanks as always for taking time to answer my questions!

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