interview with The Styx Shipping Society

Could you explain your music to someone that haven't heard you? P. Gottfried: A mix between extreme (Black-) Metal, Rock and a handfull of atmosphere.

What genre do you feel you are? P. Gottfried: In reviews, our music was called Black'n'Roll or Black Punk... But I guess, you probably can put us into the wide genre of black metal.

Why did you pick that particular style? P. Gottfried: Because it's the music we've all been most interested in once we started to make music and beyond.

How was the band formed? P. Gottfried: TSSS was officially founded in spring of 2007 by Fabian, Sven and myself. But the name „The Styx Shipping Society“ existed much longer in our heads. It took us some time to actually form the band. Back then we went together to the same festivals, concerts and parties. So we always talked about the way music should sound like if we ever really start a band together. Besides that, we sketched, discussed and rejected many bandlogos. In the year 2006 it became more serious, since Sven and Fabian began to meet each other for jamsessions. In the beginning just bass and drums. After first more or less bad tries, Sven bought himself a guitar and tried to play guitar, which came out is much more effective to write songs! :) At that time it was already obvious that I will be the vocalist, since I don't play any instrument. After we found a really good guitar player (F. Wenz), Sven changed back to bass and the band was complete. 

Who does what in the band? P. Gottfried: Today the band consists of Sven (Bass), Fabian (drums), Martin (guitar) and myself on the microphone. F. Wenz has left the band to study medicine in 2010.

Where are all band members from? P. Gottfried: We're from Germany. To be more exactly from the „Fichtelgebirge“ which means something like spruce mountains and is located in the north east of Bavaria.

What was the ambitions (Bestrebungen) of the band when you started? P. Gottfried: Our ambitions at the beginnig were just musical self-gratification. We want to express ourselves in an artistic way without getting stopped by any musical genre borders. If people like our music as well, it is okay. If not, we don't care! That's how we still feel today.

What made you call the band "The Styx Shipping Society"? P. Gottfried: Humanity always made a big thing out of dying and life after death. Whole religions and cults were founded out of this theme. For explanation or just for money remains to be undeclared. In this context I always thought of the Styx to be the perfect symbol for the inevitable end and human hope of some kind of new start. But mainly because the old greek myths where the skipper Charon had to be payed to get to the other side. So even the phrase „Only the death is for free“ wasn't true. For our bandname we wanted to put the economic part into the front and export it into present.

How old are you?

P. Gottfried: I am 31 years old.

Sven: I'm about to become 29.

Fabian: I am 28 years old.

Martin: I just became 25.

What got you started in music? At what age did you start playing?

P. Gottfried: In my case it was Fabian. We knew each other from school. And 2001 Fabian started to work for the same company. It took a week and I knew of his plans starting a band and he could imagine me as a singer... I don't know why he came to ME to find a vocalist. And as far as I know he didn't even have his own drumkit at that time... The career of our first band „Lilith's Stream“ didn't go much further than naming the band and six rehearsals...

Sven: It was a friend of mine who started to play guitar. He always wanted me to start playing bass. After a concert of Cannibal Corpse, I realised bass can really be played in a cool and complex way! It doesn't always have to be the boring dumbass bass lines. So I started teaching myself at the age of 19.

Fabian: At the age of 15 a friend at school taught me the first steps how to play the drums. I started teaching myself at this time.

Where and how often do you rehearse? P. Gottfried: We do our bandpractises in the parents house of Fabian. It depends how often we rehearse. Ordinary at songwriting time we come together once in two weeks. But before shows we have to at least double them up! :)

Who writes the music who writes lyrics? P. Gottfried: I write the lyrics all by myself. Everybody of us takes place in writing new songs, so there is not ONE songwriter. So the way of writing varies. Once we get into new songs with jamming together, sometimes one of us writes a complete song and the others just change little parts.

What's the first step when making a new song? P. Gottfried: Like I already said, it depends. In case of our new record for example, we had the lyrics, which I divided to the other three bandmembers. So they had the words in their heads and wrote their own personal song in the mood they thought was fitting the lyrics.

Have you made any albums?/If yes what are they?

P. Gottfried: Our upcoming minialbum is about to be released and is going to be called „Auf aschegrauen Straßen“. It contains five songs and those will be our first songs with german lyrics.

2012 - first „full-length“ record „City on fire – or how to awake the beast in men“

2008 - debut mini-album „A grand opening for a coming end“

2007 - demo with two self-recorded songs

What are your songs about? P. Gottfried: I always try to create an interesting plot with my lyrics. On the other side they should just work well and have a message.  The lyrics of our recent work „Auf aschegrauen Straßen“ deal with a world inspired by Cormac McCarthys „The Road“. In which some survivers try to find their way through a world coverd in ashes.

What are your sources of inspiration?

P. Gottfried: In case of my lyrics, which often start with a poem, it can be various things. Sometimes a heard sentence, personal experiences, a good book (like for „Auf aschegrauen Straßen“), lyrics of other artists and of course the fresh written music of my badmates.

Sven: Simply listening to other music. Personal moods are always helpful as well!

What is your favorite crappy instrument?

P. Gottfried: I think that's the guiro, which Sven wrote into „Ich sah sie tobend sterben“. It really looks pretty crappy!

Sven: There is no crappy instrument! Instruments can just BE played crappy!

Where was your first gig? Where was the latest gig? P. Gottfried: Our first gig has been at the „Eternal Frost Festival 2009“ and our latest show was at the „Eternal Frost Festival 2013“. It's a Underground-Indoor-Festival in Naila (nearby Hof).

How do you get psyched up for a gig? Whats your Pre-show ritual?

P. Gottfried: In cronical order → drink a beer together, some stupid phrases, shutting up, focus and start the show

Sven: I would say, getting dressed is our ritual. It always gets me nervous, when I start trying tie my tie backstage. :)

Fabian: I spend a lot of time for warming up as well.

When you are on stage, what do you fear most then?

P. Gottfried: Fear is probably the wrong word. You have already lost, if you go with fear onto stage. With a certain bit of self-irony, nothing can happen to disorder you. Technical problems or forgetting lyrics is the most „threatening“ thing that can happen to me as a singer...

Sven: Playing songs faster than I'm able to... ;)

Fabian: I'm not scared of anything, anymore! We had it all! Broken sticks, fallen over cymbal stands, broken stage monitors... It became routine if something goes wrong! ;)

What places will you be playing in in the imidate future? P. Gottfried: Recently there are no upcoming shows, but we are always willing to perform!

Do you have any clips on YouTube? P. Gottfried: You can find our official Youtube-Channel here: Besides liveclips and listening samples we put out some videos to our recent studio recording. Soon we will release a Video to one of our new songs!

Do you have any webpages?

our last fm -

where you can listen to some older songs FOR FREE!

our facebook -

How do you feel about the downloading of music instead of buying albums? P. Gottfried: I do both. I buy songs online but buy Cds at the record store as well. For me these are two different shoes. A downloaded Song can NOT replace a CD or Vinyl. But in most cases I download music just to see if I like it or not. If I like what I hear, I always buy the album.

How do you view the musicindurty of today? P. Gottfried: The word „industry“ tells you everything. If it's different to the 60's or 70's, I can't tell but it's definitely not a buisness to get rich with our kind of music...

Besides your own music, what genres and bands do you listen to?

P. Gottfried: I try not to limit my taste of music to any genres. I consume what I like. Wether it is Black-, Death- or Doom-Metal, Blues, Folk, Punk, Singer/Songwriter, etc. - I don't care. At the moment, I listen to Dinner auf Uranos „50 Sommer - 50 Winter“, Teho Teardo & Blixa Bargeld „still smiling“, First Aid Kit „the lion's roar“ und Enslaved „the sleeping gods“.

Sven: My alltime favourite will be Frank Zappa, but recently I found a band called Maximum The Hormone, which I really like. But in general I listen to music with great bass lines like: Red Hot Chili Peppers, Mudvayne, Sadus, 60's & 70's Rock,...

Fabian: My favourite Band is Dornenreich. The music I listen to is devinitely metal! But I also listen to bands of every kind of genre! For me it's important that it sounds intereting to me in any kind of way!

Have you been part of any other projects?

Sven: I started my musical “carrer” with Martin in a band called STORM HARVEST which doesn't exist anymore. Right now besides TSSS I am in a band called ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP ( ) where I play bass and a little bit of keyboard.

Fabian: Like P. Gottfried mentioned my first musical project was called “Lilith's Stream”. The second band I was active in, was called “Deception Path”, a melodic death metal band. But the same here, after one year the band split up. TSSS is my first band in which I can run free my musical ideas. Since then I received some offers to play with another band, but I always rejected, to be able to focus on TSSS!

What do you work with outside of the band and the music?

P. Gottfried: At work, I am a production assistant at a company which, for example, produces ceramic hip joints. In my private time I spend a lot time with my family and the rest of the time I try to invest into writing.

Sven: I'm working at a company which produces electric motors. And I'm in a department which works with lathes.

Fabian: I work at the same company and business area as P. Gottfried.

What would you do if there was no music?

P. Gottfried: I would have a BIG, empty shelf in my living room... :)

Sven: Probably I would build even more weird, wooden/steel („art“) things.

What do you feel is the best live band you've seen?

P. Gottfried: For me, as a spectator, to a perfect live performance belongs the whole situation. One of my favorites was a gig of Brand Bjork (Kyuss) with his formerly backing band. The show was a short term gig in a small youth-center with probably 40-50 people. The whole event was like a party on which an international artist picks up his guitar and plays some songs. A totally relaxed atmosphere, where various people from different genres had an exellent time.

Sven: That's probably Kittie, but not only because they're hot girls, they just ROCK!

Fabian: There are so many! It depends on the genre you are choosing. But if I'm asked to choose ONE band it's probably Behemoth. That brutality, sphere an musical abilities... That band has everything I love!

What are your goals with your music? P. Gottfried: Like I said before, it was always our goal to create music we would buy ourselves. Of course we would be happy to excite some more people for our music. It also would be nice to earn enough money with the band to pay bills like CD production, studio, etc..

What are the plans for the rest of the year? P. Gottfried: The new songs have been mastered by Christoph Brandes at the Iguana Studios. As soon as we hold the finished CDs in our hands, we will try to get them to our fans. We also will send some copies to magazines, to hear their opinions of our new mini-album. We want to play our new songs live as well, but we don't have any concrete gigs planned. If there is an upcoming show, you will see it in our news on fb or our Homepage.

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