Antihero Magazine recently spoke with Dominic Christoph of German Melodic Death / Cyberthrash ensemble CYPECORE.
Cypecore takes place in the year 2133. After World War III the human race got nearly exterminated by itself. Devastation. Major areas of the earth’s surface are contaminated with radiation. Synthetic bodyparts are absolutely essential for survival. High tech squads are fighting for resources. Cypecore is the incarnation of this apocalyptic scenario. Their soundtrack is brutal, martial but still melodic. Heavy guitar riffs, mechanical double bass parts, unique sounding vocals, electronic elements and cinematic sound settings are the fuel for the Cypecore machinaery.
ANTIHERO: What is Cypecore?
Dominic Christoph: We are a German Metal band. We play a genre we like to call “Sci-Fi Metal” which is stylistically a mixture between Fear Factory and Killswitch Engage with concept art behind it which involves Sci-Fi, hence the name Sci-Fi Metal.
ANTIHERO: What is the concept behind Cypecore?
Dominic Christoph: The concept basically is some end time after a World War III scenario where most of the planet’s surface is contaminated with nuclear waste and stuff and just a few survivors left trying to make it to the next day, that kind of a thing.
ANTIHERO: Could you just tell me a little bit about how the band was formed?
Dominic Christoph: The band was formed back in 2007 even as a hobby band of former members. It was a five piece, vocals, two guitars, bass and drums and now there is just two former members left. We have a new drummer, myself as a new vocalist and a new guitarist that just joined recently. That’s 10 years of constant evolution and here we are I guess.
ANTIHERO: There’s a singer prior to you?
Dominic Christoph: There was. He left in 2014 and I was casted to be the new I guess and I slowly evolved into it. I think we did a good transition on that part.
Dominic Christoph: We are in fact. The new record is basically done. We plan to release it come January of 2018 and it should be good. We’re basically putting the finishing touches on it right now.
ANTIHERO: Do you have a working title for the album?
Dominic Christoph: We’re not 100% sure yet. It’s going to be revealed soon though. We have some issues with the title and some Facebook engine that just cut us down based on that title so we should work on it but soon.
ANTIHERO: Okay. Each of your albums they’ve all been conceptual albums. Can you tell me at least what’s the concept, what’s the story around the new album?
Dominic Christoph: The new album’s going to revolve around people working as a unit and the band as a unit so to speak, an identity. Not an identity, an alliance rather. That’s basically what we are trying to name it, The Alliance. But there is some weird conspiracy thing going on with Facebook that cuts down the posts and stuff so we are not sure about that. But it’s basically about an alliance of people getting together when bad circumstances arrive and just helping each other out. That’s basically the concept of the next one.
ANTIHERO: Is each of the albums continuing a concept or is each album like its own concept?
Dominic Christoph: It’s kind of both. It’s not like we think about a continuous concept of each record but just one thing leads to another and it sort of is but it also like its own thing in its own rights compared to the others. You could say they are progressive but they really aren’t planned to be so it’s just coincidental I guess. The others could say they are progressive but they really aren’t planned to be so it’s just coincidental I guess.
ANTIHERO: Okay, that sounds fair. Can you tell me where did your sound derive from?
Dominic Christoph: Ooh, that’s a big one. I’m not too sure how to put that. I guess we got a lot of industrial sounds mixed with fast-paced verse parts mixed with choruses that are easy to connect to and easy to sing to. I think that’s basically it. We try to keep it simple and accessible while not repeating us too much. I guess that makes most of our sound.
ANTIHERO: Can you describe the songwriting process?
Dominic Christoph: The songwriting process is a bit of a bummer for me personally because the two main songwriters are Nils (guitars) and Tobi (drums) and they basically are putting together demos in their studio and they track like let’s say 70 songs and we thin them down until we have like 15 and start to work on them. Then I start writing lyrics and then we record them. Once we have 15 to 20 songs we pick out the best ones and we are trying to make them as perfect as we can and then we put them out at a given time.
ANTIHERO: What subjects inspire your lyric songwriting?
Dominic Christoph: My lyrical songwriting? Personal experiences in general but also like political stuff and environmental stuff. We try to keep it anonymous like not point a finger or put out our opinion on certain things but we try to raise the finger and be like, “Okay people watch out. If stuff keeps going on we might be in trouble in 10 years. “Trying to raise some awareness to stuff that’s happening and maybe trying to express some anger towards things that are happening right now.
ANTIHERO: Is it social issues in Germany and/or all around the world?
Dominic Christoph: It’s not only Germany. We try to be informed of what’s going on in the world. Of course, you can’t be but you can try. We’re trying to be ahead. I’m not getting up and saying okay, “I’m going to check the news now and write a song about it.” I’m just experiencing things and some of them come to my mind when I hear a song and I just figure out how I would express them. That’s basically how that goes for me.
Dominic Christoph: It depends. It depends what you want to achieve with it. I think for what we are doing right now I don’t have to necessarily step out of my comfort zone because I’ve been doing it for so long, but if I had to write a ballad or something and be like emotional about myself and be revealing about my personal stuff and I think had to. I’m not too sure we have to up until this point but maybe I’ll have to in the future. Who knows?
ANTIHERO: What would you say is your greatest musical achievements you’ve achieved since joining the band?
Dominic Christoph: I think I would have to pick playing my first Cypecore show at Wacken Open Air earlier this month. That was a big deal for me because growing up doing music for about 15 years now I always tried to get to the big stages and now we finally played some.
ANTIHERO: Do you pretty much play all around Germany or do you play all around Europe? What is the touring process like?
Dominic Christoph: There is no touring process so far. We’ve been restricted to single shows or weekend shows so far because booking is probably a little harder when the band doesn’t have a label like ours. We expand to Europe next year. We are playing the UK, the first show for myself outside of Germany and from there on we should see. I think the new record and the festival shows this year stepped up or let’s say opened some doors and we will see what the future holds. I mean I would love to tour Europe.
ANTIHERO: Okay. You said you don’t have a label. Who is releasing your music?
Dominic Christoph: We are basically releasing it on our own.
ANTIHERO: OK, Independent and/or DIY?
Dominic Christoph: All the stuff is DIY.
ANTIHERO: When you’re not writing, recording or performing what hobbies, activities do you enjoy?
Dominic Christoph: Myself, I like sports. I always liked sports. I used to train martial arts before I joined the band and I’m most of the time just watching MMA fights, boxing fights, kickboxing, some stuff like that or playing computer games. Hanging out with my girlfriend, walking the dogs. Just average joe kind of stuff I guess.
ANTIHERO: Who are some of your musical influences?
Dominic Christoph: My personal music influences… I mostly like super old school death metal. I grew up with bands like Dying Fetus, Six Feet Under, that kind of stuff. But the guys tend to be into more like melodic stuff like old, In Flames, Soil Work, etc. I enjoy that by now. I got to know it through them basically and yeah, that’s the roots I would say for us, for me, for the band.
ANTIHERO: Opinion of online streaming such as Spotify and Pandora?
Dominic Christoph: I think it’s where music is headed in the future. I think streaming is taking over. CD sales are stagnant or on a decrease I think. I’m not too sure. They might have recovered by now but I believe that streaming is the future. It’s just so convenient. I personally am using Spotify Premium. I get home, I check new releases that came out and I can just access them through Spotify. Just the other week there’s a new Dagoba record that I’ve been waiting for, like forever to release. The day it was released I could just listen to it without going to a store, grab it for like ten bucks. I think it’s a good thing but I guess it kind of cuts the labels off because all of the music is easily accessible and you don’t really need to have a super large area you cover with your CD sales, you know?
ANTIHERO: I love Spotify. But I also think Spotify hurts the artist thought because I mean people aren’t buying the albums they’re streaming it so you’re not making that much money off of that. But I guess if you’re a DIY you don’t really have a label for people. At least it’s exposure for you guys.
Dominic Christoph: It is and we do get a cut from Spotify. It might not be the biggest. For instance, if you’re a Madonna or somebody who gets like 16 million plays a week that’s not a lot of money compared to selling records but when you’re a small band and you got like $400, $500 every three months, that’s not too shabby.
ANTIHERO: Between that and YouTube I think two of the best inventions musically ever made. Just because I go to YouTube, find a band and then I’ll go to Spotify and check out their album. I’m a big fan of those two.
Dominic Christoph: Oh yeah, exactly, absolutely. I think that’s the biggest difference for discovering new music. But it could hurt you in the long run since you’re not making that CD money that you used to make.
ANTIHERO: Who designed the album cover artwork?
Dominic Christoph: It was a Polish freelancer artist named Bojana Vojvodic. We found a picture I think it was on Pinterest or something like that we contacted her and bought the picture and changed the colors a bit. The original was like bluish-purple.
ANTIHERO: Most underrated band?
Dominic Christoph: Most underrated band? Right now, that’s a tough one. I think Turbid North are coming up big now in the states if I’m not mistaken. It’s a death metal project I got to know from Chris who plays bass for Unearth and Turbid North. I think their third record was insane. They should be bigger. I hope they will be soon.
ANTIHERO: Basically, is there anything else that you would like to add that we haven’t talked about.
Dominic Christoph: Not really. If that’s all you want to know I’m happy that I could help. It’s my first time of being interviewed from the states so that’s neat.