Ahead of the release of their excellent new album (our review of which can be read here), we caught up with Ahab’s guitarist/lyricist Christian for a chat. See what happened below.
Can you introduce yourself and tell me a bit about the band?
I’m Christian Hector, guitar player and lyricist of Ahab. Daniel D. and me founded AHAB in 2004 and we already write music together since almost 20 years now. Ahab started out 11 years ago as a plain extreme/funeral doom band and evolved until today to a quite diverse doom band – from funeral to progressive and psychedelic doom. Ahab is all about interpreting novels with a nautical approach.
You’re currently getting ready to release your new album The Boats Of The Glen Carrig. Can you describe your writing and recording process for it?
We first choose and read the book we’d like to interpret. Afterwards we try to get into the mood of the book and then start to write songs and arrange them. At that moment the lyrics are being written and the songs are put into the right order so they fit the story of the book.
While recording, we and our producer Jens Siefert took quite some time to capture the right sound. Afterwards we recorded the new album in a semi-live-surrounding. Cornelius and Stephan recorded the rhythm section at the same time and Daniel and me did the same with the guitars. It was a bit harder than recording the last album, but it worked out just fine that way. It’s more harsh and dynamic that way – or authentic, if you will.
Were there any tracks that were more of a challenge to perfect?
I think the most challenging were The Weedmen and The Light In The Weed. But overall there are some parts that are easier to play and some that are really a pain in the ass.
Did you do anything different compared with your last album The Giant?
Yes, Daniel didn’t bring that much almost finished songs into the rehearsal room. We jammed a lot this time and took very much time for the arrangements of the songs.
I found the artwork for The Boats Of The Glen Carrig stunning – what’s the story behind it?
Well, we thought about what we could do. And I came up with an kind of art, I really liked at that time. The band was fine with this kind of quite strange and colourful kind of paintings. So we contacted the great Sebastian Jerke again and he did like it, too. So he read the book and adapted the colours and creatures to his style and scribbled his vision of The Boats Of The Glen Carrig. But yet there was something missing, so we (Sebastian and me) made up that strange sepia/hand idea. When he did that, it was mind-blowing.
Afterwards he started to paint it on canvas. I think it took from first stroke of pencil to the finished painting about 5 months. So what you see is actually another interpretation of The Boats Of The Glen Carrig – this time as painting art. Sebastian is just a brilliant illustrator and painter.
Later on this year, you’ll be embarking on the first leg of your tour in support of the album. What can fans expect from the shows?
We tend to play authentic shows. We’re not that much into big shows but into having the music speak for itself. As our music is pretty emotional and intense, it’s probably a much more intense live-feeling if the attendants just close their eyes and let us take him into our nautical world of big stories than to look at the musicians.
Is there any show you’re most looking forward to playing?
This time I think France could be interesting. We never played small club shows there. We’ve just been on two festivals in France. So that could be pretty nice. Also the good wine & food in France is not the worst thought. 😉
On the subject of live shows, what is the best show you’ve ever played?
Well Hellfest was pretty cool and the best show we did probably was the last one on Summer Breeze festival. Moskau was great as well. People there are extremely dedicated.
What about the strangest or weirdest?
Well one show was strange. I think it was in Geneve (CH). It was a hall for around 1000 people and 40 were in there. That was quite an interesting experience. But the venue was nice and we had fun with our friends of Esoteric and Ophis afterwards anyway.
And if you could play a show anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I’d love to play Teheran in Persia/Iran, I guess. I’ve met quite some Persian people in Germany and most of them were extremely nice. I think the completely different culture there would be very inspiring for all of us. Also most of the people in Teheran are said to be very open-minded and known for their hospitality.