Acoustic Fantasy Folk adventurers Baumbart, set their initial course back in 2010 in Germany, and embarked in what has now become a steady and sincere 10 years musical journey.
Since then, their two full albums “To the Shores of Nórthór” and “Return Home”, numerous live appearances, their musical and individual originality have earned them waves of loyal fans as well as established them as great musicians and personalities.
As usual, a huge *Thank You* to the band for their time, friendliness and spellbinding siren song like melodies!
As I traveled off the coast of Ellínór where I had the pleasure of meeting one of the Baumbart Fantasy Folk Captains, M. A. BRODE, I leave you to imagine a far away land and enjoy the interview below.
MAtW – Hi Marc, how are you? It is so good to finally be able to sit and have this virtual meeting! Thank you for taking the time to talk to me!
MB – Heyho! Yes, it’s great. Thanks to you, too, for your interest in Baumbart and Co.
MAtW – First things first! How would YOU describe Baumbart? (as sound and vibe and mission)
MB – Explaining Baumbart always was kinda hard, because we have so many influences from so many genres, that you can’t really say, what Baumbart is. But our songs tell stories and try to take the listener into the fantasy world Ellínór, where dwarfs, seafarers and others have their epic adventures.
MAtW – How did you guys get together and become Baumbart ?
MB – Actually we met in school. Most of us were on the same school, some even in the same class. And one day, we began to make music together and after almost ten years now, even after a few changes of the line-up, we’re still rather close friends than just band colleagues.
But it started back in 2010 already, when Julian and I decided to cover a few Folk Metal songs. That’s by the way where our name comes from, it’s Baum (German ‘tree’) for Julian, because he was very lazy and was not moving that much back in the days and Bart (‘beard’) for me, because I was the only one in our class who started growing a beard by the age of 15.
MAtW – How does it feel looking back at your formation and see that you will soon turn 10 years old? 10 years of music and all sorts of experiences?
MB – Well, it is a really strange thought, that it’s been over 9 years already. It just shows me, how old I’ve already become… Ten years is a really long time, most of the bands don’t even exist that long. We’ve done so many things together and in the last few years we actually got rather professional, in a way we couldn’t have imagined back then!
We played dozens of gigs of very different kinds and as of this year, we’ll also enter the bigger stages, finally. In August we’ll play at the Wolfszeit Festival and it’s so great to finally see a really big crowd in front of the stage!
MAtW – What are some highlights you are most proud of since you first started?
MB – I am proud of what we achieved mostly in the last five years. We met so many awesome people, found really good new friends through our music and created really good stuff with them. I’m really proud of our acoustic EP, but I’m even more looking forward to some day, when we’re going to record our new songs, which are much more thought through and better in so many ways.
MAtW – Could you, please, introduce us to each member of the band?
MB – Okay, I’ll just start with the newest band member. Maria has been playing the violin for the great Folk Metal band Tales of Ratatösk, really good friends of ours, for quite a long time now and before she was a member of Baumbart, she has played with us on some occasions as a guest musician. She’s a very talented, great musician and a very nice and uncomplicated person.
Then there is Simon, who had been playing the guitar for Baumbart a long time ago and jumped in again in 2017 at the bass guitar. He is a really calm person, very diplomatic and most useful in planning stuff.
Before that, in 2015 Janine came into the band; she was a guest in the rehearsal room for a long time already back then and started to sing along to our songs, which led us to include her in the line-up as a female vocalist. In the years since then, she improved very much and has become a very important part of what is the style of Baumbart today.
Severin is our acoustic guitarist after he switched positions with Nico in 2015. He is the one, who makes absolutely great songs out of what mostly I compose as pretty okay songs. The one with the strange, but awesome ideas to make our songs as diverse as they are. And besides Maria he’s the only one knowing something about music theory.
Nico once has been a guitarist, but with our change to Acoustic Rock, he switched to the Cajon and is a very steady, solid basis to our music, that hardly makes any mistakes.
Julian has been our one-armed-bandit on the keyboard (since he wasn’t that good at it), but now found all the small instruments that suit him much better, most importantly the flute, but also shakers or castanets and, sometimes, mouth harp.
And then there’s me, in whose mind the stories are created and the structure and lyrical base of most of our songs evolve.
MAtW – You are a very visual band, with a conceptual logo, album design and overall image and story. Who is responsible for the graphical part?
MB – Well, the logo is very old, it was made by Dominik Schäfer, the Wappenschmied, almost immediately after Baumbart was founded. We still love it and think, it fits our newer music even more than the old stuff from before 2015. Everything after that was done by Janine, because she’s a great artist, too. She made the cover art for both albums and our beautiful “Into Our Freedom” shirt design.
MAtW- Congratulations for your newest music video, “Stýr”! A fun, filled melodic and fantastic journey. What can you tell us about the concept and production?
MB – We started to think about making a music video a very long time ago, but we never started to do it. Last year Sandra from Storm Seeker asked us, if we’d like to produce a video for Baumbart together. We were really glad, it would finally happen. And as we gathered some ideas, the project grew bigger and bigger and we are sooo thankful, Sandra and her colleague André were so supporting.
They did an awesome job. I own a rowing boat and Floki, a viking boat builder from Hamburg has really graciously lent us his beautiful boat, Ævintýr and so, we just had to find a lake, that looked like the South of Thousandsprings, where the story in the song occured. I’ve found this in the Sauerland, a wonderful landscape of forests and hills. The Aggertalsperre, where we recorded the video, was the perfect spot for filming a fjordlike environment, we imagined for Thousandsprings.
The story is simple. A bunch of seafarers finally made their way home from a long journey.
MAtW – How did you decide to sing in English as opposed to German?
MB – I am a linguist and I analyse languages and their structure and I think, the German phonology leads almost automatically to what most people would consider the genre of medieval rock or music for medieval markets. I didn’t want that for Baumbart.
But I guess, hearing our bandname, everyone would first expect German lyrics and that sometimes may be a problem. Still, English is the better choice, for it suits the music we make way better.
MAtW – What were some challenges you encountered as musicians at the beginning of this musical voyage?
MB – The biggest challenge was the search for fellow musicians right at the beginning, when you have no contacts at all. After that, the next challenge is how to become more professional and finally, the everlasting challenge to get the opportunity to play gigs, bigger gigs with a bigger audience. This challenge lasts until now and will last until the end, I guess. It was one reason for us to create our own festival.
MAtW – You have two bands on your hands. How do you manage that?
MB – Well, in fact I have more, but I have two main bands, that is right. Some day I want to make a living out of this, out of my music and creativity. So I try everything. Now I play in two really promising bands and try to achieve this goal over the years. It is hard to manage for sure, because time is not only precious but very limited, too. I haven’t had a whole day ‘off’ for months, now, except for two boat trips of 24 hours with my girlfriend. So it’s hard, but it works out.
MAtW – What are the main differences and similarities between Baumbart and Mythemia?
MB – Well, that is a hard question, because both bands consist of wonderful people as well as great musicians and both bands are very important to me. The obvious musical difference of course is the language of the lyrics as well as the genre. And I think, Baumbart is way more experimental and special, while Mythemia is easier to listen to and simpler concerning song structures.
MAtW – Are either of the current Baumbart members part of any other side projects?
MB – Well Maria still is the violinist of Tales of Ratatösk and she has a few own projects to work on, I play the bass guitar for Mythemia, as mentioned, have a medieval music group to earn a little money and to do a bit different stuff. Also I have a Stoner Rock band that is in the beginnings and I’ll soon start a Sea Shanty and a Scottish Folk Music project (partly with members of Baumbart, I guess).
MAtW – What is the difference between Marc on stage and Marc off stage?
MB – Haha, I guess there is one, I often hear comments about that. but I don’t know. I don’t feel that different, but it seems, that I am more present on stage than off stage. I actually don’t like being the centre of attention, but on the stage it is okay, I guess.
MAtW – What is the source of inspiration behind your music and lyrics?
MB – The pain of being a human in our world, I guess. Sounds dramatic and as if I played in a Black Metal band, but I actually think, it’s the main source of inspiration: to create a world, that is not totally different from ours – no high fantasy at all – but with a few changes so it gets more of a place I’d love to live in.
MAtW – How do you guys rehearse and write music? What is the process like?
MB – We meet weekly, actually, and work on new stuff while the rehearsals. I mostly write the foundation of the songs and then we work on the songs together.
MAtW – You are behind the “Mead & Greed Festival“. Can you tell us more about it and the 2019 edition?
MB – Not me alone, but a gathering of friends of Baumbart and Tales of Ratatösk. We just wanted to create a platform for smaller bands to get to gigs and play in front of people. We started in 2018 with 150 guests (sold out!), this year’s edition was headlined by the German Pagan Metal band Gernotshagen and again, we were sold out with 200 guests.
For next year, we plan a little bigger and hope to get 400-500 people into our new venue. We’re really looking forward to it, because we can finally use our networking over the last years to provide a festival, where smaller bands from Europe can play with more established bands of the Folk (Metal) genre.
I can’t tell you that much by now, but we’ll have fantastic international headliners this year!
It’s the second edition of our Folk Night and although we’re not announced, yet, I think it’s no surprise, that Baumbart will play on that date. More importantly, Storm Seeker will play a rather exclusive acoustic gig for us and since we’ve seen this show in March, I can tell you, it’s going to be really great!
MAtW – Do you make music for yourself or for others first of all?
MB – Both of course. It’s like a therapy for myself sometimes, like an escape from the hard reality, but what would making music be without showing it to other people and find out, some of them really like it. It’s a great feeling. And since I have a few projects, I can vary the importance of what people think about it and what it means to me personally.
MAtW – What do you want your fans to take away from Baumbart most of all?
MB – Maybe, that it provides an escape from this world into another one for them, too. But I don’t know. As long as they have fun listening to Baumbart, it’s great.
MAtW – Your music is heavy, ample and melodic with a minimal gear. What are some technical aspects behind your compositions?
MB – I guess, the most important aspect is to make the best possible from our limited set. Acoustic guitars are of course not as diverse as electric ones, but they offer a different type of sound. And since we don’t want samples on our live performances or records, we have to use all voices possible. That’s why six out of seven members sing in Baumbart. We have to create a full sound with just a few instruments, that is a challenge, but it makes Baumbart very unique.
MAtW – How do you feel you have grown as a person and musician alongside Baumart all these years?
MB – Hm… Baumbart became a very important part of my life, but I wouldn’t say it changed me as a person. It was more a parallel development. Baumbart grew with me and the other way around. But of course, I got more confident, because I saw, people like what I create. And over the years, Baumbart for a long time was the only project, where I actively played guitar, so without Baumbart I wouldn’t have improved my skills. And with this improvement, Baumbart got better, too.
MAtW – Any other musical genres you (all) are fans of?
MAtW – Folk Metal is the connection between all band members, I guess. But it’s very diverse. Severin likes all kinds of stuff and I like so many things, too. I can’t speak for the others, but for me it’s changing a lot. Right now, I love listening to atmospheric stuff, even Post Black Metal or, as mentioned above, Stoner Rock are my own favourites right now.
MAtW – What is next for Baumbart?
MB – I can’t tell. I hope, we’ll be playing some bigger and maybe a little more gigs next year. This year we’ll be playing five more gigs, as far as we can tell right now, with the Wolfszeit Festival being the biggest one, we’ve ever played. And we start to plan a new record, maybe we can finish it in 2020, that’d be great!
MAtW – For someone that has not seen you live, how would you describe a Baumbart show?
MB – Hard to tell, when you’re on the stage and not in front, but we always do our best, so that people have much fun, on the one side partying and dancing to songs like ‘Stýr!’ or ‘Up with your jug!’, but also find themselves roaming through the foreign worlds of Nórthór or experience the stories we tell. I hope, it’s a mix that everyone can enjoy.
MAtW – As a musician how do you perceive the local music scene?
MB – Most of the time it’s like family, everyone knows each other, it’s a tiny world, mostly dominated by love and respect. It’s a comfortable thing to be part of it and you always get to meet new people and see old acquaintances again after a long time. It’s very rare, that you find something like jealousy or things like that.
MAtW – Any particularities for you since you have a niche style?
MB – Well, you can’t expect rising from the bottom to the Top 10 in a short period of time, because you’ll always have to first find people that listen to your stuff and enjoy it, but it is great on the other hand, that it’s so familiar, as mentioned above. Everyone tries to help each other.
MAtW – Time for the last questions, the Random Question: If you could create a Holiday, how would you call it and what would it be?
MB – For me as a dreamer and an idealist I’d create the “Do what you want day”, where everyone could do anything he wishes to do, not considering money or other boundaries of society, except of course the boundary of where you would harm others. But it is a very utopic idea, I guess.
MAtW – Marc, thank you so much for taking the time to do this! If there is anything else you would like to add (English or German) to your fans, please do!
MB – I’d just like to thank you so much for the great interview and the time you spent on supporting the metal and rock scene. It was a great pleasure and I hope, I can meet you in person one day. And a huge „Thanks!“ goes out to all of our fans!