A punk-rooted sound, the band Karbholz has released a new album with a new heaviness to the albums from their past. This new venture in music is far more metal than punk. After 18 years together this group of friends still enjoy making music and playing in front of audiences. Here is what the band had to say about their new album, Kapitel 11: Barrikaden.
How did the name Kärbholz come to be the name of the band?
Kärbholz: The name originates from an old german saying ‘etwas auf dem Kerbholz haben’. It was a medieval form of credit, putting notches into a piece of wood as a kind of credit card, and evolved into a saying over the years meaning that if you have some notches on your piece of wood you have quite a record. So basically it means Badass. Well-fitting we thought, added the Umlaut a, looked even more ass-kicking, and didn’t do any damage to Mötorhead or Mötley Crüe and there it was our name.
How did the band form? / Where and how did the band get their start?
Kärbholz: It all started almost 2 decades ago when our singer Torben grabbed a guitar at a New Year’s Eve party and began to sing some songs. Adrian, guitarist, Stefan, bass, and the first drummer, Christian, joined soon after, knowing each other partly since childhood. So it was a group of friends forming a combo for the fun, the booze, and the passion they shared for music. Nobody would’ve ever thought, that it would become that successful what started as a fun project. A couple of years in, end of 2008 to be precise, Christian left the band for good, and we met Henning over a beer in our favorite pub and started jamming not long after, In January 2009, he joined the band as the new member behind the drums. And we’ve been playing together in that alignment ever since. First, it was gigs in the area, birthday bashes, and campfire parties, but in 2006 there was the first bigger concert far away from home and the start of our career. From that point on, with a fresh EP in our bag, we’ve been around and enjoying touring and playing live and do not intend to quit anytime soon.
Where did the band form?
Kärbholz: In the beautiful and cozy village of Ruppichteroth. We are sure the rest of the world knows about it…not. It is near the city of Cologne, about an hour’s drive away in the remarkable countryside. And this rural area had and has a huge impact on who we are and what music we make. Some songs exactly deal with growing up there, being a rebellious teenager in a surrounding with not that much to be rebellious against. We had our fair share of action and coming-of-age stupidity anyway.
Would the band consider the new album, coming out on March 24, the hardest metal album they have made since their beginning?
Kärbholz: That is a very good, and hard question. Working again with producers Eike Freese (Chamaleon Studios, ex-Dark Age) and Alexander Dietz (Heaven Shall Burn), two icons in the German and international Metal scene, the tone sure is a bit harder, more metalish. But to be honest for us it was the logical evolutionary step we took with the new record. Since we started making music together we worked on our skills and the quality of our music. So over the years we became better musicians and gained the ability to do some musical experiments, to try things we were not able to play some years ago but loved listening to. And metal sure is part of the music we like to listen to ourselves. Also, it is a bow to our humble beginnings when music was faster, rougher, more punk rockish, and for sure harder.
What was the recording of “Kapitel 11: Barrikaden” like?
Kärbholz: If we had to subsume it in words it would be: different. Big fun as always if you are lucky and get to do what you love and work with such great guys as Alex and Eike, but it was different from other recordings before. Not by choice but we made the very best of it. Normally we started the album recording always with the drums to have a base to it, a rhythm everyone can work with. Unfortunately in early 2022 Henning had a little accident and broke his knee. So we were not able to start with the drums this time. Also 3 years back we renovated our rehearsal room and made it into a proper studio, so we wanted to record a lot of guitars and vocals in our own studio anyway. So, Alex and Eike came to our place and we started with guitar and bass and vocals. For some of the lead and solo guitars, Adrian went to record with Alex in his home studio in Bad Kösen, eastern Germany and Henning went to Hamburg to record the drums with Eike in the Chameleon Studios. But we spent a lot more time during the recording process together because of the sessions taking place in our little studio near our home base. That was great, awesome to be honest, for the recording itself and for us as a band.
How long did it take to record the new album?
Kärbholz: Well, the recording process itself took about three months overall. But we have to take all the preparation and rehearsal time into the equation as well. It starts with some new song ideas, in this case, it was right after the release of the last album when Adrian had some new material he brought to the studio. So we started working on them, rehearsed them, arranged them, tried something different, and so on and so forth. So with all the songwriting, rehearsing, arranging, and recording it took a good two years until this new piece was ready to be released.
What is next for Karbholz?
Kärbholz: The release of the new Album ‘Kapitel 11: Barrikaden’ on the 24th of March is the next big thing. We start our release tour for the new record on the 31st of March and will be touring Germany for some dates till the end of April. During the summer we will be playing some wonderful festivals, starting with our own Festival ‘Heimspiel’ in June, and also we have the great opportunity to play the main stage on the Wacken Open Air this year. Well, we will be planning some hot events for the fall as well.
For each: What is your favorite song on the new record “Kapitel 11: Barrikaden”?
Kärbholz: Hard to say, because we like them all very much. But if you’d force us to decide it’ll be “Raubtier” for Torben, “Unter ferner liefen” for Stefan, “Mut gegen Perspektive” for Adrian, and “Barrikaden” for Henning.
Who is the band influenced by?
Kärbholz: We as a band are four individuals forming this quartet and this is mirrored in our musical preferences as well. We do have a common ground that we all listen to, but also each of us brings some varieties with their very personal likes into the influence pool so to say. So we have some Rock, classic Punkrock and some german Rock bands, as well as some Metal, Reggae, HipHop, and Singer/Songwriter acts we share an interest in. Some of those we all like are for Example Disturbed, Killswitch Engage, Volbeat, ACDC, Rancid, The Exploited, Die Ärzte and Die Toten Hosen, two of germans most famous Punkrock Bands, Alligatoah, a German HipHop Artist, Electric Callboy, Treptow, Friedemann, Mad Sin, and the list goes on. But it’ll be hard to point out one specific band and name them the main influence for us because it varies from the different songwriting and recording processes. Those bands who got us started though be the German Punkrock Bands and Rock Bands we saw at our first festivals and show and infected us with the live virus so to say.
Where does the band see themselves in 5 years?
Kärbholz: After the last two and a half years it is not that easy to give a prediction in such unpredictable times. We hope we’ll still be friends, still write and record music that tells tales from our life and touches people and we definitely still want to play live. Be the bunch of friends that make music together and have a good time, as we do for 18 years now.
Where is your favorite place to play?
Kärbholz: Everywhere they let us in:-D. Jokes aside, every stage in front of the crowd is the place to be, the place we want to be. Sure big gigs, such as Wacken are a hell lot of fun, but a concert in an awesome little Dutch club in front of 150 who party af with you and your music is indescribable as well. Every concert and every stage has its own charm, its own energy. And with the decision to make every moment count, to live more in the now, the apperception of every concert makes it unique. So our favorite place to play is anywhere we can do that.
A good band with a punk soul who has been around and will be around for years to come is Kärbholz. Check out the new album and go back and check out other albums too.