All images courtesy of Chipster PR
By Andrew Daly
Hailing from Münster, Germany, veteran post-rock outfit Long Distance Calling has created yet another Shutterstock of unladen fury with this latest release, 2022’s Eraser.
Melting minds since 2007, for their ninth studio offering, Long Distance Calling is turning the heat up, sintilating fans with a sublime blend of progressive rock, metal, alternative, and avante-garde. And while the music heard on Eraser truly is a collective effort via the band’s hive mind, we’d be remiss if we didn’t spotlight the group guitarist, Florian Füntmann.
Welding an array of single-cut axes, Füntmann does his best to upend the algorithm, bleaching listeners’ minds of all expectations, leaving nothing but spaced-out destruction in his wake. All that is to say that, yeah, the music heard across Long Distance Calling’s latest, Eraser, is pretty damn good. If you’ve not heard it, your time is now. And be sure to catch the band on their upcoming spring 2023 jaunt, too.
Ramping up for a busy year ahead, Florian Füntmann caught up with VWMusic to discuss Eraser, his origins with the guitar, his songwriting process, and more.
As a young musician, what was the moment which first sparked your interest in music?
Luckily I grew up with good music. At home, we listened to artists like Supertramp or Cat Stevens. Lots of ’70s stuff. I played guitar on a plastic tennis racket for years before considering taking guitar lessons or owning a guitar. I think the final call for me came when I was 9 when I got The Razor’s Edge by ACϟDC and was blown away immediately. I knew I needed to be able to play guitar as well. Right after that, I discovered Guns N’ Roses and Skid Row and started taking lessons in 5th grade.
Who were some of your earliest influences that first shaped your style?
Because I had just started to play guitar, I couldn’t play stuff like Skid Row and Guns N’ Roses. So, I tried to play along to some German Punk Rock songs, but that did not last long. When I first tried to write my own riffs and licks, I was listening to a lot of Power Metal and old-school ’70s rock. That changed again when I discovered more atmospheric Bands like Paradise Lost, Anathema, and Type O Negative.
At that time, I founded my first band and wanted it to sound like a mixture of these three. Needless to say, we sucked big time. [Laughs]. And, of course, I was also listening to Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, and Pink Floyd. For me, the perfect mixture of guitar styles is the riffing of Tony Iommy combined with David Gilmour on lead guitar and the brutality of Pantera.
How would you say that style has evolved as you’ve moved through your career?
Of course, I’m way better at playing guitar than years ago because I grew more open-minded and started learning different genres for fun. This helped me understand how songs are created and how to develop certain sounds. The one thing that hasn’t changed is that I still like to keep it simple. I never really needed to practice playing super fast lead melodies or solos. From the beginning on, I was happy playing rhythm-based stuff. When I play melodies, it’s more about the atmosphere instead of playing as many notes as possible.
What were some of your earliest gigs where you first cut your teeth?
My first gig ever was at a school show where I played guitar in a cover band, which went surprisingly well. When I formed my first band called Volition, we played our first show at a local newcomer contest which we did not win, of course, and I was so fucking nervous because I had to sing and play guitar for the first time on stage in front of people.
At that time, it was not easy to play gigs in our hometown as a shitty teenage band, and we played our second gig at the newcomer contest the following year, which we did not win as well, legitimately but at least got us some other gigs. Every gig we had with this band was stressful because we were not that good, and everyone was afraid of mistakes even when we got better.
Walk me through the formation and discovery of Long Distance Calling.
At that time, our drummer and I were in a Death Metal band, and he met some people who wanted to do something like Isis or Cult of Luna. I was asked to join the next rehearsal, which felt good. The other guy playing guitar quit a couple of rehearsals later, and I knew Dave, so we asked him to jam with us. This immediately felt right. Soon after that, we were five musicians but without a singer. We were looking for a singer, but it did not work out. Playing this music was so much fun, so we decided to continue to write instrumental songs with the plan to add vocals later.
After some time, we felt we no longer needed vocals; we tried it as an instrumental band. That was by the end of 2005. The band wasn’t planned to become a profession because everyone was involved in other bands. When we recorded our first demo ep and played the first gigs, we soon realized that people might like what we do. Surprisingly, we got an offer, signed a record deal with a small company, and released our first album in 2007.
All images courtesy of Chipster PR
Tell me about your newest album, Eraser.
Our last album was a concept album about how humans deal with technology. This time it deals with how humans treat animals, nature, and themselves. It’s about species close to extinction, including humans, and we tried to make each song fit a certain animal with its individual characteristics. Things have to change, and it’s very urgent, so we decided to use our voices and let the album clash with reality.
How have your collective experiences affected your music?
This time a lot!! Like everyone else, the last two years have been tough, and the mood within the band was pissed about all the shit happening. When we started to write the album, we knew this would end up as one of our heaviest and darkest records. In addition to all the trouble happening in the world, everyone in the band had some other things to handle in private. It seemed like there was almost nothing to laugh about, and making new music was one of the few highlights. By writing the songs, we found a way to transform anger and despair into something useful.
What themes would you say are most present in your music?
Since our last two albums are based on a very similar topic that is not the most pleasant, I think it’s legit to say that we mainly deal with life’s dark and gloomy side. The fact that we don’t have lyrics allows us to deliver some personal soundtrack where the listener can drift away and create his own story. And because we don’t like too happy music, we always try to make something that tends to be at least melancholic.
How about the production side of things?
We wanted the album to sound modern and well-produced but natural and authentic. We recorded the drums in a very cool but expensive studio where they record classic instruments most of the time, which sounds just fantastic and unique. Luckily our guitar player Dave [Jordan] has his own little recording studio where we recorded all the guitars and the bass, which made it very comfortable for us.
We finished 90% of the guitars and bass for one song until we started with the next, and so on, only adding some overdubs and solos in the end. When working like this, you can dive deep into what the song needs and how to create a unique sound and take the train to nerd city. The classical instruments on our album were recorded in the same studio as the drums. The whole thing was mixed by the same guy (Arne Neurandt from Hannover, Germany)who also recorded the drums.
Will the material get any time on the live circuit?
Yes, of course!! Playing live is the reason we are in the band. We love to play new songs and figure out which will make it into our set as regular songs. Some songs work better than others in the live situation. And, of course, you have to figure out which are future fan favorites. Some songs are nice to play but don’t feel right live. We will see.
What’s next for you in all lanes?
We are so proud of the Eraser release and everything about to come. We will start to tour excessively again in March 2023, and I am already looking forward to that.
All images courtesy of Chipster PR