Greetings Metalheads! Today, I have the honor of chatting with Sina Niklas, vocalist for the up and coming heavy metal band from Berlin, Germany, called ORPHAN HATE [band line-up: Sina Niklas on vocals, Alexander Binus on guitar, Marcus 'Rooky' Forstbauer on guitar, Jan Sadler on bass guitar & Mathias Gutschmidt on drums]. ORPHAN HATE was born in 2004 and after several demos and countless hours of touring, their first full-length CD came out in May 2008, entitled "Blinded By Illusions", which is a pummeling blast of melodic thrash metal. This CD is a brutal assault, that showcases the vocal skills of Sina Niklas and excellent musicianship of her bandmates as well. Metal Maidens recently caught up with vocalist Sina, who was kind enough to give us this interview.
Hello Sina, thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.
Sina Niklas: “You’re welcome. Actually, it’s a pleasure!”
What was your inspiration for wanting to create this band?
Sina: “It was not really like I created the band. But at the time, in the year of 2004, I realized that my former band wasn’t going too well. I knew, that I had to do something different, as I wanted to move on. At the same time, ORPHAN HATE wanted to change something as well. They were in the middle of recording an EP, entitled “Changes” and maybe this was an omen or something. They wanted to move on musically, as well as professionally, and therefore they had to go separate ways with two former members (lead vocalist Steven Winckler and guitarist Lars Simon). Bassist Jan Sadler remembered this little girl, he’d seen a few years ago. I must have been fifteen years old or something… Anyhow, he invited me and we decided to get together and recreate ORPHAN HATE with another new member, guitarist Marcus ‘Rooky’ Forstbauer, who produced “Changes”. And since I wanted to do more than just the deep growls, I’d been doing for years…. I wanted to sing as well, because it allows me to communicate not only with anger and rage, but also all the other kinds of emotions. ORPHAN HATE were looking exactly for someone, who’s capable of both and it worked!”
ORPHAN HATE is one of the coolest names I have ever heard for a band. Who actually chose the name?
Sina: “The former singer chose that name for the band..”
You have a very accomplished group of musicians in this band. How did you find each other?
Sina: “They found me. And I call myself lucky, because of that. They’re amazing and not only musically. They became real good friends or rather my second family, like a bunch of big brothers. It’s good to know to have someone, that you can count on. No matter what will happen and I’ve got four of them. I love them!”
Chemistry is so important ,does everyone have an equal say in the final product that we hear on the CD?
Sina: “Yes, we’re equal. But it wouldn’t work without compromises. And depending on the subjects and our particular interrests besides the music, it varies who’s got or wants more or less to say. You know, as a band without a major deal, you’re not only a musican, you have to do so many different things. For example, Jan is doing the whole booking and management part, Rooky’s producing our records (he’s one of the owners of the freakwave studios in Berlin), I take care of the merch and so on…. But at the end of the day, if it counts, we make all our decisions together.”
You have incredible range as a vocalist. Is that something you have worked on for a while or does it just come naturally to you?
Sina: “Thanks! Well, I’m doing this for about ten years now. I had a vocal coach once for about a year. Today we meet every now and then to talk and write. I guess, as a vocalist, you always have to work on it. At least I have to and I always will. Automatically actually, I mean I’m singing every day, during the rehearsals, shows of course and writing songs. I couldn’t play the guitar or piano without singing a word. Once I had to shut my mouth for a whole month, because of laryngitis…It was horrible…”
"Blinded By Illusions" is your first full-length CD and in my opinion, a metal masterpiece. Can you tell us how it came to be?
Sina: “It is a real collection of songs we wrote, since we’ve got together. It actually holds a mirror up to the frst two to three years. I mean, we’ve been absolute strangers to one another, musically and personally. On this record, you can hear what ORPHAN HATE are and how we became what we are today, how we got to know each other, what we’ve been through to finally release this record and so forth. We had been five musican coming together, not really knowing what this was going to be, so a lot happened by instinct. What’s different today is, that we can talk more openly, we criticise each other way more than before, and of course we became much closer. In fact, there’s an us now and you’re gonna hear it on the following CD.”
Who composes the music and lyrics for the band?
Sina: “Well, first someone’s got an idea and then we work on it together, until everybody’s quite content for at least a little while. I mean, musicans never really are, especially not in a group. Concerning the vocals and lyrics on this record, I’ve done them all by myself and a lot just happened while recording them.”
How can new fans get your music?
Sina: “Technically, it’s supposed to be on every known online platform, but somehow within Europe you can purchase “Blinded By Illusions” in stores and on every known online marketplace/store (for example: Amazon, EMP-online.com, Ebay, etc.). The download area seems not to work, although it’s supposed to…anyhow… For our american fans, we decided to sell it on our own. That means a lot of work actually, but since iTunes and such don’t work for us, we’ve got to do it that way, so feel free to get in touch with us on http://www.myspace.com/orphanhate or http://www.orphanhate.de, send a message and we’ll get back to you. But you must have an Paypal account!”
The band has toured extensivley throughout Germany, Russia and Poland. How were those fans to play for?
Sina: “It was great!!! It always is. Of course there are differences concerning the mentality, Germans for example are in general a little bit more reserved…but it doesn’t really matter, cause we just love to play live and meet new people, and we always try to have fun wherever we are and do the best we can."
Ok, what do you prefer? The rush from playing live and connecting with the fans or the technical part of actually creating your music in the studio?
Sina: “Well, it actually depends on the point of view. Concerning the technical part of music, you first come to recognize what you’re capable of playing and what not, when you record your stuf, because you hear every little detail and we all wanna get better, so I like that. Then there’s the songwriting part, a very personal one, by the way. You won’t know if songs work, until you play them live and see how the audience reacts. And there’s another part, the energy… Playing live is all about energy. We invest and get back directly, so it’s not only us entertaining, we get entertained as well during shows. I hope, that someday we’ll be able to capture this energy between band and audience and put it on a reord without producing a live record, maybe with the help of our imagination or something. We’ll see.”
One of the coolest things I have always loved about metal, is its universal appeal to the fans. It doesn’t matter where a band is from or if they can speak English or not, the music seems to break down cultural walls. What is your opinion?
Sina: “I guess, that’s what music does in general. If you’re into a certain kind of music, you’ll like, it doesn’t matter who’s doing it as long as it is good and you are honest enough to yourself. But to be frank, music may open a door for communication, but no one can say there are no prejudices. For that we’re too much human beings and they exist maybe because of all these different cultures, we’re so curious about. To make communication possible can mean really something, the question is what each and every one of us does with it in this particular situation. Alright, we could talk about it for hours, maybe even days, but what I wanted to say is, that it is not always that way, you experinced it, but if it is I love it and I’m glad that it is that way most of the time.”
The video for the song "Circus" I thought was very well done and showcases the band in a very positive way. Who did you work with and where was it shot?
Sina: “We shot in an old Berlin brewery and worked with a guy named Patrick (Norational Production). And it is acually his first video.”
What do you think of the whole video process? Is it something you enjoyed doing or a neccessary evil, that all bands must endure and are there more videos on the horizon?
Sina: “Well, it’s quite interesting and I’d love to do a video, which is telling an actual story (I already have an idea for one of our new songs). In this case it was so cold and the generator broke and a lot of other things happened. Even though it is kinda boring, since you have to wait about 80% of the time, it is still hard work, but I would do it again and again... There are a few live videos, an old video with another vocalist and I’ve done a couple of videos with my former band (the latter you won’t find on the internet). Hopefully, we’ll get the chance to shoot another one for the next record.”
So, is there an acting role on the big screen in the future for Sina Niklas, haha?
Sina: “Yeah, because my acting part in his video was huge and of course brilliant... Well, I may not be the right person for such things, since I’m too shy, but if I’ll be forced to be a lawyer in “Boston Legal”, I might consider breaking through myself...”
You are actually a college student as well. What are you majoring in?
Sina: “I went to law school a couple of years ago, but I left since I figured our system is not really mine. At least not if I have to work in it. Now I’m going to be a medical technical assistant for lab work and afterwards I’m going to major in biochemistry.”
If you were not the singer for ORPHAN HATE, what other career path might you have chosen?
Sina: “I guess, you simply had to change the name of the group! Since I’ve started to make music I just can’t stop myself , especially since I’ve been on stage for the first time. I just love music and still hate it so much ‘cause I cannot get rid of it! Sometimes I wish I’d never had experienced the beauty of music, because it means so much work and pressure.. But it is the only way I can express myself freely and some kind of mental autopurification.”
The band just played the "Downhill Festival" in August. Can you tell us more about that?
Sina: “DOWNHILL is a Polish metal band (with the best “Walk” by PANTERA cover I’ve ever heard!). We met last year and it somehow clicked between our groups and we became like friends. The vocalist and his girlfriend (and of course the whole band and crew) organize this festival for the people in this area for free, because there are not much places to go, especially for the youth. They worked their asses off for the third time! It’s amazing what they can do without money and of course we had to support this festival. Besides, we’ve never been at such a beautiful venue...a little amphitheatre at a lake... Yeah, that was really something!”
What about touring in the months to come? Any chance the band will make it over to the States or are you going to concentrate on local shows for now?
Sina: “Unfortunately we won’t make it to the States in the near furture. We’ll do a few shows in Czech Rep. and Poland and of course Germany until Christmas and then we’ll be back in the Freakwave Studios."
Who are some of your favorite bands, that you have toured with and if you could pick any metal band in the world to share a stage with, who would it be and why?
Sina: “Definitely DRONE from Celle in Germany. You know, on tour you get to know so many different bands, but there are just a few you stay in touch with and even less you eventually call friends. This is definitely one of them! HIGH ON FIRE - it’s been a while, but I won’t forget their kindness. Just recently, this Polish band ACID DRINKERS, because it’s been nice to watch their drummer play. Yeah I know, METALLICA, because Hetfield is still the coolest guy on stage…Well, he’s not really metal, but surely one of my favourite musicans, Myles Kennedy from ALTER BRIDGE, because for what I’m thinking he’s one of the best vocalists and songwriters of our time. Also STONE SOUR, because I love the voice of singer Corey Taylor…I wouldn’t mind to share with CoB, IN FLAMES, SOILWORK (…) either.”
Through mediums like Myspace, Youtube and the internet in general, it seems to me metal is stronger now than ever and keeps building momentum. What is your opinion on the metal scene today?
Sina: “I believe as well, that the market for metal is growing, and that Myspace and such can really be a chance for bands like us, which didn’t get the major deal. Let’s hope, we all won’t be supersaturated someday...”
As a strong woman in metal, do you see yourself as a role model for young women, who want to follow in your footsteps and if so,what advice would you give to them?
Sina: “I didn’t mean to be one, but I always told myself, it won’t work because you cannot do something, it’s because you don’t want to. I’m not talking about success (whatever that is) itself, I’m far away from it myself. If people told me I wouldn’t be able to entertain, to sing, to growl, whatever it was, I someday proved them wrong by getting constantly a little bit better. And that’s my goal. I don’t want to stand still and I’m able to dream, and I believe in my dreams!”
What is next for ORPHAN HATE?
Sina: “As I said we’re going to produce a new record. Most of the songs are already done. We’ll start recording around christmas and then we’ll try to find a new record company. I guess, the next record will be released in fall 2009, maybe later and of course we’re gonna play live as much as we can!”
Sina, on behalf of Metal Maidens and myself, we want to thank you for taking the time to talk with us today. Congratulations to you and the band for all of your success and all that is to come. I think, "Blinded by Illusions" is really going to open some eyes and ears in the metal community. I know, as it did mine in a big way.
Sina: “Nick, thank you so much for this opportunity and your kind words! Your support means a lot to us and it’s been a pleasure talking to you!”
Visit their website at: www.orphanhate.de/
or My Space: www.myspace.com/orphanhate