MOUNTAINS OF DEATH 2011
Av Rune Grande
MOUNTAINS OF DEATH
18/8 - 20/8
Denne perlen av en extreme metal festival feiret i fjor sitt 10. års jubileum og er av de festivalene i verden som har den mest unike beliggenheten, da den ligger lokalisert i en dal oppe i den sveitsiske fjellheimen. Festivalområdet ligger i en dal oppe i den sveitsiske fjellheimen, omtrent en times kjøring med bil sør/sør-øst for Zurich og bare 45 minutter rett øst for Luzern. Nærmeste flyplass ligger i Zurich og det går tog/buss derfra i retning Muotathal.
MOUNTAINS OF DEATH FESTIVAL er den eneste festivalen i Sveits med bare death metal og grind metal som hovedfokus. I løpet av de 10 første leveårene har tilsammen 162 band hatt gleden av å spilt der en eller flere ganger. Kun ett norsk band har vært innom (Kraanium i 2009).
I år er det foreløpig 30 band som er klare. Det vil komme til noen flere navn. De største navna til nå i år er DECAPITATED, KRISIUN, SEVERE TORTURE og BEHEADED.
Intervju med Stefan og Reto
Extreme music is seemingly not lacking festivals in 2011, if you look on the map of Europe you will find a lot of festivals that focuses on the most extreme of metal, and one of those is Mountains of Death in Switzerland
Could you please provide us with a brief overview of the history of this extreme festival that?
Reto: Eleven years ago we started very small with 250 visitors and 17 bands. The location has always been the same. We became bigger and bigger every year, now we have about 1500 visitors and 34 bands during 3 days. So we are full, the location is only for about 1500 people, so we can't grow more. We had a lot of famous and even more underground bands in death metal and grind core, this is the idea of the festival. Extreme music for extreme people ;-)
Stefan: ... hahaha! Yeah.. and it has always been with the 5 f (festival from fans for fans).
To make all this come together one would probably need more than one body and more than one mind, tell us a bit about the crew behind the festival, how do you make this all happen?
Reto: The first 5 years I did everything by myself! Of course I had my little helpers at the bar, entry and the workers. We were about 30 people all together in the crew. It was very hard to do all by myself so I decided to work with Fastbeast Entertainment and the "metal die hard front" taking care of the booking.
Stefan: Right... I joined the organization 2006 with Fastbeast Entertainment (short FB) and got stuck until now... hahaha. In the beginning we from FB were presumed to support the Festival with advertisement, ticketing and handling with the festival merchandise. Since 2009 it‘s Reto and me doing the whole organization during the year. But you can imagine that such a big event cannot be handled by just the two of us... now there are around 100 people involved in different jobs and positions... we also work very close with the people of the valley of Muotathal and try to support the regional enterprises as good as we can.
Booking bands could be a problem for any organizer, with a festival like Mountains of Death I am not sure this is a relevant issue, or is it?
Reto: There is not a problem to book bands. We have about 200 bands every year that really want to play this festival. There are more problems to get cool headliners. Sometimes they want too much money. As we are not Wacken we cannot pay that much! Or sometimes the bands we want have line up problems or don‘t get their visa in time to get out of their country. Sometimes a lot of the bands we want to play are engaged at other open air‘s in the same year. We try to be some kind of special bringing bands that have never played before in Europe. This is one thing, we have been doing for some years now I think.
What is the top ten moments of the festival thus far?
Reto: For me there is only one big moment and this is after the festival, when everything went right and all the visitors travel happy at home.
Stefan: This festival has become some part of my life the last years and therefore it‘s also a field for experiments to discover and introduce new projects in many different ways. Another target of ours is to learn from the past and trying to optimize also little things from each edition to the next. But in fact I think Reto is right... the luckiest moment always is to sit together with some friends on sunday evening after all guests have left having a good meal and some drinks.
Have you suffered, like so many other festivals, from the financial crisis that struck Europe like a brick wall? If so, how?...if not, why not...?
Reto: No, we didn't realized it because we have been growing bigger every year. We also looking for good prices for the festival. We keep them down. In this 11 years we went down with the beer price, down with food price, all the other things have the same price since the beginning. Of course the ticket price is higher than at the first edition... but not much because the amount of bands has doubled from 17 to 34! ... and the price didn‘t ;-)
Stefan: In the beginning it took some time to attract people from outside the country because in Switzerland the prices are generally higher than in a lot of other parts of the world. But now people know what they get for their money and most of them started to come back every year. And by the way... for Swiss relations we are a very well priced festival because we all work voluntary.
Any dream acts past or present that has still to be on stage at MoD?
Reto: morbid angel, cannibal corpse and a lot more but I don't care, I have anyway no time to see them J
Stefan: Well... we tried to get big names like Bolt Thrower, Nile and the ones Reto mentioned but it never worked out. Looking back I am not unhappy about that because we cannot compete with much bigger festivals like Summer Breeze etc. so we looked out to bring some good underground bands and other special acts to the festival... and it seem to have worked out.
Brutal music has seemingly exploded in popularity during the past few years, any thoughts on the matter?
Reto: Is it really popularity? I think its still underground but the difference to the past is, that you can see every week a death metal concert here in Switzerland. That's cool but sometimes boring too and most of all it pisses me off, when there are 3 cool concerts at the same date! In the past it was something special when maybe a band like Deicide come to Europe, now it's only cool and not special anymore.
Stefan: Yes... and a lot of ancient bands have reunited after a long time of pausing to ride on the wave and earn their money... but that‘s another story and no one really would admit that in public... but metal has - at a certain level - become profane business... hahaha. I have come back to small bands that play their music as hobby and are anchored in their local scene and once in a while go on tour every now and then... or how it works very often you organize a concert for some bands from other countries in your area and they do the same for you. Or maybe I am just a aging disenchanted guy that doesn‘t look at metal music and „the scene" as I did some years ago... who knows... hahaha!
What do you think is the benefit for any given band to play a venue like MoD?
Reto: The impression to play at a location like this. 1500 people in a small frontplace and in the back a 70 meter high wall of rock! This will never forget any band!
Stefan: As we cannot pay highest salaries we specialized in a good, friendly and well organized treatment of the artists (and the visitors too of course!)... It‘s not important weather the band is playing at 2 pm or 10 pm... all their concerns are of the same importance for me. And we try to fulfill what we can... and yes... of course there is the scenery... the further away people come, the more amazed they are.
For 2011 what are YOU looking forward to the most?
Reto: It might sound strange but I'm looking for the end of the mountains of death and hope everything goes cool like last year. I know, it's very sad for a lot of people as they like the festival very much. I also like the festival and I'm proud of this we had reached but one edition has to be the last.
Stefan: I am very surprise in a positive way how people who have been with us for a long time reacted after we published that MOD 2011 is going to be the last edition. It‘s great how most - although they are sad - understand our arguments to finish with the festival. I just cannot afford the time anymore that is necessary to keep up the level we are running and to step back is just no way to go. As I wrote on the festival page: One has to stop when everything is at its best!
Any last words of encouragement as to why people from Norway should journey to Mountains of Death this year?
Reto: The Mountains of Death open air has one of the most beautiful locations ever seen! This is besides the music and the service the most named argument from bands and visitors every year. This is no bullshit I am telling, it's the truth! We also have a good billing of death metal bands. As mentioned before we try to find bands you don‘t see a lot around and others who even play their first time in Europe. Of course the people from norway should journey to mountains of death this year because it's the last MOD!
Stefan: I agree! Probably the most important reason is, that it‘s the last chance to be part of the festival and celebrate the bands and the musi(c)k the way we do. Although there are up to 1‘500 people on the set it‘s still very small and familiar... you won‘t be alone for a very long time there... come in and find out! And if I am not mistaken some tickets have already been ordered by Norwegians... skål!
Oh and just to piss some editor off... What is your favorite choice of ice cream, and why?
Reto: Vanilla and strawberry mixed J thank you very much for the interview! Hope to see some Norwegian guys at the festival!
Stefan: Chocolate, because it looks worse than it tastes... muahaha! Thanks for the possibility to introduce our festival to you and your readers... Hope to see some of you around!
Billetter kjøpes direkte fra festivalens hjemmesider.
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