Jan Weisbrod from 'Age Zero' takes us to a journey through Japan and very personal dark feelings on his new album 'Age Zero III'. In this interview he reveals us his intimate emotional world, talks about self-doubts and sadly maybe the last Age Zero album.
1. You did a 5 years creative break since the last album and released only 7 new songs. Have you actively distanced yourself from music? What are the reasons for your disappearance?
So I've never stopped working on new tunes. I'm not the quickest musician by far but it‘s also a long growing and evolving process for me to creating sounds, writing and selecting some thoughts and put that all together in a song. On the other hand I wasn‘t sure if I can / want to make another new album anymore. But these doubts are normal.
2. Let's be honest, the new album is much darker than before. Does the album reflect your current emotional world or is it more an observation of the environment?
All my music is reflecting my thoughts, opinions and also my state of mind and brain. I talk with people and friends, observe my own behaviour and emotional world. If you have a penchant for melancholy you are conceivable able to get lost in depression. Above all when you lost your love, beloved people passes away and some other crises come into your life. I survided all these shitty moments and the result is a very peronal album.
It‘s not just promo bla bla, it is very intim and personal. It would take more than this interview to explain my „dark waters“. However melancholy can be helpful to creating feelings and emotional soundscapes.
3. Lyrically, the album deals with extremely gloomy themes such as depression, suicide or self-doubt. What is the essence of the message to the listeners? Are there some words of hope for the listeners?
Sure, you can find hopeful messages in most of the song. You see, I‘m still alive and I know there is a reason to get up everyday. On this album I wanted to express my thoughts and feelings as rough as possible. No filters or even censorship.AZIII is not a therapy it’s a diary of a paranormal motherfucker, a record of tiny thoughts.
4. There's a proverb that says: "Travel changes you". You were in Japan for a long time and some of the songs are about it. Did you have particularly drastic experiences there? Or did you already deal with the culture in advance and therefore started the journey?
Find places, to leave your life. A Traveler wants to be invisible to see the everyday situation of other people. I want to see the normal life on these other planets. Of course I also see the tourist stuff too but for me I don‘t see myself as a tourist. It is terrible and romantic at the same time to „dispose“ yourself in a beautiful wood near the Mt Fuji. To die on beautiful places is impossible. Thats the essence of Aokigahara has to wait. You can‘t when you see these beautiful landscape.
5. I also think the sound of Age Zero's music has changed a bit. Sound and text passages sound almost mantra-like. Is this also an effect of the Japan journey or is it a natural progression?
Every trip is a influence. My brain works endlessly and a new place operates as a catalyst. When I was 2018 in Iceland, I listened to the raw pieces of AZ III there and I was completely in love with this soundscapes. Before the trip I wanted to delete all that at home. After feeling this beautiful island together with these songs I was so sure to bring it out. This mantra-thing is just an accident like the most of the vocals. I‘m not really creating or thinking about, it‘s more what is music doing to me.
6. You told me you set yourself under pressure with a deadline to finish the new album. Are you happy of the final result?
Sometimes I'm too precise. I would never find to an end if I wouldn't do that deadline-thing. So, if you wanna reach your personal goal you have to tell it people out there, because when everyone knows the date you don‘t wanna dissapoint and you will finalize it. Am I happy? Oh yes – I am.
7. The electric guitar sound in 'Out Of Pain' and the drums in 'Perfect Desperate Mess' for example sound very organic. Were they recorded with real instruments or were they created on a synthesizer?
First, a Synthesizer is a real Instrument. ;) Everything could be used as an instrument. Also a dynamic processor like a compressor. I love the freedom that I can play not really an instrument, that I‘ve never learned to produce a song, but I play Instruments and produce the songs. You don‘t need education if you have some ideas. You‘ll find a way to bring it to a result. I don‘t think my music would be so rough if I would do everything in the „right way“. But I love listening to people who can play instruments and I admire them of course.
8. What is the focus of your creative process: Music or lyrics first?
Usually I start just playing or find some samples. Lyric-ideas develop parallel and indipendently from music. My focus is to make the best song ever for me. I fail in 99,9% of the cases but when I have this one track I‘m so happy.
9. Do you have a favourite track on the album? And if yes, what’s the reason.
It‘s changing every day. At the moment I would say „Out of Pain“. „Dark Traveler“ brought tears in my eyes, after I finished it. Every track has a story, that's why I love all my babies.
10. I don't think that titles are difficult for you because you write excellent lyrics. Will the next album be called 'Age Zero IV' or will you break the pattern?
Thank you. Maybe it was the final album, who knows? I like chronological order. If you would check my CD collection, you would find all CDs sorted from A to Z and by release date too. The point why I gave no names is simple. Every album is a restart, an Age Zero. You can‘t really give a name three times. People would start to naming the albums by themselvs.
11. The setting: “The DJ in your favourite disco must urgently leave and he asks you to represent him”. What does your spontaneous DJ set look like (List 10 tracks)?
Bad idea, I would do that to the audience. But I would always help my friends. Spontaneous: