SLAVEN STOKIC of
Antirope is an Alternative Metal band founded in Munich, Germany in 2015. While their most important influences are Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, and Neurosis, they bring us a new sound that makes the psychedelic cruel and the damned sound heavenly. The band consists of Slaven Stokic on vocals and guitar, Patrick Fleischer on guitar and backing vocals, Julie Fleischer on bass, and Tobi Schauseil on drums, all of them taking us on a journey straight through what is heavy and gruesome in order to expose what’s endearing and subtle.
By Kreig Marks, July 2023
KM: Hi Slaven. Welcome to Tru Rock Revival Magazine. Let’s start off with congratulations on being signed to Eclipse Records and the album “Amnesia” which is scheduled for release at the end of the month. Take me through the writing and recording process of the album.
SS: Hi Kreig, thank you and thanks for having me. Yeah, we are really happy to be working with Chris Poland and the whole team at Eclipse Records. The writing process by ANTIROPE has its own dynamic. I tend to write a lot of songs in my spare time and usually record everything at home, including vocal ideas. I would then show these ideas to the band, and together, we decide if they work for us or not. For the most part of the writing process, I try not to arrange the whole song. I only want to capture the core of the idea, leaving enough space for my bandmates to add their own flavor to it. It's really exciting when we play those songs for the first time, and when all those different styles merge together, creating the sound you hear on "Amnesia". And naturally, there are some songs that just come out of the jam session, which are also very special to us. If one of us comes up with an idea or a riff, pretty soon it becomes a whole song, mostly within that same rehearsal.
We recorded "Amnesia" in Patrick's studio, "Studio 6.0". Patrick wanted to record the album "live" to capture the energy and feeling we have during rehearsals. There's a certain magic you feel when playing in a band, when everything falls into place, the groove is right, and the flow is continuous. It's really difficult to capture that if you're recording "track by track". So yeah, that was the goal Patrick was aiming for with "Amnesia". And also, once you're in that place where everything kind of fits and the band is sounding good, everything goes pretty fast. We recorded the whole album in one and a half days. The vocals took us another four evening sessions.
KM: That's pretty quick! I know the band has been together since 2015. Why has it taken so long for a debut album?
SS: At the beginning, we had a different rhythm section. We really loved playing together and were constantly creating new material. But somehow, we never managed to take it to another level in terms of making a full album and putting real effort into getting it out there. We were called PORT back then, and in 2016, we recorded an EP with seven songs, three of which are on "Amnesia". But we never published it. We were just kind of trapped in a rollercoaster of rehearsing and songwriting, and didn't realize that the band was suffering. Unfortunately, after some time, our drummer decided to leave the band and shortly after, our bass player did as well. This was a hard thing to swallow, but somehow we knew it was inevitable. Once we had Tobi joining us on drums, and Julie on bass, the whole band running again, we knew this time we needed to get more serious about getting things done. So here we are.
KM: Glad it's happening now for you. Tell me a bit about the rest of the band. Who are the players and how did the band come together?
SS: I first met Patrick back in 2008 when his former band was on the lookout for a singer. I came across their ad and decided to audition. Ever since that day, we've been making music together. Patrick is an incredible guitarist, a talented producer, and an all-around musician. His knowledge of music is vast, and I've never encountered someone who understands the intricacies of music—like groove, timing, and flow—better than him.
While we were in search of a new rhythm section for ANTIROPE, I reached out to Tobi, a longtime friend of mine. We actually had a band together way back in 2003. Although he's a great guitarist, Tobi made the switch to drums. Then, Patrick came up with the idea of asking his sister, Julie, to join us on bass. Julie is a DJ by profession, and although she hadn't played bass since her teenage years, her sense of timing is extraordinary.
So ANTIROPE is more than just a band; it's a fusion of friends and family. The chemistry among us is great, and it translates into our music, creating something truly special for us.
KM: I understand all of you come from different musical backgrounds? Would you like to expand upon that?
SS: Yeah, that’s true. Although there is a bunch of the same stuff we all like. Patrick is a big fan of Slayer, Neurosis, Type O Negative, early Faith No More. Tobi is more into Nu-Metal and Metalcore. Julie being a DJ is in her Funk/House/Disco realm, and my background comes more from the late 80's early 90's Seattle scene. Bands like Soundgarden and Alice in Chains. And also the 70's, Bowie, Led Zeppelin.
KM: With that being said, how have you been able to combine your musical backgrounds to form the sound Antirope is now known for? Was it a challenge for all of you, or did it just gel?
SS: Not at all. We complement each other really well. We never talk about the style of a particular song, nor do we try to push a song in a direction so it would fit in a certain genre. In the end, it's just four people making music together, and everybody is putting their own ingredients into it.
KM: Tell me a bit about your background. You are a guitarist and the lead vocalist for the band. What came first for you, playing the guitar or singing?
SS: It kind of happened simultaneously. I got my first acoustic guitar when I was twelve years old. I had my small notebook with main chords in it and a couple of songs to sing along. So once I figured out the basic chords, I eventually started singing. Later on, when I was sixteen, I was in a band with my friends from school. That was the point when I fell in love with noise, distorted guitars, and just being in a band, and I've been in bands ever since.
KM: What type of music was playing in your household as a kid? Were your parents big music fans?
SS: They were not crazy about music, but I remember we listened to the radio a lot. It was mostly Rock music. I also remember going through their vinyl collection as a kid and was fascinated with those big covers, with the artwork, and was always reading the lyrics and liner notes.
KM: Who are some of your musical influences? How about the rest of the band?
SS: I remember when I first heard David Bowie's 'Ashes To Ashes.' I think I was ten years old, and I was listening to that dreamy, melancholic intro over and over again. So that kind of stuck with me. Then, I stumbled upon 'Immigrant Song' from Led Zeppelin and was just blown away. As a teenager in the mid-nineties, I was listening to Metallica, Sepultura, Slayer, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Nine Inch Nails, TOOL. So I think the nineties played a big role in shaping me musically. But still, I get influenced every day. There is a lot of great new music out there.
As I mentioned earlier, Patrick is a huge fan of Kiss, Slayer, Neurosis, and 80s thrash-metal. Julie, on the other hand, leans more towards disco/funk/house and enjoys French and Italian music. I believe Tobi's influences align somewhat with mine. He's a big TOOL fan, but he also loves Silverchair, Chevelle, metalcore and the nu-metal sound of the late 90's early 2000's.
KM: How’s your fanbase in Germany? I know there’s a huge demand for rock bands in Europe.
SS: It is growing steadily and we're incredibly grateful for the support we receive from our German fans. The demand for rock bands in Europe, including Germany, is indeed significant, and we're fortunate to be part of a music scene that embraces our genre.
KM: Are there plans to come to the United States soon for a tour?
SS: Not at this moment. But if the opportunity comes our way, we would be thrilled to tour the United States.
KM: What do you foresee in the future for Antirope?
SS: We have been receiving great feedback, which is really encouraging and motivates us to continue making music. Our next focus will be on starting the work for a new album, as we are constantly looking to evolve and explore some new creative territories. But the goal is to keep playing music and pushing ourselves to grow as artists. To make more records, play shows and enjoy the ride. So yeah, I think the future's looking bright for ANTIROPE, and we're ready to embrace every opportunity that comes our way.
KM: What’s on the band’s schedule for the rest of 2023?
SS: We have a gig coming up on the 5th of August where we are supporting Acid King. It's a festival in our hometown of Munich and also kind of a release party for our album 'Amnesia'. And in October, we will be back in the studio to work on our second album.
KM: We look forward to hearing more, and thank you.
SS: Thank you, too, and Tru Rock Revival.
Kreig Marks, Publisher / Founder TRR
Kreig Marks is the Founder/Publisher of Tru Rock Revival Magazine.
Rock music has always been his passion, and promoting musicians. In is spare time he is an internationally recognized neuro-fitness trainer/ kinesiologist.