With an army of releases out in Europe, only two of Sielwolf's powerful albums, Metastasen, and Magnum Force, have made it to America. Ranging from heavy industrial noise to innovative atmospheres, Sielwolf's music is creative, chaotic, and chilling. Sielwolf, German for a machine in the sewer that cleans the dirt out of water, may not be palatable for mass consumption, but many will love their thunderingly intense sound that dredges out the filth of life with all it's pain, depression and fears.
Peter and Petra, the German duo behind the music, were taking their second vacation to the U.S., to vist such places as Las Vegas and Venice Beach, when I had the opportunity to speak with them. She's a trained psychologist who brings a moody side to the music, and he's a practical joker who provides the light (or dark) hearted entertainment for the audience. Petra currently works at a clinic in their hometown of Frankfurt where she counsels drug addicts and plans on going back to school to get a higher degree in psychology. Peter on the other hand has held a variety of jobs. Together they create some of the most intense music I've heard.
For them "The music is a way of getting rid of the aggressions and feelings in general" , says Petra. One of the bands they respect the most is Swans. Peter elaborates, "Our lyrics are similar to theirs(Swans). In German they may be a bit more complicated to understand, but the meanings are similar...more personal and psychological. Not like the EBM cliches."
Much of Sielwolf's music contains samples from intellectual horror movies like those of David Cronenberg or Stanley Kubrick. The samples are often German voice- overs to English spoken movies which sound strange in the German translation. Although they use a lot of movie samples Petra explains, "The lyrics have nothing to do with the horror films we used in the beginning. We used the samples to illustrate aspects of communication through television."
Sielwolf has toured extensively in Germany, Belgium,and Holland and have played with such diverse acts as The Young Gods, Meat Beat Manifesto, Test Dept, Die Form,and Rich Kids on LSD. On stage Petra controls the keyboards while Peter screams the vocals and entertains the audience during the instrumentals. To complete the live experience, Sielwolf members include a live bass player, drummer,and guitarist. Petra describes the live show by saying "We do performance art on stage. On tour we had an aquarium on stage and filled it with water and Peter put his head in the water as long as possible . For us it is important to bring out the visual effects because we sample from movies so much".
The music of Sielwolf is constantly growing and changing. "I'm interested in new electronic music" says Peter. In particular he likes some of the drum and bass music that has gotten "harder and very complicated". He contnues maybe that will influence the next record". But Sielwolf is not likely to go completely electronic , as Petra proclaims, "I'm still interested in guitar music. I like guitar more".
On their two american releases, Metastasen, and Magnum Force, many of the songs toggle between intensely harsh songs and atmospheric soundscapes. For the new material Peter asserts, "Now we will mix it together so that the songs are not one hard one soft." When asked about the differences between Germans and Americans, Petra responded with "I think that the mentality is different." She feels Americans are much more relaxed in their everyday conversations and don't want to delve into problems. While Germans will "analyze everything". Peter explains that Germans are always searching for the underlying problems that must be there. He also says that Europeans are "very big on image". Petra was surprised by the friendliness of a woman she met at Kontrol Factory, an Industrial club in Loa Angeles. "I went to the toilet and there was this gothic woman who was white and pale, and looked scary. I came in and she said 'hello, how are you'? She was very friendly. We wouldn't have that in Germany. If you find a person like that in Germany she wouldn't talk to you at all. They say 'I am a goth,'and then they behave like one. They do everything to play the part and are not open minded."
Sielwolf timeline: 1979. Peter was a drummer in the only punk band in Frankfurt. When Petra met him she wanted to play drums too. 1984 Peter,Petra and a few other members formed Collectionism: an experimental performance art based band influenced by the ambient sounds of Brian Eno 1985-88 Peter and Petra formed their own band called Die Riss(The Cut). They began to include vocals and experiment with a harder sound 1989 Sielwolf was formed and their first release, Paralyzed Voice was a sample ladened EP with "typical eerie electronic things". In order to play live Peter and Petra added a bass player,drummer and guitarist. 1992 Magnum Force was released on Cash Beat just two weeks after Ministry's Pslam 69 came out. Everyone thought the release was trying to copy Ministry, when in fact the timing was just a coincidence. The violent aggressive cliches and horror movie samples were meant to be tongue in cheek. 1993 Nachtstrom was released in Europe and will be released this year in the U.S. by Van Richter which will feature previously unreleased tracks. 1994 Metastasen was a more personal and introverted album. The domestic release includes tracks from their Beweglich Animalisch EP. One is a Lassigue Bendthaus mix of that song, and the other is a Nirvana edit that was coincidentally finished two weeks before Kurt Cobain killed himself.