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KATANGA – Children Of The Darkened Moon
Anthony Morgan
January 2011

Formed in 1998, Greifswald, Germany-based melodic gothic rock act Katanga issued inaugural EP Leben in 1999 with the Batflight EP arriving a year later. Debut full-length Darkchild surfaced in 2006 through Rabazco Records. On November 18th, 2010, it was publicly announced that Katanga had inked a record contract with Massacre Records. “Our old label Rabazco stopped working for us,” reveals frontman Mario Banch, his words being translated by bassist Wilko Olken during the interview. “We learned that Atargatis – from the southern part of Germany – had signed with Massacre Records, so we contacted Massacre and asked if we could be signed also.”

Songwriting sessions for sophomore full-length studio effort Moonchild began in earnest during mid-2007. “Moonchild developed just like any other album; we gathered ideas, worked with a computer, created songs and developed them as we go basically,” Mario explains. “For the album, we took much more time than before because we decided that it had to be much better than the sound of Darkchild. We wanted to take control of the finished product beforehand, and so we had to basically learn production techniques as well as computer-related techniques so that we had an album we could stand behind. The sound is warmer with a much broader spectrum, and tries to mix mythological ideas with ideas which tackle social criticism. That’s why we re-recorded three songs from Darkchild.”

“I like to compare the sound of Katanga and its musical style as a mixture of well-known bands like The 69 Eyes and Depeche Mode,” says the vocalist in reference to the gothic rock act’s sound. “Moonchild is not that radical from Darkchild, though we seem to be using a bit more electronics than in the past.”

Will there be a five-year gap between Moonchild and its successor, as was the case with Darkchild and Moonchild? “We hope not.”

As Mario mentioned, a lyrical hybrid of mythological ideas and social critiques are explored on Moonchild. “‘Bittermond’ is a song about vampires, whereas ‘Metropolis’ deals with the idea developed in Fritz Lang’s movie Metropolis,” the German elaborates. “We are basically taking bits and pieces of mythology from here and there, and combining them into our lyrics. ‘Marquis De Sade’ / ‘Gottlos’ deals with the idea that love can be for sale, and ‘Metropolis’ deals with the hunger for money which pervades our societies. ‘Schwarze Flügel’ is a song about the idea that young people today lack perspective and the opportunity to develop into members of society, and ‘Mondscheinfahrt’ and ‘Lemuria’ basically handle the same topic. ‘Moonchild’ is a song about loneliness in society, while ‘Mörder der Erinnerung’ is a song about the abuse of alcohol.”

“We collaborate on the lyrics, but it’s Mario who brings the ideas and has creative control of this process,” notes Wilko.

On the compositions ‘I’m Gonna Die For You’, ‘Bittermond’ and ‘Moonchild’, Zeraphone / ex-Dreadful Shadows frontman Sven Friedrich supplies guest vocals. “The boss of our former label Rabazco used to be the bassist in the band that Sven Friedrich worked in before, and we’ve got friends in common with him,” the singer divulges. “We were referred to him and he decided to work with us. It was really quite nice to work with such a wonderful musician. Obviously, I’m more of a middle-range singer while Doreen (backing vocals) hits the high notes, whereas Sven would be the one who has a really deep, resonating voice which blends in quite nicely. You can hear a side of Sven Friedrich you haven’t heard in awhile because he sings a little more metal-like like he used to when working with Dreadful Shadows. He doesn’t use that when working with Zeraphine.”

Moonchild was mastered by Vincent Sorg (who’s worked with groups like Grave Digger, ASP, In Extremo and Tote Hosen), Peter ‘Pluto’ Neuber and Thorsten Wyk, with production duties being handled by Ron Thiele. “We developed a very relaxed way of working with Ron as a producer, because we had some ideas about how the songs were supposed to sound,” Mario clarifies. “We pre-produced much of the material beforehand, handed in what we had to him, and he worked with it and put in his own ideas and decided what we liked and what we didn’t like. We arrived at a product we could stand behind.”

Moonchild was released on January 28th, 2011 through Massacre Records.

Interview published in January 2011

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