By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Self-described as “Über-Grunge,” Germany-based quartet Stonebourne released their first full-length album ‘Squirrels On A Plane’ in September 2020.
The group pulls no punches in its signature sound that manages to both serve as a callback to 90’s grunge pioneers like Pearl Jam and Alice In Chains and appeal to modern headbangers through emotional lyrics and dynamic melodies.
Stonebourne are vocalist/guitarist Sven Kartscher, bassist/vocalist Dierk Von Tesmar, guitarist Norman Wittig and drummer Heinz Salomon.
The Music Bugle had the chance to speak with the band about what they’ve been up to lately and more.
Music Bugle – How would you define your style of music?
Heinz Salomon – Grunge, alternative and hard rock…
Dierk Von Tesmar – Grunge meets everything from the history of classic metal/hard rock/punk.
Sven Kartscher – We have labeled it “Uber-Grunge” before someone else will do it, meaning we have our roots in Seattle-like sound a la Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, you name it, but of course, we won’t remain dully in this retro attitude, but add a major part of our own and more modern sound.
Music Bugle – How would you describe Germany to someone who has never been there before?
Dierk Von Tesmar – If you like good beer and good food, you are at the right place. On top, you have beautiful landscapes and great places of interest.
Heinz Salomon – Agree, nice small…
Sven Kartscher – Small?!
Heinz Salomon – … Country with lots of nice people and tasty beer.
Sven Kartscher – Ha! That sounds just like an ad from the ministry of tourism. (Laughs) Just go and find out yourself. You will be surprised in either this or that way.
Music Bugle – What was it like making your new album ‘Squirrels On A Plane’?
Heinz Salomon – Awesome!
Dierk Von Tesmar – Different than recording the EP, as we played our parts one after the other without really meeting each other. Only two of us were there at the same time – due to the fact as lots of the recordings took place during week time, not everybody was available.
Sven Kartscher – We recorded our first EP in only one-and-a-half days without thinking in a rush. The album took much more time, as Dierk said and some songs were even recorded without any rehearsing upfront. I just had the guys coming to the studio and we were writing the parts together almost live. but it worked out pretty well that way.
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Dierk Von Tesmar – Not personally, but at work.
Heinz Salomon – All shows canceled. Real shit!
Sven Kartscher – Yes, like all the other bands, we are in pause mode, but right now, more serious to me. My sister lives in England and she tested positive and got ill and that is kind of creepy, as you can do nothing for her, living abroad!
Music Bugle – Which of your new songs were the hardest to write?
Heinz Salomon – Sorry, I’m just the drummer.
Dierk Von Tesmar – Sven, your part.
Sven Kartscher – Always the last one, but to be honest, it’s really the first and the last song on the album. I couldn’t find a proper vocal line in the chorus for “Swimming Through The Waves” for a long time and “A Little Bit Of Killing.” I had written the words already and the music, but I turned it upside down so many times until it would meet my personal artistic standards.
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Sven Kartscher – Almost anything. I have no reservations!
Heinz Salomon – Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Porcupine Tree, Monster Magnet, Soundgarden…
Dierk Von Tesmar – Depends on the mood. To be more specific – Soundgarden, Queen, Rush, Alice in Chains…
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you feel the need to escape?
Dierk Von Tesmar – Into the forest.
Sven Kartscher – Out of the forest. Wink, wink.
Heinz Salomon – Into the cellar – my music room with my drum kit.
Music Bugle – Away from music, what’s something people may be surprised to know about the band?
Heinz Salomon – Spend an evening with us and you will know it…
Dierk Von Tesmar – We are not the youngest anymore.
Sven Kartscher – Not so surprising, we are still playing grunge.
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Dierk Von Tesmar – “What doesn’t kill you makes you harder.”
Heinz Salomon – “People have said to me, ‘You can’t write songs. You can’t play an instrument,’ but I’ve got 10 gold records,” from Sonny Bono.
Sven Kartscher – Who the fuck is Sonny Bono? Ahhh, really? Sonny & Cher? Seriously?
Music Bugle – What do you hope for in 2021?
Heinz Salomon – Playing live again and kicking ass with our music.
Dierk Von Tesmar – Gigs, fame, big money…
Sven Kartscher – Ah, just the usual rockstar cliche. I hope this whole mess will end soon and we all can go back to normal living. I’ve always thought the world can’t go more crazy, but 2020 proved me wrong.