THRESHOLD – Interview mit Karl Groom
THRESHOLD – Interview mit Karl Groom
As the official media partner of the event, we always present the bands on the billing ahead of the festival with an interview. After a longer break, I had the chance to see THRESHOLD live in Essen on 28.04.2023. See our report here. So I was happy to be able to ask Gitarrist and founding member Karl Groom some questions about various stuff here at metal-heads.de. Let’s go!
First of all, I´m always very impressed, what popular bands the organisers get to play in Duisburg. My favourite music is prog, so I’m very happy to have a band like THRESHOLD on the bill for this years edition of RAGE AGAINST RACISM (I cannot remember having a prog band in all the years, that I’ve been following the festival)
MH.de: So I´d like to begin with the question, what attracted you, to travel to this town in a metal region (talking about the industry around and the music style people around there like a lot)?
KG: Well, Germany has always been a great country for us and I personally feel an energy in metal fans that is not often matched. We had one of our best shows on the recent tour in Essen and that is close by.
THRESHOLD – Interview mit Karl Groom
MH.de: Why do you feel, have they picked you to represent the spirit of the festival under the subject of RAGE AGAINST RACISM?
KG: This is certainly something we would like to be associated with as a band, but I couldn’t give you a reason they selected us. I feel that even our own country has gone backwards in recent years with people in power making statements that would have been unacceptable a few years ago. If we relax on this subject, it affects attitudes of future generations.
MH.de: Have you done a similar thing before or do you get involved in other charity activities?
KG: We did something with Rage at the beginning of our career with THRESHOLD in 1994 connected to Amnesty International as far as I remember. There have been a lot of dates since then and I don’t remember everything.
MH.de: Let´s talk about music! As a band being in the business for 35 years now, you have quite an impressive back catalogue (and I have most of the releases in my CD-shelf!)! Can you describe the development of the band in the past years, where do you see yourself now and what are the goals for the future?
Classical start: playing cover songs
KG: We started as a few friends playing covers in pubs around England, but gradually wanted to replace those songs with our own. Being as our influences covered metal and progressive, we tried to incorporate both and keep the whole band happy. Fortunately the prog/metal genre started about that time with bands like QUEENSRYCHE and FATES WARNING showing the way, so we were approached by 2 labels. Since then we were asked to join Inside Out and then Nuclear Blast made us an offer in 2007.
In each contract we retain the right to make our own decisions artistically and the band has gradually grown. We still look forward as THRESHOLD and are excited about what we will create next. If we ever started to think about the past and touring old albums, I think that would be the end for us. It is all about what is in the future and that keeps the motivation fresh.
MH.de: Talking about being around for so long. What keeps you going? I mean, it needs inspiration and passion etc. to keep creating new material/music for such an extended period.
KG: The excitement of making new music is the inspiration I need and while that feeling lasts, I think THRESHOLD will continue. The band is an entity in itself and there is a strong identity, whoever has been and gone. If a band makes it through all the difficult times with lineups and tours, there is usually something great happening!
How are new songs created?
MH.de: How do you start to write new material and when/how to you decide, that the songs are „ready for recording“? And then: who in the band takes over which part in the creating of new songs?
KG: Since Subsurface, it has been mainly myself and Richard writing and we help each other in the process of shaping an album. Sometimes a theme will come early on if there is some kind of concept. For Dividing Lines Glynn made a great contribution with 3 songs and that is likely to continue in the future.
It is usually obvious to me as I start to arrange a song whether it will work for an album. Nearly all songs with a completed demo have made it on the album in our career and those not suitable have been abandoned during writing.
MH.de: Your latest release „Dividing lines“ came out towards the end of last year? How is the response and are you satisfied?
KG: We have a loyal fanbase which stretches back to when we started all those years ago. I have seen some people on our most recent tour with t-shirts from the Wounded Land tour in 1993. They looked immaculate, so let’s hope the shirts got washed:-).
Following up Legends of the Shires was always going to be difficult, which is one reason we decided to do something completely different. This was a good decision because it doesn’t repeat the past and Dividing Lines has been a great success. I believe we had the best ever attendances from the recent tour.
Rising costs – how is touring still possible?
MH.de: These days everbody is talking about rising costs and some tours are even cancelled, as it doesn’t seem to be possible to finance the efforts. The THRESHOLD-fans can be happy, that you made it out there for a row of gigs in April 2023. How do you see the development and how does THRESHOLD manage to deal with the challenging situation and still play live concerts?
KG: There is truth in the cost of touring going through the roof. A tour bus is approximately 50% more expensive since we last toured a few years ago. Originally I expected this was fuel, but the price remained high after fuel cost fell. In the UK we also have to pay the costs of our country’s questionable decision to Brexit. We now have to contend with a lot of extra paperwork and the associated payments, along with a long wait to get that paperwork stamped. This is what they call progress in some circles.
THRESHOLD is a band that is kept alive by making tours and live dates, so this is essential if we plan to keep making albums. Luckily the crowds have increased as the cost went up and that has allowed us to stay on the road.
Getting popular at home…
MH.de: For many bands there seems to be the „rule“, that they are not that successful in their home country but way more accepted in other territories. Where would you see the most success for THRESHOLD?
KG: This story of not being popular at home was true for THRESHOLD in the early years. However, things got better with time and the UK has gradually shaken its image of being too reserved. Germany and other central European countries are where we still find the best audience though.
MH.de: I´m very much looking forward to see you live on stage in Duisburg soon (especially as my last THRESHOLD-concert has been quite a while ago). Towards the end of our interview, we offer our interview partners the chance to say something about a self chosen topic. It may be about music but also about another subject. Do you have a final message for our readers out there?
KG: I want to thank THRESHOLD fans the world over for supporting us. This has made it possible to continue releasing records and touring since our first release in 1993! We try our best to come and play, wherever we are invited.
MH.de: Thanx for your time and see you soon!
(Alle Fotos: (c) by Karsten „Chipsy“ Frölich für metal-heads.de – THRESHOLD live in Essen (TUROCK) am 28.04.2023)