An Interview with Jan Hoffman of Long Distance Calling

Hailing from Münster, Germany, Long Distance Calling is one of the first names that come to mind when we speak about the German post/progressive rock scene, with a discography stacked with four full albums and many EPs. Last year was quite the turning point in their road, with Martin “Marsen” Fischer’s recruitment on vocals and the release of the remarkable record, “The Flood Inside”, which made it to the German music charts. We got in touch with them and spoke with bass player Jan Hoffman about the previous chapters of their story, their influences and the next step in their journey. 

Through the years you have contributed greatly to the music scene with many albums and EPs. But first, can we go back in time a bit? Tell us more about where you grew up and how it affected your musical preferences and influences.

Hey! I grew up in a small village and my dad had a lot of records like Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, etc. Later on I started with a lot of metal and then I discovered Tool, Porcupine Tree, etc.

So NIGHTHAWK was released last August, and it was quite an experience. Seven tracks composed and recorded simultaneously. Where did the idea originate from and how did the recording experience go? Is this something you may consider doing again in the future?

We just liked the idea to do something special for us and the fans so we decided to give it a try and it turned out really cool. We had a great time in the studio and more ideas than we thought we could have in this short amount of time. We don’t know if we would do this again, but you never know 🙂

You made a post on your page regarding (Nine Inch Nails) Trent Reznor’s statement about how paying for music is ancient history. Where do you stand on this idea, and how do you think it affects your work in particular and the music industry in general?

That’s a very difficult question to ask and there is no “right” answer to this. It is what it is and digital streaming is of course the future, but there will always be people who want to purchase a “real” release like a vinyl or a CD. We still sell a good amount of those, but it is very interesting what our fans think about the way they buy and enjoy music. For a band this is something really important, but like I said, it is what it is.

Starting from the last album you officially now have Marsen on vocals. How was the relationship between you so far and how did it affect your usual composing process in the last record or in the coming ones?

It’s going really well. For the last album we didn’t have a lot of time to work with Marsen so he basically sang his vocals on almost done songs. For the next record we already have a good amount of written songs and those songs were written with Marsen from the very beginning and you will hear this. There are a lot of details and very cool arrangements.

Electronic elements have always been a great influence on your music over the years. Will parting ways with Reimut von Bonn change that fact on future releases, or will you depend on more guest musicians as on “The Flood Inside”?

Well, Marsen is also a very talented keyboard player, he can also program beats and sounds and play the piano for example. This will always be an important part of our music.

You recently finished The Flood Inside Tour Part I and II. How was the journey this time and were there any special moments or situations you encountered along the way? Are there any special venues or countries you still wish to hit in the coming tours?

There are still a lot of places we haven’t been to, but the tours were really good and successful and we can’t wait to go out again sometime next year. We had great support bands with us on those two tours (Solstafir, Audrey Horne, Sagh, Junius, Wolves Like Us) so we had a great time, also on a personal level. It’s always good to meet new people. We would definitely love to tour the US sometime or Australia. Or whatever may come our way 🙂

After making many records and playing a lot of live performances, how do you feel your composing process has developed over the years and do you feel the pressure becomes harder every record to meet the expectations of your fans and deliver something new?  

Of course it’s not getting easier with every release, but at the same time we are way better musicians than some years ago so there’s always a progress and we have found a cool way to compose and arrange songs and like I said, we already have a lot of new songs in the bag. I hope we can hit the studio sometime next year. It’s always the goal to do something new for us and keeping our roots at the same time.

I have noticed that moving picture – especially movies – have been quite influential on your music, for example with “Into The Black Wide Open”. Will we see this influence going both ways in the future with you contributing to or composing movie soundtracks?  

That would be an amazing thing to do. We talked about this a lot of times already, but this is something really hard to achieve. So yeah, moviemakers out there: call us 🙂 I think our music is very “visual” so this would be really interesting for us.

These last two years were almost all about the road and promoting “The Flood Inside”. So what have you got planned for us in 2015? New tours or a new album maybe?

Yeah, we will release our new album next year and of course we will again tour our asses off to promote it!

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