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The Definition of “Ruling”: E.S. Posthumus Interview

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So maybe you’ve never heard of E.S. Posthumus, but if there was one recommendation that I felt compelled to give to each and every one of you, it would be to check them out.  Their entire first album, Unearthed, is streamable from their website, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be hooked within the first 30 seconds.  I was actually turned on to the group by a good friend of mine, Brandon Robison, who sometimes contributes to OSV behind the scenes, and he was actually responsible for putting these interview questions together.

E.S. Posthumus is comprised of brothers Helmut and Franz Vonlichten, and they kick some serious ass.  We’ve been fortunate to get some time with the duo to talk about their third album that is due out in the coming months.  We talk about their first two albums, what it’s like to work alongside your brother, and what to expect from their upcoming album.  These guys are not only talented, but they’re hilarious as well, and I encourage you to read on and visit their website to learn more about them!

Hit the jump for a good time with E.S. Posthumus!

OSV:
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us when we know you’re busily working on your next album! To start off, there was a seven year gap between the release of your first and second albums. Now it’s been less than two years and you’re putting out your third. What factors have contributed to this quickened pace?

E. S. Posthumus: To be perfectly honest, we’ve started, stopped, revisited and reimagined this new album for the past seven years. We’ve probably recorded enough music to make a boxed set! But we finally laid down the hammer, picked a card, flushed out the rulingest of tunes and are putting the finishing touches on the best of the best. We think people are going to be stoked with the results. This new record a is true vintage E.S. Posthumus experience.

OSV: Can your fans also hope for new albums more frequently in the future, or has putting out a new album so quickly been a draining process?

E. S. Posthumus: We hope so, but you never know with us. It’s not that we’re lazy or not prolific. We are simply dazed, confused constantly, at each other’s throats and unsure about what we want to put out.

OSV: Your new album, which we believe is titled Deciphered, has been described as a follow up to your first album, Unearthed. In what ways is this so? What is meant by it being a follow up?

E. S. Posthumus: It’s no longer called Deciphered [Laughs]… we changed our minds as usual. Obviously Cartographer explored the mellow side of ESP. This record is aggressive and it kicks ass.

OSV: Do either of you have a favorite song (or songs) on the upcoming album that you’d like to tease us by telling us a little bit about?

E. S. Posthumus: There is not a tune on the record that both of us don’t stand behind 100%. The mediocre tunes have been thrown in the proverbial dumpster. The record is a definite musical statement. It’s meant to be listened to from top to bottom. Just like back in the day when albums smoked, head to tail.

OSV: Is Luna Sans making a return appearance for your new album, or are there any other singers or artists that will be featured? Perhaps we’ll hear Pedro Eustache’s amazing world woodwinds once again?

E. S. Posthumus: First of all Luna Sans rules, but no Luna on this one. We loved working with her and writing for her on Cartographer, but this new album is big departure from Cartographer, much more along the lines of Unearthed. I’m sure Pedro will pop up somewhere . There is a cast of thousands of Super Cats from Hell on this record, you’ll have to wait and read the credits. We’ll probably do a vinyl run on this one too, so bust out your turntable.

OSV: About Cartographer, your second album, it was drastically different from Unearthed in the sense that you included an entire vocal CD. We’re wondering how you interpreted the response to this album. Did fans prefer the Luna Sans disc of the remix disc better? I’ve personally noticed that people tend to enjoy whichever version they listened to first. Have you noticed any trends in this regard?

E. S. Posthumus: Well, when we listen to Cartographer we listen to the Luna version. We wrote and arranged that record around her voice. We did not want to totally freak out the hard-core ESP fans, so we put together the remix version to make sure they had what they needed.

OSV: Is the work of writing a piece broken up pretty evenly between the two of you? Or do you find, for instance, that one of you has an aptitude for coming up with musical themes while the other has a knack for fitting in the best instruments to convey those themes?

E. S. Posthumus: We literally sit together at a piano and write together. It’s a collaborative process that includes brotherly love, hate and fist fights. It’s not easy, but it works. The production process is pretty evenly split between the two of us. That’s the fun part.

OSV: What kinds of tools do the two of you use to create music? We know that live performances from a variety of musicians are included, but what sorts of sample libraries or other pieces of hardware are being used by the two of you? Can we expect any sorts of new sounds from this new album?

E. S. Posthumus: Protools, Sibelius, Pen and Paper, and every plug-in known to man. We own a boatload of vintage synths and pedals. We don’t believe in Sample Libraries. They are the devil’s writing pen. We’ve made our own proprietary stash of yummy stuff.

We’ve been all over the world working on this record. In the past few months we’ve recorded at Air in London, The Village and Henson in LA, Tavarua in Fiji and in a woodshed 400 miles north of Lima, Peru. The countless rooms we’ve worked in all have a their own unique sound. Acoustics are an amazing phenomenon. They give each overdub an extra life of it’s own.

OSV: Does Franz’s childhood love for classic rock manifest itself in guiding the composition of a song in ways that Helmut’s childhood love for classical music would, or vice versa? In other words, how similar or different do you feel your individual styles are to one another and how does that affect the music you create?

E. S. Posthumus: We’ve been at this since we were infants. I think we were doing mash-ups before there was such a thing. Playing “Back in Black” over Mahler’s 5th, 4th movement. You should try it sometime. It’s sick. We just sit down, and work it out. Being brothers, there is a lot of respect and love between us, and we are careful not to impede each other’s creativity. That doesn’t mean the writing process is all fun and games, but when it’s running on all cylinders, it’s pure adrenaline.

OSV: There are many people who are not familiar with the name E. S. Posthumus, but most people have heard your work for the groups like the NFL, movie trailers, etc. Do you wish you had more mainstream name recognition, or do you enjoy being able to lay low?

E. S. Posthumus: We’re cool with being an underground band. We don’t have a publicist, PR pantload, just our trusty manager Calvin Sondheim. He keeps the business side of things in order. We just write, record, put this stuff out and hope people dig it.

OSV: You have a pretty distinct sound. We’ve often found ourselves having a hard time describing it to our friends, so if you had to describe E.S. Posthumus in a single sentence, how would you describe it?

E. S. Posthumus: Ruling.

OSV: With a sizable portfolio now (three albums, work for the NFL, the theme for the CBS show Cold Case, just to name a few), do either of you ever consider “branching out” and working on side-projects with other musicians or your own individual projects?

E. S. Posthumus: We have a bunch of ideas, but right now we are intensely focused on getting this new record finished.

OSV: We know you’ve been asked this in the past, but as fans, we’re hoping your answer may have changed since then: Have there been any talks of taking E. S. Posthumus on tour?

E. S. Posthumus: Yeah. Can’t really get into it right now, but yes.

OSV: Do either of you have a favorite instrument? If so, what is it and why?

E. S. Posthumus: As you can tell by listening to our stuff, instrument wise, the entire spectrum seems to get represented. We don’t care if it’s an entire orchestra or a saz. If it’s being played and played well, it’s our favorite at the time.

OSV: Since we cover a whole lot of game, anime, and Japanese pop music on OSV, we wanted to ask if either of you have favorite works from these areas of music?

E. S. Posthumus: We just watched Cowboy Bebop the other day. That was pretty cool. Very sexy and violent, yet tasteful.

OSV: Would you like to say anything to your long-time fans, and perhaps something to get people out there who are unfamiliar with your music excited about your upcoming album?

E. S. Posthumus: We think it was worth the wait.

OSV: Thank you for your time. We’re greatly looking forward to your next album. Good luck putting the final touches on in the coming months.

E. S. Posthumus: Thank You! We have the best fans…

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