During the Night of the Prog festival on the Loreley in Germany, I found some time to have a coffee and a chat with Oliver Rüsing and Gerald Nahrgang. One being the guitarist, vocalist and founder of Karibow, and the other being the band’s drummer, there’s no guessing to the subject of the interview we did there.
Karibow have been about Oliver Rüsing’s musical work since 1997, although between 2000 and 2011 he mainly operated on his own. In 2011, the album Man of Rust won an award from the German Rock and Pop Musicians Association, and in 2014 a similar honour, the Best Progressive Rock album in Germany award, was given to the band’s most recent album Addicted. An album that made Oliver set up a real band again, for live playing, but also with an eye on a new album that is already in the making.
Addicted, contains 16 tracks, and can be found on the border of prog and AOR. The tracks included were a deliberate selection out of 60 tracks that were available for the album, the others are still waiting for release. The album may not meet all ‘definitions’ of a full prog album, for Karibow musical quality in the form of composition and melody come first. The complexity may be hidden underneath that and not be obvious at first. As drummer Gerald indicates: “It’s hard work for me as a drummer. At first you don’t notice, but there are odd meters everywhere”. The two men don’t believe in progressive rock being a cage, in the end it’s about music, about ideas developing in a song, not about fitting a definition made certain listeners.
From this, in the interview we took off to discussing the album, the way of composing that Oliver applies and how that differs from what e.g. Genesis did in the past. We also touch upon loudness war, short sound clips that make up modern pop music, and the next album that Karibow is working on.
I had an interesting morning, and preparing the audio track of this interview made me think about the next one already – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.