MEM VON STEIN (Exumer) – I have to prepare more these days
Mem er en av utallige vokalister innen metallen som først lærte å kontrollere stemmen sin etter å ha mistet den. Han nevner Paul Baloff, King Diamond, Cronos og Lemmy som sine største inspirasjonskilder og hans største forbilder og favorittvokalister er Curtis Mayfield, Phil Lynott og Ella Fitzgerald. Her er The Deepthroat Series og Mem von Stein fra Exumer.
When did you start doing extreme vocals (What year and at what age)?
I started singing in my first project at age 16 and felt that I would have to attempt creating my own singing style. However, I was still heavily influenced by all the music I enjoyed back in those days like Venom, Slayer and mostly Exodus.
What made you start to do extreme vocals?
Necessity, no one wanted to do the job at the time and I played bass and everyone said I should sing too since it would not be as hard playing guitars or drums and sing at the same time.
Can you describe the technique or the techniques you are using?
I basically rely on singing from my stomach/diaphragm for volume and avoid using my throat. I recently began some additional breathing exercises and warm ups for tongue and jaw.
Has your technique changed during your career?
I have to prepare more these days, especially for touring or recordings. I used to be on the road a lot more in the 80s and 90s and recorded albums regularly. These days we hit the road for specific dates and tours, the same for recordings. Therefore I prepare a lot more on my own, rather than with the whole band around.
Have you ever hurt yourself by using a "wrong technique"?
Yeah, in the very beginning, when we recorded "Possessed by Fire". I lost my voice during the session for a short time, due to yelling my lungs out. We eventually finished the session and I learned to control my screaming after that.
Is there something you do on a regular basis to keep your voice in shape? Any routines?
I do my breathing exercises and sing by myself during times when we don't rehearse, tour or record.
Do you think it can be dangerous to do extreme vocals?
It depends, I do think that people have to develop techniques or get some coaching in order to prevent damage to their vocal chords. However, it depends how long one wants to do this kind of music style; it's been 26 years for me at this point.
What is most important for you – to make cool sounds and interesting rhythms, or to have a clear diction/pronunciation?
I would say that my lyrics have to match the intensity of the delivery of the vocal performance for each song. I am very aware of how the lyrical themes correspond with the riffs and the vocals.
Do you think that extreme vocals can be made into a science, like "this is how it works for everyone, to make this sound you have to do this etc"? Or is it more intuitive and individual how to do it?
Well, you can check Melissa Cross DVDs and they are pretty extensive in regards to content and the whole approach to this style of vocals. Maybe not scientific but a thing to its own and unique.
Do you have any advice to people who wants to start doing extreme vocals?
Just to be conscious to seek advice from others who have been in the game for a while in order to prevent unnecessary injuries or disappointments lime being hoarse after a show and 5 to go….
Mention three extreme vocalists whose style you admire, and explain your choice. What specifically do you like about the styles of those three? Also mention three vocalists (not necessarily extreme vocalists) which you have been influence by, and explain in which way you have been influenced by each of them.
I tell you who my favorite singers are: Curtis Mayfield, Phil Lynott and Ella Fitzgerald! Their delivery and soul reigns supreme in my opinion. However, I also think that Rob Halford is equally soulful and important in his own rite as any I just mentioned. Here are my biggest influences in metal: Paul Baloff, King Diamond and Cronos/Lemmy!
I can't sing like King but he is very intense, especially in the 1980s with Mercyful Fate. Lemmy and Cronos growl and made me believe that I too can become a vocalist without having to be a virtuoso and Paul Baloff is the best extreme vocalist and most influential singer for me. Just check my vocals on PBF and you will know what I mean.
Who do you want to challenge in this series? (Who should be the next extreme vocalist to answer these questions?) Give a brief explanation for your choice.
Cronos, he still rules after 30 years in the game and has kept the magic in his own way.