INTERVIEW: Jürgen Bartsch of Bethlehem

Bethlehem call themselves dark metal and I think it is appropriate moniker. It’s kind of like black metal with the growling vocals and tremolo guitar picking. But there’s something more: a haunting, echoey, dungeon-y elegance to this music. It’s like 80’s dark wave took a turn down the left hand path and never looked back. The music can also become industrial with little warning.  Surprises can be a good thing.

I sent Bethlehem some questions via email and bassist Jürgen Bartsch replied. So I automatically “heart” them. This German band plays late at the 2012 Maryland Deathfest on Sunday, May 27. This is definitely music that should be listened to after dark. My questions and comments are in bold and Jürgen’s replies are mostly unedited.

Which members will be playing the Maryland Deathfest? 

The final line-up changes have been done at the end of December 2011. This is it then. No more ones cos 21 years of pure line-up chaos should be ’nuff for me personally. The final Bethlehem is: Jürgen Bartsch – bass guitar, Olaf Eckhardt – guitar, Rogier Droog – vocals (ex-Carnivore), and Florian “Torturer” Klein – drums (ex-Belphegor).

What recording material will you be focusing on for your set list? 

Regarding the pretty short playtime of just 50 minutes we basically will play the classics from the “Dark Metal, Dictius Te Necare, S.U.i.Z.i.D.” albums + “Maschinensohn” from the “S.a.d.A.W.” album.

Are you doing any other shows or tours before or after MDF that you would like to mention? 

No, there won’t be other shows before the MDF cos we are working on a new longplayer at the moment which takes our full concentration. After the MDF we just play one Headliner Show on July the 1st in Paris cos a week later we already are entering the studio producing another monument of pure melancholy and solitude. After this is done there will be a European Tour in Autumn blablabla….boring if you may ask me. [Not, boring at all! :)]

Will you have any special or unusual items for sale at MDF?

Yep, we gonna bring some merchandise with us. Some T’s which basically are done for Europe and should not be available over there. Not too many items to be honest cos we also are taking our instruments and shit with us.

Any special greetings for your fans? Anything else we should know?

There’s nothing more to say I reckon except the usual greetings for our people. Tho they already know about that cos the whole Bethlehem thing always was destined (to be) something pretty personal over all the years. And tho new generations also seem to still be attracted by what we’re doing, we are not following bollocks such as the ordinary attitude avoiding listeners of our own music. This more is for the scum thinking they gonna do something extraordinary which is nothing but a lie. Amongst others.

Check out some of Bethlehem’s creepy goodness. In the second video, they look like they are wearing some kind of cult-pajamas. I can’t wait to see what they do live.

Leave a Reply