Interview with Markus Göller (Destination’s Calling)

Markus Göller

Destination’s Calling have just released their debut album, Invisible Walls. Kristian Nergård caught up with their guitarist Markus Göller for a little chat.

Metal Express Radio: First of all, congratulations on a fine release. How has the response to Invisible Walls been?

Markus Göller: Hi Kris! Thanks for the congrats. Well, at the moment we’re getting feedback from all over the world and it’s really awesome. So many positive reactions, radio-airplay and a lot of comments on MySpace show us that we’re on the right track. The vibes are pretty good and we’re confident that we’ll make a lot of new fans with Invisible Walls. It’s just like a dream come true for us.

MER: Can you tell us a bit about the recording process?

Markus Göller: The recordings for Invisible Walls took place in Dreamscape Studios in Munich. We already knew Jan Vacik from previous recording sessions and he was our man for that job alright! His musical skills are just over the top and he really pushed us to the limit. We managed to get the drums, bass and guitars recorded in about ten days and, after that, we concentrated on the vocals, which took us another five days. Together with the mix it was something like a four-week-production. The final mastering was done by Andy Horn (who already worked for Edenbridge, Majesty, Rob Rock, etc.). In the end we’re really, really satisfied with the record, love the sound and almost can’t believe that it is our baby.

MER: What’s your favourite song from the album, and why?

Markus Göller: That’s really a tricky question as there are so many cool songs on that album. Hmmm, I think if I had to pick one out it would be “Invisible Walls.” It’s so versatile and yet never misses the central theme! The chorus is just like a revelation for me. I would also choose this song because it shows our musical skills and the ability of not simply writing stereotypical “Power Metal” songs. Furthermore, I really dig the lyrical concept behind “Invisible Walls.” On the other side, I’d also like to pick out “Destination’s Calling” as it’s one of the first songs we ever wrote. Besides that, “DC” really kicks ass when played live on stage. Sometimes our fans sing-along with the chorus line even louder than we do – that’s pretty amazing.

MER: Invisible Walls is your debut album, but the band started back in 1999. It’s been nine years, can you tell us a bit about why it has taken so long to release the first album, and what you guys have been up to during this time?

Markus Göller: Well, Chris (Graeter, vocals/guitar) and I used to play together in other different bands before we started DC in 1999. Right after putting the band together we began the songwriting for our first demo-CD Mastery Of The Light. It was kind of a self made, rehearsal room demo-tape with eight songs released in 2001. We got nice feedback and even sold copies to the USA and Japan. But nevertheless, it was/is more or less a real rarity and currently out of print. Maybe you can still find some copies in Japanese online-stores.

OK, it was a pretty good start, especially in Germany. We played a lot of live-shows (together with Freedom Call, Majesty, Lanfear but also with more extreme bands like Grave, Disbelief, Dew-Scented, etc.) and had a real blast on stage. So did our fans. Then, we got back in the songwriting business and put out a promo-EP in early 2003. During the same year Steffen Singler (bass) joined the band and we entered Dreamscape Studios for the first time and recorded another promotional CD. The result was really amazing.

We played at the Keep it True-Festival (with Helstar), appeared on the Metal Crusade-Compilation from the German “Heavy” Magazine and once again did lots of cool shows here in Germany. In the meantime Christian Frank (drums) had joined the band. The first ideas for our new full-length album were born in late 2004/2005.

We then put all our money together and entered Dreamscape Studios once more for about 20 days to record Invisible Walls. It was really great to see things evolve. At that time we contacted Carl-André Beckston (Monowasp) and asked him to come up with some sketches regarding the cover design. We talked over the lyrical concept and soon he showed us some interesting stuff. In the end we took the “girl-surrounded-by-walls” theme as it’s so close to the album’s atmosphere of Invisible Walls surrounding us all.

In early 2006 we sent the full produced, high-end product with cover art to several record companies just to make sure if they were really as blind as we thought they were… well, after three months we decided to release Invisible Walls on our own. We did all the promotion (especially here in Germany) and got in contact with several distribution partners (AOR Heaven, Hellion Records, CD Inzane, etc.). The sales went great and we got so much positive feedback. It was in late 2007 when we finally got in contact with our record company Silverwolf Productions. We agreed on releasing Invisible Walls once again and of course worldwide with promotion to the fullest and that’s where we are today.

MER: What’s your own story? Why are you the guitarist of DC today?

Markus Göller: Well, as I already mentioned I’m one of the founding members of DC. Together with our singer Chris, I am responsible for the songwriting and doing all the business stuff. I’m also the so called ‘manager’ of our band, even if no one really listens. But I keep trying.

MER: There are a lot of gear-heads/guitar freaks out there that want to know what you’re playing. What kind of gear do you use?

Markus Göller: At the beginning of my ‘career’ I only had some low-budget equipment. I used to play a Samick-guitar (kind of a Stratocaster replica) and bothered my parents with a small Ibanez Amp. Back then I felt like the king on Earth playing old Metallica stuff in my room. This was also my gear at our first band rehearsals (long before DC). Later on I bought myself a Johnson-Millenium Amp. That’s kind of a digital amp were you can model your own sound by using simulated ‘traditional’ amps like Marshall, Fender, Vox, Soldano, etc. There’s also a DigiTech FX device included so you modulate your sound with a huge amount of effects. For my rhythm sound I only use a little reverb and on the solo sound I use some delay, reverb and sometimes flanger-FX.

Regarding the guitar I truly fell in love with my Ibanez. It’s from the Prestige S-Series and has a very thin body. The neck is totally flat and cool to play. The Ibanez is provided with a ZR tremolo system that makes sure you’re in tune and I can definitely count on it even if we play open air shows where you sometimes have to deal with bad and cold weather. As for the acoustic guitar I chose a Lakewood J-14 C Custom Series. It has a brilliant and crystal tone and as it’s provided with a pick-up system, I use the Lakewood also on live-shows.

MER: What inspires you guys to make music?

Markus Göller: Oh there are so many things that do. For me, personally, it’s emotion and feelings. Sometimes I sit by the piano and just play some chords around and all of sudden there’s a special melody or only the hint of it. I’m not quite sure how to describe it more accurate but I ‘feel’ music while I’m playing. And above all there are a lot of things going on in the world that scare me or bother me in some way and therefore inspire me to create music.

MER: How do you write the songs? Is it a one man job, or does everyone take part in the writing process?

Markus Göller: Writing music for DC is both of that: it’s a one/two man job AND team work. At the beginning Chris and/or I create kind of a basic track for a new song. It’s just the very first idea for a new song, chorus or whatever. Right after that we’ll send it to Chris (Frank, drums) and Steffen (Singler, bass) and everyone works on that part or song. Then we play it in our rehearsal room all together. That’s very important for us as we have the chance to see if our new song works and if we get a ‘live-feeling’ for it. Then it’s on Chris and me to concentrate on certain arrangements, solos and vocal parts. That’s something we do at Chris’ home studio. There the song takes shape more and more and sooner or later it’s done.

MER: What kind of musical inspirations and influences do you have?

Markus Göller: As you can hear on Invisible Walls we all dig the ‘Traditional Metal’ sound very much. Our influences are of course Iron Maiden, Edguy, Helloween, Queensrÿche and the likes, but we’re also inspired by ‘Modern Melodic Metal’ acts like Evergrey, Ayreon, Kamelot etc.

As a Melodic Power Metal band you’re often confronted with the ‘fact’ that you’re just a copy of band XY. Well, I see it from a completely different view. Our aim is to create music from the heart and we’re not like ‘Hey, let’s put some Helloween-chorus, Queensrÿche-ish riffing and Hammerfall-solo together and see what happens!’ Our songs are part of our identity and therefore I believe in our album, Invisible Walls, to be part of our musical identity. (Holy shit, that’s pretty sophisticated, isn’t it?)

MER: What’s next for Destination’s Calling?

Markus Göller: At the moment there’s only one show scheduled. We’ll share the stage with Freedom Call on October, 26th, and we’re working on more shows to come at the end of the year. Besides that, we’re already writing songs for the next album. At the moment we have some really cool basic tracks. It’s so much fun to work on the new stuff and it’ll be definitely the next step for DC in 2009.

MER: Metal Express Radio wishes you good luck with future recordings and tours.

Markus Göller: First of all I want to thank Metal Express Radio for their support and the opportunity to spread the word about DC. And for all readers: Thanks for your interest, check out our songs on MySpace and give ‘em a try. Cheers and see you, DC.


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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