Apoptygma Berzerk Biography
Last updated: 06/25/2008 12:00:00 PM
Stephan Groth(esk) aka. Apoptygma Berzerk was born in Denmark in 1971. The son of a musical family grew up in Norway where he still lives today. His father, John Groth, was a member of the well known Norwegian blues-band “Aunt Mary“. However, Stephan was not very interested in blues music, but in electronic music, especially EBM. His favourite bands were Kraftwerk, OMD, Psyche, Velvet Underground, Dead Can Dance, New Order, Tangerine Dream, The Young Gods, Hard Floor, Joy Devision and Sven Väth.
In the end of the 80s, Stephan started to work with synthesizers and soon was able to create his own music. He called himself GROTHESK these days, but the name changed into APOPTYGMA BERZERK in 1991.In 1991 the first Apoptygma- Single “Ashes to Ashes“ was released by the label called TATRA. Only 500 copies exist and these are traded with 200-300 € today. As support act of The Young Gods and Die Krupps he had his first successes.
In November 1993 the first album called Soli Deo Gloria was released. A well- known newspaper in Norway- DAGBLADET- wrote 2 pages on Apoptygma on November, 29 th, 1993. In an interview Stephan said that he was a depressive believer. Moreover, he thinks of himself that he is “musically abnormal“ because he owns records e.g. by Ace of Base or Entombed. The songs on “Soli Deo Gloria“ were written between 1990 and 1993. DAGBLADET also evaluated the album and gave it 5 out of 6 points.
In November 1994 APB went on tour in Germany before returning to Norway for a New Years- Party. While the most people in Oslo welcomed the new year, APB gave an unforgetable concert in the Independant Club “So What!“. In “So What!“ on May 4th, 1995 APB played as support- act of the old heroes Nitzer Ebb. A lot of people saw the concert and so he introduced his new single “Non-Stop Violence“ and the audience liked it a lot.
In October 1995 “Non- Stop Viloence“ was released in Germany because of the upcoming tour. Actually a limited version (1000 copies) was planned, but Stephan did not make it in the given time. So everything was cancelled. In 1995 he signed a contract with Discordia that from that time on is responsible for selling all APB releases in Germany. In November 1995 he played a few concerts in Germany. During one of these concerts his foot got injured and so he had to cancel his performance for the Diabolus Cantus Festival in Karlsruhe on December 2nd.
Finally, in 1996 the long expected album “7“ was released which covered elements from Pop to Gothic to EBM. In additon to that, APB performed on the ZILLO '96 and went on tour in Germany together with Cobalt 60.
After his return to Norway he had to do his alternative national service. He worked in an asylum for mentally handicapped people. The time was very hard for him, so he did not have enough energy for APB during these 14 months. Moreover, I have got to mention that in Norway disobeying military service is not as easy as in Germany. He had a lot of troubles concerning these circumstances. Stephan was interrogated by the police and went to court to fight for his right. This finally cost him a lot of energy. However, everything worked out fine. After his alternative national service he started to spend time on working for APB again! In 1997 he released the single “Mourn“ for stopping the waiting for new releases. “Mourn“ reached no. 3 in the German Alternative Charts. Afterwards, APB went to the USA for the first time for playing a few concerts. It became a huge success. He performed in several clubs in Manhattan.
In 1998 the fans were pleased because “Paranoia“ was released and became very popular throughout the European club scene. In June Stephan went on tour in Europe and was supported by SPAHN RANCH. The tour was the biggest success for the APB- Crew till then. Ever since, APB is one of the most successful electro bands of our times. Bands like FRONT 242 or PROJECT PITCHFORK honoured his work by putting APB- Mixes on their singles which are, in my view the best remixes on these singles. After the tour another success was achieved because a contract with METROPOLIS - a leading Indie-lable in America- was signed. METROPOLIS is also home of well known scene- heroes like Front Line Assembly, Project Pitchfork, Front 242 and :wumpscut:!
At that time the album “Apopcalyptic Manifesto“ was released in Europe which represents the work of APB so far. Some people also thought that it would be some kind of “Best of“. However, it was not a Best of rather a review on the past of APB.
In October, 1998 the album “7“ was released in America (Metropolis) and APB went on tour through the States where a lot of concerts were already sold out. In spring 1999 APB finally released a fantastic live- album (only 10.000 copies) which was sold out after a short time. This album consisted of 2 CDs: a live-audio CD and a video CD with excerpts of concerts, Interviews and a lot of interesting facts.
In 2000 the new album called “Welcome to Earth“ was released. In addition to that a tour was planned during that time. In autumn 1999 the single “Eclipse“ was released which predicted the upcoming album. The song became a hit in the clubs and gave a little insight in the album. Influenced by dancefloor of the new age and no denying of the roots, the song reached the top of the German Alternative Charts.
On January 31st, 2000 “Welcome to Earth“ was finally released. The album which firstly overtaxed and devided the opinions of the fans was even more successful than its predecessors. Of course it reached no.1 in the German Alternative Charts and it stayed there for 6 weeks. For the first time APB accessed the Media Control Album Charts- position 59! During that time the upcoming “Welcome to Earth“- tour was prepared. After only a few concerts it became clear that this would be the most successful band-history till then. Everywhere the clubs nearly collapsed. After the two months in Europe a huge US- tour followed. Overcrowded clubs and celebrating fans everywhere.
After the first half of the year 2000 which was very hard, APB made a break for recovering. However, after a short time the band decided on a few concerts in Europe for saying “Thank you!“ to the fans. In addition to that, APB was nominated for the German Alternative Music Award. APB was even nominated in 2 categories: Best Live Act and Best Album. For showing the prestige of the award let me mention that bands like Smashing Pumpkins, The Cure, Nine Inch Nails etc. were also nominated.
2001 did not start that fast. The band and especially mastermind Stephan went to the studio to work on some new ideas for the next album. In March 2001 Stephan decided on releasing another single of the successful album: “Kathy's Song“. It was the best song of WTE for a lot of people. So it was sure that it had to become a hitsingle. Also the most important German radio-stations drew their attention to the band whose name noone was able to pronounce. “Kathy's Song“ was played over and over again.. JUMP- the most popular radio- station in central Germany- got a lot of phone calls by people asking by which band the song was. In the shortest time Apoptygma was known by a lot of people and went on air several times a day. APB even hit no.3 of the listener- charts; better than bands like Depeche Mode or HIM.
Far away from the developments in Germany, Stephan worked very ambitiously on finishing the new album which was called “Harmonizer“. In September the audience at the Mera Luna Festival heard the first songs, e.g. “Until the End of the World“.On February 2002 Hamonizer was released and hit no. 21 in the Media Control Charts. A great success! “Until the End of the World“ was released a few weeks before the album and went into the charts on no. 52. The music store WOM even listed it in their selling charts on no.11. On Jump it became very successful, as well- no. 3 in the charts. Since February 11, 2002 until May, 25th, 2002 the band went on tour in Europe and America…
Translation: Andrea Hellner ( thank you)