Interviews anglais

EDGUY (20/03/14)

Version française

Edguy’s 10th album is on its way and Jens Ludwig and Tobias Sammet explained RUL a few things about it.

Hello guys, how are you?

Tobias Sammet (vocals): Eh, already heard that before. (laughs)

Jens Ludwig (guitar): Yeah.

T: I’m fine, thanks.

Your new album “Space Police: Defenders Of The Crown” will be nearly out, proud of it?

T: Definitely. Best Edguy album of all times. I know everybody says that, I mean, about their new album, not the new Edguy album (laughs) but usually artists say that, but I think it’s an amazing album, it combines all Edguy’s trademarks. It’s got great song material, great performances, it’s got a great cover artwork and whenever I listen to it, back at home or in the car, I love it.

J: It’s the complete package, it’s got everything. And when bands say “yeah it’s our best album” “oh really? Like the ten other ones?” but we, we mean it. I’m sure everybody else does it but we are telling the truth.

What’s the concept around its title?

T: There was the idea “defenders of the crown” that sounds monumental, epic and has a heavy metal vibe. It says “we are the defenders of the heavy metal crown”, I know it’s very cliché but we thought, at first side, we’ve been strange kind of band, doing things differently, humorously and whatever, but if you take a closer look, we always have been a band that did things on our way, without second guessing, without thinking what listeners would love or maybe not love. We’ve always done things that we thought were honest and right and that we liked. And that, I thought, that’s the ultimate thought in heavy metal, to be that way because that’s what rock n’roll and heavy metal should be, so “Defenders Of The Crown” it’s like “who should be the defenders of the heavy metal crown if not we?” so that was the first title and then there was another song “Space Police” and we thought “that sounds very unusual for heavy metal band” Frank Zappa may have called an album “Space Police” but a heavy metal band? So that’s a good reason to be the brave band to do that. Again, that’s a spirit in heavy metal. And then we took both, combined.

J: The meanings of these songs are great. It sounds like a big movie, like the beginning of a trilogy, it really sounds big. It started as a stupid idea but it turns to be a really good one.

The album is pretty strong, what were the guidelines following “Age Of The Joker”?

J: Well actually, there are no guidelines. Before we start working on a new album, I think there never has been a guideline except “let’s make the album that we want to do”. Of course we’ve done different albums in the past but making a CD is always a kind of document. It shows where the band is right now in 2014, and you really can’t make an album like you’ll have to schedule three speed metal tunes, one or two ballads; it doesn’t work like that, you just start composing, working and see where it’s going to.

What were the main difficulties around this one?

T: That’s so negative… (laughs). It’s a very negative approach. Don’t be so negative.

J: (laughs)

T: You think it’s hard for us to make heavy metal record? (laughs) Well we put the album together in a relatively short frame of time but that wasn’t really difficult we just wanted to bust our asses off. We entered in the rehearsing room, early September I think and planned to go to the studio for November which was just nine weeks away. We said “ok let’s try and do it in that time, if it doesn’t work, we can still postpone” but that way things were going very naturally, very sub consciously, very enforced, very instinctively. It was a challenge to do it on such a short time but hint side; I would say that was the best thing we could have done. We didn’t second guess or try to artificially fix things that didn’t need to be fixed, improve passages that didn’t need to be touched, I mean songwriting wise. When we were in the studio, of course, we overdubbed some of the stuff, sometimes it was difficult for us to do it, it’s always like that, but in certain case you have to adjust in what you came up with and have to work on it. Because we didn’t really repeat ourselves. I mean embrace the past and admit who you are, where you come from, absolutely. But repeating and re-recording the past in order to maintain a certain level of success you had, that doesn’t work. That way, you always have to learn new things, it’s a constant progress, but there weren’t any difficulties, it was challenges.

Would you do it again that way?

J: Maybe.

T: I don’t know, we don’t really make plans like that. It’s always good to keep it exciting for ourselves and not planning everything. For example, “Age Of The Joker” was complete opposite of this new album, it was a more stripped down record, very basic record, I was really crazy about bringing very very basic sounds and having things very organic, very dynamic, I really wanted to have something like “Last In Line” from Dio, some real old school record because everybody out there are trying louder and louder things, less dynamic albums and it was forced in that direction, which was still great, I think we should have done that at that time, and with the new album there was no special need to do anything we’ve done before. With “Age Of The Joker” we’ve stripped down everything and we got rid of that super or un-needed sound stuff; we didn’t feel the need to repeat that so this time we didn’t have to think about what we should do, we just did it and we didn’t even need the time to question, the process was right and that’s what we wanted to do, do what we feel.

A word about “Love Tyger”? Why is there a “y” at tiger? Any reference to William Blake’s poem? What’s it story?

T: Well there’s nothing to do with William Blake, I just thought that a tiger with a “y” is more metal than a tiger with an “i”.

J: (laughs)

T: Because there’s been “Black Tiger” already and there has been tons of tiger I imagine in metal and rock n’roll but I didn’t recall a single tiger with a “y” except the Tygers of Pan Tang (an English heavy metal band) but they are from England and there’s no German tigers with a “y” so we said “we’re going to be the first with a “y” in Germany”. (laughs) But there’s nothing to do with the lyrics or something, it’s not even a love tiger, it could be whatever tiger, I mean, it’s not even a tiger I think (laughs) the lyrics are about a hot shot, about entertaining, the unbroken will to entertain and to be entertained at any price, which this band is about. I got a very huge drive to get attention and be entertaining especially when I’m on stage; I want to have all attention. That’s the only way you got to approach things if you want to be an entertainer that’s why I didn’t understand the grunge thing. I mean, Kurt Kobain singing “here we are now entertains us” he got something completely wrong, he’s not there to ask the people to entertain you, he was meant to entertain the audience, that was the whole problem with grunge I think, there are no entertaining, there are just stumbled out of bed. So I think entertainment has to be entertaining, that’s make sense (laughs) and “Love Tyger” is a song that embraces entertainment and “Love Tyger” just sounded to me like some 70s porn movie or whatever, and I thought it’s a great title, it’s an autobiographic song.

And “The Realms Of Baba Yaga”. I found that he’s a supernatural being from eastern Europe folklore, how did you think of this character for a song?

T: Well, there’s a Russian fairytale movie from the 60s or the 70s, but it doesn’t mean anything, it’s a Russian movie. (laughs) From the 90s as well. (laughs) No, I’m really sorry, that wasn’t nice to be said. But it’s really funny because the Baba Yaga is actually a female witch and she’s actually been played by a man in that movie, but it’s a lovely movie. I got to make up for the insult before, but it’s true, otherwise I’d never write a song about it. It’s a children fairytale movie that is always shown on Christmas and I’ve been watching it and I thought it was great, it’s a witch and I’ve always been fascinated by witches or mythology and I thought that I should use that as a metaphor for anything tempting. It’s a song about temptation and giving into temptation of all you know it’s not good for you but you can’t give up on that because it’s stronger than reason and that’s what the “Realms Of Baba Yaga” is about, temptation being stronger than reason and people giving in for temptation no matter how bad it could be for them. There could also be some references to substance abuse, nuclear power or a spiritual way of thinking.

There’s also a cover “Rock Me Amadeus”, why did you do it and why in the middle of the track list? Usually covers are at the end.

J: Well that’s maybe the reason because if you put the cover at the end, it gives you the impression that “ok this is the album and now there’s a cover, which isn’t a real part of it”. We didn’t want to put this song out of the record, it should be part of it and that’s why it’s standing in the middle. It’s was actually really difficult to do. Tobi has always had the idea to do a cover version of Falco and for this album he came up with this idea again and everybody in the band liked the idea but we always wanted to have the option that this might be very very difficult to do and if it’s not good at the end, then we shouldn’t put in on the album, that’s what we told ourselves. We gave it a shot and turned out to be really good.

T: The record label wanted to take it off the album because they are… record labels and they were like “oh, it’s not heavy metal track”.

J: It’s not predictable.

T: “Take it off, we don’t know to market it” that’s the way they work but that’s not the way this band works. We said “let’s give it a very prominent spot” and put it there, I mean of course we won’t put it as an opener but of course it’s a track that is different, the first rap song we have ever done, probably the only one. So rest assured people, it’ll probably be the only rap song and it’s a German/Austrian song, so that’s not very common too. But it’s a great anthemic song, I think it’s a great song and we tried to maintain the spirit of the original version but adding some spice and making it heavy; the chorus is a hard rock or heavy metal anthem and the verses are pretty much like the original, little different drumming. I think it deserves to be in a prominent spot.

What will expect the fans?

T: A great album. I mean, you know we always say that it’s the best album we’ve ever done and all that you know, it’s which we think but at the end of the day, it’s the people who have to make up their minds and have to make the decision. With this album, I have the confidence that they shall just check it and I’m quite confident, if they liked Edguy in the past, on whatever album, they will definitely find something on this album and like the record. It’s a great Edguy album, it’s got all trademarks, great sound but people have to listen to it.

J: I think, as he said, if people like the album or not, it’s their decision but what they can definitely expect is a true Edguy album. It’s a new record we did, we stood a 100% behind it. It’s the exact album we wanted to do at this certain time. We did what we enjoyed and hope that many other people will like as well.

Is it harder and harder to make studio albums nowdays?

T: For us it’s still good, for us it’s not hard to convince a label for an Edguy album because we do still good reasonable amounts of good records but it’s getting more difficult of course. And for younger bands, it’s a nightmare because people industry they don’t support music industry, just screw us with expensive CDs like 17€ and stuff like that, but it’s not some anonymous industry that gets screwed, it’s people that work in magazines that are paid by ads in order to promote an album that need to be recouped by album sales. It’s family fathers that works in record companies and wreck their brain in order to market the new album, the cover artist wants to get paid, the photographer wants to get paid, the producer wants to get paid, the band wants to get paid. I mean, nobody of them is greedy or want to buy a new Ferrari, people have forgot the feeling for how much it is needed to make a record and sometimes I just wish people to be a little more aware then they can make up their mind, do they want to buy the album or not, but be a little more aware, but it’s definitely difficult yeah.

Which advice could you give to young bands that want to do music?

J: Generally, they shouldn’t listen to much people from the outside. Stay true to yourself, in what you believe in and of course it’s a hard piece of work, as long as you believe in yourself, there’s a way.

Any message to your French fans?

T: Buy the record! (laughs) Because I just told you what happened when we don’t sell records. (laughs)

J: And otherwise, if you don’t buy the record, you’ll look pretty stupid during shows and sing along, you’ll just stay right here and don’t understand what’s happening. (laughs) It’ll be uncomfortable for you, so you’d better buy the record and take the booklet to learn the lyrics.

Finally, we are “RockUrLife” so what rocks your lives guys?

J: Except the band, family.

T: He’s a nerd! Sex drugs and! (laughs) What rocks my life? I mean it’s music, music, music, music, music, music, music, music. Only music. Well not only music but music.


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