Having heard Blind Guardian's A
Twist In The Myth for the first time the same evening, Metal Covenant
had many questions to ask vocalist Hansi Kürsch
and lead guitarist André Olbrich.
Niklas: What can you tell us about the new
album? Are you pleased with it?
Blind Guardian: (Hansi): It's still an early
stage after finishing it, but ever since we started with the songwriting
I've had a good feeling. One thing that is important to know, and
this is the case with every song Blind Guardian has ever written,
is that when we have accomplished a song, we like it ourselves. If
there is something that doesn't attract us, we stop working on it
or remove it afterwards. When we go into the studio we are always
convinced about the songs and we improve the quality on them during
the production. So basicallly it's still a fresh and entertaining
album for me, and I've heard most of these songs for a whole year
and sometime even more. That proves to me, as a fan, that they have
long durability. And that is something that is important to Blind
Guardian, because maintaining this high quality over the years has
made us a relatively successful band. (chuckles)
Niklas: To me, this abum sounds like a mix of older Blind Guardian
together with something new as well. Would you agree on that?
Blind Guardian: (Hansi): Yes, to a hundred
percent. We tried to find the right balance on A Twist In The Myth.
We have a red line with the vocals, so that the listener can relate
to something no matter how demanding, bombastic or progressive a song
is. That is something we have learned from A Night At The Opera, which
is a splendid album especially in terms of song writing, but have
no single vocal line. It was more an experiment to establish choirs
and multi-vocals at the same way, so it's difficult to follow the
red line in the music. That's what we put our attention to when writing
songs for the new album. I also think we did very well when bringing
back the attention the more "let your hair down"-music that
was so essential on Imaginations From The Other Side and partly on
Nightfall In Middle-Earth.
Niklas: Do you feel that there are any songs
that represent the old and new Blind Guardian extra well, or is it a mixture
the whole way?
Blind Guardian: (Hansi): Well, at certain points
on A Twist In The Myth it definitely sounds like a type of more modern
songs, like for example the track Straight Through The Mirror. But
nevertheless there are so many elements in there that are completely
different from what we have done in the past. So even the more traditional
inspired songs show Blind Guardian in a new mask.
Niklas: It's heavier than your previous albums, isn't it?
Blind Guardian: (André): Yeah, the riffing
is definitely heavier, because we removed some of the epic concept
from A Night At The Opera, which means we left out the orchestral
melody guitars and brought in the rhytm guitars and drums more. Especially
the rhytms that our new drummer Frederik is bringing in there is a
completely new approach to the rhytm section. Then there are some
songs like for example Another Stranger Me, which is a little bit
rockier, and it's more based on rhythm guitars than melody guitars,
which is not that important on this song than normally for Blind Guardian.
Niklas: I was gonna ask about Frederik
Ehmke, your new drummer. Has he had an impact on your new sound?
Blind Guardian: (Hansi): In terms of the songs
yes, but not on the song writing. Firstly, he was and still is a huge
Blind Guardian-fan, so it was good to have someone in the band who
was familiar with the kind of drum playing that Thomen Stauch had
when he was in the band. Frederik has also been important for us on
the stuff that has a more modern approach. I believe the progression
is based on the time spirit, and we try to bring that into our music.
It's not just that we try to be innovative and make modern music in
terms of being mainstream. But every age has a certain attitude and
atmosphere. The late nineties were more about celtic, folk lore and
epic music, but this age is more about going back to the eighties,
Niklas: Do you have a particular song on
the new album that you feel will fit very well in a live environment?
Blind Guardian: (Hansi): Almost everyone. A
while ago we played Fly live, and that went extremely well with the
programme. It was received very good by the audience which on that
level was kind of surprising. Usually when you do a new song the reaction
is weaker than on your older songs, which means they really appreciated
that Fly was in the set list. The same can be said for Skalds And
Shadows, and we also have a very good feeling about This Will Never
End and Another Stranger Me. But I know that if we decide to go with
a song like Turn The Page or Otherland it will work just as well.
We have to consider the four best songs from A Twist In The Myth,
and we are still discussing which one to play. We obviously cannot
play the whole album, because the back catalogue must be played also,
otherwise we will be killed. (laughs)
Do you have any fond memories from your previous tours here in Sweden?
Blind Guardian: (Hansi): It has been great
all over. On our last run we enjoyed Umeå very much, I don't
believe we have ever been so far north before. It was so nice to meet
the people and see the beautiful city, but unfortunately we won't
be going there on our forthcoming tour. (André): It was such
a long ride
(Hansi): We also liked Gothenburg, because the audience
was amazing. Lund was very nice too, and Stockholm was actually one
of the best shows on the whole tour, so we put two tracks on our live
album from that particular show.
Niklas: This fall you are going to visit
Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö on your tour. What can the Swedish
audience expect to see?
Blind Guardian: (Hansi): It depends a bit on
the size of the venues and if we have the opportunity to take the
touring stuff from Germany with us. At the moment we are preparing
the stage-setup and we are planning to bring a little bit of Pink
Floyd into the metal scene this time, kind of. The scene will be almost
artificial, so we are a little worried because it's still an experiment.
We will have a lot of lightning, projections and moving pictures.
We hope it will be a very visual experience.
Niklas: Where does your inspiration to
write all this music come from?
Blind Guardian: (Hansi): Music is something
related to your inner self. It's very difficult to explain where it
comes from. Sure, you listen to music and have your mind set about
things you want to try out, but Blind Guardian have never been a band
that tries to copy other bands or trademarks, even if we sounded a
bit like Helloween in the very beginning. It's hard work, you know.
You go into your room or whatever and try to come up with something
new, you have the whole world in front of you and don't know where
to start. But mostly André comes up with the beginning and
I pick up on that, and add things that will go well with the elements
he has written. (André): Mainly the surroundings and the daily
mood you are into plays a part. Perhaps the time spirit is important
too, and you want to bring in something that is special to you at
that very moment. If you play a few hours and you find something that
exactly matches the mood you are into, then you can express your feelings
with the music.
We have heard rumours that you were offered to write the score
to the Lord of the Rings-trilogy. Is this true?
- Blind Guardian: (Hansi):
No. There were votings on several homepages when the first movie was
in post-production, and they were discussing the score and we won the
competition. This didn't mean anything to the film company so we contacted
them one day and asked them if they were interested in our music. They
were willing to listen, even if they more or less already had decided
for Howard Shore at that point. However, they offered us the chance
to supply them with material, but that was when I was away on a promotion
tour with my other band Demons & Wizards, so we couldn't prepare
the stuff in time. It was a really small chance, and I've blown it because
I wasn't at home.
Niklas: When you ask the typical Blind
Guardian-fan which album he or she likes best, you will probably get many
- Blind Guardian: (Hansi):
(interrupts) I hope so! (André): That is because there is no
typical Blind Guardian-fan! (laughs)
Niklas: But still, the most popular choices
seem to be either Tales From The Twilight World, Somewhere Far Beyond,
Imaginations From The Other Side or A Night At The Opera. Do you believe
that you have reached your peak, or is the best yet to come?
Blind Guardian: (Hansi):
Suprisingly enough, you didn't mention Nightfall In Middle-Earth which
from what I've heard is the most praised album among the Blind Guardian-fans!
(laughs) I don't believe we have reached our peak, but it's great
to hear that many people think that A Night At The Opera is the best
album. So far we have always found new ways to develop, sometime it
takes a little time to attract people anew when you have reached a
certain level, but so far we have never had problems with going back
to the studio and find new elements that attract us. I wouldn't even
dare to say that we are close to a peak.
Finally, I would like to have your help, guys. I'm trying to win
some money by betting on the World Championships in football, which team
do you think will win it?
- Blind Guardian: (André):
Is it enough if we say the two final teams? In that case I would go
with Brazil and Argentina. (Hansi): It's a tough call, but I think that
the group that Argentina is in, together with Netherlands, Serbia-Montenegro
and Ivory Coast, has the winner. I don't believe both Argentina and
Netherlands will make it to the second round, but I am certain that
Serbia Montenegro will qualify, even if they won't make it to the finals.
I think it will be either Argentina or Netherlands, depending who proceeds
to the second round. And the other team in the final will be France.
That's what I think.
See also: Pre-listening
of the album A Twist In The Myth the same evening
and André says hi....