TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
Blind Guardian is one of the longest running heavy metal bands and practically the definition of teutonic metal. Their long-expected new album "A Twist in the Myth" has recently been released so we decided this was the best moment in time to publish our interview with frontman Hansi Kürsch, conducted by Chief Editor Vincent Eldefors on May 29th, 2006.
First of all, congratulations on a great new album. Are you completely satisfied with the result?
Thank you. Yes, whenever we have finished a new album we are convinced that it is the best we could do at that point. It was the same this time, we felt that we did very well.
Did everything go as planned in the studio?
Yeah. We almost kept the schedule, we have never kept any deadlines so far and this time we got very, very close but then I got this infection and had to stop singing for a while and come back when I was feeling better. It really helped with the production because I could spend more time on the vocals as we postponed the release by four months.
Did you have a musical vision before you started recording the album or did everything come naturally?
Before we started the recording we knew that we wanted a red line in the vocals to make it an enjoyable album. Apart from that it came naturally, we never had big problems writing songs. We give each song the time it demands.
Where do you write the songs? Do you write them at home or in the studio?
On our own, yeah. We both (Hansi and André) have a home working system and we need to be alone and in a certain mood to write music or when I'm alone in the studio.
Did the change of drummers mean any differences when working in the studio?
No, not really. Of course Frederik is a different type of drummer and a different type of character as well. I think the song arrangements we came up with demanded someone like Frederik. His playing style contains everything from Thomen but he is also a little more on the progressive side.
How did you find Frederik?
He found us. He contacted André and sent us a demo DVD where he did some of the Blind Guardian stuff. We invited him to an audition which he just rushed through so it was obvious from that point that he was the one. He is also completely fresh and unknown which was very important to us. Bringing in someone who was known would spoil the myth of Blind Guardian. It is spoiled a little with Thomen already but I think to recover that somewhat it is better with someone unknown than someone famous in music.
Is he still active with his other bands?
Yes, he is.
Have you heard the Savage Circus album?
No, not the album but I have heard the demo tracks at an early stage and I think they were ok.
You have also parted with your old record company Virgin Records now. Why did you part with them?
It was obvious that they had left their priority in the EMI family and EMI wanted more and more money. As it is a very big company we lost priority as well. We asked if there was any chance to terminate the contract even though they had like two albums left and as we were not willing to work with them anymore they were not interested in keeping us.
What do you think about Nuclear Blast so far?
They have been nice and it seems that we have made the right choice and it was very obvious that we were right in our opinion about Virgin or EMI that they were not willing to do anything for us. Nuclear Blast is investing a lot of attention and time.
In the early stages of your career you released albums more frequently than you do now, why is that?
The earlier albums were structure-wise far easier to compose. Considering the fact that we had all the time we needed for the song writing of "Battalions Of Fear". Apart from the musical structure which has changed from "Tales From The Twilight World" the touring opportunities got bigger and bigger. Considering the two latest albums we have also been working on a live recording and DVD so we have actually been quick. The song writing and production period was maybe 24 months and for doing music of that quantity and quality it is not a long period.
Is it true you wanted to call the album "A Day At The Races" or was that a joke?
It was a joke. It was a joke when we did "A Night At The Opera". When we did that album we felt it was kind of a tribute to Queen and we thought it would be fund as well. Some people found it offensive and I don't understand why. It would have been dangerous to use that title because some people would not get it again (laughs). Just mentioning it was something that came from the bottom of my heart.
You will be touring quite a lot in support of this album. Is it still as much fun touring as it was 10 or 15 years ago?
Ah..., good question. In many ways it is, in other ways it is not. It was easier in the early 90s because the expectations were different. We could enjoy ourselves more and have a bad day without complaining all over the world. Today we can have one bad day and everyone will be talking about it all over the world on the internet and it doesn't matter how many good shows we hade before that. People remember the one that was bad, that is kind of curse but seeing the reactions on people every night makes it something special and intimate. For the most part, apart from being away from home, we enjoy it.
Will you be visiting any other countries outside Europe and North America on this tour?
Yeah, we will go to South America in March and South East Asia in February I think but I am not sure about that. It depends on the Japanese promoter. We might do Australia for the first time but that is not scheduled yet. That's the only thing I am not sure about but we will play South America and South East Asia.
You were the first metal band to play in Thailand, what was that like?
We were being treated like superstars. A very big venue was booked by the record company. National television met us at the airport and the radio was there all the time. It was one of the most enjoyable experiences in my life but it seemed like all in the band were exhausted from the touring and we got sick.
Do you think there will be another Blind Guardian Open Air Festival?
Yeah, we constantly speak about that from time to time. We need a real reason to do that and once we release the orchestral album it might make sense to go back and do another Blind Guardian Festival because then we would have the right reason to do so.
Some sources say that you were offered to write music for the Tolkien trilogy, is that true?
No, we did not receive an offer. After we did "A Night At The Opera" there were many websites doing voting on who should do the soundtrack and we won most of them so we contacted the filming company in the winter of '99. At that time they were finishing everything and said that they had made their decision already but if you want you can send something and we might bring something in. It was on us to send music but then I was doing a promotional tour with Demons & Wizards so I was not able to accomplish my part in the demo recording. When I got back we had crossed the deadline already so we skipped the idea of sending them stuff. There was small contact inbetween us but no real chance of getting in.
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