Interview

EDGUY (2014 -English Version) - Tobias SAMMET (Vocals)

Tobias Sammet is proud of « Space Police – Defenders of the Crown », the latest EDGUY album and even if I do agree with that, I wanted to know more about this huge record, heavy as hell. Great mood, lot of laugh and we actually started talking about… Football.

SBM: Hello Tobias! Thank you for answering our questions.
Just before we begin I’d like to ask you something. Tomorrow Bayern Munich will play against FSV Maintz. Who will win?


Tobias: Hum… we’ll win. This year we’ll win everything, they’re so good right now.

Do you think they’ll win the Champions League?

There’s a good chance; I mean it’s like France as well with their team but that’s not something you should take for granted (Laugh). But I think there’s a good chance for Bayern this year they’re so good; they’ve been really bad in the past but they are so so so great now…

Ok we’ll see, but I know I think that we’re supposed to talk about music.

Yeah unfortunately (Laugh)

(Laugh) So as you’re now a great name in the world of heavy metal music, have you heard about this little German band called EDGUY? There’re about to release their new album “Space Police – Defenders of the Crown”.

I don’t know but I know the singer he’s pretty cool and he has a big project called Avantasia as well (Laugh)

I knew that I have heard about him!! Well whatever, I think that their album is mind blowing so I’d like to talk about that. It sounds really heavy, was it an aim from the beginning?

No. We didn’t really think about it. We were back from the Avantasia tour, in August 2013, and I came back and I said “Let’s go to the studio right away, into the rehearsing room at least and work on a new EDGUY album” and the others thought “Oh really? Already? Great let’s do it”. So I wanted to make it as easy as possible to switch from Avantasia to EDGUY so I arranged the first song with Sascha Paeth, it was “Sabre & Torch”. And I’ve written it before we arranged it and played it to the other guys and they said “It’s a great song” and that was the first song we had finished for the album, it’s really a heavy song and somehow after you’ve done your first song for an album, when the beginning is done, it will subconsciously set the standards for all the rest of the material, so I knew in the back of my head that this would be a heavy EDGUY album, a heavy metal or power metal, whatever you call it, I mean I don’t like this label “Power metal” that much because I don’t understand what’s the difference between heavy metal, power metal, speed metal and whatever.
But we kind of… knew that this would be the mark and the first statement of the album, and there in the back of your mind you have the rest of the material, it was like five or six songs so it was very obvious that this would be a heavy record but it was not a plan in the beginning.

And it was once again mixed by Sascha Paeth.

Yes.

This song, “Sabre & Torch” reminds me a little bit the sound of the latest Pretty Maids album. As I know it’s the big influence for you, is it the case right here or is it just a coincidence?

I think that it’s a coincidence. I really like the Pretty Maids, if you listen to our first album, songs like “Holy Shadows” it’s inspired by Yngwie Malmsteen and Pretty Maids and stuff like “Fallen Down” of “Theater of Salvation” album is a song inspired by “Future World” from Pretty Maids. So we are influenced by them but I don’t think that this song in particular was inspired by them.

Have you worked differently on this record? I mean you’re still the main song writer but how was it going this time?

Actually we were in the studio together and we recorded together like a real band, not via Skype. The songwriting was almost done by me and then I rearranged some of the stuff with Sascha, some of the stuff in the studio and I have a clear vision of what things should sound like from the beginning. Everybody will bring their own influences and that’s for sure because you have these five musicians and they play a song, they play a record so of course it sounds like those five musicians, and the guitar player will always have an impact on the songs. But I have a vision of what things should sound like on stuff like “Sabre & Torch” or “The Realms of Baba Yaga”, I want things my way, I’m a maniac (Laugh).

(Laugh) Something like a maestro?

No, no… I mean, somebody needs to be down staring, but we’re all going to the same place together and it’s very important to have everybody in that car, because that’s the EDGUY car, that’s us. We all make up our mind on which direction we drive but only somebody is down staring. It’s like…

A democracy…

Yeah it’s democracy. We are a democracy but I have the right of veto and in the second round of voting I have five votes (Laugh)
It’s democracy a little bit in the North Korean way. (Laugh)

(Laugh) Ok so I won’t say any word, I don’t want to be in trouble! Let’s go on!
Why have you chosen two track titles for the title of the album: “Space Police” and “Defenders of the Crown”? Are they linked somehow?


No they have nothing to do with each other, it’s just that we had the title “Defenders of the Crown” first; we thought it was a great monumental title for a heavy metal record, “We are the defenders of the heavy metal crown”, and we do things our way, we may not do things you must do in heavy metal, but that makes us more metal because we do things the way we want to do them and that’s the ultimate spirit of metal. So we thought that “Defenders of the Crown” was a great title but then there was the song “Space Police” and we thought that was a great title as well because no heavy metal band would dare to call an album “Space Police”. And so we said it was more metal to do something that nobody else would dare but we are brave enough to do it, so we said “What is the better title?” and we chose to combine them.
It doesn’t make sense but that does make a difference, I mean: “Space Police – Defenders of the Crown”, it sounds like a great movie like “Harry Potter and the Gobelin of Fire” or whatever… Goblin of Fire… No “Goblet of Fire”, not “Goblin” (Laugh)

(Laugh) It could be a great title!

“The Goblin on Fire”… that sounds like something kinky… “MY GOBLIN’S ON FIRE !!!”

(Laugh) Again about “Space Police”, which I think is my favorite one, I love this refrain. We can hear Theremin on this song…

Yeah the “Uiiiiii” (Tobias imitates the Theremin)

Yeah! Who played it?

It’s a keyboard, you can’t play it like that, there’s nobody in the whole world that can play Theremin with a tuning and configuration like that.

Oh ok… but I really love that because the concept of space is going further… And I can easily imagine a video on this song. Will you choose it as a single?

No… We did choose “Love Tyger”…

Yeah actually this is the best choice!

I think that “Space Police” is more a typical serious heavy metal anthem of EDGUY whereas “Love Tyger” is more a summer song, but the album is out of summer in a way (Laugh)
So “Love Tyger” is more easy-going but we thought it was great.

Actually it has catchy melodies just like “Lavatory Love Machine” in a way… And even if I’m pretty sure about the answer: is it liked to the William Blake’s poem?

No… is it because of the “Y”?

Yeah totally! But when I hear the lyrics I think that it’s not that…

No it was just that I thought that a “Y” is much more rock’n roll than an “I”.

I might be wrong but is it talking about girls and sex…? The “Love Tyger’s gonna bite”?

No… Not at all, it’s about bravado; it’s about testosterone, the unbroken will to be entertaining at any price. It’s about somebody who’s kicked out of paradise to hit the ground on earth, like a fallen angel, and how to entertain people; it’s what I feel like! (Laugh)

I see it! And what about the song “The Realms of Baba Yaga”, it’s inspired from a Russian myth, the “Bony leg” witch. How and why have you chosen this story?

Actually there are some movies about it, and there are these beautiful Russian fairy tale movies for children. They always show them around Christmas in Germany on the children program and I love it, I’ve always been fascinating by witches and I saw that movie and thought like “Baba Yaga” that sounds like fantasy I got to make a song about that witch called “Baba Yaga”. I mean the witch has been used as a metaphor in a very serious context but I tried to paint a nice picture with that song, I tried to really play with imagination: you’re getting deeper and deeper into the forest, you’re heeding the call, you cannot stand the temptation, you cannot defy temptation, you know you will end up dying if you go on but you have to go on, you have to unravel the riddle or the mystery, you have to see what is tempting you so much; and I think that’s something you can refer to as human beings in many situations of our lives. We’re going on a path, we know that it’s not good in the end, but still we cannot stop walking that path because temptation is bigger and stronger than reason and that’s why I wanted to say and I used that metaphor of “Baba Yaga” for it.

I haven’t thought that way but that’s well chosen! And at the end of the song, when you’re repeating “Baba Yaga” over and over it reminds me Bruce Dickinson at the end of the Iron Maiden song “Hallowed Be Thy Name”. Do you agree?

Actually I didn’t say “Well we’re going to do an Iron Maiden song” but when I did it I was fully aware that it was in the Iron Maiden style. When I did it in the studio, at the end, I was improvising “Baba Yagaaa” (Tobias is singing it) and yes it’s pretty much influenced by Iron Maiden. And Iron Maiden has always been nice to us; we’ve been playing with Iron Maiden in stadiums in 2000 and in 2007 we played with Iron Maiden in Spain.

I was at the show in south of Spain during summer 2010.
2010… Was it 2010? Yes it was 2010!

Yes just after the release of “The Final Frontier”. I was happy because I had the chance to see EDGUY and Iron Maiden at the same place!

It was a great show and Steve Harris came after the show to our dressing room and said how much he liked the show and how much he liked the vocals and it was a big compliment and the others acclaim and somebody like that is such a big influence you…
They are nice guys, down to earth, great band and it’s a real big compliment, I’ve always been a huge Iron Maiden fan, I cannot deny that on the songwriting. If you take a song like “The Eternal Wayfarer”, of course it’s like an epic hard rock track, a 70s prog rock influenced track but at the same time you can hear that I’m an Iron Maiden fan, especially on the verses, you can hear that it goes in that direction, that’s something I won’t be able to deny (Laugh).

Don’t deny it; it’s one of the best influences ever! And on the song “Alone in Myself” I can hear an Avantasian influence; I think that this song could have appeared on the “Scarecrow” trilogy, both lyrically and musically.

The lyrics definitely!

Is it a song you’ve written during this period?

No but it’s really funny because it’s about isolation from your environment, nobody understand your feelings, you’re misunderstood and you want to make other people understand that you’re not having any bad intention and whatever you do may come across weird or offensive but you don’t mean it like that and this is because you words don’t make it through to the heart of other people and that’s what “Alone in Myself” is pretty much about. And this topic is related to the topic on the “Scarecrow”, but musically it’s quite different, I think it’s more Bruce Springsteen kind of sound.

Yeah I see… Maybe I just focused on the lyrics and that’s why I’ve think about Avantasia…
Here’s my “What the Fuck” question, it’s about “Rock Me Amadeus”, which is weird but stirring, I don’t know how to describe it, this kind of rap pop melodies…


I don’t know either! (Laugh)

How have you chosen to put a song like this on the record?

Well you know I’ve always been a Falco fan and I think that everyone in the band has a lot of respect for him, and sometimes we play Falco before we go on stage because it’s the right music to get the adrenalin going through you body, I think it’s really adrenalin-driven music and I just wanted to do a Falco cover version but we never dared to do it because it’s so difficult to do it properly. We wanted to do “Der Kommissar” but our producer Sascha Paeth recommended, suggested we should do “Rock Me Amadeus” instead, because it’s more self ironic, megalomaniac, just more… EDGUY. So I said that we should give it a try and see what comes out and it turned out to be quite great. It’s different we knew we would have a lot of flacks for it, especially in Germany people are saying (Tobias takes a teasing voice) “It doesn’t belong to the record” and even the record label wanted us to throw it out of the album but we said “Nope!”.
This is EDGUY, this is one facet of this crazy band EDGUY and this is who we are, we want to do that so we’ll have it on the album and we will stand up for it and that’s what we did! (Laugh).

(Laugh) Yes it’s totally in the spirit of EDGUY, but even if it’s quite weird, as I said it’s very stirring and enjoyable. Actually it’s pretty much the same thing about the cover. You wanted something different, very heavy metal and when I’ve seen it that reminded me some old movies poster. Have you chosen the artwork by yourself or did you give guidelines to the designer?

We were talking to the artist; it’s an art professor from Colorado and we told him what we wanted and developed it together, we were in the process together, we wanted to have this kind of “Village People” cop and to have this old seventies dare devil, motorbike stuntman with a moustache, like a cop from this seventies movies like “Cannonball Run” with Burt Reynolds, some of those old school hot shots like “Easy Rider”, something like that. And of course it’s a bit seventies porn star but it’s heavy metal as well, that’s rock’n roll. The funny thing is that I think there are no many bands who would dare to put something like that on their cover and we did it and I think it’s quite original, brave and again this is the ultimate spirit of heavy metal to do things like that, no matter what the people think (Laugh)

And you’re going further with the cover of the limited edition of the album, which I prefer. It looks like a kind of poster for a promotion, or sales. Why have you chosen two covers for the album?

The truth is that blue one, with the monster was the first one we had. And then I thought like “Can you design like a touring poster, but design something that looks like one of those county fair posters of the twenties or thirties”. Those advertising posters “Come in and see the man with three hats wrestle a bull!” or stuff like that or “The man with four hands, come and see him”.
So he did that and we got the poster and we thought that it was so great that we cannot just use it as a tour poster, it has to be somewhere, so we put it on the limited edition, but it happened by accident.

And on this limited edition do we have covers and other stuff? You wanted to do homage to England. How many bonus tracks do you have recorded?

We recorded two completely new tracks and there is one alternative version of “Space Police” and four instrumental songs. So seven songs on the limited edition and one of these songs is called “England”, it’s a homage to England… and Iron Maiden and the other one is called “Aychim in Hysteria” and is a homage to Def Leppard from England as well so it’s two tributes to England in a way.

Well I’ll listen to it in a month when I’ll have received my limited edition, the Earbook deluxe.

I’m so looking forward to see them because I’ve just seen the layouts when the design was made for the pages and it’s really great, it’s like 150 pictures in there, real big format pages.

Yeah it’s quite like a vinyl.

Yes and we have old pictures from the archives that even I did not know they were existing, from our first live shows. Not really the first ones but from 1994 and stuff before we had a record deal. It’s great stuff, real great edition!

I’m really looking forward to have it!! And tell me more about the schedule for 2014? The tour is announced for the end of the year but we don’t have the chance to see you at Hellfest, do you know the reason?

Hellfest needs a break, a Toby free edition (Laugh). They just need one edition without me!

So you’ll be back next year!

I’m not sure, maybe they’ll need two or three years without me, maybe five years! Maybe the festival could even live without me at all who knows! (Laugh)

Oh I think we’ll do something to bring you back! And what about the tour of this end’s fall…

The tour will begin in the 18th of September and we’re going to be here in France on the 14th and 15th of October in Lyon and Paris and we’re looking forward to it, we haven’t been touring for three years, the last tour we did was one and a half year ago as a support act for Deep Purple. It’s great to be supporting for a legend like Deep Purple, but I’m looking forward to come back with our own show, our stage production, doing things our own way, that’s what I’m really looking forward to.

Will we have something special on stage, like the “Electric Hellhound” you had on the “Age of the Joker” tour?

We’re having several ideas right now but we don’t really know exactly what will happen…

So “wait and see”!
Well I think we’ve reached the end of the interview, so one again thank you so much for this moment. And I leave you the final words if you want to say something to the French fans.


Well I just want to thank you. And I want to thank all of you and check out the new album, it’s worth it. I don’t say buy it, you make up your minds, you make your own decision but check it out and then I think you’ll buy it! (Laugh)
Thank you and see you all on tour!
 
Critique : SBM
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