Intervju med Udo Dirkschneider.
För en tid sedan besökte Udo huvudstaden för lite promotion av senaste given "Steelhammer". Jag gjorde en kortare telefonare med den lille tysken och samtalade bl a om nya plattan, Spanien och om hur musik kan påverka människor positivt.
There are two new members in the band. Not only do they have to be great musicians, but there´s also the personal chemistry. Does it take long to kinda gel as a band?
Udo: No, not really. In a way I was lucky and I think I have a way of picking the right ones. (laughs) Stefan´s health problems were getting a little bit too much now and he needed to stop touring. We nearly got 300 demo tapes and in the end I had four guys, one from Norway, Germany, Finland and Russia. We picked up Andrey first and the plan was then to continue with him and Igor. I told Igor that I wanted to change things and I wanted all the members in the studio and work with everybody face to face. I told him he had to be in the studio for four to five weeks, but he said it was too much. “Maybe I can come in for two days.” he said, but I said it was not possible. Andrey came for the audition and it lasted for four weeks, which was very long, but he played very well and is a nice person so I feel very comfortable with him. Then we talked with Igor at the beginning of the year when the album was done and asked him what he wanted to do? He said “Well, maybe it was wrong of me not to do the album.”, but then we got an e-mail that said he was out of the band. I asked him “Igor, are you sure you wanna throw away 15 years?” and he said “Yeah, I think it´s better for me.”. I had Kasperi in mind, so we called him and wondered if he was still available and within an hour we had a new guitar player. Our first show was a festival in Ecuador and it just feels like we´ve been together for a long time. It´s crazy, but it´s fresh blood. They´re young, Andrey´s 29 and Kasperi´s 31, so they´re from a different generation. At the moment I´m really happy.
With Andrey and Kasperi in the band, your band is starting to look like the UN.
Udo: Yeah, in a way. (laughs) We have Russia, Finland, Italy and a guy from Germany living in Spain. (laughs)
There´s a song on the new album “Steelhammer” called “Basta Ya”, and you sing in Spanish. What´s the story there? I googled it and found out that it kinda means enough is enough, but it´s also an organization working against terrorism.
Udo: It wasn´t planned to be done in Spanish. It´s about the financial crisis that´s been happening. I was having breakfast one morning, watching the news and there were so many demonstrations going on in Spain and there were signs saying “Basta Ya”. Fitty came up with the idea. We did some demos in Spanish and it sounded great. Then we called up our friend Victor Garcia from Warcry and asked him if he could translate the lyrics from English to Spanish. He did that. It took three days and he sang it so we got everything right. I thought it sounded great and said “Let´s do a duet!” and that´s the story of “Basta Ya”.
Did you know much Spanish before this?
Udo: Yeah, I´ve lived in Spain for five years now and I understand a lot and I can speak the language. Not fluent, but enough to live there.
What made you move to Spain?
Udo: Private reasons, but I have no problem talking about it and there are three songs on this album about my wife, or ex wife. She left me after 25 years and was falling in love with somebody else and that was the reason I moved. I moved to place where I´ve always liked to be and that was Spain.
Spain´s not doing too good these days, as aren´t a lot of other European countries. Is it difficult living there now?
Udo: No, not for me. I have nothing to do with all that. It´s different for me. A lot of people are losing their jobs and I think something like 45% of the young people don´t have a job. The economy is going down and I think it´s good to do a song like this one, because it´s not only Spain, it´s also Greece, Italy and so on. There´s also a lot of things going on in South America.
Are you in any way politically involved? It seems like your keeping track of what´s going on?
Udo: I´m interested, yes, but I´m not involved in anything. There are so many things going on everywhere and when you´re watching the news, you get tons of ideas for lyrics. The song “A cry of the nation” is about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer. There´s no middleclass anymore. I always try to write lyrics about what´s happening in the world and the song “Metal machine” is about how robots are taking over more and more. They do the work and people are losing their jobs and it´s also everything with the internet and computers. For me, it´s getting to be a little too much.
You travel a lot and you get to see a lot of countries and I guess you also see where there´s trouble and such?
Udo: Yeah. A very interesting country was Ecuador, where we played a festival. It´s a beautiful country but you see how people live there. It´s poor and you don´t think people can live like that, but they´rereally happy and of course they don´t know anything else. It´s hard to see how they live, but it gives you ideas to maybe write something.
You also get to see what music can do for people and how it can lift someone´s spirits and give a positive vibe to people. It has to be pretty cool to see that your music can help people forget their troubles, at least for an hour or two hours?
Udo: Oh yeah, definitely. It´s important to give people a good time. They come, have a party and go home with a smile. They forget that they have a job they´re not happy with or other problems they have. When I o to a concert or to the cinema, I wanna forget problems too. That´s why we are doing this.
With the new album, you stay true to your sound. Do you ever feel that you would like to try something completely different or is that too risky?
Udo: Of course you can do something else. I think we already changed a bit with the new album. When Stefan was producing and nothing bad against Stefan, but it was a little bit cold and with this new album, I said I didn´t want as much computers. I wanted real guitars with real cabinets, real amplifiers and real drums. I think the sound is more alive than the “Rev-Raptor” and “Dominator” albums. That´s the only change I made in a way, but of course we have a different guitar player, but basically it will always be the same.
It seems like there are a lot of bands that wanna go back to that live feeling where you have the entire band playing in the studio.
Udo: Yeah, and I think you get a better feeling and when you have the guitar player sitting next to you, you really can talk and communicate. I think it´s the right thing to do. We´re building up a proper studio in Spain and we´re already thinking about the next album.
One last thing. I read on your website, that when you were in school, you brought along your portable record player? That´s pretty hardcore.
Udo: It is hardcore, yeah. (laughs) Once I was playing this Beatles song really loud and they threw me out of the class. (laughs) I was around 13 or 14 years old.
More kids should do that today, bring their portable record players.
Udo: But there are no record players. (laughs)
I know, I know. It´s too bad.