Intervju med Tobias Sammet i Edguy!
Via Rocket.fm hade jag möjligheten att igår fredag, prata med sångaren och ledaren i Edguy, Tobias Sammet. Det blev ett kort samtal med en pratglad tysk som uppmanar alla att se Sverigekonserterna, speciellt Göteborg och Stockholm, då han hoppas att hela scenproduktionen ska kunna få plats.
Tobias, wie geht´s?
Tobias Sammet: Gut! Danke schön!
Das ist ja gut!
TS: That is very good!
That´s all the German I know after six years of German classes.
TS: Well, that´s not too bad, not too bad! It´s two words actually.
Where are you calling from?
TS: I´m in Malmö, in the hotel room!
Ah, the southern parts of Sweden! That´s where I come from.
TS: Yeah, it´s beautiful here! It´s raining outside and happily, we´re not gonna play open air tonight, but it´s great. I´ve got a comfortable hotel room that´s about the size of 8 square meters.
That´s when you realize you´re not the Rolling Stones! (laughs) I´m doing fine and it´s great to be back on the road finally.
Figures! Tell me about this new album of yours? Where did the title “Age of the Joker” come from?
TS: Well, we had that idea… when we started out almost 20 years ago… we shouldn´t say that because we come across as pretty old, but when we started out 20 years ago, we were of course dreaming of making money buy playing music and in the late 90´s when heavy metal kind of came back on the map of music, the traditional metal music, we said “Wow, this is a great year for us!”, but the ´99 was a great year and 2000 and 2001 were even better. It was another great year and another great year, so we said these is not just the year of Edguy, it´s an era! It´s an age actually! It´s not even only a decade, it´s an age and of course the Joker suits the band very well. It´s always been our mascot and the Joker is the personality, or the character of the Joker is allowed to say all sorts of things, tongue in cheek behind a smile and get away with all sorts of impudent things (laughs) and that´s what we´ve been doing throughout our whole career. We´ve always been different and we´ve always done things differently and we got away with things other bands would have had their heads chopped off for. (laughs) So ”Age of the Joker” is just a megalomaniac title! And besides that, it´s epic, it sounds big and it sounds a little bit mystic and it´s great! It just fits the band, I think.
What was it like working on this album? Does it get more and more difficult coming up with stuff or does it get easier year after year?
TS: It´s really hard to compare, because once you start working on a new album, you´ve almost forgotten how hard it was to put the last record out. Seriously, when we started this album, I had a little trouble because in the beginning it was hard to adjust myself to a band situation again after having done the Avantasia stuff. In Avantasia it´s just Sascha and me and I´m the one who says what we are doing, who makes the decisions and takes the responsibility, although Sascha is really important for me. But with Edguy you have to please four other personalities who have all sorts of different kinds of tastes. When we started to get back and working in the rehearsing room, the first few rehearsals were quite odd, because I had to remember myself that I had to be a little more diplomatic when pushing my ideas. (laughs) It´s not too obvious that I´m also a dictator in Edguy! But after a while, after a couple of rehearsals I felt at home and it felt as usual for me and that´s when we realized “Oh, this is working great!” and the songs literally wrote themselves and the material was getting better and better. In the beginning you always have your doubts about if you will come up with something that lives up to the expectations of yourself and to what you have done in the past, but ultimately it´s not the Olympics and you don´t really want to mess with the past and compete with the past, but just do a great new album. That´s what we did and now listening to the final results, “The age of the Joker”, I scratch my head and I´m really, really surprised as to how great the material is! And how we´ve come up with another, in my opinion, great album. It´s always really hard you know, it´s hard to believe when you´ve done something that really pleases you. You think “This is as good as it gets and next year we can probably quit or we should probably quit!”, but then you start working on new material and it fulfils you and it makes you happy and all of a sudden you have that master in your hand and you listen to it and you say “Wow, great! We´ve done it again!” and it´s maybe even better than the last album, although you can´t really compare. It wasn´t too hard!
Right! There´s a couple of really long songs on the album, like “Robin Hood” and “Behind the gates to midnight world”. They´re around eight minutes long and those songs, did you know while you were writing them, that they would turn into really long songs or does that just happen? Is it because there´s a special story to tell? How come certain songs become that long?
TS: (laughs) That´s really hard to explain, because I don´t know myself! Sometimes you have a feeling when you write a long song, for example “Behind the gates to midnight world”, to me it sounded so epic. You can realize it and when the vocals set in, I think you´re one and a half minutes into the song and that´s already quite long. A long introduction of the song. You have a feeling that this will turn out to be a longer song, but to me it´s easier to write longer songs, than to chop things off and get to the point. Like I´m talking, I´m beating around the bush all the time (laughs) and it´s the same with songwriting,. You just write and the good thing about being in a heavy metal band is that you don´t really have to cut down your songs to a radio friendly duration or running time. You can go with whatever you have and nobody really cares if it´s eight minutes, six minutes or four minutes. To me it´s more difficult to write a three and a half minute song than writing an eight minute song, because it´s easier for me to include all the passages that I wanna have in the song and do those kind of things and play around a little bit and build up things like Richard Wagner did and having those long, long build up passages and atmospheric parts. You kind of do those things when you wanna write a three and a half minute song and sometimes a song just have that feeling when you do a song like “Superheroes” or “King of fools”. You have the feeling that, no it shouldn´t be too long! It should be a shorter song and that´s when you really have to make up your mind, where you cut out the pieces to make it a short “Living on a prayer” part 75. (laughs)
What´s it like touring with James Kottak? That´s one crazy guy, right?
TS: He is crazy! It´s just been one night on the tour bus and there wasn´t too much craziness there. Everybody was sleeping and everybody was tired. He´s really weird! He´s an alien, I think! It´s great! We´ve known him for a long time. We´ve done the Scorpions tour in Germany and we played with them in Slovakia and we played in Bulgaria with the Scorpions. We´ve known each other for years and he´s a great guy! He´s funny and weird and odd!
Avantasia then? I mean, you´re doing Edguy now and I guess for quite a while, but are there more plans for Avantasia and more albums coming?
TS: I don´t know, to be honest! I don´t think of it right now. I don´t have a record deal and I didn´t try to get one, because I didn´t think of recording anything. I have no plans! I don´t have any songs written yet. I have fragments that could be Avantasia or could be Edguy or Bon Jovi as some people would say. (laughs) Seriously, I really, really don´t have any plans. I think there will be no Avantasia record in the near future. I don´t know if there will be any more Avantasia stuff! I have no plans and I make no plans for touring or live concerts. There will be no festival appearances. I´m fully focused on Edguy now and we have just started this tour and I´m so happy to be back here in Sweden with Edguy. I´ve got to advertize the tour a little! We´re playing Malmö tonight and where are we tomorrow? I think Gothenburg and then Stockholm on Sunday. It´s fun because we brought a really big stage and we can´t fit it into the first club we´re playing. It was really funny because we´ve got some real cool specials and very tongue in cheek and very over the top specials, but they nowhere nearly fit in the club we play tonight, so tonight is gonna be a rock and roll show basically without the stage.
That´s good enough!
TS: Yeah, it´s good enough, but we have real special things and I just hope we can… I think Gothenburg will work and we´ll get it inot the club. I´m not sure about Stockholm. Have you been to the place we´re playing?
Yeah, a long time ago. It´s a pretty cool place (Tyrol) and I think it´s bigger than the place in Malmö.
TS: What´s the height of the ceiling?
It´s pretty high, I believe.
TS: Really? And above the audience, is it high as well?
I think so, yes.
TS: Oh yeah! Then people come to Stockholm and nobody will speak of KISS anymore after that show. (laughs) Or probably they will speak about KISS and say “Well, that´s the odd club version of KISS!”. People should really come and we´ve brought some pretty funny specials.
After the European tour, are you heading for the US, Asia, South America and stuff like that?
TS: Well, yeah we will, but not this year! I think the tour will be over by the end of October and we´ll be home for Christmas and the five month Christmas season. (laughs) You know, we´re lazy guys! We´re getting old and we need our breaks. We´re gonna do the world tour next year!
Ok! All the best with the show tonight, tomorrow and on Sunday here in Stockholm and congrats on the album! Take care Tobias and nice talking to you!
TS: Take care and nice talking to you!