Rock Brigade ( Brazil )

By César Fuentes Rodríguez
Tranlation by
Pedro Fraga Bomfim (Thanks TheAbufa!)

The Heaviest generation of the german melodic-metal

No one doubts that Blind Guardian is one of the most impetuous band in the metal scene nowadays. They can be proud of giving the world such masterpieces as Imaginations of the Other Side , Tales from the Twilight World and the great Somewhere Far Beyond among other excelent albums. By now, the band is in the process of recording the new album. Rock Brigade had a chat with bass player / vocalist Hansi Kürsch to know what is happening with the band, which is formed by Markus Siepen ( guitars), André Olbrich ( guitars ) and Thomas Stauch ( drums ).

ROCK BRIGADE - We heard that you are already working with the new album. Does it have a name ?
HANSI KÜRSCH - No. Although we're working hard with it, we did just the instrumental parts and almost no lyric. The ones there are done lead us to say that it will be a concept album, but we don't have everything ready yet. When we have , we will see which fit better in the songs and then we will find a title. ( Note from the tranlater :) - We know by now that the album is named Nightfall in MiddleEarth and it is a concept album about J.R.R Tolkien's books )

RB - What's the album about ?
HANSI - It is a fantasy theme again. As I told, not everything is done yet, but I believe we will do something based on "Lord of the Rings" book. But I can't really say what it is about now.

RB - It seems that you are really influenced by Tokien's work.
HANSI - Can you notice that ? [ laughs ]. I always liked those dark and epic stories, mostly because it amazes me how they can join different elements creating an unique effect : mythology, history and of course, society - everything in just one narrative. It's that what we want to make in our songs, different realities, that mix together to create something new.

RB - How is it possible to write songs inspired by a book ?
HANSI - Usually, my ideas are in the songs, but I try to get something from those old stories to make my own story, whith my words and point of view. I think that Tolkien's stories are not important because of the book itself, but of the way they affect me by some reason. And, because it affects me, it makes me write new lyrics about them.

RB - Do you think that who likes Blind Guardian knows Tolkien's work ?
HANSI : I am sure. I mean, some people don't care about lyrics, for them the topic of we are talking about is not important. But many people are interested in the lyrics, specially when it is like our kind of lyrics. And, as we talk about Tolkien, if these people don't know him, they will read his books, because they heard about him in our music. Then, they can understand better the topic we talk about.

RB - Why did the band decide to make those accoustic and orchestred versions that are in " the Forgotten Tales" album ?
HANSI - Because we didn't have other songs and they were the stuff we could put there to complete the album without making it full of demo versions. We thought that it would be more interesting to have fun, and at the same time , show you this other side of the band. Of course there are other songs that could be improved if done by other ways and that is what we had done in the album. Some of songs alredy had 7 years ! When we went to re-record them, we were searching for quality, cos we wanted to show the band's progress.

RB - Talking about the covers in that album and knowing that they always have been appearing through the Guardian's albums, was there any criteria to choose them ?
HANSI - The main criteria is : everyone must feel something for the song. But it's better if the song didn't have much success. We play covers mainly to relax and have fun, so we elect weird covers. We can change them a lot since they are not well-known. We can take MrSandman as an example. We all were atracted to the song, which was written 30 or 40 years ago. We thought it would be a good idea to play it in our way.

RB - Do the covers appear naturally in the rehearsals ?
HANSI - Most of them. Take Barbara Ann for an example. Firstly, we played it in the begining and in the end of our rehearsals, just to get a little crazy. Slowly, we modified some parts until we got to a point when we played the song for 20 or even 35 minutes, doing whatever we wanted.

RB - You played in some songs with an argetinian band, Nepal. How did you feel singing in spanish ?
HANSI - It was fun, the only problem we had was tha lack of the time, and because oft he playbacks, we could't erase the voices in spanish that were already sung. I had some problems to find some notes. But spanish is a cool language, even better than english.

RB - What did you think when they asked you to help ?
HANSI - I liked the idea, but it was clear that we would need some help because it is very difficult in other language besides english. I was surprised with the song, cos it is not too fast and not very different from what we do.

RB - Did u already think about singing in Dutch ?
HANSI - Not really. Some band have been doing it, with success, but personally I don't think it works well in music and lyrics. Some thing sounds weird even if translated to Dutch. It's a very rude language, we never thought about using it in our music.

RB - Since we're talking about Germany, do you think that the metal scene there is weak nowadays ?
HANSI - Yes. It is influenced by all those american trends. However, we have a strong underground scene, where people really live for music. Sometimes heavy metal is popular and there are people listening to it and sometimes it is restricted to the underground , like now. We had great bands in the 80s, but nowadays we can't find good new bands from Germany. It's easier to find good new bands from Argentina, Brasil, Spain and France.

RB - How was the tour you made recently in places like Thailand and Bangkok ?
HANSI - It was really cool, but people saw us as something exotic. We felt like animals in a zoo's cage. They didn't know what to expect, because it is not common to have metal bands around there.

RB - It must be very difficult to play songs like Imagination From the Other Side live. How can you describe a Blind Guardian concert ?
HANSI - Don't ask me how, but it works. After making the album, we focus on the concerts. We don't work with anyone in the samples, even if we have a keyboard player. And we let the public to sing with us also. We never exagerate while planning the concerts.

RB - Is it hard to keep all those choirs live ?
HANSI - Not much, since the fans always sing the background parts and I just keep to the main vocal. Sometimes I even don't sing, cos they do everything for me and they do it very well. And when the public sing with us, our mistakes appear less [ laughs ]

RB - Imaginations From the Other Side was very different from the other albums, maybe because you had emphasized the epic side and gave less importance to the velocity and rage from speed metal. How will the new album sound ?
HANSI - I believe it is in the same style of IFTOS, but it will have more speed metal parts. We didn't loose our influences.