“Virtual Empire”, their previous album got great reviews all over the world and their fourth, new cd called “HELLvetia” is another step forward in the musical development of Swiss rockers Crystal Ball. The album really is dynamic and has a lot of balls, so to say… So, let’s hear what Scott Leach, guitar player in the band has to tell…

Martien: “You recorded this album with the help of Stefan Kaufmann(ex-Accept, now UDO), on the other albums Tommy Newton did the production; why this change?”

Scott: “Tommy really did not have time and Stefan was available and maybe it was good to change the way to record a new Crystal Ball album; we’ll see what happens….. We got to know Stefan on the tour with UDO and he liked our sound; but he said: “maybe we could do a better job”. So we asked him if he would produce our new album and he had time so he agreed. He was very much involved in the complete process and I think that it worked out fine; the guitars have more power and the whole album sounds more spontaneous and dynamic, don’t you think??”

Martien: “You are a Swiss band, how is the rock scene in Switzerland?

Scott: “Not really bad, actually, but compared to countries like Germany, it is not good of course. Over here there are almost no clubs where you can play or see other bands perform. The radio does almost nothing, Swiss rock bands or better Swiss rock music is still dead according to the radio. But it is going to become better in the future. Of course we have keen competition from bands like Gotthard, Shakra or Krokus, but I see this as a positive thing. These bands force us to become better and I still think there is a market for our music, especially in Germany.”

Martien: “Do you really think so, because I rather feel/think that your sound/music is a bit old-fashioned, or am I wrong?”

Scott: “You are entitled to your opinion of course, but I think that are almost no bands like Crystal Ball anymore, well there is Dokken and Saxon, but there are no young bands that sound like us… New metal and true metal are all you hear; do net get me wrong, I like bands like Linkin’Park or System Of A Down, but I certainly believe that there is a market for our music. Def Leppard is also still around and they rock….”

Martien: “Why HELLvetia instead of Helvetia?”

Scott: “Well it’s a kind of joke actually. Helvetia means Switzerland as you know and we tried to deal with the prejudices that people tend to have about our country. It is all Ricola, Swiss cheese, Milka and yodelling that people come up with if you ask them about Swiss characteristics. It is also a bit of criticism on our country(Hell) because a lot of things are still not very good; it’s a very conservative country, if you know what I mean.”

Martien: ‘So, your lyrics are also critical with regards to your country, then?”

Scott: “No, not really. There are about personal stuff and about our feelings about being in the rock business. We have got a lot of fun as musicians and I would not be happy with a boring 9 to 5 job. We would like to become full time professionals in the future and I am very confident that it is going to happen as well.”

Martien: “Will you be going on a tour?”

Scott: “Yes, for sure. I think that in March or April of next year we will do a European tour, maybe with Pink Cream 69 as support. But please check our home page for the exact details. We already have played in Holland(once) and in Belgium(twice), so we will be back….”

Martien: “Any remarks for our readers?’

Scott: “Thanks for the support, please buy our new record, because it is the best one we have made so far and take a look at our home page(www.crystal-ball.ch) for the latest information of our tour. And we hope to see you all somewhere during a gig in Europe.”

Martien: “Thanks Scott.”

Interview: Martien Koolen

(c) 2003 RockUnited.Com