ON A ROCKET RIDE THIS JANUARY!
RockUnited found Edguy singer Tobias Sammet this past December from a bar in Helsinki, Finland, as he was singing a Christmas carrol to a radio show, just having some fun from the tough "Rocket Ride" promo tour he was doing by himself and getting in the mood for the forthcoming holidays. Edguy will release their "Rocket Ride" on January the 20th. The album was under discussion and also some weird rumours going on about Tobias' suicide, which had been circling around the internet for some time. You shouldn't believe all you read from the internet and surely so, we joked around with the subject. As I saw Tobias sitting there I had my doubts if he really was alive after all, or was I just dreaming...
Tobias - Supposedly not. It was just a rumour that came up, I don't know who came up with that, it just came up on the internet. All I could say was that it didn't happen. I felt I had the duty to do that, because fans were asking about it. It was no big deal for me, but some fans were really concerned about me. Usually I don't pay attention to rumours like that.
RockUnited - Things do happen.
Tobias - Yeah, suicides and rumours!
Such morbid theme for the interview, but let's continue for a while, shall we. And the place Tobias would rather go to when he dies would be...
Tobias - I don't know, maybe to Australia, there's this topless bar. That's where I would go when I'm dead and work there as a ghost in the dressing rooms.
And if you lived for 200 years, you'd see plenty at a topless bar! Who knows, reaching that age might be possible in the future, with the fast advancing technology and then again, cryogenics can be an option too. Having lived 200 years ago is a different thing.
Tobias - No way! Maybe twenty years ago it would've been nice to be a musician in the early 80's and 70's, because back then it was much easier to have success when you were a creative person. But on the other hand I'm quite happy of the age I'm living in. We've got internet, telephone, beautiful cars, not so many people have to be afraid of being killed, we haven't had a war in a long time.
The future of Edguy might look strange if Tobias was gone, what a sad world that would make. Tobias is the main songwriter of the band, so thinking about the other guys, what would happen to them in that case?
Tobias - Honestly speaking, I don't know! I've never made up my mind what would happen to the world if I'd be dead. I'd probably be just dead and everybody would just say "oh wow, shit, Tobi's dead, what do we do now? We have to find a way to do something", and they would find a way to do something and life would go on. It would be just one Tobi less on earth (laughs).
It would be strange for the other guys though.
Tobias - Probably yes, the first few minutes. Nah, I hope that they like me and they don't want me dead. I'm quite sure they don't want me dead, but life would have to go on.
And now they're plotting behind his back...
Tobias - Probably yeah...but I don't want to make up my mind too much about what would happen, if I'd be dead. I just hope it takes much longer until I'm dead.
I think we've had enough of the morbid tales, so let's get to the boring business side. Boring for Tobias maybe, but interesting for the rest of us.
Edguy's seventh studio album "Rocket Ride" will be released in January. The making of the album wasn't that hard for the band after "Hellfire Club", which was released only a year ago.
Tobias - It was not hard at all. Of course songwriting isn't something you do on purpose or on demand, you just write songs. And whenever you can use them, you use them, but you write them constantly. So all I was doing was just taking the songs to the rehearsing room, we were rehearsing them, playing them to the producer for the first time. It was the first time we had a producer. Then we recorded them, so I don't feel it as something like hard or difficult to do this album, not at all.
RockUnited - So it's always as easy?
Tobias - Yeah, I mean I just really can't compare, because it's never been difficult for us. If it would be difficult, we would probably not do it, because we're so lazy. No, seriously I don't know if it would be possible to do an album if it felt difficult, when you have to force a song to come out and when it doesn't come out naturally. I don't really think about it, we just do the album, we work on it very focused and at some point it's finished. You don't even realize it. It's just something that happens, we don't have to push or reinforce it.
RockUnited - What made you write such humorous material for the new album, did you have a certain goal or script for starters or was the process spontanious?
Tobias - It was spontanious and I think it's not any more funny or more humoristic than our previous material. I think we've always had this side. I think it's not more funnier stuff than in the past. Of course we had two funny songs, they both were meant as bonus tracks, "Trinidad" and "Fucking With Fire". They were just turning up so great, so we put them on the album without thinking too much, if people would bash us for it. We just thought we're Edguy, we can get away with doing anything, so let's put them on the album. Apart from that there's not so much humoristic stuff. Of course "Catch Of The Century" has that funny end, but still it fits to the topic of the song. "Return To The Tribe" for example has some funny guitar solo, which in fact is not a guitar, but it's me pretending to be a guitar, singing the solo. Apart from that it's not any funnier than what we've done in the past, I think we've always had that humoristic side, even on the last album, where we had a song called "Rise Of The Morning Glory" and "Lavatory Love Machine" and on the EP we had "The Life And Times Of A Bonus Track", so we've always done these kinds of things.
RockUnited - Now you don't have any bonus tracks.
Tobias - Well, we have a bonus track for the limited edition, which is "Land Of The Miracle-Live In Brazil". "Fucking With Fire" is a bonus track for every edition...it's a bonus track, but there's not gonna be any edition without it!
NO SLAPSTICK BAND
Thinking about what the guys have been doing throughout their career, they might head towards a more funnier style, but that's not the case. Edguy only uses humour when they feel the song demands that, and what comes to future, Tobias says:
Tobias - We don't think about that. I think we'll always remain a serious heavy metal band and we don't want to become a slapstick band and we certainly won't become one. It's just that we want to put some fun in there and show people how much we enjoy what we do and that we don't take ourselves too seriously. That being said, we take our music quite seriously. I'd say there's no plan of becoming more funnier. Whenever we think there's a good, funny thing to be done, we will do it if we feel it has to be there, but it doesn't mean we have to do it in the sake of being funny. I see ourselves as a normal heavy metal, rock'n'roll or whatever band.
RockUnited - Since you're Germans, are you fans of JBO, Elškelšiset and the likes, and maybe a little influenced by them?
Tobias - I'm not too much into JBO, I don't have none of their records. It's funny to listen, but you can't listen to that band in the sake of just listening to a good album, that's what makes us different. We are not a joke. A lot of people like The Darkness and I like them, but people listen to them, because they want to have a good laugh. They think it's funny. There's not so many people who think that The Darkness is a great band. I think so, but most people listen to bands like JBO and The Darkness just because they want to have a laugh. I don't believe many people will put on their album like twenty times in a week, three times a day, just because they think the music is so great. I think that's the case with Edguy, that's what makes us different from slapstick bands.
RockUnited - JBO just played in Earthshaker festival last summer with a lot of people and whole lot of action.
Tobias - It's party music and they are making fun out of other bands, but still it's just a parody of other bands. You can listen to them in a festival and drink beer and have a great laugh, but you're not gonna listen to their albums three times a day.
RockUnited - How do you think your fans will be taking your new style, there's been lots of critizism?
Tobias - I don't think there's a new style. I think people are really overdoing it with that new style, when they do it. It's just a new Edguy album with all the key elements of Edguy. Of course you have to get used to it like every album. Like when we did the "Hellfire Club"- album, people liked "Mandrake" much more. When we did that, people said they liked "Theater Of Salvation" much more. That's a normal thing. It's just because we don't copy albums. We just do a new album with all the elements we've had on the previous albums, but with some new elements and spice. I think that's what we've done with the new album as well, so I don't think it's that different, it's just how people receive it now, as they are really used to "Hellfire Club". Now they get something which is slightly different and they're going "oh my God, they are changing, they are selling out, they are moving away from their roots". That's what we've heard from the second album on. No, we're not doing t hat. It's just a good album, nothing more, nothing less. It's a great album. Some people will like it, some people will say the last one was better. I reccon in six or seven years when we've done three more albums and when we'll do a new album, people will say the new album is shit, it should be much more like the "Rocket Ride", which is like our previous albums and isn't asskissing. We don't try to do something people necessarily expect.
HOPE YOU'RE OK, LIGHTYEARS AWAY
That's a line taken from Edguy's new track "Trinidad". Another cracker line from Tobias and this one's also plain funny song. The birth of ideas for the songs is always interesting to know, especially in the case of this song.
Tobias - Trinidad was sounding funny and for some reason I've had this word on my mind when I was writing the song. It just fit the (sings the "Trinidad" chorus melody). Trinidad was for me a metaphor of some place far away at the beach, far away from home, with beautiful women. It's a joke song about a man, who goes out to buy some food and was pissed off about his wife and so he ends up in Trinidad. It was not meant to be something brilliant, but funny, senseless and meaningless, and I achieved to write a good, meaningless song and we decided to put it on the album.
RockUnited - Is Trinidad the place to be on a holiday?
Tobias - I don't know, I've never been there. I like to spend my holidays at home, that's the best place to be, with my friends. I'm going around the world all the time somewhere, so I prefer to be at home, but Trinidad, maybe one day if I get the chance to go there, I will. But home is my dreamplace to be. London was pretty great yesterday, England is a very nice country. It's very old with Victorian style houses and all the tiny pubs.
Tobias is swaying in his chair recklessly. He must be quite tired from his promo tour, this interview being his last of the day and then heading over to Sweden already in the same evening. "No problem", he says while playing with the chair, but manages to sit tight and not fall over. "Break a leg", I wonder out loud, but Tobias thinks more likely to break the legs of the chair. While doing the "Trinidad" track, fans have been guessing he went through his parents albums for finding influences, but he didn't.
Tobias - I don't know who came up with that idea, but I didn't. I just did those songs, 'cos I thought they had great hooklines.
RockUnited - What kind of music do your parents listen to then and are you getting influences from them?
Tobias - No way! Thank God I'm not. It's German folkmusic basically. Nothing really special, it's just this barbarian yodle shit (laughs). I don't pay attention to what my parents listen to, but they would probably like some of the new songs.
"Catch Of The Century" also tells a story about a man.
Tobias - It's about being turned down by a woman, that someone has a crush on in the song. She turns you down and that's what basically happens when you're being turned down, all you can do is to keep your last bit of pride and say "you know what, you are not worth it. You are gonna miss out on some big chance". In the end I'm just listing what she's gonna miss out on, "I'm gonna be a big star, I'm gonna have hundreds of women. You're nothing", and stuff like that. It's a serious song with a funny joke at the end.
RockUnited - Drawing this from personal life, about certain woman, perhaps ?
Tobias - Yeaaah, well...maybe yes, but it's not that I was really pissed off. It was nobody that I was really having a crush on, nobody would know her, it was more like expressing some feelings and having fun while doing it. It was a ball writing these lyrics and laughing about them. Stuff like "I'm going down with flying colours before I go down on somebody else and not you, you will regret it". It was more funny to me.
The guy in the end of the song talking to Tobias is Sasha Paeth, by the way. At least now Edguy has shown they're a versatile band who can do just about anything. When asked about what would be the most extreme thing Tobias would go for musically, he hesitates.
Tobias - I don't know, because I don't want to explore how far I can go without pissing off the fans. I would take the risk and piss of the people, if I would really feel I have to do it. That's what you really owe to people, to be honest to yourself, because only if you're honest to yourself, you can expect other people to be excited about your music. So basically what I do is not try to move as far away as possible, I just want to do whatever I wanna do, but I'm a metalhead at the end of the day, a metal fan myself, and I want to play this kind of music, and hard rock and rock, heavy metal, speed metal, power metal. Basically for me there's no labelling this kind of music, it all belongs together, it's one thing, it's got the same roots. I don't make a difference between them. I really don't want to move far just to move far. I wanna play the music that I like and I never make up my mind about how far I can go. I think we've gone as far as we can go and I don't wanna go any further, otherwise I would've gone. I'm a metal fan and I want to record a metal album.
I'm asking Tobias some really tough questions, just for the fun of it and he gets so confused. Since talking about extreme things, what would be something extreme he would go for in personal life then?!
Tobias - I don't know. You're talking to someone who's going on stage in cow leggins...(meaning himself). I don't know, I don't challenge myself. People say I have to do something to get attention, but that's not the case. I just do what I feel I have to do, but apart from that I wouldn't cross any borders just for the sake of crossing borders. I wouldn't go naked anywhere, but to the shower, but not in public.
Tobias was also having a hard time thinking the most extreme thing he's done so far.
Tobias - Well, maybe being carried out of the backstage area for being totally wasted, but I don't know if it's so embarrasing. It just happens. We're a band, we're not working for a bank, so I'm allowed to have my bottle of whiskey after the show. I'm not having every night of course, but in Spain it happened once. I remember there were some fans who wanted an autograph and were running towards me (excited and yelling Tobi), I was told, I didn't know. And there was this one guy left of me and one guy right of me and they were pulling me out of the hall. Our tourmanager was going "you can see yourselves Tobi won't give you any autographs anymore this evening", I couldn't, I didn't have my conscious anymore. Of course, it was a bottle of whiskey and it was a great evening, so I had my fun. Apart from that I'm not so embarrasing. Of course I'm embarrasing from head to toe, I mean my whole taste in clothes and music and everything is embarrasing about me, but there's nothing I've done that is really extreme.
There you have it, Tobias is just a plain ol' rocker, getting drunk sometimes. That's fun enough and who knows, maybe even challenging?
SOMEBODY TO WATCH
Making the funny videos "Lavatory Love Machine" and "Superheros" should've been fun work, but they weren't that exactly.
Tobias - It's less fun than you would imagine. Making videos is really hard work, harder than anything else. It's just waiting there, spending your time waiting, when the lights are done, the make-up, the clothes, again something is wrong with the lights. I don't really like doing videos. "Superheroes" was ok, at least we had somebody to watch there all the time (the women). Then you shoot it like seven times and find out all the lights on some area of the room are not perfect again, so let's shoot the whole thing again. You're basically spending your time working and performing the song over and over again and just moving your lips. It's no fun at all. I don't like photosessions either, but it has to be done, it comes alongside to the other things that are fun.
Edguy on make-up...well, while shooting videos that's normal for anyone in the biz, but the amount of make-up changes.
Tobias - It depends. On "King Of Fools" we were looking like faggots, but apart from that only as little as is necessary.
RockUnited - What about the more serious songs, what are those songs about, like are you a fan of the movie Matrix since one song has that title?
Tobias - That has nothing to do with the movie, I haven't even seen the movie. Matrix is a metaphor for the origin of my personality, it's just about discovering two different sides to your personality, which are totally to the contrary of each other and that's when you look into the mirror and say ok, what's real? What is the original part of my personality, where's the balance. It's about losing balance and that's what "Matrix" is about. Some other people thought it was about relationships, but it wasn't, it just can be read this way as well.
RockUnited - Do you listen to any industrial bands since "Matrix" has some influences?
Tobias - I don't listen to industrial bands. I like Rammstein of course, but it's not my favourite band. We came up with a normal song in the vein of old Edguy, called "Out Of Control" and Sasha Paeth turned the song upside down, he really produced everything in that song, so it ended up being a different song. Basically just the chords, the melodies and the songwriting is the same, but the arrangement is totally different, the guitar riffs and stuff. So it's much to his responsibility that the song turned out to to be so different.
RockUnited - This "Matrix"- kind of music is so strange to hear from you.
Tobias - Yeah, to me as well, but the album is so good as a whole, so this song is really good as it is, it's really different, but it spices up the album.
Sasha Paeth did everything for the album. Edguy was happy with the whole "Hellfire Club", but this time they wanted to move forward.
Tobias - We wanted to have new influences there, because we didn't want to change the songwriting, we didn't want to force a change. So we decided to get someone else to do the production, who would add some new elements to it. We found Sasha and he arranged some of the stuff and made suggestions, recorded all the stuff. We recorded everything live (analogue), put everybody together in the same room. So he brought a lot of changes in the way of recording. In the end it was nothing but fair to let him mix the album as well, because he had done all the hard and dirty work, so we let him add the topping as well. We are really happy, because it sounds so different from anything else that a power metal band would deliver. It sounds like a big international production. I like the "Hellfire Club" production as well, but this time we just did something different.
Tobias still wrote most of the songs.
Tobias - Yeah, basically all. "Out Of Vogue" was written by Jens, I just wrote the solo and the lyrics, which is stupid. The guitar player writes the songs and the singer writes the solo.
OFF TO EUROPE
Edguy will soon leave on a European tour with Savage Circus and Dragonforce, but unfortunately some countries will be left out.
Tobias - First we're gonna support Dragonforce in the UK, then we're gonna do the vice versa for the rest of Europe, not the whole rest of Europe, we're gonna leave out some countries this time, like Finland. But we're gonna come. We're gonna bring the whole production as we come, that's why we can't afford to come to a small club in Finland, because we're gonna be on tour with our trucks and that's shitloads of money. So what we're gonna do is play some festivals in the summer here in Finland, then we can hopefully bring the whole production as well.
Finally a question that has been boggling the minds of Edguy fans. How's the sex-exchanges coming along with Felix?
Tobias - Felix has done it. I was not brave enough. Felix went for it, he's a cockatoo now.
Now that's a weird way to end the interview year of 2005 in RockUnited, but remember kids, never take rock'n'roll too seriously. It can be a way of life, but a fun way of life, that's what it is for the RockUnited staff anyways. Check out Edguy on tour and on festivals next summer. Till then have some fun and do as the Edguys do, take that Rocket Ride!
Interview by Satu Reunanen, satu [at] rockunited.com