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Rage

Rage is already about twenty-five years a stable force in the heavy metal scene and the fan of this power trio knows exactly what to expect from the band. After 'Carved In Stone' from 2006, anno 2010 is time for the already nineteenth studio album 'Strings To A Web'. Therefore it was time again to contact front man Peavy Wagner to obtain the latest news from the Rage camp…

By: Sjak | Archive under heavy / power metal

Peavy, the last time we spoke was in February 2008 when you released the 'Carved In Stone' album. What did that album do for the band commercially?
It sold quite well, although I haven't heard about the exact numbers. Especially in Japan it seems to have done very well, and overall I'm very happy with the result. I really liked the more straightforward approach that we took for that album and I believe that the Rage fans were pleased with it as well and that they liked the songs.

What did the band do in the period after the release of 'Carved In Stone' up to the start of the preparation for the new album?
We toured constantly, we did a European tour followed by the summer festivals and we were also part of a German TV show, which was kind of a contest show where we did a song with German lyrics. We actually ended up in third position, which is not bad for an non-promoted heavy metal band among pop acts.

When did you start with the actual preparations for 'Strings To A Web' and what was the game plan that you had for this album?
We had no real game plan, we just collected a lot of ideas which we worked on during the rehearsal sessions. We also did no demos for this new album, but went straight into the studio. Our only intention was to come up with good songs and we just did what the songs needed. Therefore we used an orchestra on 'Empty Hollow' for instance, while some other songs are more traditional heavy metal. We wanted to have variety on the album, but it needed to remain one unit.

Almost two years ago you said that Andre Hilgers would probably contribute to the song writing of the new album. Did that actually happen and if so, what has been the result of that change in song writing approach?
Yeah, he did come up with some ideas…about two days before we entered the studio…haha. At that time it was too late to incorporate his ideas into the new songs and the stuff he wrote was not exactly in line with the style of the band. So all the new songs have been written by Victor and myself again.

Despite of the fact that you're in the business for such a long time, the pool of creativity of Rage has not dried up yet, since the fourteen new songs sound really fresh. How do you manage to do this?
We just love the music, that's all! We don't see it as a job, it's a passion. Therefore we are not limited by anything and we just go for the feeling of the moment. We know that this approach will not make us rich, but we don't care.

Another reason why the album sounds so fresh is the crystal clear sound of the record. Was Charlie Bauerfeind again responsible for the mixing and production job of this new one and are you yourself happy with the actual end result?
Yes, we're very happy with the end result! Charlie was our main producer while Victor co-produced the album. We did some things different though, we used no samples on the drums, just natural drums, although Charlie really likes to have samples on the drums.

Where these fourteen songs on the new album the only songs that were written or have you written more material that hasn't made it to the album?
No, these fourteen songs were all the stuff we wrote for the album. We have no leftovers.

Like on most Rage albums, the songs are heavy but still very catchy. What makes this new album better than the previous albums? What are the biggest differences and/or improvements that you've been able to make when comparing 'Strings To A Web' to the other Rage albums?
I guess the album is in the same Rage style as the other albums, therefore it's no better or worse than any of our older albums. We always try to write material that it's both powerful and catchy and I believe that we've succeeded to do this on all our albums.

You've included more symphonic and progressive elements on this new one that on 'Carved In Stone' and the new album is more of a mix between 'Speak Of The Dead' and 'Carved In Stone' in my opinion. Do you agree and if so, why did you decide to go into this direction?
I agree, but the only reason for doing this was the fact that the songs needed it. If you look at it from a distance though, it's more or less just 'Empty Hollow' that has much orchestration.

Why did you decide to call the album 'Strings To A Web'?
It's just a word game. The cover shows a spider in a web and the title is meant in a social way. Nowadays we're all in the strings of the web of society and that's what's meant by the title of the album.

'String To A Web' is also the name of the instrumental that you have incorporated on the album. Why did you decide to add an instrumental this time?
Again, it just felt like the song needed this. The last instrumental we did was on our album 'Unity', so I guess it was kind of time again to incorporate an instrumental. It started off as the extended solo part for 'Empty Hollow', but became a song of its own.

'Fatal Grace' is a very peaceful short instrumental, which to me is more of an intro to 'Connected'. Why did you include this?
The whole album is truly a string massacre and this short instrumental is somewhat of a break or rest in all the heavy stuff. It's a very moody type of instrumental that Victor came up with and he's really a genius when it comes to composing songs like this. It starts off as a classical guitar solo, while the second part consists of cello parts. As you may or may not know, Victor studied cello and he's actually playing this on the old cello of my mother.

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There are some laid-back tracks on the album as well like the already mentioned 'Connected' and 'Through Ages'. Did you think that it was necessary to add these quieter moments on the album for the sake of variety or was there another reason?
It was not an absolute necessity, but is just came out that way. 'Through Ages' is more of an intro to the last songs, while 'Connected' is a little break on the album. We like to have dynamics and variety on the album and therefore we sometimes shift gears and go through different moods.

What are in your opinion the best moments on the album and why?
That is really a tough one to answer, since it depends on the mood I'm in. Of course I like 'Empty Hollow' because of the orchestration, but I also like 'Purify' very much which is an old-school, thrash song. One of the best songs on the album is also 'Hunter And Prey', which is very aggressive, Pantera-style song, while 'Into The Light' on the other hand is more catchy and melodic, but also very strong.

What do you want to accomplish with this 'Strings To A Web' release? When will the album be a success for you?
It will be a success when the fans like it, it's as simple as that! We like it, we did our best to make a good album, but it's the fans that determine whether you've really succeeded in that.

There will also be a special edition of the new album with an additional DVD, which contains the Wacken 2009 show and some additional clips. Who came up with this idea and what's the thought behind it?
The record company asked for bonus material and we had the Wacken show recorded, which was a special event because we had a lot of guest musicians during that show because of our 25th anniversary. The other live clips come from different other festivals and were a nice addition to the complete Wacken show.

Why do you think that traditional heavy metal bands like Rage have stood the test of time, why are they still attractive for today's audience? What the unique selling point that the band has?
That's a good question, I honestly don't know. I guess it has something to do with the band stability and the fact that the fans know what to expect from us.

Nowadays it proves to be very difficult to get an income from record sales. How important is the sales number for Rage? Are you getting the money from live performances instead?
We do pretty good, if we add everything together our income is quite okay. We're an established band and we see that the sales in general is declining, but we're still okay, we can't complain.

You've been active in the music scene for quite a while already. What keeps you going? Why are you still active today instead of having a regular day job and watching television and drinking beer at night?
Haha…because I just love it! I love the music, I love to play live so why would I want to stop that great lifestyle?

You'll probably be doing a lot of promotional interviews right now, so what's next? What are you going to do in the next say six to twelve months?
Our European tour will start in March and will take us through a lot of countries in Europe. Next to that we're booking more stuff in the US, Japan and Russia and we will be doing some of the festivals in summer as well. Before you know it, it will be autumn again and at this moment I don't know yet what will be happening then.

Unfortunately again the Netherlands is still not visited, are you planning to change that in the next coming period or not?
The three weeks that are planned in March are just the first part of our European tour. There are still dates that need to be planned and I also hope that we will be playing at least one show in the Netherlands.

As said earlier you're already part of the music scene for a very long time. What have been your personal highlights and lowlights during your long career?
The highlight must have been the many live shows and tours that we did, especially the first time we visited Japan. Also the shows that we did with an orchestra are certainly a highlight in my career. Other the lowlights side, it must have been the situation ten years ago when the previous line-up left just before the album 'Ghosts'. I was really disappointed in the people back then, who proved to be assholes instead of friends.

What are some of the things that you still want to accomplish with Rage? What are the dreams that you still want to make come true?
Good question, I'm happy with how everything turned out so far. There's nobody limiting us in what we're doing and I just wish that things go on just like they do now. It's exactly as we wanted it to run.

Okay Peavy, thanks for your time and willingness to answer my questions. As always, the famous last words are yours.
Just say hi to everybody for me, and thanks for the support!

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