Last month you performed to an audience of millions on a German programme called the McDonalds Chartshow.
“Yes, it was a fun experience. There were even teenage girls crying when we performed. The McDonalds Chartshow is a chart-programme, like a top 40. It is mainly about popmusic and is broadcasted on prime-time all over Germany. They usually reserve a spot for lesser known but successful bands, and that is how we – after some pressure from Nuclear Blast - were invited. Tobi was sick that day but it was an offer we obviously could not refuse: exposure like this is precious.”
And you also performed on a show called Rockapalast.
“Rockapalast is a show where they invite a band to play a one hour set. It's a rockshow, aired at eleven o'clock or something like that. The exposure that you get is nowhere as big as the McDonalds chartshow of course, but you do get to perform for the real metalfans. The show will be aired within a couple of weeks time. In Germany only, but I am pretty sure that the recordings will turn up on the internet soon enough. I have no problems with this show being put on Kazaa because it is a good promotion for our cd's.”
When you get to do live-shows for millions of viewers, doesn't that make interviews like these a tad superfluous?
“I do not think so. Such a tv-show is great exposure of course. But the one cannot exist without the other, I think. We consider those tv-shows a very good promotion but these interviews are still very important. You cannot count on being invited for those shows, in fact, it might never happen again. But the metal scene with these interviews, that is where our roots lie. We will not forget where we come from just because we have been on television a couple of times.”
The moment any bands starts expanding their audience, you'll always have a bunch of people who accuse the band of selling out. I assume the same thing happened to you too.
“Yes it did. The day after we appeared on the chartshow our guestbook was flooded with angry messages from fans. Some where truly angry at us for betraying our roots and selling out. That is something that I find very strange. We have not changed the music in any way, we just made it better. We were offered a platform to promote the band. We would have been crazy not to take up that offer just because some narrow minded fans might not like it.”
It is what happens all the time. The moment a band becomes bigger, people in the underground no longer have exclusive access too it. And they get pissed.
“I guess that is it. But it is something I don't understand. People are always complaining that metal never gets on tv. Edguy on tv can only raise the interest in other bands. So they should in fact be happy about it! And the more money we make with increased albumsales thanks to these shows, the more we can give back to the fans. We can bring bigger backdrops on tour and keep the ticketprices low. That is something that our fans profit from.
You did a video for a song called 'King Of Fools'.
“That song was a logical choice for the video and the ep. It is a mid-tempo song with a catchy chorus. Our recordcompany Nuclear Blast wasn't that fond of the idea of releasing a song that was either too long or too fast, as that would decrease our chance to get it played on tv or the radio.”
What was it like to record this video?
“It was not the first video that we have done because we did one for the 'Mandrake'-album too. But it was certainly the most fun one to do. It is a cool video where you see us kicking the ass of the king of fools, who is a metaphor for conformity It has parts where we play live and directed parts and our typical Edguy humour. That makes it a lot of fun to watch.”
How much exposure do you think that the video will get, metal not naturally being something that is aired on prime time tv?
“At the moment the tv-stations in Europe are more friendly towards heavy metalbands. A couple of years ago a video would be shown once or twice, but it is getting much better. In Germany we got another late night hardrock-show and I have heard that the same thing has happened in the Netherlands and Scandinavia: music stations are getting back to metal. That is a good thing. I guess that we really have the nu metal movement to thank for an increased interest in bands like Edguy, even though that might seem ironic at first. Five years ago bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit started getting on the radio and tv. I think that we now have reached a time when fans and tv-executives start looking for the kind of music that those bands are routed in. This is something that can be profitable for bands like us, bands who have always stayed true to this type of traditional heavy metal.”
You released an album with ten songs and an ep with four new songs roughly at the same time. Were the songs on the ep not good enough to fit on the cd?
“Oh, hell no! The songs on the mini-cd are world-class songs like the songs on the album. It was really painful to choose the three songs for the mini-cd, because everybody had different songs that they want to keep on the album. I think that especially the song 'Holy Water' was a big loss for the cd. But the majority votes in this band. We wanted to make sure that we had four – or five including 'King Of Fools' – high class songs that showed the different sides of the band. To some people the ep might be the first Edguy-release that they buy. That is why we wanted to make it as good as possible. So no fillers!”
The single only costs six euro.
“Yes, that was very important too us. We wanted to give people real value for money, especially with the mp3-thing going on.”
There are almost three years between this new cd and the previous album 'Mandrake'
“That is true, but it is not like we have been resting on our laurels. After the release of 'Mandrake' we went on an extensive world tour, with took us a year of on and off touring. When we got back from the last show in 2002 we had to record the live-album, which was released last year. From February to July 2003 we were writing the new cd, after which we spend the Summer recording. During the Christmas-time we shot a video, and after the new year we started doing the promotion. So as you can see, there was not really a lot of time off for us.”
You spend six months on writing the album.
“That is unusually long for us, and I think that the result shows. Because we took the time we could really work on the songs and throw away parts that we weren't feeling completely comfortable with. This is why every song on the album stands out.
How did you write the material on this cd?
“Well, apart from the longer timespan it was not any different from what we did in the past. Tobias (Sammet, singer – Ferdi) wrote most of it. In fact, Tobi wrote parts of every song on the album and the ep. He always has a minidisc with him, so when he has an idea for a lyric, a vocal melody or a part of music, he immediately records it. He never makes full demo's though. Usually he comes up with crappy recorded pieces of music with cheap keyboard-guitars. But it works.”
And you get to add your parts to it?
“Yes. After that we usually add our musical parts to it so a typical Edguy-song comes out. Especially our other guitarplayer Jens has added a lot of his ideas to the songs on the new cd. I myself do not write that much music for Edguy. I have a lot of ideas, but I am too critical about most of them to use them in this band.”
A couple of years ago Tobias Sammet released his critically acclaimed Avantasia-albums. Do you think this has influenced the current success of Avantasia?
“It surely helped the band. Many people know about singers like Michael Kiske that were on it, even though they did not know Edguy. Avantasia made it easier for people to get into Edguy, so it is great from a promotional; point of view. That is also why I do not mind playing Avantasia-songs in the Edguy-set: it is probably the only chance most people will ever get to here these songs live. On the next tour we will surely be playing one or two songs from Avantasia, though I am not telling which ones.”
How much bigger do you think this band will become?
“I do not know, but it could be much bigger. If you look at amazing bands like Iron Maiden, Blind Guardian and Helloween: they are not going to be around in ten or fifteen years. So someone has to fill their shoes by then. Will that someone be us? I do not know. This album will be a testing-ground for that. We now have the right promotion and the right recordcompany to back us up. In a way this could be our make-it-or-break-it-album. Not in an artistic sense, but commercially.”