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Recently the new album ‘Sonic Child' was released, the third full-length album by German band Zodiac. It is evident the band must be taken seriously now because it is quite an achievement to reach the German charts with a bluesrock/heavy rock release. So certainly in Germany there seems to be a market for the combination of traditional (heavy) rock and blues. I got in touch with guitarist Stephan Gall to chat about how things are going right now for Zodiac.

By: Wim S. | Archive under bluesrock

Hi there, how are you? What are you doing right now?
Thanks, I'm fine. I'm in Münster at my home and I'm doing some organizational stuff for the band. It is a dirty job, but someone has got to do it.

Your new album ‘Sonic Child’ recently is released. Excited about that?
Of course, releasing an album always means exciting times. We really worked hard for this one, spent a lot of time and tried to give our very best. Besides that we went on our first European headliner tour with the first day of release, and we have been curious about how people like the record and the new songs live. Overall we got an awesome feedback, and we're very happy about that.

For you as a musician, what is the main difference between this new release and the two previous albums of the band?
Even though the process of writing the new songs did not take longer than with the previous albums, we paid more attention to song writing. This means more diversity in musical styles, dynamic song structures, catchy choruses, a greater use of organ- and piano sounds etc. We like to try new things and tried to avoid covering ourselves, but in the end the most important thing is that we have a good feeling when rehearsing the new stuff. Everybody in the band has to be OK with it, otherwise a song won't make it on the album.

I really like the new material. I think the band sounds more mature than ever. It is the whole package: the art work, the songs, hoe they are played, etc. Is that something the band has worked on or did this just happen naturally?
We did not intend to sound more mature, but I suppose this is a side effect of our ‘ambitious’ output and constant live playing in the past four years. Since 2011 we released one EP plus three albums and had the chance to play a lot of shows and festivals. And we always have been very involved in developing our artworks etc. So I think we just developed further in the things we have already been busy with in the past few years.

I also think that the musical direction that the band has chosen is getting clearer. The songs seem to be bluesier than ever, it is very laid back. But at times it is still heavy. Are you satisfied with the result of the album?
Yes, I'm very satisfied with the result. I suppose nearly every musician would say things like “our new album is the best we made so far...” but for me it's the same. As a musician I try do my very best with every new output, and if I wouldn't think the newest album is the best so far, something would be wrong. Later, with some distance you're able to judge from a different point of view. But like I said before, we didn't intend to sound more bluesy of heavy or funky or whatever. We just intended to write some nice songs ;)

band image

Like I said, the art work looks absolutely great. Who is responsible for that?
It's a brilliant illustrator from Münster, his name is Sebastian Jerke. We already worked with him for a while, for example he designed our logo and illustrated several shirt designs for us. In my opinion the artwork for “Sonic Child” is one of the best works he did so far. We talked with about the basic idea we had, but what he made out of it is just awesome.

Nick van Delft’s voice and guitar are more dominant than before. His voice sounds deeper, it seems like he really worked on his vocal abilities. And the guitars also sound great. Bluesy, heavy, acoustic, great riffs and licks.
We focused on the singing a little more than before. Janosch (drums) and Nick wrote the lyrics and developed all basic singing lines. But in the studio we had some famous support from Hendrik Freischlader, who helped on producing the vocals and sang all backing vocals himself. It was really cool to work with such a talented musician. Besides that we recorded once again with Martin Meinschäfer, so this was our third collaboration. He knows the band quite good by now, and he has good hands for creating the right sounds for certain songs. We understand each other very well, I think you can hear this on our record.

Is there still a market in your home country and the rest of Europe for the kind of music you guys play? Or is it hard to get good promotion, stages to play on, etc.?
There still is a market for blues rock / classic rock music, and I suppose it's growing. Especially in Germany there are a lot of bands coming up in course of the so called retro wave. Apart from what you think about this trend, it is good for the live scene. People recognize that there are many exciting bands to check out aside the big ones. But it's still not easy for a band to get some recognition, especially overseas. We are lucky to have labels in Europe and the US which are really dedicated, we have a great management and as a band we work hard on pushing the band forward. Sometimes it is hard to lump everything together, but in the end it's worth the efforts.

You guys were on tour last month. How was the response? Why do you only play in a few countries?
The tour was really great. We played long sets with some songs from the new record, but also a lot of stuff from the previous albums. We have been accompanied by our live sound engineer and piano player Florian Steppke, so we had the chance to play some songs we did not play live that often before, for example ‘Leave Me Blind’. Moreover we left some space for jamming in the sets, because we had more time than on a festival or support show. We have been on the road for two and a half weeks on this leg of the tour, but we will be on the road again in spring 2015. We'll visit some countries and cities we haven't played before then.

What is next for the band? A new album? A live recording maybe?
Exactly, we recorded every show of the tour and we're currently listening to the material, which is quite a lot... There will be a live album next year, and we're planning to record a live DVD, too. Besides that we are going to play a lot of shows and festivals.

Thanks for your time. Any last words for our readers?
Thanks for your interest in Zodiac. Check out our latest album ‘Sonic Child’ and see you on the road somewhere next year! Thanks!

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