At a certain age you started playing together with other people, what kind of bands did you play in?
We started out when we were about fifteen/sixteen years old. Actually the first real band was a predecessor of Visions Of Atlantis, with all original members excluding our female singer.
What bands/artists did you guys grew up with that one way or the other had a undeniable influence on your musical development?
Starting out with the classics such as Metallica, AC/DC but soon heavy metal/symphonic metal got interesting – Gamma Ray, Helloween, Stratovarius.
You are a drummer, so it is obvious a lot of well-known drummers inspired you to pick up the sticks yourself. But apart from drummers, which other instrumentalists do you admire?
Lars Ulrich at the beginning since his drumming looked and sounded so powerful. I was never into the fancy technical stuff but more into the straight forward drumming as it is an instrument to lead the band and take care of the beat. Further down the line Jukka from Nightwish was another inspiration because of that power and he always had so much fun playing. Other instrumentalists – Kai Hansen from Gamma Ray, Tuomas Holopainen from Nighwish – for example!
Who is still on you wish-list to play music with and why?
I would love to play a stadium show at one point with Nightwish, Iron Maiden or AC/DC. Not so much because of the music but foremost because I want to play a stadium-show at least once.
Visions Of Atlantis was founded in the year 2000, and besides some very nice releases it seems as it was a bumpy ride up until now. A lot of musicians came and went. How do you look back at these years?
We were really lucky to be able to play together as friends. Most of VOA grew up together and we had the chance to make it bigger with our second album. But then Nicole got ill and we had to let her go, Werner (guitars) had to quit VOA due to his job and family as he could not be on the road three or four months a year. When you bring in completely new people it will change the whole vibe of a band. From that point on the bumpy ride started and it lasted until 2013. Now there is the old feeling back and we think that we can still create good music in the future.
How did the current line-up came into existence?
Answer: I knew Clementine from her work with Serenity and when it became clear that she would leave the band and becomes “available” then I took the chance. She was happy to be part of VOA. As for Sigi, we knew him from his work as journalist already and met him at a few show-occasions, he loves what VOA is doing musically so it was a quick decision as well!
To introduce the new members you recently released the EP 'Old Routes - New Waters' with previous released material in newly recorded versions. How did you come up with this idea and why this specific tracklist?
I just wanted to combine a few tracks that have become fan-favourites over the years and give them a chance to hear what the new line up sounds like re-doing these tracks. We believe it has worked out very well. Especially 'Winternight' was something I always wanted to re-do and shoot a video for in memory of Nicole Bogner.
You have a band with multiple nationalities. Besides language there is of course the part of rehearsing and writing material. How does this work?
English is the working language. We usually rehearse a couple of days before a show. Writing and exchanging music “together” when you are not in the same room is no problems nowadays with the mighty internet.
I guess right now you guys are busy writing new material. What are the things that inspire you to write your music? And what message are you trying to deliver? And how do you stay fresh when it comes to songwriting?
Yes, we are currently writing and do have some songs already. We are going “back to the roots” with the new material and the inspiration comes from exactly this route. We found a lot of inspiration because we knew which direction the album has to go.
What are the current future plans for the band? Can we expect a brand new album in this line-up soon? And perhaps some gigs and/or tours?
The new album is planned for Q1 or Q2 2017 and tours/shows will follow thereafter.
Alright, this wraps it up for now. Thanks a lot for answering my questions. If there is something you like to add to this interview, please feel free to do so…
Thanks for the interview and opportunity!