First I would like to tell you that your album is just awesome. I never heard about your band before, but when your disk landed on my desk I was immediately positively shocked about all those fine tunes on it. As I still have to write my review about your album (which will make you very happy) it would be great if you would do a part of my job and start telling about the band's history in this interview so I can skip that part in my review. So my first question would be, when did this band start their career, who are your fellow players and did you already played in other bands before Felony?
Hello Eddy. First of all, thanks a lot for giving me the opportunity to do this interview. I appreciate it a lot that you like our music so much and I am curious about the review you wrote. Okay, a little bit of history about our band: Markus and myself are the only remaining founding members of the band. We make music together since 1991. Urs, our lead guitarist is a long-time member too, we've met him through an ad in some local newspaper. He also brought Björn (our drummer) to the band back then around 1995. Björn did quit the band in 1998 with our former singer who formed his own band. But due some lucky circumstances he rejoined us again last year. And also by the end of 2004 we finally got Andy, our front man, who has the voice we've been looking for so long. Luckily Andrea, the female singer did join us shortly after the recordings of the album as a permanent member too. Concerning others bands we have been in before - for me Felony was and still is the very fist band I am in. All the others have been in some local bands before, but none of them are/were known, and I have to admit I do not even remember all of their names...
I am a little bit puzzled, when I look at your official website I see photo's of a CD release party that was done in 2005. Looking at your discography I see this album 'First Works' (like the title says) is your debut. Please explain to me the story of what you released back in 2005?
You obviously did a good job researching info about us hehehe. You are correct; the album actually has been released last year already. But that was only in Switzerland where we put it out ourselves and got a distribution deal for here. Then we started looking for a record company to pick it up for a release in the rest of the world. Which took quite a while...
The record-company behind 'First Works' is Escape Music. Can you tell me how you managed to get them to release your album? Did you send out demos, did they hear from you in another way?
We have sent out the self released CD to a couple of labels and a management company called ILT Music did contact some labels for us to get them interested in our music. And they came up with the offer from Escape Music, which seemed to be a good deal for us, so we signed with them.
The bands name is Felony. Who did come out with that name and was it just a name or do you have a deeper meaning with it?
I have to disappoint you about a possible deeper meaning of our band name. You have to blame me for that because it was me who suggested the name. I was simply going through a dictionary looking for a cool word and then I saw "Felony" and thought: "this sounds nice and melodic, almost like melody..." Then I saw what it did mean and of course it wasn't something nice, hahaha but I thought that would be cool as a band name and the other guy agreed...;-)
The band comes from Switzerland, how is the situation in your country for the kind of music you make? Do you have enough radio/television stations, magazines and clubs that handle your style of music?
I think the situation here is most likely like it is in many other countries. There is not much support from television and radio stations, especially when you are a newcomer band without a big company backing you up. You really have to 'push' your CD and your band yourself to get some attention. There are some magazines here for hard rock and metal music that are supportive. And you will be able to play in a few clubs if you are persistent, sometimes it's also necessary to have some 'connections' so you get booked and supported...
Do you also have lots of chances to get on stage in Switzerland and did you already bring your show outside of your country in the past?
As I did mention in the answer above, you really can't just sit at home and wait until someone calls you if you want to play at their club - you have to be the one who's kind of 'forcing' them to book you most of the time. So we get to play about one concert per month so far since the CD has been released here - which is good for a small country like Switzerland. We haven't played outside our home country yet and of course we would love to do that. So maybe the release of "First Works" will give us that opportunity sometime in the future soon...
Your bio shows that Sascha Paeth did work on your album, how did you get in contact with him and get him for the job and what exactly did he do?
What was done at Sascha Paeth's Gate Studios in Wolfsburg was the recording of all the drums and some additional vocals and then the whole mixing and mastering of the album. We got in contact with him through another Swiss band, Lunatica. They have worked with him on their previous album and kind of 'inspired' us to do it the same way. Of course we are very satisfied with his job.
The name I have in mind when I listen to your music is Royal Hunt when they still had DC Cooper in the band. Your vocalist sounds like Cooper, the female vocal input remembers of it and even the style of music. I even would like to state that your band is how I would had love Royal Hunt to sound now, because when DC Cooper left, my interest in that band left with him. Still I don't find the name Royal Hunt in your list of influences on the band's bio. Am I crazy or do you agree with me and know what I mean when I mention early Royal Hunt in one sentence as Felony, a reaction please?
Did we mention any influences in our bio, I can't remember hahaha. I thought it were some bands that Sascha Paeth worked with in the past. But I totally agree about Royal Hunt! In fact, the whole getting a female singer for our sound started when we saw Royal Hunt live in concert in Switzerland (as support for Saxon) back in the 90ties. They had two female backup singers with them on stage and we thought it would be great to have a female voice in our sound too, but took it even a step further than just use them as backing vocals. I also think some of our songs; especially 'After the rain' for example is quite reminiscent of the music style of Royal Hunt. We've also had some other people comparing our music to them, which is totally ok.
If you would have the chance to choose three songs from your debut album as being your favourites to hear and to play, which ones would that be?
All the members of our band have different favourite songs from the album, but my personal one is 'Tonite', I love to play that one live. The other favourites change from time to time, right now I'd say it's 'After The Rain' and 'Justice'.
Do you already have plans and songs for a second album?
Depends what 'plans' does mean, hahaha. We don't have set a date that we plan to release or even start record a new one. But we already have plenty of songs for it, and made demo recordings of some. Actually we also played a few of them yet at our last concerts, to see how they work.
How does the band Felony write its songs? Do you all gather around in a studio and write or are ideas coming wherever you are on a moment?
It's usually Markus who has the ideas for the songs; he's our main composer and songwriter. When he's got an idea for a song, he often records a rough demo version of it at his home studio and hands it over to us other members. We then listen to it, make suggestions and try out the song at rehearsals. Sometimes that process may take several months, until the final song is finished. For 'First Works' there were even things changed during the recording of the song. And it also might happen that we start altering small things after the recording when we play the songs live.
To come to your personally Thomas, I like to know what your personal influences were (bands and musicians) that made you want to go into music yourself?
Well, I started listening to music in the late 70ties early 80ties. Back then it was first only the radio that I did listen too, but after seeing the movie 'Flash Gordon' I bought the soundtrack to it, which was composed by Queen and I became a very big fan of their music. I was also fortunate to see them live twice. Then in 1984 I saw a video clip on Swiss TV from Iron Maiden, it was 'Run to the hills' and I was amazed by that song, never heard something like that before. So I went out and bought their current release, which was 'Powerslave', my first Heavy Metal record – this really started my 'career' as a 'Metal head', hahaha. Later Maiden was also the first metal-concert I went to (on the 'Somewhere in time'-tour). So of course Steve Harris is one of my favourite bass players. I also like Stu Hamm a lot (he has some solo albums out and plays with guys like Satriani or Vai) and Eddie Jackson of Queensrÿche.
Who did teach you to play bass and do also play other instruments?
When I started playing bass, I took lessons (once a week) at a local music-school. After a year, when the teacher (David Zopfi) had left the school, I went to him for private lessons for about another year. He lived in the same town where I did work at that time, but went I got transferred to work in another city, I stopped taking lessons with him and got too lazy to pick me a new teacher. Oh, and I also had lessons for the flute back in elementary school for about six months until I got bored with it hahaha.
I have a bass guitar myself and I am trying a bit to get some tunes out of it and now I know it will take a lot of time, input and perseverance to get to know that instrument. I am wondering at which age you started to learn the bass and how much time did you spend in your learning process?
Cool, being a bass player is the best choice you could have made! I started playing bass really late, at the age of 21. My main hobby was football and I started playing in our local team until I was 19. Then I had a job with time-shifts and couldn't go to practice frequently anymore, so I had to look for a new hobby. After finishing my military service at the age of 20, I decided to start playing an instrument. I have to admit that I choose bass, because I thought it would be easier to learn than playing guitar or drums... It turned out that bass can be difficult to learn too, hahaha.
I also like to have some fun in my interviews; there are two things I always like to ask a musician. The first one would be, if you could have the chance to play in a famous band of your choice, which band would that be?
That would be, with no doubt, Queensrÿche! They are my favourite band of all. I just went to Chicago the week before to see them play there three times in a row, and it was awesome. But they should stick with Eddie, he's perfect for them…
The second question is, when people give you the chance to form a band around you with famous players who would you ask for the vocals, guitars, keyboard and drums, in other words how would your dream-band look like?
I think I can tell, I already play in my dream band… its Felony, hahaha. But since you said they have to be famous, I have to name some other, right? I did mention Queensrÿche already so I pick some other people. Ok, I still would like Geoff Tate on vocals, Brian May on guitars, Stu Hamm on Bass, Neal Peart on the drums and Janne Warman on the keys.
Next thing I always like to do is get some reactions on some names and words from my interview partner so let's do that also…
Besides love the most important thing in live, couldn't live without it!
I have a career as a software programmer; it allows me to finance my hobby 'Felony'…
I've been to a few countries in the world, and there are many beautiful places, but only one that makes me feel like I'm home.
See what my reply was for music, and insert music instead of love…;o)
The first band I was in and probably (hopefully) also the last one.
That's something that I need to let me go crazy on Ebay when I extend my music collection, hahaha. And it provides me also with such things as food, cloths and an apartment – damn, it's just almost impossible to live without it (unfortunately…).
I think you only have one, so try to enjoy every single second of it. When you have something you really want, don't think/say 'I will do that someday…” too often. Just do it, or it might be too late and you're going to regret it when you're old…
Expensive hehehe. Actually I've never been to a 'real' one. I recorded all my bass at Markus' home studio.
I like to end this first interview with you (having me as your fan now, I am sure it will not be our last one) is, what are the next moves of this band?
Eddy, thanks again for your support, we really love to have you as a fan. It's really still a kind of a 'strange' feeling, after all those years being a fan myself of other bands, now to have fans of our music. Our next moves? I guess that would be band practice next Monday, hahaha. We have some concerts to play and just got the request to do some more. Maybe the European wide release of our CD will allow us to play even a show or too in other countries, who knows… But beside that, we're working on the new songs and preparing them to be recorded. As I did mention earlier, there's no date set at all, but I guess we're going to start record them maybe at the beginning of the next year, and see how it'll turn out. I don't think there will be any drastic changes to our style, if you like 'First Works' I think you will also love our next CD!
And to really end this interview I'll give you a chance now to sell Felony to the public, what makes this band so special in the big pool of bands with the same style of music (we could say, Eddy Meuwese from Lords of Metal tells you this band is really special but who would listen to me, hahaha). What makes it stand out and what is the kind of music people can expect that not yet have heard your (awesome) album?
Ok, then, what makes us special? We're from Switzerland; there are not too many bands from our country playing that kind of music hahaha. We're not better or worse than many other bands, but what sets us mostly apart from other bands in that genre is that we have female and a male lead singer. You find that a lot in the gothic-metal genre but not in the melodic one – that gives our sound a very unique expression I think, almost like in a musical or so.