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Edenbridge

Het Oostenrijkse symphonische metal gezelschap Edenbridge is met het prima 'MyEarthDream' alweer toe aan hun zesde reguliere studio-album en toch heb ik nog steeds het gevoel dat men door het grote publiek niet echt op waarde wordt geschat. Met Sabine Edelsbacher heeft men een dijk van een zangeres in de gelederen en gitarist/componist Lanvall is er andermaal in geslaagd om zijn creativiteit te tonen middels een aantal buitengewoon fraaie composities. Laatstgenoemde werd bereid gevonden om de laatste stand van zaken in het Edenbridge kamp toe te lichten.

Door: Sjak | Archiveer onder heavy / power metal

band imageAll of your previous albums were released by the German label Massacre Records. For this new one 'MyEarthDream' however, you switched to the Austria based label Napalm Records. What was the reason for switching record labels?
Our deal with Massacre Records expired after the 'Chronicles of Eden' album. We were not happy what Massacre did promotion-wise for the last two albums, so it was very clear for us to leave them. We had a couple of good offers, but Napalm made us the best one.

Is this label change also the main reason why it took so long (for Edenbridge standards, that is…) before this new album saw the lights of day or were there also other reasons involved?
The gap between the first albums was quite short, I know. But this was not the only reason why it took longer from 'The Grand Design' to 'MyEarthDream'. First of all I had to negotiate the new deal with Napalm Records and secondly the song-writing process took much me more than one year. Finally the whole production process took us another five months.

Your previous record 'The Grand Design' was released in June 2006. What did you do after the release of that album up to the preparations for your new album?
We did a small UK tour and then we were playing our second Asian tour which brought us to China, Taiwan and Hong Kong for the first time. At this time I was also heavily into the song-writing for 'MyEarthDream'. Next to that, in May 2007 also our compilation/best of album 'The Chronicles of Eden' saw the light of day and in September the production for 'MyEarthDream' started.

'The Grand Design' sounded more bombastic than any of your other releases so far. Why did you decide to go into that direction in the first place and what did this shift bring to you as a band? Did you lose/win many fans with this move?
For me it is very important that every album sounds different to its predecessor. For 'The Grand Design' I wanted to work with some bigger choir arrangements and this album was definitely one that is very vocal based. Looking back I have to say that there were too many balladesque elements in it.

For 'MyEarthDream' you got the opportunity to work with an orchestra, which must have been a dream come true for you. How did this get established and how do you feel about working with an orchestra and the actual end result of this?
This was indeed a big dream coming true. When we signed the deal with Napalm it was clear that the budget would give us the chance to work with a real orchestra. I came in touch with Jan Vacik from Dreamscape Studios Munich, who has a good contact to the Czech Film Orchestra. He negotiated with them, because he is a born Czech which made things very easy. I was writing all the arrangements and gave them to Enrique Ugarte (a famous composer/arranger/conductor, who just conducted Mike Oldfield's new album for the press concert in Bilbao). He overlooked my arrangements and put them into the final score for the orchestra. Luckily he didn't have to change very much, which made me very happy. Then we went to Prague in October where everything was recorded in about eight hours, which is not very much for just forty minutes of orchestral material. But the result is awesome!

Since you knew that you were going to work with an orchestra, did this knowledge have any influence on your song writing and if so, in what way?
Of course, it's a totally different process. If you work with samples you don't write that large scale like because it doesn't bring any advantages. However, when you write for a whole orchestra it's great to write pieces for the different instruments and to bring them together.

To me it seems like a very difficult job to get your ideas into the heads of so many other people. How did you do this and how long did the actual recording process take?
The orchestra people come in, they get the score and then we record. This is the advantage of classically trained people. Of course you have to tell them in certain phrases how my imagination of the sound is, but even the hardest parts sounded great within minutes.

The addition of the orchestra causes the music of Edenbridge to sound even more bombastic than before. Aren't you afraid that you're taking things to the extreme and that you will lose some of your loyal fans by this move?
No, absolutely not because first of all I have to write the music that is satisfying me and then I think about other people. 'MyEarthDream' is exactly what I wanted to do and this is totally pleasing me. This album comes straight out of my heart and this is what people will feel.

Just like on 'The Grand Design', the title track on 'MyEarthDream' (which consists of six different parts and has a playing time of more than twelve minutes) is the prime example of what Edenbridge as a band is capable of. How long did it take you to come up with an excellent song like this?
That was a really long process. Only this song took me about two and a half months to write and arrange. I got stuck at a certain point and I wasn't able to continue for months but then the idea of how to continue just came out of the blue. I think this is my most ambitious composition so far.

The last time we spoke you told me that you were heavily influenced by Robby Valentine and his music. On the new record he's providing the music with some extra background vocals. What is the special thing that you like so much about his music and how did you get him to contribute to the new album?
Robby is a great guy and an awesome musician. I think nobody else than he is able to do this kind of choirs with this sound. And this was the reason why I asked him again if he could provide some choirs to the new albums. On the last album it was divided between Dennis and Robby. On the new album they both sing on the songs together, which sounds great and sometimes I mixed the voices which sound even bigger like in the chorus of 'Adamantine' or some parts in 'Undying Devotion', which is incredibly huge in the end chorus.

Besides the orchestra, the addition of 7-string guitar parts also had an impact on the overall sound. Why did you feel you needed to use 7-string guitars in the music?
The use of 7-string guitars creates indeed a big change in the sound. We tuned them down a half step to Bb to be able to use the Bb keys which sound much more melancholic and in the end heavier. This was a good decision because due to the low guitars they blend much better with the frequencies of the orchestra, so you don't always have to make a decision which one should be louder.

The majority of the album was recorded in your own Farpoint Studio, but the mixing was done in England and for the mastering you went to the famous Finnvox Studio in Finland. What was the reason for doing this?
The luxury of recording in your own studio is huge. We can record everything here except drums, which we recorded in a studio in Vienna. I had good experiences with Karl Groom and therefore it was clear to go back to Thin Ice Studio in England to do the mix with Karl again. Karl is a fantastic guy, musician and sound engineer and his knowledge about frequencies always astonishes me. I wasn't that happy with the mastering on our last record so I decided to make heads with nails this time and go to Finnvox for mastering. Mika found the mix great and he said it was easy to do the mastering for the record. I think the result is phenomenal, very powerful but also crystal clear.

band imageA very important factor in the band's overall sound is the fantastic vocal contribution of Sabine Edelsbacher, who seems to get better and better with each release. What do you think about her progression over the years?
This is very true. When you listen to our first album and to the new one you still recognize Sabine as the singer but what a difference. For me she has a totally unique voice that nobody else in the metal scene has. You would recognize her out of a thousand singers and this time there are also very low parts which she managed excellently.

Weren't you afraid that she would be a serious contender for the vacant spot in Nightwish after Tarja left?
Haha, I was not afraid and she also wasn't asked.

As happy as you should be by keeping her in the band, you seem to have a problem with the position behind the drums lately, since long-time drummer Roland Navratil left the band in March of 2007. What was the reason for this?
There was no further cooperation possible with him and I have to say that we should have split earlier. It was all together, musical, personal and financial differences. But he has a new band now and both parties are happy.

His replacement Sebastian Lanser came in, but left again after the recording of 'MyEarthDream'. How did you get him in the band and what caused him to leave after just one album?
It all started very fine with Sebastian. He's a fantastic drummer which you can clearly hear on 'MyEarthDream'. One week before we started with the drum recordings we knew that we would go on a six weeks tour with Rage. I think he didn't realize that Edenbridge is a band that is willing to tour a lot and often you have to go on supporting tours where no money comes in. This was not the way for him so we had to search for a replacement.

The current Edenbridge drummer is Max Pointner (from In Slumber), who's coming from the death metal scene. How did you get connected to him and why did you decide to get a death metal drummer on-board?
I got the contact from Dominik Sebastian, our actual live guitar player. Max is living in the same town but thought we were from Germany (haha). He was interested and then I sent him the new songs which he liked much more than our old material. Then he came to the audition and made it into the band. About his death metal background, I don't think it matters where a drummer is coming from as long as he likes the music and can technically play the songs in great style.

Let's get back to the new record now: what are in your opinion the biggest differences/improvement comparing this one to 'The Grand Design' and why should people go out and get this one?
Well, I think the albums are totally different. While 'The Grand Design' was very vocal based and balladesque, 'MyEarthDream' has sheer power, is much more symphonic and also darker than 'The Grand Design'. I think a lot of people for whom we were not heavy enough in the past could become to like us now, at least this is what I hope for.

The album title suggests that there's a common theme/concept behind all of this. Is this true and if so, what's the message that you're trying to bring here?
I think there is again a red line through the album. The title 'MyEarthDream' symbolizes that if the earth opens itself up for higher energies that are filtered through the human mind it can reach salvation through consciousness. This is also represented on the cover through the spiral and carried in the title track of the album. But lyrically the songs can also stand on their own. 'Shadowplay' deals with an episode of Star Trek Deep Space 9 where a genius is creating his own holographic world on a planet. A long time they don't realize that they are holograms until people are disappearing going beyond the frontiers of the holographic emitters. 'Whale Rider' deals with the equally named New Zealand movie. It's about the unexpected female power, symbolized through a young girl. She is showing up the way of the group, although she is facing the unbelief of the spiritual leader, who is her father, because she is the chosen one to ride on whales. She is handling that without any fights, just with her inner power and her belief. 'Fallen from grace' is about the movie “A.I. – Artificial Intelligence”, I think most of the people know this movie about a little robot boy. 'Paramount' is my tribute to Mother Earth, the love for nature. 'Adamantine' is about the iron will. 'Undying Devotion' speaks for itself, the love and devotion for something in everybody's life. And 'Place of higher power' also speaks for itself. Many people have a special place where they regain energy. I was at one of my special places when the title came to my mind.

What are your expectations from the new album from a commercial point of view. To what level do you expect to grow as a band?
This is very difficult to say because the release was just three weeks ago, but from what I heard so far the sales are very good and some countries already ordered again. Of course I hope that we can sell a lot more than in the past, otherwise the label change would not have made much sense. But Napalm really did a great marketing job, which is quite a difference compared to our previous label!

You've been touring Europe as support for Rage from end of March to the beginning of May. Wasn't this difficult for Edenbridge as style-wise you're totally different from Rage?
Yes, sometimes this was a problem. I was hoping that the fans would be a bit more open minded but personally I think it's getting harder and harder to tour with a band which has a different style. But nevertheless it was a great tour and I think we did some very good shows.

Although you did more than thirty performances, we didn't see the band in the Netherlands. Why was our country not included in this tour?
Don't ask me, I don't understand either. Maybe Rage is just not big enough in the Netherlands. It's a real pity, because for us Holland was always a great market.

Do you have any other plans for touring in the next couple of months to further promote the 'MyEarthDream' album? And if so, will that bring you to The Netherlands?
I truly hope that more tours are coming. First of all we do a festival next week in Germany and then go to Korea in September for a big open air show. In October we do the Metal Female Voices festival and I hope for some shows around this event and it's very possible that there will be a show in the Netherlands.

Many bands release DVDs nowadays after just one or two records. Besides the bonus-DVD with the live album 'A Lifetime In Eden', Edenbridge hasn't done anything like that yet. Are there any concrete plans for a possible DVD-release in the near future?
We filmed the show in Beijing (China) last year with a couple of cameras, one of them was a crane camera which offered great pictures. We wanted to release this DVD as a bonus to the new album, but the people in China were so clever to lose the crane camera data. Without the crane camera it would have looked cheap and so we called it quits. We will have to see where there is a good place to record a DVD in the future.

Both you and Sabine are contributing on Michael Bormann's latest solo release 'Capture The Moment'. How did you get involved in that project?
This was initiated by Christian Rechling, an Austrian guy who writes lyrics. He did some lyrics for Michael Bormanns album and asked us if we would like to contribute to one of his songs.

We've talked quite extensively about the past and the short-term future of Edenbridge. What are the more long-term plans that you have with the band? Any dreams that you want to make come through?
There are certain places where we haven't played so far. Japan and Australia would be great, but also a US tour. My dream is to bring the band as far as possible and to release great albums in the future.

Lanvall, thanks for your time and your willingness to answer my questions. The famous last words are yours?
Thanks for the interview and to all people who read this, give the new album a listen!

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