Interview by Demitri Levantis The German Power Metal bards returned to the city of London on 12 April 2015 to promote their tenth album: ‘Beyond the Red Mirror.’ I caught up with the drummer Frederik Ehmke to discuss the new album, the death of Terry Pratchett and the metal scene today.
What is the concept behind ‘Beyond The Red Mirror?
The mirror topic of worlds switching has appeared in many stories. I see the biggest influences coming from the ‘Dark Tower’ series by Stephen King. But we can’t say it’s a ‘Dark Tower’ album that’s just inspiration about the topic in general, not the story.
Normally it’s Hansi who comes up with the lyrics and he gets topics from many books. I came up with a topic for my song ‘The Holy Grail’ and I thought it was pretty bland but it did work for Hansi and some of the lyrics remain in the final version of the song. So it’s nice it came together so well.
Maybe ‘Imaginations from the Other Side’ because my favourite song ‘A Past and Future Secret’ is on there. I was a fan of Blind Guardian before joining and this was the first album I was really looking forward to coming out so I waited a long time.
I actually am a very big fan of Discworld but I don’t see the comedy aspect of Terry Pratchett matching the epic or serious tone of Blind Guardian. We’re more for stories like A Song of Ice and Fire, but nevertheless I love reading those books.
We’ll only be playing our tour shows and be done by next year. And as a big finale we’ll do some bigger shows like Wacken as it’s something big for everyone to look forward to.
Wacken for sure is outstanding because of its size, and all festivals are fun to play really. I cannot name a country that isn’t fun to play because all the fans are amazing and sing along and are different to the rest so it’s good variety touring the world.
Do you see any changes going on? I think the metal scene that relates to us is getting stronger and more people who wouldn’t have thought of liking metal are listening to it so it’s certainly getting bigger. I think it’s the looks of people are changing because back in the 80s and 90s it was so clear who was a metal head and who was into things like techno, but today loads of people look similar. It’s still there despite all the people saying metal is dead or will be dead soon. But if you look out the window and see the big line for the show tonight, you know metal hasn’t gone away. So lots of bands see when they go on tour that nothing has changed for the worst.
Well if it’s power metal they like, I play in another bands called Sinbreed, it’s not just like Blind Guardian but it has the German power metal approach so really check it out.
At the moment I like to listen to Porcupine Tree, Rush and lots of progressive stuff and Judas Priest is an all time favourite – they’re always great for me. Soilwork and older metal in general. I don’t have that many limits so I can enjoy all music.
As in, they’re really good friends of yours. We’ve met a lot of nice bands on the way and I think there’s lots of good contacts we find at festivals. The Helloween guys are very nice – we met them in Spain. But I haven’t experienced any bad bands so musicians in general are good people to hang around with so I’m looking forward to playing with anyone.