Well, let the questions:
At The Edge Of Time is the ninth studio album by Blind Guardian is the successor of A Twist In The Myth released in 2006. Maintaining a certain constant, the range of one album to another has been four years since 1998 and this occurs when there was the release of Nightfall In The Middle Earth. Is there any reason to leave the albums as World Cup Soccer (laughs)?
Of course there is, we love watching soccer worldcups on the road ;-) But seriously, there is no masterplan in Blind Guardian that dictates to release an album every 4 years, it was a natural development. First of all you have to see that we are touring a lot for each new album, to take the last one as an example, after the release of “A twist in the myth” we have been on the road for 18 months. Only after a tour is done we start writing new songs, which again takes us a year, maybe a year and a half, then we of course need some time to record the new songs and there you have your release every 4 years. If we would find a way to do all this faster then we would do it, but we don't know this faster way. We just need that time to write 10 songs that are on the “Blind Guardian Level” (we definitely don't want any fillers on the album) and we also need some time to record them properly, we just don't want to compromise when it comes to songwriting or production.
Marcus curious about the Blind Guardian is the fact of having as bassist Oliver Holzwarth since 1997. Is there a chance one day to see accomplished in the Blind Guardian?
No, there is no chance for this to happen. Blind Guardian has always been a 4 piece band, and it will stay like that, there are absolutely no plans to add any more members to our lineup, not Oliver and nobody else. We just don't see a need to add any other members to our lineup, we work perfectly fine like this.
This new album, the band is more progressive than before. Is there any reason for the slight change in sound that was a hallmark of Blind Guardian?
We never planned to become more progressive, actually I don't even think we are, but all I can say about the songwriting is that it all came naturally. We changed some things while songwriting, normally we took some time off after finishing a tour, this time we started immediately, so we were still filled with all the energy and the adrenalin from touring, and this for sure influenced our writing. Another change was the fact that this time we interrupted the writing process twice to play some gigs, which again injected all the energy and excitement. But aside form this writing worked as always, we never follow a strict plan, we just start and see what comes out.
What Marcus can tell us about the concept of the album cover? As the compositions were prepared and how is the reception of the album before the fans?
The reception of the the album among fans and also critics has been amazing. Most people considered it to be THE Blind Guardian album that captured everything that this band has ever been about and I would absolutely agree with this. Also the feedback we got on tour was as amazing. So far we had 4 new songs in the set and they fit in perfectly with the classics, somehow it feels as if we would have been playing those songs for some years already. About the cover, when we talked about the cover artwork we focused on the song “Wheel of time”, so we had the idea with that pyramid, the guardians, the dragon... we talked to the guy that did the cover for us and presented our ideas to him, and then everything went very smooth. He worked amazingly fast and sent us sketches that already looked very good, but what surprised me the most was his speed when we had some corrections, sometimes it took him not even one hour to react to our ideas. In my opinion the final result, the front cover and also all the drawings inside the booklet, is the best work we ever had, so we are more than happy with this.
One thing that drew attention to the Brazilian tour was the fact that some cities like Rio de Janeiro are not on the route of the shows. As the band performed in 2008 in this city, there is some reason to exclude it in the new tour?
I have to say I was surprised about that too, I expected Rio to be among the cities for the upcoming tour too, but obviously our local promoter in Brazil had different plans. He is in charge of the routing for this tour, so I guess he had his reasons, but we definitely didn't tell him to exclude Rio.
Some more details of this passage earlier in the country, you remember the Rio de Janeiro?
Of course I remember Rio, we played great shows there and we also had a great time. I remember we once stayed at a hotel right at Ipanema beach and after breakfast we had the great idea to have some fun in the waves... well, we had a lot of fun, even though we almost drowned cause the waves were very big and strong ;-) I also only have great memories about the audience in Rio so I definitely hope we can come back with the next tour.
The drummer Frederik Ehmke is already a reasonable time in the band, he is already fully integrated into the processes of composition and creation of the band?
Yes, he is a full member and can have his influence on anything related to the band as much as Andre, Hansi or me.
Marcus is one of his hobbies skateboarding. How can you keep this activity during the tours? It must be hard to activities considering the risks you may have.
Ok, let me set this straight once and for all: I have NEVER EVER been a skateboarder! Never in my life! What I did is I tried it once, for about two hours, and I had fun, but then I fell and broke my leg in 5 places, and this was the end of my very short skateboarding career. Since that day I never even touched a skateboard anymore and I won't change this. And to answer your question, even if I would be a skateboarder, I am aware of the risks to fall and seriously hurt yourself, so I would not skate on tour anyway, I prefer to go sightseeing, this is not as dangerous ;-) If I need some thrills on tour I prefer to play World of Warcraft ;-)
As the band has faced the problem of illegal downloads? You see this as a real problem for the recording industry or something that can be resolved calmly?
The problem in my opinion is not really the internet, or the fact that you technically can download something, music has always been copied and most likely will always be copied, the problem is the attitude of many people that just refuse to pay for something, even though they like it. If you want to check out a band and you download some songs, fine. If you like them and you buy the album, great! If you don't like them and you just delete them, fine too. But downloading everything without buying the albums anymore will kill a band, period. For us playing in this band and making music is a passion, a devotion, something we love, but it is also our profession, it is what pays our rent. Any band is depending on selling their albums, and if the “fans” don't buy the albums anymore cause everything seems to be for free on the internet then more and more bands will fade away, this is something that people should be aware of and understand.
As has been sales of single A Voice In The Dark and the album At The Edge Of Time?
To be honest I didn't hear any sales numbers so far, but the reaction to both, the single and the album, have been awesome, all the feedback that we got in the press and from fans directly has been very good, the same goes for the reaction of the fans when we played new songs live, so we are very happy with those reactions.
How was recording the video clip A Voice In The Dark? We really liked the dark atmosphere of it. What can we expect on this tour of Blind Guardian?
Shooting this video was a cool experience for us cause all our parts were done in front of blue screens, so we had absolutely no idea what the final result would look like. It is also weird when a director instructs you to look at certain things that are just not there yet, but as I said, it was a cool experience. About the tour, you can expect a good mix of old and new Blind Guardian songs, some of the classics of course but also some stuff that we didn't play in a while.
Marcus would like to thank again the opportunity and we see on tour. Please send a "hello" to the readers of our blog. Thanks again.
Thanks to all of you for all the great feedback and all the support over all those years, we are very excited to finally come back to Brazil and I can promise you some great shows. See you all soon!