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Edguy interview 

Submitted by Arie van der Graaf on 2014-08-29
Just before Edguy heads out for another worldtour to bring the songs from "Space Police - Defenders of the Crown" to the Edguy fans worldwide i had the chance to dig in the past presence and future of this unique self desribed "Happy Metal band" with Bassplayer Tobias Exxel.
1. Who are your musical influences?

A whole lot! I started to listen to Jazz music and early eighties pop music when I was pretty young and always wanted to learn how to play the piano or saxophone. Just at the age of twelve me and my classmates listened to Smoke On The Water and We Are The Champions and from that point I really wanted to learn the guitar and I got great support from my parents! Only one year later, at the young age of thirteen I had the chance to see a Metallica concert, that was in Offenbach Stadthalle, 1987!!! I was blasted and from now on he biggest Metallica fan on earth! :-)

2. Which song by another artist would you have loved to have written yourself?

I think that might be simply every song that I love. Today I'd pick a song called The Silent Man of Dream Theater. It's a great ballad only played with a single acoustic guitar. I love to listen and to play that song, it sounds so easy and relaxing!

3. Pick three albums that you would take to a deserted island

Metallica, Master Of Puppets, The Black Album and Sayer's Reign In Blood. Hmmm or maybe better World Painted Blood? Hmmm or Queensryche Operation Mindcrime or Pretty Maids Future World? Gamma Ray Somewhere Out in Space? How many Albums did you say??? Seven? Three? Oh sorry... Oh yes maybe Three (III) of Billy Talent, great idea, too!!!

4. Can you describe the importance of music in your life?

Music is my life! It was always an important part of my whole family! And Edguy became a part of the family, too. That is a fact now for almost 20 years!!! :-)

5. What's the strongest memory of your career so far?

Back in 2002 we played a concert in Offenbach, Stadthalle as a headliner. That's the place which I've just described, where I have seen Metallica and so many more bands like Helloween, Dio, Slayer, Doro, Motörhead and King Diamond when I was a young kid, I mean even younger than now :-) It's a great and quite big place and back then, that was a big step ahead. It felt like a dream from my heart came true. It's so inbelievable!!!

6. Which goals in life did you achieve and which ones do you have left?

I became a professional musician! To be honest, when I was a kid I've never really dreamed to be a "rockstar" or to make a lot of money with music. I just wanted to play music with my friends as much and as often as ever possible and I wanted to spend my life with my guitars and basses. Sometimes you don't even know what your goal is, but I guess life brings you there automatically if you simply concentrate on all the things you love and cut out all the disturbing things you don't love.

7. If you could start over your music career, what would you have done differently?

I surely would demand for more time as a band together to listen to more creative song ideas of all the other four band members.

8. What is your perspective about the musical climate in todays business?

We always simply give our best to make great pieces of music and give our best to make people happy and last but not least to make ourselves happy. If you have this attitude and keep working hard, you will make it, no matter if we talk about nowadays business or business twenty-five years ago. It's still Heavy Metal but it's our job to keep it sounding fresh and somehow "different", however you might define this. I guess it would be too easy if you or I could describe that more detailed. We have always been somehow different with our kind of "happy metal" and that's the important trademark of Edguy. We will survive any kind of business, hahaha!!!

9. What are your plans for the future?

Touring, touring, touring!!! Did you realize that we haven't had any change of line-up for almost 17 years?! Hope it will be another 17 years coming with a great future!!! :-)


Tour questions:
1. How long is the current tour going to be?
We will start on September, 2nd in Tokyo. I am really looking forward to that day and I am kind of nervous to play the very first concert of the tour with so many new songs and even some old never played before songs so far away from our familiar home country, hahaha!!! After Japan we go to the UK where we are currently really succesful and made a big step since the last 17 years. First show is already sold out!!! After the rest of Europe we will go to South and Middle America and will be back home close to christmas. And hopefully next year USA/Canada and Australia. That's what I call a great Space Police world tour. South Africa still missing. Hopefully one day. I was lucky that I personally had the chance to play in Pretoria, South Africa as the bassist of Blind Guardian, when their bass player Olli couldn't go and they asked me if I could help out. That was a great experience, I think it was in 2006 or 2007. I can’t wait finally to start the tour. It’s gonna be Edguy at it’s best as always J And of course we have plans for some nice gimmicks and stage buildings but it’s still time to keep it as a secret at the moment! Surely I’m looking forward to play many of the new songs as well as a great mix of our previous classics which we won’t leave out of a good Edguy show. We will take you to a flight through space and time inside our spacecraft. We will place our spacecraft right in the centre of your city and it will look exactly like the venue which has been built there before. You will not even realize that you’re entering a spacecraft. As soon as the show starts, you will feel some very hard vibrations and then we will lift off! A journey through the Milky Way and back home!!! There will be no tempo limits accepted and we won’t care for the space police!!!
2. What bands will you be playing with?
We share stages with our friends of Unisonic in some countries and moreover our friends of Hammerfall or Freedom Call or Masterplan. We know each other for many many years. It's like a big family and it's gonna be a great time and I surely will watch many shows of them right before we will go on stage and sweat and bang and rock!!! :-)
3. Best tour memory so far?
There's a whole lot of great memories. Back then in 1998 when we did our very first tour with Iron Savior, we did EVERYTHING on our own. Driving our own little sleeper bus, during the nights. Three of us have been allowed to take a little sleep, one driver and one of us – that’s the most important person – responsible to keep the driver awake by talking and talking, hahaha. If you go though these things together and stay, you will stay together for ever!!!
4. What's the best and worst being on tour?
The best of course playing on stage and get crazy and the great food, at least sometimes, especially at Pratteln Z7 in Switzerland. The worst thing is the food everywhere else, hahaha. Instead I start eating much too many potatoe chips and get fat, but thank God we have to do a lot of sports every night, so I can easily eat some more!!!
5. Can you tell how it feels being on stage?
No not really. But I am addicted to it! :-)
6. What do you do just before going on stage?
To be honest nothing really special. Usually we have a lot of talking within the band and our crew people backstage. It's almost an automatic side thing to start moving the fingers and warming up or even playing while talking. Guess everyone starts to talk more loud just to warm up the voices and the whole body. In the end we might cheer one glass or two just for fun and then waiting for the Intro to start and run on stage!!! :-)
Album questions:
1. Can you tell us about the recording process?
We had a great time together in the studio! Always, when we are locked inside our rehearsing room we start working on song ideas, playing them again and again, trying, making mistakes, trying again, changing, discussing, arguing, fighting, calling emergency… J Twenty years in a band is a whole long period and it’s actually almost seventeen years without any change of our line-up. And we always kept going and going. We know that there are not so many bands out there with such a consistent line up for such a long time, but hopefully we can act like a good example, because it’s always worth and important to talk, to argue and to fight for this unity in a band or in a friendship and of course even in a family! Think about that! First, everybody has his very own favourite bands, so you might be surprised when I tell you that our musical tastes are very different from each other in many cases but on the other hand of course pretty much the same philosophy and attitude when it come to make a new Edguy album. In the first case you might imagine that it possibly comes to arguments sometimes when we discuss about certain songs or parts. At least and luckily it was yet never necessary to call the emergency, hahaha J Musically we all love bands like Maiden, Aerosmith, The Scorpions, Helloween, Deep Purple… and my part is to smuggle in some Slayer or Metallica influences into the sound, but please don’t tell my Edguy fellows, hahaha!!!
2. Any favorite songs on the album?
I do not want to focus just on one song. That’s why we usualy make a whole album and not just a single song only for downloading, haha! My favourites are at the moment are The Eternal Wayfarer, Defenders Of The Crown and Sabre & Torch. But that can change every now and then. Yesterday I answered this question with Rock Me Amadeus, The Eternal Wayfarer and Shawdow Eaters. Let’s see what I will say tomorrow, hihi!!! Defenders Of The Crown is on a good way to be our band anthem. It’s a great fast song and has a special meaning to us! I can promise that we will play it live on stage and I’d like to play so many more songs of the new album and of course so many old songs, too. So it’s gonna be difficult to choose from all the songs and I’m sure we will have looong looong discussions about it in our rehearsal room within the next days or maybe every evening again ten minutes before the show starts, hihihi.
3. What's the best and worst with recording an album?
The worst thing is that I personally am very nervous all the time, much more nervous than before a concert. But it's great to see a song growing like your little baby. It's first only drums and bass, then guitar added and then the vocals. Then some more additional ideas and the guitar solos and stuff. If I totally dive into the hard work I usually forget that I was nervous in the beginning, but sometimes it happens that you come to a point where you don't think an idea is cool enough or not really fitting to the rest. If you start to think about it too deeply, it's better to have a break, get some fresh air or have a big pizza or a beer... :-)
4. How would you compare your newest work to your previous records?
It was great to arrange and record all the bass and guitar stuff for this album. Jens did a great job on the guitar solos of this album! My favourite one is the solo of Baba Yaga! I am very proud on this album, especially because it’s much heavier than the previous ones. Hellfire Club was the heaviest so far. Somehow these two albums are similar and somehow they aren’t. I don’t want to analyze that too deeply. Let the fans’ opinions judge. On one hand it was my personal wish to take a heavier direction, which I mentioned during our very first meeting, when we startet to bring our thoughts and ideas together. On the other hand you can never generally plan or wish such things. It happens in a natural way, when the ideas and guitar riffs fit to a heavier sound. It worked out pretty fine and we had much fun although it was really hard work to make this album!!!
5. What's the idea behind the album and/or the album title?
Yes, the full name of the album is “Space Police – Defenders Of The Crown”. Two titles, two meanings and to be honest, we simply loved both titles and we simply couldn’t make a final choice, so we thought we would be the first band to have ONE record with two titles, hahaha. Seriously, Space Police is about annoying rules everywhere and for everything you wanna do. Even nowadays in the Heavy Metal scene, we have the feeling that (at least) some people make up rules, how Heavy Metal has to be so that it may be considered as “Real” or “True” Metal and of course not to be “Happy” Metal like Edguy. We thought if we go and escape to space, there might be no rules, not even gravity, no boundaries, no nothing. But in our little story, suddenly the Space Police appears out of nowhere and says “Freeze”. Anyway we give a shit and we do what we like, may it be on earth or in space. The meaning of our second title was simply how to defend our crown of our kind of metal. It’s gonna be our anthem, I guess. I really love that fast forward double bass track!!! In the end the message is simple: be yourself and do it as YOU like, not as others expect you to do.
Tobias Exxel, Edguy, August, 29th, 2014
 Thanks Tobias for giving the chance to do an interview with you.