– Hello, lots of thanks for answering our interview. How is everything going into the SHAKRA’s camp right now?

Thomas: We’re doing great at the moment. I’m doing a lot of interviews and we started with the rehearsals for the live shows just the other week.

– You have recently released your new album, «Powerplay»; how are you feeling about it? And how are the first reactions being? Both from the press and fans.

Thomas: Concerning me, I only read positive reviews. For a simple reason: My wife is checking all the incoming reviews first, so she forwards only the good ones to me!:-) But I’m really happy with this album. I mean I’ve heard all the songs about 2000 times during the whole process, but I still get goose bumps from some of them.


– The first thing I noticed off your new effort was that, since «Back on Track» I could say, you have gone for a more modern sound, maybe even complex. Have your influences been changing throughout the years?

Thomas: Yes absolutely. Our lead-guitarist and producer Thom is hardly influenced by american bands like Alter Bridge or Shinedown. And the guitars on “Powerplay” and “BOT” sound definitely more “american” compared to our 2009 album “Everest”. Also the songwriting changed a lot throughout the years. When we started with the band in the 90’s we were influenced by bands like AC/DC, Saxon or Accept, just a lot of the 80’s stuff. Sure I still like these bands, but to be honest, I don’t listen to that much music nowadays, but if so, then it’s Rush or Dream Theater. So that doesn’t mean SHAKRA sounds like these two bands now, but surely you won’t find any AC/DC-like riffs anymore on our last two albums. I guess it’s all a natural evolution, musically and personally, and our newest release „Powerplay“ shows the way we are and feel in 2013. And we feel damn good!


– And talking about that more modern sound; have you approach the production process in a different way?

Thomas: No, the process was about the same. We just changed some equipment. Other guitar amps. But it was the same way of working, the same studio. Same procedure as every year james. : )


– Anyway it caught my attention the album’s title, «Powerplay». Despite they are quite different; is it a nod to «Power Ride»? Probably one of your most acclaimed records.

Thomas: Well, when we were talking about the album title and I came up with “Powerplay”, shure we detected that it’s very close to “Powerride”. But that’s ok, I mean there are still a lot of fans out there who think “Powerride” is one of our best albums ever. By the way, the term Powerplay is also used in the ice hockey game, a very popular sport here in Switzerland. Powerplay means something like “to constrict” the other team. But what we want to say is pretty simple: we do not have any political messages, we don’t want to warn the people of the global warming or something. We‘re just a rock band, we want to have some party with our fans. We just play our music with a lot of power. So you get the title: Powerplay!


– In general the album feels to me like a more elaborated one, but also quite catchy, solid and cohesive but, do you actually feel like this is your best album to date?

Thomas: Sure it is our best album so far! The newest one is always the best one! Everybody is telling you that when a new album is coming out, but in our case it’s true. : )


– Though there are still great and outstanding guitars, both riffs and solos, it seems like you have had more focus on melodies. Is it actually like this or is it just my perception?

Thomas: You’re completely right. When I’m writing songs it always starts with a guitar riff. But next thing are the vocal lines. It’s not a good song if you don’t have a good hookline, no matter if the guitar riff is the best you’ve ever created. When I wrote the songs for “Back On Track” I didn’t know who’s gonna sing them later. So when John joined the band in October 2009 he had to sing a lot of vocal lines that I’ve created not especially for his voice. So that was completely different now. Meanwhile I know what John likes to sing best, what he is really able to do. So I created the vocal lines with his voice in my head.


– Still talking about such, did the songwriting process changed in any way?

Thomas: No, we used to work the same way we did for the last 10 years or something. I got a small home studio, I use a drum computer and play all the instruments the songs demand. Later, when I recorded about 20 songs, I get together with John to try out the vocal lines. Mostly it works fine, just because I know what John loves to sing.


– Something else that has always stood out off your music is its huge versatility. This time you have mix elements from different music styles, from AOR to Hard Rock or from classic Rock to Heavy Metal. Is this variety something you strive for and/or something important for SHAKRA?

Thomas: Yes absolutely! As I told you before, I still like all the 80’s stuff. So that’s why I sometimes write songs like “Save You From Yourself” or “Because Of You”, but I also love to write songs like “Dream Of Mankind” or “The Mask”, a more modern and darker kind of music. This mixture is what SHAKRA is all about nowadays. And of course the ballads. I really love them, especially “Too Good To Be True”!


– Moreover I think that versatility has helped you creating a really recognizable sound. How positive is for any band nowadays to have its very own recognizable sound? Do you think it can make you stand out easier?

Thomas: It’s definitely better to have some very strong trademarks than to sound the same as 1000 other bands. I guess we created our own style over the years, the SHAKRA-style. Certainly we did not start any musical revolution, but that was never our intention : ) We’re just a rock band!


– All this about «Powerplay» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?

Thomas: Best – album – ever. (Ok, I’m only talking about SHAKRA albums : ))


– And finally; what your near-future plans are?

Thomas: We can’t wait to play the new songs on stage. The tour starts in March. Check out for tourdates! And well, I guess I will be writing new material at the same time.


– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.

Thomas: I just want to say hello to all readers out there! Have as much fun with “Powerplay” as I have!


Tania Giménez

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