SDI (EN)

Hi Reinhard, how is it going? To being with, obligatory question even though you may have already answered to this before I guess; what prompted you to bring the band back in 2014? Tell us about how did it arise.
The triggering factor happened a few years before, when I received an e-mail from Bulgaria from Adana Dimitrov. He wrote that he was running a webzine called «metal hangar 18“ and he invited me to visit some fans in Sofia, Bulgaria. I couldn’t believe that there were SDI fans in Bulgaria. We’ve never been there. Never sold a single record in Bulgaria (officially). I made the visit and the guys were great. We had a lot of fun. The second trigger happened in 2013. I went through a very serious illness that year and turned 50 in the hospital, not knowing if I’d leave that house with my feet first. In this situation I drew a line under my life up to this point and decided what I want to experience in the rest of my time. So I got a motorcycle driving license and restarted SDI. I sent a message to my close friend our drummer Ralf, who’d played with me in my German Rock band Ingjenøre in the 2000s. I asked him to jam on a Sunday afternoon. As an answer he sent a video of him drumming old SDI-songs. He’d secretly rented a rehearsal room on his own. We joined together a few days later and played the old stuff. It was a hell of a lot of fun. We tried to find Rage (wich wasn’ t easy, but that’s another story). He also joined and we recorded a rehearsal-room video of «I don ’t care“ (still on our YouTube Channel «sdimetal“ ). Just for fun. I posted it on Facebook and the reaction was much bigger than I expected. We were offered a gig at the Metal Assault Festival in January 2015 in Würzburg, Germany. Playing there was really fun and we decided to start SDI again.

I have to say I’ve watched you live once (Barcelona in 2018) and you are in a great shape. Doing some research on the Internet I’ve seen you were involved in some other bands, did that help to the fact that you are in such a good shape now?
Making music can be a kind of work-out, especially as a singer. Not only with SDI but also with my other bands I prefer to move a lot on the stage and try to involve the people into the show. This can be a hard work sometimes 🙂

-This 2020 you released your fourth full-length album, the first one since 1989 if I’m not mistaken. Have you released it just when you could or was it recently that you felt like doing a new album? Tell us about the songwriting process and rehearsals.
The album contains very different songs. Maybe because the songs have been created over a long period of time. A number of themes and parts are more than 20 years old. When we decided to work on a new album I collected everything I’d done in the last 20 years (musically) and worked over it. We had about 20 songs and we chose 12 tracks to record for «80s Metal Band“. When we reactivated the band we just wanted to have some fun and play some gigs. But I had the feeling that there had to be something else than just playing live. So we did the «Ballrun» demo in late 2017. Finally, when we were touring Spain 2018 we spoke a lot and decided to make a new record. Our goal was to make these recordings as real and true as possible. No synths, no drum machines, no tricks, just the three of us. In the end this goal ended into the idea of making a record like an 80s Metal Band and I picked that up for the album title.

-I must say this album is just 100% SDI, from the sound to the themes. In fact tracks such as «Freeride», «Action» or «Trash» feel like they were done back then. Was any idea rescued from the 80’s? There’s no doubt that you want to keep your own style and identity, am I wrong?
From the beginning I always tried to create an own style with SDI. I’m a bit tired of all the bands that sound like Slayer and Testament. Last year we played at a festival with three Rammstein clones in a row. That’s exhausting. I like melodic lines with power and speed, but also I believe in songs with a clear structure, following musical rules, just to break them effectively when necessary. It’s still more important to be unique than to be (mainstream) successful. As I said, some main song ideas have been conserved for a very long time. For instance the riff of «Freeride“ already came to me in the 80s when I used it in a song of «Black Jack Co“. Later was the leading riff of «Nix passiert“ of my band Ingjenøre in 2003. The same happened with «She said“. Other songs are much newer and half the songs were written in 2019. The lyrics for all the tunes are completely new.

-The album’s title is «80s Metal Band» which speaks about your intentions, but tell us about its meaning. Is it a means of vindication? Or did you just want to make clear this was going to be an album with your classic style?
Vindication? I don’t know how you got this idea. We do not need that. It is a collection of songs about things that move me: musically, politically, as a citizen, husband and as family member. And I say my opinion. The album title is a different thing: the title song is about a dream I had the first time when I was about 20 years old. I dreamt about what I would do with my enemies if I’d had the power and the opportunity to get away with it. I wanted to fix these thoughts with an impressive metaphor. And so I came to the picture of a gladiator killing his opponent, like I saw it on a number of album covers of eighties metal bands. «80s metal band“, as a self standing term, leads the listener into a complete different direction. That was on purpose! The title fits pthe way we produced this record and also to the character of the band. So, it’s a kind of „»killing three birds with one stone“ like the Brits say. And it’s funny 🙂

-This about «80s Metal Band» being said; how would you describe it in just 3 words?
Shows SDI 2020.

-Some years ago Ralf Maunert (drums) and Rainer Rage (guitar) left the band, and more recently also Daniel Haverkamp did so. I understand the main reason behind leaving the band might be how hard it is to combine the band activity with your daily life, isn’t it? And do you know something about older members like Franck Tiesing?
That’s right if we speak about Ralf and Daniel. As an adult you have some commitments. You have to earn money, pay your rent, take care of your wife and children, etc. that takes a lot of time. Touring with SDI also takes a lot of time. It happened that both Ralf and Daniel could do this only for a period of time. At a certain point they didn’t manage to do all this at the same time, so they both decided to leave the band. In Rage’s case it’s been different. He sadly faced a couple of illnesses that are results of his personal lifestyle. He simply wasn’t in shape to play with us anymore. So he took the consequences. We were very sorry about that. Franck already left the band in 2017. He put away his guitar a long time ago and doesn’t play anymore. We meet by chance sometimes because he still lives in the same city. But we’re not in contact anymore.

-On your tour there are a few Spanish dates, what do you like about Spain to have so many dates here? What do you want to deliver on your shows?
We love the weather 🙂 and with Hueso Producciones we’ve got a very good tour agency to work with. But the main thing is the fans. We toured Spain and Portugal in 2018 and they were marvellous. We had a real good time. Besides this our friends from Reaktion are again with us to support the shows. So the agency didn’t have to persuade us when they asked to tour again Spain and Portugal in 2020.

-Reviewing the history of the band, I must say that you along with other Thrash or Speed Metal bands from your country like as ASSASSIN, IRON ANGEL, WARRANT or RISK didn’t manage to completely take off. What stopped you from making it bigger? Why did you split up in 1991?
I don’t know why the other bands didn’t find their way into the first row. In our case, there may be an explanation. For a couple of reasons our album «Mistreated“ was less successful than its predecessors. Even though we toured more than ever in 1989 and 1990. Then, also in 1990, our drummer Ralf left the band because of a good job he’d been offered. He was replaced by Christoph Olbrich who played with us until our Czechoslovakian tour in early 1991. I’d been concentrating on other projects and when we started again in 1992 Rage had hired by a band called Enola Gay. We found a new guitar player named Jürgen Uthleb and we recorded the demos that were published as bonus when the three albums were reissued in 2005. But Metal was quite dead in the early 90s and we didn’t find a partner in the music industry to work with. That was it.

-And finally, I am quite a big fan of the Metal scene from your country, I use to go to Keep it True every year and it is mindblowing both the crowd as the bands you have had throughout the years. What’s your opinion on the current Metal scene from your country compared to the 80’s? Is it better or worse?
It’s quite different in Germany to the rest of Europe to me. I don’t think that it’s better or worse than what it used to be in the eighties. But I’ve got a problem with the term «scene“. I’ve never been too close to these people who claim to be the «scene“ in Germany. Especially the journalists. Back then they took themselves too seriously and that hasn’t changed. For instance, when we played at Keep it true in 2016 I met a lot of old and new fans that were very relaxed, cool and open-minded. In contrast to that malice and envy that dominated the officials and the accredited jornaille. Very unfriendly. While the fans are great, the german «scene“-people instead are very serious and narrow-minded (and mostly fat and ugly, hehe). Maybe it would help some of them if a woman let them go again? I don’t know.

-So that’s everything from our side, it’s been an honour to interview a band that I’ve like so much for several years now. I wish things keep like they are now or even better for you guys, and hope to see you soon again. If you want to add something else, take the last lines.
Thank you for having us. We’re looking forward to play in your wonderful country and I’d like to invite all the readers to have some fun with us at our shows in March. We will tour all over Europe this year and maybe we’ll be back for some festival show in summer. Take care and MEGAMOSH your way!!

Philip Graves
philipgraves@queensofsteel.com

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