XANDRIA (Eng.)

– Hello, thanks for your time. What’s currently keeping XANDRIA busy?

Gerit: Hey Sergio. Nice to meet you. What´s keeping us busy. Well, after we finished the recordings for the new album last year, we had a little break over new year. A few weeks ago we started the rehearsals for a new live set. Be sure that we are burning for to play the new stuff live. We are very looking forward for the shows with Epica and besides we are planning our own Headliner Tour.

– First off, why did you pick the name “Xandria”? Both its origin and meaning.

Marco: Back in the nineties, when I was in another band, one day it instantly came to my mind without knowing where from, and because it fit the musical ideas pretty nicely with its mystical sound, I choose it as the name for the band. This band broke up, but I kept the name for the new band I founded some years later then, because I still liked it and for me it also was a symbol for this overall musical idea I had in mind and that I wanted to continue.

 

– Have been 5 years between your new “Neverworld’s End” and the previous “Salomé – the Seventh Veil”. So considering this and the important line-up changes you have had; did you feel more pressure creating this new effort or were you extra motivated?

Gerit: As you can imagine it was a hard time searching a new singer twice, but the thing that kept us all motivated was the new material. I think everyone in the band wanted the new songs to be heard and we all believed in it. So the most pressure was to find a new singer that fits perfectly in the band and when we finally found her, we were extra motivated. 😉

 

– The important line-up change I’ve mentioned is the “debut” of your new vocalist, Manuela, which I think gives fresh air to the band and her vocals and expressiveness are just fantastic but, what could you say has she brought to XANDRIA?

Gerit: She brought Xandria´s music to a whole new level. The new Songs were written before she came into the band and we knew that we wanted the new stuff to be more operatic, bombastic and epic. So if we heard first demos with her, we all knew, she is the one. Even if it´s her debut, Manuela has a very professional attitude to making music and the music business. And besides all this the personal aspect is very important. Sometimes we see each other more than our own families or friends. So being able to spend days or weeks together on a tourbus is at least as important as being a good singer or musician.

 

– When we reviewed your album we said with “Neverworld’s End” you are surprising your listener still being recognizable. Is this something to get? Or it’s just something that comes out naturally?

Gerit: Nice to hear that. Thank you.

I think music is always something that comes from the heart. It has a lot to do with emotions or personal circumstances that you bring into the music. So “Neverworld´s End” is our most ambitious and also the hardest album we wrote until now. And I think it´s a reflection of the past five years. We had a lot of shit with finding and losing new singers, finding a new record label and all those things. Finally everything went good and I think that´s what you can hear on the album. With Marco, we have someone in our middle that has a very fine flair for melodies that go straight to your mind. And as he always says: “The Melody comes to my mind and if it stays there it´s good. Let´s make a song out of it!” So I think it comes out naturally.

Marco: Yes, I think even if we changed a lot in our sound, as a songwriter you just naturally keep some of your habits, so you probably will always hear it is Xandria.

 

– I personally think this could be considered your heaviest album so far. Was this something you wanted to get?

Gerit: Yes definitely. We all are Metal Fans and like I said before we had enough bad times in the past five years to record a real Death Metal Album (laughs). No, for real. Marco, Philip, Nils and me spent a lot of time in the rehearsal room, working on the new material. We spent there more time than ever before during a writing process. And I remember times, especially after loosing a singer for the second time, where I wanted to beat the shit out of my drumkit cause i´ve been so angry about all this. And I think the other guys felt the same.

When Manuela came for the first time, she didn´t know about our style change and as she heard the new demos I think she wanted to be even more in the band than before. And finally with Manuela we found a real Metal Girl on the mic. She has a lot of energy on stage and also in the rehearsal room, that nobody is able to play soft. 😉 So in the End it was a perfect mixture for the heaviest Xandria album, ever!

 

– It also seems to be more guitar-driven (symphonic parts still have an important role though). How did you approach the guitar work?

Marco: We definitely never put so much effort in the guitar work as we did now. In the past the guitar has merely been a deliverer of sound, but without carrying the songs really. Now we wanted it to be an absolute metal guitar work, with good metal riffs, many leads and solos. To combine this with the orchestral sound was quite a challenge, because everything of course should be a unity in the end.

 

– And how did you approach the overall songwriting process? How does it tend to be like in XANDRIA?

Gerit: Marco writes most of the songs. He spends a lot of time making very detailed demos and then he brings it into the rehearsal room. From that moment everyone in the band tries to give the songs his special note. Nowadays we also do a lot of work at home at the computer, me personal programming drums and in Philip´s and Marco´s case recording guitars at home.

Since Manuela lives in another part of Germany we use the internet for sending her demos on which she records her voice at home. So if we enter the studio, everyone knows every Riff, every note and every cymbal hit and we just have to record it. But belive me, it´s always time in the studio for changing and discussing about details (laughs)

 

– All this being said; how could you describe this new record in just 3 words?

Gerit: BUY THAT SHIT!!

Marco: Haha, yes, and shit = imaginative soundtrack metal

 

– This CD seems to be a clear step forward for the band in different ways but; what does this new record mean personally to you?

Gerit: To me personal it´s a kind of a restart of our career. Looking back the break after the Salomé record was important for finding back to myself and thinking about what I want in my live. And as we lost our second singer, I was even more secure that music is my live and that I don´t want to give up.

Musically I´ve been always a friend of heavy guitars, fast double bass, detailed songs and bombastic sounds. So to me it is the best album we ever wrote.

 

– As I said, this is a really heavy album, always mixing great melodies and those symphonic parts 100% XANDRIA, and the production really captures this great mix between that heavy yet crystal clear sound. Could you please shed some light on the production and recording sessions?

Gerit: We recorded the album in three different studios all over Germany. Vocals were recorded in the “Weltraum-Studios” in Munich, the guitars and bass were recorded at Marco´s Homestudio and Drums and Mix were done at the Principal Studios near Münster. As I mentioned before, we were very good prepared for this album, so the recordings were pretty fast, compared to earlier recordings. I think the drums just took two days and also the bass recordings went very fast. For the vocal recordings we wanted to spend more time, cause we wanted to get the full range of Manuela´s talent on this record. The hardest Part on this record was definitely the final mix. There have been so many details from all instruments and if you can imagine everyone in the band has his own personal mix in his mind. If the mix is not like you imagined before, you start discussing…again and again. This can take days and weeks, but finally we found the ultimate mix for everyone and everyone is very confident now.

 

– And what could you comment on the album’s artwork (the artist, what does it represent, etc.)?

Marco: The cover artwork has been done by Heile, a brilliant new German artwork designer. He also made our photographs. It is a real good realization of the main theme on the album, the world of dreams you have when you are young, and that declines when you grow older and realize that you cannot become everything you wanted to be and that the world is not the place you thought it would be.

 

– This has been your first album with Napalm Records, which seems to be a really good label for bands of your style. How has everything been with them so far? And what prompted your move after so many years with Drakkar Entertainment?

Marco: We had fulfilled our contract with Drakkar and had been free to choose what would be best for our next step. We changed almost everything – new management, new booking agency, new label. It was important to make sure our environment stands behind us fully and will do everything possible to support the band. And Napalm have been the ones who showed most appreciation for what we wanted to do musically, above that they are really a highly experienced company in metal.

 

– And finally, what are the near-future plans for the band?

Marco: We want to tour as much as possible – and have our first concert in Spain! Prepare some Tapas and a fine Rioja for us please!

 

– That is it, thanks once more for your time. If you now want to add some final words; feel free to do it.

Marco: We just hope that all of you give us and our new singer a chance after this long time! And that we all meet on tour! See you!

Gerit: Cheerz!

Sergio Fernández

sergio@queensofsteel.com

 

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