|Energetic power metallers Edguy are coming back to the US this summer along with Hammerfall – I spoke with guitarist Dirk Sauer to get his thoughts on the upcoming tour, EP, DVD, and all other metal-related things.|
Your upcoming US tour will be your second in as many years. Last time you only did a few dates – but now you’re setting off on a full-blown, co-headlining tour with fellow power metal giants Hammerfall – how did this combination arise?
DS: Well, we have been friends with Hammerfall for a while. And we have the same booking agency.
I’ve read different things from different sources – are you always going to play before Hammerfall, or rotate?
DS: It’s a co-headline, but I think we’ll always be playing first.
You’ve now got six albums worth of material, plus some EPs to chose material from – how are deciding what goes into this setlist?
DS: We’ll be playing a “best of” Edguy setlist, stuff from all the albums, spanning the years.
Great, yeah, I’m personally looking forward to hearing some stuff from Theater of Salvation. I know some other fans are also looking to hear some Avantasia songs.
DS: I think we’ll play one Avantasia song, that should be enough.
When the band plays live, how do you handle the keyboard arrangements? Do you have a live member, or use backing tapes…
DS: We try to use them as little as possible [laughs] – but CDs – so backing tapes I guess.
Onto the upcoming EP – let me first say I love the cover art, what made you decide to go with the cartoon style?
DS: We saw an artist’s concept of it and we just knew it had to be in the comic style.
In the past you’ve done a great job mixing serious songs – Forever, for instance, on Hellfire Club, with more humorous ones, like Lavatory Love Machine. Can we expect the same on Superheroes?
DS: Yeah, definatly – well you should see the video for “Superheroes,” everybody is laughing their asses off – I showed it to some family and friends and everybody laughs their ass off when they watch it. I think that’s the thing, because we do this because we like what we’re doing and we have fun while we’re doing it. So, I think it’s cool in a way because we’re a funny band and we laugh while we’re on stage, and you shouldn’t be too evil, in my mind, in heavy metal music.
Yeah, I think you guys do a great job combining different moods and different elements. Now, on the new EP you’re going to have some guest vocals done by Michael Kiske, right?
I know when he did work on Avantasia Tobias never actually met him – did you guys actually get to meet him this time, when he did the recordings?
DS: No we have met him, yeah. But it’s always different, because he’s got his own studio at home, and he’s recording the stuff in his own studio. It was a little bit late when we decided to do it, and we had to get it done fast, so it was the easiest way to send him the tapes, he can record it at home, and send it back.
Well, I can’t wait to hear him. About the DVD now, it’ll also be called Superheroes, will it have the same cover art?
DS: There will be different cover art, I don’t know about all over the world, but in Germany we have two - there is the normal CD sized edition, and the DVD sized. Both are a little different, but basically it’s the same.
Ok, so I know it’s going to include some live songs, the video, which you already told me about, and some backstage footage. How do you guys decide which songs end up on the DVD?
DS: Well, actually, the songs are the first three songs from the show in Sao Paulo we recorded last year.
Can you tell me which ones they are, or is that supposed to be a surprise?
DS: No, I can tell you, it’s Mysteria, Under the Moon, and Navigator.
Ah, great, three of my favorites. Now, something about your band that’s always amazed me, is that the core: you, Jens, and Tobias have been together since you were what, fourteen or fifteen years old?
DS: We started together when we were fourteen. Since ’92.
Yeah, that’s a long time. Usually a lot of artists start off with sort of, how do you say, quote on quote “garage bands” before they really find a band that they stick with – what’s worked between you guys that made you stick together for so long?
|"...we’re a funny band and we laugh while we’re on stage, and you shouldn’t be too evil, in my mind, in heavy metal music."|
DS: Actually, I know, I think we are riding on the same wave somehow. Yeah, we met in school when we were kids when we were like eleven years old or something, and then we started in the school band. We created this baby, called Edguy, and it was growing and growing and growing and, I dunno, we did all the shit you have to do when forming a band together and I think that makes us strong together.
And then Tobias, he had never sung before joining the band, I guess at first he was just playing bass and keyboard – how’d he teach himself to sing so well with no formal training?
DS: Actually he did train, after that. It’s pretty funny, when we formed the band we started to play some cover songs and we didn’t know who could be the singer. And we checked it out, all together, and I was trying to sing, then the drummer. Actually, I think it was like, we played Highway to Hell or something, and it’s pretty hard to play the guitar riff and sing at the same time, especially on this track. So somehow it came over that Tobi, because he was just playing bass on his keyboard, he had to sing this song. In the beginning when we played cover songs, we sang all together, like different songs, but somehow it turned out that he’s the best one for singing [laughs] so, I think it was the right decision.
Yeah, it’s nice how it’s turned out. So then, I did want to ask, what’s your favorite Edguy song, album, and then live show you’ve done with the band?
DS: Oh, pretty hard question. Uh, well, let’s start with the song – I really like the Piper from the last one. I think this is one of the best songs we did so far. And actually there’s one or two on the new one, yeah, I mean it doesn’t make sense to tell because nobody knows the songs [laughs].
Alright, we’ll wait, I’ll ask you that next time then [laughs].
DS: Yeah, but I really like one song on the EP, it’s a really great song, it’s awesome. You might like it as well hopefully. It’s perfect – with perfect choirs, and epic parts and stuff, it’s great. But that live show, actually until last year it was a show in Canada we played in 2002. When we played the show the people were screaming so loud over there, it was amazing. They sang the whole show, the whole concert, all the lyrics, and they were loud like hell – I was speechless. I mean, we’d played big shows before – it wasn’t that big, like eight hundred or a thousand people, but they were so loud, it’s so hard to describe with words. You have to see it when you’re on stage and hopefully it’s gonna be like that when we come back there this year.
Yeah, I’m hoping it’s like that at the New York show, I’ll be there, so I’m hoping that’ll beat out Canada. And so then you guys have been on the road a lot over the past year and a half for your World Hellfire Tour, what was your favorite country that you visited?
DS: I think it’s great everywhere, because the fans are cool all over the world and I really enjoy it everywhere– I dunno, it’s good to play because that’s why I want to do it, because I want to play, the band wants to play. I think metal fans are great everywhere so it’s great to play everywhere.
Ok. So do you have any interesting or crazy things happen while you were in a foreign country that stand out?
DS: I think especially in South America the people are a little different [laughs], they’re waiting in front of the hotel like, I dunno, four days or something. You go to bed at night at three o’clock and they’re in the lobby, and if you get up for breakfast at ten or something, they’re still there. All the time you pass the lobby in your hotel and it’s the same people sitting there. That’s crazy, I mean, that’s amazing, they are really crazy fans, but they are great fans, I mean, especially the show you can watch on the DVD as well- it was a show in front of nine thousand people, that’s a great show, it’s really cool to play.
Yeah, actually that kind of leads into what I was going to say next – Do you guys prefer playing at big shows, either like that or at a festival like Wacken or Bloodstock, or do you like playing in sort of a small, club atmosphere – like that show in Canada?
DS: Actually, I think both things are cool. I mean, I’m looking forward to Wacken of course, in two weeks basically that’ll be a killer show again, I guess, because it’s like playing in front of, I dunno, thirty or forty thousand people, that’s amazing. We played in Czech Republic last weekend and there were like twenty thousand people and it was just great to play there. But, on the other hand, I like the small things too. I mean, I think especially the US tour is not gonna be that big, because we are not that big and the country is just huge [laughs], I mean, everything is so spread there. But, I think it doesn’t matter how many people are in front of the stage. If you get this magic between the audience and the band, then it’s cool. And this can happen with fifty people or with fifty thousand people.
Alright, well, that’s all I have for you, but is there anything else you’d like to say?
DS: Well, I hope to see all of you on tour in the US – the whole band, everybody’s looking forward to it. That’s gonna be a fucking cool time with Hammerfall because we like each other very much and we’re gonna have a lot of fun. We met them last week as well and everybody’s really hot for that tour, so that’s gonna a good thing I guess!