After the concert was rescheduled I had a little chat with Chris Bay, singer of Freedom Call. I had the time to talk about the new album and future plans concerning the line up.
How was the tour until now?
Super! Much better then we expected. We were thinking of this package with Gamma Ray for years. I think after Gamma Ray toured with Helloween few years ago this would be an similar package, but at a lower level. But we think this package would be very interesting for melodic metal heads. And together with Secret Sphere from Italy we had a great melodic metal package, but sadly they had to cancel today's gig coz this gig was rescheduled and they had other dutys. There was much more than we expected. There was no show which wasn't great. We didn't had to whitewash it. Everything went fine that we are very proud of. This should not mean that we are going crazy. We are still highly concentrated and in real it is better with every show. And this makes us proud that our new album is working very well.
I never thought of this, that it would be here as great as it was. 2nd February at the Stratovarius show the hall was quarter filled with people.
Well, I think this package here is interesting. Fact. If there are only single acts it is interesting for the people and they are thinking of going there but if there is a combo like this, they only can say: "We have to go there!"
And how about Klaus Sperling? He is the replacement for Dan Zimmermann at the actual tour. I thought that it would be impossible for Dan to play two sets a evening. How did you came to this?
Ok, we are thinking of touring with Gamma Ray for a very long time, but it failed coz Dan can't play a double show. Kai doesn't want him to do this and I personally think it would be very confusing for the people in front of the stage. I think that Gamma Ray and Freedom Call should be sold as two separate bands. Klaus replaced Dan two years ago as Gamma Ray toured with Helloween. Tour were very long and I didn't want to let Freedom Call sleep during this time. We can't take this. We settled it this way that Klaus helped out for the time. And now, Gamma Ray are touring a lot and they are releasing their albums in shorter periods while Freedom Call is growing fast. We get many festival and tour offers due to our new album. If Dan would play all these shows, he would not have any free time. Then the year had to have 380 days ore more. We agreed that Dan will help us out in producing and songwriting but withdraws from live activities coz he won't get it in time. With Klaus we have an excellent successor. Maybe. We didn't clarified the situation with the fix line up. But in any case it will be the same as this.
But bad blood will not flow?
No. The fact that we are touring together shows this very well. During the day I do very much with Dan. It was Dan's wish to do it this way, too. Everything is well coz Dan is beside the musical and business partnership one of my best friends. We spent a lot of time together. Both sides agreed to this.
And what about Nils Kaufmann? He left the band few years ago. Are you still friends?
Yes, sometime we are meeting each other. He lives in an other area and generally he is more into other activities. He is business orientated and I chose the live as an musician without incoming profit. But sometime we still meet each other. But I did and still do all the keyboards in the studio. Nils never did any keyboards in the studio. He was only a live keyboarder. We use the opportunity to do the keyboards as live playback as nearly every band does do it. Nowadays it is not a rare occurrence.
How were fan reactions about the new album? I saw it today that it was very well. How was it in other cities?
Freedom Call is polarizing every time. Live and in the studio. Hardcore metal fans smile about our extreme positive way to play. They say it is happy metal or child metal. Happy metal is flattering. Everyone should call it as he wants. I don't mind the reactions of the press, coz I have the opportunity to go on tour and play for the guys who love the music and buy the albums. I look into the faces of the people in front of the stage and I see enthusiasm and satisfaction at every single show. And after one hour Freedom Call everyone is in good mood and THAT is it what is interesting me. If someone calls it power metal, child metal or flower metal is equal. Everybody who doesn't like us, don't has to come to our shows. We do not want to force anybody to buy our albums.
Indeed, I meant it to the usual fans of Freedom Call.
Right, that's the main thing. The album is going down well. Ok, there are exceptions, but in general it great. The new face of Freedom Call is going down very brilliant. Our concept about King Ludwig II. Is contributing to that. If you pick out such a topic with tragic moments in his life, you can not do a album where every song is positive and sing about the sun and light and such topics. You have to put in more melancholy. And that convinced many people who didn't like all the happy metal parts.
Ok, I saw you three time live and every show was great. [Guest Lukas:]I am more into straight hard rock and I didn't listen to metal that much until now, but I have to say that the show was awesome.
Yeah, we have elements of 80s rock n roll & hard rock. A Perfect Day or Kingdom Of Madness are more into this section. We grew up in this time. Influences from this are coming from time to time and we won't reduce that. I think that many bands are afraid to reduce their repertoire coz they think: "That is not our goal". If we are convinced of a song, we will do it! Our fans and we have to like it. And that is working well. We don't have to move through a small music section and as a melodic metal band we don't have to write songs with a minimum of 150 beats per minute and double bass drums all the time. Then I would be terribly bored. In the studio and all the more live. After playing half an hour the audience would be sleeping.
Generally I access it this way: Every band may develop itself further. Personally I would be bored if Freedom Call would sound 20 years like Stairway To Fairyland album. That would be really boring. Sonata Arctica, Edguy and real every band is developing further. That's my point of view.
With every production you have an very strong emotional binding to the music, coz your are changing your whole way of life. Partly we are working 16 hours a day or the whole night when we are in the studio. You will have a very strong connection to your music. That mirrors the time how you lived during the production. It would be a lie if you would try to produce a synthetic product you don't are feeling with. The fans want to know how the band felt while producing. And that would be very sterile if you do a thing this way but feel the other way. An album mirrors the emotional situation of the band.
Ok, the first three albums were about the Taragon story, or?
We had a concept for the first three albums. Anyway, I don't like word 'concept'. It sounds terribly 'important'. It is a fantasy story we wrote. We started with Stairway To Fairyland, went over with Crystal Empire and finished it with Eternity as a trilogy which is also an very 'important' word. I don't like these 'very important' concept albums. It sounds as the concept would be more necessary than the music. Legend Of The Shadowking mainly was dealing with King Ludwig II. But these songs were created before the rest. The lyrics were very concrete. We tried to do it the other way but it didn't sound well. Too synthetic and sterile. The first ideas are still the best. Musically and lyrically.
What is the average work time of a song?
Ok, we do not work song by song. There are songs I write during a day and there are songs I need months to write. In this case we don't do not work the whole time but from time to time we do little corrections. Production itself last for about 3 – 4 months. Drums were recorded extern and then we are doing the rest at our own studios. Mixes are done extern again. That is a larger act and I'm happy if the mixes are done by an other engineer who will keep objectivity. Months after the production I will regain this objectivity.
The release of Legend Of The Shadowking delayed a bit?
Ja, extremely indeed. But it wasn't our fault, but business. The financial disaster didn't spare SPV and when we were ready for the release SPV went into insolvency. Then I waited for some time. I also got some other offers by different labels but my instinct told me to wait. After working together with SPV for more than ten years, we could name it friendship or something. In real, business an private life shouldn't be mixed but for me it is different as usual. I don't want to be a business man who wants to get fast money. I gave them the chance and it was worth waiting that time. Their work is super and what is more important?
After Eternity you released a live album called Live Invasion. Are there plans for an DVD?
Yes, there are plans. We didn't have time coz we were on the road. But in April we are going to sight materials. It definitely will be an history DVD with pics from Sascha Gerstner (Helloween) and all the old line ups. Then a little story about the band and of course an live concert. But we actually don't know the place were we will shoot it. I guess it will be released early 2011 to summer 2011
Chris, I thank you for the nice interview and I think we will met in May at the Saarbangers Metal Festival!
The interview was done in German, so if you understand German, you might want to listen to the conversation.... Click here to listen to the interview!