Interview date

15 Avril 2011




Interview S.C Kuschnerus (by phoners)

How is the promotion doing?

We couldn't be happier because we always hope that people will like what you come up with and so far everybody seems to enjoy the album. What we were trying to do with it is to evolve the stylistic rage a little bit so that's awesome. Some people were not around the last time we released an album and we are getting a lot of intense feedbacks from the fans all over the world. That's very, very helpful because it gives you a lot of extra energy. We had a rough time, we had so many things to do and then you read all these nice comments and it gives you this extra push of energy. So we are very, very happy right now!

And why all beauty should die?

(Laughs). It has a double meaning as usual with this band. First of all, "All Beauty Must Die" doesn't really mean to say that we are going to kill Ji-In and all the other beautiful people in the world. (Laughs). It's about everything having to come to an end. The most beautiful thing in the world isn't forever. We've had a very rough couple of years behind us and we never considered that this band was dying but, sometimes we were "oh my Goodness, what else is going to happen? We are going to get another hit in the face here and somebody is going to sabotage us in this area. How long is this going on?" and we get the feeling that as long as we have each other, even though one day the end may come - hopefully it's gonna be in seventy eight years of something (laughs) - we tried to be more focused when we realized that the majority of bands would have probably quit after what we had to face: a lot difficulties with our label, some managing guys and so the business has been really, really rough on us. The creative part has never been a problem and that's basically what helped us to get through those times and that's why we are so happy that we made it and that it's going to be release now. It's like we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. So that's the first meaning, to understand your motto. And the other thing about "All Beauty Must Die" is that it's like a musical statement. Because, we've been a little bit rougher, I wouldn't call it agressive but intense beat, at least, that's what we think. We even have a number of songs without keyboards, even if the keyboard is (insisting on the word) beautiful you know (laughs) so we are going to make a point not trying to be a symphonic rock band as they like to call it. We wanted to make a statement that we are coming full of strength and this is a kind of motto for this album released. But again, we are not going to kill everybody! (Laughs)

Finally, there was not that much time between the releases of "My Fatal Kiss" and "All Beauty Must Die". Did you already have an idea how you wanted to sound before the composing process so you worked faster?

You have a point there because we never finished an album, recorded it and produced it as fast as we did with "All Beauty Must Die". We did it very quickly. At least, for us, I'm sure there are a lot of bands that would have done it faster, but the last time, with "My Fatal Kiss", we took a long, long time part of it by choice and a part of it because it was very long to find and finish the deal with our last record company. So this time, when we decided to do another album, it just went quickly. Everybody thrown his idea on the table and this went really, really fast. We don't necessarily sit down before we start writing the album asking what we are going to do with it, what do we want to achieve. Everybody has these crazy ideas because in this band everybody writes. It's not like one or two people write the songs, everybody writes, everybody had a whole bunch of demo idea coming from different directions. And then we dropped it on the table and then we saw where it was taking us. But the only thing we did before we started the creative process was saying that this album would probably a bit edger than the previous one because of our live personality. On stage, I think we are a little bit rougher than on our records and this time we tried to show this on the album as well.

So was it the band idea to sound rougher but also a bit darker? Well, at least, I find it darker!

Well, it's because we were in a dark place! (Laughs) Again, we didn't plan on that, and we just saw what was happening. Because, basically, when we write an album it's always a reflection on what the band went through with the last album. Everything is not peach and cream that's why this album turned out a little bit darker. It's not necessarily that we felt we had to remove the keyboard for example, there is still a plenty of keyboards on the album, but we tried not to limit ourselves. If we had an unusual idea like a two hundred and twenty beat per minute, to be out tempo, or on a rock song, or on the eleven and a half minute concept song then do it. We wanted to do it and not limited ourselves saying "It used to be in the seventies to do stuffs like those" but if we feel it... And we think this is what's interesting in this band, it's not gonna bother him and it's certainly gonna be interesting for someone who is following Krypteria for years to see another different side. And it's not like we are doing a jazz album, it's still pretty much rock with gothic elements so... I think people, who used to like Krypteria before, hopefully won't cry and scream and complain about this album. Because it's still us because of the way we write, and also because of Ji-In. She still has her interesting voice and unusual clean style. So that's always being Krypteria!

Yeah, and some vocals are still close to what you've done before, the same goes for the lyrics...

I think it would be stupid to have Ji-In growling or screaming you know! I love Arch Enemy, I love what Angela does but I think that is great for Angela but I don't know if it would be great with Ji-In. And Ji-In has been singing for all her life so that's basically the singer she is, so why would we change it? And we think she is beautiful, not only because she is a very attractive woman but because she has the sweetest soul and also her way to approach the music. I think it would be stupid for us to try and force something. Again, this is what comes naturally to her. And basically, the music is getting rougher and it's not something we had to work on, that was inside of us every time because this is where we come from. The whole difference is that we decided not to try to over analyze, and do it the way we wanted to do it. That's why we went faster with this album because we didn't try to change one thing into something else but keeping it that way. And with Ji-In, we don't see any reason to change her, we like here the way she is.

On this album, there is the longest Krypteria song ever, "The Eye Collector". How did you work for it?

We always like this kind of long songs like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin stuff or Pink Floyd. It's getting really unusual these days. So we said "we have a ten minute long song on "Bloodangel's Cry", that was fun, the fans liked it, so as we said we are going to be free on this album and do what we feel like", we felt like doing a huge song. And we found this book by a German writer who is writing psychological thrillers. And his book is called "The Eye Collector" in German. And he is very, very succesfull and we got in contact with him and he adored the idea. He said "if you wanna do a soundtrack for my book, go ahead. I'm very interested in that." So we tried to do the soundtrack of this psychological thriller. And that's also the reason why the four of us are singing the lead vocals on this song because we wanted to make sure that people, like in a good movie or a good book, won't know who did it, who the bad guy is. That's why we put in forward so people would think, ok so who of the four is the killer? (Laughs). It's pretty much the story about this song. It's not really like we said it's got to be eleven minutes, but it's basically what it is. We have these different parts, and people came with new idea, and we were saying "wow, that would be awesome, that would be good." "That would be the scene for the victim, the scene for the killer" and all of the sudden, the imagination grown wild on us and in the end we came up with this eleven thirty song. But the funny thing is that people are really focused on this. They listen to the album and put the last song. People these days probably don't have the patience to listen to such a long song but the contrary became true because everybody is saying it doesn't feel like an eleven and a half minute song and wants to listen to it over again. We didn't expect that, we like this song very, very much and hopefully we will be able to play it live even thought it will be tricky with some of those parts but we're probably gonna try. And to hear that the fans like it, that's awesome! I mean, alright when I say that the long songs are not normal, Nightwish even opened its last album with a fifteen minute long song so it's not that unusual. But compared to the seventies, every band had long songs these days. Record labels would have said "no, no, no, don't do it, put it on a three minutes song", but as it's a part of the band, we put it in on the album.

And on this song, there is also a classical part. Why this famous classical part?

We wanted to have a very, very quiet and sober part in the song. So when all this horror from the killer happens and people realize that all the band is involved in it, we wanted something to express all this sadness. And Ji-In is just a fantastic piano player so we asked her to come up with something, if she had an idea that would fit this part of the story. And she said "Well, of course, I can come up with something original." But with this gloominess and sadness, she always thought that this Beethoven masterpiece was what we were looking for. So she played it to us. Of course, we had heard it before, but the way she interpreted it, we said: "the search for this part is over, it's got to be this part". It just felt right for us for this particular moment.

There is only one ballad on this album, "... Hurt So Bad", do you really think Krypteria needs this kind of songs on their album?

(Silence). Another good question I guess! Again, it's not like we were sitting there with a list and say "alright, we need three fast songs, we need a ballad..." It is just where we come from, our heroes, they always have ballads on their albums. So it became a second nature for us. And it's not like we think we need another ballad, I would say that the song was there pretty early. Sometimes, you are tempted to do something for the end of the album, you have twelve, thirteen songs and think about what you need. I agree that sometimes, a ballad is added. You say "we have all this off tempo rock songs, this high energy... Why don't we have a ballad? Let's have a ballad!" We might have done it as well because, that's what we grew up on, but because this song was there really early, we didn't have to make that decision and look for another ballad. We already had it, that's why this song is on the album, because it fits!

There are some guests on this album. What are the stories?

The first one, for personal reason would be Eggy from Edguy. A few years ago, when we played for a charity event, there was a number of bands and Edguy was there as well. And we had to share our dressing room. So we met, and we got along. We've had this friendship for some years now and particularly with Eggy. The band is always meeting us at festivals. But Eggy comes to visit us alone, we hang out here or there and he came up to our shows. And we always wanted him on an album because he is a great friend. But it was never possible because we were in Asia, we came back but Edguy was in the USA (laughs), so it wasn't possible. This time, the stars aligned right and so he was available so we asked him and he said he would do it and did this six-string guitar solo. It's very good to have this good friend on the album.

With Doro, she is also a good friend even if we don't have that much history with her, but we have a very rich history with Doro. About two years ago, she had her anniversary show in Dusseldorf and she asked a number of female singers to join her on the record and on stage that night. So she asked Ji-In and she got along well because both ladies are very, very emotional. They are doing things with their heart, they don't over-analyze, they do what feels right! So they immediately clang. And Doro asked us if we wanted to join her on her tour and that happened three times last year, we get along with each other. Doro is absolutely wonderful to work with. Her band is great, her crew is great so it wasn't so much like work but it was like a very long party we had. And so, one day, she was at the studio and we played her some of our new stuff and when she listened to "Victoria" she said she liked it so we asked if she would like to sing on it. She was like "aaaaaaaaaah, let's do it, let's do it!" (laughs). That's the good part about Doro because usually it takes a lot of work and energy, there are lawyers and labels involved it to get something like this happen, but with Doro it's like "I want to do it, so we are going to do it whatever the label or manager say". (Laughs). We are really glad to have her 'cause she is so natural and she is one of the best things that happened to us over the last two years. A couple of minutes ago, I was a little bit whiny about some stuff but the times we had with Doro were awesome. There were some low and high moments, and it's one of the highest moment in the last couple of years. So, to have her on the album is just great. And Ji-In admires her for her strength, for her longevity, she is always giving one hundred percent, just like Ji-In. This is probably why they like each other. And after the shows, if you look at those ladies, when you want to go the hotel and rest, they don't want to rest but meet the fans (laughs). They come from the same glass, I mean Doro and Ji-In are so alike. And even if you look at them, they have a lot of similarities, both are very small (laughs) but they are so tall with their soul and as far as I'm concerned, they are like sisters.

On this album, there are also songs which are a "2011 version". Why did you decide to rework those songs?

We played those older songs a number of times live. And after the show, we meet fans, and it won't be a Krypteria show if we wouldn't meet the fans and they are always like "ooh, you played the older songs, it would be awesome to have it on a record. That would be "Get The Hell Out Of My Way", "Liberatio"..." We are used to do a different version live than what you have on the album. It's not a full of band version live, we leave the stage and Ji-In is playing the piano and plays and sings the song. One of the emotional moments of the show... and people always say they wish they could take this version home with them. When the album was finished, we had some extra time on our hands and we thought we could do it, that would be nice. And a number of fans were "wow, I was waiting for it and I finally have it!". So that's good. It's always good to make your fans happy, particularly those who have been with you for a long time and heard those songs at our shows. And a lot of people who haven't heard about Krypteria and will listen to this album will discover these songs and they won't know the older versions. So for them it will be like a new song and if they gonna like it's also because we're probably not gonna stop playing those songs in our live shows.

And for "Liberatio", the clip was made for the victims of the tsunami in 2004 and with what happened in Japan last month, it's pretty weird to see this song on this new album!

Absolutely! And it was really, really very... not scary because we were sitting at home and our homes were not destroyed, so scary would not be right considering what those poor people are going through. But it's really, really weird because we recorded the song and had already send it to the master, the factory and we only did it to make our fans happy. And all of the sudden, three weeks later, this happened. And then you think "What is that?! What a strange coincidence!". And it felt really weird and I can't find the words but it was such a strange feeling! And go through this again... I mean, we don't go through this but to witness this destruction live... And we were dealing with it six or seven years ago, and basically, it happened at the beginning of the band and all these years after, it happens again and coincides with the new version of this song. It's hard to put into words what we felt when we saw that... Somebody even came up and asked "that was pretty quick that you have this song recorded, three-five days after this happened". But the decision of having this song on the CD, had been made a month before... I hope that everybody will understand that it has no connection to Japan and the song was recorded before we sent the album to the factory and then this catastrophe happened. It's just weird. That's a strange thing for us to be involved in it.

And even if it sounds like the live version, when you reworked these songs, how did you see your evolution, from the beginning to now?

(Laughs). For us it was like we didn't have many live experiences between the four of us as a group. We all had a lot of experience with other bands, so when we started writing up our first album, we didn't have our sound yet or our identity, and we didn't know how we wanted to be on stage. I don't think the songwriting has changed dramatically, we always have had these melodic choruses, the riffs are pretty much similar I guess and particularly with this album we bring up this huge choirs, Gregorian chant so we had it on the beginning as well. It's probably the experience as a musician you make on the road by playing, what fits people, what people respond to. And then you say: "if they got a kick out of this, then I'm gonna kick out of their reactions". And that's probably the right thing, as people respond to us. It's trying a little bit more and taking more risks basically. I think it's a steady evolution but we're getting a little bit punchier and edgier from  an album to another. I'm not sure about that for "My Fatal Kiss", but it's true for "In Medias Res", "Bloodangel's Cry" and "All Beauty Must Die", that's very evident. The live performances influence our music.

Now, you have your own record company, LiberatioMusic. What can you say about it?

Well, first, before I get to the technical side of things, it's like the name of the company, it's very, very liberating to make your decisions and call the shot. I'm not saying that every Major record company are doing things bad, no, no, no we had a great time with EMI, and Roadrunner was a very important experience for us too... But sometimes, because they have so many artists, those labels, they tend to do things like an auto-pilot. "We are going to release an album in three months, we're gonna do this, we're gonna do this and we're gonna do this!" But it's not the same for a band like us, for a band like Doro or a French band like ETHS for instance. The auto-pilot doesn't fit everybody and now, we call the shot. Probably the decisions we make are gonna backfire and in a year from now I'm gonna tell you we are the most stupid band ever and everything we came up with, all our ideas were horrible! (Laughs). I hope it's not going to happen. So far, we feel good about our ideas and with the concept of what we are doing. I think that's the greatest thing about it because, at least, if we die at the end of this, it would be by our own fault, not because of somebody else. And for the technical part, as far as I'm concerned, Chris, our guitarist and producer is a pretty much experienced guy in the music business. So it was just natural for him to create a label one day. We are all able to contribute to it in different ways and in this band, we are four people with different characters and different strengths and that's really handy with that label. So he is the boss of that label and he's got a couple of friends of his who are interested in that project. Now, everybody is on board and everybody is running in the same direction, pushing the band and this album in order to gain some speed. I hope the next two years will be a little bit with more positive things than negative, that would be awesome! And for us, it was just right, we've done it for six years now so we felt we needed a little change, so why not doing it ourselves ? All the four of us are experienced, have been in the music business for more than a decade now, so we're gonna make mistakes, but we are going to live with those. It just feels great to be your own boss.

Chris didn't participate to the last tour because of his health problems. Will he be there for the next one?

So far, the recovering process looks very good. With him, it's not necessarily the problem of playing, being on stage, the problem is those long bus rides, when we are sitting in the bus for seven hours and not being able to move. That's why when there is this disc in his neck, I don't know everything about it, but, when it gets tense, he feels it in his fingers and it affects his playing. Even thought being on stage is not a problem, but being on stage and not being able to move your fingers because you stayed too long in the bus before being on stage, that's the problem. But he is making great progress so far, so good. I just hope he'll be able to return and it looks very, very good so I think he will be sitting on the bus again and hopefully this time he will play. He is doing a lot of physical therapy and we hope it's not gonna affect him anymore! But he is very happy because he feels that it's getting better. It's really great because, it's one thing to see someone else playing, even if Olly is a part of the family now... The good thing is that Olly and Chris like each other a lot, it's not usual between guitarists (laughs) so they are very supportive of each other. It's just, for him, not being able to do what he wants to do, what he loves to do, that's the worst part about it. And we are just glad that he is better now!

And in 2008 you told me you were sure to come to France in 2009 and... you didn't, even with the release of "My Fatal Kiss". Do you still plan to come or is it as hard as before?

Well, after telling that I was totally sure that we would be there in 2009, you know that I'm a liar and what I said so far isn't true either! (Laughs). Let's call me again, and I will tell you the real story about it! (Laughs). That's really something we feel really bad about. We know that might have the most fans in France and that we have a number of fans in France who want us to go there. We have one guy who drove to Germany for one of our shows, he has driven seven hundred kilometers, watch the show, had a chat with us and then he drove the seven hundred kilometres again to go back home. This guy is awesome! This is what is good with that, no matter how hard the times are, this support... What more can you ask for? This is awesome! We feel it's our obligation to make sure that we will drive seven hundred kilometers to play for him! As I said before, a number of things didn't really go as planned for the last release. It started up before the release and continued after it. We were not happy with a lot of decisions that were being made and I guess the album was released in France, but it was released relatively late, we were thinking "we are gonna release and album, don't we need to do some promotion? So we know the fans and the fans get to know us..." They were, no, no, we're not gonna do this. Whatever the problem was, that was not what we had agreed on. We had a completely different agreement. You can probably imagine that we were very, very angry. It's normal that everything doesn't go the way you'd like it to go, but that was one of the low lines. It wasn't just for France... In France, at least, we released the album, but when you do something, you have to do it correctly or not do it at all! And that was just stupid... So this time, I cannot give you any date yet and not give you a year (laughs), but I say, if we don't come to France with "All Beauty Must Die"... what promise can I make, or what self-punishment can I do? (laughs). It's a must! And the good thing is that we have some people calling us on our agency, from France and telling us they want to bring the band over. That's why I'm very, very optimistic, that this time it's actually gonna happen. Then again, we have this freedom thing now, we don't have to go through somebody else. If we want to do it and a promoter in France wants to do it, we talk and find a common ground, it's going to happen. And it's not like we have a common ground, I told the record label that say: éno it's not gonna happen this wayé and then you have to start all over again. So it looks pretty good! And there is a number of clubs I would love to play at.

How do you want to end this interview?

I don't want to end it! (Laughs). First of all, thank you for taking the time, giving me the opportunity! We just hope that people will give the album a chance. If they decide that it's not their cup of tea, that's good, because music and art in general is a real personal and emotional thing. There is no wrong and no right. If somebody listens to the album and says "no, I don't like it at all", that's good and I applaude him for that because he gives us a try. Some people could say "oh, they have a female singer, or this drummer, this genre, a gothic metal touch, I'm not gonna listen to it"... If people try to be open, I'm sure they're gonna find something they're gonna like! (Laughs). I'm just hoping! (Laughs). The good thing is that we have a number of songs for free download on our website so if people don't feel too comfortable about throwing their money at us, buying the album, so they can see by themselves if there is something that might be for them, something they would like. That's why we put it on there, so people can get their own opinion, it could be interesting for them. Then, writing and recording an album is great and fun, but there is nothing better than being on stage and interacting with the fans! Meeting the fans after the show, it's just great! You go to different places in the world and meet people, who you have apparently no connection with and you talk with people and finally say "we're going to be back and we're going to meet each other again and chat some more" and that's the great thing about the internet because you can keep those relations up! Imagine, twenty years ago, a band was there and they had this nice chat with a fan and then they went back years after and had no contact... That's just sad! This is a great opportunity and that's why we try to build this kind of relationship and not just go, play and leave. Communicate with people and keep giving extra time and then once the extra time on the internet is over, we are back for another show, that's what this band is about! So hopefully, we will be able to start and have more relationship in France. That would be really, really good. I've been to shows of different bands in France, and I always liked it. I like how people behave after the show. At least, the audience is very, very friendly with musicians, always nice with the staff, to the crew, to the merch guys, I'm looking for things like this. So we want to play there! There are countries where people are throwing bottles at you when they are not happy (laughs) but what I see from France, I feel really comfortable about going and playing in France. Your reputation is really good (laughs) with bands outside of France and you can take it as a compliment, French readers! That's a long end! I told you, I don't want to end it, I just want to keep it on! (Laughs). It was definitely a pleasure for me!

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