Van Canto

Interview date

Février 2010




Interview Stefan Schmidt

In two and a half years, you released two albums, did sixty gigs, played in Wacken, played with Nightwish, Rage and others, so we can say you've been known quite fast! Don't you have a lot of pressure with this album and Van Cantos' future?

No. A good thing concerning this band is that we are able to be happy about everything good that happens to us. Having played in "unknown" metal bands for about fifteen years we enjoy every gig, every studio-session and every fan loving our music. It's a great gift and we are excited about everything to come.

How can you definite "Tribe of Force"?

We call our style hero metal a cappella. And that's what "Tribe of Force" is all about: heroic compositions, lots of vocals and a powerful metal sound.

As usual, there are covers on this album. What is the importance of doing covers for you?

Covers are part of our live shows. Therefore we wanted to put the strongest ones on a record. On "Hero" we had five own songs and five covers. With "Tribe of Force" we wanted to focus more on own songs again, like we did on our debut album "A storm to come". Nevertheless we choose two covers. "Rebellion" because it's a great song and because we had the opportunity to work with the original singer who did a great job. "Master of puppets" defines a new degree of heaviness in our style.

A thing, which is special on your cover of "Master of Puppets", is that the voice looks a little bit like James Hetfields'one while it's not the case on the others songs. How do you explain that?

Well, it's a Metallica cover version, haha. To be honest we do not try to imitate anyone when covering a song but it's a natural thing that you perform a cover song the way you have listened to it over years and years.

There are some guitars on "Tribe of Force" and even some orchestrations (on "Magic Taborea" for example). Why did you choose to insert others instruments than voices and drum?

There is only one guitar. In "One To Ten" where Victor Smolski is doing a guitar solo duell with me as the guitar solo singer. The rest you hear is pure Voices. Concern "Magic Taborea" we thought it would be a great idea to combine strong voices and drums with orchestra. We are very happy with the result.

Tony Kakko, Victor Smolski and Chris Boltendahl are the guests of this album. How did you get these ideas of collaboration?

We asked them, and they said YES, haha! Chris and Grave Digger are with the same record company, Tony's manager is a friend of our booker and Victor recorded with Charlie in Blind Guardian Studios, just like we did. So we got in contact easily and all of them were quickly willing to participate. They did a great job and enhance the power of the album.

On the limited edition, there is a DVD with your performance at the Wacken Open Air fest 2008. Was it a consecration for you so you release your show?

Of course Wacken is the best metal festival in the world. We enjoyed our show a lot and so we thought it's a good idea to release this material together with "Tribe of Force".

When we know what you do, we can think it's not easy to get into your music, but "Tribe of Force" is an album we listen to with a lot of fun. Aren't afraid that people don't get attention to the albums you do because of this particular music you do?

I think it's more the other way around: there are many people who like our music and tell us that they usually do not listen to metal bands. So it looks like we make music for metal fans and for those who didn't knew they were one.

Your two others albums will be re-release the same day as "Tribe of Force". Why do you re-release them?

They have never been released outside germany so we thought this is the right time.

How did you get the idea of doing "A Cappela Metal"?

After the split of my former band I wanted to do something vocal oriented. It was started as a project and we didn't know that it would turn out to be a metal a cappella band in the end. But of course now we are very happy with it.

How do you work the compositions of your songs?

Just like a regular band would do. We have a melody or some chords on piano or a cool riff on guitar. After the song structure is done, we arrange the song into metal a cappella.

You have a very unique style. How do you assume your particularity?

We do metal a cappella. If you can put the uniqueness of a band into three words you did something right, haha.

What is very surprising in your music, it's that you have a real power metal sound without using metal instruments. How do you train your voice to do that and do you need a lot of training hours to master a song?

Basically it isn't that different. The guitar sounds are just like a metal singer like James Hetfield sings, only one or two octaves lower. Of course it's like sports, especially when you are on stage and have to sing ninety minutes without long breath breaks.

Do you think it's easier to renew your style with the music you do, or do you think it can be incapacitating to evolve?

There is still a lot of potential in our way of performing metal music. Just be excited! There is more to come.

The dates, which are announced, are only in Germany. Is a world tour or a European one plan?

We are currently negotiating some European festivals and try to do some worldwide gigs later 2010.

I thank you for this interview and your answers! I let you the final words!

Thanks for your interest in Van Canto. Visit us on our shows or in the web. Rakkatakka.