You are halfway through the tour with Powerwolf, how has it been going so far?
So far it's been really awesome, as always. We were on tour with them in October/November as well and it almost felt like holiday for me. 'Cause as an opening band, I mean playing for 40 minutes, it's like a warm-up and when I go off stage, I'm still like totally full of energy and don't know where to go with all that shit. So, it's always easy going and the guys are nice and the crowds are awesome. We're really looking forward to the first gig in Scotland tonight.
Your new album "Ecstasy" was out six months ago so, you've probably read tons of reviews by now. Are you happy with the overall response?
Absolutely, absolutely! It's definitely the best album so far when it comes to what people say. All the numbers and everything looks real positive. So, we think we took the right step.
As far as I'm concerned it's the first album you guys produced yourselves so, why didn't you want to work with an external producer this time around?
Yeah, it's the second actually... The one before "Generation Goodbye" we already did on our own, well, at least Johannes did, he's also a producer and writes most of the songs and he's a mastermind, you know? It's really good to have him in this band. I live with him now and we work in the same studio so, we have a studio for our own and it's quite easy to produce now on our own. It's not like, "OK guys, we have six weeks of studio booking and we should finish the album." I sit on the couch on Saturday and it's raining and I go in the studio and work for the band. It's luxury.
Whose idea was the cover art, which is basically a black and white photo of a model? Is there some meaning behind it?
Well, we wanted to have something timeless this time for this album and girls and rock and roll are always a good idea, ha-ha! So yeah, we did that photo shoot with the band and with her actually the whole day. It was really cool time, listening to awesome music the whole day and we just went through different poses and everything. The first idea was just to have a girl on the cover, but we didn't know how so, we took a lot of pictures and as we saw that picture we all went, "Yeah, that's the one!" So, that's why on all posters and everything she's always a little different, it's different pictures.
It looks like "I've Got the Fire" is one of your favourite tracks, because you opened the album with it and you also shot a video clip for it?
Yeah, absolutely. I think it's like all in a nutshell kind of thing, it's got that stadium part and it goes up and down all the time. Yeah, I think it basically represents the album very well.
And who is the girl who sang the duet in the title track with Johannes? Their voices work really well together...
It's Anna Brunner. She's from Exit Eden, a German band, it's four singers, female fronted and one is from Brazil, one is from France... And she's Johannes' girlfriend actually, ha-ha! So, we've known her for quite a long time now and it's two awesome voices, what a couple, those two voices together. I'm jealous, ha-ha!
You did some orchestral arrangements for "Heart of Stone". Did you do it all by yourselves or did you work with a composer?
It was a guy from Vienna actually, he took the whole song and changed it for the orchestra. He's actually worked with Disturbed on "Sound of Silence", he did all the arrangements.
You recently shot another video clip, for the cover of Powerwolf's "Let There Be Night". Why not another of your own songs?
Yeah, it was Powerwolf's idea actually to do that. Somebody said, "We want to have you guys in the video for our song." And you don't say no if Powerwolf ask you to do stuff like that, ha-ha! So, it was pretty cool. And it was fun, I mean spending your day in a bar with nice girls and music.
Now, it's not a common case that a drummer writes most of the lyrics for a band. So, how did it come about that Andi became the main lyricist?
Yeah, he's always had pretty cool pictures in his mind. I've known him now for 18 years I think, we've been together since school when we were 10, and he was always good at stuff where you need to write a lot of things and I always sucked at that, I was more of a mathematics/physics guy and he always wrote nice texts and stuff. And so it was quite clear that he should write lyrics for our band. We formed when we were 10 years old, on the schoolyard, ha-ha! Johannes writes most of the music and everything but Andi is just like a really good writer.
OK, let's go back in time a little bit. Why did you name the band after an AC/DC song?
We were searching for a long time for a good band name and then once Andi's mobile phone was ringing and the ringtone was "Kissin' Dynamite". I didn't know that song actually... So, we we're discussing a little bit and then we decided we should call the band like that. I think it fits very well, because you know, we have ballads but we also have power, exploding songs, so that works actually quite perfect.
You've got some '70s hard rock influences in your music, some US glam metal, traditional British metal and you've got some weird experiments on the "Megalomania" album. Would you say that at this stage of your career you have already found your sound and style or are you still searching?
I think it's a journey, it's not a destination. I mean, AC/DC, they invented that shit for sure and they stayed almost the same and it's a good idea. But I think there's also bands who develop all the time. Like Mötley Crüe, they always sounded different from album to album. But let's see, I don't know yet. We haven't written any songs for the new record yet, but I think we'll start in the summer. Last time we didn't have any plan at the beginning, just writing, writing and seeing how it feels and how it comes along and probably it will be the same this time.
When I first saw your live, you guys must have been like 17 or 18, it was at Bang Your Head festival 10 years ago, right after you released your debut album. So, how much would you say you have matured since that time as songwriters and live performers?
I think we were too young back then. I mean it was awesome and I wouldn't want to change anything, but we were really not thinking much about what we were doing, you know? We were just doing it and now we know what we're doing. I think that's the main difference. And I've got black hair now, ha-ha! Andy went up to like forty plus kilos of muscle because he was the tiniest of us all now he's the biggest, ha-ha! Yeah, but the line-up didn't change, still the same five friends, from the beginning.
Yeah, that's my next question, how is that possible, still the same five guys for so many years?
It's hard work. It's like in a relationship. You have a lot in common, but you have to work on that relationship to keep it going. I mean, we've been through hard times in our youth when we were 16, 17 and we went through all the shit all together, you know? I didn't go out a lot with other people because we were always on tour or in a rehearsal room so they're my closest friends. And that's what makes it really special, to go on tour because it's like, you know when you meet your best friends once a year for a party it always goes crazy, and you meet every time on the show and we're always going crazy. But yeah, it was like becoming family.
So, what do you guys do beside the band, because I don't suppose you are able to make a living from music just yet?
Yeah, we also have different jobs. Like Johannes and I are producers, we work in a studio and we write a lot of songs for different artists. I mean, people told me I should do something to earn money, to do something normal besides the band so I thought about it, "What about becoming a producer?" you know? It's still quite risky, but I love it. And all the other guys are also working normal jobs beside.
All right, last question. After this tour as an opening act you are hitting the road again, this time as a headliner. Will it be easier or harder for you? I mean people will be coming to shows specifically for you, but with headlining shows there also comes more responsibility...
I don't think so, because I'm totally into enjoying everything, you know? And I'm really looking forward to playing the whole two hour set and going crazy and putting out more ballads because on this tour we couldn't play ballads at all, because I mean in 40 minutes, you don't have time for ballads, and I'm really looking forward to it because it's a big part of us. And we're coming out with a piano and shit. And I don't care actually how many people are there and for whom because I always play like everyone comes for me and when the concert is finished they need to think Kissin' Dynamite was great. And the same on festivals, it's your spot, it's you show, you have to convince people. I mean it's a bit boring when everybody comes for you because, you know, they like you already, so it's not that hard. But for sure, when the audience is eating out of your hand from the first moment of the gig, it's magic, and it's why you are doing this. But at the moment as we're touring as an opening act with Powerwolf, my brain is totally into pulling people to us and gaining more fans.