EDGUY - Jens Ludwig Speaking
Jens Ludwig Speaking
Tekst av Pia Nordli, 8. desember 2005 -
It's not everyday I get to talk to a member of one of my favourite bands, and I have to say I was a bit nervous when my telephone rang 15.02 this cold Wednesday afternoon in December. But the nice voice in the other end that presented himself as Jens Ludwig, guitar player in Edguy, calmed me and we had a nice chat about the new album, the upcoming tour and some more personal related questions?
First of all, congratulations on your coming album, Rocket Ride, your 7th one, that is released on the 20th January. I've already heard it and it's a great album, I love it! What do you think, are you happy with the result? Yes, I'm pretty happy with it. I think everyone in the band is pretty happy with the result. Because it's some songs that did surprise even us, and I think it's very good to still have the ability to surprise people and to include new elements in the music and just don't copy your self all the time. We're pretty comfortable with the new album, and so far the reactions are good as well, so I can be pretty satisfied.
Personally I think Rocket Ride has that distinctive Edguy sound, but still it seems less power metal and more heavy metal, do you agree with that? Well, I would say it's maybe less speed tunes than in Hellfire Club, but if you compare it to albums like Mandrake, we had already there only 3-4 up-tempo songs, so well, I don't know, maybe we got a little bit bored of making only fast tracks. And we changed a lot of things concerning the way of recording and producing the album.
Yes, that leads me on to my next question. The production is excellent, I love that 70's sound! Tell me a bit about how you recorded it? Well, it's actually a way that was very common in the 70's. Cause we nrecorded the basics (bass, drums and rhythm guitar) of the songs live, and it came somehow by accident. This time was the first time that we worked with an external producer, Sascha Paeth, and when we were in his studio to record demo versions of the songs, just to show him what the songs are all about and work on the stuff, he recorded the stuff we played live and he just came into the recording room and said "Hey, guys, this is sounding awesome!" It had so much more energy than if you do it step by step, and he asked us if we wanted to do the whole recording live. Actually we were not prepared for doing this, but on the other hand we are a band that rehearses a lot, that means we're doing all the song writing in the rehearsing room, so for us it didn't make such a big difference if we're playing the songs in the rehearsing room or in the studio. We did that and that's maybe why it sounds so fresh and more down to earth. Besides that we also took a step back concerning technology, we recorded everything on analogue tapes, which in the digital century is not particularly common nowadays. It adds a certain warmth to it, it sounds somewhat deeper. And that was actually something we wanted to achieve.
Do you personally have any favourite songs on the album? Honestly it's changing day by day, or not really day by day, but from period to period. Right now we're in the middle of the rehearsing for the upcoming tour, and now I enjoy to play songs like Superheroes and Sacrifice. They are pretty much fun to play and I think they will sound great if we perform them live.
You never seem to lack the sense of humour that's clearly shown in your music, recently in the song Catch of the Century f.ex. Who's the director of all this madness? That's basically Tobi. If you listen to the lyrics of the song there's some ecstasy in the end. (hehe) We've always had that sense of humour, and through the last years I think we've just grown more self confident to show it and we're not afraid if the critics may say that it's not cool for a heavy metal band to have jokes on the album. We think it's a part of our soul and a part of our music and we're not afraid to show it.
Is it you that try to calm Tobi down in the end of that song? No, it's actually Sascha, the producer. This recording was the first take, so there was not much rehearsing on that one!
Another funny song on the album is Trinidad, you must have had so much fun recording it! Yeah, hehe, Caribbean metal. We tried to make a sounds that could have been in a bar or a beach bar, and we tried to make those sounds in the studio, and that took us a lot of beer to get that atmosphere on tape! hehe
It's a cool tune, and I have to admire you guys for daring to put it on a metal album, so why did you? Well, the right question would be; Why not? Hehe, we just thought it's a great track, it has a great hook line. When Tobi presented the song in the rehearsing room, none of us could get it out of our brain, and that's always a good sign if you have that kind of catchy melody. It's a funny track and I think it rocks in a certain way as well, so there was no reason for us to not put it on the album.
Now to the cover, which also stands out from all your previous ones, with the cartoon images etc. What's the idea behind it? To have an outstanding cover artwork. Besides that, on the Superheroes EP it was the first time we had comic style on an album cover. We've had comic style pictures before, on merchandise, but this time the guy who did the cover, came up with the idea to paint the band as superheroes. So we thought, why not use it as a cover, because it stands out and since we liked that cover that much we asked him to do the album cover for Rocket Ride as well. There's a kind of a red line between those two releases, the same recording sessions and the same style of cover artwork, the same kind of music. Well, as you said, it's just different from that usual metal covers with dragons and warriors and whatever. So I think the artwork on Rocket Ride fits perfect to the album. We're fine with it.
Ok, I'm just curious here, cause I like your music videos a lot. Will there be any more music videos from Rocket Ride besides Superheroes? I don't know. I think the record company said no. That would be too expensive. Shooting Superheroes cost a lot of money and we spent a lot of money on our own. Because we wanted to have it as good as possible. But the music stations here in Germany didn't like it, it's not played anywhere! They say it's not cool enough, at least not in their eyes. Of course it's not cool, it's funny and ridiculous.
On the Superheroes dvd, which were released in September, there wasn't that much live recordings as the fans have hoped for. I heard there was an accident with the recordings from the live shows in Brazil? Yes, that's right. Actually the plan was to release a full concert dvd. But as you mentioned there was some technical problems during the recording. In fact, some of the cameras broke down so the rest of the material wasn't as good as we would expect it to be if we should release it. But we wanted to release a dvd, and everyone kept asking for it, so we thought that it would be a good compromise, to release a dvd, which was also sold at a price for a dvd single. And I think especially all the bonus material makes it worth it, I think the most funny part of a dvd is the bonus material.
So we can expect a live dvd from you in the future? Yes, of course. I'm pretty sure that we will shoot some shows on the upcoming tour. Then we'll try for the 3rd time to release a full concert dvd! Hopefully it will work out this time.
Ok, well, now on to some more personal questions, hehe. Well, not THAT personal! hehe, if it's too personal I will hang up.
No problem! hehe...There's no doubt that you are a very skilful guitar player, but who's YOUR greatest guitar hero? My greatest guitar hero?!? Oh, at the moment it's hard to say, but at least I can say who brought me to this kind of music, my first idol and the first person I looked up to was Kai Hansen. And that's for serveral reasons, first of all he's a good technical guitar player, but he's not only playing, you know like.... There are a lot of really good technical guitar players, like Yngwie Malmsteen, who's very technical, they can play fast, they can play fast, hehe, but they miss a certain kind of feeling. And that's what Kai has, he combines pretty good the technical aspects and a lot of rock 'n' roll feeling, and that's what I really enjoy. Nowadays I really look up to people who have a great tone, who can express feelings, like Pitrelli of Savatage. I like his style very much. But on the other hand, there are so many great guitar players, so it's really hard to pick one as an idol.
Any particular band that have inspired you more than others? Yeah, I have to say Scorpions. They were the first band that brought me to rock and metal music.
What's your favourite band? Oh, I would say overall it's bands like AC/DC and Iron Maiden.
Do you remember the first metal concert you attended to? Yes, I do. I was 11 or 12 years old, and the German band Access played in my home town and I had a couple of tapes with them and wanted to go to this concert. But of course since I was that young my parents didn't want me to go alone there, so I had to convince my oldest sister to go there with me. It was pretty funny, and if I think back I was pretty scared by all those longhaired guys that wore a lot of leather and chains and all that. As a 12 year old boy that scared me a little bit. By the time I think I got used to it, hehe.
What was your first metal album? Yeah, that was Scorpions, World Wide Live.
If you could choose any band, existing or not, to do a concert together with, with Edguy, who would that be and why? Oh, I think that would be AC/DC. They could open up for us if they asked kindly. Hehe, no, maybe The Beatles would be interesting, but only in the time that they were still, around, it would been exiting to hear all the screaming girls back then, hehe.
But I know there are a lot of screaming girls at your shows too, hehe! Yeah, but I think it's a different atmosphere, hehe.
Well, that's all I have for now, thanks a lot for your time, Jens, it's been a pleasure! I hope to see you in Gothenburg in February. It seems like you're not going to play in Norway this year either, so? I really don't know. We've been playing in Norway two times, a long time ago now. We leave those things up to the booking agency, but we would love to come back to Norway and play again. And then you didn't have to travel to Sweden to see a concert!
But until then, Jens, Merry Christmas and a promising new year for "Rocket Ride", Edguy and the upcoming tour! Keep on rockin'!!!