First off I just wanted to say congratulations on your 10th studio album release! (Space Police – Defenders of the Crown) It’s been 22 years since you guys have been doing music. How do you feel about being #2 on the official German album charts and reaching the best overall internationally with this record over previous albums?
Jens: Well the meaning of chart positions is really going down now days. Since record sales are going down, it’s nice to say to yourself, well I’ve been number two on the German album charts, but what really counts, and what really matters now days is how many people come to your show. What I can so far, the presales for the European tour are pretty good so far. So finally when we start touring we are really going to see how much the people appreciate the album and how many people really know about the album. But chart positions may be just for the ego. What really counts is what’s really happening on tour.
Speaking of the album, what was the writing process this time around? Was it different after being together for years or did you do anything special to prepare yourself for the studio?
Jens: Not really. I mean everybody’s trying to get better on his own instrument, rehearsing at home, trying to improve the performance, but that’s what everyone is doing individually. The band this time around, different compared to previous albums was that the song writing has been done really, really quick. Tobey (Tobias Sammet) came home from the Avantasia tour and we met in September or late August the first time. Then we decided to go into the studio in November, so we had about eight to ten weeks to write the complete album. We took it as a challenge and we thought if it doesn’t work out, we still have every opportunity to postpone the album so there would be no hurry. We took it as positive stress. The good thing about this, due to this tight time schedule, you don’t have time to over-think and rethink too much. Everything is happening very spontaneous. When you finish one part you move onto the next one. That’s maybe why the album is so fresh in my opinion.
The album title is a double title that you guys decided to go with. Edguy has always been “tongue-in-cheek” with your lyrics which I’ve always found to be great. What do you mean by this “Defenders of the Crown” title?
Jens: Well the Defenders of the Crown, actually the song title and also the album title, talking about the band a little bit says irony. Now days in heavy metal you have so many restrictions. When we started making this kind of music, heavy metal and rock n’ roll was all about freedom. That was the spirit that we grew up with; talking about heavy metal and rock and roll and now days you have a lot of restrictions there. People expect you to be as different as they want you to be. In our opinion we think we can carry on the spirit of true heavy metal, as many people would say we are the totally opposite of being a true heavy metal band.
You did a cover of Rock Me Amadeus by Falco. How did you feel about Tobias' “rapping” for the song?
Jens: I love it. I really love it, especially the part at the end of the second verse. At the end of the whole song, even in the verses when he is rapping, I call it the “real Tobey” coming through with a few words. I really love those parts.
With the success you have had over the years, you and your other band mates came up with the name Edguy when you were young. I’ve read briefly somewhere that you came up with that name from a math teacher you once had. Where exactly did this influence come for the name Edguy?
Jens: The information is correct. Actually when we started the band we were 14 years old, so pretty unexperienced in looking for names for a heavy metal band so maybe that’s one reason why we decided for Edguy. But seriously, we had a teacher named Edgar. I don’t know what we had smoked or what happened to our brains, for some reason we thought it might be a funny idea to call the band Edguy. We stuck to it. We did one album, we did another album, and suddenly it was too late to change the name anymore and now we have to live with it. At least it’s a very unique name. No other heavy metal band would have been as stupid as we were (laughs).
With the band, people like to throw around genres to label you guys at times. You have been labeled three main ones which include glam, but most of all heavy and power metal. How has the band evolved from the early years to now? Is it still a combination like people say or do you describe Edguy as its own genre?
Jens: I agree with you in terms that it is hard to put one label on the band. As you said, some call it glam rock, some call it hard rock, some call it power metal, but there’s never only one label. When we started the band, we were very limited in terms of the ability in playing our instruments. In this case through the years, we’ve had the opportunity to include more and more styles, and to explore ourselves, which was for us, very interesting. For the open minded people, I think it was interesting as well to see how the band evolved, how we tried to manage to include new elements, but still sound like Edguy. I’m pretty sure we are going to keep on doing it that way because we still haven’t reached everything, not successful wise, but music wise. There’s still a lot of things we want to try out and explore, looking for other challenges. Doing this cover version of Rock Me Amadeus was a huge challenge, especially for Tobey. First, to get the accent, and then figure out the vocal lines. That’s what keeps making music interesting for us, and how we can enjoy making music and I think that’s what people realize.
I really like the song Do me like a Caveman. I read into the booklet and the description of the song says that you and Tobias have been like fire and water during album recordings or ideas for the music. Has every album been like that together or was this one particularly smoother or tougher?
Jens: Actually this song was pretty tough. Usually we get along pretty well. With this song it really was really a little bit difficult. I presented it to Tobey and first you only have a guitar riff or idea that you are talking about. From the very beginning when worked on the song, we had two totally different pictures in mind. The basic idea was the same, besides that, we had totally different pictures of the song. We worked side by side, everyone was working with his version, and at the end it crashed. Everyone thought we were talking about the same thing all the time, but was not.
When it comes to the album cover and others you've done in the past, particularly Rocket Ride which is very colorful, how did the artwork come to be for your latest record?
Jens: We definitely wanted to have an eye catcher. We wanted to have something people will talk about and something that people will remember. We came up with the idea to have, since the album was called Space Police, a space cop fighting an alien. This 70s porn star Burt Reynolds look alike we thought was something really great. Whether they like the cover or not, they definitely will remember the cover artwork.
Being a fellow guitarist, I was wondering where did most of your influence come from when you started Edguy? Whether that be other artists or life experiences.
Jens: The first time that I came in touch with rock n’ roll and heavy music was when the scrutiny of my older sister gave me a tape. The tape was the Scorpion’s World Wide Live and when I listen to this kind of music, I really love the energy. When I listen to Coming Home, I would get goose bumps still. That’s how I started to dive more into music. I had a grandfather who wanted his grandchildren to learn an instrument and I decided for the guitar. I saw pictures of Angus Young going crazy on stage and I thought for myself that’s something I could do as well and that’s how the story started.
You are about to start your Space Police World Tour soon. Is there any song that you are really excited to play live from the new album?
Jens: We have decided which songs we are going to play live. I personally and would really love to play the last song, The Eternal Wayfarer because it has a lot of different elements. I would really love the challenge of doing the vocal parts with four members singing than a real choir. That could be another great challenge I think.
Thank you so much for taking the time for our readers and us here at MetalReviews.com to talk. Is there anything you would like to say to our readers speaking of any upcoming shows or the album?
Jens: First of all, everyone who supported us, thank you very much. Everyone who hated us, also thank you very much because you make people talk about us. Besides that, check out the new album and if you like it, you can support us and if you don’t like it, please go to any forum or guestbook and spend your whole day talking shit about us. It keeps life interesting...at least our life (laughs).