VAN CANTO: ‘Zelo smo veseli, da se je vse dobro izteklo in da smo za ta album imeli kar tri glavne vokale!’

Van Canto (Foto PROMO)

Nemški “a cappella” metal vizionarji Van Canto so 4. junija 2021 izdali osmi studijski album ‘To the Power of Eight’, ki vključuje štiri priredbe (Amon Amarth, Iron Maiden, AC/DC in Queen). Z nami se je pogovarjal Stefan Schmidt, ki je član zasedbe od leta 2006 in skrbi za vokale nižje kitare, solo kitare in vokal z efektom distorzije.

Seznam skladb:

1. To The Power Of Eight
2. Dead by the Night
3. Faith Focus Finish
4. Falling Down
5. Heads Up High
6. Raise Your Horns
7. Turn Back Time
8. Run to the Hills
9. Hardrock Padlock
10. Thunderstruck
11. From the End
12. I Want It All

Več o novem albumu lahko preberete TUKAJ.

ROCKER.SI: Živjo, ekipa, kaj je novega v Nemčiji?

VAN CANTO:  Živjo! Počasi postaja bolje! Zunaj je sončno in pandemija se zaustavlja, kar je oboje dobro.

ROCKER.SI: Pred kratkim ste izdali osmi studijski album z naslovom ‘The the Power of the Eight’, ki vključuje avtorske skladbe in štiri priredbe. Vedno ste bili močni v priredbah, ampak se lahko pohvalite tudi z močno lastno glasbo. Tokrat si ti pisal melodije, kajne? Od kje si črpal in kako je prišlo do albuma, vodi me skozi proces od nabiranja idej do realizacije.

VAN CANTO: Od kod prihaja glasba? To je tisto, kar je najbolj vznemirljivo zame kot avtorja. Naša pesem ‘Falling Down’ se posebej ukvarja s to tematiko, s kreativo, navdihom in tem, da enostavno ni mogoče napovedati, kdaj bo prišla nova melodija. To mi je všeč pri glasbi. ‘To the Power of Eight’ ni tako drugačen album od naših prejšnjih, večina idej izvira iz posameznih riffov na kitari, mogoče kakšen akord na klavirju in nato začnemo pisati pesmi, postavljati aranžmaje, snemati in miksati. Tokrat se je proces začel decembra 2019 in februarja 2021 smo zaključili. Pandemija nas je upočasnila, zato smo moral studijska snemanja malce bolje organizirati, kot smo vajeni, ampak nam je pandemija namenila več časa za umirjeno produkcijo.

ROCKER.SI: Priredili ste skladbe Amon Amarth, Iron Maiden, AC/DC in Queen. So to zasedbe, ki so trenutno na tvojem seznamu predvajanja?

VAN CANTO: Zame so to skupine, ki so tudi moji najljubši bendi. Drugače pa so mi všeč tudi Flotsam&Jesam, novi Helloween in album Kee Marcello projekta, ki nosi naslov ‘Out of his World’.

ROCKER.SI: Prvi singel ‘Falling Down’ je močna pesem z močnim videospotom, mi lahko poveš kaj več o snemanju? Ste morali “igrati” ob playbacku ali ste dejansko peli, ko ste snemali video?

VAN CANTO: Malo obojega. Seveda je tisto, kar slišite, studijska produkcija, in ko smo snemali, smo posnetke vrteli kar se da glasno, kar pa ne pomeni, da ne pojemo v videospotu (smeh). Video ekipa je bila presenečena in navdušena, kako glasno smo peli skupaj s predvajano glasbo. Odločili smo se, da bomo v videospotu stali na odru, saj smo želeli poustvariti občutke s koncertov, glede na to, da pravih koncertov trenutno ne moremo imeti.

ROCKER.SI: Čeprav ste označeni za “a cappella” zasedbo, uporabljate bobne za efekt, je bila ta odločitev pomembna za vas? Da ne uporabljate beatboxa ali vokalnih perkusij?

VAN CANTO: Prej smo vsi igrali v standardnih metal bendih, tako da nimamo ozadja iz “a cappella” scene. Leta 2006 smo želeli ustvariti nekaj vokalno usmerjenega, in ko smo snemali več in več glasov, je padla ideja o “a cappella” zasedbi. Bobni nikoli niso bili mišljeni kot del “a cappella”, ampak sem vesel, da smo se tako odločili.

ROCKER.SI: Kje načrtujete, da bo igrali največ, ko bo situacija ugodna? Prebral sem, da ste zelo popularni v Južni Ameriki, domovini vašega člana Inga. Kakšna je bila ta izkušnja za vas? Lahko primerjaš publiko v ZDA in v Evropi? V smislu vaših poslušalcev?

VAN CANTO: Res smo blagoslovljeni glede nastopov, ki jih imamo. Ne samo v Južni Ameriki, kjer je bil neverjetno, ampak tudi v Rusiji, Avstraliji, pa da ne pozabim festivala 70000 Tons of Metal in tako dalje. Nimam občutka, da so poslušalci tako zelo različni po svetu, gre za dokaj podobno publike, skupni faktor za vse pa je seveda naša skupina Van Canto. Ampak publike v Evropi in v Južni Ameriki so bile najglasnejše do zdaj, ko pride do petja.

ROCKER.SI: Vaše sodelovanje z Napalm Records je kar obsežno. Kaj je tisto, zaradi česar ste se odločili ostati z njimi?

VAN CANTO: Nikoli nismo dobili občutka, da bi morali kaj spremeniti ali oditi, tako da nam je všeč, da imamo tako dolgo razmerje.

ROCKER.SI: Kako ste organizirali snemanje tokrat, glede na pandemijo? Je vplival na vas osebno?

VAN CANTO: Kot sem rekel že prej, smo se morali predvsem bolje organizirati. Ravno ko smo snemali bobne, je udarila pandemija, potem pa smo za vse ostale posnetke delali po en vokal naenkrat v mojem studiu, tako kot smo to počeli pri prejšnjih albumih. Zame osebno je bilo težko, kot tudi za mnoge druge, ampak na srečo živim v kraju, kjer so dobre okoliščine. Nisem imel nobenih zdravstvenih težav, niti moji prijatelji ali družina.

ROCKER.SI: Kako ohranjate v formi vaše glasove? Je bilo letos težje kot prej?

VAN CANTO: Najboljši način za to je snemanje novega albuma Van Canto. Posneli smo TOLIKO glasov, da smo MORALI biti v formi.

ROCKER.SI: Dennis “Sly” Schunke je zapustil skupino leta 2017. Najprej me zanima več glede njegova odhoda in pa kako to, da se je vrnil kot gost za ta album? Sklepam, da ne bo ostal?

VAN CANTO: Razlog za odhod je bil ta, da ni mogel biti z nami kot profesionalni glasbenik na turneji, vsaj ne za polni delovni čas. Zato je odšel leta 2017. Ampak za snemanje, sploh če snemamo skozi daljše časovno obdobje, pa se lahko vrne kot gost. Zelo smo veseli, da se je vse dobro izteklo in da smo za ta album imeli kar tri glavne vokale!

ROCKER.SI: Izdali ste ‘Dead by the Night’ skupaj z animacijo, odličen singel in zelo dobro delo pri videospotu, kdo vam je pomagal? Lahko poveš več o pomembnosti grafike in video podobe za zasedbo? Se med člani pogovarjate o možnih videzih in animacijah, kako deluje ta dinamika?

VAN CANTO: Hvala! Video je naredil Andy iz verymetalart. Odlično mu je uspelo. Zaupali smo mu zgolj glasbo, besedila in glavno sporočilo, ki smo ga želeli prenesti na poslušalce. Najpomembnejše za razumevanje skupine Van Canto pa so še vedno skladbe. Grafična podobna je bolj kot ne spremljevalec za tiste, ki želijo poslušati celoten album in bi radi zraven še kaj pogledali. Slikovno gradivo, fotografije, objavljena besedila, vse te stvari pomagajo, da poslušalec uživa ob poslušanju albuma. – upamo, da še posebej našega (smeh). Hvala, da si izkazal interes za Van Canto in vse dobro želim!


*Angleška verzija intervjuja

ROCKER.SI: Hello, guys, how is life in Germany?

VAN CANTO: Hey there, getting better! It’s sunny outside and pandemic slows down, which both are good things.

ROCKER.SI: You just released your eighth studio album called ‘To The Power of Eight’, which includes own songs and four cover tracks. Covers have always been your strong suit, but you have also great strong music yourself. This time around it was you, Stefan, who wrote the music. Where did all this music come from, how did the album happen? Talk me through the process when you first started gathering ideas for the songs that later became an album.

VAN CANTO: Where does music come from? This is the most exciting thing for me as a songwriter. Our song »Falling Down« especially deals with that subject, with creativity, inspiration and that you can not tell when a new melody or idea enters your brain. That’s what I love most about making music. »To the Power of Eight« was not so different from our former albums, most of the ideas arise from playing some riffs on guitar, or some chords on piano and then we start writing songs, arranging them, recording and mixing them. This time this process started in December 2019 and in February 2021 we finished the mix. Panemic slowed some things down, and we had to organize our studio recordings a bit more compared to usual, but it also gave us more time for a relaxed production.

ROCKER.SI: You covered Amon Amarth, Iron Maiden, ACDC and Queen. Which bands can we find on your playlist this moment?

VAN CANTO: Personally, the bands we are covering are also my private favourite bands. Apart from that, I currently love the new Flotsam&Jetsam, the new Helloween and the new album from Kee Marcello’s project »Out of this world«.

ROCKER.SI: Your first single is called ‘Falling Down’, powerfull song, with also powerfull video, can you tell me something about the video production? Did you have to “act” with the playback or did you actually sing when you were filming it?

VAN CANTO: A little bit of both. Of course what you are hearing is the studio production, and we also played it really loud while performing, but this does not mean we are not singing during the videos, haha. In fact, the video crew seemed quite impressed on how loud we sang along with our own stuff.
We decided for a stage environment for the videos to at least have and transport some live feelings in times where »real« gigs where not allowed.

ROCKER.SI: Although you are classified as “a cappella” ensemble, you also use drums for an effect, was that decision important for you – so you don’t use beatbox or vocal percussion?

VAN CANTO: We all played in regular metal bands before, so we do not have any background in the a cappella scene. We just wanted to do something vocal oriented back then in 2006, and while recording more and more voices, the idea grew to make it a cappella. The drums were never meant to be a cappella, and I am happy for that decision ever since.

ROCKER.SI: Where do you plan to perform the most, when the situation is right? I’ve read you also played in South America, homelad of Ingo, how was that experience for you? Can you compare USA and Europe in terms of fans of your music?

VAN CANTO: We feel really blessed about all the shows we were allowed to play, not only in South America, which was incredible, but also Russia, Australia, 70k tons, and so on. I do not have the feeling that fans are so different around the world, I guess they are comparable at least in the sense that they are Van Canto fans. But south European and south american audiences have been the loudest so far in terms of singing along.

ROCKER.SI: Your collaboration with Napalm Records is quite extensive, What is it about them that you decided to stay?

VAN CANTO: We never had the feeling we should leave or change anything, so it is cool to have such a long lasting relationship.

ROCKER.SI: Was the recording of your latest album in any way affected by the current situation with Covid-19? And if, how? What about you personally?

VAN CANTO: Well, as I said earlier, we had to organize a bit more. During drum recording times, pandemic had took a small break, and for all other recordings we recorded the different singers one after another in my studio, just as we had done in our previous albums. For me personally, it was of course a challenging time like for many others, but I am happy to live in very, very good circumstances on the countryside here in Germany and luckily had no health issues within my friends or family.

ROCKER.SI: How do you keep your voices in shape? Was it harder in the last year?

VAN CANTO: Recording a Van Canto album is a perfect way to do that, you record SO many voices, you HAVE to stay in shape.

ROCKER.SI: Dennis “Sly” Schunke left the band in 2017, and firstly I want to know more about his leaving, and secondly, how did it happen that he returned for this album? This time around as a guest male vocalist, so I’m guessing he won’t be staying?

VAN CANTO: The reasons for him not to be able to be a full time professional touring musicians haven’t changed. That is the reason why he left back in 2017. But for recordings, especially if they take place over a longer period of time, it was doable to organize his guest appearance, and we are very happy it worked out so well with three lead singers on this album.

ROCKER.SI: Five days ago you released ‘Dead By The Night’ with video animation, great single and very good video artwork, who helped you with it? Can you talk about the importance of artwork for a band? Do you get together and discuss the possible artwork or how does this dinamics work?

VAN CANTO: Thank you. The video was done by Andy from verymetalart. He did a fantastic job, his briefing only contained the music, the lyrics and what message we generally want to spread with our music. I think the most important thing for understanding Van Canto are our own songs. The artwork is more a companion for all those who want to listen to the entire album and want to have something to look at while doing so. Artwork, great photos, reading along the lyrics – all these things help to have a good time while listening to an album, and hopefully especially ours, of course. Thanks for your interest in Van Canto and all the best.