Interview by Miriam C.
As you have already discovered, the moment is quite delicate for Mannheim based symphonic metal band Beyond the Black because the whole band split up by making, de facto, singer Jennifer Haben, the only remaining original member since the band inception back in 2014 and all this happened during the promotion for their second full-lenght “Lost in Forever” released back in February via Airforce 1 Records/Universal Music. I can’t hide that it took some effort to get this interview but without some sacrifice you don’t achieve anything and on top of that, by reading Jennifer‘s words I get that she’s struggling really hard for this situation but she hasn’t given up to her dream and she’s already re-grouping BTB new line up for the upcoming German tour in November. Without further ado, here what’s said about the whole circumstance…
Hi dear Jennifer, welcome back to Femme Metal Webzine, how are you?
I’m good, thank you! 🙂
Beyond the Black is unstoppable and you’re relentlessly on tour. Besides this, you’ve released in February the second full-length “Lost in Forever”, what could you share about its genesis?
First of all, “Lost in Forever” was a really fast process. We have had so many shows between the first and the second album, so we made many recordings in the tourbus or backstage. Also at this tour we met my duet partner Rick Altzi because Masterplan was the special guest there. We travelled together in one bus and they drank us under the table everyday, which was a little bit embarrassing for us… We still have to learn a lot. 😉 In a nutshell, it was an extremely busy but great time peaking in the result that Rick sang “Beautiful Lies” with me.
You never change a winning team, right? So, you worked again with your fellow mentor/producer Sascha Paeth, did you notice any difference from the last time and how did he assist you?
One thing I always have to highlight about Sascha is that he is one of the greatest persons I met in this business! It’s awesome to have the opportunity to work with him. The only difference between the first and the second album was that we already knew each other better – personally as well as in professional matters. Every writing session leads to a better understanding of each other’s preferences, strengths and weaknesses and that’s an amazing process, which adds on to the music we create together. I’m feeling really well working with Sascha and hope this will go on for many years.
Did you feel that this time “Lost in Forever” was more than a team effort compared to the debut? In addition to the previous question, if you could draw a parallel between “Songs of Love and Death” and “Lost in Forever”, how do you think your approach changed since then?
Yes, it was. I was the only one to work on the first Beyond the Black album at the beginning of 2014. I met the boys in the middle of 2014 when everything already was in progress. That’s the big difference to the second album, where we already had formed a team and it felt like a true band. That’s what influenced the whole process on a subliminal level. The parallel I can draw between those albums is the variety of songs – the amount of Beyond the Black‘s different facets that merge in one album. At the second album we somehow risked more to check out what works best for us and our fans. So perhaps that will have effects on our work for the third album.
It’s recent news that unfortunately you and the whole band split-up. It’s not the place nor the time for being argumentative and I think that sometimes it’s better to not air your dirty laundry in public, but do you mind, for our non-German readers, to give us a statement/comment about this unfortunate event? How will you proceed after this hiccup?
This year we had the big luck to get a deal with UDR/Warner for releasing internationally. The thing is, it’s a long and exhausting way to proceed in the metal business and especially when you want to make the step out of your home country. We already have quite a standing in Germany, but are starting from zero in every other country. The boys decided that they can’t go that way further together with Beyond the Black, which is a straight and honest decision that shall be respected. Luckily we agreed on this still early enough to react properly and make plans for a transitional period, which gave me the possibility to not make a quick shot, but take my time to find the best setup to make Beyond the Black continue and not resign at all. The funny thing about this is, that this negative event set free so much energy that I was even keener on taking BTB to the next level and make it better than ever before. I tried to see this as a huge chance and a possibility to make things right. So I spread my wings in every direction, even including open auditions, to find the best setup for my baby, which is Beyond the Black. It is so important to have people around you that you like, have the same visions and motivations and that love what they do as much as I do. And up to now I can say that this seems to have been the right way to deal with this situation. But you will find out soon. 🙂
Would you mind telling us a little about the album’s lyrics and thematics?
The lyrics of “Lost in Forever” mostly are telling sad emotional stories, from the searching of yourself via paranoia, through to seeing the end of your world. But there are some songs that show some kind of hope and the understanding how precious live is. One of my favorites that includes both sides is the story around “Beyond the Mirror”. In this song, the own reflection is a kind of person of another world. That person wants to come to the real world to feel all the real things and feelings in this world and I tell that person that he should stay in his world because the truth and life is hell and the scars will never heal.
The limited edition boxed set of “Lost in Forever” features a DVD with a concert recording of your Wacken appearance in 2015. Taking a trip down memory lane, what are the memories that you cherish the most about that specific event?
Wacken 2015 felt like the most important point of last year. We did our very first show just one year before that show at the same place – at the Bullhead City tent. The reason why it was so important was because we worked hard for one year, we played so many shows at so many different places and it was the time to see what happened that year and how it will reflect in the response we get from the Wacken audience, the biggest metal festival audience worldwide and the audience we played our debut in front of. 2014 there where maybe a few hundred persons in front of the stage and 2015 the hole tent was packed as hell. No one could get into the tent and out of it anymore before we had even played our first song. It was incredible! Wow!
On the other hand, what can you tell us about the tour in support of German heavy metallers legends Scorpions?
It was awesome! They’re so nice! Especially Klaus who had a long, very pleasant interview with me together before the tour. We talked a bit at the Munich after show party and sometimes before the shows. I’m so happy that we have the chance to support them again at the alternate dates for the concerts that couldn’t take place due to Klaus‘s illness in March. So we are returning with them in November. It will be awesome to meet again!
Please indulge me but I don’t know if it’s your deliberate choice to focus your promo activity solely in Germany (if you exclude a couple of EU dates in Luxembourg and Belgium in support of KoRn), so I was wondering if, in the next future, you are planning for a full European tour and an official European release of your material?
As you can read at the answer above: Yes, we will release internationally from next year on and we will also be on tour in Europe as special guest to the European co-headline tour of Epica and Powerwolf. So we will visit our BTB-Fans out there soon and are excited to see how they will react! It will be a blast to get to know all of you and the culture of your countries!!! We will definitely spend some time off-location to dive into this experience.
In support of “Lost in Forever”, you’ve published its title-track as a single and consequently its promoclip. Would you like to disclose more about this song and the video?
You can transfer the meaning of “Lost in Forever” to so many different levels. The search of meaning and identity crisis, till the end of the world. You can hear the line: “Somebody free me from this hell and deliver my soul” just to give peace to this soul. And there was the idea for the ‘bad’ side for the music video. It had to be a wild, dark animal. A wolf was perfect for this. I first thought that we will animate it for the video, so I was so surprised when I saw the script. There were two real wolfs with their coaches, who looked/felt like a big family together. So I knew that they are special, but still wild. When they came to the set everyone who didn’t hold the camera or did something important had to go away to not stress the animals unnecessarily. But before that I had the chance to go for a walk with them and – I always love to tell that – feed them from my own hand. That was such an incredible feeling! And because they already got to know me a little bit then, I could stay at the set when they filmed just them. I always will remember this!
Lately, you’ve collaborated with hard rockers Kissin’ Dynamite on the song “Masterpiece” from their brand new album “Generation Goodbye”. How was this collaboration born?
Hannes from Kissin’ Dynamite and I are writing songs together since Beyond The Black was born. He also did the first feature of our debut in “Pearl in a World of Dirt” because of this we see each other many times and he simply asked me if I want to sing one of their songs and sent me “Masterpiece”. I directly said yes, because first of all it is always important for me to give something back and secondly it is a great song! I loved to sing it at the studio and I hope to sing it live with them some time.
So, Jennifer, it’s time for your parting words – I really thank you for your time – please greet freely our readers and your fans. Thanks again!
Hello to all readers of Femme Metal Webzine and all BTB-Fans! Thank you very much for your interest in Beyond The Black and your unbelievable support. We hope to be a part of your mind for many many more years and to see many of you in front of our stages to sing our songs with us. That’s the reason why we do this and it would make us so happy if we could see every fan we have all over the world some time. So thanks again and best regards from Germany.