Interview by Miriam C.
Austria’s Edenbridge is synonym, since their debut “Sunrise in Eden” back in 1998, of great music. Like every band out there, they constantly faced some line up changes but the core members, Lanvall and Sabine Edelsbacher, stayed true to the themselves. I took to the chance to interview the Austrian mastermind about their latest album, the eleventh in order of release, “The Great Momentum”. Beside of great music, Edenbridge with their full-lenghts is always able to convey elegant tunes enriched by maligniloquent musical arrangements, let’s dive into this sea of emotions with this interesting interview.
I’m doing fine, thank you. The album just charted in the most important markets of the world. Germany, Switzerland, UK and USA. The feeling is wonderful. I am totally happy with the new album, as I really believe it is our best production up to date. The whole album development process was great. From the first demos to the real drums, the real vocals, the orchestra and then the mix and mastering. Every little steps that tops the previous ones.
We are here to talk about Edenbridge’s ninth album “The Great Momentum”, what you can share about its genesis?
Right after our last studio album “The Bonding”, I wanted to do something different musically. In 2010, Sabine and I played a short acoustic showcase in Hanoi (Vietnam), just piano and vocals. This was really inspiring, so we founded the acoustic project Voiciano. Only acoustic instruments were allowed to use, so no drums, electric guitars and keyboards. I recorded most of the piano parts live without clicktracks and then everything followed. In 2014, we released our first album “Everflow”. After that I had the idea to do a DVD about the first 15 years of our career and in the end I sat over 1 year in the cutting room and out came a 9 hours documentary on 6 DVDs called “A Decade And A Half…The History So Far”. After that, in Spring 2015 I immediately started writing the new studio album: “The Great Momentum” also took me one year in the writing and arranging process and apart from that I have been composing for a big Austrian TV documentary since 2014 called “Above Austria”, where Austria is shown from the helicopter perspective. This is a project that is planned till 2020! So you see, I didn’t get bored in all those years between our 2 studio albums. But back to the “The Great Momentum”, I can say that it took me over one year between writing and arranging. In June, we recorded the drums and after that I spent the whole summer recording in my own studio. This time it was a very relaxing process and I’ve had a lot of fun. After a 3 weeks holidays break, I went to England to meet Karl Groom (Threshold) for the mix, which it was a great process again. It is the 5th album on which we have worked together now and this collaboration is always awesome. Finally, Mika Jussila put the final touches on the album on mastering at the Finnvox in Finland. In particular, the album title is moving like a red line through all the lyrics. The minisuite “The Greatest Gift of All” for me is music and therefore it is a tribute to music lyrically. From the smoothest, mellowest parts to the orchestral blast beat inferno, you find nearly everything in those 12 minutes.
In the press release, you state that “The Great Momentum” is “our toughest and at the same time most bombastic album”, why?
This time we’ve used a different rhythm guitar sound, which means another amp, which supports our seven string guitars a lot better. When you have a huge orchestra, huge choirs, they are all fighting against each other in terms of frequencies. Therefore all is a lot clearer and heavier. Sabine also sounds extremely powerful on the new one. Just have a listen to the verses of “Return to Grace”, she’s simply amazing!
“The Great Momentum” features for the second time Sweden’s Eclipse Erik Martensson as guest vocalist and the Junge Philharmonie Freistadt orchestra, how this collaboration born and how they were involved?
Erik was already part of our last album, where he sang the title track as a duet with Sabine. Then we did the acoustic project Voiciano in 2014, where Erik again was a part of it. The song “Until the End of Time” was on that album as an original acoustic version. A friend of us asked us why we don’t perform this song into a real rock ballad and as we already needed one song to finish the album, we did so and I think the new version is even better!
We have been working with different orchestras in the past to look for different sounding options. In 2007, we recorded with the Czech Film Orchestra in Prague all together: this method is the most natural one but leaves you little options during the mix of the album. For “The Bonding”, instead, we recorded with the Klangvereinigung Vienna in sections (strings, woodwinds, brass and percussion) which culminated in a much better separation in the mix. We already recorded with the Junge Philharmonie on our Voiciano acoustic project which worked perfectly.
“The Great Momentum” introduces also Johannes Jungreithmeier as Edenbridge’s new drummer. Would you like to introduce him to our readers?
Max (Pointner) told us in March last year that he will leave due to the lack of interest in drumming generally. Many things have changed in his life and therefore it was a logical step for him. Johannes was the first one I had in mind, as he is also playing in Thirdmoon with our guitar player Dominik. We met, spoke about a lot of things and then we worked on the drum parts for the album. In the end, he recorded the album in just unbelievable 9 hours! Apart from that he did the whole artwork and the cover together with Anthony Clarkson, as he is 3D graphic designer in his day job.
This doesn’t want to be a provocation and please don’t take it in the wrong way but during the band’s history there were a lot of changes in the line up. Do you think that this issue in some ways has undermined the stability of the band? And if not, why?
No, I don’t think so, as the moving forces, Sabine and myself always were in the band and kept it up. It is logical that there a line-up changes if the whole band cannot make a living out of the music. Sometimes it was musical differences, sometimes because of their day jobs, sometimes personal.
I’ve learnt that recently you have played for the first time the metal cruise 70000 Cruise of Metal, what are your thoughts about it?
The 70000 Cruise of Metal was the adventure of a lifetime and it was simply overwhelming. What a great festival! Meeting old friends and bands we haven’t seen for years and with whom we toured years ago like Angra, Axxis and Saltatio Mortis. The only bad thing was, that our guitars got stuck in London and it didn’t make it to the boat right in time, so we had a full day of stress to find a band on the boat, that had the same tuning than we have and also 7 strings. Finally, we found Dan and David, the guitar players of Revocation, and they offered us their gear for the 2 shows and also we could use the bass of Frank (Haggard). A big, big thank you to them again!
At the beginning of your career you used to tour a lot and if we should consider the last time you have toured extensively in Europe was in support of “MyEarthDream” back in 2009. Do you have any plans for a EU tour in support of “The Great Momentum” and during the band career, why the live activity did decrease?
We were never an extensively touring band, cause we never paid to play! It’s getting harder and harder to do a full tour without losing money. We did 2 shows in Austria last week and hopefully there are a lot more to come. There will be an exclusive UK show in August.
In 2015, for commemorate 15 years of activity, Edenbridge has released their second DVD called “A Decade and Half… The History So Far”. Would you like to spend a couple of words about it? I know that it features a special reunion with reunited with former bass player Kurt Bednarsky and former guitar player Andreas Eibler……
Yes, as I mentioned it already before it was great to have Kurt and Andreas in our home and talk about the old times. I think it is the perfect frame for getiing into the history of the band and it was just a lot of fun. We then did a spontaneous live performance of “Forever Shine On” on our terrace in the evening and though it was not perfectly played, it captured the magic of the evening. So, you pretty much find the whole history of the first 15 years on that DVD package. 3 full live shows from Germany 2004, Beijing 2007 and Czech Republic 2014. A lot of tour stories from Korea, China, Indonesia, all the videos, lengthy features from the 2 Korean tours and so on.
Since almost nobody took some time to notice it, I want to deeply praise the magniloquence beauty of the cover album: who’s the author of such chef d’oeuvre and which it stands for?
It was again done by Anthony Clarkson in cooperation with our drummer Johannes Jungreithmeier and “The Great Momentum” is a very powerful title, therefore it needed an equivalent artwork. “The Great Momentum” is the “timeless, absolute NOW”. People often tend to live in the future or in the past and forget about this very moment, where life is happening. The stone lady in her meditation pose and the energy flowing through her body, reflects this very well.
On 14th February you have released your second single (on which you have also shot a promo videoclip) taken from “The Great Momentum” called “The Moment Is Now”. What insights you can share about both video and song?
We shot the whole video in a green box so all the backgrounds are computer animated which is something totally new for us. It was a hell of a work during the post production but Reinhard Schmid, our director, managed it beautifully! The main message is exactly what I told about the album title before: “The timeless absolute NOW”. Therefore we created the clockword world, where the band appears and the clock world where Sabine is, in the video.
Now, I’d like to depart for a moment from Edenbridge and the metal panorama: I know that recently you got involved in the TV project “Above Austria” as the creator of its soundtrack. For who is not familiar with this TV program, do you mind explain us what is about? Instead, how much differ the musical approach from Edenbridge and which are the things/requisites/elements that you have to consider while composing?
It is very different and I have been composing in a team of 6 people and each of it created around 2 hours of music yet. The first 4 episodes were broadcasted last year and 4 new ones this year in the Austrian television. The pictures I get are simply amazing and it makes a lot of fun to write music for this. I just let me inspire by the wonderful landscapes, mountains, lakes, whatever and then start to think which style could fit, which instruments to use…this can go from guitar based rockier style to Austrian folk music style with the hammered dulcimer, there are no frontiers.
Continuing our excursus, it’s worth mentioning your side project Voiciano whose debut “Evermore” was self-released back in 2014. Let me tell you that the album is amazing but taking a trip down memory lane what lead you to conceive this new musical outlet and outside the specialized press (I mean the metal sites and magazines) how “Evermore” was welcomed? On top of this, there will be a second album?
The album was very well received by our die hard fans, of course we were not able to reach all the Edenbridge fans, which is a pity of course, cause if they love our ballads, they will surely love Voiciano. The main goal was to things different than in Edenbridge, as I mentioned before. I have already recorded the piano parts of 2 new songs, but then it was time for Edenbridge again. So at the moment, I am totally focussed on the band but I am sure there will be a second album somewhen. If the inspiration for it is there we will do it. In the meantime, get our first one in our webstore.
So, Lanvall, it’s time for your parting words – I really thank you for your time – please greet freely our readers and your fans. Thanks again!
Thanks a lot for the interview, Miriam and thanks to all our fans for their support!