Interview by Scott Johnson
Beautiful as the deepest Forest in the medieval times. Notes dancing on the wind. A story unfolds into a most adventurous mind movie. These are my thoughts as I listen to Astray Path. Music that could be the soundtrack for any true fan of a good story. Metal meets Lord of the Rings style lyrics flirting with Braveheart dressed as a metal lord of Gothic doom. I had a chance to talk to the siren of this most innovative tribe of musicians, Kathrin Kaifel. And now if you dare, take my hand into the Astray Path.
Hello Kathrin, I am honored to have this chance to talk with you today and find out what we can find down the Astray Path. Can you share with us the history of the band?
Simon and I used to make music together a long time before Astray Path, and we both love the same musical style. It was in January 2003 when Simon and I were on our way home from a great metal concert. We sat in the car and Simon said: “Hey, let’s found a band, too!”. And I think this was the first step on the path that leads astray…
Where does Astray Path draw inspiration from?
Sometimes I have an inspiration from a special situation or feeling, then I form the lyrics for a song. It works the same way for Dora (bass). We then hand the lyrics over to Simon and he writes the music fitting to the text. Sometimes it happens the other way around: Simon plays the piano and a new song arises simply out of his playing. Then the lyrics are added afterwards based on the pictures or emotions the melody has created in our heads and hearts.
What was it like in early 2003 when you, Oliver, Florian, Dominic and Simon first formed the band?
For all of us it was the first band. No one had ever played in a band before. So, we all said something like “OK, now we have a band… let’s see where it will lead us…”. It was very exciting for everyone. And a few months later we won our first band competition – a wonderful experience
Then there was a 2 year period full of uncertainty for you and Astray Path. How did you find the strength to make it through this time?
We all love music, in general and of course our own musical experiments. And so it was clear that we wouldn’t stop working on our musical journey.
What was it like to make it to the studio in 2006 and record “Follow the Path”?
It was very exciting because for most of us it was the first time working in a studio. And Benny Fetscher, the owner of the studio, had a very calm and informative way of working. He showed us everything that could be done.
Where are some of the places the band played between 2006 and 2008?
Mostly in Ulm and around Ulm, we had not travelled much farther then.
We reach 2008 and the band enters the studio once again to record “The Hidden Line” and during this time Robert leaves the band. How did the band meet this challenge?
At first we thought we couldn’t work on the new album without a guitarist. But then it was a great chance to gain Benny Fetscher (the owner of the studio) for the guitar-parts! He brought some new ideas and it was very inspiring to work with him.
In 2009 once again the band enters the studio to record the album “Desert”. What was this like?
Elmar (Guitars) was also the producer of this album. He was the driving force, he took care of everything and invested much time in this project. We couldn’t have managed without his support. He had the idea of a concept album and completed the story around it with his song (“The Call”). And of course we had a great team of musicians (flute, cello, french horn, etc). It was fun to work with them in the studio. And now it’s great to play with them on stage when they have time to be there. But not to forget Manuel Staib, the owner of the studio: he was very confident, he had the required sense of calmness and influenced the recordings in a very positive way.
What has the band been working on recently?
We are rehearsing with a new (additional) guitarist and of course we are working on some new material.
So do you all love the whole Renaissance themed subjects and do you like these things outside of the band as well?
All of us have this “classical background”. Simon (Keyboard) and Holger (Drums) are both conductors (Simon: many choirs, Holger: symphonic brass orchestra) and so they know an enormous spectrum of music. Dora has played the viola in various orchestras. And I love singing in choirs that perform classical music, especially music of the 20th and 21st century. This is sometimes hard to take. We all know that this sort of music is at a different level to what we write.
What are some of your musical influences?
Church music of all centuries and bands like Subway to Sally, Blind Guardian…
How long have you been singing and where did you have your training?
I have loved singing my whole life. At the age of about 11 I started to sing in a school choir and a youth choir. When I was about 17 I began to love the classical style of singing. And then, at the age of 19 or 20 I took classical singing lessons with a private teacher and continue up to now.
If you could pick one of your favorite shows that the band has played which one would it be?
I guess playing as support for Xandria was my favourite show so far. The location was quite big and the audience who didn’t know us before responded well. But any show, no matter which location, is fun and a wonderful experience. As long as we manage to reach the souls of the people who came to listen.
What are some of the next shows on the Desert tour?
We don’t know yet, our booker is working on the plan.
It was so nice to have you here today Kathrin. Before we close do you have anything that you would like to add?
Thank you very much for the interest in our music and the imaginative questions!