JENS LUDWIG and DIRK SAUER
Interview and Live Pics by HannTu
10th January 2009
The lovable scamps in Edguy are like kids in a junkyard when they go up onstage, and I had the opportunity to speak face to face to not one, but two of these rogues. They certainly blow the myth of the German sense of humour right out of the water! Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the freak show…Jens ‘No-Nonsense’ Ludwig and Dirk ‘Whiskey’ Sauer!
MR: What’s the meaning of the title?
JL: Well, the title is just TINNITUS SANCTUS. You know what tinnitus is?
MR: Yeah it’s a ringing sound in your ears.
JL: Well, that’s just the perfect title for a metal album isn’t it?
MR: Sanctus means holy, right?
JL: Yeah, so ‘holy ear disease’ *laughs* It’s a little bit ironic of course, we don’t want to destroy people’s ears, but it’s a cliché that metal has to be played as loud as possible, so we thought it’s a good title.
MR: So it’s your ninth studio album, what were you hoping to achieve after ROCKET RIDE?
JL: Well, basically the first thing that we try to achieve with every record is to make a good record that we’re happy with, that we ourselves enjoy doing and listening to. And we managed to realise that this is the most honest way to make an album. If you as the musician like the album, then it’s easier to present the songs live, to do the promotion, if you really stand behind what you have recorded. The basic idea is to record some songs that we like.
MR: You’ve progressed throughout your albums, from your epic power metal days to a more hard rock sound. Was there a reason for this, or did you just say “this is the sound we like, we’re gonna do it.”
DS: There’s no real reason why we did, I think it’s a kind of a natural development. Like Jens said, we just do what we feel we want to do, and I think then you do it right if you do what you really want to do, for yourself. And you don’t really think about it, like, oh we need like five double-bass tracks or whatever. Just do what you feel to do.
MR: Cos you really have cut down the symphony and you’ve cut down a lot of the speed as well.
JL: Yeah I think the progression just came because we didn’t want to record the same songs over and over again, and especially like those fast double bass tracks, because, well…you’re pretty limited in that, because at a certain point, all the fast double bass songs sound all the same, and so we tried to include new elements in our music that we didn’t have before, to keep it interesting for ourselves, and for the listeners as well. It’s better to surprise the people with some new elements, as long as it’s good, than doing the same songs and same concepts and same albums over and over again. It just gets boring. We have to find new ways to include new elements in your music, to keep it interesting for yourself as well as for the people.
MR: Regarding the listeners, how has the reception been so far?
DS: Pretty good. I mean, the reviews were good, press reviews were great, people like it, bought it I hope *laughs* No I think it’s really good. Obviously you can’t satisfy everybody, same with every record. There’s always something people will complain about, but basically I think people are pretty happy with the album, so are we.
MR: Because ROCKET RIDE was such a huge diversion from the stuff you’ve done before, and a lot of people were probably getting used to it, but now they’re used to it, probably the reviews are better…
DS: ROCKET RIDE was a bit too diverse for many people because there was no real…direction, and I think maybe some people have been afraid that we would go into the wrong direction, but I think our new record is…it’s more focused, and I think most people would know, if they listen to it, what direction Edguy is going to take.
MR: So what songs can we expect at the concerts, what do you think is going to be a hit live?
JL: Of course ‘Ministry of Saints’ is working pretty well, and we’re also starting the set with two new songs. The good thing about the new record is that every song is working live, if we play every song live, so we choose five of them to play on the shows.
MR: Five, wow.
DS: Four or five…
JL: Four or five, we don’t know about today *laughs*
MR: Yeah, you just have a dartboard, and kinda…
DS: Kind of *laughs*
MR: So what are your personal favourites?
DS: Pretty hard to say. I pretty much like ‘Pride of Creation’ because it’s a pretty, I would say, colourful song, but also ‘Ministry of Saints’ is pretty cool because it’s so straight, a pretty heavy track for our fans…
MR: I mean, during the recording process, was there one song where you felt like ‘I worked really really hard for this one and it was a major achievement to do this song.’ Was there one?
DS: Well, for all the songs, pretty much every song. This is what you need to play it right, to get the power thing, to be really into it.
JL: I think during the recording process you sometimes have this kind of ‘aha!’ moments, for example I personally had it on the song ‘9 Lives’, you know when I first listened to the complete chorus with the vocals, and I thought, wow it really turned out much better than I expected. And there were a few moments where Sascha had ideas how to arrange stuff, and then you just listen to it, and wow! Really really better than I had expected at the beginning, even if you thought it’s gonna be a good song, and then still those moments where you think, whoa, that’s it. And that’s a good feeling when you have it, the magical moments in the studio *laughs*
MR: Yeah and I heard you guys recorded together, recorded your parts together instead of separately.
JL: No, not this time.
DS: No, we did that with ROCKET RIDE, but this time it was a little bit complicated because of time, because Tobi was on tour with Avantasia, Sascha was playing guitar there as well. It takes a bit more time if you do it altogether. And the release was usually planned later, so we chose the regular way: drums, bass, guitars, vocals.
MR: Do you have a personal preference which way to record?
JL: I prefer the way we did it this time again…
JL: …like recording everything separately, because you have more chances to change things, to try out different ideas, to try out different guitar riffs for example, and it’s just easier that way.
MR: Okay. Is there a lyrical theme running through the new album?
JL: Not that I know about *laughs* It’s not a concept album, I think every song can stand on its own…
MR: Well, it seems more, more serious, except for the last song ‘Pervert’, but it seems really darker, much darker.
DS: Well, if you take the lyrics from ‘Pride of Creation’ for example, not entirely serious of course, but I think it’s a thing we have on every album. Probably ROCKET RIDE was a bit too much of it, especially the combination with the cover for example. I think it’s an album like the others as well, but many people, or some people thought it might be a bit too much…
MR: Like ‘Dragonfly’ seems to be about drugs, that’s what I read into it, and just the whole album seems darker and more serious.
JL: Well, it appears that way but if you take a closer look at some of the lyrics, even ‘Dragonfly’, there are a lot of ironic moments *laughs* and funny moments on ‘Pride of Creation’…
MR: Yeah that’s your sense of humour coming through…
JL: Yeah it’s something, Tobi writing lyrics like a kind of diary, and he never has a certain aim for an album, he just writes about whatever comes to his mind, and that can be the funniest themes as well as the really serious topics…
MR: ‘Thorn Without a Rose’ is a very personal song, is there a story behind it? It’s one of the ballads, is there a personal story behind it?
*pause, Jens and Dirk look at each other ‘errr’*
MR: Well, if Tobi wrote it and you can’t answer it…
DS: *laughs* Usually there’s always a story behind it, especially ‘Pride of Creation’ for example, I mean, there IS a story, but it’s not a personal thing. But yeah, I think behind every song there is kind of a personal story, because he usually brings…yeah like Jens said, what’s in his mind, what he’s thinking about, or feeling or whatever, somehow, and in his lyrics of course.
MR: Okay, what’s ‘9-2-9’? What’s the significance of that?
JL: That’s a room number, of a hotel *laughs* where they had a very nice aftershow party on the Avantasia tour *laughs*
MR: Yeah going back to your sense of humour, stuff like ‘Save Us Now’…Speaking of ‘Save Us Now’, what’s the Highspeed Alien Drum Bunny?
JL: *laughs* That’s our drummer.
JL: Yeah *laughs*
MR: Okay, why bunny? Highspeed alien…
DS: It’s such a long story. I think it all started on a tour in, I don’t know, back in ’98 or ’99, where he bought some new shoes because he only brought one pair of shoes for the tour, and he had to buy shoes. And he bought some, some cheap tracks or something…
JL: …and they were so big…
DS: …and in Germany there’s a comic, translated into ‘The Rabbit with the fast shoes’ or something. So that was the point where he started to be ‘Bunny’. And yeah, it just went on, over the years…
*Jens starts cracking up*
MR: So it’s sort of like your personal tribute to him *laughs* Yeah cool, going back to your sense of humour, the last song ‘Are You a Pervert Too’… … …Where do I, where do I start! I mean, the first spoken passage “This is for our troops…” Was that an ironic thing about…were you commenting on any political thing at all?
DS: No it’s not a political thing, I think it’s more like a, it fits pretty good to the songs…People all over the world, they appear so serious, and everybody’s right, and nobody does anything, but behind closed doors, everybody knows so many weird things going on when the doors are closed, and the same thing for troops, whatever. We could’ve chosen something else, but I think it’s pretty fitting intro for that song…
MR: So just chill out, have fun…
JL: Yeah, EVERYBODY’S a pervert, it’s just a matter of definition…
MR: Cos you say “We see this in Finland, we see this in Japan, but not in America, you prefer the rodeo…” I just looked at the lyrics and…
JL: Yeah nonsense *laughs*
DS: They do that kind of stuff too…
JL: They have that kind of double morality, what makes it all so weird is that they’re perverts too…
DS: You’re not allowed to show boobs or something, but they have the biggest porn industry in the world.
MR: I remember an interview with you where you said, “You can’t show tits on TV, but you can buy a gun in two days” or something…
DS and JL: Yeah.
MR: Okay, what’s with Jesus on the front cover?
JL: Well it just fits with the album title, some holy ear disease, so we put the holiest of all on the front cover *laughs* The master himself.
MR: You’ve only recorded one video for the new album, are you guys going to record another one?
DS: No, I don’t think so.
MR: That girl in the video (‘Ministry of Saints’) was really hot, and you guys get all the hottest models…
JL: YES! I mean, nowadays for us making videos is just…well it’s good for us and it’s good for a certain kind of promotion, but nobody on TV will play it anyway. Honestly it’s almost just a waste of money to do videos. We used it this time because we wanted to promote this video on the internet, to have a kind of pre-single, because we didn’t have any single we wanted to release, for the people to show the direction of the new album, but there’s not going to be another video for this record.
*At this point, we were cut short by the arrival of other interviewers, although we had done only 15 minutes out of a promised 30. Ah well…*
MR: Are there plans to do a North American tour, seeing as how we’re a Canadian site?
JL: Yes, probably in September, when we come back to the States and Canada.
Thanks to Adam and Nelly at The Noise Cartel for setting up this interview!