Interview with Jens Ludwig of Edguy
Interviewed on March 30, 2014 by Metalette
I got to speak with guitarist Jens Ludwig of Edguy about the band’s upcoming album, Space Police – Defenders of the Crown – out via Nuclear Blast records on April 18!
What inspired the themes of the new album?
There’s different inspirations – generally speaking, you know, this is not a concept album. Regularly, when Tobi’s writing lyrics for our next album he gets inspired by anything that happens to him, anything that he’s making up his mind about; so it can be very, very different things. It can be very stupid things, but also very, very serious stuff going on. And for the title track, one of the two title tracks – for “Space Police”, for example – I could say it’s about a situation that we have had to face many, many times in our career, because it’s about freedom and the rock’n’roll music business, about freedom in general. And not letting people tell you what to do, and so the song “Space Police” is basically about, even if you go out to the universe, to outer space, where you should have the ultimate freedom, there’s always the chance that somebody will come out to you and tell you what to do and what not to do.
And what’s your favorite song on the album?
Well, the album is still so fresh that the favorites change almost every week. Right now one of my personal favorites is “Sabre & Torch”, because of its very surprising middle-part, and I like the last track of the album, “The Eternal Wayfarer”.
What inspires your guitar-work?
Well, what happens guitar-wise will quite often depend on the song. You know, for example, with “Baba Yaga” it was obvious that it should be a kind of Ozzy Osbourne riff, while for example “Love Tyger” was more supposed to be an 80s Van Halen-sounding riff. So usually I’m going for what the song is demanding, you know?
Are there other bands that inspired the sounds of the album?
There are no specific bands I can call out – you know, it’s anything you’re listening to. I mean, even though there are similarities in “Love Tiger” to Van Halen, for example, you couldn’t say that this was definitely inspired by Van Halen. We’re listening to this kind of music for so many years now, and there are so many great bands coming up, there is so much great music being written, that it’s really, really hard to put out one certain element for inspiration. I mean, except the covers of course, but this kind of inspiration is coming from a very obvious…(laughs).
Speaking of covers, how did you decide on “Rock Me Amadeus”?
It was our producer, Sascha Paeth, who actually came up with the idea of doing a cover-version of “Rock Me Amadeus”, because he was seeing a lot of similarities between Amadeus – and especially the character Amadeus from the movie Amadeus – and Tobi, in terms of being freaky, in terms of being a wild child, in terms of being that confused genius every now and then. So everybody sort of liked the idea, and we were doing some research on the internet, looking for if there were any album cover-versions of the song. And we found out that there is no good cover-version existing on the song, which made us kind of curious and skeptical, but when we started working on the song, then we realized why that is. Because it’s really, really difficult, and the biggest part for making this song sound good as it is, is basically Tobi, because he had to get to this Austrian accent; he had to get every pronunciation of the words and everything, because the chance to make this song sound ridiculous is very, very high, and for us it was very clear from the very beginning, that we said, “Ok if we’re going to do this cover-version, we try it, and if it’s not sounding good, we just don’t put it on the album.” Because it’s just such a great song, where a cover version that would sound ridiculous wouldn’t make any sense.
And what got you into metal?
There’s one band I can point out; probably the first time I came in touch with metal or hard rock was when a friend of mine gave me the World Wide Live record from the Scorpions, that was basically…for me it was the start. You know, I was listening to the album and the energy you felt there, in between the audience and the music – that was just overwhelming, and, yeah, I stuck to it and it brought me where I am today.
Were you already a musician at that point, or did that music influence you to play as well?
Well actually, I owned a guitar before listening to metal music, because my grandfather, he was a professional musician himself and he always wanted his grandchildren to play an instrument. I remember when I was 7 years old and it was time for me to pick an instrument. I chose the guitar because I would, you know, see people perform with electric guitar on television, and it always fascinated me in a sort of way, even if I didn’t know what they were doing there. I certainly had the feeling that it must be the right spot for me, so when I was 7 years old, I got an acoustic guitar and I had lessons – I had lessons for half a year, and then I thought it was so boring and I quit playing guitar. I rejoined and started again when I was 12, but it was just too early for me at the beginning, I think.
Do you have any good tour stories you could share?
Well, there are many, many good tour stories! We have a very stable line-up, which makes us very extraordinary, and we also always have the same crew members with us, around us, it’s always the same 10 to 15 people that are traveling around the world. It’s just about having a great time, I mean, of course sometimes it’s a bit stressful, and sometimes it’s really, really exhausting, but the greatest thing about everything is you always have your best friends around you, and it makes it much easier.
What’s your favorite place in the world to visit?
Many places – I like many places for very different reasons. For example, I like Australia because I love the people, the attitude of the people there, and I love visiting Japan for the food. I love the United States for the state of being in the United States. You know, it’s just difficult – I cannot pick out one favorite place in the world. Generally speaking, the most exciting parts of the world I’ve been to have always been the first time, you know, like the first time visiting South America, the first time visiting Japan – that has always been the place that you keep in mind somehow. Because it’s something really extra-exciting.
What’s one album you can always listen to in its entirety, and never get tired of?
I can listen to Seventh Son of a Seventh Son from Iron Maiden every time I want to – I would say that’s one of the albums.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Well, I could add 2 and 2, which makes 4…I could add 2 and 3, which makes 5…(laughs) No, well, I would love for everybody to check out the new album, because in my opinion it’s really something special. It was something special to us while we were creating it. So, check it out and hopefully we will have a chance to see everybody on tour!
Tobias Sammet – Vocals, Keyboard
Jens Ludwig – Lead Guitar
Dirk Sauer – Rhythm Guitar
Tobias Exxel – Bass Guitar
Felix Bohnke – Drums