Freedom Call Interview
@ Camden Barfly, London
22nd March 2014
Interview by Rowena Lamb
Photographs by Nikki Ryan
I’d heard a lot about the entertainment value of Freedom Call before their show and they certainly didn’t disappoint; it was a great gig with a great party atmosphere. One of the most entertaining gigs for me so far this year. But just before their headlining show at the Camden Barfly, Metal Rules managed to grab a few minutes with Freedom Call to ask them a couple of questions (and they’re just as entertaining off stage).
Chris Bay – Vocals, Guitar
Lars Rettkowitz – Guitar, Backing vocals
Ramy Ali – Drums, Backing Vocals
Ilker Ersin – Bass, Backing vocals
You’ve been going for quite some time, how did you all first meet?
Chris: Oh it’s a long time ago.
(Lars: Internet dating.) Ilka our bass player, he came back to Freedom Call last year, and he’s one former member of Freedom Call and we’ve been playing together with this band for 16 years. Then came Lars from 2005 on so it’s close to 9 years, and Ramy he’s the Benjamin of the band. He worked for us a lot as a stand in drummer, and he’s fixed in the new line up for 2 years.
What were you’re first impressions of each other?
Lars: Not Good. (Laughs)
Chris: But then you have less money, and then you have no way out. You have no options. I think it’s hard to stay with them together, but we so desperately need the money. (Laughs)
If you were to describe one other band member in three words what would it be?
(Laughs) Lars: I like them all they’re really lovely people. (Laughs)
Chris: (Describing Lars) Sometimes smelling a little bit interesting. That is a dangerous question to ask when all the members are here (laughs). You have to ask us separately.
Well, if you were to describe the band over all in three words.
Lars: Amazing, amazing. It’s a fun house, but it’s a lot of work also. It’s a great team, it’s amazing. That’s all I can say.
I liked that on your Facebook page you describe yourselves as happy metal and I thought that’s the band want to go see.
Chris: So when I heard this name happy metal, or this category I was a little bit shocked because it’s sounding a little bit untrue as metal has to be evil, and all these elements. But then over the years I learned love this word because it’s exactly what we’re doing because we are making the people happy and so I don’t care. I have no problems with people calling our music happy metal.
Lars: When you listen to a usual metal concert you want to kill each other (laughs), but with us you have a big party every time.
Chris: You have the chance to survive.
Lars: Yeah, we will care about you. This is what the band Freedom Call is its metal with a party.
As a friend described you today you’re like the perfect antidote to death metal.
Chris: Yeah it’s a good opposite. I think it would make me bored if you only played the same kind of metal. So yeah, there’s some extreme parts of metal. So you have black metal, they are burning some churches, and we are the opposite.
Lars: But you have a lot of black metal bands, you have a lot of heavy metal or whatever, but there’s just one happy metal band.
And that’s you.
Lars: Yeah sure. Do you know of any other happy metal band?
Chris: Absolutely unique.
I know some bands with certain songs. (Lars: Maybe their covering us?) Alestorm, they’re very happy.
Chris: Alestorm. We’re going to be playing with them at the Monsters Of Rock in the Czech Republic.
You made me very jealous at the beginning of the year, as when we were freezing in London, you were swanning around in the Caribbean on a lovely boat.
Chris: That was the plan to make people jealous. It was the only reason. (Laughs) Yeah it was a big surprise for ourselves as well because we jumped on the billing very late, and it was like a present to a successful year of 2014. Because our new album was released and our European tour started and it was a good entry to 2014 to play a festival in the Caribbean sea.
You played Ice Rock just before which sounds very cold and then you went straight to the Caribbean.
Chris: Yes, you see we love the opposites, the extreme situations; Ice Rock, next Caribbean sea. Makes it so interesting to be a musician on the road.
You’ve got a fair few summer festivals lined up but you’ve not got any UK ones.
Chris: We’re here tonight. (Laughs)
You’re staging a one evening festival.
Chris: Yes, I think there’s always Bloodstock. Maybe next year as this year we’re touring and a lot of promoters of festivals, they do not book bands that are touring in that year, but hopefully next year.
Bloodstock is good festival to go to.
Chris: Bloodstock is a great festival. We played twice I think 2006 and 2012. It’s time to come back.
If you were going to create your own festival what three bands would you pick and where would you chose to hold it?
Chris: So we should take bands that have a smaller status than Freedom Call or that are bigger (laughs). So if we are organising a festival it’s a good opportunity to make money isn’t it? Then we need some famous bands. But we’d need to get them cheap. Lars: Charity festival inviting Invite Kiss, Iron Maiden, and who else?
Chris: That’s a good idea.
Lars: Yeah Iron Maiden, Kiss and Metallica, and call charities so they will play for free.
Just leak it that they wouldn’t play for free for charity if they say no.
Lars: Yes, yes, of course. Say that they don’t like children or something. (Laughs)
I watched your new video, and I had to ask are you sure you had enough drums there?
Ramy: It was too small, it was too small. I said that all the time.
Lars: He also was asking for 10 bass drums.
Chris: Most of the bands had 4, but Freedom Call! We have 5.
What’s been one of the most embarrassing moment on stage for each of you?
Ilker: I got a flash from the microphone. I have power. Yes you can see it tonight, but the problem still exists.
Chris: Very interesting was to play on stage on this boat for 70,000 Tones of Metal, because we played 2 shows; one on the way to Mexico and one on the way back. On the way back there was one day it was raining, and the ship was shaking in the waves and we really noticed it while playing the show on stage. And I was just playing and running along to the left and the right. Yeah, it felt like playing drunk.
Lars: Yes, because you took a step and the ship was shaking, so it was a big step, and sometimes the stage is over, so we had to be careful then. So it was fun to play on the shaking boat. This is a hard question. I’m not sure. I don’t like it something is wrong with the technical stuff, but they’re not so many of these, so I’m not sure. I just enjoy everything.
Remy: It’s basically like Lars I enjoy everything. Except when I stand up behind my drum kit and raise my hands for the last hit of the evening. Everything is great and I forget to hit the bass drum, I just hit the cymbals and it sounds like tissue. (laughs)
Lars: That was the absolutely last hit of the show, it was really ridiculous. It was just fun.
Chris: We were crying and laughing on stage. It was really, really funny.
If you had 30 seconds how would convince people to come to your shows?
Chris: I think it’s very easy. I think it’s the reason people are calling Freedom Call a happy metal band; we are making people feel better, giving them a better mood and maybe they can forget their real life for a while and enjoy their time. We do not have a special message we just want to entertain the people and make them happy.
Lars: So if you want to have a party and metal music you should come to Freedom Call. If you want to have metal music and kill yourself after, then go to another band.
So if you want to see a metal band and live to see tomorrow go watch Freedom Call?
Lars: This is the point, if you come to see Freedom call you can look twice.
You can die happy.
Lars: Of course.