Bass player Martin Mannhardt
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Birgitt Schwanke at GerMusica for setting up the interview.
Thanks to AOR Heaven for the promo pictures of the band.
Bass player Martin Mannhardt from the German band Wicked Sensation hooked up with us to talk about the bands’ brand new album ADRENALINE RUSH. This is their fourth album from this melodic hardrock six-piece act. Besides talking about ADRENALINE RUSH we dedicated our conversation to handle the singer Robert Soeterboek’s status in the band, what part session singer David Reece plays on the album and which members are featured in the current line-up.
ADRENALINE RUSH is the bands fourth album, when did you start to write the material?
The making of this album led us through different troubling situations. We spend time in the songwriting of this album about four years. It needs its time to create and write songs and a production as well. In our case we sadly had to deal with other problems as well. But now it`s done and we like it very much.
I understand that the band have had problems with maintaining a solid line-up, due to personal and private issues, what happened? Is that something you can share with us?
Robert sadly had serious problems with his voice in the middle of the recordings. We tried to make a break and give him time to rest, but it doesn’t made it better. And my son was born with Down syndrome. So I had also a break for a while in middle of the production.
The singer Robert Soeterboek became sick, how did the band cope with his illness?
It was a shock for us. We tried to make a break that Robert can record the album with us. But the time was not with us. His voice was not it’s like before. Robert had a surgery and have to make a long break of singing, but the surgery was successful and he works on his voice and will be back soon!
According to the bio Soeterboek wanted the band to take in another singer, is that correct?
Robert told us to find a singer to complete this album and decided to step back from this production.
Was it hard to find a new singer to replace him?
Ohh, in the first moment for sure. Fortunately there was no long time. A friend of us heard David on an album and let us know about him. So we found David who agreed to help us out.
How come you chose to join forces with David Reece? Were you guys friends before he joined the band?
No, we just knew him from his albums that he made. Michael contacted David Reece, after Robert told us we should find a singer to complete the album as he will not be able to sing it. David asked for material and so we sended him a few songs. He liked it, and agreed to help out. We think he sang the songs very well, who were originally written with and for Robert. Their voices are not so far away from each other, so he was the perfect fit to complete the album.
The New Album Adrenaline Rush
Is it correct that the material was written by Michael Klein and Soeterboek? Does the rest of the band have any saying when it comes to the material?
Except for our acoustic ballad “This Time” Michael wrote all the music and usually he recording pre-demos of his ideas at his own studio and give it to the other guys for critics or any inspirations on little parts or arrangements.
As soon as the direction is clear for him, he start recording the real takes. He programed the drums to have a basis for the rhythmsection to play on. Later on, these parts will be replaced by the real drums.
What are the lyrics about?
The lyrics are about love, life and dreams. That is what lyrics usually do in music.
What did fans think of the promo video the band put out on youtube and facebook?
They want to get more of Wicked Sensation, the video got them curious.
Official Wicked Sensation Promotrailer 2014
Where does the title ADRENALINE RUSH come from and does the title have any special meaning to the members?
Adrenaline Rush was the idea by Robert, and we have the song Adrenaline Rush, the lyrics written by Robert also. We find the title great from the first moment and we find it fits perfect.
The photo was made by our last photo session. We knew that we would use the pictures for the next album. Michael had the idea for the cover. The cover art-work did Sangs sister for us. She made a great job.
Do you think that the band has developed musically if you compare ADRENALINE RUSH with the previous album from 2010 CRYSTALIZED?
I think Adrenaline Rush is a bit harder than Crystallized but without coming off from our typical melodic route.
I think that Reece does an amazing job, but how was it for the band to hear someone other than Soeterboek sing the songs?
Well, David did an amazing job and we’re very happy about the result. Because their voices are not so far away from each other, was easier to accept another singer on this album.
How did fans respond on the news that Reece was going to sing on the new album?
They were also interested to see what comes. Mostly they knew David Reece before (for example: eat the heat from Accept). So they want to hear more! 😉
Are there any plans on shooting videos to any of the songs?
Well, we plan a video for King of the World. But we do not know whether and when it can be used to implement.
Harry Hess, Eric Ragno and Mathias Dieth are all making guest appearances on the album, how did they end up on ADRENALINE RUSH?
Michael made a record with Harry called “First Signal” in 2010 who was released on Frontiers Records. Since he played guitars for him on this project Michael have a good contact to him. He is an amazing singer and we had to ask him for some choirs on Adrenaline Rush. Like with David we shared files and Harry sended us his vocaltracks, we’re very happy to have him on the album! Eric Ragno already played on Crystallized, so was the contact already exists. Mathias Dieth was contacted by Michael also. He asked him for a guestguitarsolo on Adrenaline Rush, and he agreed to.
Did you ever experience any pressure from fans or from the label to deliver something extra ordinary when you started to work on ADRENALINE RUSH?
Since Michael have his own recording studio things became more comfortable and easier to handle. Having our own studio gives more room to be creative and you can try different kinda recording tricks with microphone set ups, re-amping and so on. And without having somebody behind you who stares at the clock on the wall, because time is money. A real studio out here costs a lot of money. And during the songwriting, we’re not under pressure. Only on the end of the production we have a schedule to finish the album for recording and mixing. But we’ve got it just right. 😉
Dennis Ward has produced the album. How was it to work with him? Also, where was the album recorded?
Dennis was always our producer. He knows the band and how we should sound like. He brings in important ideas and concepts on several arrangements as well.
We recorded the guitars, keyboards, bass and some backing vocals in Michael’s studio. The drums were recorded in a studio near at Dennis’ place. The lead vocals were recorded in the US. Harry Hess recorded his backing vocals in Kanada. So we had a global recording.
Who did the mixing and the mastering? Was any member in the band part of those processes?
Well, Dennis did all the mixing and mastering. He sended us the mixes. So we could make more changes. Dennis has our confidence, and he always makes a great work.
Have you read any reviews of the album yet? Do you and the band care about what critics have to say about your work?
For sure, we read all reviews we can get. We have got very good reviews, which we are naturally delighted and also confirmed in Adrenaline Rush. We’re very happy about it. So far first reactions of the press mentioned songs like “King of the World”, “Angel in Black” and “Misery”. But many of the other songs were mentioned in a same positive critic as outstanding tunes, so it is always a matter of taste.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Wicked Sensation play?
Wicked Sensation is playing melodic hardrock. All songs are representative for the typical sound and style of Wicked Sensation. I think on a Wicked Sensation Album we always had songs for almost every taste. We love to play all this different styles.
Is Reece hired to do only this album or his he going to sing on the next Wicked Sensation album as well?
He only agreed to help us out for Adrenaline Rush. Robert is our singer, and we will do the next album with Robert again.
I think that beside Reece, guitarists Vong and Klein do a brilliant job, are you happy with what the band have achieved on ADRENALINE RUSH?
Absolut! Michael Klein and Sang Vong are great guitar players, and I’m very happy to play with them in Wicked Sensation.
The album contains 11 songs and clocks in on about 50 minutes which makes it a quite long disc. Was it your intention to make a long album or was it just a coincidence?
We wrote the album not in shape of time. The most important thing was the quality of the songs and not their long. We would do an album between ten or twelve songs, and we did it 😉
The band featured only one slow song on the album with “This Time”, how come you didn’t add more slow songs?
Well, we have with “This Time” a ballad, but with „Living on my Memories” is also a slow song on the album.
No, all songs we wrote for Adrenaline Rush are on the album. Because we can’t write bad songs, hahahaaa
Many artists and bands thinks that their latest album is their best one so far, is it so for you and ADRENALINE RUSH?
The songs sounds like we “grew up” a bit in our way to write and perform. And also the work of Michael in his studio grew up more and more, it’s just the way of development. On the new album you have always more experience as before.
Label and management
The band is signed to AOR Heaven, are you happy with the effort the label have put into the band and the album so far?
We’re very happy with AOR Heaven, and it is the second album in row by same label. Both are happy with the other one.
The label is pretty small, do you see any problems with that?
No, the size of a label says nothing about his work. Sometimes is small better than big.
Before you joined AOR Heaven you were signed to MTM, what’s the main difference in between working with the labels?
Both labels work in style of familiar, there’s no big difference.
AOR Heaven is co-operating with the promotion label GerMusica, are you satisfied with the co-operation?
We know Birgitt the owner of GerMusica over many years, since from our first album Reflected. Birgitt is doing a great job.
Are you currently working with any booking agency?
No, currently not, but we try to find one.
How come there is such little info about Wicked Sensation on the internet? I mean, you do have a website, but it’s only one page and nothing more, and your Facebook page doesn’t contain much info.
Your’re right. But behind the page we’re constructing a new layout. We will give the page a new look, and it should be online next time. Sorry to all for “under construction for too long time”!!
Is the band active on other social forums like Twitter etc?
Currently just on Facebook.
Who runs the band Facebook page?
Our Facebook page runs by Michael and Robert.
Is Wicked Sensation a band or a project?
We’re definitely a band!!!
Have the band played much before this new album?
We played some single shows on festivals.
Are there any plans on doing live shows in 2015?
We’re planning a tour and a first festival gig is confirmed.
In June 2014 singer Soeterboek claimed on your Facebook site that he left the band. How did his departure effect the rest of the band?
That’s Roberts reaction about his sadness that he can’t sing on the album. He would made place free to finish the album with another singer. But for us Robert is singer of Wicked Sensation. So began the part in way by David Reece.
In October he said that his surgery went well and that he and Michael have begun to write material to the next album, what position has Soeterboek got in the band at the moment?
As I said, Robert Soeterboek is Singer of Wicked Sensation and after his surgery he recovered very well. At the moment we didn’t start the songwriting for another album, but I guess we start the songwriting in the next few months.
If you look at the Encyclopedia Metallium it say that Dennis Ward is the new bass player and Martin Mannhardt and Vong left the band, is that correct? It also say that Alex Jansen plays the bass, could you tell the readers what’s correct?
Well, it seems somewhat confusing, but the state is at least four years old! Maybe nobody there wants to update that, but here is the survey: I left the Band in 2006, Sang Vong left little later. Dennis Ward played the bass on the album Crystallized in 2010. But he had no time for live performances or others. So after the release of Crystallized Alex Jansen joined the band for live performances.
But unfortunately no statuses and cooperation has been closed again. And then came the day when Michael and I had a meeting for a beer (or two). He told me that he quits Alex and he is in search for another bass player. And I said to Michael: hey man, you have found your bass player right now. So I had my comeback in Wicked Sensation in March 2012. And after me, Sang Vong came back also.
Hope it will not take so a long time about four years. But we released seven weeks ago a new album, a next album needs its time too. Maybe at the end of 2016 is possible? We want to make a strong album and not ground instead of class.
What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t heard the music of Wicked Sensation yet?
You have missed so far, you should do as soon as possible, if you like to get an Adrenaline Rush.
Could you give them three reasons why they should buy ADRENALINE RUSH?
A great album, eleven strong songs, and good-looking guys;-)
Well, thanks for taking the time making the interview. I wish you and the band all the best and have to say that I love ADRENALINE RUSH, it’s a kick ass album!! do you have any final words of wisdom to share with readers and fans?
We hope very much you like Adrenaline Rush also and we will have the opportunity to meet some fans and friends on a show somewhere!
Thank you for the Interview also and it was a pleasure for me!