Interview with Sasha (drums)
Interview conducted by Christian Renner
Date online: February 9, 2003
TYRANT EYES is a band that isn’t exactly well known for the most part but after you listen to their latest album “The Darkest Hour” you won't soon forget who they are. This album was more than simply a pleasant surprise, this album kicks some major ass. Power/pure/thrash metal all mixed together with some killer songwriting that is as diverse as it is catchy makes for one of the best albums I have heard in quite some time. Hell, I am still listening to this album at least two or three times a day it is simply that damn good. Do yourself a favor and at the very least find a few MP3’s and check them out…I am sure a album purchase will not be to far behind. I recently got to do a interview with their drummer Sasha and this is how it went…cheers!
First off I have to say that your new album “The Darkest Hour” is one of the best I have heard in quite some time. Finally we have some power/speed metal that gives the genre a serious kick in the ass. Congratulations are certainly in order. Now lets get to some questions.
Thank you very much!!!
I know this is a question that most bands hate but can you give us a quick rundown on the history of the band?
Yeah! Everything started in 1993. Marcus (g), Michael (b) and Alex (v) have been involved in a local heavy metal band called “Dragonsfire” which split in December 1992. So Marcus asked me (Sascha, d) if I like to join them and complete the line-up, and just a few days later we started rehearsing; already in February 1993 we played our first gig as Tyrant Eyes. Some more concerts followed (we even had the opportunity to support the german melodic metal band “Heaven´s Gate” in fall ´93), and in May 1994 we went into a friend´s home studio to record our first demo-tape (by the way - it contained 5 tracks…and sounded terrible!). Even more gigs followed, and in fall 1995 we entered the studio again to record our first demo CD, which was called “War and Darkness”. In the following years, especially in 97/ 98 we had the chance to open for a lot of great bands such as Sacred Steel, Wizard, Warhead, U.D.O., Saxon, Tom Angelripper and Nevermore. All those shows were a great experience. In fall 1998 we thought that it was time to record a “real” CD, that means a full length album, and we entered the “House of Audio” Studios, where artists like Pink Cream 69, D.C. Cooper or Vanden Plas recorded their albums After finishing the whole production of “Book Of Souls” sometime in January of 1999 we decided to make an edition of 1000 copies which we could sell at our concerts. We sold about 200 copies during the summer; and during these months, we also sent out several promo-copies to record-labels. So in June we received a letter from Last Episode / B.O. records in which they told us that they like our stuff; some more weeks passed, and after some more letters and phone-calls, we drove to Schwäbisch-Gmünd to sign our deal with B.O. The official release of “BOS” followed on January 31st. We were very happy with the promotion which was done by B.O., but soon after the release, the relationship between Last Episode and Tyrant Eyes...well, let me put it this way: it cooled down noticeably. A European tour, which was planned and also already promoted was cancelled and they also did not pay our royalties. To top it all off, we had to get a lawyer who helped us get our money; the whole communication with our former label was done by a lawyer by this time. In the summer 2001, we entered the “House of Audio” Studios again to record “The Darkest Hour”. That´s the story so far.
Now lets get straight to the album. When I received the promo the press material that was included said “German power metallers Tyrant Eyes…” and I just couldn’t help but think to myself “Oh great another power metal Helloween clone, 6thats all we need.” Then I sat down and listened to the album and was simply blown away by what I heard. This is a lot more than simply power metal. The guitar work reminds me of old Thrash/Speed metal from the late 80’s. The keyboards bring to mind what you would hear from an epic black metal band. Vocals are clean but at times sound almost menacing. All of this is put together within what is certainly power/pure metal at its core. Was mixing all these different elements together something planned at the outset of the band or something that just evolved?
I think it was just kind of natural development. After our struggle with B.O. records, all of us were really pissed off, and I think those bad business experiences were also a reason that, after all, we wanted to make an album which is harder and more aggressive than our debut. We are also VERY happy each time we hear that we do NOT sound like a typical power metal Helloween clone! Maybe some listeners have this point of view, too. On the other hand, there are also critics and listeners who consider it a “sin” if you go astray from the true “happy” metal, if you know what I mean…? I mean, if you expect an album with those typical “lalalaaaa…yeah, I kill the dragon now!” stuff, you may be disappointed when you put “The Darkest Hour” in your player.
Did you realize how strong these songs were when you first went into the studio?
Hmmm, that´s a good question…I have to admit that I almost can´t remember, because such a long time passed between the recording and the release of The Darkest Hour due to some more business shit, haha ? (Soon after finishing the recordings, we were signed by a small german label. They wanted to release TDH in January 2002. Unfortunately, it went bankrupt a few weeks later, before TDH was released. Great, isnt it? The next company that signed us in March 2002 was a completely new start up, run by a guy from Berlin. As we got to know soon, this guy had no plan at all; so we decided that it would be better to cancel that deal as long as it was still possible. Finally, we got an E-mail from Stefano, I think it was June 2002, and finally things start to work out well for us.) From my point of view, I always had kind of mixed emotions: I knew that we had some very good songs, but on the other hand, like I mentioned above, I also knew that some listeners may have problems with some songs, in case they expect the typical power / true - metal stuff. But also the staff in the studio, especially our recording engineer Jochen, told us that the songs are definitely better than those on our debut.
For those that have not heard the band before, how would you describe the bands sound?
I think it´s best described as power metal with some progressive and thrash influences…though I have to admit that I do not like this kind of thinking: putting bands in “boxes”, if you know what I mean…”They sound like Hammerfall, I´ll put them in the True-Metal-Box; those sound like Gamma Ray, I´ll put them in the Power-Metal-Box”…I do not like this splitting in thousands of “sub-styles”; best example is Rhapsody, which is described from their record company as “Epic symphonic Hollywood Metal”…what the hell is this!??? ? So, I think a very good description of our sound came from Filippo at Scarlet Records: He has told me, after several times of listening to TDH, that it´s “true metal with a dark feeling inside”! That´s a description I like very much.
How are the writing duties handled within the band?
Most of the songs are written by our guitar player Marcus; he often enters our rehearsing room, telling us “Hey guys, I got some new ideas”, and plays some riffs. Then we all work together on these basic tracks, and sometimes, a new song is written within a few hours…well, sometimes, not always ;-). There are also occasions when Marcus brings along a song that is already completely finished where he has also already written lyrics etc, and we simply have to play along with him. He´s a kind of restless guy…
The album comes across as being well thought out before actually hitting the studio, almost like a band that is on a mission. How much preparation went into the music before hitting the studio?
Oh, we really tried to prepare ourselves as good as possible for the studio: Most songs were already completely thought out, so we had only some slight changes in the songwriting during the recording process. There have only been changes in details. We also did a kind of “pre-production” in our rehearsing room, where we recorded all songs on PC with some recording software. It doesn´t sound that good, but it helps you prepare for the studio, and you also you have some kind of “demo”, which is also quite helpful for the recording engineer, because he can also prepare for his job when he already knows the songs.
How did the recording sessions go…any funny or violent argument moments to speak of?
We have no violent arguments at all, we are a very boring, peaceful band, haha! ? But there was lots of fun during the recording! Especially in the evenings, after the recording sessions…? To put it short: It´s simply great to record in the “House of Audio Studios”: We already chose this studio for our first real production, “Book Of Souls”, because it´s simply a very cool place to record: Great equipment, competent staff, and even a nice apartment where we could live for some weeks-everything was perfect for relaxed working.
The production of the album is also extremely well done. Did the band have a set desired sound going into the studio or was this mainly left up to Jochen Weyher? How was working with Jochen?
We were already very content with the sound of our debut, so we had some kind of direction how everything should sound like. Nevertheless, Jochen did a great job concerning the sound. When we first recorded our debut at the House of Audio Studios, we were wondering how we could come along personally with Jochen, because he is a completely different character than we, Tyrant Eyes, are. Jochen is no typical metal producer, he isn´t even a metal listener! So we asked ourselves if there might be problems, when 5 Metalheads have to work with someone…well, let´s call “normal” ?! But it worked out very well, also from the personal point of view. Jochen does all kinds of producing, he records Jazz bands as well as hungarian church choirs, so it was also good to have someone involved in the recording process who looks at things from a different view. It is another advantage of the House of Audio studio that they also want to improve steadily. They invest lots of money in new equipment or in improving the recording rooms, so there is always a sound-improvement.
Is the band happy with the way everything turned out or is there something you wish you could go back and change?
Things did not always go well for us; like I mentioned above, we had serious trouble with our former company, and we sincerely hope that this shit won´t repeat. But up to now, things are going very well with Scarlet Records, and we can´t complain so far. Concerning this, I would not do any big changes. Another point worth mentioning is the fact, that we have the same line-up for almost ten years now! That´s something I am very proud of and would never like to change!
It is obvious by listening to this album there is an appreciation for a wide variety of differing metal genre’s within the band. What are some of the bands that have had a hand in influencing you guys? Any bands in particular you guys are listening to or are fans of yourself as of late?
We are all big Nevermore fans! Those guys have a really unique style of writing songs, besides the fact that they are all also great musicians. But everyone in the band has also personal preferences: Michael is the melodic guy, he likes bands like Angra, Vanden Plas or Pink Cream 69. Marcus is the straight counterpart, he prefers Slayer and Pantera. Jürgen, typical for a keyboard player, likes Depeche Mode, Vangelis but also Pain Of Salvation and other progressive bands. Alex likes also many different bands, for example Grave Digger , DIO or Rush. Myself, I listen to almost everything except Hip-Hop, Techno or New Metal. So, you see, I could write a looong list with bands that may have had some influence on us in this or that way…?
Scarlet Records have built a very impressive roster of talent lately. How has it been working with them?
Like I mentioned above, we are very happy with Scarlet up to now. We know that Scarlet is a small label with limited means. But I am convinced, that nevertheless, they try to do the best promotion they can do for their bands.
Are there any plans to come to the US or Canada for any touring?
No, unfortunately there aren´t any plans yet; as far as I am informed, the album will also not be distributed officially in the USA up to now. Sure, it would be very cool to do a tour in the States or Canada, but I think this still could take some time to become true.
To end the interview I do something called the “Final Five”. These are five questions that mean absolutely nothing and that are just thrown in to add a little humor. Something to break the monotony of bands having to answer the same basic questions over and over again…
1. What is your best cure for a hangover?
When you come home completely drunk, maybe at 4 or 5 o´clock in the morning, it is very important to drink a huge glass of water with a magnesia and a vitamin c pill! It doesn´t matter how drunk you are, this glass of water is a must before going to bed!!!! Try to drink it, even when you come crawling into the kitchen!
Then, when you wake up after a few hours of sleep, you have 2 possibilities:
a)stay in bed as long as possible, because getting up will be terrible.
2.If Lars Ullrich (From former metal band Metallica) were to burst into flames right in front of you would you be willing to piss on him to put him out or would you just burst into hysterical laughter and consider it retribution for the crap they have put out lately?
Hahaha, that´s a good one!!! Well, I have to admit that I am a very peaceful and peaceloving person; I don´t wish anyone any harm…at least I try it ?, so I would of course piss on him without hesitation! Love thy neighbour!!! ?
3.What would hurt more..
a)Listening to an entire Celine Dion album.
b)Taking a meat clever and chopping of one of your little toes.
I guess, here the worst case would be to chop of one toe WHILE listening to Celine Dion…? Well, hard question, but I think I try to make it through the Celine Dion CD, because my ears can recover, a chopped off toe not!
4.Multiple choice…whats better?
a) The Backstreet Boys
c)Sharp stick in your eye
Sharp sticks in each eye of those little bastards, haha! Stop! No! What have I written above? No harm to anyone…well, fuck it! ?
5.Being full-blooded German myself (Born and raised in Speyer am Rhein) I had a question concerning the World Cup that is going to be held there in 2006. If every member of the German team were to break their leg before the final game at the same time how badly would they beat their opponent. (Ahhh….Deutschland Uber Alles…?)
Hey, Speyer is not that far from where I live! I think it´s only about 40-50 kilometers south! Well, to come back to your question: We all have seen last year that the german soccer team has at least partly recovered from a phase of incapacity and uselessness by becoming 2nd in the world cup finale. Nevertheless, the times are hard!!! There are only about three and a half years left for training and improvement ;-)! But maybe they would really be better with broken legs; say, at least they can´t be much more worse…uh, that was mean, I know ?. But, If each german player would have ONE broken leg, and each player of the opponent team TWO broken legs, then I think our boys would win 3:1 , hehe!!
Thanks for your time and answering some of dumb ass questions there at the end.
It was a pleasure!
Any final words for your fans out there?
We would like to thank anyone who has supported us during the last years and who has checked our debut, “Book of Souls”. Also check our new release, and have a look on our website www.tyrant-eyes.de from time to time. We are currently working on the English version. Oh, before I forget: Write as many e-mails as possible to our record company and and get on their nerves with demanding a Tyrant Eyes US tour!!!! Maybe it works..?
Cheers and good luck with the new album!
|Other information about Tyrant Eyes on this site|
|Review: The Darkest Hour|
|Review: The Sound of Persistence|
|Video: Tiny Green Monsters (Live)|
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