Full audio and text highlights can be found below.
2:30 The Bonding - expenses
4:00 Record labels and budget
8:00 Future plans
9:00 Writing an orchestral score
11:00 Background in classical music
12:30 Writing for band and orchestra
15:00 Recording process
17:30 Mixing process
19:00 Taste in music and influences
24:00 Live plans
27:00 Past touring experience
31:00 Metal scene - bands with female vocalists
32:30 Guest musicians on The Bonding
34:00 Past work with Serenity and thoughts on their work
Financing such an expensive recording: Everything started that I simply knew that we had to work with a real orchestra on this album, but of course I didn't know how to finance it upfront. Then a real big fan of us contacted me here in Austria and, to cut a long story short, he wanted us to hear with a real orchestra again, and finally he offered to take one third of the orchestra costs, which was pretty amazing of course. Then another friend of mine, who also sponsored for the 'Higher' video clip, came together and also joined in, and finally the rest was taken by the fans, and we could help finance the whole project, which was absolutely phenomenal of course. If you have such fans, you don't have to worry about things in the future, so this is really something fantastic of course.
Did they consider abandoning a label and doing everything themselves? Definitely. I think for a band nowadays certain factors have to fit. You have to have a good advance that it really makes sense to sign a label deal again, of course. But on the other hand, it's of course an important thing to stay in the industry, especially for a band like us, and the whole promotional thing. I think at the point where we are last year, it would have been too early to make something on our own. I mean, we tried those things with the fan club thing. This was pretty successful with our last live album, which we only did over the fan shop, but of course we decided to stay with the label, and I think it was a good idea. But we'll have to see what the future brings. It's more and more many bands are going their own step to do everything on their own, and I think maybe this is a step for the future for many bands if sales are going down more and more. All the bands have to think what to do in the future of course.
Using samples vs. writing for a full orchestra: Well, it's much more difficult, of course, because you're filling it up with all the instruments, because when you have the musicians in the studio, it wouldn't make sense to just let them sit around. It's better to have them play. I mean, sample sounds are always sample sounds, but if you go into the real score, you also have to write all the articulations and all the loudnesses and then everything into the score to really bring in the dynamic, which is very difficult, of course, with sample sounds. I think this is a real long step.
Background in classical music: I started to play piano when I was 7 years old and starting as a child, and then took classical lessons for 12 years, which was some kind of background, but most of the orchestral thing I started on my own. So I bought a lot of scores from classical composers, especially Anton Bruckner, who is from the same town as I am, and also Antonin Dvořák and also Richard Strauss, so the late Romantic period is definitely my favorite period in classical music. And when you study the scores, just listening to the music and following through the score of the music, you learn a lot of things. You see, 'Okay, this instrument is doing that, while the other instrument is doing that.' And I think this was the basis for everything, but this is only one thing. Most of the things you have to have in mind, and if you can think multi-dimensional and multi-instrumental when it comes to your imaginations and to the music, it definitely helps, of course.
How the vocals fit in: Well, I'm writing the vocal lines, too, and then recording the vocals for Sabine, making some pilot vocals. And then she is preparing the lines, she is bringing in her own personality, of course. I've been working together with Sabine for at least 18 years now, or 17 years, so I know every nuance of her voice, and also I've been writing for her voice all the time. So if I have a vocal line and if I write the music, I immediately have Sabine's voice in my head. So this is very easy, because I totally know what it's going to sound like in the end when I'm writing.
Live plans: At the moment, we don't have anything for this year. The booking agency is still working on things. We have a festival confirmed next year for Czech Republic, and we're in good talks soon with ProgPower in Atlanta which would be great, our first appearance in the USA, but we'll have to see. The touring market in Europe is not easy at the moment, because many bands are on the road, and we also cannot afford to lose money for just the sake of being on the road, and therefore we have to be very careful which things we are doing. We're in talks for a bigger thing in October which is taking place in Europe, but it's still not decided, so I cannot say something concrete at the moment.
How he feels about not playing live regularly: Of course it's weird, but we have never done things where we put in our own money. I know so many bands that are on the road but putting their own money in, and this cannot be the right way. Of course, we had a difficult time the last three years where we were unable to play any live shows, but of course we would like to play again live, but everything has to make sense. A support tour has to make sense. We will only just play with bands that are fitting to our style because much too often we were on the road with bands that were totally different, which also didn't make a lot of sense in the past. Therefore, yeah, we'll have to see what's coming. On the other hand, we were totally busy with everything concerning the album, recording, preparing the video clip and things like that, signing the new deal, making the promo, so we couldn't make up our minds about planning a lot of live things, and now we have to see what's coming out.
Bad touring experiences in the past: The tour with Rage, what we did in 2008, was nice, because it was so many shows, but there was no conjunction with their fan base. On the other hand this was wasted time. It was great, of course, to play so many shows, and we became a real tight live band at this time, but if you don't have the conjunction to the fan base of the other band, it doesn't make sense to make some support tours.
Difficult to stand out in a scene filled with female-fronted bands nowadays? Well, not really. We were one of the first bands that established this style, because we have been working with female vocals since 1996 and really started with Edenbridge in 1998. At that time, none of those bands, or just a few of them, were around, and most of them we didn't know. In the meantime, we were seen as one of the trendsetters, but on the other hand we haven't made the big breakthrough like Within Temptation or Nightwish. I think nowadays people appreciate us for being one of the first bands who established this style, and I think this is going to be recognized in the meantime.
Thoughts on Serenity's work: Well, I liked it much more in the past. I don't like the new album so much, but this is just my personal taste. Pretty much the second album I considered the best, because they sounded very fresh on this album, because the ideas were very fresh. On the new album, they stick too much to the style they also had and didn't do a lot of things which were quite new, so this was a bit disappointing for me...Well, they should [update their style], because otherwise they are sticking too much to some already established things. But this is their thing, of course.