Tuska Open Air  Metal Festival / Helsinki 2011

(c) Blind Guardian Official

"Our Orchestra Project will be the best we have done so far"

Suiciderock: We are at the Tuska festival today. How do you like it so far? Is there any band you want to see yourself? Did you have time to discover Helsinki a bit? 
André Olbrich: We didn`t have the chance to see any bands yet. It was already late when we arrived here in Helsinki yesterday so we just hang out in the city. We arrived here at the festival area about one our ago so we really didn`t catch any of the other bands so far. It`s not our first time here in Helsinki, it´s already our forth visit. However I have never been out here on a Friday night and now I saw the party life around all those clubs and bars. I must say that I really like it, it`s a really nice place to be, to hang out and to find yourself a good party.

Suiciderock: „At the Edge of Time” is your current record. It contains 10 tracks and it took four years in the making, that is a quite long time. Why did you leave your fans waiting for so long?
André Olbrich: We always do this, we like to torture our fans. You know? *smiles* No, we have this kind of time rhythm since several years now and we don`t write songs while we are on tour. That means that when we have released a new album, we will tour with that around one and a half year and after this we start with the writing for the new songs again. This also takes it`s time, than comes to producing of the album which might take also about six month… So the whole process needs it`s time and we kept this four years circle since about 12 years now. I think it is really healthy for the band because the creativity stays very strong cause there is also something different on your mind if you are not only working, working and working on new material. After a break like this your mind is very fresh.

Suiciderock: So you are not suffering from a writers block than?
André Olbrich: Yeah, right. For example when you write a new song, it shows how you feel at the very moment you write this particular song. If you want to try something else after that, if you want to invent yourself new, than you have to have a break from everything otherwise this won´t work out. The new ideas can`t flow as they should.

Suiciderock: So it took also four years until you finally could present your new songs at the shows. Did they still feel new to you or have they become already used stuff for you to play?
André Olbrich: No, not really. We try to keep our setlist always different. We play newer songs and elder ones but we also try to play songs that we have never played before. We have gathered a lot material during the years, so it won`t get boring for us and the fans.

Suiciderock: Let`s talk about the songs that “At the Edge of Time” contains. It is your 9th studio album. What inspired you for the songs?
André Olbrich: Most of the time the songs are inspired by life in general. I try to capture how I feel, how I see my daily surroundings. I like writing songs during the winter time. Maybe you are a little bit more calm and a little bit more melancholic than you might write more songs capturing this mood, while in the summer all the energy comes into the song writing. Than you might write something fast and powerful. It`s hard to say, it really changes how you feel and it also depends on the circumstances from outside.

Suiciderock: I read in a former interview that there was a little difference when it comes to the song writing. As far as I know you used to take a time off between touring and writing new songs but this time you started right away. What would you say worked out better for you?
André Olbrich: Well, the difference was that we had to start writing new material a bit earlier because of that computer game. We arrived from tour and we started to concentrate on the new songs. This was unusual for us cause we take at least a three month break after a tour before we start putting new ideas together. But this wasn’t something bad in my opinion. The song got this kind of tour feeling. You could feel all the energy and all the power in it.

Suiciderock: No you can compare, what`s better, starting right away to write new songs when you return from a tour or to go the usual way?
André Olbrich: I don`t know. I really like the song. I might try this way again in the future but I wouldn`t force myself to sit down and start right after giving my luggage out of my hand. If I feel tired after a long tour there is no sense to start writing new stuff.

Suiciderock: The critics you got where pretty amazing. People even went that far to name it THE Blind Guardian album that captured everything that this band has ever been about. Would you agree with that and if yes what makes “At the Edge of Time” The Album?
André Olbrich: Yes, I would definitely agree with that. Some of the songs contain elements we didn`t play and use for years. On the other hand you can also find all the modern elements which we used for the former three records. So it is a really nice mixture of everything we`ve done. The album came out about one year ago. Now that we have the distance between the recording and the release I must say that I really like it. It`s a mixture of all the different directions we have ever done within our career. Everything is there.

Suiciderock: It was also said that the album is more progressive than your former once. Would you say that`s true?
André Olbrich: Hm, no I don`t think so. Of course, there is lots of progression in the album when it comes to the style. I don`t know where the opinion that the album is more progressive than the other ones comes from. I don`t think it is.

Suiciderock: Your album cover was inspired by track number 10 “Wheel of Time”.  What can you tell us about the artwork?
André Olbrich: We read a lot of books and as our songs all have a story behind, we choose “Wheel of Time” as the best one. Than we talked about that with the designer and he said that he could make us something in that style. We are pretty happy with what came out.

Suiciderock: You have been around since 1988 now and your success was growing ever since. It`s quite randomly nowadays that a band manages to stay together that long. What is your opinion about todays music scene? Is it a lot different from what you have seen when you started the band?
André Olbrich: We are in love with music and we still enjoy our job, we have our daily life, the guys in the band are very very different but we all have the same goals. That keeps the band alive, I think. There is still the aim to reach something better, higher, to improve as a band. We have very high goals and we didn`t reach them so far, there is still a lot to do and to aim for. We will continue, we have something in progress right now which will be a blast…

Suiciderock: Are we talking about the orchestra project now?
André Olbrich: Exactly. We recorded some tracks together with the orchestra of Prague. Hansi sang already some songs in the studio. They came out very great. That will be the best music we did so far. It will probably released 2014.

Suiciderock: You had a different name when you guys begun. Blind Guardian was found under the name “Lucifer´s Heritage”. Why did you feel the need to change that name?
André Olbrich: At that time we already played melodic power metal. Yeah, you could describe it like that. Many people thought that we are a black metal band just because of the name. We thought ok, if the people out there get a wrong impression just because of the name, we should change that because it is not good for the band. So we were searching for a name that fits our music. Blind Guardian is the perfect fantasy band name for our power metal music. 

Suiciderock: How you keep yourself in shape for a festival / gig marathon?
André Olbrich: Rehearsing, rehearsing, but that`s usual. And of course, lots of sports to keep yourself in form.

Suiciderock: Future plans?
André Olbrich: Oh, this orchestra project will take lots of our time. We will go on a tour through South America, than the Wacken Festival of course, right after all this gigs we start studio work again. In the end of this year we will release a Best Of album, many many things to do.

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