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23/11/2006 – Interview with DOMAIN

DOMAIN (official website) has been around for 20 years this year and they celebrated this with a new album called "Stardawn". You can read my comments on it at this location. Especially for this anniversary there's a limited edition digipack with a "Best Of" and a live DVD. I sent mainman and guitarist Axel Ritt some questions regarding the new album, the band's longtime career and any plans Axel has for the future. Very recently there's been another line-up change, since vocalist Carsten Schulz and bassist Jochen Mayer left the band to pursue other goals.

Domain logo

I just read that Carsten Schulz and Jochen Mayer left due to the classical "personal and professional differences". Is this true? If so, what happened? And do you have any replacements in mind?

Yes, that's right! They've been replaced by Chity Somapala (ex-FIREWIND, ex-AVALON, ex-FARO) on vocals and Steven Wussov on bass. Further details you'll find at

Domain bandLet's talk about the new album.. What are your feelings about it? How satisfied are you?

I'm pretty fine, thank you and I'm totally satisfied with the album.

What are the reactions from fans, family, colleagues, ... about "Stardawn"?

Until now, all reactions are very enthusiastic, I didn't expect it to become such a success.

What exactly is "Stardawn" about? Did you do some research for it? If possible, could you give a short explanation with each song? In addition, what the relation with the cover art?

Well, there are some assumptions that the Egyptian empire and its technical predominance has grown that fast because they had some contact with extraterrestrial life-forms. You can't evidence it, but it's a good basic for interesting stories and guess-works.

You also chose to cover Chris de Burgh's "Don't Pay The Ferryman", which was well done, in my opinion. Any particular reason why this song was chosen?

The reason for taking this hit as a cover-version is a funny story. About 20 years ago, the first concert our singer Carsten ever went to, was a CDB-show. It looks like that the show has left a mark, so that he decided, now that he's a musician as well, to recommend this song for doing the cover-version. First, all of us were very mistrustful about this proposal, but the more we looked into this subject, the more we recognized that this song is already very "Domainy", we just had to make contact to the actual DOMAIN-sound. The song fits perfect in the classical DOMAIN-song-structures, so I gave it a modern sound, more punch in the arrangement and here we go.

Stardawn coverThe limited edition of "Stardawn" contains 2 cd's and a DVD. Whose idea was it to add a 'best of' cd and the recordings of the Busan concert and Jecheon TV-Show? And did you personally pick the songs for the second disc?

Because the band got it's 20th anniversary this year, I thought it would be the right intention to give the fans the biggest package we can put together and yes, I personally picked up the songs for the "Best-Of" disc in accord with our record company.

DOMAIN has been around for ages (so to speak ;-)). Are there plans to release some kind of biographical DVD about the history of the band, the albums, the gigs, making of's, etc....? Or go for the written approach with a book? By the way, are there books about the band?

No, there are no books about the band at the moment, but to be honest, I never thought about could be a good idea, I'll think about it.

Looking back in time, which album(s) are you most proud of, which not, and why?

Well, I like all albums, otherwise I wouldn't have record it in this way ;-) It's like asking a father what child he prefers, I can't answer this question. All albums got their highs and lows.

Back in time you probably had less advanced equipment to record albums. What exists now is unbelievable to have a great sound and save time. How would you compare the possibilities of then and now?

I'm sorry to tell but in the older days the sound was much better than today. Today you can do the mastering to compress the sound to fuck but that doesn't better the quality of a production. Everybody is doing his production in his sleeping-room, because there are no budgets anymore to rent a professional recording studio and that's how most of the recordings sound like, simply horrible.

How do songs get born and where do you draw inspiration from?

In the last years I got most of my inspirations by the classical godfathers like Tschaikowsky, Bach and Mozart and the actual giants of film score music like John Williams.

DOMAIN has been under contract with LMP for a couple of years now. How satisfied are you with this collaboration? And how has LMP improved DOMAIN's career?

LMP are doing a great job. I've got a very good relation to the label boss Limb Schnoor and our communication base is fast and effective.

When on tour, what things do you always take with you (except for the obvious clothes and hygiene material, hahaha ;-))?

Handy, notebook, a metronome and pills against headaches ;-)

Can you live off the music you make with DOMAIN or does it require another job to have enough income?

Yes, I live off the music, no other jobs except composing and producing.

Domain bandFile-sharing is a much-discussed topic. what do you think about this? Don't you feel robbed knowing that the album is available for download months before the release?

Yes, for me it's the same like going to a bakery, grabbing a bread and leave the shop without paying. It's pure thievery and it has to be punished hard in the same way.

Related to the previous question: do you have insight on the sales of DOMAIN's albums? And which is your most successful so far?

The best selling album was the "Before The Storm" album, recorded in 1989.

After a hard day's work or a series of gigs, how do you relax? How do you get back to your senses (extremely put ;-))?

I try to sleep. I don't need nothing else than sleep to get my energy back. Give me 8 hours of sleep a day and I'll work 14 hours in a row, 365 days a year.

When having time for yourself, how do you fill it? Do you have any hobbies?

I'm very much into animal protection, so I try to find as much time as possible to fight against the abuse and the distressed exploitation of animals.

You've been the band's producer since a couple of years. Ever thought of using an external producer again? And what are the differences between you doing it or someone else?

I'd love to work with Mutt Lange, but he's the only one.

After all these years, what would you still like to accomplish with DOMAIN or as a musician?

To compose a song that will last longer than I live.

Are there certain collaborations with other musicians you still like to do, be it on a record or a tour?

Too many to name.

Who are the bands/musicians that inspired you to start a band or become a musician yourself?

My main influence when I was a child was DEEP PURPLE. The album "Made In Japan" blew me away and I think, this was the starting point of everything.

What's in your cd-player at the moment? Which bands are on your 'favourites' list?

Gustav Holst's "Planet Suite" and Edward Grieg's "Peer Gynt".

When DOMAIN will call it a day, do you already have your future set out? Do you know what you'll do then? Or will you go on in music until it's physically and mentally too much? :-)

A simple answer: DOMAIN 'til I die!

Best regards
Axel "Ironfinger" Ritt

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