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28/01/2008 – Interview with PARADOX

They were quite successful in the 1980s, having two albums on their palmares: "Product Of Imagination" and "Heresy" - both re-released last year via Metal Mind Productions. Early in the '90s PARADOX was forced to call it a day and that was it. Around 1998 the band got back together, but not with the original line-up. Mainman/guitarist/vocalist Charly Steinhauer thought it was time to unleash some PARADOXal power again and two years later "Collision Course" was born, but then another break-up followed because of personal problems for Charly. Now, anno 2008 the German Power/Thrash band has shown the world PARADOX is still a force to reckon with, no matter which obstacles are on their path. Titled "Electrify", you get everything that is typical of the band's Metal. You can find the review at this location. 2008 has started well, let that be clear.

Because of the reforming of the band and this new release I sent Charly and Kai a couple of questions, focussing on "Electrify", but also going back in time to obtain a bit more insight in the evolution of PARADOX.

Paradox logo

Congratulations with "Electrify". You've made another very good album, one to be proud of, indeed. Two albums in the 1980s, one in 2000 and now #4 is there: "Electrify". How does it feel to be back and how satisfied are you with the result?

Hi Tim, first we'd like to thank you for the praise, we really appreciate it! We are very happy with the album and as far as we can see, the people who had to review the cd are too, which makes us really proud. There is so much blood, sweat and tears in the music and the whole product.

Paradox bandWhat is the reaction from friends, family, colleagues and press regarding this new album? No one will deny it's a solid album, right?

Well, the international press is overwhelming, but of course we are not "album of the month" in the main magazines. But that's ok, we are not BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE or AVANTASIA, hehe (not yet, harhar). We are really pleased with the whole situation and our friends and families are satisfied with us; Kai's kids are singing the main guitar theme of "Infected" during breakfast.

You went through some hard times: end of the 1980s the band was split due to musical and label issues. And when there was a comeback in 2000, personal problems forced you to call it quits once more. Would you have continued after the first 'split'? If so, what prevented you from keeping the PARADOX train on the rails?

The first split was in the beginning of the nineties, not before. In 1998 we restarted with the Holzwarth brothers, but Charly got very sick and we decided during that time to proceed after Charly had won his fight with a fresh drummer and bassist. Olly and Roland are ready to put 110 % of power into PARADOX.

The second 'split' was of another calibre and probably more damaging, so to speak. Did this give you the strength to put PARADOX back on the map, also because PARADOX still has enough in store for the years to come and deserves a better way to be put to rest?

Well, the first split was really the worst, because Axel was the second songwriter and a very good, long year friend. We (Charly and Kai) knew, that PARADOX would go on somehow after having decided to rock on after "Collision Course".

In those +/- 10 years that PARADOX was put on ice, what kept you busy? And did you keep your instrumental skills intact?

We led a regular life, as metal fans, as we are now, silently draming of recording another CD...

There were quite a lot of line-up changes throughout the years. Did that affect your faith in people?

Yes, we musicians are a weird human kind anyway, hehe.

For "Collision Course" you found the brothers Holzwarth willing to join the band. How did you get in touch with them? Or in other words, how soon did you find candidates for the bass and drums and why were the Holzwarths the best choice?

Electrify coverCharly knew Oli and Alex from past times. They met at a festival and Alex said he'd like to play some Thrash - Charly should tell him if he needed a drummer. Some months later Charly needed a drummer and a bassist. Oli was ready, too, that was all. They are known as great musicians and they are!

For "Electrify" Olly Keller and Roland Johada occupied those positions. How did they get into the picture?

Roland as well as Olly live near Nürnberg, where Kai lives. Roland had just decided to leave SOUL DEMISE and heard, that we were looking for a drummer. Olly was suggested by another guitarist Kai knows. It was all very simple and easy to decide - the guys are great as pals and musicians.

The first two albums, "Product Of Imagination" and "Heresy", were re-released by Metal Mind Productions, who licensed them from RoadRunner Records. Were you being informed of that or was it something between both labels only?

We were also informed, that's why the bonus tracks are on [the re-releases].

Focussing on the new release, "Electrify": when did you start writing the material? Also, is every song a new one or did you use leftovers (bits and pieces) from the past years?

Well, "Monument" contains a real old idea from the 80s. After "Collision Course" Charly started writing, finished 3 songs and then got sick. The rest was composed and simultaneously recorded in the last 2 years after hospital.

You composed the music, while Kai focused on the lyrics, if I read correctly. Or did Kai also help out with riffs, melodies, ...? What about Olly and Roland?

Charly is the main man for music, Kai for lyrics. That's the way it works.

The lyrical concept is about the effect of the Internet on people, which is also shown/reflected on the cover artwork. People are attached to a sort of 'common rail' system, used in diesel engines as well, from where the info is injected into their heads and shown on the screens. But what's the function of the 'masks' that cover the mouth?

We don't know!

Who exactly did the cover art and did you give him/her guidelines to work with or was he/she free to interpret it all like he/she wanted?

Claudio Bergamin could give you info to your question, probably, haha. He got some hints from Kai about the lyrics and he just came up with several ideas and we chose this frontcover artwork.

How important is cover art, in your opinion? Should it always be linked to the songs, visualizing the theme, or would a band picture be fine as well?

A good cover is a part of the whole artwork and the feeling of a cd. To go into a record store and just be attracted by a cool cover is a great thing, so an optimal cover should fit to the music, to the style and to the lyrics. If it's a live-cd, the band should be on the cover.

What - except "The Lawnmover Man" - inspired you and/or Kai to take this subject as theme for the album? Plus, have you felt the impact of internet (bad or good) on your life?

We are Internet fans, we like MySpace and all that, but also know that you need to realize, not all is honest or real. Users of www shouldn't forget real life and use the net critically - every dumbo is allowed to act like a professor. We have lyrics which have nothing to do with the matter, so it is not a concept album.

For one of the songs, "Infected", you made a video. How did the shootings go and did you have input in the what/when/where/how of it all? In addition, what made this song a perfect choice for a video?

Well, the first reactions of AFM Records were that this is the best, most typical song for the album and for the band, and we agreed. We were asked by Micky Wehner, who is former singer of VENDETTA and now working as a video producer, if we'd like to do a clip, and he really did a great job. We wanted a pure, band-featuring video, so the folks know what we look like playing, no actors or story.

The mixing of "Electrify" was handled by Jacob Hansen. Was this your or AFM's choice?

We chose Jacob after AFM proposed him and some others.

Paradox band picture 2007This is your second album for AFM. With a gap of 7 years, I take it the contract was for at least 2 albums or did you renegotiate for "Electrify"?

No new negotiations.

Before working on the new album, the band played a couple of shows, incl. Wacken. What was it like, standing on stage again in front of hundreds/thousands of people? Were you nervous?

I think we were nervous, it's that special kind of feeling you can't describe to anyone who didn't climb on stage to perform. It's a mix of nervousness, concentration, power.

In the video of "Infected" and on several pictures I saw you play your guitar the other way around, even though it's not really made for that, with the buttons on top. Doesn't Dean have guitars for your way of playing? Or is there a specific reason why you play like that?

It been this way since the beginning. Why change things that worked out until now?

What makes a guitar good enough for you? And do you have other brands (Jackson, Ibanez, ESP, Gibson, ...) in your collection besides Dean?

Any brand can be good enough, it must be easy to play and robust. We have BC Rich, Ibanez, Hoyer, Noname...

Looking back at 2007, what stood out for you and/or the band, incl. releases (from other bands), gigs (you did or attended), non-Metal stuff, ...?


What are your expectations, wishes or hopes for 2008?

We hope that Bush will be stopped and the fighting in Israel/Palestine will quit and that politics will do more to save the earth. We hope to play live as much we can and start recording the next CD this year.

Regarding touring, you'll soon hit the road with MEKONG DELTA and VENDETTA. How did this combination come about?

No. The guitarist of MEKONG DELTA broke his arm, so they won't play. But instead we'll have HATESPHERE. We're looking forward to the short tour through some European countries. Dates will be published very soon. Look on our homepage or

You're a producer, so sound is important for you. But how important is it for you as 1) producer, 2) musician and 3) music lover, that the instruments sound realistic enough? Although I'm asking for your opinion from the three points of view, you can put them together if there's no difference.

We produce and record as music fans. We always hope to get the best sound and we are not always satisfied and very critical. On this record we had Jacob who mixed the instruments in a very modern way, making them sound more artificial - we like that sound, yeah, but next time we'll concentrate on making a more warm, natural sound.

Well, that's it for me. Many thanks for taking the time to reply. Good luck with the upcoming tour and may 2008 be a wonderful year for you and the band. If there's anything you want to add, let it out.

Thanks for your interest, we hope you'll enjoy "Electrify" and PARADOX on stage. See you soon - be free to contact us and leave messages in our guestbook. METAL UP!

Charly and Kai

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