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20/03/2007 – Interview with SILENT FORCE

Germany's Melodic Powermetal band SILENT FORCE (official website) recently released its fourth full album and called it "Walk The Earth". I've been into this band since their previous record "Worlds Apart" and some weeks ago I added the re-releases of their first two to my collection. These are purchases I can really recommend, as the remastered versions sound much better, more powerful than before. But there's a new record out and naturally an interview peeps around the corner. So I sent some questions to mastermind and guitarist of the band Alex Beyrodt, whose replies you can read below. You can read my findings on "Walk The Earth" at this location.

Silent Force logo

Like for "Worlds Apart", you appealed again to the services of producer Dennis Ward. Was it in the spirit of "never change a winning team"? And how much influence did he have on the songs? Did he offer some advices and stuff? To be honest, I think he did a less good job on the drums, as they sound muffled compared to "Worlds Apart".

Dennis Ward has the talent to mix a record in the way that you actually can hear every instrument and detail. Take the bass, for example. In Metal on many records an instrument you can't hear, only feel. If Dennis mixes it is for sure you'll hear everything. About the drums, well, I think this is just a matter of taste. We are very happy and satiesfied with the drumsound. Dennis' input on the songs was bigger on "Worlds Apart". On "Walk The Earth" he was 'only' responsible for the recordings of drums, bass, vox, keys and mixing. He is our first choice!

Silent Force - AlexWhat is the new album about? There's again a reality-based song concerning the war on terrorism, I think ("The King Of Fools"). On the previous album there was one dealing with the 9/11 events?

When it comes to lyrics it is all in DC's responsibility. He likes to write about personal stuff and experiences and he is free to write whatever he feels like.

How do you feel about limited editions compared to normal editions, seeing there's a live video on the digipack verson of "Walk The Earth"? And how much impact do you have on the decision of what to add to the limited edition?

AFM asked us about the digipack and what we would like to add. We remembered the videos from the Atlanta show and decided to release it. So, the answer is YES we can decide and we will be asked.

With DC living in the USA and having a job as fireman, how easy is it do write new songs to rehearse, to record....?

It takes a lot of planning :-)

Four albums so far and three record labels: Massacre Records, Noise Records and now AFM Records. Are you careful when singing a contract or didn't the labels have enough confidence in you to sign you for multiple albums? In addition, which label was/is the best for you so far?

In these days it is almost normal that you change labes often because of the strategies of the labes. Massacre was good, Noise sucked completely, AFM is good so far. The reason why I am upset about Noise is that they did not ANY promotion for our last album. When we have been with Massacre I usually gave up to 200 interviews for each album, with Noise I gave only 5! So, they did not do anything for the album. 4 weeks after the release they actually dropped all their bands. So, we have been a bit unlucky with Noise.

Very recently the first two albums have been re-released: they were remastered and given a bonus track or videos. Who remastered them and did AFM buy back the rights from Massacre and Noise?

AFM bought the rights back from us. The albums has been remastered by AFM.

Which record are you the most proud of, so far, and why??

Every album has its own spirit, it is hard to tell. It is like choosing which of your kids do you like the most. So, I can not choose any, sorry.

Walk The Earth coverThe cover art also has evolved throughout the years and has reached a top with "Walk The Earth". How important is cover art in Metal and do you have a picture in mind when writing songs for a new album?

Thanks, I also think our current artwork is the best so far. I was not so happy with "Worlds Apart". Cover artwork is very important I think. I just don't like that every album now has a painted cover. I am really thinking about putting a bandpicture on the next albumcover. I don't have idea about the cover when I write a song. This is done later, after the music is ready.

Can you compose new material at any time of day or do you have to be in a secluded place? Also, are there moments when you wake up at night and suddenly have a brilliant idea for a song, after which you go downstairs and write it down or maybe even record it in a rough version?

I am always composing, ideas just popping up in my mind. I use my mobile phone to record ideas whenever I am in the car or taking a walk or in the supermarket. I just sing melodies or guitarriffs very roughly into my mobile phone and after I'm home I record them as a demo. And yes, there are moments when I am at home in my house I have an idea and I run into my studio and record the idea immidiately.

What's cooking in the touring department? When will the tour kick off and who will you tour with?

We will tour in Japan in September 2007 and play the Eternal Rock Fest in Holland in October. Besided that we are under negogiations with some agencies to play one more tour in Europe but up until now this is not confirmed.

Positive about touring are the gigs and meeting the fans and seeing other places, but what are the less positive sides according to you?

Personally speaking there is NO negative side on gigging. Whenever I am on a stage I feel 110% alive. That's why I became a musician !

You seems to be very popular in Japan and there's even a 'Japanese' website about you. How popular are you in fact and how do you deal with it?

Well, this feels a bit strange to explain about my popularity by myself. Let me try to explain. I have a strong boundary with Japan, I have a Japanese wife, I love the culture and the country. Since many years I travel to Japan and do clinics and workshops over there.

The main reason why I am sucessfull in Japan is that Japanses people take care about musicianship and skills. I will give an example: When was the last time you have read about advanced players like Paul Gilbert or Steve Vai in a European Rock Magazin?? Usually you only read about them in Guitar magazines, not in Music or Rock magazines. In Japan, theses players are still big and sucessfull. Marty Friedman even has his own TV Show in Japan. Can you imagine that in Europe???

Japanese people respect the musician which can really play,thats why bands like SYMPHONY X or DREAM THEATER are so big over there, much bigger then in Europe or the US. They wanna know everything about your equipment, even if they are not guitarplayers. In Japan a musician is god, that is a spoken word. They just respect musicians much more then in Germany for example. Also, for Japanese it is important what you have done in the past, they respect your past. Since I was for 12 years in SINNER, and SINNER is a cult band, this is also a reason why I received attention.

André now has a double duty (or triple with AXXIS? He's very busy, to say the least) by having joined RAGE. Since SILENT FORCE is not a really busy band, I guess it was easy for him to play with another band, right?

André's Star is rising because he is one of the best drummers in this genre. He joined AXXIS a while ago when SILENT FORCE was under a 1 1/2 year negogiation for the contract with Noise (one more reason why it sucked - that was way to long). In this period André got the offer, we talked about it and he did it, no problem. Now he is also in RAGE and of course it is a bit more difficult to find the right schedule for him. he is very,very busy now. But he deserves the sucess and we are close friends.

Do you find image important in Metal?

The music is what counts, Image is just marketing. But what I do think is important is charisma. I don't like bands or musicians without it - and there are a thousand of them out there.

There are bands who stick to the same formula and don't change their style too drastically, especially the older bands like IRON MAIDEN, SAXON, MANOWAR, ... With the last two albums, it seems you're stepping away from double-bass uptempo songs in favour of more midtempo stuff. There's only one song on "Walk The Earth" that meets those requirements: "Picture Of A Shadow". Is there a reason for his change?

Silent Force - bandNot in particular. We just play what we feel.

Over the years you cannot help but sometimes hear similarities with other bands or even previous material you composed. Are you attentive to that - rehashing older things - and how far can a band go with this without upsetting the fans?

Well, I understand what you mean. Of course I try not to copy myself and we always come up with new stuff. I, or we, have high demands on ourselvess and it is important for us to fulfill them.

When you're in the studio recording the instruments, how do you work? Do you record one instrument at a time or all at once, like e.g. EDGUY has done on its last album, "Rocket Ride"?

We do it the 'usual' way. Drums first, then guitars, then keybaords, then bass, then vox. I think you get the best result by working like this.

Mainstream and Metal has never been a successful marriage. Bands had to go glam or softer hardrock to perhaps have some playtime. And if bands ever find a place in the playlist, it's on a special Metal programme that only has a running time of one, perhaps two hours, late in the evening. What do you think of this? And should Metal be played among the other genres like hip-hop, r'n'b, pop, dance, etc... or would that mean Metal is being whored out again? Are you prepared to change SILENT FORCE's style or heaviness to get more airplay?

I aleady think Metal is whored out, but not by TV or Radio, by itself. Too many bands releasing too many bad productions and too many record companys releasing too many albums.

If you wouldn't have been a musician, how would you have spent your time? What profession would you be executing now?

There is nothing else than being a musician.

What else keeps you occupied outside of SILENT FORCE? Which hobbies do you have?

I love to try new equipment and mess arround with Vintage stuff. I just bought a couple of old tape recorders from the '70s and I use them to boost my Blackmore did. I collect guitars, amps, effect pedals. You see, this is all music releated. Right now I'm working on my first solo record. I have a great line up:

David Readman (PINK CREAM 69) on vox
Rudy Sarzo (OZZY, WHITESNAKE, DIO) on bass
Richard Andersson (SPACE ODYSSEY) doing some key solos
Jimmy Kresic on hammond
and me on guitar.

The only hobby in the sense of hobbie is playing golf. Unfortunately I don't have enough time to do it anymore.

I'm out of questions for now. I want to thank you very much for taking the time to answer them and all the best to you and the band regarding the gigs, future recordings and more.

Thanks a lot. Hope to see you on tour.

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