Patrick Prince of Powerline recently conducted an interview with vocalist Hansi Kürsch of German power metallers BLIND GUARDIAN. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Powerline: Your musical style has been called power metal, speed metal, thrash, progressive … even bard metal … Doesn’t it get tiring to hear all these labels?
Kürsch: As long as people talk, everything is fine. One of the best things which can happen to a band is that it is categorized by its own trademark, so I am very fine with bard or fantasy metal. Luckily, it seems to be difficult to categorize us. Sometimes I am getting more confused by the bands we are compared with.
Powerline: BLIND GUARDIAN‘s first two albums, “Battalions Of Fear” and “Follow The Blind”, were more in the style of speed metal than their following works.
Kürsch: ?Depending on the point of view. They certainly are easier to categorize. Speed, in terms of music, is so much a matter of understanding and one’s musical point of view. I, personally, think we have accomplished many faster songs afterwards. Some fans may disagree about that. It really is a matter of perspectives. Both albums were strongly related to the spirit and the musical understanding of the late ’80s.
Powerline: And then there’s the term “German metal.” Germany has represented heavy metal very well for decades with bands like SCORPIONS, ACCEPT, HELLOWEEN … Is there a certain German sound to you — even subtle? Were you influenced by these bands and did you ever get a chance to form a camaraderie with them?
Kürsch: Yes and no. The SCORPIONS and ACCEPT have not been our number one bands, but are always very well respected by us, while HELLOWEEN can be seen as a strong inspiration for BLIND GUARDIAN. There were other bands, of course, but when we listened to the HELLOWEEN outputs in the mid-’80s, we knew our mission. We have a very good relationship with Kai [Hansen] and HELLOWEEN. They belong to the nicest people you can imagine.
Powerline: Do you feel that you have captured the American market well enough?
Kürsch: No, not at all. It took almost 12 years to get a foot in the door and another 13 years to introduce ourselves. That’s all what has happened so far. I believe, that the Northern American market, especially the U.S. market, is about to become aware of the band in a more mainstream-ish manner. Quality music will be rediscovered by the people.
Powerline: In America, the term “power ballad” comes with some negative connotations of it being a wimpy song from a hair band. However, BLIND GUARDIAN‘s European style of power ballads, if you will, are a lot more riveting and mature. Songs such as “Lord Of The Rings” and “The Bard’s Song”, for instance. Is it harder to write a power ballad than a regular metal song?
Kürsch: Depending on the composer. To Marcus [Siepen, guitar] or me, a power ballad usually comes more natural, while for André [Olbrich, lead guitar], it most probably would be a straight-forward song such as “Another Stranger Me”, which might come more natural. The regular heavy stuff such as “Tanelorn” or “Imaginations” require a lot of detailed work and serious thoughts, because they are not written on a nice and sunny afternoon, but over months. So they are definitely harder to compose.
Powerline: What’s the update on an orchestral project for BLIND GUARDIAN? Is it still slated for 2013?
Kürsch: 2013 sounds a little ambitious at the moment. I am hoping for 2014. This could be a great year. Ever since “A Night At The Opera”, my goal is to release the orchestral album the same year we are going to release the studio album. In vain, so far. But I will never give up hope.
Read the entire interview from Powerline.