Interview with Tobias Sammet

German has it's fair shares of melodic and yet powerful metal music, ranging from the likes of The Scorpions, Bonfire, Accept, Helloween, Primal Fear, Gamma Ray and now Edguy, who have been around for a number of years now and seem to be getting stronger with each album they release. As so many other Power Metal act's, Edguy are certainly becoming more popular than they did 5 years ago. As the band are about to release their latest album titled 'Rocket Ride' through Nuclear Blast, the band are also ready to embark on a UK tour with Dragon Force. I managed to have a chat with vocalist Toby about the bands latest release and past. I started by asking him how he became a singer of such a popular metal act and was he inspired by by any members of his family. Here is what Toby had to say. In the meantime check out the new album, it's certainly a rocket ride folks!!

How old were you when you first started listening to Heavy Metal music?

"well to be honest I was 4yrs old, and that's no joke. I was listening to a album by AC/DC which had the songs 'Black in Back'. I remember bringing a tape to school as we were allowed to bring in music and I brought in 'Hell Aint a bad Place To Be' by AC/DC. So when I was 9 I got myself my 1st album when I was shopping with my mum, it was a Kiss album and I loved the way they looked like something out of a horror movie. I think the 1st real Heavy metal I got was Helloween's 'Keep Of The 7 keys' Pt.2 & Iron Maiden's 'Life After Death' when I was 10 or 11 and that changed everything for me everything as I knew then that I wanted to be a singer like Helloween & Iron Maiden. I'm 28 yrs old now. 

As a singer who are the inspired vocalist besides Michael Kisker & Bruce Dickenson?

"I also like Geoff Tate, Rob Halford, Ian Gillan, Paul Stanley. I also like Bob Catley from Magnum, he has a lot of feeling and emotion in his voice. I also like Freddie Mercury's voice, he was a powerful singer too. I also like Glenn Hughe's voice, he is a awesome singer and when he was in Deep Purple with Dave Coverdale, he just stole the show when it came to the singers in that band. Listen to 'Burn' he blows Coverdale away!!"

Reading the band's biography, it states that the band started out back in 1992 in high school, were you all in the same grade at school?

"Yes we were in the same grade. We were also in the same class rooms at school and Dirk & Jens had guitars and I had a keyboard. I had the need for attention and they had the instruments and we said all we needs was a drummer. It was all talk to start off with, but we wanted to start a band to get the attention from the girls in our grade (Laughing). One girl said she had a boyfriend who was a drummer in the same class as her. So she told us to meet him so we did and we talked about it and before we knew it we were ready for our first rehearsal. We didn't realize how bad we sounded as we thought we were great and our 1st cover was AC/DC's 'Highway To Hell' and I didn't have a voice back then and they said I had to sing it, which I did not agree with them at that time. So, I tried it and after a short time we were playing cover songs by Maiden, Bon Jovi, Kiss, and after 3 months we were starting to write our own material."

So where did you get the name 'Edguy' from and what does it mean? Did you also have any other names in mind?

"We wanted a cool band name back then and we failed, so we wanted a name that did not exist a made up name and so we came up with a stupid name and we had a teacher who was called Edgar, so we thought we would base the bands name around his name sort of speak. So we came up with Edguy which is short and catchy and we could make a good logo out of it. I think now looking back at it that it was the worst name we could of come up with, but on the other hand we have several albums out so it's not so bad after all. I remember Jon from iced Earth telling us that we would never make it big with a crappy name like that in the U.S. but then again he has a great name but he has never made it big in the U.S. either!! I'm glad I have a name that is not too much stereo type Metal name. it was cool to have a band name like Judas Priest or Iron Maiden back in the late 70's/ 80's but now those sort of names wouldn't work.

As the band have been around now for several years, what makes the band so successful as a strong unit?

"Our key success is to enjoy what we do and not to listen to people on the outside. We are a very strong band with strong emotions and focuses in life. and that's the key to you're success. We do what we want and that is why so many people probably don't like us. Maybe we have a similar humor to that of Helloween in some small way. We don't want to act, dress etc.. like you're typical Heavy Metal band. We don't give in to any assholes out there, if people don't like us then fuck them!!

Looking back at your previous label 'AFM' Records, were there any regrets or were you happy with the way they looked after you're band?

"Well that is really hard to say, it is hard to know what would of happened if we had of stayed with them. I think they did a great job for us and I think we left them for the right reasons and it was also the right decision to leave them at that time. I feel that their work was not as good as it was at the beginning and we also had a great offer from Nuclear Blast who had a great world wide distribution which has really helped along the way. Our previous label did give us some really positive support until the end."

Looking back also at your previous albums, which would you say is your favourite and least favourite and why?

"Well I would have to start with the least favourite, which would be 'Kingdom Of Madness', because the overall sound was awful. My favourite album would have to be the new one 'Rocket Ride'. My 2nd favourite album would have to be 'Hellfire Club'. Previous to that on AFM, I would have to say my favourite release on that label was 'Mandrake'."

Moving on now Toby, how long is you're contract with Nuclear Blast Records? Also are you happy with with the way they are handling the promotion etc..?

"Oh yes we are very happy with the label. We plan on doing another album with them after the new release and we will see about resigning to them if things work out."

As you're promoting you're latest release 'Rocket Ride', would you tell me who did the artwork for the cover, it's pretty impressive stuff and reminds me of across between early Helloween & Gamma Ray. 

"Well the art work was done by a guy who lives in Dortmund (Germany), he does a lot of work for cartoons and comics and also does tattoos. So we decided to do something different. It all started with 'The Super Heroes' cover, and we wanted something that would entwine with the original title of the album. So we decided on doing something in the same style for the 'Rocket Ride' cover and he came up with and on first impressions it looked really stupid and we wondered if we could of put it on a Heavy Metal record cover. We knew people would hate it and slate us for it, but at least people will talk about it so we used it. That is the good thing about Edguy, we don't take things too seriously and we do whatever we want to do. At the end of the day, we just want to have fun. Some people say it's the best cover we have ever done, then again some people hate the cover."

So why the title of the album? Was there any other titles in mind?

"Well to me the title sounds like a fun ride, like a roller coaster and it also seems like it is over before you even start the ride. Its not because the album is so short, its because the album is so diversified. A rocket ride is entertaining and we are in the entertainment business and we don't take things to seriously and if we did then it would be time to call it a day!!"

Are the songs within the band wrote as a team effort or is it certain musicians who write the music and just yourself who does the lyrics?

"Well I write the songs and then introduce them to the band. We then start to arrange what I present to the band in order for us all to come with the end results for each song that is wrote. 

From the new album which ones stand out for you and why?

"That's a tough question, as they chance from minute to minute. At the moment I would have to say that my favourite song is 'Catch Of The Century' because it is a very strong unit lyrically and also musically it has the right ambition and the right attitude. It's a very strong and energetic song and I also think that the music fits the lyrics very well. I think it has an impact of the early 80's Metal stuff and maybe WASP."

What was the recording time period for this album?

"Well we started recording the album in Feb 05 and then we went out of the studio to do some touring and then we came back into the studio to finish the album. With the release of the e.p too we had finished the whole album by October 05. 

Are you totally happy with the end results of the album? I also believe that Sascha Paeth, who recorded Kamelot's albums handled the producers seat, am I right in saying that?

"We are very happy with the way it turned out. Yes Sascha did produce the album and we are very happy with his overall work and dedication towards the bands music. It was the first time we had used a producer and we wanted to use a producer, who could help us with new ideas and help us out along the way."

Is there any talk about the band possibly releasing a live DVD in the very near future?

"We have no plans yet to release a live DVD, but we have thought about it's too early at this moment in time. We want to promote this album and play a lot of shows, and I think this tour will last for about 100 shows roughly. 

How well as the album reviews been so far for this release?

"The reviews have been very good so far, it has been kind of scary some times as all the reviews have been so positive towards us, and if it transforms into a lot of sales, we will become fucking rich (Laughing)!!"

Before we come to an end, is there any bands you would like to tour or play with and why?

"I would like to play with Kiss, AC/DC and the original Queen line-up, because they rock!!! I would also say Iron Maiden, but we have already played with them which was awesome!!!

Well I'd like to wish you all the best with the sales and tour for the new album, do you have anything you would like to say before we finish this interview?

"Yes I would like to thank all of our fans, especially in the UK, come and see us on tour with Dragon Force. We hope you enjoy the album."

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