Are you Addicted to Metal? Interview with Hannes Braun Speaks.
England might be the birth place for Heavy Metal with such bands like Judas Priest, Saxon, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Motorhead been the forefathers of Metal but Germany has also delivered some fine acts over the 80s, 90's and now. When you think of German metal you think of The Scorpions and Accept, the 2 godfathers of German metal. How things have changed on both sides of the continent, and with Germany pretty much more old school the band just seem to get younger. Last year I has the pleasure of attending the awesome festival 'Bang Your Head' where Kissin Dynamite attended too, this young band were very impressive to me as I had never heard of them and not even their music. I was very pleasantly surprised by their music and style. The band have released 2 albums to date, their debut released in 2008 titled 'Steel Of Swabia' and now their latest release 'Addicted To Metal' released through EMI/ AFM Records. I managed to chat with vocalist Hannes Braun to find out more about this new and fresh band that I hope will have a lot of success in the future. Here is what Hannes had to say to the following questions. In the meantime check out their new album and their debut if you can.
After see your band at last years 'Bang Your Head' festival in Germany I was very impressed with a band that I knew nothing about. So Id like to start the interview off by asking you how you all got together?
Well we formed in 2002 by my Ande brother and the bass player, and we had a covers band called 'Night Blues Kids' and there was another band called 'Mad Flash' with with Andy and our drummer Andi and we deiced to put the 2 bands together to form 'Kissin Dynamite' in 2005. We have been together now for 5yrs as this band and we started playing our instruments when we were about 6yrs old."
So what bands have influenced you when you were growing up?
"Well there are several bands that have influenced us, we like Aerosmith, Guns & Roses, Motley Crue of course, AC/DC, Accept. (ED: I can hear the likes of Accept or U.D.O. in your music but not any stuff like Aerosmith etc..), well maybe on the song 'Love Me/ Hate Me' or 'Lets get Freaky' on the debut album these are more Sleeze songs and Motley Crue are a Sleeze rock band. We are big fans of the Sleeze Rock scene."
See in the band live last year at BYH you certainly had more stuff sounding like Accept, Judas Priest, Primal Fear in your music, do you agree?
"Yes I do to some extent, you could say we are big fans of Iron Maiden that have influenced us a lot."
So why the name 'Kissin Dynamite' for the band? What other names did you have in mind?
"Well there is a funny story behind that, we spent many hours searching for a band name and we couldn't find a name for the band until Andy's mobile phone called and it was this song called 'Kissin Dynamite' by AC/DC and we actually thought that that was the name for the band. We didn't have any other names after finding this song."
Do you feel that the name of the band reflects your style of music you are playing? Also how would you best describe your music? I can hear the likes of German bands like Accept, The Scorpions, Primal fear etc... in your music, do you agree?
"Yes I do, I think it is a perfect name for our band and the music we are playing. The name pretty much means power, energy, and it is fun and I feel there could be no other name for us to symbolize our music. Well I would say the new album is a little bit harder than the last 1 and a bit more metallic but I think it has a lot more power and energy and it is just good old 80's rock/ metal. Yes I do in some ways agree with you, we do have some influences like U.D.O/ Accept in our music."
As a singer Hannes, who are your influences vocally?
"Well I am influenced by such people like Vince Neil (Motley Crue), Claus (The Scorpions), Seb Bach (Ex Skidrow), Steve Tylor (Aerosmith), and Rob Halford by screaming."
Just how many demos did the band record before releasing your debut album and were they sold to the public?
"Well we did 3 demos tapes before we released our debut album but they were not professional and the sound was very bad and also the songs weren't that great to be honest. Our songs did however get better and better in time and in the end we produced 'Steel Of Swabia'. The demo witch got us a deal was with the 'Night Blues Kids' and it was called 'We Go The Way Of Rock & Roll' and even back then you could hear we were influenced by Hard Rock bands. The demo had 5 songs which were very much inspired by 80's classic rock. Those songs were never used on the debut album as we felt we could write better songs for that album so we did completely new songs for the debut album. We did sell the demo tape at our shows and I think we sold about a 1000 copies."
So what is the average age of the band? I know you are all young.
"Well we are now all aged between 18-19 yrs old. I had my 18th birthday recently but when we did 'Steel Of Swabia' the average age was 15-16yrs old."
How did you get the deal with EMI (Germany) for the debut album, I mean that's really good going for such a young band? Are you still working with them as well as AFM Records?
"Well we played a gig in Berlin in 2007 & some people from EMI Germany were there and they were totally amazed by our live performance and ability to play live and next day they came to our hotel and they wanted us to sign to them. We at first didn't sign it because we were not foolish enough to do so and we were amazed to see how fast things could develop in just a short time. We had several interests from other labels such as Universal, Roadrunner, Nuclear Blast, were to name a few. We are still working with EMI and AFM records both together."
It's really hard to find that EMI in the UK didn't release the album too and just in Germany, why was that?
"I think we are the first band in 30yrs were the label have pushed a band really hard to create the best music out of them and not with only 1 album but 2-3 albums too without letting them go. So we are doing really well with EMI so far."
So was the debut album a success for the band?
"Well it did ok but it didn't sell that well. I know we have sold twice as many for the new album as a pose to that of the debut album."
I believe the title of the debut album 'Steel Of Swabia' is a town where you live , am I correct? So why the title?
"Well it is a region where we live and the region where we live is a wonderful place where we live with high lands and we wanted to represent our home even on our own record because people always say to us that we should not forget our roots and you should get all the success that you need but not to forget your roots. I do think they are right in what they have said by saying that and I believe we have not forgot our troots having the region Swabia in the title of the record. "
For those people have not seen the debut album cover could you please explain it for me?
"Well the cover is pretty normal, it has the band in a field in our home and there are hills and in the background there is a big steel factory and it is very dark and very hard."
Did the debut album sell well for the band back then?
"It was a good start but it didn't sell that well, we didn't sell that much so that our record label were amazed or anything and they told us we would make it to the top on the next record."
On the debut album which songs for you stand out and why? Do you have any least favourite songs on that debut album?
"Well I like all the songs from that album but my favourite song is 'Steel Of Swabia' because it is a true hard rocker ."
So how did you get a deal with AFM when you are still signed to EMI? How do the both labels work together for you guys? How long is your deal with EMI/ AFM Records?
"Well EMI do the work for Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Finland & Japan, whereas AFM do the whole rest because we thought that we should have a metal label as we are a metal band and I think that AFM so motivated and so much power that we are very happy with them. Since working with AFM I have done tons of interviews, your the first in the UK so we are really getting the name out of Germany now. I think that EMI & AFM don't work together but if AFM need any info on the band they go to EMI but I am not sure if they work together at all to be honest. There are no problems between them. The deal with the labels is for 1 album with options for us to either resign and record another album with them or to find another label, but so far we are very happy with both labels."
Between the debut album and the new album has the line-up been the same for the band?
"Yes we have had no line-up changes since the debut album at all."
So lets talk about the new album 'Addicted To Metal', great title and very 80s to say the least, so why the title? I love the title!!
"Well thanks for your comments, we do things with great passion and we have done this music since about 10yrs now and at the very beginning and it has become an addiction and we are very music addicted to metal. We realized that we needed to record a song titled 'Addicted To Metal' for the next album and we knew the title for the album had to be after the song we wrote. It pretty much says it all really."
Tell me a little bit about the album cover, you're all stood on an anvil, I guess that pretty much say's it all with the title of the album right?
"Well the title 'Addicted To Metal' is something we have had for about a year now and we did the songs live on stage even before the album was recorded and we had a big anvil on stage and our roadie would beat it when we played this song live and it was fantastic and it was a good stage performance. At this point we knew we should have this anvil on the next album cover. So we decided to have the anvil on the ground with us on top of it in between the falling hammer in the air."
How are the songs wrote as a band, is it the band that comes up with the melodies and you write the lyrics?
"Well the music is wrote as a team effort, we usually work together our producer team which is elephant music in Germany, and our drummer does the lyrics and I search the melodies and bridges and choruses and the guitar players make the riffs. We do it the old 80's way which for us works a lot better. I do write some lyrics but I find that Andy's lyrics are a lot better than mine so that is why our drummer does most of them."
So which songs from the latest album do you enjoy the most?
"Well I really like all the songs from the new album, it's pretty hard to say which 1's are my favourite ones to be honest. I would have to say that I do like 'Addicted To Metal', 'Hysteria', and I don't think there is a song that I think could of been better on the album, like I said it's a really strong album in my opinion."
What sort of time period did it take to record the album?
"Well it was a long period to be honest, it took over a year because we are still in school and we can only play gigs over the weekends & also record the album then and also in the holidays so we couldn't stay in the studio for such a long period of time."
You said you could only record the album during weekends and holidays, so do you feel that the long wait for the album has really paid off for the band?
"Yes I do feel it is better because you can hear the songs you have recorded for a very long time and there were times were I thought that the song was a kick ass song about a month or so ago after been recorded has now become boring. So you try to do another song better and better and you can write so many songs in 1 year and you can pick the best songs for the album so i think it is a good idea and it really works."
So who produced the new album?
"It was recorded and produced by Elephant Music and we are very happy with the way it has turned out, it's rocking!!"
How did you hook up with U.D.O. to sing on the title track of the new album?
Well he watched 2 of our shows, 1 at 'Bang Your Head' where you were & and he was totally amazed by our performance and songs and so we talked after the shows and he wanted us to support him on this 'Dominator' tour in 2009 and that's when the idea came about for him to sing on the title track of the new album. In January of 2010 he came to the studio and recorded his vocals for 'Addicted To Metal'."
When you leave school is this something you want to pursue making records and touring?
"Well I am the youngest in the band, I am 18 and the others are almost all 19 and they they are 1 class higher than I am in school. Well it is 9yrs in high school and 4yrs at the primary school here in Germany. The rest of the band will leave school about July and I am in school for another year and when I leave school we will then focus on been musicians and tour, record albums."
It would be great for you to shoot a video for the title track with U.D.O. on it, a great selling point for the band, so will you be doing a promo video?
"I have to say we will not be doing a video because the record companies don't have the money to do that."
Moving on now, what bands have you shared the same stages as since you formed the band?
"Well we have played with U.D.O., Gotthard, The Scorpions, Uriap Heep, so far. We would love to play with Iron Maiden, AC/DC."
Before we come to the end of the interview, what future plans do you have for the band? Also do you have anything to say before we come to the end of the interview?
"Well just to play music, record CD's, tour, the usual thing. Well I'd like to thank our fans for their support, also you too Jason. We hope that our fans like our music and it would be great to play in the UK, maybe Bloodstock in 2011. Please drop us a message on myspace. Stay Metal!!"
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