Interview & photo: Gordana Beraković
Gamma Ray is one ofthe the greatest German power metal bands of today. The band was founded by Kai Hansen who had before Gamma Ray gained worldwide fame as guitarsit, singer and songwritter of the greatest Helloween.
On 24th February 2010 Gamma Ray played for domestic power metal fans and drummer Daniel Zimmermann also gave the interview to Venia-Mag.
VENIA: Let’s start with your new album “To The Metal”, how would you introduce it to people who still didn’t have the chance to hear it and say about the making it in general, how it came to life?
DANIEL: Well, to start from the beggining. We took one year to write songs, to record the album and to do the final mix. We wanted to have the reason to do this, we wanted to be not under pressure, to not be in a hurry, we just wanted to let the songs grow, to get strong songs in the end, to get a lot of emotions within in the performance. That means we not play one song after the other, doing all the drums and the basses first. We have our own studio, we had the time. Every artist, for example, when I’m playing drums and when I’m feeling well, I can say: “OK, I really want to play that song today” and I play that day. This is very good to bring emotions which brings good performance. We are in lucky situation, because we have our own studio, which means that time and money is not running flew every day. Studio gives us time to enjoy and feel good there. It is important to us. That gives emotions and good performance. And strong songs, of course!
VENIA: There are four different editions of the album, why? What is the main idea behind releasing four editions of the album?
DANIEL: The main idea is making money, of course! The fact that there are four editions is not our idea. It is idea of record company. They said that they had loss via Internet with the downloads and they want to compensate that loss with bringing different editions. That means, sucking more money from the real fans, who wants to have all four. This is the thing! To be honest, it is not our idea. For us, in our opinion, everyone should get the same, but we, when we made the contract with the record company we sell the rights to release our songs. And they can do what they want! If they want to make ten editions, we have to agree.
VENIA: What do you think about downloading?
DANIEL: Well, for us, it’s not good! People who put our album on the Internet for free are doing big damage for us. It’s a loss for us. It would be the same if I’m selling your car to somebody else and say: “It’s for free, you can drive as much as you like!” We have to accept it somehow, because there are no lows, on Internet everybody can do what he/she wants as long he/she is not selling the records. If he is loading it up, on Myspace, Youtube, wherever, we cannot do anything. We just can write to that person, saying: Please, put it away from the Internet.” It’s the only thing that we can do. We don’t like that, to be honest. Music must have a value, somehow. If music is losing it’s value, then there’s not gonna be bands anymore. Or bands will have to find some other way to make some money. We are make our living with the music. We are spending our time. It’s not that we can work all day and than in the evening we make an album. It’s not like this.
VENIA: It’s a full time job.
DANIEL:Yes, it’s a full time job. It’s a lot of emotions, a lot of time, a lot of work.
VENIA: “To The Metal” has been released less then month ago. What is audiences’ response on the album so far?
DANIEL: Very good! As we can see on our tour, close to the month now, people know the songs already and singing along with them everywhere, and when we talk to the people after the show, we can see that they feel the emotions on this album. And it seems that they like it. Even the song like “To the Metal” which is a more or less cliche song. At the shows especially. It a good sing along song for heavy metal shows. Everywhere we get a good response. Even in Germany! Germans always want something new. Every little guy in German metal business wants to say: “I found something new!” Scene is renewed, all the time. New bands coming up! If you don’t release the album in 1-2 years, you are out. No one is talking about you. Our music is like it is. Maybe with new influence, but we cannot re-invent our style. And this is what people seem to accept on this album. They say: “It’s good songs, nothing new, but it’s good songs”. This is the tendency what we receive from our Germans fans when we read our guestbook.
VENIA: Do you think, would it became classics like “Land Of The Free” album?
DANIEL:No, not like “Land Of The Free”. It’s still Gamma Ray, but it have modern influences, modern sound. Especially like the keyboards on this album. One guy who is been doing it, he is from Hamburg, good musician, we told him that he should not use old classical keyboard sound. We wanted modern sound. And that give to the songs modern approach. Also the structure of some songs come to the point early. Very straight and tide songs this time and full of the emotions, like the ballad or Empathy. It’s very critical against German society. Let’s say, when ever a tragedy happens like last year when student shot 15 people or like a death of goalkeeper from Hannover, Robert Enke, he committed suicide, society, especially politicians, showed their empathy, it’s a bad thing… but nothing is changing. As soon as they start to make stronger laws with the use of weapons, weapon lobby says: “You cannot do that!” and nothing happens. One year later it could be a new tragedy. And then again is gonna be: “We must do something!”, but they didn’t do anything ever. This is maybe world wide, I don’t know, but we point on our society first.
VENIA: In Gamma Ray all members contribute in writing songs. How do you put the final creation together, musically and lyrically?
DANIEL: Everyone write on his own. That means when I write, when idea comes to my mind I record it at home. If it’s enough material for whole song that’s OK with everybody, then we meet again as a band, we listen our ideas, we discuss, start to rehearse the song, it’s very important at rehearse that we see is it good live song, is it gonna be good album song. It’s very important for us. Everyone has to feel comfortable.
VENIA: What is the most interesting thing in metal music that attracted you to it?
DANIEL: It was the energy, of course! Powerful expression of emotions. It touched my heart. I always wanted to be different, like a rebellion against my parents. when I was 14-15 years old. When I wanted to do my own thing. Be against society, narrow people. In school we had groups, like guys who were in political group, and heavy metal guys, punk… It was several groups and everybody wanted to be different then the other.
VENIA:Is there something you’d like to add or send some message to your Croatian fans?
DANIEL: Yes! For us is a first time here, finally, it took a long time. We hope to get really warm welcome tonight and we hope that people would like new album, our music. We hope that we’ll get a hot show tonight and we will give our best to make something special for our fans here.
VENIA: Thank you!
Official web site: www.gammaray.org