INTERVIEW: Jens Ludwig of Edguy (2006)

Posted: March 19, 2006 by Jeffrey Maki in Interviews
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Edguy’s “Fucking With Fire”

Though they are one of Europe’s leading power metal bands, Germany’s Edguy remain largely unknown in the United States. With influences ranging from classic to hair metal, the band is completely over-the-top, even deeming themselves “Hair Force One” in the lyrics on its new album, Rocket Ride (review). Though they say they aren’t a parody or comedic act, it’s hard to listen to Edguy without having the music bring a smile to your face.

Live-Metal’s Jeff Maki recently spoke to guitarist Jens Ludwig about the making of Rocket Ride, the band’s image and possible efforts to introduce American audiences to their music.

LIVE METAL: I was just recently introduced to Edguy. For metal fans in the U.S., could you describe the Edguy sound and the whole Edguy experience in general? 

JENS LUDWIG: Well, it’s always hard to describe your own music. What can I say about Edguy? We are a band that exists for almost 16 years right now. We started pretty early. Rocket Ride is now our eighth full-length album, I think, that we are releasing. Coming to the music, I would say it’s traditional power metal or heavy metal with a lot of different influences. So it’s not only heavy metal. We also have a lot of ‘70s influences, even some modern influences. I think the best for everybody would be to check out the CD, and if you like it, look us up at a concert.

There are a lot of influences on Rocket Ride. It almost seems like it’s divided into three parts. First, power metal, then there are a few almost ‘80s hair metal influenced songs and then the last couple songs seem to be very humorous. Is this the formula for past Edguy releases, as well? 

Yes, I think for the last two releases. With every album we kind of develop our sound a little bit more. With the new album Rocket Ride, I think it’s a very good mixture. It would be boring for us as a band to record the same album over and over again and nothing’s changing but song titles. What makes Rocket Ride, in my opinion, so interesting is that there are so many new elements included. But still everything sounds like Edguy. Actually, for us as musicians it was very interesting to check out some new elements and some new sounds that we could include in our music.

Talk about your band’s over-the-top image. Do you think you’re taken seriously as a band?

Yes, of course. There’s always the problem, if people see the new album, for example, they first see the comic artwork and then they take a look at songs like “Trinidad” or “Fucking with Fire,” and some people immediately think it’s just a slapstick or parody. It’s definitely not. I think it’s just a good mixture. Toby [vocalist Tobias Sammet]’s always saying that writing songs and writing lyrics is a little bit like writing a diary. As you might know, nobody is always serious or always funny. Nobody’s a full-time warrior fighting battles against dragons, for example. We try to be as metal as possible, and our image is basically that we don’t have any image. But on the other hand, it’s good for us because we don’t have to pretend to be something that we are not. I think if you listen to the record, it’s just honest. The humorous aspect is part of our character, so we’re not afraid to include it in our songs, as well.

Are there any plans for a Rocket Ride tour in the U.S.? 

I don’t know. I’m pretty sure that we want to do another tour of the United States because the last one we did with HammerFall was pretty successful for us. I talked to the booking agency and they told me that they had plans to send us over maybe in late summer or August. There’s nothing confirmed yet, so I cannot say anything about if will it be another support tour or if we will do some headlining shows. I can definitely say that we are pretty sure we will come to the State to support the Rocket Ride album.

When did you first pick up a guitar and who influenced you to do that? Who are your guitar heroes? 

First, I picked up a guitar because my grandfather wanted me to play an instrument. That was when I was 7 years old. I had a few lessons, and I played guitar for three months. Then I thought it was pretty boring, and I quit. And then finally, when I was 12 years old, when I started listening to bands like AC/DC and KISS and Iron Maiden, then I saw sense again and played guitar, and that was what made me play guitar. The first big influence was the Scorpions’Worldwide Live album and AC/DC’s Back in Black album. That was two of my main reasons why I started playing guitar.

Tell me a little bit about your fan base in Europe. Just how big is Edguy over there? 

Hmmm … That’s hard to say. In the power metal scene, I would say, maybe, we belong to the top three or top four power metal bands in Europe. There is still Blind Guardian who have a big influence and HammerFall, they are as huge, maybe, as Helloween. I would say we are at the top of the European metal scene. I don’t know which spot exactly. It might be number two or number eight. The most important thing is our tour is well attended. Nowadays, you can be happy if you had the same attendance that you had on the previous tour. We just finished the European part of the tour and everywhere we had even more people than on the previous tour. It’s still going up, and that’s a very good sign and makes us feel very satisfied with the tour so far.

I would say power metal is not widely popular here in the U.S., however we have had this new wave of American heavy metal within the last couple years. What do you guys think of the whole scene going on over here? 

It’s hard to tell because I’m not living in the United States, so it’s hard to keep the overview. Generally, I think it’s like everywhere else in the world. If you have a band and you want to reach people with your music, you have to play live. The States is such a big country that you have to play a little more live than other countries. I think the last tour we did with HammerFall was the first big step for us to get into the U.S. market. I’m pretty sure that if we were to do like 10 more tours of the States and if we had the chance to play in front of many people that we could convince many of them that they would buy the record. I still think that the most important thing is that if the band can perform live and present themselves live good as they expect to do, then they will get more and more fans with every tour.

edguy_rocketrideWhat are your favorite Edguy songs to play live and what are your favorite songs from Rocket Ride

Well, that changes every now and then. At the moment, I really enjoy playing “Catch of the Century” and “Fucking with Fire.” Those have been really, really great when we did them live. Besides that, another classical track would be “Mysteria” from the Hellfire Club album and “Lavatory Love Machine,” which are always a lot of fun to play and perform.

You mention “Fucking with Fire.” In the song, there are references to “Hair Force One.” How did that come about? 

Basically, it’s kind of our tribute to all the ‘80s hair metal bands. Everybody in the band likes, for example, Mötley Crüe or Stryper or Poison. I think they had a very positive attitude and a lot of energy on stage. “Fucking with Fire” is kind of our tribute to all those bands, not in a negative way, it could not be a parody. It’s more like homage.

How much does each member of the band contribute to the songwriting process? Is it a group-wide thing or does one or two members contribute more? 

That would be Toby, our singer and frontman. He’s the main songwriter. That means he’s taking care of about all the melodies and the lyrics, which, in my opinion, is right that he’s doing that stuff because he’s the singer, he knows best what his voice can do and what not, and he should also be the one who’s writing the lyrics. Due to that, he’s presenting the basic song structure, and then we arrange, with all the band members, the songs in the rehearsing room. I think that’s the basic idea. There’s still enough input from everybody on the songs.

I think I covered pretty much everything I can think of here. Is there anything else you want to add? 

I could add two and two, which makes four. No, seriously, thanks to everybody for the support, and I really hope that we can come to the States this year and have some nice parties with some of you.



Jeff enjoys satanic death metal and may still be banned from Canada.

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