Interview with ROLF MUNKES


March 2003


munkes3Making it once may seem relatively easy if an artist not of a big name ropes in some finest players of the scene, but doing it again – and better – must take some guts. Or does it? On release of his new album, “Trading Souls“, the virtuoso guitarist has something to say.

– There’s more of a band feel to “Trading Souls” than to “Hypnotica“. Is it because this time it was a conscious decision to do so, rather than turning a solo album into a group one as before?

You’re absolutelty right. That was one of my big intentions with “Trading Souls” to have more like a band feeling with the following CD to “Hypnotica”. That’s why this time I also decided against any guest singers.

– Was that easier now to get the players together and get the work done altogether? I mean, Neil Murray worked with Tony Martin before, while Don Airey, whose input’s much more substantial now, has joined one little band since the “Hypnotica” release.

They all know each other and played together many times so that was easy to get them together, yes. In general it’s easier if you have already done one CD and could say, “Hey, we will do a second one!” Don had only a little space to record the things for EMPIRE while he was heavy touring with PURPLE but luckily he was able to do it.

– Tony’s vocal melodies brought a certain wholeness to the record. Did you compose together from the beginning?

Yeah, his vocal ideas and lines are great. I composed the stuff in the beginning and sent out the tunes to everyone so they were able to prepare their ideas of arrangements. Tony added then a lot of great stuff to the recordings while he was here in my studio. That turned out great! He came also up with some amazing lyric ideas.

– Knowing Martin’s work, I’d say there’s always a pre-conception for those who use his talent to shape it SABBATH-way, his own “Back Where I Belong” excluded. You mostly managed to eschew that – except, perhaps, for “Wherever You Go” arrangement and the lyrics of “Pay Back Time” – was that difficult?

No, because Tony is so varied that only a SABBATH-sounding song makes him sound SABBATH. In another context he could sound totally different.

– There’s an intense interplay between the guitar and Neil’s bass on “Trading Souls” and you use more harmony parts on this one. Is it the way your technique progressing?

You got a good ear! You’re absolutely right, Neil was happy that there is more space for him than on “Hypnotica” so he was able to play more than just basic things and that turned out very cool!

– Your diary states, guitar parts were the last to be taped. You mean it was solos, or the backing tracks of the demos everybody worked with had to be completely re-recorded?

Yes, solos were added in the end. I already played versions of the solos in the beginning but wanted to redo some of them because they did not fit after the vocals were done or sometimes you just got bored of a version and want to redo it.

– Are you a full-time member of MAJESTY now?

After the split with VANIZE singer Peter, we were looking for another singer and it looks like we’ve found one but it’s too early to say something. For one year I was only able to play live with a cover band and I finally managed to get rid of that with the membership in MAJESTY. You know, I love to play live!

– Ain’t heroic metal too boring?

No it’s not boring, because they do a professional job. I had always respect for people doing something pro.

– In our previous conversation, you said you’d take EMPIRE on the road when the next album is finished. It is now – so what about the tour?

Oh yeah, I hope we could play some shows. Nothing is being fixed right now but I’m looking forward to bring EMPIRE on stage!



Март 2003

Coming soon

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