Search this site:


Tobias Sammet – Vocals & composer for Avantasia & Edguy

Date: 02/05/08
Interviewed By: Rich Catino

1. How has this Avantasia project been received here in the States and are the Edguy fans aware of it?

TOBIAS: Well I think the fans are aware of it, I know the first two chapters sold alright in the States, maybe not as good as what Edguy does. “The Scarecorw” (US release today) is doing really well here over seas where it has charted in a several countries. The first two Avantasia records were also on a different label and with “The Scarecrow” we are on a Nuclear Blast who are more active in the States as far as promotion so I am expecting some more attention from the States. I hope haha. Some people really consider the Avantasia project is where Michael Kiske (ex Helloween) started singing heavy metal again (“The Metal Opera Part 1 &2”) so the response has been really good and from the beginning the expectations were high.

The last one “Chapter 2” went to like number seventeen on the German charts and this one went to number eight, but then again there were like four or five new releases in that same week. But I think really it comes down to word of mouth because that’s how people find out about it.

2. What steps have you taken to make “The Scarecrow” different from ‘The Metal opera Parts 1&2” since those are similar in sound and style? Because “The Scarecrow” clearly offers more variety and sounds.

TOBIAS: The answer is I really didn’t want to do a copy of Parts 1 and 2. Plus, there was a five or six year gap between “Part 2” and “The Scarecrow” and of course within that time I was writing and able to gather experience. And the motivation behind this whole thing was the same as when I started Avantasia "The Metal Opera Part 1", which was I wanted to release a conceptual project with different singers and musicians that had a huge influence on me. But I didn’t want to accept any boundaries and I did not want the success of the past two albums to change what direction this album was going in.

3. How much input did the guest musicians have on the songs each performed on?

TOBIAS: I think the one who contributed the most was my guitarist for this project Sascha Paeth because he and I arranged the stuff together. And of course having like Alice Cooper singing a song like “The Toy Master” you know just knowing his voice is going to be on the track can just have an influence on it. I don’t think maybe it has the hand writing of Alice but it definitely sounds like one of his songs.

4. Well you know what I noticed was that song “The Toy Master” very much has the sound and tone of his record “Brutal Planet” which was pretty dark and moody and more modern album for him. Were you thinking of that album when you wrote the song?

TOBIAS: Well I don’t really remember much of the record per say but I do remember that tour so maybe the mood found its way somehow into the song. Its really funny because at first the song really wasn’t tailored for Alice but when we heard we maybe could get him to sing on it then I really tried to push the song in his direction. I did the music, lyrics and melody line on my own but its Alice’s voice that clearly puts a stamp on the song.

So in that sense everyone contributed in a way because knowing who is singing on what song, like Michael Kiske for example, then when you write a melody line in the back of your mind you will write for that voice.

But other than that it was me writing the songs and Sascha having an influence when we arranged the songs together.

5. So each singer came in and sang after the songs were written?


6. What about Rudolf Schenker? Did he write those riffs or did you?

TOBIAS: Well Rudolf came in with the lead guitars, I wrote the riffs. Its really funny because it does have a very Scorpions feel to it, you know the cords and everything which is really funny but not really an intention of mine. I mean I love the Scorpions. But he came in and played on the recording.

7. Did Alice Cooper and Rudolf hear these songs yet?

TOBIAS: Not yet no I mean I just received my own copy Hahaha. It was released like ten days ago here in Germany and I received a few text messages on my phone about the album and I had to run out and buy my own copy to see what everyone was talking about Hahaha. That was funny right, buying a copy of my own album (laughs).

8. What is the story of “The Scarecrow” about?

TOBIAS: Well it is a story about a young man who has a distorted sensory problem because of the way he is perceiving audio signals, he grows up as a freak really isolated from his environment. And because he is loan some and isolated he turns his handicap into a skill where he finds out perceiving audio so intensively gives him a chance to turn it into something positive and in the process becomes a composer. He creates his own world of tones and throughout the story he develops a pure skill, yeah pure, and his environment starts to appreciate it and for the first time he is getting approval and appreciation and some substitute for the love he has never experienced. He starts to rise on the social ladder and the higher he gets the closer he gets to temptation and explores kind of the left hand path and uhh he then has to struggle with his demons. I think it’s a modern faust story, is that word I am looking for in English “faust”? It was a famous story Mephistopholies in poetry. It’s the mephisto you know, the temping character in the story.

9. Now after doing “The Scarecrow” what are your thoughts looking back on Parts 1&2?

TOBIAS: Well at that time they were definitely meeting my expectations. You know it is quite far away from what I would do now but I certainly don’t want to bash what I did then, some of those song ideas are really terrific, I would do some things differently with in the arrangements. I think “Reach Out for the Light” is still a great song with great melodies, “Through the Looking Glass”, or “In Quest For” are still great. Maybe I would arrange them differently but apart from that what was still good back then is still good now regardless of what “The Scarecrow” turned out to be.

10. How about “The Metal Opera Part 1” which I thought was maybe too closely related to what Edguy does? Do you see that album the same way?

TOBIAS: No not really, its hard to say. I don’t really distinguish between Part 1 and 2 I see it all as one thing and they were both written at the same time. But that was the way I was writing at the time so it was only natural for some things to appear on both Edguy and Avantasia albums. You know Desmond Child writes very distinct melodies and whether he is writing for Kiss, Alice Cooper or Bon Jovi you can hear those were written by him. I think though that so many different singer were singing for Avantasia it may those songs different.

11. The first two singles/videos “Carry Me Over” and “Lost In Space” are both more contemporary and radio friendly than the rest of the album. Was that intentional and did someone collaborate with you on those to make them different?

TOBIAS: No I wrote them myself but Sascha saw the potential of arranging them in a more radio friendly way… uhh in the end they turned out not to be so radio friendly because they didn’t get any air play Hahaha. Sascha produced them and I don’t think it was really a move to make them more modern but its just what he thought those two songs needed.

I know I listen to a really wide range of sounds when it comes to guitar based songs with good melodies, it doesn’t matter if its “Living on a Prayer” from Bon Jovi, or “Poison” by Alice Cooper, or “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” by Iron Maiden its just all great rock music. I always wrote those kind of songs, like for example on the last Edguy album there was a song called “The Matrix”, “Superheroes”. I think it is very challenging to include all kinds of styles in hard rock and heavy metal music. It leaves you more room to keep it exciting for yourself as a musician, songwriter and singer.

I know many people had a hard time accepting that those songs “Carry Me Over” and “Lost In Space” can be on an Avantasia album but on the other hand at least you get some variety. You can really do harm to yourself if you refuse to open your eyes and ears and widen your horizons.

12. Tell us about Avantasia’s appearance at this years Wacken Open Air festival in Germany and who will be performing in the band?

TOBIAS: I don’t know for sure who is gonna perform with myself and Sascha and our keyboard player, well Jorn Lande will be singing and so will Bob Catley, I’m hoping Andre Matos (ex Angra) will be there. Eric Singer we will have to see based on his schedule with Kiss, of course that’s his priority. We are not going to focus just on one album and this is not going to be like a stage play since the first two album were called “The Metal Opera”. This is not Broadway show it’s a rock n roll show, we just want to transport the mood of an epic rock project.

13. Will any shows be taped for DVD?

TOBIAS: I have been asked that but I have not decided if I want to. Probably it would be a good chance to do it since this could be a once and a lifetime experience. Honestly I haven’t really decided yet but since everyone is asking maybe I should really think about doing it Hahaha.

14. Michael Kiske (ex Helloween) has said in the past that he has tried to remove himself from doing anymore metal music. How was his attitude towards doing this project then? Did he enjoy the songs or did he see this as just a pay check?

TOBIAS: Well he certainly didn’t do it for free and I certainly didn’t ask him to, and he certainly turned down other offers that were really good that he didn’t want to do. So I think its just a matter of what he likes. I just think he just doesn’t like some aspects in the metal scene. I had no problems working with him. I think, and this is my impression, that he doesn’t like the fact that a lot of metal fans preach freedom of speech, freedom of taste, freedom of being an individual and at the same time they accuse you of commercially selling out as soon as you do something that they personally don’t like. I think that’s what really pisses him off and what caused him to make certain statements. You have to realize that its just a few people that have that opinion. He offended like 100 % of his fans (laughs) while he should have only addressed his comments to only like three percent of the idiots Hahaha. But we have a great working and personal relationship and he never said anything to me about not wanting to do hard rock songs anymore.

15. What’s going on with Edguy?

TOBIAS: We are getting together in a few days to rehearse three new songs. After we finished the recording for “The Scarecrow” I started working on songs for Edguy. Every idea since the Avantasia record was finished I used for Edguy. So we will start recording sometime this summer and be ready to release it at the end of the year.

16. After doing Avantasia which is more orchestrated, do you see the new Edguy songs going in a more straight ahead maybe harder direction?

TOBIAS: Its hard to say, I really don’t think the motivation to my writing is to do things to make them deliberately different. I think these first few songs are certainly not as funny as “Rocket Ride”. I mean I like that album but it was maybe too funny and it seems to me now as far as production and performance its my favorite of Edguy. But I think the songs were pulling in different directions. Some people had the impression that it was a comedy album and we were a comedy band, which we are not. I think these new songs are really heavy, not in the terms of as fast as possible but great riffs.

17. Would you say they are sounding like “Mysteria” or ‘Nailed to the Wheel” then?

TOBIAS: Nooo maybe “Tears of the Mandrake” even heavier but anthemic, that’s what I want to hear from Edguy.

“Rocket Ride” had many aspects of the 80’s yes, but I think the song “Sacrifice” represented Edguy in a very good way, and “Rocket Ride” could have been like “Spotlight Kid” from Rainbow, then you have “The Matrix” which sounds very modern, and then “Wasted Time” which sounds like a Firehouse song, and then “Asylum” which sounds like Dio, and ‘Catch of the Century” had a weird vibe to that. It was like a best of the 80’s compilation. But I still love the album but we’ll see with these new ones.

18. How about a live DVD? I have read past shows have been recorded for one but none have been released yet. Plans to do so?

TOBIAS: O Yeah we record em every year Hahaha. We have been recording shows for years and one day we will come out with the eighty five disc box set hahaha. We have shot like three or four shows but since we are so creative and keep releasing records there is no time cap to put one out. We cannot release a DVD because the record company doesn’t want to release too much at once and if you have a new album coming that’s where you want the record company’s money to be really. But I am pretty sure we will release one after this album. I promise!!

19. And speaking of Iron Maiden earlier, I know you are a fan so what are your thoughts on this years “Somewhere Back in Time Tour” and what songs do you want to hear?

TOBIAS: Well I am really looking forward to this show. I mean to have such a past and history like Maiden does is great. What I like about Maiden is that they never really lived in the past too much, although I thought their last album was very bad, in my opinion, and they played the whole album as you know, live, which I thought was very very…brave. And it shows that its a statement of the band against being just a nostalgia act. But this tour I am very looking forward to its cool. We are playing a couple festivals together.

I am really looking forward to the whole setlist but I would like to hear the title track to “Seventh Son” and “Somewhere in Time”. You know Steve Harris really wrote some funny lyrics back then. Like for “Alexander the Great”…. “His name struck fear into hearts of men… in a time when dinosaurs walked the earth”…. It’s a bit Spinal Tap (laughs) but they are still the greatest rock band on the planet.

Official website: www.tobiassammet.com      www.edguy.net
© 2017 MetalAsylum.net