Formed in 2006 in Switzerland by a group of friends who shared a taste for Classic Rock and Hard 70's, the quintet has since maintained the same line-up, and have been evolving with each release, and released their fourth album in november of the last year, the second by the biggest Metal and Heavy Rock label in the world, Nuclear Blast Records, and gradually conquers new territories, with their natural way of creating Hard Rock inspired by the seminal names that dictated and polished the style in the late 60s and 70s, like Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, but also more recent names that drank from the same source, as Wolfmother. (Versão em português)
We have talked with guitarist Cyrill Vollenweider, who told us more about the band, influences, some "secrets" of their sound, expectations and of course, about the new album, "Keep Your Love Loud", released at the end of last year, available here in Brazil via Nuclear Blast/Shinigami Records partnership. Check it out below.
RtM: Hello Cyrill, this is Carlos from Brazilian site Road to Metal, dedicated to Heavy Metal and Classic Rock, congratulations for very good Rock & Roll and Classic Rock albums! Now with “Keep your Love Loud”, I believe that you are looking to take more steps towards the growth of the band's name on the world. Tell us a little about the repercussions of the previous album and the expectations for this new one.
Cyrill: Hello Carlos first of all thank you for having us and thanks for the compliment.
With the last album we were able to cross the border of our home country and gain some renown abroad. Our goal with this album is for sure to gain renown and what’s most important to us play bigger, larger and more concerts everywhere. As soon as it’s possible again.
|Cyrill with "Keep Your Love Loud" vinyl edition|
RtM: You make a sound inspired by Hard and Classic Rock 70’s very naturally, tell us how your interest in style came about and what your main inspirations were. Listening to the sound, I notice something of Deep Purple MK III, and speaking of more contemporary names, Black Country Communion and Rival Sons.
Cyrill: That happened quite a while ago. All of us started to listen to old classics like Led Zeppelin or the Doors mostly through old vinyl collections of our parent. Our drummer even had a jukebox in his cellar where our first rehearsal room was. At the beginning we also played a lot of funk and blues, but over the years we became a rock band. This wasn’t a one-time decision, it was more a gradual development that felt natural for all of us.
But Rock is far from our sole inspiration. We are listening to a bright variety of music and love to add these influences into our songs.
RtM: How do you see the emergence of several new bands that follow this 70's aesthetic in their music and even visual? Do you see it as a revival or something natural? Since great bands appeared at that time, and that kind of sound will continue to cross generations.
Cyrill: New music is always great to discover, especially if it has a similar aesthetic to ours. And nowadays there are a lot of innovative bands around, who are inspired by the 70’s but add their own flavor as well as other modern elements. For me this is something natural and I’m curious to hear how this “70’s rock” will sound in a few years. And for sure we want to play a part in this.
RtM: How do you see this fusion of classic rock and contemporary elements?
RtM: In general, why not? For me the most fragile part in this fusion is to preserve the spirit and attitude of the rock
RtM: And what are Jack Slamer's greatest assets to stand out and grow in the music scene? Do you believe that any name of this new generation can stand out to the point of having at least part of the success that names from the 70's had? Like, being known all over the world, having a world tour as headliners and being the main name in festivals?
Cyrill: Our biggest strength I think is our genuinity and that we are playing what we like. We do not play a character or try as hard as we can to become famous. We started as five friends making music and this core hasn’t changed.
That would be great to see, but let’s be realistic. I think you can’t reach the success of these 70’s band nowadays. They had a far bigger impact on society than just sold out stadiums or top 1 hits. Listening to rock was a statement in itself. And today I think the genres are more detached from being so political or carrying such a strong message. Hip Hop was maybe the last genre to do this. Otherwise I think rock is still able to bring up acts that have an international format like the Black Keys, Wolfmother or Muse.
|"Nowadays there are a lot of innovative bands around, who are inspired by the 70’s but add their own flavor."|
RtM: The songs "Brother" and "Sun Soul Healer" were two of the first chosen to present the new album, "Keep Your Love Loud", I would like you to tell us a little more about them and their lyrical content.
Cyrill: "Brother" is a song for a very close person who struggles in live. And it is trying to send him a positive message and tries to give another point of view, before he gives up.
The meaning of "Sun Soul Healing" is basically a praise of the beauty of nature.
RtM: What is the band's perspective from that last album? Will you preserve this sound or will you risk any direction?
Cyrill: We will risk any direction we like, but I think we found our style and that is for sure something we want to preserve. We like to challenge our sound and go into new musically territories and see how we manage to make it sound like a Jack Slamer song.
RtM: What this COVID times bring to the group what kinds of perspectives and feelings? Did it generate any musical ideas?
Cyrill: Gladly we were able to finish the recording process right before the lockdown. So we were more focused with other things than writing music, like making video clips, organize the release and rehearsing the new songs.
|"All of our records we used Vintage stuff. There is a magical thing with Vintage gear."|
RtM: Do you have any curiosity to tell us about the equipment used by the band, something that makes your sound unique?
Cyrill: For this time in the Studio we used a lot of Vintage equipment of course. All of our records we used Vintage stuff. There is a magical thing with Vintage gear. It’s very difficult to say, what exactually makes our sound unique. It’s a Interplay of everything, equipment, member, songwriting, producer and mixing.
We love to play vintage instruments but not all of them are in very good condition. In the studio we got a guitar from the producer and I guess this guitar was build in 2016 so anything but vintage, but this guitar sounds incredible and for some reason the perfect pick for different parts.
I guess for Keep Your Love Loud, sonically the most unique thing is in my opinion all this tasty guitar sounds. Fuzzes in front a overdrive or the other way. Two delays in front of a fuzz and in the end of the chain a third delay, fuzzes who sounds like a synthesizer. We were searching for the perfect sound and tried a bunch of things and also thing which you better not try =)
RtM: The current musical scenario is different, the physical media no longer sell as they did in the 70s and 80s, the competition and offer is much greater, the way of consuming music has changed, so how do you see this current scenario, and what moves you as artists ?
Cyrill: Luckily there are still a lot of rock fans who are buying vinyl or a cd, but with the streaming media music seems to be also freely accessible. Artists are definitely getting paid too few for the streams but it’s also good promotion for concerts. So in the end you have to play concerts and that’s what we like the most and we hope to be able to play live soon again.
RtM: We also hope that soon we can have concerts and tour going on! Thanks for the interview, and we hope to see you here in South America!
Cyrill: Thank you! All the best!
Interview by: Carlos Garcia (with colab of Alex Matos - Rock Idol youtube channel Brazil)