THE METAL PIT: Congratulations on the release
of ‘The Old Man and The Spirit”. The album gets better with each listen! Can
you tell our readers how they should imagine the songwriting process?
Peter: Thank you very much. Actually we tried very hard to put a lot of
details to get the "better with each listen" effect ;)
Christopher (Keyboards) and I meet, buy a lot of chocolate or candy and start
working. The working atmosphere is always great as we respect each other a lot.
But even more important is that we laugh, make jokes and relax while writing
music. It feels as if the creative process was something like a holiday from
everyday life. Dominik sometimes joins in as well. He is very skeptical which helps
us a lot to decide wether the music we wrote is good or not. He is also a great
At the very beginning we started with the concept of the album. We wrote a
brief abstract and divided the whole thing into successive statements.
Basically before the notes were written, we knew what each song had to sound
and feel like and what the lyrics had to say. With these restrictions we
started the songwriting process. We write the music first and recorded it
immediately. Even the vocal lines are recorded but mostly with some weird
instrument to emphasize that this melodic line is supposed to be the vocal
melody. I remember that for the vocal lines of the "Spirit" we
sometimes used a pan-flute as a guide track. I guess that something absurd like
a pan-flute makes clear that it is only a guide track and has to be replaced by
a real voice at the end ;)
After the melody is fixed we write the lyrics. Usually we use a very simple
setup to do this. Just a computer, Pro tools LE, a guitar and a keyboard. At
the end we create something like a preproduction. Apart from the drum parts
everything is fixed. With this we go into the studio. Everybody knows what
needs to be played or rather sung. I think we will do it in the same way on the
next album. We first create a concept, then write the music and lyrics that fit
to the concept and at the end we go into the studio. The restrictions given by
the concept were really helpful for us. Although one might think that
restrictions delimit creativity, it was actually the opposite in our case.
THE METAL PIT: The concept of ‘The Old Man and The Spirit” is very
intriguing and in depth. Can you give our readers a brief synopsis of the
concept and how it was created?
Peter: We have been asked this question many times before and we are always
trying to give a different answer. We believe that if you dig deeper into the
story you will find that there are many possible interpretations or meanings
behind it. You can find the official answer on http://www.beyondthebridge.net/content/discography/
Basically we oppose humanity to overall awareness . Of course there is a lot
behind the words "humanity" and "awareness". To be a
bit more accurate you could say that we oppose experience to knowledge,
insignificance to sense, felling to certainty, transience to infinity, love to
indifference and so on. Or to put everything in a simple question: Would you
like to understand life or would you rather feel alive?
The human part is embodied by the "Old Man", while the
"Spirit" embodies the overall awareness. Both characters desire what
they do not have. The Album states that having both humanity and overall
awareness is not possible for anyone of the characters. However, the
"Spirit" offers to trade her awareness for the "Old Man´s"
life. The Album will tell you whether the "Old man" accepts
this tempting offer or refuses. You just have to listen to the lyrics ;)
THE METALPIT: Can you tell our readers how the concept for the album came
Peter: I had this idea at the age of 19 where I had to decide what I am
going to do with my life. I had two possible choices. Either I become a
musician or I study physics. I believed that physics could be able to reveal
the answers to the questions I have been having as a teenager. These were
questions that you can find in typical popular scientific literature. Basically
questions about the universe, elementary particles, quantum mechanics and stuff
like that. On the other hand there was music. And I guess I don´t have to tell
you that music can be the most intensive experience sometimes. At the end I
decided to go for physics. But as it turns out now, I am back to music ;)
THE METALPIT: Can you tell me a little about how the band was formed? What are
the collective influences of the band?
Peter: We started out as a school band. Back then it was Dominik (bass),
christopher (Keyboards), and me. We where friends in high-school. After our
graduation Christopher decided to become a recording engineer. The band was
breaking apart as everybody left heading towards very different directions. But
I knew that the three of us had to keep contact. First of all we are good
friends and wanted to keep that up. But furthermore I thought that if Christopher
goes for a life of recording music then we will certainly have the chance to
record music in a professional studio. With this in mind I came up with the
concept of the album. I convinced Christopher and we wrote the album. Five
years later it turned out that my plan worked out just fine. Christopher met
Simon during his studies and they became good friends. After finishing the
University Simon went to the Gate Studios in Wolfsburg where he is now an sound
engineer and a producer. He also recorded, mixed, mastered (together with
Sascha Paeth) and produced "The old Man and the Spirit". I can not
exactly tell you the main influences of everybody in the band. But the two
composers are influenced by:Peter: On my part of course there are bands like
Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation, Yes, Jethro Tull, Spocks Beard, also Mr.
Big/Paul Gilbert and many more who influence my songwriting. As performance is
concerned I think that Paul Gilbert and John Petrucci have influenced my guitar
playing the most. I discovered these amazing guitar players at the age of 16.
Apart from my classical guitar lessons I put hours of hours into developing my
technique on the electric guitar and into a better understanding of Rock/Metal
and Progressive music in general.
Christopher: My personal musical background is really classical music and,
being a composer of classical music as well, this is what mainly influences
both my songwriting and performance. I am however very grateful to have
been introduced to Progressive Rock by my band mates when I was a teenager, as
it has lead to a much more relaxed and playful relationship to my own
instrument, the piano. I think that our different musical backgrounds fit
really well together and make the music of Beyond the Bridge unique as it is.
THE METAL PIT : Fans of power metal may be familiar with Herbie who is also the
vocalist for Sinbreed. How did Herbie become involved with BtB? Dilenya Mar is
a relative newcomer to the world of progressive metal is she not? Her voice is
nothing short of amazing. How was she discovered and asked to join the band?
Peter: Apart from his bands, Sinbreed and Seventh Avenue, Herbie is often
asked to do some background vocals for many of the bands in the Gate Studios.
Simon met him during one of this sessions and invited him to join the band. He
liked the demos and finally joined. Dilenya Mar is indeed a newcomer. She is
very young and she usually sings music which is more Jazz or Soul oriented. I
actually met her in a small club in Munich. She was performing some of her songs.
I went there because I had nothing else to do and a friend of mine invited me
to her concert. At that time we were looking for a singer and I had a demo tape
of "The Apparition" in my pocket. It was nothing on the demo but home
recorded guitars and keyboards. After Dilenyas concert I gave her the tape. But
I felt so silly because I was trying to convince a Jazz singer to join my Metal
band. And on top of it I only had this single demo. But some days later she called me back and
said that, although it is not her style, she likes the compositions and she
will give it a try. And here we are.
THE METAL PIT: Your album is going to be released on January 24th in the U.S.
under Frontiers Records. How did you come to sign with Frontiers?
Peter: Actually, it took us a bit less than half a year to find
Frontiers. We wanted to finish the whole album before we present it to a label.
We were done in April 2011 with the masters of the Cd. With the music only,
that means without the album cover or the booklet we applied to several labels.
Finally in September/October of 2011 we got an email from Frontiers Records.
They liked the music and we signed. I guess Frontiers Records is the best
possible thing that could have happened to us.
THE METAL PIT: If you were to get an opening slot on a major tour whom would
you choose and why?
Peter: Well, if we wanted to play a show with our idols it would probably be
Spocks Beard, Pain of Salvation or Dream Theater. Personally, I would love to
play with Paul Gilbert some time. But again from a very different point of
view, playing a show with Katy Perry or Pink could be assume as well ;)
THE METAL PIT: From what I have read, BtB is not going to be just a recording. Do
you have any touring plans for 2012? Any plans to come to the U.S. in any
Peter: To be honest, BtB started out as a project and became a band over the
last two years. We finished a Cd and right now we are trying to rehearse and
promote the Cd. But we are Newcomers. We did not have any live shows with this
band setup so far. But we are planning to play the album live. Everybody is
excited to take this great piece of music on stage. We put a lot of effort into
the goal of creating the studio sound on stage. But we also rearrange some
parts to make them more suitable for live performances. Unfortunately, we did
not arrive at the point where the tour plans are supposed to come up next. At
this point it depends on the reactions of the people around the world to the
album. We will see if you guys can make it happen. Hence, there are no plans
for the U.S., yet. But there is a strong will. Playing in the U.S. would be
like a dream coming true for me and for everybody of BtB.
THE METAL PIT: For fans of progressive metal who haven’t listened to BtB
yet, how would you best describe your music and where can fans check out any
mp3 samples or videos?
Peter: At first sight the songs are written in a Progressive Rock/Metal
style. They contain virtuosity in both the playing and the compositional
design. But it is more important to say that the songs excite the listeners.
The music is touching. It will even touch you in a different way each time you
listen to it. The lyrics are inspiring and ambiguous. This encourages to dig
deeper into the journey of the old man.
The best starting point to check out the music is of course our website www.beyondthebridge.net
(I am glad you ask this question ;) )You can find a full song and two snippets
there. You will find band photos and background information there as well.
Starting from the first of January 2012 we will make an Advent Calendar leading
to the 24th of January which is the release date in the U.S. ;) In the Calendar
you will find behind the scene footages and also more music from the album.
We also encourage the people to share their opinion and thought with us on
Facebook or Youtube (beyondthebridgeMusic). Make a suggestion or a wish and we
will see if we can make it happen. If you google a lot you can find a site in
japan. There you will be able to listen to some more snippets. Maybe you don't
even have to google a lot as you can find the link on our Facebook page.
THE METAL PIT: Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule! I look forward to
hearing a lot from Beyond The Bridge in 2012 and beyond!
Peter: Thank you. It was a pleasure to answer. Your question are great and
even help a newcomer to promote their music. I like that. Thanks again!