FEUERSCHWANZ has a name that makes you sit up and take notice. You just want to know more about them. Answers by Hauptmann Feuerschwanz. Anders Ekdahl ©2019
Was it hard to come up with a name? What does the name mean to you? How important is it to have the right name?
Hauptmann Feuerschwanz likes to tell the story of an old one-eyed wanderer with two ravens who paid him a visit and invited him to drink mead. At some point the wanderer asked him what his biggest wish was. Hauptmann answered that he’d like to found a band. The wanderer granted his wish, told him the band must be called Feuerschwanz though and that they would have to sing about drinking mead all the time. Only few bands have gotten their names from Odin himself. For me, Feuerschwanz is the metaphor for the principle of lust and life. And yes, it’s extremely important to have the right name.
Who would say have laid the foundation for the kind of sound you have?
-Hard times need hard music.
We always loved experimenting, which brought us already with the METHÄMMER album to a more heavy metal path. The messages of our lyrics are really coming from our hearts – so they are put quite clearly, without beating around the bush. And a clear message needs an adequate sound. We are standing on the big stages now, and we want all the people also in the last row to fully understand what’s going on – you don’t ride into battle with your sweatpants on! We have grown from the always drunk medieval bards to real rock musicians within the last 15 years. The dragon is grown up now – he is thirsty and needs something stronger than breast milk! We have written lyrics like „Das Elfte Gebot“ or „Totentanz“ which directly after being recorded suddenly got a totally new relevance with the COVID19 crisis coming up. This shows us, how omnispresent those themes are and that we seem to be on the right path by adressing them.
Who are your heroes musically and what have they meant to you personally and to the sound of your band?
-My metal career began with Metallica’s Ride The Lightning tour. I’ve never got rid of that tinnitus. The German bands like Accept, Helloween, Running Wild and Warlock followed. Soon after that Iron Maiden, Anthrax, Overkill, Testament, Slayer etc etc etc. Then I took a huge turn to medieval folk metal and from there on back to metal. Now with my own band though. Crazy.
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
Wir haben an unseren Instrumenten echte Rennpferde stehen! Und die benutzt man nicht, um einen Acker zu pflügen!
The additional amount of cover songs was an extra work load which we had to handle. So there was no time for knick-knack or any ego trips. Das Elfte Gebot is a result of real teamwork.
Will your music work in a live environment? What kind of stage environment would best suit your music; a big stage or a small club?
-The big stage of course. The sound we’ve created since the last album, Methämmer, the blend of folk and medieval metal with lyrics taking place in various fantastic universes can only work well if it’s big. preferably in stadiums.
It is very hard to be 100% satisfied. Everybody seems to be disappointed with something they have released. Is there something that you in hindsight would have done differently on this your latest recording?
-The album was recorded close to where we live, in the beautiful Franconian Switzerland. It is our third album with Simon Michael from the band Subway to Sally as a producer. We have grown together with him quite a lot, like a dragon with many heads – many different inputs, but all working in the same direction. Simon raised us like a strict but friendly parent and made us leave our musical puberty behind. The choirs and orchestral passages in the new album are a vivid example of our working together with Simon. This time, much of that was already set up in the pre produciton, so we just had to finish it up in the studio. That pushed our composing quite a lot. Still, at the same time, we focussed even more to make room for choir passages, epic metal guitars and the folk instruments during the song writing. It’s great how everything is coming together in the end now.
Promotion can be a bitch. Even today with all different platforms it can be hard to reach out to all those that might be interested in your music? What alleys have you used to get people familiarized with your band?
-The cover album „Die Sieben Todsünden“ of course also has the purpose to reach out to a bigger audience. The cooperation with Napalm is absolutely great for us which also offers us new ways of promotion.
To me art work can be the difference between bust or success. What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
-A front cover should make clear what story the band is trying tell. Best examples in European metal may be SABATON and POWERWOLF. With this cover it worked out perfectly.
Do you feel that you are part of a national scene? Is a local/national scene important for the development of new bands?
-FEUERSCHWANZ always felt being a part of the German medieval rock scene. This was really important to us and brought us up. With the new album and it’s mix of sounds we’re having the possibility to establish ourselves as part of the European Folk Metal or even Power Metal scene.
It could just be me but I got the feeling that the live scene is not what it used to be. Could be that more and more people use the net to discover bands instead of going out and supporting new bands live. What is you experience with the live scene?
-Feuerschwanz is a force when it comes to live gigs. Therefore it’ll always be worthwile to attend our shows. We never made such experiences to be honest. The presence on youtube does help tremendously reaching out to news fans though.
What does the future hold?
-We’re currently at organizing an Online Open Air on an old bavarian fortress. Wie don’t wanna hide because of Corona, but try to celebrate our album release outside of the usual live concerts, which we all miss dearly.
We’re inviting everyone to join us on June 26 via the Napalm YouTube channel and attend the 11OA – Das Elfte Gebot Album Release Online Open Air.