French heavy metal has been with me ever since the 80s when I discovered bands like H-Bomb and Sortilege. MYSTERY BLUE might have a history that dates back to then but they are new to me. Interview answered by guitarist/band founder Frenzy Philippon Anders Ekdahl ©2013
When I got into heavy metal in the 80s France was a huge inspiration. What kind of metal scene is there today?
-Sure, it’s good to remember those times in the 80’s where every known metal band toured unleashed over France and trough the world. Today it is more an of underground scene for metal bands in France, like in most of Europe as well, with festivals and concert in perhaps smaller places but where metal bands can still please their fans with noisy riffs!
When you have a history that dates back to that era how much does that influence you in what you do?
-Of course we had many experiences, good or bad but all I keep in mind is the spirit of metal which rules my life for so many years now. Heavy Metal was carved in us till the moment we‘ve listened the first metal band (Black Sabbath, Judas Priest…), so we live heavy metal every day as a trail to follow.
How do you write songs today when you have a history that dates back decades? Is it only old influences?
-The way we write our songs hasn’t really changed through the year, but since the line-up has evolved the style also opened up a bit, i.e. our drummer Vince coming from the Thrash scene our music has gained a tougher touch since we work together. Singer Nathalie also brings in her own ideas, her influences being more on the side of melodic/prog metal. Then on the practical side, even if we use the new technologies at our disposal, we still need to spend a lot of time rehearsing together, enjoying composing, jamming, exchanging ideas and as well a few beers 😉
How do you keep a band going for so long and not just put it to rest?
-There is a challenge of long lasting that follows you till death, for me it is the faith, the faith in Heavy Metal, in a dream of a band who makes it to the top, and also the never ending pleasure of going crazy with my guitar and my band mates who share the same passion! So for the question to when we’ll put this band to rest, only time will tell….I suppose the day we stop to breathe.
You’ve been through a couple of labels, both bigger and smaller. How different is the recording industry today compared to when you started?
-When we started in the 80’s, a wave of new labels was rising giving each band a chance and the recording industry was on their apogee. All of them earned good money, mainly the bands too, nobody was prepared to face the technology progress of the Internet and we rapidly saw the damage for the record industry and of course even more for the bands, even if I must also say that on another had we gained lots of new contacts throughout the world thanks to the net.
When you are on your seventh album how do you promote it to get even more people to notice you? Do you feel that the fan base is increasing with each new album?
-Of course the number of fans is increasing, as I said mainly through the Internet, millions of metal biters have access to our music. But for the band to go ahead and survive we still need to sell some CDs, so thanks to you crazy Metal heads who still continue to buy our records!!!
When you release a new album these days do you feel that you kinda have to start from scratch because people have forgotten about from the last album?
-Absolutely not! Heavy Metal fans are faithful, they don’t forget so easily. And it’s enjoyable when in our concert you can hear the new generation of metal heads singing along side to side with the previous generation still head banging like mad (sometimes with less hair!!!
I must admit that I totally missed out on you in the 80s. Has the band always been female fronted?
-No it wasn’t always a female singer, we used to have a male singer for a very long time. But when the band split in the 90’s, it was really hard to find a good singer with the same ideas and inspiration, and the day Nathalie knocked on our door for an audition, it was a resurrection for the band, Mystery Blue could rise again with a talented and enthusiastic front woman ready to blast the stage with us!
How has the idea of the band changed over the years? How different is the new album compared to the very first album?
-Well as I said there has been some line-up changes which made our music evolve, mainly from Hard Rock in its earlier stage toward Heavy and Power Metal today. But what will always stay is the same love of metal and we’ll always push this as far as we can!!! To compare the first and the new album, I would say there’s a lot of progress in the way of composing, of course also on the technical side, even if we still surprise ourselves with new fresh ideas. To resume I would say that with the last CDs a more mature band has been able to create a real unique Mystery Blue style.
Mystery Blue has been a touring band from the start. How has the touring circuit changed over the years? Is it more package tours and festivals these days?
-In the 80s there were so much of possibilities, yes metal was ruling the planet, lots of bands were touring so it was easy to share tours, the places were sold out, metal was on the top. Today it’s much harder to get on a real tour and festivals are not always crowded enough to allow organizers to go on the next year, even if there’s still courageous metal lovers to keep on trying, long live Metal!!!!