Rozhovor 16.05.2020 Axel Rudi Pell en - HELLMAGAZINE

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Samuel Sámel


In uncertain times, Axel Rudi Pell comes with the new album "Signs of Time". You may also need a deep insight into the album production process that can help. Thanks to that, we also took a deep look into the process of making the album, we talked about why Axel can't comment on the vynils or what unconventional is he preparing for us.


You are releasing new album called „Sign of the Times“. Can you tell us a little bit more about album itself?

Oh, yes, it´s a new one. (Laugh) It´s good thing that I have this title nowadays because I didn´t knew anything about the Coronavirus whilst back then when I thought about the title of the new record. We are living in very difficult times at the moment. When you look at the cover artwork you can see the skywatch and it says it´s two minutes after midnight – that´s the sign of the times because in past years there was just so many things going on in this world. We have these religion wars, we have attacks, we have gang shootings, we have the climatic change of the whole planet. That was my theme – I said „I don´t only write lyrics about kings, queens, dragons and whatever. It´s time that I would say something to the situation we are living at the very moment.“

The whole album was written after last show of the tour in St. Petersbourgh. Can you tell us about it´s creation process?

I am writing melodies, guitar riffs and stuff like that all the time. I am always writing. I am not sitting down like „Now I have to write a new record“ – I don´t do that. I remember when the last record tour was finished – it was couple days after that – I was sitting back home, took the guitar, played a little bit and suddenly riffs came to my mind coming out of my fingertips. And it was pretty cool. So I recorded it on my cellphone on the voicerecorder in it. So every time I take the guitar, I am writing and when it´s something good, I am recording it. On the other hand, when I go to the supermarket and melody comes to my mind I am humming it and record that just for the idea of that. Then I sit down and I think to myself that I might have enough ideas and I listen to all of them. And it´s like 300 small recordings. And then I just write things like „Idea number 82 works perfectly with idea number 138.“ So I make songs out of it. That´s how my main writing process looks like.

So you already released two new songs – Wings of the Storm and Gunfire. I feel like they both sound like a little like your late 80s production and that´s not only coming from my head, there is a lot of comments under youtube videos for Gunfire and Wings of the Storm saying same thing. Was that intention?

Oh, I think that they are totally different. When I started with my first solo album „Wild Obsession“, the music on that album was totally different to Gunfire or Wings of the Storm. On the other hand, the sound of this record might be a little bit more 80s orientated – that´s absolutely true.

As I said, I dig a little bit in those comment sections under Youtube videos. There was one saying „Dude cannot write crappy song even if he tried.“

(Laugh) Yes, that sounds right. The thing is – of course I can write crappy songs. Like I said, when I am writing songs, not all riffs that came to my mind are great. Sometimes I have 250 or 300 different riffs and when I listen back to them I think „Whoa, this is bad. This is shit.“ But I am only taking those riffs that are sounding cool to my ears.

There is a song on the album called Bad Reputation, way back you recorded another song called Nasty Reputation. Do you think that your reputation is that bad?

No. (Laugh) I don´t give a fuck about song titles, you know. I didn´t thought about Nasty Reputation back then either. So many artists have songs like Bad Reputation – Thin Lizzy have the song with the same title. I am not really thinking about that. Title comes to my mind when I write the melody of the chorus. When I am sitting back there and listening to the demos, sometimes I sing to my guitars and demos and when I am writing lyrics, sometimes little words come to my mind. And in that specific time, it was Bad Reputation. So that was the reason why I called the song Bad Reputation.

Nowadays there are a lot of special versions of the albums, there are design vynils coming out. You are also releasing new album with amazing red vynil version. How are you looking on the fact that this is era of renaissance of vynil as medium?

Honestly, I can´t really say. I can´t listen to those myself as I don´t have the vynil player any longer. So I can´t tell you anything about that. Sorry.

In normal days, I would ask you about upcoming tours and ways how they would promote the new album. Situation, however, is different now. So how are you planning to support new album in current situation right after its release?

I am doing a lot of interviews as I do right now. But I think that it´s the only thing I can do at the moment. I wrote instrumental track that I recorded and put on Facebook and Youtube. That´s the thing I can do in between. Because this is not a big thing to do things like that. On the other hand we have to reschedule our tours so I hope that we´ll be able to play in October/November. It looks really strange at the moment so I can´t tell anything. The most part of the tour is rescheduled to next years April and I hope it can happen then. We have to wait and see.

As you mentioned, you wrote instrumental track called Quarantined no.1 with pretty good feedback. Can we expect more songs like that one?

Could be but not at the moment because I think that it´s more about people enjoying listening to new record which will be out in the 8th of May. Maybe I will do something afterwards. I´m not sure. That depends on situation. If we´ll still have lockdown or not. Nobody knows. We´ll see, but probably I´ll write Quarantined no.2.

Can we expect you to sing as well on possible Quarantined songs?

OH, JESUS CHRIST, NO! You don´t want to hear me sing. (Laugh) I once did it. I sang on a song called Hey, Joe – it was about 20 years ago or something. And a lot of people who listened to it said to me „Axel, please, don´t ever do that again! No, please. Just no!“ So I said OK. (Laugh)

You already mentioned it – there is a lot of tours cancelled nowadays, a lot of festivals are cancelled (all main festivals) so how do you think this whole situation would effect life we are living and music industry itself?

It´s really bad at the moment because not only musicians have no money at the moment, it´s also about the clubs and venues, concert promoters so if there will be no shows for more than one year, I am pretty sure that a lot of clubs are going down. They wouldn´t get any money. It´s really bad situation and people have to think about it, especially people making the rules about the lockdown. For me it would be very OK if everybody would have to wear a mask for example. But I don´t think they would even think about that. So I don´t know. We have to wait and see.

Right now we all have a little too much spare time. How do you spend your spare time?

Well, right now, the most of the time I am doing interviews and other than that I am doing my own fragnances, perfumes, you know. I already have few of them ready and I think they might be released later this year – both for men and for women. It´s great and I love them! I created them by myself, by the way. That´s something not that common because most of the times, some company mix it for you but I took it all by myself and I have professional company that puts that stinky water into bottles. But it´s really cool!

OK! Where would you sell those?

It would be at merch stand on shows but it would probably go on Amazon as well and for the rest, we´ll have to wait and see. I would definitely put it on webshop as well but at the moment I don´t have a clue. It´s not even manufactured now so it´s still the thing of the future.

We came to an end. If you want to add something, it´s time now...

I think just Stay home, Stay healthy, Stay safe. Enjoy your free time at the house, maybe work form home office or whatever. Don´t panic, I am sure we´ll come back to normal in couple of years. (Laugh) Sorry, just kidding. Hopefully couple of months. We just have to wait a little more and everything would be okay.
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