- Interview with Guido, Berny & Harry -

We had the chance to catch up and do an interview with Axxis band members, Bernhard Weiß, Harry Oellers and Guido Wehmeyer, at The Rock in Roermond just before they did their meet 'n' greet with the fans and acoustic gig at Cafe " 't Smoesje" also in Roermond.


PFY: How come it's been such a long time between the new album and the last one?

Bernhard: You think it's a long time!?! We normally take 3 years to make an album, so this is very fast for us!!

Guido: We're faster than Boston!! Everybody laughs out loud!!

Bernhard: No honestly we did I think it was 100 gigs in Germany last year, and so we had no time to write the material for the album!! We have our own studio but we rented it out to other bands so this is the reason why it has taken such a long time. Plus we lost our drummer, the drummer disappeared and we were searching for a drummer. And it's not so easy to record an album without a drummer!


PFY: How did you come up with the title of "Time Machine" for this album and why?

Guido: It's hard to say, but we thought that the new album was so versatile, and that it was something from all of our albums and way through Axxis history

Bernhard: I think the problem is when Harry and I started writing the new material we needed a kind of idea, kind of like bringing a ball to a game. And the problem was the ball in this game was listening to all of our CD's. For example "Kingdom of the Night", the last time I

listened to this album was 5 years ago, and I have forgotten a lot of things from this production. And for me it was kind of a surprise when I listened to this old stuff with the huge old snare drum sounds which was kind of interesting to me, and the song writing. And that's why we were a little bit influenced by our old song writing from the older CD's and this was wonderful for us. Then we started the song writing with this inspiration, and that's why "Time Machine" is kind of a picture of all our CD's, a kind of journey in the past.

Guido: But it's definitely not the soundtrack to the movie, like somebody asked me yesterday!!!

Bernhard: If we did record that we'd be driving a new Cadillac!!


PFY: The new album sounds a bit more bombastic than the previous albums, is there a reason for this?

Bernhard: That's by accident, by accident man.

Guido: Well I think it's because of the choirs, we featured the choirs a lot more, we all can sing but this wasn't apparent on the other albums, so we thought to make this more of a feature on this album.

Harry: The guitars are a bit more up front in this album too, we had a different guy at the mixing controls, it was mixed by Dennis Moore. So it was a combination of the song writing, in between with the choirs and guitars it sounds more bombastic.

Guido: So it isn't more bombastic, but it probably sounds that way!

Bernhard: A friend of ours Frank who the manager of U.D.O. spoke to us after a gig in Germany 2 years ago. He said: hey listen guys you have lot of CD's out now, you have wonderful choirs and I know that you can sing but you always put the choirs in the background. As a musician I thought that they could be heard every where, and maybe as a fan or listener you couldn't hear them the same way as we do as musicians. So he told us to feature it a little bit more. So we put 2 DB's more on the choirs on the console, so maybe that's why it sounds it bit more bombastic.


PFY: You have chosen some pretty strong subjects as inspiration for the songs. E.G "Wind in the Night" is about the conflict between the Palestinians and the Israelis, how did you come to write about such a subject?

Bernhard: That's a horrible question! A lot of other bands are releasing songs about these subjects like the Iraq war. We're not a political band but we have

our own point of view. Whilst I was writing the lyrics for this album I was influenced by President Bush and these things that happened in America. I'm a fan of America but not of the government and it's not the way I was thinking about the situation, and that's the reason why we have to think about this. But it's only on 2 songs that we are dealing with this theme.


PFY: The song "Angel of Death" is about euthanasia, why did you write about this subject?

Bernhard: Ah that's for The Netherlands, I forgot to tell the people from the Dutch magazine's that! The main thing about the idea lyrics is that I was really impressed by a report on German television between The Netherlands and Germany where they compared the different ways that they help people out when they are sick and in pain at the end of your life and you have no future for the rest of your life. In Germany it is not allowed to say " I want to kill myself" or "I'm sick, I'm in pain and I don't want to live any more" But in The Netherlands in some situations you can say "Hey, let's go very peacefully into death" with help by a doctor or whatever. And they followed a German guy on his way to his own death, and he was totally happy on the day when they came in with his injection, he was totally happy. But it was totally strange feeling for me, I was shocked about it but it was really wonderful, it was very strange to have both of these feelings at the same time. In Germany it doesn't matter if you get old or sick, you have to live. But I didn't know this about in The Netherlands, and I was totally impressed about this "right" to choose.


PFY: If somebody invented a Time Machine and invited you to take 2 journey's one forward and one back in time where would you go to?

Bernhard: Oh that's not easy!

Guido: I probably would like to go back to 1970 or so to see bands like Led Zeppelin; I was born in 1972 so I missed a lot of great bands that I liked to have seen! And probably far into the future say like the year 3000 and look what's happening there.

Bernhard: There is one vision that is getting past reality that is shown in like Star Trek and that's a future where no money exists; this would be a wonderful future. Where everything works by itself without money that would be very good. Because today for example in a band like us, we need the money for a wonderful production because the studio needs the money for the day and we are very dependant on the money that people give to us. And this is very complicated, if we were totally independent of this money thing we can do what we want and it doesn't matter. We could sing like shit on an album just for example, everybody laughs out loud at this comment!!

Guido: The internet wouldn't be a problem for us, download our CD it doesn't matter, but today we are dependant on money from sales.

Bernhard: Yeah it's too expensive, the price of albums is too much and that is probably why the music industry is going down the drain.


PFY: You were one of the best bands on the line-up at last year's Bang Your Head festival, did you expect the kind of reaction that you got from the crowd?

Bernhard: Thank- you! You may have read the Rock Hard magazine? You know that Axxis is a problem band, especially in Germany. We grew up in the same area as the Rock Hard magazine and the earlier days Metal Hammer which is Dortmund. The kind of voice that I have you it is kind of wonderful on one

hand because people recognize oh that is an Axxis track or that tune is Axxis, but you ever love it or you hate it there is nothing in between and it's something that we have to live with! Because of this we cannot be compared with any other band. But we have a lot of critics that say well their CD's are different to their live show. The problem is I try to communicate with the people and it's all very spontaneous what happens on stage, but unfortunately this doesn't happen at BYH because they are too far away. I but tried to speak to the people about my experience at BYH when I was in the audience a few years before. And it's that spontaneity that I can't press on a CD; it doesn't work that's the problem.

Guido: The reaction of the people is always great. The best reaction for me was the fact that there were still so many people who stood in the pouring rain and they didn't leave during that show, which was really cool!!


PFY: Did you personally enjoy the BYH festival?

Bernhard: Yeah for sure every time, whether I'm standing in the audience or on the stage it doesn't matter. On stage is better because you get a better meal!!! LOL. It's a great Rock festival with everything together.

Guido: What I like about BYH is that there is one huge stage and every band plays on THAT stage, and not depending on how famous they are as a band. They all get the same stage, the same sound, it's always great. And as part of the audience you are not in between 2 stages, you know Death Metal on the right hand side, another band on the left hand side, which means that you can concentrate on just one band, and that's the best thing about BYH.

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PFY: Axxis has got a great history, what can we expect from the band in the future.

Bernhard: We have a good fan base in Germany and that is important to us, but outside of Germany we are kind of new comers even though we are an older band. We started in Spain for example and nobody knew Axxis. Sometimes they know the songs from the "Kingdom of the Night" CD but nobody "knows" Axxis. So for us it is a new experience, we are fighting as a "new comers" even though we have 15 year's experience.

Guido: Yeah we played the Rock Machine festival, and you can see on the faces of the crowd "I know this song but it's that band!!" So there were a lot of people who could sing along to every song.

Bernhard: Yeah, it really was a surprise to us. In those days we were selling around 500 or 1000 CD's in Spain. We never got the chance to play in Spain because of how long the journey is and the expense of doing the gig etc. Then we got the chance to play in Spain because a friend of mine was working in Spain. He told us hey you have the chance to play for 30 minutes at the Rock Machine festival. So we said hey cool let's invest these 2000 Euros, fuck it let's go there and play, plus we got 5 days holiday afterwards for free!!

So we arrived at this festival and nobody was standing watching the band on before us. So after this band had finished, we put the Axxis back drop up on the stage and it was like doors open!! You know all the people were coming out of the corners to the front of the stage, it was really packed. So we went on stage and everybody can sing the songs better than me!!! So that was unbelievable.

Guido: Yeah and then we had the signing session.

Bernhard: Then is good or bad situation I don't know. I was really enthusiastic you know wow Spain is great. At the signing session we had around 200 people standing in front of us and nobody, I mean nobody had a fucking original CD; everybody had burnt copies on CDR!!! But we signed them.that was strange!!

On the other hand we now have the courage to there and say we are investing money in a tour there, and we know that the door is opened, so there is the advantage of self burnt internet CD's!!


PFY: So you're looking forward to going out on the tour with Pink Cream 69, and Crystal Ball what can we expect?

Bernhard: Well what can you expect, we are playing live, and we are so stupid we are playing by ourselves ithout a tape, guitars plugged in with a cable, unbelievable.LOL

Seriously Axxis are a very spontaneous band on stage and it all depends on the audience. For example we played in London at the Underworld and for me it was a bit of a problem. Because I have fun thing with my own language in German and these kind of jokes and kidding around, getting people up on stage, I didn't know whether it would go as well, and I was kind of surprised how they reacted so positively to this kind of humor and it was unbelievable! And for me this was another door that was opened.

PFY: What new material can we expect to hear?

Bernhard: If you go to www.axxis.de we've got a kind of form that people can fill out and we are playing what they want. It's really difficult now, we have 8 CD's out and I cannot decide what to play. We have 90 minutes or 2 hours to play.

PFY: So if people come up afterwards and say hey that set list sucked at least you can say well hey you picked it!!

Bernhard laughs out loud; exactly that's why we are doing it!!

PFY: The songs on tonight set list are your own responsibility!!

Bernhard laughs again, hey that's a good idea!! If you want to complain about tonight's set, complain to the person that is stood next to you, I like that idea!!

And so the interview came to a close on a funny note we wished them every success with the release of the new CD "Time Machine" and wished them every success on their upcoming tour.

With a huge thanks to Axxis themselves for taking the time to do the interview and to AFM Records and Theo and Joss at Rock Inc. Promotions for arranging the interview for us.

Text: Jan.Coop and Wooks
Photos: Wooks and AFM Records

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