One of my idols, musical genius, virtuoso André Andersen of the Danish band Royal Hunt, is the new (very tall) mega talented guest on my blog. I had the pleasure and privilege to meet him last year at the band’s gig in London – one of the highlights of 2014 for me:
Today, we talk about the band’s pledge campaign for their upcoming new CD.
You have recently announced the crowd funding campaign for Royal Hunt’s new album. Tell us more about this.
I don´t see it as a “crowd funding”, but a very convenient “pre-order” system. Pledge.com gives us an opportunity to go directly to our fans, bypassing record company and their distribution system altogether. On top on that the discs will be shipped already signed by the band, which is great for people who – for some reason – can´t get them signed at the shows… not to mention the “one stop” scenario: CDs, LPs and other merch all gathered in one place, in any configuration you might like.
You have always been good to your fans and kept them updated about production stages of your previous albums (YouTube videos, Facebook updates, etc.). Your full updates are now available for pledgers only. Is this how you will keep it, or will you be announcing news for the general public as well?
That´s just another perk for the pledgers – on top of getting their stuff brought to their doorsteps in any variation they might choose, they will have a chance to follow the recording process (and whatever goes along with it) closely at their convenience. Even a few years ago it would have been impossible but now it´s a reality… great for the fans.
What would you say to those dedicated fans who would love to support the pledge campaign but genuinely cannot afford it?
Well, we don´t expect every single fan to became a pledger, but they can still support the band by sharing the info and – in general – spread the word about their favourite band. And besides – this interview is not for pledgers only, right? So everyone can read a bit about what´s going on in a Royal camp at the moment.
There is one question I have always been itching to ask: why is the band called Royal Hunt? What is the idea/meaning behind it (I cannot imagine you just came up with a random name)?
I was looking for a large, colourful sounding name. While doing the first photo shoot for a – yet nameless at the time – band in one of the castles near Copenhagen, I accidentally saw a huge painting called “At The Royal Hunt” or something like that.
The band will be performing at ProgPower USA on 12th September playing the entire “Paradox” album. This is really exciting! Do you want to tell us about this: how the idea came about, why exactly “Paradox”, what do you expect from this event, etc? Do you plan to stage it like a rock opera, or is it going to be a “regular” concert?
Glenn Harvester – the main organizer of the event – came up with that particular suggestion and we all agreed. We realized that in “prog community” many consider “Paradox” as our best album and – while I personally would disagree as we released a number of considerably stronger albums to date, in my opinion – we decided to play along.
As for the production: ProgPower is a festival, so we won´t be able to stage the whole thing entirely as we might like to but sure, we´ll add some “theatrical” elements to the show for sure.
Allen Sorensen recently announced his departure from Royal Hunt. Has the new line-up been confirmed, and if yes, can you tell us the names?
We´ve already found a great new drummer and he´ll be announced very shortly.
It must be challenging to manage a band whose members are based in different countries. How do you do this?
It´s been like that from almost the very beginning and somehow we adapted to it – there´re compromises to be made from time to time but – by now – we all are rather used to it.
What is the best thing about working with musicians from different countries?
Different influences, points of view, experiences – it all counts.
Do you find that your own background (originally from the USSR) influences your music? One example what pops to mind is “Signs of Yesterday” (track from 2013 “Show Me How To Live” album), which I think carries certain references to popular music (estrada/schlager), but in a nice way.
I guess so, as I´ve been asked that question a few times while doing interviews for Russian media but – personally – I don´t really sense it. My background might be sneaking in into the music, but in that case I´m unaware of it.
Your music (both for Royal Hunt and your own) is obviously heavily influenced by classical music and carries its own unique signature (which I, personally, love). Some rock fans find this monotonous, repetitive and even boring (which I don’t agree with). What would be your response to such criticism?
I don´t see it as a criticism at all: it´s called “style” and Royal Hunt have been very fortunate to develop an instantly recognizable sound. Of course, for people who don´t like this particular style of music it will all sound the same… just like every, let´s say, death metal band sounds exactly the same to me: I´m not criticizing them, I´m just not enjoying that genre.
Have you got any plans for new solo projects/albums?
Not at the moment, as I simply don´t have any spare time for any of it… considering that I´m still involved in various TV soundtrack projects.
You are known for staying away from social networks. Are you considering changing your mind now that the band is trying to gain more publicity for the upcoming album?
I know that it´s crucial for the band to stay visible on the internet nowadays and we have people who do a great job at it. I participate as much as it’s needed, but as far as for me personally – I prefer to stay away from it… too many things I´d rather do than sitting in front of a computer.
A friend of mine said in a conversation last year (after your tour had just finished): “What do musicians do when they are not on tour? Eat burgers of course!” So what do they do when they are not on tour?
After the tour – after multiple layers of jetlag are finally gone – I usually go on a vacation somewhere, just for a couple of weeks to relax and re-charge. I’m into lots of “regular”, in no way eccentric things: reading, hanging out with my friends, going to the theatre, movies etc. What else? To a lesser degree – going to concerts, listening to music. Travelling whenever possible.
But for the most part it’s work – be it Royal Hunt or some other project(s). I´m fortunate enough to be able to make a living by doing what I like most – creating music, so I like to keep myself busy.
Is there an advantage of being tall for you: in life generally, and in rock business more specifically?
Never really thought about it, to be honest. I guess I´d rather be tall than short (it gives you a better view from up there), yet my height creates a big disadvantage while shopping for pants.
You can read my older posts about Royal Hunt by clicking here.