As a society, we are standing on the shoulders of giants. Were it not for what has happened in the past (not to forget mother nature’s marvellous wonder called evolution) we could not be what we are today. Of course that is also true of art.
All my life, all the things I have ever seen and heard and experienced and felt flow into my work as an artist. The lyrics for the album “Blood and Souls” in particular are very personal as I find it hard to invent meaningless stories about heroes killing dragons for no good reasons.
What really started this project was the first song. I did not wake up one day deciding to make a metal album. I just wrote one song, one sheet of lyrics, actually. It was inspired by Michael Moorcock‘s “Corum” saga which I find very exciting, entertaining and impressive. The song was called The Eye and the Hand and it kind of summarizes Corum’s situation in the first trilogy. Those were among the first lyrics I wrote within just a few hours that I was really satisfied with and I decided to make a complete song out of it. The music for that was inspired by all my musical influences throughout my career, but bands like Haggard, Morgana Lefay and Six Feet Under have certainly left an audible imprint on this track.
I loved it so much that I just had to write another one. It was a good time as I was just deeply covered in fantasy literature and the next song came to me just as smoothly as the first:
Lord of the Snow. Inspired by George R. R. Martin‘s “A Song of Ice and Fire” – the character of Jon Snow, to be precise. This time the lyrics captured more than just the initial inspiration and feeling but I went deeper and universalized while adding parts of my own life to it. The music is influenced by Dethklok and the aforementioned bands, featuring a bit of inspiration from Mike Terrana‘s drumming style for just a few seconds.
I loved that song so much and was very proud of it. And that was the moment that made me decide to make an album. From here on, I was able to actually inspire myself, my previous songs serving as a kind of guide what to do and how to compose. At the same time, writing songs started to get harder and harder from this point on. I did not want to repeat myself nor did I want to write simpler songs.
The lyrics for the next eight songs became more and more personal and even though they contained bits referencing Michael Moorcock‘s work (with some people actually calling it Moorcock Metal) they were by no means as easy to write as picking a passage from a book and interpreting it. I love Lemmy‘s (of Motörhead fame) lyrics for the deep meaning they mostly contain and that is something I strive to do in my own work. That makes him another inspiration.
Blind Guardian‘s insistence on writing exciting, multi-layered and non-repetitive songs has certainly been an influence on my own music and I started to make a point out of not using the chorus more than twice. Because – why should I? This is not pop music. Also, if you listen to the song Blood and Souls you will hear my own direct tribute to Blind Guardian‘s music.
The songwriting as a whole was pure torture, desperation and pain for most of the time. Were it not for my acquaintance with Andrea Christen and my knowledge of her own workflow (if you are truly an artist, you know that it rarely is a flow), I might have given up. If it is so hard to create art, should you do it?* Together we were able to persuade each other in our own work and to better understand what it is that drives us. Andrea also ended up painting the cover artwork for Blood and Souls.
* The answer, of course, is: Yes. If it is hard you should do it because it is hard. It would not be as much fun otherwise. It’s the challenge that makes it all worthwhile.
That’s pretty much it. To summarize, inspiration for this album came from all my experiences and impressions throughout my life. Certain authors, musicians and artists added flavour to this particular album and once I knew I wanted to make this album and the foundation was laid, I pretty much inspired myself (through the existing songs) with some support from a certain artist.