Interview with www.albumsofpurgatory.com - Elmar Nuesslein
Firstly, whats the band up to right now?
After last years underground-tour with Perzonal War and Couragous one of our axemen and the bassplayer left the band, so we had to find two new bandmembers and they had to learn our stuff as quickly as possible. The whole thing took us several months but now after our first successful gig with the new line up our main focus is on the necessary songwriting for the next Red To Grey-album which is scheduled for 2004.
How would you describe the Red to Grey sound?
I think you can describe it best as a mixture of Thrash- and Power-Metal. I would say it roughly ranges somewhere between Exodus / Forbidden and Nevermore / Iced Earth.
How did you get involved with the band?
Well 1998 our former bassplayer Robin Fischer wanted to start a new progressive band. He knew a couple of musicians spread over an area of say 150 kilometers and the intention was to form a kind of “local-all-star-band” consisting only of very experienced metal-instumentalists. I happened to be drummer in aeons end and therefore a former band-mate of Robin in the previous years and so he asked me to join the new project. We started in April 1998 and it became clear very soon that it would be more of a Thrash- than a Progessive-Band.
Can you remember your first gig (how did it go)?
Oh yes, it was in December 1998 and it was great! In September 1998 we had recorded our demo-cd “Circle Of Pain” and we all were very enthusiastic to play the songs live. We also played a couple of covers like Forbidden's “Through Eyes Of Glass”, Death's “Crystal Mountain” and “Brain Dead” from Exodus. There were about 200 people watching, two other bands playing and we headlined. A lot of old friends and people who knew us from our former bands had come to see us.
Are you involved in any other projects and if so how do
they compare to Red
At the moment only our new gitarrist Jan and I are involved in another project. We play together in a band called Ferra Saeva, which is a kind of True-Metal-Band with influences and harmonies of ancient Roman music.
What are your favourite Red to Grey tracks?
Oh - that’s difficult, I love them all, but let’s say “Unconscios”, “The Phantom”, “Total Cleaning”, “Moralizer”, “Anarchic Pessimist”, o.k. that must do, but like I said - I love them all. And of course all our new stuff, be prepared for the next album …
What are your favourite all time songs?
Another very difficult question because this changes over the years. When I started with metal it was with music from Iron Maiden and Accept, than came Thrash and Death-Metal, in the middle of the ninetees I preferred to listen to acts like Fates Warning, Dream Theater or Watchtower, then again more Thrash- and Death- and Melodic-Metal. But I will try to name 10 legendary songs of 10 legendary bands:
Slayer - Angel Of Death, Death - Crystal Mountain, Fates Warning - Point Of View, Dream Theater - Metropolis, Iron Maiden - The Clairvoyant, Accept - Metal Heart, Metallica - Battery, Blind Guardinan - Banished From Sanctuary, Yngwie Malmsteen - Vengeance, The Haunted - Bury Your Dead,
What was the first record you ever bought?
I think it was Madonnas “Like A Virgin” haha.
Which album was it that got you into metal and can you explain why?
The album is called “Best Of Accept” and contains a couple of Accept classics out of the early eighties. A classmate in school bought it as we were together in a record-store in Nuremberg. I told him that I would like the covers of all those metal albums and he recorded me a tape containing this album and a few more metal classics. And that was it.
Whats the last album you purchased and what did you think of it?
I think it was Malmsteens new album “Attack” - good music not too much poser-stuff, nice melodylines, good Power-Metal. The Sound is much better than on “War To End All Wars”, I think he’s on the right way again.
What would be your dream band line-up?
What do you mean? Red To Grey? Or any other band? If you say Red To Grey, I would say the current line up. If you say another band I would wish Chuck Schuldiner to resurrect and Gene Hoglan to join Death again. (Haha that sounds cool)
If you could do a cover for a tribute album to any
band, which song of which
band would you pick and why?
I’d like to do Death's “Crystal Mountain” since Death had never done a bad album and never will! I like the song for it is like so many Death-songs a perfect symbiosis of power, melody and technical virtuosity. And of course in my opinion Mr. “Mean Gene Hoglan” is the coolest drummer ever.
What do you think of the position of metal and music in general today?
Well I think Metal - especially old-school-metal has
become a steady part of modern music like e.g. jazz and I think this is a more
healthy development than the metal-hype in the late eighties and the early nineties which led to a total overkill of the scene in 1993 in Germany.
I also think metal is the legitimate heir of classic Rock'n’ Roll and therefore a healthy counterpart to all those marketing-driven pop-bands.
The position of music in general will become clearer in the next few years. I think there will be a lot of changes in the consumers behavior. Nowadays there is much more to attract people's attention and to require their money. Additional to music now you have to pay for computers, games, movies, etc. On the other side you can very easily download music for free.
In my opinion there might be a change of focus towards live-events because it’s so easy to get and reproduce music, and live-music therefore may become more attractive to the consumers. On the other hand it will become more and more difficult for the artists to sell CD’s, so live-music could again become a more interesting alternative to earn money. Time will tell.
Which other bands stand out for you at the moment?
Well, Nevermore is a good symbiosis of old school metal and modern elements although I don’t like their new album “Enemies Of Reality”. Slayer’s always good of course. But this is also a very difficult question which would require a very complex answer. There’s so much metal in the scene, there are so many very talented bands even in the underground. Perhaps I should mention our tour-mates Couragous and Perzonal War at this place. Couragous like Nevermore are a good mixture of old school styles and new influences and Perzonal War are definitely the better Metallica!
Do you have any funny stories about the band you can share with us?
Oh yes there are loads of funny stories, but let me try this one:
In fall 2002 we played a gig in my hometown together with
the mentioned Couragous. They had to drive about 500 kilometers from their
hometown Frankfurt / Main to the gig in southern Bavaria and we had tried hard
to ensure that all was proper organised and the owner of the club had promised
that the technical background of the gig would be o.k.
But when the guys from Frankfurt arrived, the local sound-technicians hadn’t been able to mix a proper sound. They always tried to check the signal coming out of the bass-drum-microphones by saying “check check” into this very microphones so we could see they did not have the merest idea how to do even a rough soundcheck.. We were very upset about this situation but fortunately one of the Couragous-guys is the live-sound-technician of the German thrash-legend Tankard. He solved all the technical problems in 20 minutes time and all bands had one of the best sounds ever. Later on, one of the local technicians, an elderly man told us in his very funny rural accent he had to learn about “all those many switches and controls on the mixing desk”. During breakfast the next day this inflicted a lot of laughter.
and finally, what do you see in the future for Red to Grey?
As mentioned above we plan to start with the recording-sessions for our new album in the first maybe second quarter of 2004. And we plan to play a couple of gigs in Munich and southern Germany in fall 2003 after the summer-break.