first off I just want to congratulate you on your new album “Stardawn”.
To new fans could your please fill us in on the history behind it
Alex - Domain first captured a special place in the hearts of
fans of melodic metal back in the 80s with their first works,
"Lost In The City" (still under the old band name
KINGDOM), "Before The Storm" and "Crack in The Wall",
as well as with their hit songs such as 'Lost In The City' and ‚
'I Don’t Wanna Die'.
But it was their comeback
albums, "One Million Lightyears from Home" (2001),
"The Artefact" (2002) and "The Sixth
Dimension" (2003) as well as a successful tour with the rock
legends, Glenn Hughes and Joe Lynn Turner (HTP) that secured the
quintet a firm place in the Champions League of the European
Melodic Metal scene. Harder but also epicer than ever before,
DOMAIN is still impressing thousands of fans in this, the 21st
century, with their perfect mixture of progressive, melodic and
symphonic music. And that is when the career of the excellent
guitarist Axel "Iron finger" Ritt, first class vocalist
Carsten Lizard Schulz (Evidence One et al), and the long-term band
mates keyboarder Erdmann Lange, bass player Jochen Mayer (Boysvoice,
, Casanova) and the ex-Symphorce drummer Stefan Köllner really
In 2005 the band again hit
a high score with the concept album, "Last Days of
Utopia", based on an idea of singer Carsten Lizard Schulz.
And to accompany the ambitious work, which truly demanded all the
talent and energy that the band could muster, they found a great
partner in Limb Music Products, who were to accompany them during
their extensive projects in the years to come. With "Last
Days of Utopia" and a bunch of older hits in their luggage,
DOMAIN - on their Melodic Metal Alliance Tour didn't just please
the fans. As promotion for their albums "One Million
Lightyears from Home", "New Horizons", "The
Artefact", "The Sixth Dimension" and "The
Essence of Glory" (a limited edition Best Of album) which had
been newly released in Asia, they went on tour through
. At the Busan Festival DOMAIN were greeted by 25,000 fanatical
fans like superstars. They also played a live show on
' biggest Saturday night TV show to millions of viewers.
The success gave the band wings,
and punctually for their 20th anniversary, DOMAIN pulled another
stroke of genius out of their proverbial sleeve. Under the
productional guidance of Axel Ritt himself, several prominent
musicians were invited to play on the new album "Stardawn".
Amongst these are Ferdy Doernberg (Axel Rudi Pell, Uli Jon Roth)
and Michael Voss (Casanova), as well as the vocal acrobats Tarek
Maghary (Majesty), Val Halla Jr. (Iron Mask) and Connie Andreszka
(Circle Of Pain), who appear on the album as the "Stardawner
Boys Choir" for incredible backing voices (e.g. on 'Crystal
Stone Island', 'Temple Of The Earth', 'Headfirst Into Disaster'…),
thus impressively underscoring the extreme versatility of the
album's character. It doesn't matter whether the CD player's layer
head reaches the fabulous cover version of Chris de Burgh's 'Don't
Pay The Ferryman', the rocking 'Headfirst Into Disaster' or the
extraordinary guitar fireworks at the start of 'All In The Name Of
Fire', "Stardawn" documents all the band's strengths in
an incredible manner. And with the 25-minute long epic 'Shadowhall',
which, in a musical-like fashion describes the rise and fall of a
vampire clan, DOMAIN again sets song writing standards against
which all other bands of today's Melodic Metal scene will be
compared. The new album will in addition be released as a limited
edition 2CD/DVD digipak with a great DVD including a 40 minute
long tour documentary entitled "7 days in Korea" with
comments and interviews with Carsten Lizard Schulz and Axel Ritt,
a 35 minute long live clip from the Busan Festival, a 15 minute
long TV documentary etc., etc. and an additional Best Of CD with
the very best from the albums "Lost In The City", "Before
The Storm", "Crack In The Wall", "One Million
Lightyears From Home", "The Artefact“ and "The
Sixth Dimension", as well as two cover songs which have until
now only been released on two compilation CDs, ('Stormbringer’
and 'Over The Hills And Far Away’). There just isn't better
value for money!
has “Stardawn” been received by the media, and what kind of
expectations do you have for it?
Alex - All
reactions I’ve received were pretty well, much better than I’d
do you consider to be the biggest difference between
“Stardawn” and “Last Days of Utopia”?
Alex - This
time, it’s not a complete concept album. After the success of
the last DOMAIN-album "Last Days of Utopia", we had a
long discussion within the band regarding the orientation of the
upcoming album. I didn’t want to leave the new epic-symphonic
path we’ve headed but some of us favoured to step back to the
traditions of the Melodic Metal background the band celebrated in
the albums before.
we decided to divide the complete album into two partitions. One
partition should satisfy the wishes of the long-time fans, the
other one should strike the right note for the new fans, who, for
example took "Last Days..." for the debut album of the
create the first partition, all of us picked up their hooks, ideas
and arrangements to place them in the new songs, which finally had
been completed in our rehearsal studio. To create the second
partition, the band permitted me to exploit my whole creativity by
composing a complete 25-min. symphony, divided into 7 chapters,
basing on a story of our singer Carsten.
opus made me pushing the envelope. The sheer monstrosity of "Shadowhall"
took about 3 months of pre-production and arrangement/score-works
before I could start with the actual recordings. All in all, it
took almost one year to finish the album. Never before have that
many tracks been recorded, has the orchestral arrangements be that
extensive and never before had that level of virtuosity been
believe that we’ve strike a balance between past and present,
between yesterday and today, still looking for the musical
borderlines we didn’t reach until now.
you should choose one song, which represents the essence of Domain
on the new album, which one would that be and why?
Alex - It’s impossible to choose only
one song as a representative, because the songs are totally
different and every song got a part of DOMAIN.
know artists don¹t like to put a label on their music - but a
spaceship from outer space has just landed in your backyard, and
is demanding an answer - so how would you describe your music to
an alien from another galaxy?
Alex - Pure
power, performed in a virtuosic style.
your music was an emotion, which one would it be?
Alex – Passion.
do you get inspired, who writes the songs – is it a group effort?
Walk us through the creation of a song?
Alex - In the older days I wrote 80% of
the songs, this time 4 songs have been written by the whole band
in the rehearsal room, the rest again was written by me.
us a bit about the lyrically side of thing…
Alex - It’s
a mixture of autobiographical und fantasy content.
have included a cover-version of “Don’t Pay the Ferryman”
(Chris DeBurgh) – kind of a strange choice – why this song?
And who came up with the idea, and how well did it go down with
the rest of the gang in the beginning…?
Alex - The reason for taking this hit as a cover-version
is a funny story. About
20 years ago, the first concert our singer Carsten ever went to,
was a CDB-show. It looks like that the show has left a mark, so
that he decided, now that he’s a musician as well, to recommend
this song for doing the cover-version. First, all of us were very
mistrustful about this proposal, but the more we look into this
subject, the more we recognize that this song is already very
"Domainy"; we just had to make contact to the actual
DOMAIN-sound. The song fits perfect in the classical
DOMAIN-song-structures, so I gave it a modern sound, more punch in
the arrangement and here we go.
album has been fitted with a brilliant sound, who produced and
mixed it? And looking back, how pleased are you, and is there
something you would have done in another way?
Alex - For
all DOMAIN-albums since 2000, I did the engineering and the
producing by myself. In comparison to our actual sound, the
production of "One Million Lightyears From Home" is not
that powerful, so with hindsight, I’d like to change it.
really like the artwork – what’s the background for it, and
who has created it?
Alex - Well,
there are some assumptions that the Egyptian empire and his
technical predominance has grown that fast because they had some
contact with extraterrestrial life-forms. You can’t evidence it
but it’s a good basic for interesting stories and guess-works.
Again, the artwork has been done by Jason Juta.
important do you feel it is to have a great cover?
Alex - It’s
very important, because it’s the first impression of the band
for a new fan!
you have any touring plans for 2006 and beyond?
Alex - There will be a tour in spring
2007 but I can’t tell you at the moment where and when.
speculate – you have been granted a free slot on a tour of your
own choice – who would be your ideal touring partners?
Alex - Blind
Guardian! Musically the same style and a guaranteed well visited
internet is a very important source for many metal fans – how do
you use the internet and how important is it for you and other
Alex - I
can’t live any more without the internet. It’ll be the main
distribution and communication platform in the future.
do you feel about the German metal scene at the moment?
Alex - It’s
not that quality anymore as it was in the last decades. It’s
better than in other countries, but many countries developed a
better scene in the mean time.
song do you consider to be the best one you have ever written?
Alex - "Shadowhall"
from the new album STARDAWN.
an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your
life … and why?
Alex - Leonardo
Da Vinci! A brilliant artist, an incredible scientist and a
handsome guy, loved by all women. What can you expect more?
album(s) have put a big smile on you face and has made you bang
your head in 2006?
Alex - The
soundtrack of the movie "Dragonheart". Great melodies
and perfect arrangements.
thank you very much for participating in this interview and
sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last
lines are entirely for you. Any final words you would like to
round off with?
Alex - DOMAIN
'till I die! ;-)
by Kenn Jensen/The Jack