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Rage - Raging On

Discussion in 'Metal Interviews' started by The Metal Chick, Mar 5, 2006.

  1. The Metal Chick

    The Metal Chick In the Dragon's Den

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    [IMGLEFT]http://www.russell.ultimatemetal.com/Interview/rage.jpg[/IMGLEFT]by Amanda J. Carlson

    Speak of the Dead is Rage’s 20th release in just as many years, and never have they strayed from the path declared as their own. Taking elements of thrash and power metal and adding some symphonic orchestrations, they’ve created a solid trio that has only gotten better over time. As a long time fan of these guys, it was great to spend a few minutes talking with founding member, Peter “Peavy” Wagner, to learn more about them.




    Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me, I appreciate that.

    That’s what I’m here for.

    One of the things that fascinates me about the band is how each of the members is from a different part of the world [Germany, Russia, USA]. How did that come about, and what is it like to have such different people collaborating in metal?

    Yeah, it’s really a weird combination. Basically it’s a coincidence that both guys just settled to Germany when I was looking for musicians. Sometimes it’s not really that easy to work with this combination because there’s a really different personal background. Victor, our guitar player, comes from a classically educated family, and Mike, our American drummer, comes from a working class background, with way more rules, you can imagine, you know…so this is already one problem, and then of course there’s the different mentality, the different systems where both grew up. Obviously this makes a lot of misunderstandings sometimes, and I’m sitting in the middle, and I have to kind of moderate between these guys, explain sometimes, you know. But musical-wise, it’s really a great lineup.

    Rage itself has been around for 20 years, and you’ve really progressed over that time. How do you feel about how you have progressed, and where you are at right now?

    I think we have progressed pretty good. From the beginning we were really newcomers, we really didn’t know how to handle the instruments, and we didn’t really have a very original style I would say in ’84. Meanwhile, we have a very unique and very personal style I would say. We’ve invented our very own sound. It’s not only a typical metal sound, typical German metal band sound, you know. It’s a very unique sound I would say. It has this orchestral element inside it, this progressive element, you know, and of course a very powerful element, so it’s really a very good combination.

    Yes, I agree that you’re definitely unique. So how would you characterize yourselves in comparison to other metal bands today?

    (laughs) That’s really the hardest question, if you ask a musician to characterize himself…I don’t really know. I think this is up to the journalists to put us in the right box, you know. I don’t really know how to describe Rage’s music…definitely some kind of power metal, but I don’t know what kind (laughs).

    I had the privilege to see you guys perform at the ProgPower USA in 2004 and you guys were so awesome. Do you ever plan to come back to the states some time to tour?

    Of course, I wish we could tour there, I wish we could come over for more shows, but with this kind of music it’s not really that easy, and so far nothing really developed for us. We didn’t get that much support over the last years from record companies, so I don’t know what Nuclear Blast can do for us with the new album. I hope they can break some ground for us.

    Yeah I hope so too. Have your recent albums been selling well out here?

    I have no idea. I have no information about it, but so far I haven’t heard anything so I think nothing really happened.

    So let’s talk about your new album, Speak of the Dead. The first half of it is “Suite Lingua Mortis,” and it’s mostly instrumental. I’m assuming you used the same orchestra that’s on the album XIII?

    No, it’s not the same orchestra…

    No?

    No, this time we worked with an orchestra from White Russia [Belarus], from Minsk, which is those musicians that Victor is used to working with. He’s having with a friend of him, they have a studio over there where they do orchestra recordings for TV and radio productions, for film scores, and lots of other album productions. He works for Blind Guardian and bands like this, lots of his orchestrations. It’s a mix of the three biggest orchestras from White Russia, and these people are specially trained to play on the click track. Usually classical musicians are playing very free, they’re not really in time. These people are very much in time, they played very very tight on all our tracks. Victor is very used to working with them, he speaks the same language with those guys. Before, 10 years ago, when we did Lingua Mortis, we were using an orchestra from Prague actually, who were not really experienced to play with rock bands, so they were kind of all over the place (laughs). On XIII we were using German musicians which were basically young students and we just put them together as our own orchestra, but of course there was not that much experience, not that much like those people that we work with now.

    What brought about the idea to compose a mostly instrumental symphonic metal piece such as "Suite Lingua Mortis?"

    Yeah, basically we decided we wanted to do something again like this because people were asking if we would do this again, you know, we haven’t done this for quite some years. After we were I guess approached then about doing this in the 90s, before Metallica (laughs) so people were asking if we would do this again, and we felt it was the right time now, and so Victor started to compose his own stuff. I was also to participate a little bit and add some of my ideas but when we did the first rehearsals we just found that he had already everything perfectly set up in his mind, so I just stepped back and said “Okay you do your masterpiece now,” and he just composed everything alone and I just contributed with the lyrics.

    Awesome. How do you go about recording an orchestra?

    Oh this was pretty smooth, pretty easy because like I mentioned already before, he’s already used to working with those guys and they also used to working with him so it was pretty easy. And he’s classically trained. His father is a famous classical composer in Russia, and he started to study everything about classical music when he was already five years old and I think he studied for more than 20 years, so he’s very much trained about this stuff. It was basically an easy work for him.

    [​IMG]

    So, how does the song writing process in general work in all your songs?

    Generally, each of us works out his ideas at home as far as he can, and then we meet and jam on the stuff and do the final arrangements, and then just go to the studio and play the stuff. We’re pretty experienced musicians and it doesn’t really take that long. Usually after we have already the stuff kind of worked out at home, we take like three, four days or so and then an album is finished.

    Where do you get your ideas for the lyrics? Is there anything in particular that influences you?

    I can only speak for myself now. It really varies in sources of inspiration. I use it like a kind of therapy, and I just write everything I have in my soul, everything that moves me, that I think about. Can be very personal stuff, can be political developments, can be social developments. Like on the new album there’s a song “Kill Your Gods.” This is about all these issues of religion on every side of the world. I’m not only talking about the Muslim part of the world, but also talking about for example the Bible Belt in America, this is also a misuse of religion. I think religion is always used like a power tool, you know, it has nothing to do with spirituality anymore. So that is for example something that inspires me to write a song. So it can be anything.

    Any bands you’ve been listening to recently?

    Of course. I like very much progressive bands at the moment. Stuff like Spock’s Beard, I like Dream Theater, Rush is one of my all time favorites, this kind of stuff, you know. Bands like from Sweden for example, Pain of Salvation. Pretty good band.

    So…where does your nickname come from? Peavy. Where does that come from?

    Oh you really want to know this? It’s a long and boring story…

    Yes, I want to know!

    It comes from my early school days when I was I think about eight or nine years old or so, and we had our very first English lessons at school. In my class I was a cartoon drawer, was writing all these cartoons for my teacher, and always sign with my initials. My real name is Peter Wagner, so PW, and my bench neighbor, he was trying to translate this into English. Somehow he misunderstood that W is spelled W, not V [as it is pronounced in German]. So he spelled it PV. I hated this. The more I made him stop this, the more of course he was using this as a nickname, and after awhile everyone was just calling me PV. That’s where it came from…it’s a really stupid story…

    No, I like it. So, what’s next for Rage? Do you have any plans as of right now?

    Yeah right now we prepare for touring. We have a six-week European tour set up. After this we will go to Russia, then we have festivals over the summer, we have a Japan tour in schedule, we have South America already, everything except North America (laughs)

    Of course…so I guess that’s all I have for you. Again, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me. I really enjoyed it.

    Thank you for supporting us. Hope to see you one day.

    I hope so too!

    Rage Official Website
    Nuclear Blast Official Website
     
  2. Trans-Siberian Outcast

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    Excellent review! I enjoyed reading it.
     
  3. dargormudshark

    dargormudshark Senior Member

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  4. Yngvai X

    Yngvai X Dark Emperor

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    album of the year
     
  5. IcedMaidenAllica

    IcedMaidenAllica New Metal Member

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    I dono about album of the year, and after they came out with From the Cradle to the Grave Speak of the Dead looks like childsplay compared to the rest of their careers, but GODAMN do I love that band. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE come to north america, id pay ANY amount of money to see them.
     

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