Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: Hello Bernhard, the first question these days is of course: how are you?
Bernhard Weiß: I feel great. We have a lot of work to do. So we’re just going to block out the whole problem situation and work.
Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: You reacted very quickly to the new situation and stopped work on the new album to release ‘Virus of a Modern Time’. How did this happen and how hard did you find it to stop work on the new album?
Bernhard Weiß: It was a bit difficult because we were in the flow of course, just getting into the songs. It always takes a little bit of time to get back into the songwriting mode. In the middle of it, the old recordings of ‘A Virus in Modern Time’ came to our minds and we thought: ”if not now, when then”. They weren’t intended for that at all. These were songs for the theatre play only, but we thought: “let’s do it fast”. Let’s bring them quickly to the market, so that they fit the current topic. Now we hope, that after we’ve released the album, we can get back to songwriting for the next album.
Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: Let’s talk a bit about the songs on ‘Virus of a Modern Time’. The songs are from the rock opera ‘Prometheus Brain Project’ and have been around for 13 years. Did you re-record the songs or did you have them in your archive?
Bernhard Weiß: We have not re-recorded the songs. Those were playbacks we had for the theatre play ‘Prometheus Brain Project’. We produced the playbacks because I stood on stage as an actor and sang these lyric. Now I used the time to record it all again. In the original version, Jospehine Weyers, my counterpoint during the whole performance in the theatre piece, sang along but I left that out now. Two singers would have been beyond the scope of this recording. So in principle we re-recorded all the vocals and used the lyrics from back then.
Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: What criteria did you use to select the songs for the EP?
Bernhard Weiß: Well, it was the complete ’Prometheus Brain Project’. There were actually several songs that we didn’t put on the album since they have been already released. ’Eyes of Darkness’ is one of them. Maybe you remember ‘The Eyes of Darkness’, the thriller by Dean Koontz, with the song picking up the theme. There is already talking about the virus, maybe you have also followed it in the media. It is an old book which was published a long time ago, I think in the ’80s. Then there is ’When the Sun Goes Down’ which was called ‘The Anti Mirrors’ in the ‘Prometheus Brain Project’ and there is ‘Fire Still Burns’. ‘Fire Still Burns’ is the last song of ‘Prometheus Brain Project’ and it also has also been released already earlier in time. Therefor we didn’t want to release it again. We so to speak took the rest of the songs for the EP.
Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: The EP is only published digitally. Did you also talk about CD/Vinyl as a format and what was decisive for a ‘digital only’ release?
Bernhard Weiß: No, we are only doing a digital release because we wanted it to be fast. A CD would also go beyond the budget and would not come out until a month later. We didn’t want that. We would have to do covers, booklets, printings and that would be too much for us. We wanted to get it out very fast and we didn’t want our real production to be affected for a too long time.
Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: Will you now resume work on the new album and do you already have a rough idea about a release date?
Bernhard Weiß: Yeah, that’s a good question. We’ve lost a couple of months now. That’s how much time it took us to sort out the vocals and find all the recordings again. First we haven’t found all the recordings and searched for hours in some boxes. Where were the playbacks of ’Prometheus Brain Project’? Well, now we have to get back to production very quickly and the new album is supposed to come out next year – 2021.
Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: Obviously live stream shows are very much on the rise at the moment? Is such an event also something you can imagine for Axxis?
Bernhard Weiß: I can imagine that but right now we have no time for it. We want to focus on the production for now and continue to step on the gas. But maybe a live stream will come. We’ll see.
Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: Regardless of the new EP, what consequences does the Covid-19 pandemic have on bands like Axxis and how do you see the impact on the music business in general?
Bernhard Weiß: Dramatically, of course, not only for us, but also for many colleagues who don’t know how to live without the money coming in right now. There are no fees coming in. Many festivals and concerts are cancelled. We had the luck that we did not tour during that time now, since this year we wanted to focus on the production, but of course we had a lot of cancellations too. Many concerts are still hanging in limbo, which of course means an extreme loss of income for us. Now, we hope that people will listen to a lot of music and buy a lot of music. Maybe a bit will also come in via our homepage. We have to wait and see. For the music business I am pessimistic. But if you’ve been standing with your back to the wall in the music business for years, with the whole music business breaking down or changing more and more, then maybe this is a moment that might also clean up the market. There is a lot of junk out there. I don’t know. Let’s see how it develops in the course of time.
Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: The final word is for you. Is there something extra you want to give the fans to take along?
Bernhard Weiß: Yeah, I mean not only we but also fans have problems. Jobs, short-time work and I don’t know what more they’re facing. That’s why you have to stand together and play by the rules. I’m not an adornment theorist. I think all the things that are posted, also on my sites, are crazy and show how much “wisdom and intelligence” everybody claims. It seems like everybody has the ”final wisdom’ on the question of how to react to the Corona virus. I stick to the guidelines. I think it is absolutely correct to stay at home now and work from home. Fans should do the same and stay healthy while doing so. That is the most important thing, as it is in our own power. And support your bands by maybe buying products from them or listen more to Spotify. That would be great of course.
Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: Bernhard, thanks for making time for MHMB and stay healthy.
Bernhard Weiß: Thanks. Stay home, stay healthy and always listen to metal.