The name Evidence One meant nothing to me before I saw them opening for the Heavy Metal legends Saxon over a year ago, but their great performance along with the release of their second Hard Rock/Heavy Metal dynamite "Tattooed Heart" will make me regret not having heard of their name before. You understand of course that it was more than important for Get Ready to Rock to get in touch with the band's frontman Carsten Schultz, and to get from his as much information as possible.
Hello Carsten. Let me welcome you on behalf of Get Ready to Rock E-zine. I am really happy to be doing this interview with you, since I fell big time for your latest studio effort "Tattooed Heart". What is the atmosphere in the band following the release of the album?
Carsten: Hi John, I'd say complete enthusiasm! With "Tattooed Heart" we managed to produce exactly that album, we wanted to! You know, when you start a new production, you more or less have a vision in mind, of what it should be. It's not always easy to, in the end, bring life to that vision, "Tattooed Heart" is the exact vision of the how and what the second E1 album should turn out to be!
Judging from the reviews that I read on both the Internet and music magazines, the vast majority of the people who have listened to "Tattooed Heart" are really pleased with the result. Was this something that you expected to happen? What's the feedback that you have received from the record company about the progress of your second release?
Carsten: Well, you never know, how people would react on a new album, but to be quite honest with you, we somehow new that this album is a good one. :-) Nevertheless, especially the reviews in the Metal press positively surprised us a lot. It was quite a progression from the sound of the first album, which was more basic Hard Rock, to the mostly Metal style of the new one, so we somehow expected some critics to not take the step with us, but fortunately, it worked! Same goes with Nuclear Blast Records! They really try to push the band up front, which might be a little surprising, thinking of the other bands in their roster, but we're absolutely happy with how everything turned out!
You have only been together as a band for the last three years, yet most of the members of Evidence One have been contributing to the Hard Rock/Metal music scene for quite a long time. How did you all decide to continue your contribution to music under the Evidence One umbrella? What was the main reason that brought you all guys together in the first place?
Carsten: Simply because it works and it's fun! The feeling playing with this band is exactly the same for all the five of us: We can make the music we wanted to make for years! We all grew up with classic Eighties-style Melodic Metal, and now we can do it again! Furthermore, successfully! E1 is the most successful band, we've ever been playing in. It is really fulfilling and satisfying for all of us.
Apart from you and Wolfgang Schimmer, a guitarist who has just joined the band, the rest of the members of Evidence One are also involved in a band called Frontline - a band that has been releasing albums since 1994. Because of that reason, many people originally believed that Evidence One would be nothing more than a side project. Is that the case?
Carsten: Well, it actually started as Robby Boebel's (guitarist of Frontline) solo project. In fact, I joined in to sing Robby's first solo album, but soon after we met, we sort of clicked together. We realised that this was way more than only a solo thing, and Robby now was able to do stuff and write songs, which would be simply impossible in Frontline. So, whereas on the first E1 album you could definitely hear traces of the Frontline sound, we now managed to find our own way and style.
It is almost inevitable that people will start comparing Evidence One with Frontline. Which in your opinion are the main differences between the two bands?
Carsten: E1 at first is way heavier! Especially with "Tattooed Heart" we took a huge step towards Metal, without losing touch to classic Hard Rock. Frontline is pure AOR. I'd also say the singing style makes a huge different. I'm a big fan of Stefan Kaemmerer's style (that's why I wanted to work with Robby in the first place, as I am a huge Frontline fan), which is strongly influenced by Steve Perry, but my singing has heavier and more bluesy approach. I have Metal roots, which can also be found in the E1 sound.
It seems that there is a growing interest for Evidence One in the Metal market, and that normally means that you will have to spend more time promoting the band (tours, recordings, interviews etc). Do you think that it will be easy for the three members of the band that also participate in Frontline to be equally "devoted" to both outfits, and if they had to prioritise one of the two bands, who would that be?
Carsten: I don't think that this would cause wider problems. Frontline more or less is a studio project. The band's last live show took place in '96. Every once on a while they hook up to record a new record, and that's it. As you said, E1 has built up interest in the Metal scene, which makes us pretty happy and proud, because this was, where we wanted to get to. E1 is the main priority, that's for sure.
OK, letís start talking about your second and most recent release "Tattooed Heart". Did you start recording material for this album after the end of the tour, where you were supporting Saxon? Do you believe that being with them on the road has influenced the musical direction that you have followed in your second studio album?
Carsten: Oh, it had some tremendous influence on the song writing and the new album. You know, when we had the offer to tour with Saxon we considered ourselves as a Hard Rock band. We were pretty unsure, if we fit to such a Metal tour, but afterwards, especially since having a second guitarist in, this helped us to define ourselves, find our own identity. We then did the Earthshaker and the Wacken festival, both also pure Metal events - this had a huge impact on the band! This was, where we wanted to go for sure.
Your second studio album is released by one of the biggest Metal labels - Nuclear Blast. You must be more than pleased to have the support of such a big label. Did you sign a contract with them before or after the Saxon tour? How many albums have you agreed to release with them?
Carsten: Negotiations with Nuclear Blast Records began after the Wacken Festival 2003 - half a year after the Saxon tour. To be quite honest, how many albums, we will release on NB, depends on the sales of this one. For us, it was really some sort of a dream come true. We did only send material to one label: Nuclear Blast! They were the guys, we thought, could handle us best! ...and up to now, this was the best decision ever made by E1!
"Tattooed Heart" combines in my opinion the best elements from both Hard rock and the Classic Heavy Metal scene, and it kind of brings to mind bands like Leatherwolf and Dokken. Coming from the artist's mouth, where did you draw your inspiration from for the creation of this album?
Carsten: Well, with bands like Dokken, you're for sure not that far away from our musical background. We're kids of the eighties, when bands like the Scorpions, Accept, Y&T or Queensryche were big. You can obviously hear this in our sound. Personally, I was mostly influenced by classic Rock voices, like Glenn Hughes, David Coverdale, Robert Plant or the one and only Ray Gillen.
I am ashamed to admit that I have not yet bought a copy of the band's debut album "Criticize the Truth", and it has been more that a year since I saw the band live. How would you describe the evolution of the band between the two albums, and which one do you prefer the most?
Carsten: The debut was a typical Hard Rock record with slight traces of AOR. No hints of Metal at all, but with touring with mainly Metal acts, and since adding a second guitarist to our line up, we naturally moved from Hard Rock to Metal. You can hear the Hard Rock influences on tracks like "Written In Blood" or "When Thunder Hits The Ground". Both songs could have been on "Criticize The Truth" as well.
The newest member of the Evidence One family is guitarist Wolfgang Schimmer. What made you decide to add a second guitarist to the band's line up, and how did that affect the sound of the new album?
Carsten: When it came to touring with Saxon, Robby said, he needed a second guitarist to more or less reproduce the sound of "Criticize The Truth", that's when Schimmi came in, who is a close friend to our bass man Hutch, but strangely enough it made our live sound more like Metal-style. So, we got him in to re-produce the sound of the first album, with him created our own sound and then tried to re-produce that new, more Metal sound on the second record.
The two people that originally conceived Evidence One are Robby Boebel (guitars) and yourself. Am I to assume that they are also the people that contribute the most in terms of song writing?
Carsten: Not only most, but everything. Robby writes all the music by himself, and I add my lyrics and lines to it.
The first thing that I noticed about "Tattooed Heart" is that it radiates a very positive vibe, and that was the exact same thing that I got from the band during the tour with Saxon. Where does this energy derive from, and how important is it for the band's sound and style?
Carsten: I guess, this is because of our roots. You know, in the eighties, Metal and Hard Rock was a show! You went to a concert to have a good time - like the albums were. Depressing Grunge came way later. I remember, though I really liked at least some Grunge acts of the mid-nineties, I always completely disliked their habit of total depression and frustration. Maybe, this was a symbol of the times, but I was sometimes depressed myself, so I didn't need anyone to make me even more! I see music as something to hide in, to forget about life's problems for a little time. This doesn't mean that I don't dare talking and writing about sad things, but I wanna give the people a good feeling. And, speaking of live concerts, people paid to get in, so I have to give'em a good show! I'm somehow raised musically by show men like Jon Bon Jovi and Steven Tyler! People don't wanna see their fellows from next door, they deserve something special!
There is not a single song in this album that I did not like, but I have to admit that the ones that really did it for me were "Tattooed Heart", "In Love and War" and more than any other, the amazing "Child of Sanity". Can you give us a short story about each of these songs?
Carsten: "Tattooed Heart" was one of the first songs written for the new album. At a very early stage it was clear, that it would be the title track, because the lyrics talk of something that is tattooed on your heart, somehow burned inside your mind - like a good song probably! You can't shake free of! We hope that the fans react on the new album the same way. "In Love And War" is one of Robby's favourites, which was definitely NOT meant as a ballad, though many people think it is one. One day that phrase came into my mind "In love and war - everything's fair and anything goes", because more or less, there are no rules in war and love! Not matter, what you try not to do, you can't help! There are no rules! Finally, "Child Of Insanity" somehow is our tribute to the Scorpions. Strange, but no reviewer found, which Scorps track we had in mind, when we were writing that song...
I would like to ask you the meaning behind the name of the band, and the lyrics of the album. Which are the subjects that you find most interesting and consider to combine with the music and the attitude of the band? Are you the main lyricist of the band?
Carsten: I am the one and only! :-) You, I can only write about, what I've experienced myself. I'm no storyteller, though I hope to be one day. So, writing songs for me is some sort of a therapy. I can write about my inner self, without addressing someone in particular - this helps a lot. As for the band's name, at first we wanted to call the band Evidence, but there's already a lot of bands out there by the same name. So we added "One" to point out that we are the only ones... Don't take this too serious. :-)
I am pretty sure that many people will agree that a nice album cover is always a good thing, and I have to admit that the one you chose for "Tattooed Heart" is simply amazing! What is the concept behind it, how does it relate to the band's music, and who is the artist that created it?
Carsten: Thomas Ewerhard beautifully created it on my concept. He did most of those fantastic Spock's Beard album artworks, a band I like very very much, by the way. I wanted to have something oriental or Asian. It's strange, you know, just like Thomas did look into my mind! I said, I wanted some Asian dragons around a heart with the E1 tattoo on it, everything in red and gold - and he did the exact thing! A genius!!!
Who do we have to thank for "Tattooed Heart's" good production? Which studio did you choose for the recordings, and how much time were you given in order to complete the album?
Carsten: Robby Boebel. We have the very fortune to have the producer, who owns his own studio in the band. So there was no pressure in finalising the production within a fixed schedule. We could simply take as much time as we wanted to - especially Robby did! He did dozens of versions of each song! Tried a little of this and a little of that to finally have, what he wanted to have! He again did an amazing job.
Do you believe that the experience gained from recording albums all these years helped in achieving such a good result? How much freedom do you give to producers over your songs?
Carsten: Absolutely! The production of the second E1 album is better that of the first one. You know, Robby produced about ten albums so far, so he really knows, which button to push! And, well, as they are his own songs, he has all the freedom he needs! :-)
I'd like to believe that we would soon be able to see you guys live. Is this the right time for the band to make its first headline tour, or are you again going to be supporting another big Metal act? Are there any live dates set up yet?
Carsten: I don't see us in the headlining position right now. We simply don't attract enough people, additionally, we don't wanna play each and every song of both records. We currently try to hook on a cool tour, but there's nothing fixed yet. The only thing, that's already clear is us playing some of big summer festivals in- and outside Germany. As negotiations are still rolling, I can only say, that the Earthshaker festival again is already fixed!
Which are your plans for the future of the band? What should we expect from Evidence One in the near future?
Carsten: Well, there's nothing planned up to summer's end September. We hope to do a lot of live shows and festivals and then see, what's happening next. Maybe doing another tour in Autumn 05, but currently try to focus on enjoying ourselves only! :-)
A message to your fans.
Carsten: Don't believe the critics! :-) Listen to "Tattooed Heart" by yourselves and decide on your own! POWER TO THE MUSIC!
Interview © 2004