Edenbridge will release their eighth album, The Bonding, on June 21 in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland; June 24 throughout Europe; and July 2, in the USA and Canada. If you read Mark Johnson's review you will know this is not only one of their best albums, it is one of the best albums of 2013, or as Mark states, 'beyond belief' . For The Bonding, Lanvall, key instrumentalist, band leader, and composer decided to bring in an orchestra for support, as he did on one of their best albums, My Earth Dream. The Klangvereinigung Orchestra of Vienna under the direction of Georg Luksch, and a supporting choir add to the soundscape for this breath-taking album.
I have been a fan since 2010's "Solitaire" album, but I now own most of the catalog. Yes, this is one of my favorite bands, so I definitely wanted to reprise my role as interviewer for their latest release.
Welcome Lanvall and Sabine to the Sea of Tranquility. We appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule promoting your new album "The Bonding" to take some time out to answer some questions for your fans.
Lanvall: You´re welcome.
Sabine: It's great to stay in contact with the other side of the world.
Mark – Much time has passed since 2010's "Solitaire". You changed record labels, band members, and went through some difficult times. You weathered the adversity well. This is an exceptional album. How did you maintain focus on the goal of making something beyond belief?
Lanvall: Thanks for the complements. It was a hard time the last 2 years. In May 2011 my father commited suicide, Sabine and I changed our places of living and other band members changed their job, so it was a constant process of change. Much of the music was already written before May 2011 but all the songs were finsihed parallely afterwards and all the lyrics were written afterwards too.
Sabine: Lanvall had the worst time of his life. After this tragedy with his father and other complicated things. During the mourning process other people died who we also knew well. We tried to live in the present and went through all the emotions. Last year my grandmother died in May directly on my birthday. I was glad to be with her till her last breath; she was a very heartly person and I have her in my heart. She was very important for me and my voice development when I was a child. It was really hard for me singing "Death is not the end", because I always thought of her.
Mark – I am so glad you changed your mind on using an orchestra for 'The Bonding". Did it make a huge difference in what you were originally planning to create? Describe the process of choosing the orchestra, and then how you managed to coordinate the recording and creative process with all that you faced.
Lanvall: It makes a huge difference, no doubt about. I somehow knew in the creative process that we have to work with a real orchestra again, but didn´t know how to finance it, I just had the believe that the ways will open up for it. Finally I got a mail by a big fan of ours in February 2012. He told me, that he liked the "MyEarthDream" album so much because of the Czech Film Orchestra and if we want to record with a real orchestra again. To cut a long story short, he offered us to take 1/3 of the costs for it, which was overwhelming. Another friend sponsored a great sum and so it was clear we would have to go this way. I then wrote the orchestral score and got in touch with the orchestra Klangvereinigung in Vienna. I booked the studio and we recorded the 53 people of the orchestra in groups, starting with the strings, then woodwinds together with brass and finally percussion. This gave us an optimal basis for mixing the orchestra later as we had seperated groups. After everything was recorded we brought the fans on board and offered them different levels of sponsorship, which was received overwhelmingly well. All in all we were able to outfinance the whole project with our sponsors and fans which was simply amazing and gave the album the sound it deserved.
Mark – Specifically, where did use of the orchestra accentuate the power that the band brings to an album? Will you use an orchestra again on future albums? (I hope so).
Lanvall: Well to be honest, after this album there is really no way back to sampled orchestra sounds, but we have to see what the future brings but I´m sure that those ways will open up in the future again. The important thing when you work with so much different sounds, is to leave space for everything. In our case the orchestra is really accentuated as you say. When it comes into our sound it´s a real blast most of the time. But then you have to leave space for guitars, vocals and everything else too. I think we were able to manage that perfectly on the new album.
Mark – Tell us about the concept of "The Bonding". Where did the idea originate?
Lanvall: I knew that the album must have the name "The Bonding" even before "Solitaire" was released in 2010. It was an inner feeling I had. Due to all the tragic events that happened, everything became clear then. "The Bonding" deals with the universal energy which we consist of, where we are coming from and where are going back to.
Sabine: The energy between a mother and her new born child is also called "The Bonding". There it is very clear what "bonding" means, but this energy is between all of us. I think that we are able to realise that more and more, if we are open to the idea, that we all are connected to each other and to mother nature. It's like a swarm of birds or a swarm of fishes, and every bird or fish knows instinctively the direction where to go.
Mark – I know I've asked this question before on another forum, but for the record here, where did the name Edenbridge originate?
Lanvall: It´s the name of a small town in England and when I first heard the name, I knew that this must be the name of our band as it perfectly matched with the music and the lyrical themes we are transporting.
Mark – Ok, let's get into the new album. Where lays the 'Mystic River'?
Lanvall: Good question, whereever you want it to be. "Mystic River" deals with ghosts that are captured and seized by this river.
Mark –I also read that you were making the first video for the album, for the track, 'Alight a New Tomorrow'. Can you tell us more about the video and how it will unveil the story in the song? When do you plan to release the video?
Lanvall: That´s right. We just shot the videoclip 3 weeks ago. It is currently in its post-production process, and the first pictures we saw are awesome. What I can say is that we focussed on the light effects and the aesthetic pictures so the story comes through the pictures themselves and the deeper meaning is free for everybody to explore for himself. We had great technical equipment like a crane camera and a green box so we tried to make as much use of it as possible.
Mark – I have to admit that I am also a 'Star-Crossed Dreamer'. I guess we all are at one time or another. How do you maintain that outlook with all the bad news in the world?
Sabine: I try to inform myself of everything that is going on in the world, and I often feel sad cause personal destinies touch me. I think it's important to differ between pitifulness and compassion. Pity is making you empty and compassion lets you stay with the person or the situation without loosing your inner force. Before we are really able to go with compassion it's important to go through our own emotions. Only then we are able to help somebody else with our human being.
I also think, that all of us are sometimes "Star-Crossed Dreamers". It seems to be normal that some of our dreams are not able to be realised during one short life. However it's important having dreams and visions. Maybe one time we will realise, that they were not star-crossed, if we are able to look back from the other side.
Mark – I also enjoyed the pace of 'Star-Crossed Dreamer'. It truly brought out all of the subtleties you normally miss in Sabine's voice.
Sabine: I don't know exactly what you mean when you are missing something, but I know, this time my voice comes out from a very relaxing situation where I tried to let me fall into. I think that was possible, because of the break I took. That helped me to calm down into my body and I started with new power into the recordings.
Mark – What or who do you describe as 'The Invisible Force'?
Lanvall: "The Invisible Force" deals with the energy, that seem to come out of nowhere when you are in a creative process like in composing or writing lyrics. It´s the open channel you need to let this energy flow through.
Mark – Sabine, I guess it's no secret that I am a big fan of your vocal performances. However, I'm definitely not the only one. On 'Into a Sea of Souls' you truly seem to reach out beyond the speaker frame or earphones to comfort and console the listener. Tell us about some of the vocal prep work you have done between "Solitaire" and "The Bonding".
Sabine: This time it's more up to the things I've not done J As I said before, I took a break because I wasn't able doing any lessons on working with my voice. I followed my intuition and tried to be in the moment during the day, but I didn't medidated in sitting or anything else I did in the past. I really needed this break and foccussed on the mourning process and was busy with the things that changed in our life. That wasn't all bad, but very exhausting. When the recordings of the orchestra began, I started working on the songs. First it was very hard to sing, because I always was near to my teardrops.
Mark - 'Into a Sea of Souls' is a wonderful showcase for Sabine's vocals. Describe where the inspiration for the song originated.
Lanvall: "Into a sea of souls" is one out of 4 songs that deal with my father. This song is about the soul leaving the body and transcending into the great divide. The mystic verses underline that very well. The choruses and the bridge open up the light where the transcendence reaches its final journey.
Mark - 'Far out Of Reach' is definitely one of the best showcases for Sabine's vocals. Sabine, how did you create that exceptional emotional feeling during the closing of the song?
Sabine: I think it was after midnight or later, when I recorded this part. That's always the best time for me; I'm feeling like a bat J. No to be honest, at that time everything is more flowing and comes from it's own. We only need those patience that there is something left that wants to come out. In our own studio I have the possibility working as long as I think that it comes out in its best way, and that's great.
Mark – Is 'Shadows of My Memory', one of the first tracks you worked on?
Lanvall: I parallely worked on all songs. When I got stuck in one song I just laid it aside and waited for the final inspiration. "Shadows of my memory" was the second last song to begin with and was also one of the last one to complete.
Mark – If 'Death Is Not the End', to where do you think we transcend?
Lanvall: As I said before, I believe the essence of our being is pure energy and this energy is immortal, which is the main theme in "The Bonding". This essence was forever there and will be there forever. I was able to feel the energy of my father a couple of times after his death and it was a wonderful feeling, it was like a powerful stream through my whole body.
Mark - 'The Bonding' is another epic album closer and title track. What lead to the additional male vocals of Erik Martensson in a duet with Sabine?
Lanvall: "The Bonding" was meant to be a duet from the beginning on. I had a long list of names but nobody of this list really seem to fit. One day I went to a CD store and looked for new CD´s and the new Eclipse CD caught my eye. I gave it a listen and was blown away by Erik´s voice. I immediately contacted him and got a prompt answer that he would love to do a duet. It turned out to be exactly what I had in mind when I composed the song. Erik did a tremendous job!!!
Sabine: It was great to sing a duet again and especially with such a great singer like Erik is. I generally love duets, when the voices go well together and embed into something greater as it is in "The Bonding".
Mark - 'The Bonding' is one of the songs with the deepest meanings. I think you have ever written. Although many of your songs have that quality. So what is, "the secret we all share"?
Lanvall: It´s the immortality of our souls what I described above. Everything will become clear when we return to the timeless pure energy.
Mark – Is it possible to be "unborn and immortal"?
Lanvall: If you refer it to the one universal energy, yes. It´s timeless and immortal.
Mark –Who is "The light in the dark. Eternal formless power. The guardian of the arc"?
Lanvall: The one universal energy mentioned above.
Mark – Since you guys are Trek fans I have to mention one of my favorite tracks of yours is, "Where Silence Has Lease". Was the show the inspiration for the title? Have you seen "Into Darkness"? What do you think of the new direction JJ Abrams took?
Lanvall: To be honest, I don´t care about everything that came after "Voyager". "Voyager" was nice but the real thing is "The Next Generation" and "Deep Space Nine". All the movies are nice but can never compete with the depth of the series. I also like "Where silence has lease" a lot. It was the name of an episode in TNG and for me the title was very powerful. The songs deals with how far the power of your dreams can bring you.
Mark – Sabine and Lanvall, who is on your top ten playlist right now?
My favorite CD´s of Armand Amar have been in the CD player since months:
Le Premier Cri (The first cry) and Lévon Minassian, songs from a world apart
Symphonic Theater of Dreams - A tribute to Dream Theater
Threshold – March of progress
Lanvall: In no particular order
Mike Oldfield-Music of the spheres
Threshold-March of progress
Symphonic Theater of Dreams-A tribute to Dream Theater
Avantasia-The mystery of time
Marillion-Sounds that can´t be made
Dream Theater-A dramatic turn of events
Devin Townsend Project-Epicloud
And of course our new album "The Bonding"
Mark – With all the beautiful mountains and scenery in Austria you must spend a lot of time outdoors. What are your favorite pastimes beyond work and music?
Lanvall: I love skiing in winter and try to do that as often as possible. I also like the mountains in summer to go hiking. To get my mind free we have a great river valley here just 5 minutes away from our home, very romantic and pristine. It´s the perfect place to regain energy and become creative.
Sabine: I like painting on canvas, although my last one is too long ago. Being creative in general with different kinds of materials or photographing is what lets me forget time. For example I like old furnitures and I like to give old things a new style.
There is a special place as Lanvall said before, near the place we live for two years now. When I am there for a walk, it's like I am far away from everywhere. It's like holidays for one or two hours. We filmed some sequences for our new video at this place.
Mark – Sabine, you have been a guest on many albums in the past by some of the best composers in metal. Will you be singing on anyone else's album in the near future?
Sabine: At the moment there are no plans for projects, but such things can change fast.
Mark – Lanvall, I bought one of your solo albums a while back. "The Pyromantic Symphony". Great music, by the way. Do you have plans to create or collaborate on any side projects in the near future?
Lanvall: Thanks for your nice words. That´s a long time ago. Last year I orchestrated a very interesting project of our new bass player Wolfgang. It´s called Aeoneve and the music is very symphonic. I hope Wolfgang continues with it and finds the budget or label to make the album. Beside that I am always open for music to produce which moves me in some way.
Mark – Will you tour for "The Bonding"?
Lanvall: Hopefully in the second half of 2013. But nothing´s confirmed yet.
Mark – What is next for Edenbridge?
Lanvall: Doing numerous interviews and making the best promo for the album we can. Everything else will come as it is.
Mark – Is there anything else I have not asked that you would like to add a comment?
Lanvall: Thanks to all our fans around the world for your great support. And buy our new album at the end of June, beginning of July!
Sabine: I also wanna say thanks to all our fans and future fans. Stay in bonding!
Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer some questions for us. We at the Sea of Tranquility wish you and Edenbridge much success with the launch of 'The Bonding' and all that you do in the future.
Thanks a lot for the interview, Sabine and Lanvall
(Click here to read our review of The Bonding)