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Carsten Schulz (Evidence One)

Interview with Carsten Schulz from Evidence One
by Grigoris Chronis at 31 January 2005, 5:21 PM

The Evidence about quality on the shelves of today's Metal Super Market is not that profound as proudly the products once stood. Still, acts like Germany's latest Hard & Heavy export spieces Evidence One did soften our broken hearts with their Criticise The Truth debut - at first. The band's latest, Tattooed Heart, release is, yet, more strong reflecting the will of an evil that simply knows how to (hard) rock!!! Frontman Carsten Schulz finds some spare time to reveal his will and needs (I must confess I had the fuckin' greatest good time making this interview with such a cool guy)! Carsten, where are you?

Carsten, greetings form Greece and Magazine! From the depths of my heart, congratulations for your latest album, Tattooed Heart! I hope this effort will be stained by the term classic in the years to come!

Thanks, Greg! This really makes me proud, man!

Since it’s been almost two months now from the album’s official release date, what’s the impression you have from the people’s reactions? I mean, both the Hard Rock/Metal fans and the music Press.

Well, basically more than only positive. What really surprised us most was that especially the Metal press really was into the new album. It was some conscious decision to make a heavier album and to turn more towards Metal, and now that we can see that it’s been accepted for sure, it’s a real relief.

 Tattooed Heart – in my mere opinion – shows a band really looking forward to overcome its no-doubt remarkable debut album Criticize The Truth. Not only the compositions are more notable, but the whole band seems to be in great shape. Enthusiasm is spread all over the CD, I must confess! Really, can you give us some details about the recording period?

Well, to be honest, there’s not that much to say. You know, we have the very fortune that Robby Boebel, our guitarist, producer and main songwriter, owns his own studio, which means we can record whenever we want. The song writing process in E1 is pretty simple: Robby writes a new tune instrumentally, sends over the file or CD, I compose and write my lines and lyrics and then come over to his place to record. Then the other guys come in and do their parts – that’s it! The only difficulty we had during the production of the album, was that probably about a year ago, Robby decided to make a turn in heaviness and song writing, which I in the first place did not understand – but in the end, looking at the final result, he was absolutely right! We did the exact album we wanted to do!

So, who’s responsible for the music and lyrics in Tattooed Heart, in specific? Are we talkin’ ‘bout a team work?

As I said, Robby and I write all the song and he also is the producer – and did an amazing job for sure.

The production is very solid, in my opinion. It drives the music to more classic Metal paths than in Criticize The Truth, where the overall feeling was showing an A.O.R. vibe. Was this decision conscious or it just happened during the recording period?

Absolutely! As I said, Robby did a turn about a year ago. We’ve almost finished the album when he told me he wasn’t satisfied with the result. Back than, we simply did Criticize The Truth Pt. II musically. Robby’s position was that if we’d do a second record sounding like the first one, we could never ever change or try out something different. We would be set to one style forever. I gotta confess that I did not understand him in the first place, but after quite some time I found out he was right. You know, all the live shows and touring we did, except for the Gods Of A.O.R. festival, we played with Metal bands, which definitely had an impact on the band’s sound. Also, getting a second guitarist changed our way of playing, so, yes, we simply wanted to turn heavier, more towards classic Metal.

In both Criticize The Truth and Tattooed Heart the band’s style is a cross path of Riff-based Hard Rock and classic Heavy metal. My mind is spinning around bands like Pretty Maids, Bonfire & Dokken, not specifically for the musical result but mainly for the philosophy in composing catchy yet heavy melodies. Still, is there room for bands like E-1 today, where the fans’ needs and Metal market is surrounded by Nu-Metal or female-fronted atmospheric Goth-like bands?

Your definition of E1 is perfect, my friend! Well, is their any room…hm, you gotta ask this once again in about a year. We managed to get a great deal with Europe’s biggest Metal label, so I guess they think they can make some money out of us. The point is, there’s not much bands around doing that sort of style these days – this might be a chance.

I see… Carsten, how was the tour with Saxon? Really, how does it feel to be sharing the same stage with such a legend? It must have been a helluva good time!

Fabulous! Saxon was fantastic! The guys treated us more than only fair and we learned a lot from these guys. You know, when we had to offer to do the Saxon tour we were pretty unsure if we fit to such a Metal line up, but in the end, I guess, our sound was more similar to the Saxon Metal then the other two (by the way fantastic) acts: Riff and Hook!

Are there any tour plans now, so as to support the Tattooed Heart release? If the band’s performance is similar to the positive energy created in your studio efforts, I guess your concerts must be memorable! Still, you know, many bands prefer to work in the studio more than being exhausted in endless tours. Weird, ha? In which side do you think E-1 lie on?

That’s sad these days! We really wanna go on tour, but yet we couldn’t find a band to go out with or we simply didn’t get the slot! It’s so much fun, doing live shows with these guys, believe me. What’s for sure is that we’re gonna do some of the bigger festivals this year.

In your own words: Hard & Heavy music festivals. You have the experience from both Earthshaker & Wacken fests. It seems that Germany is the centre of the global Metal live movement in our days (the way UK was leading the whole scene in the 80s). Let me ask you: has the participation of E-1 in such Metal festivals moved the band’s sound to this more heavier direction at Tattooed Heart, in your opinion?

Absolutely! We played with bands like Annihilator, Testament, Doro, Masterplan, you name ’em! This definitely had an impact on the band’s sound. We didn’t plan this in the beginning, but soon as we tried to re-arrange the songs for a live show they became heavier. To be quite honest with you, I felt way more comfortable doing Wacken than doing the Gods Of A.O.R. because we turned to heavy for A.O.R. ears!

Speaking all this time about Tattooed Heart, maybe you could give a brief bio of the band? You know, for readers who didn’t have so far the opportunity to become familiar with the band’s music!

Well, E1 originally was planned as Robby Boebel’s first solo album, which I was to sing. Soon, after we met for the very first time, we realized that this was way more than just a solo project. Together with Hutch Bauer on bass, and Shakra-drummer Roger Tanner, we formed Evidence One. Shortly after the release of our debut CD Criticize The Truth we had the chance to tour with Saxon, this was when Roger left the band to concentrate on Shakra only. We got Rami Ali on drums and Wolfgang Schimmer as second guitarist in to do the European tour. After the tour, as you said, we did a couple of festivals, including the Wacken festival. At Wacken, Robby hat a little talk with Mat Sinner, who’s working for Nuclear Blast Records. A couple weeks later, Robby sent over new E1 material to Mat and shortly after that we had our deal – now our second album Tattooed Heart is out!

It’s the truth I was wondering about – when Criticize The Truth came out – was Evidence One an all-star side project or was it a permanent band. Really, which was your viewpoint when E-1 was formed? Did you want the band to be built on a permanent basis? Or, on the other hand, E-1 started out as a project?

Criticize The Truth was planned as Robby’s solo album, we didn’t even have a band name in mind. Then we decided to form a band, only as a project. When we got the offer to do the Saxon tour, we haven’t been playing live before! In fact, the first night of the tour was our very first live show ever! Coming back to your question: A project quickly turned into a full band!

I guess it’s a strong plus for the band to be under the Nuclear Blast umbrella. It seems a little weird, though, since N.B. mainly focuses its interest on more Power or Extreme Metal bands. How did you come in contact with the label? Are you satisfied enough with its support?

For sure, it’s kinda strange, being amongst way heavier bands but, in fact, NB does a great job! They really seem to be into what we’re doing, probably because we’re different!

And, how many albums have you agreed to release with them?

Depends on how this album sells!

…Endless, I wish! Evidence One is a strange name for a band. Who came with that name? Is there a story behind it?

That’s no big deal. At first, we wanted to name the band Evidence but there’s already a lot of bands out there by the same name. So we added one to point out we’re the only ones…

I must applause the magnificent cover artwork in both albums. Who’s the mastermind behind these pieces of art?

That’s the great Thomas Ewerhard, who also did many Spock’s Beard, Enchant or Edguy covers. I sent him a concept of how I wanted to cover to look like and he designed it perfectly! Seems like he did look inside me brain! Absolutely amazing! Yesterday I got a picture of a fan, who really tattooed the cover between the shoulders! That’s a really amazing tribute!

I remember the first time I saw Alice Cooper on stage – you know, with all this audiovisual show etc – I was positively shocked by how our favorite music can perfectly be combined with other forms of art, to create a result appropriate for the music fan to understand the band’s/artist’s inner objective. I had the same feeling when listening to Tattooed Heart by also watching into the cover artwork’s magnificent details. Carsten, do you think that music should be supported by other forms of teasing for the recipient (visuals, theatrics) or e.g. the fan should merely stick to the music and not be tempted by anything else?

Definitely! You know, I’m a kid of the eighties. With all those big arena acts on the one hand, and all those big hair bands on the other. Going to a concert meant party the whole day through, not only during the two hours of the show. I remember looking at Iron Maiden’s Live After Death album artwork for hours! Reading and discovering all those certain bits an’ pieces. Also, bands like Twisted Sister or Dokken really rocked – I still don’t wanna go to a concert seeing my fellow neighbour! I wanna see a Rock Star on stage to drift away and forget about life for a while – no matter, if he’s an evil looking death guy or some hairspray poser!

To today’s deeds, which are the bands that have impressed you the most during the last years? Are you any familiar with that Nu-Metal fashion? Really, please share with us an amount of - let’s say – five of your favourite: a) singers, b) bands/artists, c) albums, that you could easily admit trapped you in what you’re doing so successfully today!

Nu Metal was never my kinda fashion, I only felt for Matchbox Twenty, which wasn’t Nu Metal at all. Talking of bands of the last couple years, Edguy, Masterplan, At Vance, Spock’s Beard or Rhapsody, speaking of bands of my youth it would be Yngwie Malmsteen, Whitesnake, Y&T, Dokken, Great White or Twisted Sister. As for my favorite singers, it’s actually four that influenced me most (besides classic rock voices like Glenn Hughes, David Coverdale or Joe Lynn Turner):

Robert Plant, he could do whatever he wanted to, and always was groundbreaking; Jon Bon Jovi, because in his eighties days, he was the fuckin’ best rock voice on the planet; Ray Gillen (R.I.P.), to me the ultimate Hard Rock singer, and finally Sting, because he’s so different to anybody else!

Cool! Well, Carsten, I was impressed to read in another interview I found, while surfing on the Net, that fans should not Believe The Critics! How much Power do you think music (or Metal, in specific) Press has upon young – especially – people’s minds these days? Can you remember how things where when you were a teenager fan, starting to explore the magic path of Hard Rock & Heavy Metal music? Do you think the Press did a helluva job those days, or you think that today a Hard/Heavy fan can easily distinguish the good song from the bad song?

You know, the more you get into the business the more you find out, how much money and connections rule everything. Unfortunately, the days of a good song making a good band are long gone. If you have the name or the money, you can get successful and you can get the best of critics! When the internet came up, you could find really honest critics on albums, because it was the fans that told the bands when they did a shitty record. The print press was way over it. I’m working for a German Rock magazine for a couple years now, so I know what I’m saying. For sure, every band is happy to read good reviews, but I’m pretty sure if another band on a way smaller label would have released our album they wouldn’t have got as much attention to them. I’m damn happy with the situation I’m in right now, because I worked fucking hard for years, but I don’t do things different then years ago, but now there’s open ears on higher positions. You know, I read fantastic critics about crappy records only because of big names and vice versa! The best thing for any Rock fan is to listen to the songs and decide for himself!

Carsten, thanks a lot for your spare time! WE, in Magazine wish you and the band all the best for the future! Last words are gladly welcome from you for our readers, E-1 fans and Hard & Heavy fans in general!

Take a look at our website, check out the songs and decide by yourself. Power to the music!!! Thanx, Greg!


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