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Michael Schwager (Dreamscape)

Interview with Michael Schwager from Dreamscape
by Grigoris Chronis at 23 October 2007, 3:26 PM

DREAMSCAPE have just released their latest album, 5th Season, and we grabbed the chance for a brief talk with the German Prog Metal band's drummer Michael Schwager. Here you are!

Hello from Metal temple mag! We were really happy to see such an excellent release as 5th Season by DREAMSCAPE! The last months must have been rather stiff for DREAMSCAPE. With 60% of the band departing there must have been enough issues concerning the band’s plans. Did you ever think of giving up? Since not, in what ways will you search for new members? Is there any update on this issue?

Oh, first we are still complete with Mischa Mang on vocals, who is well known as the former singer of IVANHOE, David Bertok on keys and my dear brother Ralf on bass. This is our new line up, we rehearse since the last months and go on tour with SIEGES EVEN now. The decision to change the line up was amicably wished by all members of DREAMSCAPE. For a long time Jan, Benno and Roland have been too busy with their side projects and work, that really endangered the band, but they are still good friends and support DREAMSCAPE furthermore.

There was - I think - some delay in releasing 5th Season. Was it the band issues or something else?

It was absolutely the band’s fault, as a result of the time problems we had. Some of the songs where ready written by Wolfgang at 2005 and you can imagine that the chewing gum like continuing would really bore him. Additionally, the drums recording was finished in December 2006, but nothing happened with the bass recordings and vocals. Jan’s time management let us not enough space to record everything contemporary to the songwriting and we finally decided to finalize drums and guitars outside the DREAMSCAPE studio by ourselves, to keep the time plan passable. Finally everything worked well with the compromises we made with Jan and this resulted in a great new album.

Are you already in negotiations for another label? Isn’t there a chance to keep recording for Massacre Records?

That is something to think about in the future. It is sure, that the band has much more and quicker musical output with the new members, so that the next album can be expected next year. It’s not sure for now who is in the boat with us. We need someone who acts in concert. Massacre - on the other hand - put labels on our CD which proclaimed the end of DREAMSCAPE even if they know that the band is continuing. Not very nice, don’t you agree?

It’s rather important for DREAMSCAPE to write to have a complex pattern in their songwriting, yet the result to be accessed easily by the listener, I feel. Does this have to do with the fact that you work hard on melodies and harmonies in your structures?

Yes, first we let the music flow out of our fingers catching the parts like in a brainstorming, but then you have to sleep one night over a melody, a rhythm part or a guitar riff. Sometimes it could happen, that the main structure of a song will be completely turned upside down, if someone in the band comes with the idea to do that. Songwriting is always a band process for us, it makes it sometimes difficult (due to that everybody must accept a new part) but after all, everyone is satisfied with the result.

Have you ever felt you should write more ’simple’ songs in order to attract more listeners to DREAMSCAPE’s music? You think a Prog Meta fan with no ’music studies’ will not have the chance to get 100% of the band’s way of writing/playing music?

We never plan a song to be in one kind of style or another, the music still flows out of us and contains aspects of all the different feelings a man has. The fact that the main result is prog-style comes from the complexity of these feelings. We will keep this structure always because five different persons with five different ways to feel produce songs like that!!! In addition, we are not interested in making as much money as we can but rather in making our music as we like to.

5th Season’s title and cover artwork seem rather mystique. Would you like to explain a little bit about both meanings?

We love the artwork with reason in its mystic touch and we often like to coquette with the people’s way of interpretation of our lyrics and songs. I can only say that we are all fans of fantasy and mystic because we are all a part of god’s creation with all the mystic in it. Every song and every lyric contains its own kind of mystic. How someone will fix his point of view is in the eye of the beholder.

Five albums in ten years is a good bill, anyway! Where do you draw inspiration from for your music? I mean, both influential bands and - in general - things in life that bring ideas for songs?

You are absolutely right. It’s nothing unreal on it. We use our experiences in life for our creativity.

The same applies to lyrics, too. What resources do you use and who handles the lyrics?

Well, the lyrics are all based on simple love stories, but be careful; you always have the possibility to interpret every lyric due to your own life experiences. We tried to insert many metaphors and keywords which made this possible.

Many Rock/Metal fans do not read a song’s lyrics at all in our days, I’m afraid. Have you noticed this? Isn’t it a pity not trying to ’tie’ a song with its story, so as to better understand the artist/band?

Oh, I think, there are also many fans who read the lyrics. Otherwise, the lyrics in heavy rock and metal are used to be written in English. If this is not the mother language of someone, it is definitely difficult to catch everything, what is meant by the lyrics in a song. We try to write our lyrics with deepness and sense, but also with ways to interpret every word. That makes reading & singing with and understanding easier, ’cause you always put your own feeling into the words.

You announce you’ll be shooting a video - and even uploaded in on your official site shortly enough - for a track off the following album! You are already on the works for your next release? You have enough work already done?

Yes, indeed that was the announcement, but with all the troubles and work for the tour we decided to concentrate on this thing; made new photos of the band, record a brand new song which we’ll present live and we’re thinking of producing the video after the tour.

As for the announced tour with Prog Metal legends SIEGES EVEN. So far a dozen of gigs in Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland have been publicized. Are there any more ’on the spot’ for further gigs/countries?

Not concrete, but we are waiting for any invitation. We still like to do much more live work than before but still looking for a good booking agency or management.

Hailing from the same country as SIEGES EVEN, you have a clearer view on this band. They surely are a ’cult’ band for Prog Metal fan, but do you feel they ever got the recognition they deserved after 20 years?

Not only SIEGES EVEN has this problem of missing recognition. Prog is a music with no easy listening, so if you like to be recognized you have to be loud. Shout to the world: I’m here, I’ve got something to say and show you my talent!. Maybe they’ve lend back for too long, cause they are great musicians that produce unbelievable good music. They definitely should  be recognized more than up to now.

You performed at UK’s ProgPower II festival in spring 2007. What was the feeling? Chatting with the fans, how did you see their response to DREAMSCAPE’s performance and music in general? The same goes for Netherlands’s ProgPower Europe fest!

It was absolutely great at both festivals. The fans have been unbelievable. Well organized, well done, good inspiration, kind and warm welcome. What more could I say, it was fantastic!

I was surprised to see all T-shirts sold out in your web store! You believe you now have a loyal base of fans all over the world? Do you take into consideration what fans have to say for each album you release? The same goes for the Press reviews. Do you think an artist/band should listen to what other people have to say in order to write music?

Answering your first question, we have still ordered complete new shirts with the new cover artwork on it. Second question: We do have fans all over the world and are very happy about that situation. And due to the third question: it is really one of the most important things for us, what the fans have to say. We take every critic and praise as a chance to get the bands evolution to higher levels.

Michael, thanks a lot for your time to do this interview! A message to DREAMCAPE and Prog Metal readers?

So for all of you reading these lines, bless you and hope you can do the things you like the most, as we try to do. Don’t listen to bad music and always vistit the Metal Temple website! Hope to see you soon at one of our concerts. If you have any questions or only the wish to tell us something, please contact us at our website. Best wishes, Michael.


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