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Interview - Stefan Schmidt (Van Canto)

Interview with Stefan Schmidt from Van Canto
by Tuoksu Holopainen at 23 April 2014, 3:59 PM

Sometimes, in the world of Metal music, after wondering about it, it isn’t that trivial to accept a group such VAN CANTO. It has been described as Acapella Metal, without it being actual Metal. However, the spirit within this astonishing group of vocal masterminds breached borders as similar to any Metal effort out there trying to find uniqueness. For the celebration of their new album “Dawn Of The Brave”, via Napalm Records, Tuosku talked to Stefan Schmidt about the release, the band and more…

Hello Stefan, Thank you for this interview, it's such a pleasure. So, as we all know, VAN CANTO is probably the only A Cappella Metal Band out there (well at least the only well-known one.) Why did you choose this more or less unique style?

We wanted to do something vocal oriented and something unique, and after trying some things out, it turned out to be the world’s first Metal a cappella band.

Do you think Van Canto will inspire the future generation of Metal Bands? I mean, do  you see A Capella as a new independent subgenre in a few years?

No, I don’t see a subgenre. But there are people out there telling us that we inspired them to write songs, and that’s great, no matter in what way these songs are instrumentally performed.

Let's talk about the new Album "Dawn of The Brave". I personally think it's your best album to date. What do you think about that? 

I think you are right, haha. We also have a great feeling towards this album, we think it’s our most compact album without filler songs.

How does the songwriting and recording process differ from previous albums?

This album sounds definitely more "mature" and very well-crafted, compared to your previous material. Thanks, I think one can hear that we know what we are doing. We are a metal a cappella band since 2006, so it’s natural that it feels natural to sing and to write songs for singers.

Van Canto's music obviously needs special recording and engineering skills compared to regular bands, is that true? Is it really more challenging to record an A Cappella album than a regular album with instruments?

No, there is no need for special equipment. But during the years we found the perfect microphone for each singer so it might be we have more first-class microphones than a regular band with one singer. But there is no secret equipment that you wouldn’t know from other bands.

You certainly need special gear for your music, well only microphones. Can you tell us more about this?

As I said, it isn’t that special. Only when playing live it’s important to have a good working in ear monitoring, but most professional bands do it that way.

Do all members of Van Canto contribute to the songwriting/arrangement process, or is it just you, the mastermind behind everything?

No, for example My Utopia was co-written by Bastian, Unholy by Ike. And the most successful ballad of Van Canto (The Last Night of the Kings) was written by Sly.

Do you have any favorite cover among those you've done so far?

It changes from day to day. Today, I like Wishmaster most.

Describe the live experience with Van Canto.

Well, you should ask the audience, not us, haha. We only see that there are coming more people each time we visit a town and that all people are telling us, that a Van Canto show is very powerful and something special. I can tell that it’s very exhausting, haha.

Months ago, you uploaded the breathtaking video of "A Storm To Come" from the "Peer Returns" . It seems really interesting and I really like it more than anything you've ever done.  Can you tell us more about this project?

It was started as a stage project, something for a theater audience. Let’s see what future brings.

Thank you so much again, do you have anything more to add?

Thanks for your interest in Van Canto and all the best!



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