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Interview with Paradox from Paradox
by Yiannis Doukas at 09 February 2008, 6:28 PM

During the day after their killer live performance, I had the chance to meet PARADOX in their hotel, asking them some things for the past and their new album. Although my headache from the endless yesterday's headbanging was terrible, the 'morning coffee' healing did its job well. Thrash!

Well, congratulations for your live performance, which - except of being bombastic - reminded me of my school days, when I listened to your records and I was going for lesson fully thrash-doped.

Charly: Thank you very much!

So, let’s move on to some questions as a fun, from the band’s history. First of all, can you speak to me about your previous bands before PARADOX?

Charly: Oh, back to school days…well, PARADOX didn’t start in 1986 but in 1981. Me, together with the first drummer Axel Blaha, changing many names as OVERKILL and WARHEAD in 1986. Then we found the bass player Ronald Stahl and the guitar player Markus Spyth, changing into PARADOX and everything went very fast.

Did Axel was in the band POISON?

Charly: No, POISON was our second name if I remember well, after OVERKILL.

So, the name PARADOX started in February 1986; you record two demos and sent them to Roadrunner, is it so?

Charly: Yes, a friend of us was in our practice room where we had set two microphones playing our stuff just for ourselves. Then he took the tape and sent it to Rock Hard magazine and a month later we were surprised seeing our photo there. After that, all went very fast.

Where is Axel now? Is he still into music? Do you see him?

Charly: Axel is a friend of mine. We still have contact, we were as brothers being together everyday, but now he has quit playing drums.

You compose together the songs; I guess he was a major part in the band’s history.  

Charly: Yes, that’s right, in the first two albums.

 Let’s go to Product Of Imagination, your first album. What are your feelings about it, now?

Charly: I think that in 1987 we had the luck to be in the right place in the right time, with the boom of Thrash in Bay Area, a style that I love.

An impressive thing is your lyrics. Taking the opportunity from the title Product Of Imagination, do you feel that music is a reflecting mirror of artist fantasy? Does imagination exist in our world or we have completely forgot our childhood skill to imagine?

Kai: It’s a thing that worries me, but it’s a fact. When you are young you have plenty of imagination, but when you grow up having a regular life you have to worry about children, your job but you must not forget how to imagine. It’s better to take a book and read it than you just \[being] in front of your TV.

This is right; TV gives you a picture and reduces your mind’s thoughts, while books and music expand it. Technology although has many benefits; it is also a bit destructive, eh?

Charly: Yes, all these that are happening making me wonder of what’s going on. With computers everything is going so fast, wars taking place without a reason and for nothing, the climate is changing. I think it will take not so long time, maybe not in this lifetime, when we will get to the point with everything breaking down and this makes me sad.

OK, Second album, Heresy; a great one, with great music too.

Charly: Thank you.

…and with a concept that was strange for a Thrash band, especially back then; a concept that has an out-of-time limit meaning. What I mean is when society is viewing something new or different wants to destroy it, throw it away disappearing it. That happened with the Cathars, do you feel that is happening now?

Kai: We always had this discrimination. The reason for all those wars and conflicts we had and have is this discrimination. From religious wars like in the Middle East or political wars that belong to the same theme with the previous, you know one religious team wants to be above the other making weaker.

OK. 2000, and we have an unbelievable return with Collision  Course, an album with equal value with the previous ones, at least in my opinion. Are you satisfied with this return?

Charly: Yes, I’m satisfied; it has a lot of good songs. I was working and practicing it for a long time, more than Product Of Imagination or Heresy. I’m also happy with the Holzwarth brothers, we had a lot of fun in the recording.

How it was to work with Andy Classen?

Charly: Oh it was really nice. We knew him from the 80s from HOLY MOSES and it was great working with Andy.

And after Heresy ’till Collision Course, what happened?

Charly: Yeah, we had a lot of problems that made us split up, problems with Roadrunner. Then it was the rise of Grunge; from the beginning of the 90s till the middle of 90s Heavy Metal was going down. Also Axel, our first drummer, had to quit and I was very disappointed, he was like brother for me and it was difficult to continue. Then, in 1998 the record company called me asking if I had some ideas from the past. We had a demo from Collision Course, the first song we wrote was Overshadowed; we sent it to them and then we released the album.

Electrify is your new record, again via AFM. Are you satisfied from your record company?

Charly: Yes, sure, they trusted us for many years. We didn’t do anything and they trusted us, they believed in us and, for me, making a new album is like a present from them. They are good friends and the first one we want to dedicate our work.

The recording was done in your personal studio. I guess it’s better working this way with no time limitation.

Charly: Yes it’s easier, we had more possibilities now. You are working by yourself with not so many people around telling their ideas, which may be different to our concept. I want to do the next album this way, making the most of the work I can do.

When did you start the composing of the new songs?

Charly: The first one was Infected in 2000 and the others when I was in hospital around 2006. We are very satisfied, I just want to release the music and the ideas I have in my mind. I’m not thinking what to write having a success or something and Electrify needs many listenings to be understood, ’cause it has many things ’inside’.

I read that the lyrics of one song are about the influence of Internet over people. I remember an old AGATHOCLES song Technological Boom, Technological Doom about the consequences of technology. What’s your opinion?

Kai: That’s the main theme of Electrify; the influence of Internet and that instead of humanity controlling Internet is happening the opposite. It also describes the danger your life depending on that and you can’t control it. On the other \[hand], we are all users giving us many possibilities for communication, MySpace, for keeping contact, it has some good parts but you have to use it carefully.
Charly: Yes, it gives you many possibilities for promotion, contact with fans.

The sad part of the story is the young people, children that are locked in their room in front of a screen complete absorbed by Internet, isolated and with no friends.

Kai: Yes, it’s true; there is a song in the new album that is about falling in love via Internet which is completely crazy if you think it. Anyone can represent himself as he wants.
Charly:I was in contact with a girl that I liked very much, till one day her husband called me, you know I didn’t knew she was married, she didn’t tell me anything (laughing)!!!

How did you meet for the second reunion? Kai was in the band after Heresy, eh?

Charly: Yes, after the recording of Heresy, we had also played some gigs back then. Olly and Ronald arrived in 2007 for the recording sessions.

Did you guys were in other bands?

Olly: Of course, I was mostly in cover bands.
Ronald: Yes, I was in SOUL DEMISE, a Death Metal band, we had released four cds.

 What are your plans now?

Charly: Playing live, now we are a full band - not a project or something like that - and we want to play as much as possible. We are also planning the creation of a DVD and I have started the composing of new songs, we don’t want to pass many years again for a new album. After the hospital I realized that this is what I want to do, writing music, doing records, playing gigs. I take power from music, from Heavy Metal. We didn’t have the chance back in the 80s and things are easier now. We are planning a tour with VENDETTA and MEKONG DELTA

(interrupting) VENDETTA are alive?

Charly: Yes, but only the original bass player. Unfortunately, one guy from MEKONG DELTA broke his arm and they cancelled. We will see what will be done.

OK, some Metal questions. There’s a teenager that wants to make a compilation tape of Thrash Metal including one song from PARADOX. Which could it be?

Charly: Infected.
Kai: Infected.
Olly: Disconnected.
Ronald: Monument.

What was the first Metal band you had heard?

Charly: BLACK SABBATH’s Paranoid.
Kai: I think it was Back In Black from AC/DC.
Olly: Yes, AC/DC’s Back In Black.
Ronald: METALLICA’s Kill ’Em All.

What was the Thrash Metal band that impressed you most?

Charly: METALLICA, their staccato riffing, (he’s playing air–guitar, doing headbanging). It was something fresh, I had seen them in 1983 with VENOM together with Axel. I had bought the same day together the METALLICA album and first of EXCITER.

Do you like Greece? Did you go to any museum?

Charly: Yes, yesterday we went to Acropolis and it was majestic seeing this entire big city from high above on the hill. The live yesterday was a highlight for PARADOX, we were planning from years before, together with PRIMAL FEAR but it was cancelled. It’s cool to be here. The live yesterday was great, the people were in ecstasy, and it was hard for me to play but this doesn’t matter; it was very good. We really want to come back.

I hope that too, thank you a lot and I wish to see you soon.

Charly: Thank you.


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