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Interview with Andi Schnitzer (Drums) – Kissin’ Dynamite

Interview & pictures by Adrian Hextall / MindHex Media

With their recent tour with Amaranthe and Powerwolf selling out across Europe, Kissin’ Dynamite finally made it over to the UK.

AH: Okay. So thank you very much. I’ve seen a few interviews from you guys over the last month or two, in relation to the new album. One of the things that really struck me, was an interview with Hannes and he was talking about the sound of the band being stadium rock. And that’s a type you don’t hear the description of any more, and it was great to see it again in writing. Because everybody tries to pick a particular genre, are you hard rock? Are you AOR? Are you metal? Are you, whatever? Stadium rock is that feeling that you get when you play to eighty thousand people and singing they’re your lyrics back to you. That’s the music your sound portrays in my opinion. That is a good call.

Andi: Fair enough, yes. That’s pretty much it. It’s not that we want to remake the wheel or– as you said, I mean, there are so many bands and they try to get the USP, Unit Selling Point by giving any name or a new name to their music even if it’s not new, so we have– today we have things like hardcore doom metal and stuff like that.

No, we refuse to give it you a new name. We just do what we like and what we like is to rock. We are doing rock music, we don’t even call ourselves a metal band. We do rock music, we like rock music. And our motto is bring back stadium rock. That’s pretty much it.

AH: Totally, totally. I couldn’t agree more. I mean, the only way you can fill it up is if you make it accessible to everybody. If everybody picks those unique genres, the USP, as you say, they narrow their audience down so much to just that group of people, don’t they? Whereas if you say, “No, we want to just fill a stadium.” Everybody’s got to like it. Doesn’t matter what you’re into, we play music for you. And it’s great.

Andi: Yes. As you said it’s about that feeling. It’s not to give a name or something. It’s just a feeling, bring back.

AH: Totally. You’ll get that out in here tonight. I mean you must have found it on the shows you’ve played already. The three bands on the bill, it’s a perfect fit?

Andi: I would say so. Every band deals with their own cup of tea and in defence they have a great package of different styles and different tastes and it works out pretty fine. And this tour, so far, I mean it’s a great tour for us. People are going crazy on our music and yesterday we played in Antwerp and then the Netherlands. It seemed to me as nobody knew us before, in this club, in this case. And from the beginning on, from the very first song I could see their smiling faces. They were like– yes. And in the end every f**king hand was in the air and they were singing along with us. And that’s what I’m talking about. This is our mission.

AH: Yes. Now, I can believe that. And it’s something you’ve manage to portray on all of the albums, to date. I mean I’ve followed you guys since Addicted To Metal came out. Because it’s that you’ve manage to always put at least one song that I would call a true anthem on each of the albums as they’ve come forward. And Addicted to Metal is a, “What’s this?” And it makes you listen to the rest of the album it makes you get into the band. Along with backing got, Steel of Swabia as well. You know it’s your first album. Then you went in the– 

Andi: Money, Sex, and Power.

AH: Yes, and then Megalomania, and then you put DNA on it. And the mix then of what you managed to achieve with that, because there were elements of I think, dance music almost. Just little bits, just a catch of the imagination. Very few bands are willing to do something like that. That’s pretty cool.

Andi: Yes I think that every album we did was right at that time. So today we had a nice walk. We walked along to the park not far from here, don’t know if you know it. We walked as a band, and just some quality free time talking about our music and our albums and we were like, nowadays we wouldn’t do an album like Megalomania any more. But at that time, it was the perfect album. We decided we wanted to change something, not too much, just a little. You know, and it’s like in real life sometimes you need to try something–

AH: Now ‘Generation Goodbye’, it felt like a natural progression to that. But this [Ecstasy] actually feels like collectively you’ve all come together and Ecstasy’s got a different feel to it. It’s still Kissin’ Dynamite because the anthems are on there. And there’s more of them I think. It’s in the latter half of the album as well. Which surprised me because typically your big, grab them by the throat, is in maybe track one, track two. But you grab them by the throat songs in midpoint on wards. You’ve got some really interesting styles and mixes in the first half, which is new.

Andi: Yes. We, you know, we’re not over thinking the things. Our mission is to rock and we get inspired by maybe a song, or by something happening in your life, or by other… certain situations on tour. And then you kind of get inspired and put it into a new song. And we don’t think like, maybe this is too slow for this whole album or maybe it’s too soft or it’s too hard. We just do what we feel. And asking me, I would say this is probably the worst thing a band can do. To over think issues and to over think the things, ask yourself like, is this too poppy or is it too cheesy. If you feel it, do it, like in real life.

AH: Doesn’t matter whether it’s poppy or not. If it catches you, it catches you, doesn’t it.

Andi: Yes. And probably, you know, if you really dig it and if you like it and if we like it, attitude will come itself.

AH: Absolutely, yes. Couldn’t agree more. And you’ve done, how do you describe it? You talk about poppy. Some of the first few tracks in the albums are I can only describe of as smoother. It’s less crunchy. It’s a much cleaner sound.

Andi: Which one do you mean?

AH: Now, you’re asking me. Hang on. Let me flip back to what I was listening to earlier. So Somebody’s Got to Do It. Even Ecstasy where you’ve got, what’s the name singing with you on the video?

Andi: Anna Brunner.

AH: Anna singing on the video as well. It’s a smoother sound. It’s less aggressive. 

Andi: Okay.

AH: But it still grabs me. It just sounded different. It just sounded almost as if the production was different. I don’t know.

Andi: The funny thing is that since Generation Goodbye, we produced our albums totally on ourselves. But actually on every album they were no different people involved in production and stuff like that. So it’s not like some bands do. This album we produced with that guy and the next album we produced with another guy, and another guy. It’s always the same production team, I would say all in all.

AH: You see you probably all now know each other so well and what’s needed. 

Andi: Yes, pretty much.

AH: It all clicks together easier.

Andi: Don’t know if you read this or if you know it, we’re working together since Steel of Swabia. I’ve been working together with– German produces from the Nassau, Germany. Elephant Music is their name. We did with them from Steel of Swabia until Megalomania, and then we grafted on our own but they still know what we’re doing and they’re still talking, I mean, they are not like totally out of it. It’s more giving advises, so you can say.

AH: You know guys if you just try this and try that.

Andi: Yes. But the thing is Hannes learned this as his real profession to be a music producer. And this is why he produces us nowadays.

AH: Because he produced the Exit Eden album which is where he met Anna?

Andi: Yes.

AH: I mean an album like that, so operatic, so grandiose as well. It must give him and you guys additional ideas about how to produce or perhaps approach songs, I would say.

Andi: Of course. And as it’s Hannes’ real profession, I mean he can produce everything. It’s not that he’s just good in rock. I say he could produce even, I don’t know, cheesy pop songs or German blast music. He could produce everything because he’s really professional.

AH: Now I can believe that. Obviously the first thing that greets you when you get the album is the cover, which is a very nice lady.

Andi: She is, yes. But it’s not Anna. It’s not Anna Brunner, you know that.

AH: No, I didn’t think it was. And the question was more around the title though. Because Ecstasy obviously has two meanings. It’s got the drug piece but also the pleasure piece.

Andi: Yes.

AH: What is it for you guys? What does it relate to? Is it the pleasure thing?

Andi: Indeed it’s got two meanings and indeed, you know. We again kind of wanted to have something… have a title people can talk about.

AH: Leave it open.

Andi: Yes. Leave it open. We did this on every album. You know, we never would give any title to the album like some bands do. Don’t know, for example, Gallo album Breach. I mean, breach is a good word but not more than that. I mean you can put the meaning in it, of course. But you know, we always wanted to give it a hint or the special thing you can talk about. And yes, ecstasy it’s easy. Everybody knows it. And everybody thinks about it. But to put it in a nutshell, it’s not that we’re talking about the drug, so the substance, we talked about the feeling, which is in a way like a drug.

When you’re on ecstasy or when we are on stage, we are on ecstasy. And, if we manage to get the people high on this emotion on ecstasy, not on the substance.

We’re talking about the emotion. And the thing is, next year we’re going on Europe in Ecstasy tour. Not Europe on Ecstasy. That’s pretty much it.

AH: This going to make people look at the posters a little bit closer isn’t it?

Andi: Maybe.

AH: Yes. No, I like that. That’s good. Now of course this release as well find you’re Metal Blade. You previously AFM I believe, weren’t you?

Andi: Yes.

AH: Yes, because I met… and I can’t remember which of you it was. It was about four years ago. You did a promo day at the Hotel up in Russell Square for Megalomania with PR. That was when you were with AFM and of course now Metal Blade. Why? What made the switch? 

Andi: [sighs] First…

AH: Or what does Metal Blade offer you I suppose that makes it worthwhile?

Andi: First of all, I have to say that we were okay with AFM. They did a good job. And still we are friends. It’s not that we’re like enemies. It’s not that we argued or something and separated because of issues. It was our idea to change record company on the one hand because with the time, you become friends.

In the whole team. I mean, we’re as a band, we five guys, we’re the best friends you can imagine. But of course you have a team around you. A booking agency, record label, and even the people that tour with us. And you know, we are guys, we make everybody our friend because that’s how we are. We love people, we love being surrounded by nice people, and the AFM guys became part of our family, became friends. So this actually is a good thing. But we recognized that on their side there was maybe too much of the feeling they’re our friends, they’re our family. So we can make the priority to another band and they will understand because we’re friends.

AH: Yes. Or if you want somebody with a little bit of distance in the relationship in this thing and they look out for you and make you that priority.

Andi: So this is us on the one hand. We wanted to change part of the team to get distance in between. Hey, Amaranthe guys.

Andi: Elize and Johan. [walking past to their dressing rooms]

Elize: Oh, interview. Helloooooooo [into the mic]. Laughs and wanders off again.

Andi: And on the other hand, the decision was that we were good in Germany. But we want to push it forward when we’re talking about, Europe. Outside of Germany, Switzerland, and Austria, we want to get bigger and the whole Europe like in France and Spain and Italy, and at least we want to make it to the USA. This is why we decided to go to Metal Blade because they are an American label and we thought that they could help us. We will see.

AH: That makes sense. Yes, that makes perfect sense. You talking about doing well in Germany. Of course, every successive release since Addicted to Metal has done better and better in the German charts as well. With this latest one, was it number seven?

Andi: It was number seven. So we managed to get into the top ten. Very first time.

AH: You must be pretty pleased with that.

Andi: Yes. Indeed it was a dream.

AH: Hard work as well.

Andi: Hard work. We’re not like, I mean, as a band you can stand there and get asked what’s your dream. And you say to play in the biggest stages in the world. And we’re more like, we do have our aims… how can I say it. We do smaller, smaller aims, you know. One of those aims…

AH: Small steps at a time.

Andi: Small steps, yes. That’s pretty much it. So, one of those small steps was to make it into the top ten in Germany. So we got it. And next time we want to go to the top five. It’s becoming more difficult.

AH: It’s close though. Yes. Why more difficult? Because you look at each progressive release, everyone’s done five-ten places better at least.

Andi: Yes. I tell you why it’s getting more difficult. Because when you’re on position seventy, there’s so much space left to improve. But when you’re on position seven, indeed there’s only six better positions. And, the pressure is really, really high. Because if it’s worse next time, people will talk about it and they will ask, “Why is it worse than last time?” You know, we have been pressured to make it better. And to be honest, so many things that influence that whole chart entry.

AH: But of course. It is not just purchasing of an LP anymore. It’s streaming hits as well and things like that, isn’t it?

Andi: That’s pretty much it, yes. Some people don’t know that you don’t need to have seven thousand sold records to get position seven. And seven thousand five hundred to get position six. It’s like in a marathon. If you have a lot of people and there will be one best but it’s not the team needs to have a certain time if he runs in a marathon. It’s more he needs just to be the best in this week. And this is it with the charts. Did you get what I mean?

AH: Yes. Because those chart position are very much, this week it’s that one, next week it’s this one. And you don’t get ten weeks at number one any more.

Andi: Yes and that means if you have high concurrence, like, I mean if we would release in the same week as Judas Priest as, probably we will not get the position one.

AH: No. Because they’ve got the similar fan base that will buy either that one or that one this week. And maybe yours would have been better next week. Now, I can understand that.

Andi: But it really… it was a success for us and we were high on emotion.

AH: Yes. I’m not surprise. Now, congratulations.

Andi: Thank you.

AH: Last question – The live album Dynamite Nights, was always going to be released at some point because the fans pretty much demanded a live album from you.

Andi: Yes.

AH: But it took a while.

Andi: Yes, it took a while because we wanted to, you know, how can I say it. I mean indeed we are a live band. This is what people say pretty much and we hear that very often that live we’re even better than on CD, or something.

AH: You can never get the energy of a live show from a studio album. It’s a completely different experience, I think.

Andi: It is. Asking me, I’d rather be on the stage one hundred times. I prefer playing live on stage than sitting in the studio, in a very clean room. It’s not my cup of tea. And the idea was, we needed something… I mean we had our tenth anniversary, was that right? Yes, birthday. So ten years of Kissin’ Dynamite. And we decided that this is a good thing, I mean fame of bands nowadays. They change their members like other people change their underwear.

AH: Yes, very true.

Andi: And this is what we don’t like about this business because band is more than having musicians together playing music. To us, it’s a feeling. It’s a band of brothers. It’s, you know, one team. That knows each other really, really close and just every single one of us, we have survived things you could never imagine. And we have survived the things together. Great experience and… when we’re standing on stage playing rock ‘n roll, all these experiences, all these emotions, all these, you know, all that we had in our now eleven years comes into every note. It’s not just that I play guitar. I really have the opinion that people can feel that. That we are as a team together and it makes a band tighter when it comes to music.

AH: I fully agree. And if you look at the bands that have gone the distance, they’ve kept the members. Or the majority of the members at least, am I right?

Andi: I’m pretty much of the opinion that people can feel that– yes. When we had our tenth birthday, to us it was something really special because nowadays most of the bands don’t keep it ten years with the same line up, with the original line up. This is why we wanted to give something back to our fans and decided to do a live album because this was demanded pretty much.

AH: But it also proves what you can do live as well as a band. It’s that presentation of your real live show.

 

 

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