Interviewed by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Myglobalmind: With the massive success of “Back on Track”did that make recording its followup a much more difficult task-if so, how did you and the band deal with the additional expectation?
Thomas: Not at all. For one simple reason: I started writing new songs right after the recordings for “Back On Track” and within a few months I had a bunch of cool new ideas. Everything felt so easy, I was highly motivated to write new music like I never was before. So there was actually no pressure at all.
Myglobalmind: After listening to the album many times there seems to be a different element to the characteristic Shakra sound-can you define exactly what that is,and how was that achieved?
Thomas: Uhh, it’s not easy to describe that. It’s always a matter of your personal perception. John and myself spent a day in Paris last December to do some interviews. One interviewer told me that our “Powerplay“ album sounds a little bit like Judas Priest in his opinion. And I said ok well, if you think so… another guy told me it sounds a lot like Edguy… and I go, ok well if you think that… and finally another one told me that “Dream Of Mankind“ sounds a bit like Pink Floyd… So what I want to say is, nobody was wrong. Everybody told me the truth. At least their own personal truth. And if you think that we added a different element to our music… then I say : OK, you’re right. But don’t expect that I’m able to explain it.
Myglobalmind: If you had to choose a quote(or a line) to describe what motivates you day to day what would it be?
Thomas: It’s better to be number 1 than number 2!
Myglobalmind: Who or what inspired you to become a guitarist -how and in what way?(was it a song or album that you may have heard as a child)?
Thomas: As a teenager I was a fan of The Sweet. Do you remember them? They had a whole bunch of great songs! „Action“ or „The Six Teens“, wow that was cool! My parents bought me an classical guitar when I was around 12. I didn’t know what to do with that instrument until I heard „ Love Is Like Oxygen“ from The Sweet. As far as I can remember that intro riff was the first thing I ever played on a guitar!
Myglobalmind: I have read that when you first started as a guitarist,you did some self-modifying to your guitars-Is guitar design an area of interest that interests you that you would like to further develop?
Thomas: No, absolutely not. I mean I was 15 or something back then and on our school everybody had to build something… someone build a birdcage and I decided to build a guitar. But it never worked well? I have absolutely no intention to become a guitar manufacturer.
Myglobalmind: What artist or hero would you personally like to interview,why and what question would you ask them?
Thomas: Oh my god, what a question… well, maybe Alex Lifeson of Rush. I would ask him how the hell it was possible to create such a fantastic album as “Power Windows“. Sometimes when I’m listening to it I really think this must be music from another galaxy…
Myglobalmind: Do you go back and listen to you your own musical back catalogue or do you prefer to look forward rather than backwards?
Thomas: No, generally I don’t want to look back that much. There’s a song on the new album called “Life Is Now”. As the title says it means live now, not in the past. Ok, when it comes to a new setlist for an upcoming tour we have to check our back catalogue. Just to see if there is a long forgotten song that would complete the setlist perfectly.
Myglobalmind: What are the best and worst albums that you have recorded?
Thomas: The latest album is always the best one! Have you ever met a musician who told you something else? So it’s definitely « Powerplay ». The worst? Man, I’m proud of every album we recorded so far, there is no bad album?
Myglobalmind: Over the last 20 years since Shakra first started what are both and worst changes in the music industry?
Thomas: We all know about the problem with the illegal downloads, because you‘ll find every song you want in the internet. For free. But it’s not possible to stop that shit. We just have to live with it. And the best thing was that we were selling even more copies with every new album. 🙂
Myglobalmind: What artists are you currently listening to?or do you still favour your personal heroes Rush,and Dream Theater?
Thomas: Yes, more than ever! And that’s finally the problem with these two bands. It’s hard for me sometimes to listen to other bands….
Myglobalmind: If the world was about to end what one song would you like to hear as final farewell-either by yourself or another artist?
Thomas: A song from Rush’s “Power Windows“. Maybe “Manhattan Project“.
Myglobalmind: What are the best and worst decisions that you have made since you became a musician?
Thomas: No doubt, the best decision was to integrate John as our new singer in 2009! And the worst… let me think about…maybe to choose this terrible cover for our first album…
Myglobalmind: Finally a fun few questions to determine a Rock n roll test
Myglobalmind: Have you ever smashed an instrument onstage?
Thomas: No, not onstage. But somewhere else. Visit www.shakra.ch for details!
Myglobalmind: Have you ever physically shed blood in the name of rock?
Thomas: Yes, building our stage set.
Myglobalmind: What’s the daftest thing that you have done while drunk?
Thomas: Jumping out a window. From the second floor. But I’m still alive.
Myglobalmind: What is the daftest-most extravagant thing that you have ever bought?
Thomas: A f***ing expensive suit for my wedding 🙂
Myglobalmind: Have you ever taken on-challenged an abusive audience member?
Thomas: Yes If someone spills beer over my footswitches then I really get upset…
Myglobalmind: What is the worst state you have left a hotel room in….
Thomas: Paid but not used 😉
Myglobalmind: Love the album its Fantastic-please get over to the UK ,Including N.Ireland on the next tour..
Thomas: Thank you very much! I hope we will play some shows in the UK! Cheers!
Myglobalmind: Thanks very much Thomas for taking time to answer my questions for Myglobalmind Webzine
Webzine Review for Shakra – Powerplay