Sticks For Stones conducted an interview with guitarist Marcus Siepen of German progressive power metal pioneers BLIND GUARDIAN. You can listen to the full interview below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On BLIND GUARDIAN's new "Live Beyond The Spheres" DVD/live album:
Marcus: "Obviously, we tried to capture what was happening on the previous tour. So the CD contains songs from more than just one show. We actually recorded pretty much every single show on the whole tour, but for the album, we focused on the first European block that we did. We're talking about 35-40 shows, I don't know. We had to put together the typical kind of BLIND GUARDIAN setlist as it happened on the road, covering, obviously, new songs from the previous studio album to the debut album and everything in between. A major aspect of a live album, any live release for us, is also capturing the audience because the audience is a vital part of any BLIND GUARDIAN show. It doesn't matter what we do onstage, the audience has to participate, do all the singing, cheering and everything, only this live show becomes special. We were lucky to capture some really, really great shows for the albums that we could put together a really good mix in our opinion. Everybody that has been to one of the gigs should definitely like the album. People that might not even be familiar with the band, that would also be a great way of just checking us out. As I said, it shows what BLIND GUARDIAN is about."
On the emotional connection BLIND GUARDIAN often has with its fans during live shows:
Marcus: "As I said, the crowd singing is part of every single BLIND GUARDIAN show. There are some songs that we could announce as instrumentals because the crowd could do the vocals anyway and Hansi [Kürsch, vocals] wouldn't have to do any singing. If we're talking about 'The Bard's Song [In The Forest]', for example, Hansi could leave the stage if he wanted to. [Laughs] It would be a perfectly fine recording of the song because everybody in the crowd would be singing. Also, we have them sing at the end of 'The Last Candle' and stuff like that, and also 'Valhalla' is the classic where everybody is always singing. So yeah, there are those goosebump moments on the CD. We have them every night on the tour. We are very happy to be blessed with awesome fans that love doing all of this. The reactions that you sometimes get from them, it's really intense. For example, whenever we play the song 'The Lord Of The Rings', there are people bursting into tears just because we announced the next song is going to be 'The Lord Of The Rings'. They start crying; it's such an emotional reaction. Standing there onstage seeing that, seeing how people are touched by yourself, that's pretty intense, I have to say. It's a very special moment in every single show whenever that happens. It's special."
On his favorite albums from BLIND GUARDIAN's back catalog:
Marcus: "I have to say it's difficult for me to limit it to individual ones, because that changes. It depends on my mood, but yes, there are some classics that stand out for whatever reason a bit more than others, so I would maybe start from the old ones, I have to name two of these, which would be the 'Imaginations From The Other Side' album and 'Somewhere Far Beyond'. I think there's so many memories tied to both periods in time in our career. With 'Somewhere Far Beyond', it was the first time we could tour in Japan and go to the other side of the planet and it was a major success there. That really took us to the next level. With 'Imaginations', it was the first album we did with [former METALLICA producer] Flemming Rasmussen in Sweet Silence Studios, and we spent like half a year or eight months in Copenhagen doing it and everything. Again, we learned so much in that production. Again, it was a very, very important album for the career of the band because again, it took us to the next level. Listening back to those albums, I can still listen to them from the first song to the last song and still enjoy them. There's nothing I would change about them. I think they are great the way they are. They perfectly represent what BLIND GUARDIAN has been about at that point in time."
On whether there are any cities he wouldn't want to play because of security risks:
Marcus: "No. I don't really. Saying 'I don't care' is wrong. Obviously, I care if people get killed or attacked just because they are at a concert, that is a major crime, it sucks, it's bad. Obviously, I do care about this, but I don't let fear take over my life. I'm good to go to London tomorrow and play a show there and I would go onstage without any fear and without any thoughts about somebody attacking us. Because, my attitude is, if something is supposed to happen, it will happen, whether I worry about it or not doesn't make any difference. I've been doing this for 30 years. We've played thousands of shows; I have no idea how many gigs we've played. Nothing has ever happened, nothing. If something is supposed to happen, it will and then it will suck, yes. Me worrying about it or me living my life in fear won't make anything better. I just don't fear such things. I don't think about them. I'm good to go on any stage anywhere on this planet, play a gig, and I'm good."
"Live Beyond The Spheres" will be released on July 7 as a 3-CD and 4-LP box via Nuclear Blast. The set will include material recorded at various shows during the band's European tour in 2015. It will contain old classics, new tracks as well as songs that were very rarely performed during BLIND GUARDIAN's live shows.