A couple of days ago I had the chance to talk to Marc Lynn from Swiss hardrockers Gotthard. The band will release their new album on April 4th. Marc talked about the new album and the coming shows for this year. Enjoy reading and enjoy the new album (review soon on MHMB).
Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: Hello Marc, good to have you on the phone. Hope you’re doing fine.
Marc Lynn: Hi Markus. Yes, thanks. I’m fine.
MHMB: You have a new album out pretty soon. I can imagine that this feeling gives a good time. What have been the first reactions you got till now?
Marc: So far we just got good reaction. The new album sounds fresh and rocks. We often heard that “Nic has arrived”. “Bang!” combines the older Gotthard with the sound of the latest releases. Actually the sound and the production of the new album was mentioned often as being really good. Those are the first reaction we got so far.
MHMB: I fully agree. It really feels like Nic found his place in the band and that Gotthard is rocking as one unit.
Marc: Yes, right. Time is an important factor in here. We had two years time to get to know each other. Not only from a human perspective, but also from a musical point of view. On “Firebirth” we used a lot of ideas and experiences based on 20 years of songwriting. But now, after knowing each other’s strengths and weaknesses better, we got new possibilities which lead to a more open and flexible songwriting. It’s a pretty good mix at the moment.
MHMB: When I heard the album for the first time I was reminded to the Gotthard debut, since “Bang!” became also a hard rocking record. Was it a conscious decision to focus more on rock or did it just happen?
Marc: This was definitely what we wanted. I think, that “Firebirth” was harder when it comes to the sound, while “Bang!” is more rocking when it comes to the songs. With Gotthard it always goes a bit in all directions. Our aim is to not get boring. We want to surprise always with unexpected and new things. This is even more important for us, since we have a broad and diverse fan base. Gotthard is always positioned somewhere between pop, rock and heavy, without belonging to only one of those areas. So we decided to do what makes fun to us. In addition to that we had with Charlie Bauerfeind also a co-producer who is more in heavy metal. This added of course new elements to our sound. He challenged us esp. with the drums and bass. Thinking e.g. about myself I can say that I moved from the melodic way of bass playing more towards a grooving bass.
MHMB: I think one example for doing what makes fun to you guys is “C’est la vie”. A song with a French title and accordion sounds. Those are really new ways and it sounds cool.
Marc: I agree. If you’re trying something new you have to stand behind it and you have to do it with full power. And since we have with Leo, Nic and Freddy three guys who are good in French it was a natural thing. Furthermore the expression is a well known one. Everybody knows what it means. The decision for the accordion was based on the lyrics. Since the song got a French title we also wanted to transport a bit of the French feeling and the accordion supports that perfectly. “C’est la vie” also shows that our approach was ‘who dares wins’. We wanted to write special songs and those have been the ones which have been ready first. Next to “C’est la vie” it was also “Thank you” and “Bang!” which are different. The last mentioned one for the reason, that we haven’t had a shuffle in this speed so far. It is almost a bit of a ZZ Top style. With “Get down” we had already the boogie style, but never that fast as we have it now with “Bang!”. “Thank you” is special since it is a ten minutes epos and we said to ourselves “we never did that so far, but why not”. Another special tune is “Spread your wings” in which we combine blues, with rock and metal. And we have with “Maybe” a duet on the album with an unknown singer. For this album we didn’t think too much, we just used the freedom to do what we think is good.
MHMB: How have you guys done the songwriting this time?
Marc: Most of the tracks have been written by Leo, Freddy and Nic. They have been in the lead for writing the new songs. One song was also written by myself. It’s the bonus track “I want it all” and will be on the digi packs. In general I can say that everybody contributes to the songwriting, but Leo and Nic always had great ideas which we than continued to work further on. Nic was also quite busy this time since he did all the lyrics himself. All went really professional. And not only the songwriting, but also the cooperation with Charlie. We had lots of fun which we of course combined with serious work. It was great to work together with someone who knows what he does.
MHMB: How did you get into contact with Charlie?
Marc: Actually we had already a loose contact with him, since he mixed “Homegrown – Live in Lugano”. So we knew each other and after briefly talking about a further cooperation and checking a few options we had the feeling that it will work out very well.
MHMB: As we talked already earlier about there is with “Maybe” a duet on the album with Nic and Melody Tibbets. Since I never heard about her before the question is how that cooperation was established?
Marc: She is really unkown. Not even myself heard her name before. In the end it was a coincident. We were looking for new voices for the background vocals and Melody was recommended to us. And when she did the backing vocals for “Maybe” she started once too early or too late with her part. Funny enough this sounded really good. All of a sudden we had the thought to try a duet. Since Nic’s and her voices fits perfect together we decided to go for the duet and give a new talent a chance.
MHMB: With Zoetermeer, Antwerp and Zuerich there are three shows coming in April. Are those warm-up shows?
Marc: We have the release show for the new album in Zuerich in April. This gig is for sure extremely important for us. That’s why we have decided to play the two warm-up shows. Next to that we promised to play a show in Antwerp since we had to cancel the last one due to illness of Nic. And due to the fact that we are then already in the Benelux we decided to add Zoetermeer. We have been there a few years ago. It’s a cool venue and a great atmosphere. That’s why we have decided to play there again.
MHMB: Do you know already more about the setlist? I guess it will be a mix between old and new.
Marc: Absolutely. We have rehearsed seven new songs for the first shows and of course some from “Firebirth”. The rest will be old songs which are a must for each show. It will be a good mix between new old and very old Gotthard tunes.
MHMB: Talking about live shows. Gotthard doesn’t play the big festivals this year. It’s more the smaller ones which you’re playing in 2014. Is that correct?
Marc: That’s right. Two years ago we did all the big festivals. This year we play a few smaller festivals and shows during spring and summer. We also go to countries where Gotthard hasn’t been that often, like Bulgaria. After those shows the focus will be on the tour in autumn through Europe. Next year will be than much more touring. We consciously took that decision to play less shows in 2014 to break a bit the album–tour–album rhythm. The plan is to play some bigger international open airs and gigs outside of Europe like South America. Hopefully there is a chance to play at least some of those shows as headliner shows.
MHMB: Talking about small nice festivals. It was two years ago when Gotthard played the Moon & Stars festival in Locarno. This was almost a home match for the band. How was this experience?
Marc: That was actually a very big thing for us, since it was the very first show with Nic as singer. Playing this show as a home match made us really nervous and we didn’t know how the reaction would be, esp. since Steve was/is of course very well known in the Tessin. It was a big show in front of 10.000 people. Things just needed to work out well and everybody was focusing on Nic. After the first 2-3 songs we realized the really positive reactions we got and from that moment on it became a fantastic show.
MHMB: Marc, thanks for spending time for the interview and the open answers. I’m looking forward to see you guys in Zoetermeer.
Marc: Great. Thanks for having me and see you on the road.