A Twelve-Year Overnight Success
An Interview With Tobias Sammet of Edguy
As with so many other bands, in the beginning, the dream of a successful future seems bleak as record company rejection letters pour in. And how many times have band members hoped or prayed for just one company to take a chance on them?
Well, for the German metal band Edguy, that wish came true. And just as one might hope, that one chance made all the difference in the world.
After having satisfied their contract with AFM records, suddenly everyone was interested in Edguy.
"Actually, it's pretty funny because when we finished the deal with AFM a lot of offers came on our desk from so many different companies," says Edguy vocalist Tobias Sammet in an in-depth interview with Sass. "And of course the first thing you do is [think], hey, you're contacting me now—I've got another letter from you at home six years ago. I'm going to read what you'd written, like, ‘Oh well, I'm so sorry.' And it's like, okay, but why didn't you trust in me last time, this is the band in six or seven years—nobody was interested in that."
"I think Nuclear Blast—they were the only company interested for a long time. In the beginning before we signed the deal with AFM, they were not interested at all, but after the first album they started asking, ‘What is the deal with AFM?' and ‘When are you finished [with your recording contract]?' And they asked all the time for like six of seven years."
During those years, Edguy released five studio albums, a double live album, and two solo projects under the name Avantasia, all on AFM. But once the record deal with AFM was up, it was time to move on to bigger and better things.
"We just tried to figure out which [company] would be the best partner. Not only financial-wise, because it's not only a financial thing. There are a lot of big companies here in Germany and they had very good offers as well, but I think we searched for the partner with the same aim like we have."
"We finished the contract after the live album and then we just compared the different offers and the different visions of the different record companies. AFM was one of the last companies we talked with, but in the end it was Nuclear Blast. They've got a really good distribution worldwide and things like that," explains Sammet, "And of course they've got much more power than AFM. AFM is a great company, we've been very happy with them in the past, but somehow the capacity was at certain levels, so we went with Nuclear Blast—which was, in my opinion, a very good decision."
A decision that aspires to take Edguy to the next level, and prove to the world that they're not exactly the overnight sensation that some people seem to think. With eight previous albums under their belt they're already on their way to being seasoned veterans.
"The band's existed for 12 years now. Yeah, sometimes it's a little bit weird if people don't know about us but you can't blame them for it. That's the funny thing because most of the people who are not real into metal and that don't read the magazines and that stuff, they don't know about most of the new bands. They know about AC/DC and Iron Maiden and that's it. Metallica, okay yeah, and Manowar maybe, but that's it. Especially people that are maybe a little bit older and who like the music but are not that much into that kind of stuff, that's the case in Germany. But it's not on TV anymore so they don't know what's going on."
After the mid-March release of their full-length debut with Nuclear Blast, ‘Hellfire Club' is already zooming up the record charts in Germany, Finland, Austria, Switzerland, and Sweden. For those metal fans that haven't heard of Edguy just yet, that won't be the case for much longer.
About one month before the release of ‘Hellfire Club,'Edguy also put out a five-song EP called ‘King of Fools.' The title-cut of which being the only song to appear on both the EP and the full-length album.
When asked why Edguy released an EP at basically the same time as the album, Sammet explains: "We had a lot of good songs this time that wouldn't have fit on the album. And record companies usually want a single before, an appetizer for the album. So we said, ok, we have enough material to do a real EP with four non-album tracks and one track that is on the album. And the good thing is that we can sell it here in Germany for a single price. The prices for singles are much cheaper than for EPs."
"We are all fans, and we always try to see point of view of the fans. That's how it should be. Most of the bands don't do [that]. If you read interviews with some bands they justify the prices like they don't have any influence on the ticket price—which is crap. You never know the costs of the whole tour so you really can't exactly calculate what it's going to be. So we said, okay, let's do it for 20-euros, which is actually pretty cool, I guess, because usually it's a little more expensive. But the sad thing is, because of the Euro, everything is getting so expensive here in Europe. It's horrible."
With a pretty full year planned in support of their new release, touring throughout Europe and Japan, and then heading over to the United States for the ProgPower V concert event, Edguy was already adapting to a rather hectic pace even before the tour began.
"We were in France a couple of weeks ago and there we did some acoustic sessions. It was the first time we did a thing like that so it was pretty cool."
"We do the rehearsing in between because there are so many things to do. We started a couple months ago. Because we have to do some promotion and video shooting, so it would be stupid to wait until two weeks before the tour. I don't know how [other bands] do it. This time it's pretty different because the release is so close to the beginning of the tour. Usually we rehearse a lot—all the time."
For the German shows, these hometown heroes are planning massive stage performances.
"The stage production is going to be bigger than last time. Got a few statues on stage—big ones. In Germany, we will do a full production with own PA and lights and stuff like that. Pyros—everything. In Germany, it's going to be the biggest shows anyway. Germany has a pretty big market for heavy metal and for us it's our strongest market at the moment."
Edguy fans can also look forward to the new video in the works.
"We are thinking of doing another one before the tour starts. Pretty short time, but I'm quite sure that we'll do one for "Lavatory Love Machine". Usually, I would say [shooting videos is] not really my thing, but for "Lavatory Love Machine" I think it's going to be pretty funny. We've got a lot of stupid ideas in mind, and if they happen then it will be fun. I'm pretty sure it's going to be a fun time to record the video. It has to fit the song somehow."
So what's the name mean?
Sammet laughs, "Pretty sad story. We thought about the name twelve years ago and we wanted a name that nobody had, and then we thought, ‘Oh, what about Warguy?' Even worse than Edguy," he chuckles some more. "But we had this teacher in mathematics, Edgar was his name, so Edguy… yeah, that's it."
"I liked [the math teacher] because actually he was a pretty funny person. A little bit weird and crazy but he was so funny in his behaving and acting. After a certain time we thought maybe we should change the name because somehow it sounds stupid, especially in Germany, when somebody's asking you what's your band called and you said Edguy, the first thing they say is that name—Edgar—spelled different. They're not familiar with American language or American spelling. Always the same story, so we said maybe we should chose another name but it was too late. But I think it's okay now, people got used to it."
Regardless of what they call themselves, the future is bright for Edguy.
"Traveling all over the world, playing in front of a lot of people and having fun all the time. [It's] what I've always wanted to do."