Interview with Nic Maeder of GOTTHARD
When Swiss rockers Gotthard broke out onto the music in 1992 they took the rock world by storm. Founded in Lugano by Steve Lee and Leo Leoni. Gotthard’ s last ten albums have all reached number 1 on the Swiss album charts, making them one of the most successful Swiss acts ever. With 2 million albums sold, they managed to get multi-platinum awards in different parts of the world. The band takes its name from the Saint-Gotthard Massif.
Sadly, co-founder and singer, Steve Lee died in a motorcycle accident on October 5, 2010. On November 11, 2011, the band announced a new singer, Nic Maeder. In December 2012, Gotthard have concluded the ‘Firebirth Tour’, in support of their 10th studio album, ‘Firebirth’.
In 2014 Gotthard are thrilled to unleash their latest studio album ‘BANG!’, the bands 11th studio release (2nd with Nic Maeder) in North America via The End Records.
The band’s newest member and singer, Nic Maeder called in to share his thoughts on the new album and this is what He shared with us..
All Access magazine (AAM): Let’s talk about the new album. Where was ‘Bang!’ recorded?
NM: The album was recorded at Leo’s Yellow House Studios in Lugano . It was mixed at the Dutch Wisseloord Studios (Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner) by Ronald Prent (The Scorpions, Def Leppard, Within Temptation).
AAM: How many songs did you actually write for the album?
NM: We pretty much wrote sixteen songs for the album and ended up recording them all. Then we decided to which we’d used as bonus tracks.
AAM: Are you happy with overall response with ‘Bang!’?
NM: Really happy actually. With all the great reviews it’s been great and we really appreciate it.
AAM: How do you feel about getting signed with The End Records, an American label?
NM: We felt like, it is nice to finally put out a record in America! (laughs). Everyone in the band is very happy that we are signed to The End Records. We are very excited!
AAM: Does this mean a possible tour here in America?
NM: Not at this moment we’ve got some shows in Japan and most of Europe and some dates in South America.
AAM: Gotthard has such a large catalog on songs. What was it like performing with the band for the first time?
NM: The first time performing with band on stage was a little rough playing in front of a thousand people, but it was exciting at the same time! I really didn’t have to learn the band’s entire catalog. There were the classic Gotthard songs that fans expect to hear like, “Lift U Up” ,”Anytime, Anywhere” and more importantly ballads like, “One Life, One Soul” and “Heaven”, if we don’t perform those songs we’d be in trouble (laughs).
AAM: How long did it take to learn their earlier material?
NM: I actually learned the songs through the auditioning process. The actual process took eight months. I was living in Australia at the time and I went to Switzerland three times. Man, that’s a pretty long flight, about 26 hours (laughs). In that time frame, I already knew the band’s songs, so by the time I actually got the job, I had the songs down pat. We tried a few things like re-recording the songs to hear what they’d sound like with me singing them. Then we’d pick the songs that sounded best.
AAM: ‘Bang!’, is your second album with Gotthard. Are you more comfortable now than on ‘FIREBIRTH’? Have the Gotthard fans accepted you with open arms?
NM: The idea was to do the best that I could. Obviously, the first year with the band was difficult. Playing in front of thousands of people . I was happy that fans accepted the change. It could have gone either way. It’s the time of thing that you got going in your head you just got to do the best that you can and hope for the best really. Luckily we have great support from the fans. Gotthard is a band that physically meets and speaks with their fans.
AAM: The video for the song, “Bang!”, is great, who came up with the concept? Was this shot before Germany winning the Word Cup?
NM: We knew the world cup was coming up and we started thinking of ideas of how we could use soccer for the video. We threw around some ideas and came up with using the black and white footage of an old soccer match. Then wanted to incorporate ourselves into the video as multiple characters. From being soccer players, fans in the stands, a photographer to referees.
AAM: Looks like you guys had fun shooting that videos.
NM: Yeah, it was a fun shoot. You have to watch it a few times to see all the different characters. It was a blast making that video. And yes, it was shot before Germany won The Cup (laughs).
AAM: Gotthard has been known to do covers, did you guys consider covering any songs for ‘Bang!’?
NM: No, not for ‘Bang’, but you’re right Gotthard normally does cover one.of two songs. We didn’t even think about it.
AAM: Where’s their favorite places to play outside Switzerland ?
NM: Japan, South America and Russia was a really cool place. Touring is a great way to travel to meet different people and their local customs.
AAM: What do you like doing when you’re not recording?
NM: Well we really don’t get much time (laughs), but I’m actually getting my pilot’s license. I’ve always had friends in Switzerland and Australia that are pilots. I’ve just been dying to do it. Plus my Dad was a pilot , we’re talking small planes, I the pilot bug from him.
AAM: Wow! Once you get your pilot’s license, Gotthard won’t need a pilot to fly their tour plane, just like Bruce Dickinson is doing with Iron Maiden.
NM: (laughs) Yeah, that’s right!
AAM: What bands do you like listening to?
NM: Any young bands out right you like listening to?
NM: Yeah, there are The Rival Sons and a band that toured with us in Europe called, The Answer. They are a great bunch of guys and a great band. Also band called Airbourne from Australia. Electric Mary are another great band, who are good friends of mine.
AAM: What’s next for Gotthard?
NM: We haven’t started on anything new as of yet. We don’t yet if were going to keep touring ‘Bang!’. Then next year start writing again. But usually it’s every second year. For now we’ll be doing lots of shows.
For more information on Gotthard, please go to: gotthard.com/en
To get your copy of ‘Bang!’, please visit: itunes.apple.com/us/album/bang!-deluxe-edition/id891190967