Hansi Kürsch (BLIND GUARDIAN) on Rock Overdose: “We have finished a few tunes for the next regular Blind Guardian album”

Blind Guardian is a very unique band. They have songs-hymns, the have an amazing career in metal, they are very openminded and innovative and one of the favorite bands of the Greek fans. So, we are very honored to present you the interview that their singer, Hansi Kursch, gave to Rock Overdose and to Konstantinos Sotirelis. He talked about the band’s orchestral album, about their upcoming album, which is currently prepared and many more. Enjoy!



Rock Overdose: What’s going on the band’s side these days?


Hansi Kursch: Things are going extremely well here. We are just doing last preparations before we leave for the Chania Rock Festival. We are all very excited and in extremely good mood. Other than that, we are trying to be as productive as possible. We have started composing new songs, doing first production activities for our next two studio projects, and besides we are enjoying being with our families.


Rock Overdose: You ‘re coming in Greece, in Chania Rock Festival. How do you feel about visiting our country once again?


Hansi Kursch: We feel very privileged. Every Greece experience is a little bit different, but at the very end it is always like visiting very close friend, which you know for a very long time, but whom you catch up to seldom. Crete for the first time, that is a big thing for us. I know that we have a lot of Greek fans who love to see us, so I am sure it is going to be a night to remember.



Rock Overdose: Why do you think that the Greek fans love Blind Guardian so much and what should we expect to see on your show here?


Hansi Kursch: Good taste, of course. Honestly, I believe that Greek people are very passionate and therefore they seem to have a good feeling about what and who is really passionate. Our passion to a good part goes into our music and our live shows and this is something Greek people can easily relate to and appreciate. There might be some more reasons, I am pretty sure, but at the very end it all goes back to the spirit of passion.

What to expect? A great show, where our audience one more time is going to play a very essential role in. We, of course, will play the whole „Imaginations …“ album and that will, to a good amount, define this great evening. Nothing more to say.


Rock Overdose: A few months ago, you had a tour with Grave Digger in which you played the whole "Imaginations From The Other Side" album. Why did you decide to play this album and how did this idea come up?


Hansi Kursch: Good question. Maybe because it was about the right time to do so. We all felt we were done with the „Beyond the Red Mirror“ tour and we needed something different. Since „Imaginations…“  is related to „Beyond …“, that was a quite logic combination. It was André and Marcus coming up with the idea, Frederik immediately jumped on that train, and I was too drunk to withstand, so I gave in too quickly. All in all I must say it is a very enjoyable experience. And likewise, people enjoy it, too. When played in a row it really brings back great memories every time, and it becomes more obvious, that there also was a hidden concept when we did the album. The songs and topics are stronger connected than I even had in mind.


Rock Overdose: Is there any possibility to tour once again playing the whole “Imaginations…” or any other album?


Hansi Kursch: I would be surprised if we did „Imaginations …“ as a whole performance, again, after our shows in 2017. This is a once in your lifetime chance and will not come back after our final show this year in the end of August. But who knows what the future brings exactly? Yet, I dare to say, that I really do not see another retro „Imaginations …“ tour in any possible BG future.



Rock Overdose: What about the feedback from the fans when you played this album?

Hansi Kursch: The feedback is always great. But this is also the case when we play a regular show. With „Imaginations…“ we have made a lot of people happy, I could see that, when we were performing the album. There definitely was a strong feedback coming from people who told us how much they love this album. Nothing wrong with that.


Rock Overdose: You have stated that you will release an orchestral album in 2019. Is it true? What should we expect?


Hansi Kursch: Right now, I still say, it is true. The schedule has changed so many times, that I still feel afraid, plans could be rearranged, again. Though I do not believe they will be changed, since I have started singing already and finished the first two song, a few days ago.

And I will continue singing very soon. For some fans, in particular those who like the orchestral approach in Blind Guardian, I am quite convinced that it is going to be the most mind-blowing musical experience they may face in their lives as listeners. The same might be the case for the ones, who love the story telling aspects of „NiME“. For the ones, who are only in love with our „let your hair down“ stuff, this might become a challenge. But who knows? So, or so here is a good News for those: we have finished a few tunes for the next regular Blind Guardian album, and there is one song called „The Architects of Doom“ which is very fast, very heavy and very surprising. The pure Metal heart will be pleased about that song. This tune hopefully will come to your ears in 2020.

Back to the orchestral stuff: It is very catchy, melody wise typical Blind Guardian music, without the band performing. All songs on this album are in my Top 20 of all time favorite Blind Guardian songs. Yet, „Grand Parade“, or „At the Edge of Time“ give you a musical idea in which direction these songs might go. But even this is misleading. The classical approach goes from pure soundtrack tunes over to barock to very weird oriental pieces which all carry a clear Blind Guardian handwriting. Whether you like it or not, you will not fail in immediately recognizing that this is Blind Guardian related. I also believe, that even the ones who cannot get into it will credit its extraordinary quality and appreciate our attempt to create something completely new.



Rock Overdose: Is it true that some of the songs from the new orchestral album are almost ready since the “Nightfall” era?


Hansi Kursch: That is correct. They were written around the time, when we did „Time Stands Still“ and „Into the Storm“. I believe we were working on two songs, which finally had such a strong impact, that we decided to make that our biggest project up to now. At points I was hoping, we could use these songs for the „LotR“ soundtrack, when this was filmed. It never came to happen, but some pieces would have fitted in perfectly well. Still.


Rock Overdose:  Why did it take you so long to prepare this album?


Hansi Kursch: First of all the songwriting is even more complicated than it is for a regular Blind Guardian song. Then we were held back by our regular routines. But most of all it took us more than 10 years to find the right people to work with. This album cannot be compared to any orchestral project ever recorded in the history of Rock music. Not every step we have made during these 20 years was necessarily a step into the right direction. Once we recognized things were not going into the intended direction, we stopped and had to make a step back, before we were able to move forwards. Yet, for the last ten years, everything is set up properly and we are making great progress ever since. So for ten years it was learn it by doing, and for ten years now it is more a question about how we can actually come to a happy end.



Rock Overdose:  What’s the procedure of making an orchestral album and what are the differences?


Hansi Kursch: It starts with having an idea, which has to be significantly different in comparison to a regular Blind Guardian idea. Once such an idea has been invented, we will have to define it in the best possible way. After that process, we usually have a very decent and quite detailed song arrangement. After that we have to consider how many options we have with an orchestra. Composed on a keyboard there is an endless amount of options, which cannot be realized by an orchestra due to instrument limitations. We therefore have to rearrange stuff on the computer, so that a particular part fits into the range of the required instrument, or another instrument playing in this range has to be brought in, instead. Once we have settled this problem, we will have to discuss the score with the person in charge on the orchestra’s side. This person will determine whether we have to rearrange, again, or if the score we have, could be ready for the orchestra recording. If. Usually the game goes on like this forever.


Rock Overdose: Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe that in "Beyond The Red Mirror" album there are quite a few orchestral elements. So, what differences will we see on the new album and what should we expect to hear?


 Hansi Kursch: That is quite easy to answer: There will be no metal band playing with the orchestra and the songwriting is even more progressive and at points far more catchy. The musical approach is totally narrative and I am sure it will create a lot of images within the listener. Each song delivers a completely different mood going from a very uplifting heaven to the most devastating hell. It will reveal a whole new musical Blind Guardian universe. To make a long very story short, it sounds like Blind Guardian is going soundtrack. Expect nothing but the best.



Rock Overdose: You have also mentioned that you ‘re going to release a new live album the next year. Can you give us a few details about it?


Hansi Kursch: That is a misunderstanding caused by an interview I gave a while ago where I mixed up dates and mentioned that the live album will be released in 2018. Not correct: The live album is going to be released on July 7, 2017! It is a very nice live output with songs from our 2015 Beyond the Red Tour through Europe. It catches some of the greatest moment of this tour. And even though we have taken songs from various shows, we were able to make this album sound like one complete regular live show taken at one place. The title of the album is „Live Beyond the Spheres“ and there will be songs from each era of the band`s career on this 3-CD-Output. A treasure release for our fans.


Rock Overdose: Well, thank you very much for this interview, it was a great honor for me. The last words are yours.


Hansi Kursch: It was a pleasure to talk to you. Don’t miss this chance to see us playing in Chania. It is going to take a while until we will come back to beautiful Greece after that. I can promise that you will love the next two Blind Guardian albums. So, it will be worth the waiting. We love you all. Until next time.



For Rock Overdose,

Konstantinos Sotirelis