Interview with guitarist and vocalist Charly Steinhauer
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: November 13, 2015
German technical thrashers Paradox hardly need an introduction. Starting out in 1986, Paradox has released six studio albums and each has received an overwhelming response from the worldwide Metal loving community.
The band's seventh studio album, Pangea, has been two years in the works and is close to being finished. The release date has yet to be announced but AFM Records should have it out in the spring of 2016.
Charly Steinhauer, the only member left from the original Paradox line-up, reveals some details about Pangea and also introduces the new guys in the Paradox line-up, tells about his health problems from a couple of years ago and much more in the following interview.
Are you ready for Pangea? I thought so...
Luxi: Hey Charly, feeling pumped up with a new Paradox album in the works?
Charly: Yes, absolutely! There is something special coming up. We have a new album called Pangea which will be released worldwide in the spring of 2016 on AFM Records. Most of it is all done, I just have to work out some final vocal tracks and a couple of improvements.
Luxi: Why has it taken so long to get this new album completed and do you believe that in a way this break has been good for Paradox?
Charly: A few days after Tales of the Weird was released I had to undergo open heart surgery. We were not able to promote this album which received overwhelming reviews. The rehabilitation process took about two years. In September 2014 I started writing new music. It has done some good in that I had the luxury of working without any pressure because nobody really expected that I would go on with Paradox.
It was a big challenge for me to get back to where I am now. AFM Records showed a lot of patience and the record deal was never at risk.
Luxi: Talking about the current Paradox line-up, as far as I know only guitarist Gus Drax has previously worked with Paradox but all the others are new to the band. Can you tell a bit about how you found them to complete the Paradox line-up?
Charly: Gus Drax did a great guitar solo on our last album, Tales of the Weird, for the song "Fragile Alliance". I have known him for a couple of years. Gus was my first choice to replace Christian Muenzner on the new album. He suggested Kostas Milonas for the drum position. They're band mates in Sunburst (Greek progressive Metal band).
Kostas is a great drummer who studied at the Berklee College of Music where bands like Dream Theater came from. I have worked with a lot of drummers in the past 30 years but Kostas is definitely the best I ever worked with.
Tilen Hudrap is our new bass player. He is also known as the bass player for Vicious Rumors. A few weeks ago he replaced Steve DiGiorgio in Testament for a big show in Canada (Heavy Mtl Festival). A great thing about Tilen is he loves Paradox.
He has enough time to play in both bands. Tilen is a special fellow. He is totally interested in everything that is going on with Paradox. Every band wishes they had a guy like him. He is a professional and a great character as well. He joined Paradox as a full permanent member which means a lot to me.
Luxi: What did each bring to Paradox as far as ideas about the new songs should sound?
Charly: Just like on all the other albums, I composed the songs myself with the exception of "Rage & Anger" which came from our lyricist Achim "Daxx" Hönerlein (ex-Vendetta) who is the first person to create a whole song for Paradox.
The way Gus, Tilen and Kostas play the songs is the biggest change in my opinion. They brought their own trademarks to my songs and that made them sound better.
They all did a great job. I'm totally satisfied and appreciate it a lot.
Luxi: Is Paradox the main priority for Gus, Kostas and Tilen? Will Paradox come before their other bands?
Charly: NO! This can't work. I won't tell them to keep their focus only on Paradox. They will have time for their other bands because Paradox is not a typical touring band and will never be.
In general, I have to mention that even if I wished for a stable line-up Paradox doesn't really need one as long as each record has the same singer and songwriter.
There have been a lot of line-up changes in Paradox in the past but who really cares? Nobody as long as the trademarks of Paradox's sound are there, you know. The music has the same quality. I collaborate with musicians as long as it works.
If I see the quality or communication suffering, I part ways. That's the only way to keep the legacy alive. It's simple. I don't risk my baby. Life is too short to give a shit about what people think or talk about.
Luxi: What would you say are the biggest musical differences between this forthcoming album, titled Pangea, and the previous album, Tales of the Weird?
Charly: The biggest difference will be the atmosphere of the songs. I've tried to put all the aggression and sadness that has happened to me in the past into these new songs. It helped me rehabilitate and get back as strong as ever. Illness was not the only problem I had. I also lost humans I trusted, who were supposed to be my best friends but cheated me.
With this album I had the opportunity to close some negative chapters in my life. I don't think about the past. I'm looking forward and enjoying each day as much as I possibly can. Right now I'm feeling great.
Luxi: Did you face any obstacles or setbacks in the studio while you were recording this album?
Charly: No. I had a lot of fun during the songwriting and recording because I had no time pressure or health problems.
Luxi: As you mentioned you had some health issues this summer. Did that prevent you from getting Paradox going earlier than you hoped?
Charly: The only health issues I have are arrhythmia but the doctors said they're harmless. I feel they are dangerous but it seems to be a psychological side effect.
In July I went back to the hospital to get an intra-cardiac catheter check but I received a good diagnosis. There was a moment I was afraid they would find something but I was lucky.
Luxi: What lessons did you take from the recording sessions for Tales of the Weird and apply to this forthcoming Paradox album?
Charly: Good question! I would say that nothing good from the recording sessions for Tales of the Weird was brought to Pangea. I think the opposite happened. We've tried not to make the same mistakes that we made on Tales of the Weird, especially with the drum production.
Luxi: How many songs will Pangea include and did you record any bonus songs for future use perhaps?
Charly: Pangea includes 10 songs plus one bonus track for Japan. The album will have the longest playing time in Paradox's history.
The album will have the following songs (NOTE! not in the same order as on the actual album); "Apophis", "The Raging Planet", "Ballot or Bullet", "Raptor", "Veil of Tears", "El Muerte", " Manhunt", "Cheat & Pretend", "Alien Godz", "Pangea", and "Rage & Anger".
Luxi: Are you aiming to shoot a video for one of the songs?
Charly: Yes, but right now I'm not really sure which song we will choose. It's not easy because there are a bunch of great songs. It also depends on the budget. In my opinion, one video is not going to be enough for this record but I won't promise things I'm not sure about right now.
Luxi: With the album title Pangea and the cover art can we assume Pangea is a concept album about the time in Earth's history when there was just one massive supercontinent on the face of the planet surrounded by water and how life was some 250-300 millions years ago?
Charly: The album title Pangea should symbolize "the beginning of the end" in different ways on how the planets' end could happen.
Natural disasters, wars, comets, epidemics or is the god in which humans believe an alien who controls us like were able to control computers that can destroy all with the push of a button?
Pangea is not really a concept album because some songs contain other topics as well but there is a kind of a central theme.
Luxi: What made you decide to write about Pangea? Can we assume you are a fan of the Discovery Channel and history and geography in general?
Charly: I had this idea a couple of years ago. I watched a documentary on TV about the beginning of our planet when there was just one massive supercontinent on the face of the Earth. It raised many questions in my mind about how it could all end. All good things come to an end, but in what way?
If you watch the daily news you can see how humans are heading towards (self) destruction each damn day.
Luxi: Do you believe there's life out there beyond Earth in one form or another maybe an even more advanced civilization?
Charly: It's beyond our grasp but I'm sure there is something. It is ridiculous to think we're the only species in the whole universe.
Luxi: What about the fate of humans? Are we doomed if we continue living the way are at the moment, exploiting and destroying the planet and killing each other for no reason?
Charly: Of course we are doomed! It will be a sad end for all of us. We all know what we are doing but we still keep doing all this senseless shit. The destruction of humans will be the logical consequence and the final result of our stupid actions. And yes, that's sad.
Luxi: Will Paradox have any festival appearances next summer or do you have a tour in the works?
Charly: Two years ago I was ready to stop all live activity with Paradox because of my health problems, but I am feeling good now and we will think about doing some select festival appearances in 2016. I would like to play on a 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise, for example.
Touring itself is boring and exhausting. It's for bands that need to make a living from their music. Money was never a reason for me to make music. I will never beg for money from the fans to pay for my production costs like some bands do with these weird crowdfunding campaigns just because they don't get a budget from their record label. If you get no budget, then you have no worth.
Seriously, the last thing I would do is beg for money from my loyal fans and offer ridiculous packages like a dinner with the band for 100 bucks. This is shameful and hypocritical to the fans who believe in you.
Luxi: Thank you for your time Charly and for answering my questions. I wish you all the best on every possible level in life. You are entitled to the closing words so if you have any...
Charly: First of all, I have to thank for your support!
Second, I can't wait to get Pangea out. It's my favorite Paradox album. I'm sure our fans will love the songs.
About this success thing; it is a great side effect but not a requirement for me anymore. Success to me means staying healthy.
|Other information about Paradox on this site|
|Review: Collision Course|
|Review: Collision Course|
|Review: Riot Squad|
|Review: Riot Squad|
|Review: Tales of the Weird|
|Interview with Charly Steinhauer (guitars and vocals) on October 13, 2009 (Interviewed by Daniel DGYDP Guerrero)|
|Interview with vocalist and guitarist Charly Steinhauer on October 25, 2014 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)|
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