Interview with Stefan Kauffman
Hello. How are you ? How are things in the Witchbound’s camp at the moment ?
Hi. Thanks, we’re doing fine. Last weekend WITCHBOUND hat a great show at Rock am Härtsfeldsee with bands like Hammerfall, Lordi, Stratovarius und more. It was the second show for our new singer Natalie Pereira Dos santos and she did her job very well. The resonance was great and we got a lot of new fans there. The last 6 months were not easy, because we hat to find a new singer. Now we’re a happy that we can start off with Natalie and work on our new album.
Okay this is our first interview. So let us speak a bit about the band’s past. Who and when had the idea to form this band ?
The Idea for the band came from Harald Spengler aka Lee Tarot , Stormwitch founding member and bandleader until 1989. In 2006 he told us his idea of new album with Ronny Gleisberg, Peter Langer an me the old Stormwitch-Style. So we met, jammed and wrote about 10 songs together. At this time we had no singer and Harald proposed some persons like his friend Thorsten Lichtner, who actually later did the vocals on the first Witchbound-album. Due to different reasons the recordings were delayed more and more. On reason was that Harald’s recording studio hat to be moved to another place, also he had some problems with his health. As everything was prepared and ready to start the project, Harald tragically passed away on 11. April 2013 after a heartstroke. In the same year we organized a tribute-concert for him and decided to finish his project. Vocalist Thorsten Lichtner gathered the band, we finished and arranged the songs and wrote some new tracks for the album. The recordings were done in 2014 and the album was released on first of May 2015 ( exactly at midnight of Walpurgis Night ).
Your last album is entitled “Tarot’s Legacy”, can you introduce this record in few words? Is there a link between the title and the style you would play it ?
Haralds’s idea for the album-title was “ Dark Ages ”, cause the lyrics mainly deal with medieval themes, like witches, knights, superstition, crusades, prophecies and so on. After Harald’s death we thought that this is his musical heritage, so we called it “ Tarot’s Legacy ”.
Who has created the cover artwork ? Was a proposition of your label El Puerto Records ?
There were some graphic designs but we had problems to decide which one to take. When we made the video for “Dance into the fire” we had Vanessa Katakalos posing for us as a witch. We also did some photo-shootings there and had the idea to take a pic of her for the cover. Vanessa is also a singer and sometimes she joins the stage with us for background vocals.
I wonder if you listen to your new release “Tarot’s Legacy‘’ immediately after you finish it or do you give it some time before listening to it ?
Oh, I listened to it very very often, because this album has a long and very special story. And I was very happy and proud to release it at last. I also still love all songs on it.
So far, what kind of reviews does your last album ” Tarot’s Lagecy ” receive ? What is the best comment you have received ?
We had some very good reviews in Germany and all over the world. A good and true comment was of Markus Wosgien (Nuclear Blast) in the magazine “Rock IT”. He called it “ A fateful work full of passion and pure magic ” .
Is there anything that you would like to do differently, now that your album is finished ?
There is always something, which you could change afterwards. But in my opinion the album is well done and I’m very satisfied with it.
I know that imagination is a vast field, but realism always comes to put a limit to it. Did you make any compromises in the creation of your new album ? If yes, can you explain to us what kind of compromises you’ve made ?
Our guitar-player and producer Martin Winkler was also responsible for the recordings. He worked hard on everything, put special sounds, voices and instruments on it. So we could mostly realize our musical ideas. Of course if you have of al lot of money maybe you can use better studios and take more time. But I think our album can compete with other great international productions.
How would you describe your band sound and which elements in your music do you thing make you stand out ?
I would call it old-school melodic Power Metal. You can hear influences of the 80’s and similarities to the old Stormwitch-records. After all, Harald and I wrote the songs of the first 5 Stormwitch albums. As our fans tell us, the Witchbound-songs have strong hooks, good arrangements and outstanding melodies. Maybe nothing for Death-Metal fans .
Are you a band that works based on a plan or do you confront things as they come day by day ?
Of course we plan our rehearsals and recordings. The writing of the songs is a different story. For Tarot’s Legacy Harald and I wrote most of the songs together and Martin Winkler contributed an own song and intros. For the next album, we’re already working on, the ideas come mostly from Martin and me and we usually make a demo which is presented to the rest of the band. Then we decide if the song fits in or not.
You were one of the best members of legendary Stormwitch, I wonder why you left ?
At the end of the 80’s we had some personal changes within the band. We still wrote new songs and played big shows in Hungary, Czech Rebublic and Bulgaria. But we couldn’t manage to record a new album. In 1992 Wolfgang Schludi left the band, who had replaced Harald Spengler on guitar in 1989. At this point I decided to leave the band too, because I saw no more future in it. It was also difficult in this time for classical Heavy-Metal-bands with strong new musical influences coming up and Grunge-Bands like Nirvana.
Which Metal albums do you listen to these days the mostn? Are there any new releases that you would like to recommend to us ?
I listen to different kinds of music, not only Heavy Metal. At the moment I prefer bands like Amorphis, Moonspell, Battle Beast and also folk- and medieval-Metalbands like In Extremo, Saltatio Mortis, ASP and Eluveitie. I still love to hear classic Metalbands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept, Saxon etc. Sometimes I hear classical music as well and I still love the Beatles. Their music had the greatest influence on me playing the guitar.
Thanks for your time answering my questions. Please put your own epilogue to this interview….
Hi folks. Witchbound is ready for the second chapter ! Stay tuned for our new album which will be released in spring of 2018 an keep the pyre burning !
Interviewer : Med Manef Slama