Sinbreed is celebrating their 10th anniversary with a new album, a new vocalist, a new guitarist and a new label. But despite all the changes, they are still a hundred prosent Sinbreed. PowerMetal.no wanted to hear from founder and guitarist Flo Laurin and drummer Frederik Ehmke how the last year has been.
This year has been a copious year for Sinbreed, with a new label, new band members and a new record. How will you describe the year?
Flo: Yes, I agree! But progress is way better than stagnation, right? This year was all about preparing and working on the new record. We had a week were we all were together in a studio environment to kick-start the songwriting process, and from there we worked on the songs to finally record them. It was a stressful year, but totally worth the effort!
Releasing a new record is always a positive thing, no questions there. But changing a record label and singer can in some cases be challenging. How was this in Sinbreed’s case?
Flo: After Herbie [Langhans] joined Avantasia it was clear that it would affect Sinbreed. But besides the time issues, it became clear that he was done with speed and power metal. He has done this before with Seventh Avenue and lately he wanted to make AOR and classic rock. So, it was clear that there were big gaps between him and the Sinbreed style. The most important thing is that we remain friends and decided to split in time not to ruin what we build up with Sinbreed.
Since the tour was already booked we were looking for a new singer, firstly for those shows. The collaboration with Nick [Holleman] turned out so well that we asked him to join the band. The fact that Nick’s voice is different to Herbie’s was the perfect fit. We would never have asked a guy with a smiliar voice. The first three records stands ase they are, now is the beginning of a different, yet very exciting, era.
So, despite all the changes regarding a new record company in Massacre Records and a new vocalist in Nick Holleman, I guess you are satisfied with how things turned out?
Flo: Since we already worked with Nick on our 2016 European tour supporting Serious Black, we knew each other quite well and we knew that the chemistry was there. So, from the live shows, to the songwriting and recording process to the final result, we have really grown together as a band. Also, we welcomed Manuel Seoane on lead guitar, which was also a new situation. So yes, a lot of things is going on at the Sinbreed camp, but I am very satisfied with the outcome. Both in regard the five of us as a band, but also with the new album.
Yes, the new album. Let’s talk about IV, your fourth studio album. Thanks to you I have now received the album for review, and all I can say is that the fans will not be disappointed (album review will follow)!
But in your words: what can we expect? Is it Sinbreed as we know it, or have you guys put some unknown spices in the pot?
Flo: It is a 100% pure Sinbreed record, with the addition of some new elements. We did not try to keep the same vibe on purpose – of course we were aware that having a new singer alone could be a thoug one for some people, but it all came together naturally. Both Nick and Manuel are Sinbreed fans and therefore they knew the Sinbreed style very well. So yes, the record again turned out pretty speedy, but hey!, this is what Sinbreed stands for.
And to name some new inputs; we worked with a down tuned guitar on two songs, added even some growls, and we included more silent parts, like the middle section in «Wasted Trust».
Frederik: To me the new album expresses a lot of happiness and positive energy in a very rich and powerful metal sound. The songs are straight and direct, the kind of power metal you would expect, and we don’t have a sort of ballad or slower song on it this time. We are really looking forward to play the new songs and play with the new line up. The 2016 tour was a lot of fun, now we want more!
How has the songwriting been for this album? As far as I know all the members in Sinbreed are involved in the songwriting. Is this the case with this album also?
Flo: Yes, that’s correct. From When World Collide , which I wrote completely on my own, to IV, every band member have contributed more and more to the songwriting. Besides the fact that we work on the songs together, each individual member is also bringing complete songs to the table. So, maybe the fact that the band members contribute complete and finished songs to an album also give some color to the records over the years. «Call To Arms» [Shadows, 2014] for example, is written by Alex [Schulz, bass], and has become a solid part of our live shows.
Frederik: It seems to have been established in Sinbreed that everybody contributes ideas and songs, which I totally like! To keep it simple we consider the person with the main input to be the composer of a song, even though there is usually interaction and improvements by the others. Everybody contributes in their expert domain. And personally I wrote two songs on this album, plus the additional input.
Is Sinbreed the place where you can bring your ideas and music to life, Frederik? Because, in Blind Guardian all the lyrics is written by Hansi Kürsch and most of the music is composed by André Olbrich and Kürsch.
Frederik: In a simplified way: yes! To me, as a longtime fan, the sound of Blind Guardian was created by André and Hansi. And also there I can bring my input, especially when it comes to drum arrangements. It’s just fun to write songs for Sinbreed and I’m sure you will agree: they don’t sound like Blind Guardian songs. So, I would rather call it additional variety, what a second band should be about. On top of all that, I play and write a lot of music, which is not metal. Just to also enjoy those different sounds as well.
Did did recruitment of the new members, Manuel and Nick, affect the songwriting in any way?
Flo: Manuel contributed with two complete songs for IV. He was already a Sinbreed fan and now he took the chance to write Sinbreed style songs, which turned out very well. Also, songs that Manuel and I co-wrote, like the first lyric-video «Pale-Hearted», were only possible because we both composed. Nick did all the lyrics on IV (expect for «First Under The Sun), which is also something new, because on the first records I did the lyrics together with a friend of mine, Thomas. So, new vibes by the new members, haha!
And I guess it helped that Nick was with you during the last tour, so you got the chance to know him both as a person and as a vocalist before entering the studio?
Flo: It surely helps. The experiences we had throughout that tour helped us to prepare the recordings and also we were getting along quite well – both as musicians and human beings. For example, «At Least I Am» was only possible with Nick’s voice.
But as you have mentioned it’s not only the vocalist that has changed in Sinbreed, with Manuel Seoane you also have a second guitarist for the first time since Marcus Siepen (Blind Guardian) left in 2015. What does that mean for a band like Sinbreed?
Flo: Sinbreed needs two guitars. I mean, each and every song is oriented and composed for two guitars. On When Worlds Collide  and Master Creator  I recorded both guitar lines on my own, because the songs need it. Obviously for the live situations, there is need of a second player, haha! With Manuel we found the perfect choice!
Did the leaving of Siepen affect Sinbreed regarding how he contributed musically?
Frederik: I would put it differently. Marcus joined for one album where he had his input for that one album. Every album is different because it is written during a limited time period. So, I would say that it made no big difference musically for the Master Creator album.
So, was the plan all along to recruit a new guitarist, or did you want to try to record an album with only one guitarist before deciding?
Frederik: For the studio mode it has never been a problem to have only one guitarist. However, it is more variety to have two. The problem of the second guitarist comes in when talking about live shows. And that was our approach: since the last live line up worked so well, we decided to record and album in the same way.
Let’s go back to the new album and the songwriting. How long have you been working on the album? Did everything og smood and as planned?
Flo: Yes, after three records with a lot of problems we finally got it done without a hassle, haha! We started like one year ago with a few days as a band together to kickstart it all, followed by a 6 month’s songwriting process, I think. The recordings went pretty smooth. You must not forget: all band members are totally professional and know that they are doing.
Fredrik: You might be surprised, but even though we were dealing with band members in Spain and Holland, the production was not that much different than before. Since we work on all the demos from our home studios and exchange ideas and files via internet, it doesn’t really matter whether we live next door or really far away.
I guess that the rest of the year will be spend promoting the album, but what about next year? Are there any plans for a tour?
Flo: Exactly! We are really looking forward to play the new songs and play with the new line up. That 2016 tour was a lot of fun, now we want more!
How do you combine being in two bands, Frederik? I guess you are quite occupied with Blind Guardian, especially in certain periods?
Frederik: It’s pretty clear that Blind Guardian have priority, but there are usually enough gaps in which other bands and projects of mine can take place. Since I can pre-produce and even record at home, the album productions are never a problem. A little trickier are the live shows, since I still haven’t learned how to be two places at the same time, haha!
Talking about Blind Guardian: at the moment the band is looking backwards and to the history of the band. What are the plans for the future? When will you start working on the next album?
Fredrik: As you said; curently we are working on past stuff, which is in our terms also the orchestral project. That material is even from before my time in the band, and it is my 13th year now! So, we are working parallelly on new material for a metal album, but that is not the priority, and it’s far too early to talk about a release date.
And finally: Sinbreed has been around for ten years – congratulations with the anniversary! How has those ten years been, and what do you feel about Sinbreed’s current state?
Flo: Thank you! Yes, it is turning a decade soon, crazy stuff! For me as the founder it has been fantastic! Playing with the drummer of one of my favorite bands, becoming close friends with Frederik and continue to play music; it’s all one crazy story! Also, what we have experienced together, like playing in USA and such, meeting such wonderful fans, it’s a lot of great memories.
We are very happy with the current situation and with the new label, so yes; we are looking forward to releasing a lot more albums!