Freedom Call is a personal favorite, something that I can’t deny… but that doesn’t mean they’re not worthy for they had always been a very special heavy/power metal act… which has delivered great songs throughout the years. Their latest work, surprised me nicely… as except for the heavy/power metal hymns it contains… it is actually delivering some beautiful hard rock, melodic rock & rock & roll tunes as well. That’s why we named it The Best Album of February in Grande Rock! I couldn’t miss the chance to contact the mastermind/songwriter/vocalist/guitarist of the band, Chris Bay, in order to find out what caused that musical diversity in the album…
Hi Chris… Congrats on “Land Of The Crimson Dawn”... it was chosen as the Best Album of February on Grande-Rock.com!
C: Hi Thanos, thank you so much for your congratulations!
Well, Dan Zimmermann (drums) finally left the bad… I bet that was a bit of shock for you, since you had both formed Freedom Call. Why did he have to call it quits finally?
C: Dan’s schedule was growing and growing around 2007 and some shows and tour dates were colliding in between Freedom Call and Gamma Ray activities. So Dan decided, heavy-hearted, to work with Gamma Ray. On the one hand, I was disappointed about his decision, conversely we can prove, that Freedom Call never was a “project of Gamma Rays drummer”!!It was a slow process, from 2007 till 2010... so the band could prepare well for the change on the drums.
But Dan and me are best friends and we’re still spending good times together... so he didn’t leave the band in trouble!! I respect his decision and our friendship doesn’t suffer... but... never say never, then for the next future, Dan will be concentrated in other projects!
How has Dan’s departure affected the band? Was it for the best of both after all?
C: The main songwriting was from the beginning in my hand. We were disappointed about his quitting, but then again we can prove that Freedom Call was never an only side project of Dan Zimmermann!
I can’t help but spot that you did release the most varied album after Dan has left you. Did you feel you had more musical freedom than before?
C: Yes, definitely. I felt totally free in writing new material and I got lots of fantastic inspiration from my band. After touring a lot with the new line up and new drummer (Klaus Sperling), we developed as a good working team.
Can we say this is the second era of Freedom Call… musically or not?
C: I better would call it as a logical continuation. We didn’t change our style of music, we just verified the variety of our music.
How did the idea of adding rock & roll, hard rock & hair metal elements on your music come? Nonetheless, that will shock most of your fans… won’t it?
C: We don’t wanna feel limited in our kind of interpretation of music. Freedom Call’s source of inspiration is Rock n’ Roll music. So, we were feeling free to use elements of this genre of music. We’re already on the road to tour the new album. The best recognition is that the audience loves the new album with its variation of songs. (i.n.: that’s true… I personally like it a lot)
The video for “Hero On Video” has caused many arguments among your fans… some totally love it while some others rather hate it. I think it’s absolutely “strange but wonderful”… and it made me wanna listen to the album even more.
C: Freedom Call was always polarizing in the metal scene. In my opinion it’s the better way to be honest to yourself as trying to follow trends to catch the mainstream.
I like it when a band has humor and do not take things so seriously… There are so many serious things in our life to worry about, that music should help us smile and feel good. It’s like you have been influenced by Steel Panther’s perceptive... don’t you agree?
C: Freedom Call already existed a long time before… as “Metal Skool” was changing to Steel Panther... humor is one of the most importing things in life, there is no reason to hide it while performing music! (i.n.: first Metal Shop then metal Skooll… etc)
How risky is it to promote your new album with a video & a song (“Hero On Video”) that does not represent the overall music of the album? Many are quite afraid if this is your new musical direction.
C: Risky is to cross a main-street when traffic light turns red! “Hero on Video” is a very straight arranged rock song, with a very catchy chorus line and big choirs. So it fits perfectly into Freedom Calls repertoire. We love this song and also the people are going crazy when we’re performing “Hero on Video” on stage. (i.n.: it’s a very entertaining song indeed…)
Do you think your loyal fans will accept these new elements in your music?
C: Of course! We are proud to have a very open minded fan base!
Does Euro-power metal need several new elements in order to retain its flame alive and gain more audiences?
C: Yes, that’s exactly what we are practicing on our new album. Bands need their own personality, their own trademark. Even there could be hidden a risk to polarize... follow your own style of music.
OK, let’s also talk about the new album. Where is the “Land Of The Crimson Dawn” and how does the artwork capture the atmosphere of the music?
C: The motive in the front of the artwork is the Phoenix, which has landed to the Land of the Crimson Dawn... the Phoenix is the symbol of immortality, of new life. Freedom Call is a pure positive thinking band and I could see an alliance to the symbolic of the phoenix.
Why does the artwork on the limited edition have less graphics than the standard one?
C: Less graphic, because there are less colours?? It’s an additional cover artwork on the limited edition but you also can find the “full colored” artwork in the booklet.
You’ve also decided to release the new work as a 2LP set. Do you think that vinyl is back stronger than before? Do many people prefer a vinyl over CDs these days? Is this good eventually? On the other hand, I really can’t understand why some people are downloading an album, especially on MP3. (I mean the legal downloading)
C: The requests of Generations are different... in this variety of offers, everybody can find the right version for his collection.
I’ve written that “Land Of The Crimson Dawn” is the best work of Freedom Call since “Eternity” in my review… Do you agree with that?
C: Thank at first for this compliment! I don’t like to compare albums... it’s another step forward on Freedom Calls way to the land of light.
Can you give us a hint about each one of the songs…
C: “Age of the Phoenix”: The phoenix as a sign of hope and immortality is rising up to protect the Land of the Crimson Dawn, an illuminating part of the glorious land of light.
“Rockstars”: Describes the longing to be a rock star, while playing “Guitar hero” on a computer console. (i.n.: how many fans are fantasizing of that thing every minute huh!)
“Crimson Dawn”: Title song and opus. An army for freedom returns back to their homeland to disperse the evil forces.
“66 Warriors”: Are the elected soldiers of an army, which is marching across the barren lands to relieve the glorious land of suppression.
“Back into the Land of Light”: Typical Freedom Call song. A tribute to the song “Land of Light” of the album “Eternity” in 2002.
“Sun in the Dark”: Computer gamblers playing all night long, they do not care what’s right or what’s wrong, there is no justice, no rights... like in a digital twilight zone. The screens of the players are gleaming at night, like a “sun in the dark“…
“Hero on Video”: Funny and happy song about shooting games, who is the bad boy?
“Valley of Kingdom”: After the battle for salvation, the warriors are praying for the glorious land while they are passing the Valley of the Crimson dawn. They are longing for the promised land they are fighting for.
“Killer Gear”: Story about a young, but handicapped boy, sitting in a wheel chair. While playing war craft games on the computer, in his fantasy he can slip into a person who is able to run, jump and move...
“Rockin’ Radio”: A dedication to all radio stations, which are keeping up the flame of Rock ‘n Roll…
“Terra Liberty”: Written inspired by fantasy about the leading light as a sign of hope and faith. If you believe in yourself you'll reach the light, the Terra liberty.
“Eternity”: In doubt that life isn’t worth to live, in times you’re not sure it’s worth to exist... think big and fly over your small real life, like an eagle and learn to feel the essence of life…
“Space Legends”: Play, play, play and beat your partner... feel like a player in a computer game... never surrender, don’t cry.
“Power & Glory”: Metal hymn, which describes the life on tour... highest fun factor!
Whose idea was it to feature old songs of yours covered by other bands in the limited digipack edition of the album as a bonus CD?
C: In the last two years we met many musicians and bands, whom we made friends with. We spent great times with these friends, so I just asked them to “tribute” a Freedom Call song on our album. I’m really impressed about their great work, full of energy and individual inspiration! In my opinion is that CD a fantastic bonus material, that makes the Ltd. edition as a REAL special Edition!! (i.n.: the covers are actually very good)
Who is responsible for the recordings, the mixing, the production and the mastering of the album? The final result is cracking, in my opinion.
C: We recorded “Land of the Crimson Dawn” in a different kind as the previous albums. We could find a new innovation and motivation in person of a co-producer. His name is Stephan Ernst and he could spot the right energy and performance of the musicians. In my opinion the new album sounds more live orientated, the guitars are more in the front of sound and the songwriting is in no uncertain terms. The keyboards are field sparingly but emphasize the right expression of the songs.
Are you planning to release any other videos and if yes for which songs?
C: There are no further video clips planned, but you can find tons of different versions and clip from concerts on youtube. Making a video clip costs a lot of money, I prefer to invest the money for touring, that Freedom Call can come personally to their fans. (i.n.: nevertheless I would fancy a video for “Eternity” )
When will you start touring for the new album? Will you appear at any Summer Festivals as well?
C: The tour “Journey to the Crimson Dawn” already started. We played several shows in Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland and Spain. The tour will last the entire year 2012 and we try to visit as many countries as possible.
How do you see Freedom Call’s future from now on? And what are your expectations from the new album?
C: We always try to do our best. In songwriting, in producing or in performing on stage... so, we’re looking very optimistic in the future.
What’s your opinion of people downloading free music from the Internet? What shall an artist do in order to avoid losing money and time?
C: Illegal downloading is like stealing in a shop! If musicians won’t get paid for their performance, there will be no professional music existing anymore...
Imagine that your wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
C: It depends on how much the ring is!!
That’s all for now Chris… Thank you very much... Please leave a note to Grande Rock readers… Take care!
C: I wanna say a big thanx to all Greek metal heads for supporting Freedom Call! We hope you’ll enjoy the listening of our new album “Land of the Crimson Dawn”. Maybe it will “kidnap” you in a different world of fantasy and illusion which brings you inspiration for life!!
I thank you very much for the interesting questions and your support!! It was fun to answer.