SHAKRA // official interview 2018 // AFM Records

Buy the new Shakra Album "Snakes & Ladders" here!"

Hi guys! You’ve just released your new album “Snakes & Ladders”. Could you please reveal its main concept? How much is it connected with the Indian board game?

Mark: Snakes & Ladders is, like in the board game, the ongoing way of fate like in the real life. Sometimes it’s going up, sometimes it’s going down. And you never know. So it’s a pretty good metaphor for what everybody is going through all day.

What kind of special editions have you prepared for your fans? What about “the Snakes & Ladders game” included in the digipack edition?

Thomas: A CD-digipack and a vinyl version are released. That’s it. We don’t like all these different versions with a couple of bonus tracks or whatever. Every fan gets the same thing: 12 cool SHAKRA tracks! And the “Snakes & Ladders” game is included in both versions. Well, it’s a cool board game that every kid once has played. But of course it has the SHAKRA look, all album covers are used as special event fields in the game. Just check it out!

What about composing music & writing the lyrics – who is usually responsible for it in the band in general and who contributed the most to the songwriting of this album?

Thomas: This time I composed all 12 songs in my home studio. I work with drum machines there and I play all the other instruments. When I write new songs I always have a vocal line in my mind. It just happens like this, it’s a matter of intuition. Then we work at Mark’s studio to try out all these vocal lines. But we do not work with real lyrics at this point… well, he sings some English words, but it doesn’t make any sense. Usually it works perfect, because I know exactly what Marks strengths are. Mark always has great ideas for some backup vocals.

“Snakes & Ladders” is your 11th full-length album to date. Are you still interested in some experiments with sound, song structures, or do you prefer to follow more or less the same way, making your albums in your own style?

Thomas: I guess we created our very unique style over the past 20 years and I’m pretty sure that it would be a big mistake to leave that way too much. And to be honest, writing songs like the ones on “Snakes & Ladders” is the only thing I’m really able to do, haha!

How does it work with/for Mark nowadays after the break? The pause between “High Noon” and “Snakes & Ladders” has been not so long, so it seems that the chemistry is right nowadays.

Mark: Due to having many productive discussions, particularly between Thomas and me, we have a good mood in the band. We had a lot of fun making “High Noon“ and the following tour and this gave us the right swing to be ready so short time later with “Snakes & Ladders“. Things always go better if you feel comfortable. 

Could you tell us about the upcoming tour? I see that the main countries are your homeland and Germany. Where your positions are stronger?

Mark: Our strongest position is in Switzerland. But we also had good success in Germany and France as well on the last tour with sold out venues and we hope that we can extend this more and more.

What did change in your approach to the band’s work over the years with the new realities of digital sales, illegal downloads and stuff like that?

Mark: It didn’t change anything in the way we work on a new record, it’s more how you interact with the fans. Nowadays you reach your audience with Facebook, Youtube and stuff. This makes things going fast. Sometimes I think a little bit too fast because the flood of information is overwhelming. Just when you released a new record, people ask for the next one. Our big advantage is that our fans still want to have the real thing. We sell digital as well but it’s not to compare with modern music that often already doesn’t exist physically. We also started to make Vinyl since “High Noon“.

SHAKRA was one of the rare bands storming European hard rock scene in late 90’s. You gained some certain popularity along with Gotthard, though 90’s were not the best decade for hard rock, comparing to speed/power or some brutal metal genres. Why did SHAKRA follow that direction that time and how did you manage to get some local success at first?

Thomas: As I said before, this is and always has been what we wanted to do, exactly this style of Hard Rock. If I pick a guitar and play some riffs it just sounds like the songs on “Snakes & Ladders”. I can’t play any other stuff, I’ve never practiced scales or something. But I wrote songs all the time. So that’s the reason why we have released a new album every two years. And I guess this was also the reason for our success: We wrote some cool songs and we did it again and again. Endurance is the magic word.


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