What rhymes with potpourri
GOTTHARD - What rhymes with Monroe?
21 years after their first unplugged record “D-Frosted”, GOTTHARD bring the quasi-successor “Defrosted 2” to the stores shortly before Christmas. Reason enough to meet singer Nic Maeder and guitarist Leo Leoni in Cologne and talk to them about wine, beer and singing.
Leo, Nic, you have now released “Defrosted 2”, your second acoustic panel. When did you get the idea to do a successor to "D-Frosted"?
Leo: »There were first considerations for this as early as 2005, the plans became more concrete in 2010, but when Steve (Lee, former singer, died in a motorcycle accident in the USA in 2010, mbl) did not return from vacation, we put the plans on hold . After three albums with Nic, we now felt that it was time to take up the idea again. «
What criteria did you use to choose the songs on the record?
Leo: »We wanted to put together a potpourri of songs from our entire career. It was supposed to be a kind of best of, but we also selected a few numbers that we haven't played live that often. "
I was surprised that you also re-recorded some songs that were already on “D-Frosted”.
Nic: »That's because we didn't originally plan to make a double album, but rather a compilation of songs that were not yet available as an acoustic version. In the course of the process, however, it turned out that it makes a lot more sense to release the entire show. The songs on the record were our setlist on the tour, and they are numbers that the fans want to hear. "
You recorded all the gigs on the “Defrosted” tour earlier this year for the album. Can you hear different concerts on the record?
Leo: »Even if we had considered it first, we decided against it and took a single concert. The concert at the Schlachthof in Bremen was one of the smallest gigs on the tour, but it had the right magic. «
Nic: “Maybe that's why everything worked so well. It was a very relaxed concert in a small setting. Many people ask us why we didn't use the recordings from Munich or Zurich. Those were great concerts too, but this one just went the best with the vibe we wanted to give the record. "
Of course, an unplugged disc like this also means that you rearrange the songs. How did you approach that? Some titles, such as 'Miss Me', are quite close to the original recording, some others you have changed quite a bit.
Nic: »'Miss Me' is, I think, actually the track that is most similar to the original. In general, we didn't just want to use acoustic guitars instead of electric guitars, we wanted to open up a different perspective on the tracks. 'Beautiful', for example, went from a rock song to an almost jazzy ballad. With this line-up, of course, we also have completely different options, which is why we worked a lot with vocal harmonies, strings and also the percussions. "
Leo: »This also gave us the opportunity to emphasize other aspects of the songs. 'Heaven', for example, has been arranged in a much more reduced way to give the lyrics more space, or with 'Tequila Symphony No. 5 'we played with some quotes from Beethoven. "
In addition to the concert recording, you also have two new pieces on the record, one of which is 'Bye Bye Caroline' with Francis Rossi from Status Quo.
Nic: "Exactly. We spent a good month traveling together on the Rock meets Classic tour and jammed there. Leo then took heart and told him that we should do a song together (laughs). Francis was a bit skeptical at first, but the next day he came into our dressing room with his guitar and showed us some of his ideas. He and Leo then played around with the ideas and I came along a little later. The song came about very naturally. "
Leo: "When we got back home, we recorded the backing tracks, sent them to him and then drove to London to record his tracks and finish the song."
You shot the video for the track in London too, right? That looked like a lot of fun.
Nic: "It was! We shot in Francis' house. He's a very funny guy, we laughed the whole time! He's a clown in that relationship, you just have to hold the camera and you get something. "
In a video on your Facebook page, he also says he poked fun at you about your Australian accent.
Nic: »Not so much because of the accent, but because I pronounced the name“ Van Gogh ”in the chorus so that it rhymes with“ Monroe ”. (laughs) «
Leo: »In Switzerland we have the principle anyway that you always use the language or pronunciation that suits you best. (laughs) «
I thought the name was just pronounced like that in Australia.
Nic: “We used both pronunciations. It just had to rhyme with Marilyn Monroe! (laughs) «
The second new song on the record is the ballad 'What I Wouldn‘t Give', for which you also shot a nice video. Does the concept come from yourselves?
Leo: »Director Ronnie Romero (also sings in Rainbow and Leo's second band Coreleoni, mab) and I worked out the concept together. Both the song and the video are about two people who like each other from childhood on, but who never really get into a relationship. We wanted to show this story in the video, and I think it turned out to be a simple but effective and beautiful video. "
Together with the album you also brought a beer onto the market, the "Defrosted Ale". Who is the beer lover in the band?
Nic: "They are more like our guitarists!"
Leo: "Exactly. There's a friendly rivalry between the wine and beer drinkers in the band (laughs). The idea came up to bring a type of beer onto the market, which is currently also a fashion among rock bands. And that's how we ended up bringing out this pale ale. "
Nic: »The beer was made in a very small brewery. The contact came about because a winegrower from Switzerland gave us a box with six different wines for our 25th anniversary. We became friends and he asked us if we were interested in bringing out a wine together. When we met again, he had the idea to make a beer too. He couldn't imagine fans standing in the audience at a concert with a glass of wine, but he could with a beer (laughs). We then decided to do both. The wine will be in stores next year because it simply takes longer to finish a wine. "
Finally, let's look into the future. What is the Gotthard plan for the coming year?
Nic: “We're going to play a couple of summer festivals next year, some of which have been confirmed and some others are still to be announced. There will be some acoustic shows, but also some normal, "electric" gigs. Apart from that, we will devote ourselves to the songwriting for the upcoming album, which will definitely be a rock'n'roll album again and not an acoustic work (laughs). We don't know any details yet because we've only just started talking about the record. "
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