About Me

Interview with Feuerschwanz

One word to describe this album is not enough, because it’s epic and mind-blowing. “Das elfte Gebot” was released on the 26th June, via Napalm Records, and we had the privilege to talk with Prinz Rhoden Herz III, responsible for vocals and the medieval instruments, that characterize the sound of this band. A nice interview where he talks about the band’s History, how difficult is to play these instruments, who is responsible for the outfits and weapons, the covers, the album release and much more. If you like Medieval stuff and Metal all combined, then this album is for you.

M.I. -  Thanks so much for taking some time and I hope the situation there, in Germany, is getting better and you and your loved ones are safe.

Yes, we are safe. Everything is fine. We are healthy and that’s ok.

M.I. -  I would like you to introduce yourself, and the band’s history, please. The band’s name translates into “fire tail” … why have you opted for it?

Feuerschwanz was founded in 2004, so, sixteen years ago. We started as some kind of Comedy Folk band and it got much harder through the years. The music is getting more Metal with every album. So, nowadays, we’re some kind of Folk Metal band, with mostly, German lyrics. It’s called “Feuerschwanz”, because of the dragon. We have lots of fantasy lyric themes about dragons, Vikings, epic battles and stuff. That’s why we chose the band’s name, “The Fire Tail”. “Feuerschwanz”, a fire dragon tail. 

M.I. -  You play the medieval instruments. Why did you choose to play these instruments and are they difficult to play?

I choose it because I’m a really big fantasy and medieval fan. I wanted to play music, which fits into my favorite universe. So, it fits to historic, medieval and fantasy stuff. So, that’s why I wanted to play the bagpipes. Yeah! It’s quite easy at the start, when you learn it, but it’s hard to handle the tuning. It’s a very loud instrument, which can easily sound terrible. 

M.I. -  Your style is Mittelalter-Rock, which combines medieval and Rock all together. What aspects influenced you to make this genre so amazing?

There are lots of things that I really like about it. The combination of things, which don’t really belong together. So, Rock music and medieval Folk music aren’t meant to be put together, but that’s why it’s so awesome and exciting to combine them. You can always choose elements of both worlds and make new combinations, which haven’t been done before. There’s lot of opportunities to create music that hasn’t been done before.

M.I. -  Last year, in December, you celebrated your 15th anniversary and what better way than celebrating it with a new album? “Das elfte Gebot” was released on the 26th June, via Napalm Records, and it’s an amazing album. How would you describe your growth, as a band, from your first album until this one?

We’ve started as some kind of comedy project. It was really trashy. A lot of the songs were really funny but sounded terrible. Through the years, we took the music more serious and ourselves more serious. We wanted to create a sound, which works out really well. It’s just not: “Oh! The lyrics are fun, and you can dream to it but the music sounds like shit!”. We didn’t want that anymore. We worked really hard on our sound and music skills. The lyrics also changed from thrashy comedy to more fantasy themed, epic and fantasy stuff. 

M.I. -  How did the work for this album go? What was more challenging? The lyrics or the music? 

I always work the lyrics and music simultaneously. I try to have a really cool idea with the lyrics and try to find the best sound for it. Basically, for me, with a good lyrical idea, I can easily create a cool music to it. It depends on each other. I think it’s harder to find a really cool lyrical idea than a musical idea.

M.I. -  Subway To Sally’s Simon Michael (guitarist, vocals) worked once again with you and helped achieving a sound that suits right in between Medieval Rock and Heavy Metal. What advices did he give you, while recording this record?

There are lot of things we learned from him and his experience with his band. It’s really a lot (laughs). Basically, from him, I learned how to combine the Folk elements with Metal elements, also with orchestral parts. That’s one thing I learned from him. I really liked to work with him in the studio. 

M.I. -  “The message of our lyrics comes from our hearts, is extremely important to us which is why they’re put quite clearly without beating around the bush. A clear message needs an adequate sound”. In these crazy times, hope and positivity are very important. What message are you trying to send to your fans?

The album is called “Das elfte Gebot”, which means, “The eleven Commandments”. We basically don’t give a fuck about the ten commandments. What we really think is the really important one is the eleventh. Our eleventh commandment is to enjoy your life and live your life to the fullest and do the things you love. Enjoy every day as it could be your last one.

M.I. -  “Das elfte Gebot” has an inspiration: Valar Moghulis, which translates into "all men must die", in High Valyrian. Since your mother has passed away, mortality has been a companion of your thoughts, that resulted on the best lyrics and melodies. Would you like to share something with us?

We always did as a band. We always did those party and drinking lyrics, for fifteen years now. We think it has a deeper message and it is: “Enjoy your life with your loved ones!”. Mortality has a past, and this is not just a word from here. It’s really real. It feels real to think like that because I saw death. That’s why it sounds really important for us. That’s the message.

M.I. -  This album has another meaning: “order life, as if death is waiting for tomorrow!”. Should we live life to the fullest, even though there’s a pandemic going on?

Yeah! Basically, it’s to live your life to the fullest, without harming anyone, of course. Nobody should just do what you like, harming other people or harming the environment. Of course not. So, of course you can’t just do what you want, when there’s a pandemic and bringing people around you to danger. That would be the wrong message.

M.I. -  You haven’t lost your magical touch, that helps you to experiment new sounds and lyrics and we can see it in one particular song: “Lords Of Powermet”, your first song that features English lyrics and the main theme is about a group of religious fanatics, who worship the “holy horn”. Where did you get the idea for this story?

Basically, it’s a parody on religion itself. When you talk about religious groups, they always have an opinion that only their message is the right one, their philosophy is the right one and there’s so many religious wars, throughout History. For example, the Thirty Years war, here in Germany, people were fighting about really small issues. They had religions. So, we wanted to bring this into parody, this thing by presenting a group, that has such an obviously stupid philosophy behind them: the Lords Of The Powermet. So, they are only talking about their favorite drink, for example. So, yeah, that’s a religious parody.

M.I. -  Let’s talk about the album cover. We can see a crusader, with a friendly dragon, that helps him with his battles. Care to tell the story behind it and who had the idea for it?

As the band name says, there’s a dragon with a fire tail and we had a lot of covers and artworks with this dragon, so many years. We wanted to reinvent, by presenting a real, dangerous dragon. The dragon´s in our old covers, were friendly dragons, that looked quite for children’s books or children’s comic books. So, the dragon now looks way more dangerous. We wanted to create a religious aspect. “Das elfte Gebot” is a title, which comes out of the Bible in some ways. That’s why there’s also a crusader on the album cover. The crusader represents religion and war, and the dragon represents our band. 

M.I. -  An interesting thing is that, with this album, you’ve covered 7 songs, from German artists (Rammstein, Seeed, Die Toten Hosen, Powerwolf and Deichkind) to international artists (Sabaton and Ed Sheeran), and the name is “Die sieben Todsünden”, a special limited edition boxset. Why did you choose these songs and artists? What criterion were important and what were the most challenging to cover?

The idea was to create the Seven Deadly Sins, musically. The Seven Deadly Sins for a Folk Metal band could be, for example, to cover a Reggae dance hall, a Hip-Hop song. It’s a sin for a Metal band. That’s why we chose, for example, the “Seeed” song, which is a Hip Hop song. There are other songs, like Rammstein, which you can also describe as a deadly sin, because Rammstein is way too perfect and you can’t make it better. But we tried, anyway. There’s also some kind of deadly sin. There are other songs, like Ed Sheeran’s “I See Fire”, is the first real English song for us. This is unusual for fans, so you can also describe it as a sin to break chains and to step over lines, which we didn’t do before. That’s why we called “The Seven Deadly Sins”. I chose songs quite unusual for us. Unexpected songs.

M.I. -  Which songs were the most challenging to cover?

For me, it was quite hard to sing in English on “I See Fire”. That was really challenging, also to sing a part of a band, like Powerwolf, which is really high, really hard to sing and it’s also really fast to play, on any instrument. I played, for example, the flute in “Amen & Attack”. I played the really fast guitar line with a flute and that’s really hard and fast to play. That was challenging for me. 

M.I. -  On your Facebook, it says: "The new album has two years of work, sweat and tears.". Why the tears?

Because it was hard to record all those songs, including the bonus tracks. That was so much work, that we all came to our limit. That’s why there were also tears, when you have to work really hard and are on your limit and you can’t do it anymore but you have to. That’s why there’s also “blood, sweat and tears” within this album. There were lyrical topics, like “Das elfte Gebot”, a song about life, death and loss of beloved people. That’s why there’s also tears in this album.

M.I. -  Mead was very popular in the Medieval Age and, nowadays, people tend to like it. And you are no exception, because it has a huge importance on your lyrics. Do you like its taste? What makes this drink so popular that makes you want to sing about it?

Yes! For sure! But there are really terrible ones, which you shouldn’t drink, that are sweet and make terrible hangovers. You should be careful (laughs). I think technically, it’s just because of the taste of it. Nothing can beat this taste, for listening about it, for fifteen years. It’s more a symbol for a lifestyle. It’s about a lifestyle of dressing out as a medieval knight and going out to those events and there you drink beer, cocktails and mead. That represents that lifestyle.

M.I. -  One big example is “Metfest”, the first single for this new album, with a sold out tour, for your 15th anniversary. How did it go? What cities did you visit? Could you share an episode, that will be on your memories?

It was quite an intense tour, because we didn’t do many shows, but it was the biggest tour. It was only nine shows, eight shows in very big venues. It was the biggest shows for us, so far. It was all packed in two weeks, three weeks, or something. It was very fast and intense, like a very good Metal song or something. Our hometown, Nuremberg, Munich, Trogen, in Switzerland, Leipzig, in eastern Germany, Hamburg, in northern Germany, Berlin and Cologne and one more I can’t remember. We developed great friendship with other bands, who played there: Grailknights and Warkings. We did a lot of collaborations on this tour and, for me, it was the coolest, when I stepped onstage, dressed up. We played the song, which is normally sang by Sabaton and I played Joakim Bróden. Fans were going crazy about it and it was cool for me.

M.I. -  “Das Elfte Gebot” is the title track, released on the 7th April. Nikolaj Georgiew directed it and the Historic group, Stiber Fähnlein e.V., helped with the material. Also, Rosalie Postatny, helped with the costumes. How was it working with such an incredible team? How did you contact them? What ideas did you have for the costumes and the material?

It was really cool, because they are people we know very well. My wife makes the costumes. The Historic group I’ve know very well, for many years. They gave us those weapons. These are people and friends that we know very well and that was very cool. We wanted to create for our band some kind of Viking fantasy look, which is not really historically correct but more fantastic. We don’t want to just do some kind of reenactment. So, we want to create our own fantastic world. For that, we use those weapons and materials, to create some kind of battlefield atmosphere, which looks real, not just fake plastic. So, that’s why we use those real forged weapons in these very special locations. The location is some kind of piece of art against war. It’s a war memorial.

M.I. -  “I See Fire” released on the 6th May, was filmed in England, mainly on the southwest England - on the Cornish coast. Why did you choose England and not any other country?

Basically, we wanted to go on holidays, in England (laughs). We saw it could be greatly combined with some video shootings. We combined holiday with video shootings and that’s why we chose it.

M.I. -  “Ding” is a song by Seeed, a German hip hop, reggae and dancehall band and Melissa Bonny, singer of the band Ad Infinitum, is the special guest. Why did you choose this song and Melissa?

It was very interesting. I wouldn’t say it was hard, because it’s a very really good song and a good song can be transformed into any type of music. That’s why we were very inspired to do this. Yeah! It was hard work, but we had good flow with this. It was a lot of fun. It was a very really famous song, fifteen years ago. We all know it and each one of us danced to it at parties and got really drunk to this song. It was such a big hit, many years ago. We choose this song, because we all had a connection to it. We wanted to have a female singer, who could also growl and scream. We searched for one who could to this and that’s how we found Melissa Bonny.

M.I. -  On the 26th June, you created a release concert, with a crowdfunding, on Abenberg castle. How did it go? How did you choose the place?

The Abenberg castle has a really emotional connection to us and also to our fans, because there’s an annual Medieval Folk, Metal Rock Fest, which is the “Feuertanz Festival”, “The Fire Dance Festival”. We played there many, many times. I have visited it for fifteen years, every year. There´s a big emotional connection to this festival and this year, it won’t take place. That’s why we chose this special castle for it.

M.I. -  On Facebook, you mention that the band reveals “High musical level, textual anarchy and disinhibition live - Metal, Met & Miezen for Ladies'n'Lords”. What do you mean by that?

Met & Miezen is a play on words, in German, because Mieze is basically a cat. But you can also call a woman (eine Mieze). A chick, you could say. That’s why it’s called “Met &Miezen”. “Met & Chicks”. On the early years, the lyrics were about drinking and sex. At a starting point, that was our motto.

M.I. -  Next year, you will tour with the band Warkings, as a support band, and will begin on January next year. Why did you choose them and not any other band? Will this tour come to other European countries, such as Portugal? What countries would you like to tour?

We stumbled upon this band, through Melissa. We thought it would be really cool, if we could perform the songs on tour. So, that’s why we asked the band, if they would come with us and they said: “Yes!”. I would really love to play there, but so far, we haven’t planned any concerts there, because I don’t know if we have so many fans in Portugal or Spain. We have to work on it. We had a concert, I think, ten years ago, in Russia, Moscow. I would love to repeat that, because that was really cool. I would really appreciate to visit the whole world. There are so many places to see… Greece, for example. I love medieval countries and Mediterranean countries, because of the History, the heritage, the climate and the sea. I love being on the sea. It would be cool to play everywhere.

M.I. -  Thanks so much for answering my questions. Any final words you’d like to share with your fans and our readers?

Have a good time, stay healthy, enjoy your day, live your life and enjoy the music.

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Raquel Miranda