About Me

Interview with Vanden Plas

“Live & Immortal” was released through Frontiers Music Srl, on the 12th August, and is one of the best live albums of this year. We talked about the production, mixing and the band’s history! It’s worth reading!

M.I. -  My German friends, thanks for making this interview possible! Congratulations on the release of this incredible live album!

Thanks so much, Raquel - always a pleasure...

M.I. -  “Live & Immortal” is the name of your album, that was released through Frontiers Music Srl, on the 12th August. It was recorded on 30th December 2016, in your hometown of Kaiserslautern and only delivered this year for the fans. Why only release this material now? What surprises can the fans expect?

It is a difficult undertaking to record such an event - but an even greater one to evaluate and stage the material with 12 different cameras. After we recorded the concert - we were already under contract to produce our next two albums "The Ghost Experiment", within the following 2 years. Furthermore, we had a large commissioned work for a theatreplay, "Last Paradise Lost", based on John Milton's work from the early 17th century - which we have just performed with great success at two cooperation theaters. In this mammoth program of current topics, there was of course a project that a lot of time and attention is needed at the back. During the pandemic - which incidentally hit us hard, we then had time to get to work and produce the DVD. The result is a piece of Rock history in love with details of our band. We lead musically, so to speak through the whole era of our work. Andreas Lill, our drummer, Björn Widmann and Oliver Barth, have taken on this work and so we have now created a loving and energetic contemporary document, in the snapshot of a spectacular concert evening.

M.I. -  The songs are based on your two chronicles: "Chronicles Of The Immortals". Do you think they are your best albums to date and the songs from those records are still fans’ favorites?

No, not necessarily. But we are known for always offering our fans a kind of “Best of” concert. At that time, we were touring Europe, with the two chronicles albums. For this reason, these two albums are the focus.

M.I. -  Tracks never heard before were added, such as “Scarlet Flower Fields”. How was the writing process of those? Can we say that they are bonus tracks? Can you also tell us their story?

Maybe that was misunderstood. The songs weren't jewels slumbering in the darkness of a musician's drawer - they were regular songs on different albums. But we had never played them live before. Before we went on an European tour, we asked fan groups, which songs they would most like to hear from us. We then based our selection of the concert program on this. For this concert series, we had a few real highlights for our fans.

M.I. -  This will be the first show to be released on a DVD/Blu-Ray on the band’s history, which is very awesome indeed. Congrats once again!!! Any live guests will be seen there? If you could invite someone, who would it be?

We had already released a recording from Atlanta, a few years ago, but this is actually the first full-length live concert on DVD - we didn't have any guests with us on this tour. There are some bands like Avantasia and Arjen Lucassen, who have been doing this for years with great success, but we wanted to differentiate ourselves. This tour should come across as pure as possible. If I could invite artists, I would have half a dozen great people just like my band mates. I would love to share the stage with Sting, Anneke Van Giersbergen, Oliver Sykes, Peter Frampton or Alessandro Del Vecchio.

M.I. -  “The Seraphic Live Works” was documented at ProgPower USA, in 2011, which is the most important festival in America. For those who don’t know the festival, could you please, explain in a short way, what is the festival and how the Americans live the experience? What differences do you notice from an American festival to an European one?

It is the largest and most recognized Prog festival in America. We have been invited there twice and that was a huge honor. The people there are very, very open! We have made many friends in the States! The concert audience is different in each country. Here, even in Europe, you can't just generalize about the same comb. The reactions of the viewers in Germany, Italy, France, Holland or England, are fundamentally different. The Scandinavians are also completely different. It is important to read people and then to celebrate music with them. It's just as much fun everywhere - once you've found the key.

M.I. -  Between these two live albums, in terms of recording and mixing, which one was the most adventurous? Will you be doing another one like that, to celebrate a special occasion, such as an album or anniversary?

In America, the entire organization for the concert recordings, was taken over by the festival management. When we then decided to implement the concert recording, there were already some problems with the transmission of the data - some camera settings were missing. Others have simply disappeared completely. With others, the cameraman seems to have gone to the toilet for 10 minutes or fell asleep, because he was only filming the ceiling of the hall ... - but that shouldn't express anything about the general high level of professionalism there. It’s just an anecdote. In our hometown, we wanted to hold everything in our own hands for "Live And Immortal"... so we set it up 2 days beforehand. During the concert, we had microphone failures and unfortunately couldn't use 2 songs at all. You can see that you can't plan anything down to the last detail. That's live!!!

M.I. -  Did you get to see any band from that festival that you like? Which ones do you recommend?

There's really nothing that can be said about it. At festivals, we always try to see everything that's possible in terms of time. For us, that's the biggest thing about festivals. The artistic togetherness - there is so much to discover. Especially at festivals like the ProgPower, Wacken, Bang Your Head, Sweden Rock... you can experience an immense variety of musical art, because something distinguishes every band and makes it special.

M.I. -  And what about touring? Any plans and countries? Would you love to come to Portugal?

Yes! Portugal would be nice again! At the moment, it is still very difficult to make concert plans due to the effects of the pandemic. There is far too much organization involved. If such a concert series is canceled - we could not pay at all our technicians, who have blocked time off for this. That's a dilemma that nobody in the scene likes to talk about - so we're still concentrating ourselves in our studio ideas at the moment.

M.I. -  Thanks once again for making this interview possible. Any final words for Portugal and the Portuguesse fans?

We were allowed to play once in Portugal. I have taken the people of Portugal in my heart. We had such a good time there. I remember it very well - I stayed an extra 2 days longer to celebrate my birthday in Lisboa. When Portuguese friends found out about this, they simply came over to see me there and gave me a wonderful day of honor!

Listen Vanden Plas, on Spotify

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Raquel Miranda