About Me

Interview with Terra Atlantica

Founded in 2017, in Hamburg, Germany, Terra Atlantica is a Power Metal band, whose songs revolve around a story imagined by the band itself.eyond the Borders is the 3rd chapter of this epic about the mythical Atlantis that emerges in a steampunk society of the 19th century.In the midst of his Covid-19 lockdown, Tristan Harders (founder, vocals and guitars) was kind enough to answer our questions.
About the fantastic, creative and coherent story, you can read it here.

M.I. – Hi! This is Ivan. How are you?

Hi Ivan, this is Tristan writing. I'm actually in Covid isolation right now. But it's not that bad and it gives me time to answer your questions.

M.I. - First of all, thanks for giving this interview and congrats for the latest album.

No problem, glad you like it!

M.I. – A little context… For those who don’t know you, how do you categorize Terra Atlantica? What’s the concept behind the band?

We are a symphonic power metal band from Hamburg, Germany with the aim to make power metal like bands did in the early 2000s with lots of catchy melodies and many vocal harmonies.
The concept of the band is built up around a fictional story about the ancient realm of Atlantis. This story is told through the songs and continues with every album.

M.I. – Who are your influences? Who motivated you to go into music?

Our main influences are bands like early Edguy, Avantasia, Rhapsody, Blind Guardian or to name a newer one: Gloryhammer. We all are big power metal fans but started to make music separately in different bands and partly also different genres. It took a bit of time for us to find together.

M.I. – Who came up with the idea for the history of Terra Atlantica, who wrote it and how did you decide to go from there to write the albums?

When we founded the band we started with the vague concept of singing about nautical themes because we grew up near the sea and therefore have a connection to it. I then came up with the story  of a man who lives in the 19th century but used to be a citizen of ancient Atlantis in his former life. This made it possible to have both of these worlds in the songs, for I like both themes very much. They offer a lot of material to write about.

M.I. - The whole story (of the 3 albums), isn't it a metaphor for the history of humanity itself? The selfishness and egocentrism that mark us, the way we rarely manage to work together to achieve common goals, the differences that separate us despite insisting that "we are all the same"?

Yes, throughout the albums there are a lot of conflicts, which mostly are the result of human egoism or greed. I mean the whole continent of Atlantis was drowned because it's inhabitants couldn't be satisfied with the wealth they already had. They always wanted more. But there are also glimpses of hope for it is shown that redemption is possible. For example in the second album Atlantis comes back to life after the inhabitants decided to now only use their knowledge to improve the world with advanced technology and not to gain riches. But of course again there are others who see a thread in this (a little parallel to our world in wich progressive technology is often prevented by lobbyists)

M.I.– When listening to the album, elements of the great musicals that revolve around conflicts constantly come to my mind: Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, West Side Story… Did this have any influence on this work?

Definitely! In fact I watched the movie adaption of Les Miserables shortly before I wrote Beyond the Borders, so that's no coincidence.

M.I.– Tristan… You had vocal lessons for this album. Did you think it was necessary or was it just a way to take your music to the next level?

Well I never had vocal lessons before and it worked okay so far but for the third album we put a lot of money into the production and we wanted to find out if it would make any difference if a vocal coach were to support me so we just tried it. Turns out it really did help a lot! Henning Basse did a great job recording the main vocals with me and I think it improved the quality of the album.

M.I.- Beyond the Borders had the presence of Katharina Stahl. Was it another way of continuing the story and connecting this album to the previous ones?

Technically we would have needed a different singer this time, because the character in the story, who's part she is singing, is a different one than on the first two albums. But we were so happy with the job she did on the first two albums that we just asked her again.

M.I.– One of the songs of Beyond the Borders is “Sun of Pontevedra”. Another song, “Pirate Bay”, has lyrics in Spanish. Is there any connection between you and Spain?

Part of my family lives in Spain and I had to learn the language for a trip to South America some years ago. I like the culture and the language very much too. But the main reason why we have Pontevedra and the Spanish part in Pirate Bay in the album is because our drummer Nico has his origins on Gran Canaria and in fact is half Spanish himself. We wrote the song Sun of Pontevedra together and so I found it fitting to locate the part of the story there. The Pirate Bay is even located on Gran Canaria in the story

M.I.– This album has 2 new elements in the band, Julian and David. How did their entry into the band happen? Did they audition? Was it difficult to choose new musicians?

We had a lot of lineup changes in the past 7 seven years and I can tell you it's always hard to find new musicians, especially for this genre, even if you live in Hamburg. Ironically we most of the times lose a member when we are just about to record a new album. That's why I had to play most of the stuff on the albums myself. Julian is now with us since 2019. We found him at a Demons & Wizards concert when we asked a random dude if he wanted to be our bass player and he just said 'yes'. We had some auditions with guitar players in the past but from my point of view it's not a good way to find out if someone is fitting for the band because it aslo has to be a match on the human side and you don't find that out in a single auditioning session. We already knew Dawid from another band where he plays together with Nico so that made it easier.

M.I. - Will Beyond the Borders have a sequel? When can we expect the next album?

The story doesn't really end at the end of the album so there will definitely be a sequel. This time we will take a bit more time to produce it though because the last album production was very stressful in terms of deadlines. So don't expect it before 2025.

M.I.- Your music is very much around Steampunk. This theme is used a lot in the entertainment industry. Just out of curiosity: within steampunk, what is your favorite movie and video game?

Stardust is pretty good. And of course Atlantis (The Disney thing) The best steampunk game imho is Bioshock Infinite.

M.I. - There are theories that say that Atlantis was somewhere between Portugal and the Azores and that these islands are, precisely, vestiges of this mythical land. Do you believe one theory more than another? Is there anything that makes more sense to you?

Well, in the ancient description of Atlantis by Plato the city is said to be located west of the strait of Gibraltar. So that's very vague but the direction is about fitting. Didn't they also find something new there lately? Or was that just a hoax?

M.I. - Taking the myths and legends of antiquity, do you believe that some may be true? That there are things that history has not yet discovered or that science is not explaining properly? We have, for example, the Theory of Ancient Astronauts which says that the main world civilizations were visited by alien beings and that they helped in the evolution of those civilizations. Atlantis enters into that, as being an extraterrestrial city/ship that sank there.

I like to believe in these myths. Especially the thing with these three pyramids that appear all over the globe in the same constellation and the same depiction of a person/creature in all these places even though they didn't have contact to each other. It's an exciting theory. Also I am sure that we haven't discovered everything yet.

M.I. - Finally the world returned (almost) to normal and we returned to concerts and festivals. What is your calendar for the coming times?

So far we have two festival gigs booked for next year and of course the big tour together with Grailknights and Victorius, which kicks off in March.

M.I. - When will you visit Portugal?

Hopefully soon!

M.I. – Almost finishing… Any last words for our readers?

Thanks to everyone who listens to our music! If you want to stay up to date, follow us on our social media channels. Also if you want to know more about the story behind the albums you can read it on our website www.terra-atlantica.de

M.I. – Again, congrats for the album, thank you for your answers and hope seeing you in a stage here, in Terra Lusitana (Portugal).

Thanks for the questions! Hope to see you soon!

Listen to Terra Atlantica, on Spotify

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Ivan Santos