After releasing ten albums Edenbridge launched a special compilation album, “The Chronicles of Eden, Part 2”. We are talking to Sabine Edelsbacher, an exceptional case of a singer both for this compilation and for the status of the band their plans. Of course, the dominant element of this conversation is Covid… Interview: Dimitris Kazantzis
Rockpages.gr: Sabine, judging by the fact that you are doing interviews, I assume that all is well with the whole pandemic situation. I wanted to ask you how do you plan on preparing and promoting “The Chronicles Of Eden Part 2”?
Sabine Elelsbacher: Well, we had to postpone our tour, which was planned for April 2021, the year 2022, this will then be the tour for our next studio album. So the promotion for this best of album is giving interviews and releasing promotional videos. The videoclip for „Tauerngold“ was released in December and the one for the acoustic version for „Higher“ will be released on February 12.
Rockpages.gr: If we say that this collection represents the second half of Edenbridge’s career, how would you compare this latter period to the first half of your musical path?
Sabine Edelsbacher: It is definitely different. With „MyEarthDream“ we integrated 7-string guitars and huge orchestras into our sound, so everything got much heavier and a lot more symphonic. Also the choirs got a lot bigger and my voice of course also developed during the years.
Rockpages.gr: How did you choose the tracklist of this collection…was it an easy or difficult task for you?
Sabine Edelsbacher: We asked the fans again as we did on the first compilation. It was interesting, as our choice would not have been too different from what the fans decided. The so called „hits“ and the epic long tracks were always among the fans’ favorites, so we could choose four songs out of each album plus the bonus tracks from certain albums plus 3 new recorded versions, previously unreleased. The acoustic version of „Higher“ stands out from those as we tranformed it into a jazzy version, which was great fun to do.
Rockpages.gr: Edenbridge started in 1998, a time when symphonic metal had only been around for two years. The only three bands with similar sound and style to you were Nightwish, Within Temptation and Therion. What were your musical standards back then and which were your ambitions?
Sabine Edelsbacher: Yes, Edenbridge startet in 1998, but I joined the pre-band of Edenbridge in 1996. Our former bass player Kurt and Lanvall were already making music together. At that time, to our knowledge, there was no band with this style. We didn’t follow a trend either, we made our music, as we still do today. Well, of course we developed a lot through the years, but that should be the fact for every band. Of course our ambitions were high, but being there 20 years later nobody could have expected. So it has been an exciting journey from there with all the ups and downs.
Rockpages.gr: Although you have released three live albums, Edenbridge is not a band that performs live regularly nor embarks on extensive tours. Is there a specific reason for it?
Sabine Edelsbacher: We love playing live and tour through exotic countries what we also did during the years, but we we always calculated between advantages and disadvantages. Nobody can afford to lose a lot of money on touring, so there always has to be a calculation of risks and gains.
Rockpages.gr: Would you like to tell us a few things about your experience from the tour in China in 2019? How’s the audience there and is it familiar with the heavy metal sound?
Sabine Edelsbacher: It was awesome. We did 3 headliner shows in Wuxi, Shanghai and Suzhou among the big festival show in Nanjing in front of 30.000 people. It could have been 75.000 if the weather was better. The audience differs of course. In a western-orientated city like Shanghai the fans are much more open and used to metal concerts as in the other citis. But everything was organized perfectly, we had 5 star hotels every day and the greatest food you can imagine. So it was an impressive second visit, as we already toured China in 2007.
Rockpages.gr: A month upon your return home, we learned that Covid-19 started there. Were you scared at all?
Sabine Edelsbacher: No, not at all. I’ve worked as a nurse in very demanding areas for 28 years and I have a good understanding of viruses and bacteria. I couldn’t imagine making a story like that out of it. It is very sad for those affected, but also for those who have died as a result of the measures. A lot went wrong and it still does.
The first time we went to China in 2007, we all came home with an extreme cold. For me it lasted for weeks and I was already thinking of pneumonia. We were on a lot of domestic flights with dry air and in venues that were anything but not clean. That was 14 years ago. You can imagine that things are different today. Most has western stnadard in the big cities. On our current tour in China we had no problems with illness at all. We were at the 70,000 Tons of Metal in January 2020 and when we got home we laughed at the whole thing. But then that rolled over us completely. We have no problem spending time at home, because we usually do it that way when new music is being created.
Rockpages.gr: I won’t ask you how you deal with the whole Covid situation as we all deal with it -more or less- in the same way. But I would like you to tell me if this has given you an opportunity that you didn’t have before this happened…
Sabine Edelsbacher: Lanvall started working on the new album in the first lockdown and was very creative. Parallel to the music, I work in my vocal studio as a trainer for voice, body and personality and coach people in developing their authentic voice. Of course I had to switch to online lessons first. I had dealt with this for a long time, but so far I saw no need to implement it.
In addition, last Easter I had the feeling that I have to re-record the song „Dynamind”. We shot a quick video and the song can also be heard on the new CD in this version. For me, this song reflects what it’s really about at the moment and I already noticed it in a way in 2019 when we were writing the lyrics. It’s about not splitting up. We should combine the energy of dynamite with spirit/mind and grow together through the crisis and develop ourselves as humanity instead of fighting wars. At the moment it is not known in which direction we are moving, but I stay confident.
It was a time to slow down a little. That was very pleasant, because we weren’t affected on a personal level, but that’s all about it. I can’t say we got any benefit from it or did something we couldn’t do before. We are all open minded and have always gone our way. So there was no change, rather a confirmation for me that I am on the right track. For me there is always more than material life. Dealing with death has accompanied me professionally all my life. It brings us more to our real life. That’s what is really important. For me I still knew this before.
Rockpages.gr: Live streaming is a new approach of reminding fans that you are still an active band. Is I the right way of doing so? If not, is there any other alternative nowadays?
Sabine Edelsbacher: This is not the way we wanna go. At first, people might have been happy about a certain compensation of real live concerts, but they got bored soon after as there was an overflow of streaming concerts. It is simply not the same as in a real venue. We have to see how the concert scene will look like and how many venues will survive.
Rockpages.gr: What do you think will change in the music industry but also in music generally when the risk of Covid-19 passes and things will get back to a normal function?
Sabine Edelsbacher: To be honest I have no idea. I hope that culture in general will get a higher priority again than it is currently. It has been proven that things that give us pleasure, makes our immune system more stable, whereas fear and discord do the opposite. It is positive when we humans reflect again on what is really important to us at heart level. I would be happy if more people listen to music again instead of consuming it. When we fill ourselves with inner nourishment, we need less consumption. That would be a positive development for us and nature. But that should develop naturally and cannot be forced.
Rockpages.gr: You were guest in numerous projects like Beto Vasquez, Angra, Gary Hughes (just to name a few). Is there a standout moment for you?
Sabine Edelsbacher: I enjoyed all the projects and it was an honor to be asked. The invitation to my first project was Beto Vasquez Infinity and I really wasn’t expecting anything like that at that time. We were just getting started as a band and I had to find my role as a well-known singer. It was exciting and of course great.
The connection with Angra was also very special. We were in the same studio in Germany at the same time. We shared the studio apartment and they must have listened to me singing. I loved singing Kate Bush’s Wuthering Heights to train the heights. They might have liked it (laughs) It was a spontaneous action with the duet. We also had a great tour together with Angra in 2005, where I also performed on their show together with Edu.
The highlight was in 2019, when I was invited to Brazil. What Edu did with his new band and orchestra in Sao Paulo is something special even for the local community. It was a unique experience to see Edu and Aquiles again and all the nice musicians and guest musicians like Kai Hansen and Mike Vescera. There was phenomenal energy in the room when I sang “No Pain for the Dead“ with Edu after so many years. Furthermore it was my first concert with a big orchestra. Simply great.
Rockpages.gr: Any plans for the next studio album of yours…?
Sabine Edelsbacher: Lanvall is working on studio album 11 and about 35 minutes of music are finally written and arranged. We will soon start working on the lyrics and concept.