Axxis have been performing in many festival this Summer. Together with Jeff, we had seen them at the MetalWay festival in Spain, and we both were amazed by the wonderful show Axxis gave there. That's why we wanted to interview them when they play at Raismesfest in France in September.
Unfortunately, the interview took place in an open space while Leaves' Eyes was performing on the main stage. It was hard to clearly understand everything that was recorded, but most of what has been said is transcribed below. Enjoy!
Bernhard Weiß: Here we are!
wrathchild: Yeah! The band was formed in 1988, you have 9 albums, and yet, you're still not very well known in France and I bet you're not extremely famous in some other countries as well. What do you think about that? Is it different in Germany?
Bernhard: Yeah I think it's totally different. You must imagine, since 1988 we started with our CD Kingdom Of The Night, it was very successful in Germany, and we never got a chance to play abroad of Germany, we never got a chance. If you compare with other bands, every band was big in Japan, in Spain, in France, everywhere. But Axxis never got the chance. This changed a little bit in the beginning when we worked with Massacre Records together, then everything was wonderful. we played in Spain, in Italy, in France - twice - with Kamelot and Pink Cream 69 so it was wonderful for us to start to play abroad of Germany and now we're here in France for the festival, hey, since 9 CDs, unbelievable!
wrathchild: Everything happens!
Jeff: Is it your first festival in France?
Bernhard: Our first big festival. We've played twice in Bordeaux and Montpelier, and that's all, only small gigs.
wrathchild: Ok, so a new question, about Lakonia. You're not mentioned on Axxis' Official website, I haven't seen any article on the site. Whose idea was it to play with a female vocalist, cause Axxis is pretty much a traditional heavy/melodic metal band and we don't expect female vocals on that...
Bernhard: That's the reason why we did it, you know, because we've always been working with one singer, and I like bands like Meat Loaf, I like it to work with two singers on stage, it doesn't matter if it is a male or a female singer like Lakonia, who has a wonderful talent. We found her I think four years ago and she's very talented and that's why we try to promote her a little bit, but she's not an official member of the band, that's the reason why, she's only a guest singer and maybe for a long period of time, I don't know.
Bernhard and Lakonia
wrathchild: Have you got ideas about the next album, I mean, about including more female vocals?
Bernhard: No, first of all I think it depends on the songs, I would like to work with her together but she's got her own project, her own CD "Lakonia" and the CD sounds great that's the reason why it's more important for us that she will promote her own stuff in the future.
Lakonia: In the beginning, working with Axxis was kind of an experiment. And my part got bigger and bigger, nobody expected that, it was just for fun!
Bernhard: And it works wonderfully!
Lakonia: Yeah! We are happy!
wrathchild: We were really impressed at MetalWay, it was fantastic, I didn't imagine it could work that well.
Bernhard: And nobody expected it you know, nobody was expecting a woman on stage.
wrathchild: Especially since we were expecting Rage, at first!
wrathchild: About what you do on stage, because you bring someone on stage - I don't know if you want to talk about that in an interview, cause it could reveal this secret?
Bernhard: No, it's just a kind of spontaneous thing, but today we will do it too because, for me, it's a kind of experiment because I don't know what will happen on stage. And if you're playing for such a long time in a rock band, everything is a real bit the same: playing on stage, having a great sound, ok. But working with people is a kind of risk. That's why I like this very very much, especially when I don't understand them you know, I don't know what happen here. I've got this piece of paper, with French sentences for every situations and we'll see what happens.
wrathchild: Do you have any anecdote about things that happen on stage, especially when the people you bring on stage don't know what to do?
Bernhard: Some girl tried to kiss me all the time on stage, you know, it was a bit disturbing during the show, it was very very strange. Some time in Germany I put a gay on stage and he put his hand always on my ass you know! (laughs)
wrathchild: Does it happen very often that the person you bring on stage know your lyrics?
wrathchild: It never happens?
Jeff: In Germany maybe?
Bernhard: In Germany it happens all the time, in Germany too. In Spain, twice... I think it's better if they don't know Axxis because they have to get used to the situation, they've never been on stage before, it's a kind of spontaneous thing. I like this very much. I don't know what will happen today, maybe she knows, maybe she doesn't. But it will be a girl!
wrathchild: So, since you brought a gay guy on stage, you don't bring guys anymore?
Bernhard: Never, never again! (laughs)
Valentine was the chosen one on that day
wrathchild: What are the plans for Axxis right now, I mean, you're now touring festivals, but after that, are you touring album, recording a new album?
Bernhard: We are concentrating on the Lakonia CD, that's very important for us, the next week we have a small (undecipherable) and we're doing an opera in Germany in a theater, we've got a kind of best-of off the EMI CDs in Germany, try to re-release some material from Axxis in the Autumn this year. So we have a lot of things to do, a lot of promotion stuff and a lot of productions.
wrathchild: You said you would re-release some stuff, would you include some unreleased tracks and maybe with Lakonia, old songs sung with Lakonia for example?
Bernhard: No no, those songs are only the best-of of EMI, from the last 15 years with EMI and it's only songs from these times, like Kingdom Of The Night, but we try to do a special best-of only with ballads and acoustics. Not a real metal best-of, more a ballad and acoustic CD, double CD.
Best Of Ballads & Acoustic Specials
wrathchild: Is there a live album planned?
Bernhard: Yeah, we are thinking about it. We started to record a lot of gigs in Germany.
wrathchild: And about a DVD for example?
Bernhard: DVD, you know, If you want to do a good DVD it's very very expensive and we have so many material on tape that it would be very very expensive to digitalize everything to bring it on a PC or on a hard drive but we are collecting everything and we're waiting for a good offer to produce a DVD. Maybe with Lakonia, together.
Jeff: So, Lakonia, can you talk about your own project, your own CD?
Lakonia: We're almost finished with the production, so we're doing the photoshoot during next week. I'm very happy with the songs.
Jeff: Is it metal?
Lakonia: I'm calling this kind of gothic power rock. It's very very straight forward. I think it will be great performing them, hopefully sometime!
Jeff: (To Bernhard) Will you do a guest appearance or something on her CD?
Bernhard: There's no place for me anymore! (laughs)
Lakonia: I recorded so many things so there's no place left for any. (laughs)
Bernhard: And it's more female lyrics you know.
Lakonia: It's very different from Axxis actually. Maybe because I'm a woman and I wrote all the songs from my perspective.
Jeff: Is it your first CD or were you in a band before?
Lakonia: Yes it's the first official Lakonia production. Ever!
wrathchild: In the next gigs, are you gonna sing songs from Axxis and songs from Lakonia?
Bernhard: With Axxis you mean? No, only Axxis songs with Lakonia, if she's got the time we will sing songs together, but Axxis songs. Not Lakonia songs. That's her job now because she has to develop her career step by step by herself. We give her help now, with the promotion with the people who know Axxis, now you know Lakonia without the CD out.
(Then we had a brief talk about languages, but due to massive laughings, it's impossible to transcribe)
wrathchild: Who helps you writing the sentences you say on stage?
Bernhard: I always ask people at the hotel, at the reception. I say "can I say this or that" in English and they help me translate it to French. I don't know what will happen cause French is really difficult, there are a lot of letters that you don't speak.
Lakonia: The pronunciation is really different.
Jeff: But we can always understand, even if you say the words in the wrong way.
Lakonia: French is difficult, I can read most of the stuff but if you're talking really fast I don't understand a word. (laughs)
Clément (ultimetal): Do you enjoy playing in France?
Lakonia: Yeah, it's my first time in France
Jeff: What are you expecting from Raismes festival?
Bernhard: This is the first time we're doing a festival in France and I think I was very impressed of all the people here, because we we're driving with the bus through the audience (laughs). I realized some people know Axxis, I saw some Axxis shirts so it's great. You know I never expected that, we've never played here that's the reason why I think no one knows Axxis. I'm very happy with the shirts I saw in the audience.
wrathchild: I've ran out of questions (laughs) We're an international webzine, not only French, so if you have anything to say to our readers, feel free to say it!
Bernhard: It's wonderful that we can play the first time in France, because we never got the chance to play here before, we had some business problems in France because we were with EMI France here and they never were interested in Axxis. Now we're a little bit independent from this business stuff and now we've got the chance to play so for me it's wonderful. We'll see what happens we're playing very very early so we have enough time to go in the audience to watch the festival a little bit, that's wonderful!
wrathchild: Good luck, and I hope it will kick ass!
Bernhard: I hope so! Have a nice day!
Thanks to Jérôme from Underclass and Axxis for this interview and for the great show at Raismes!
A few days after their performance, the official Axxis French fan club was born, check it out: http://www.axxis-france.fr/