First of all , thank you for accepting our invitation for an interview.
RK : Share with us what is the story behind the name Beyond The Black. Why did you decide to pick this name for the band?
JH: The idea behind the name „Beyond the Black“ was the thought about the look and the lyrics of our band. The hard, black boys at the back and some kind of light at the front. And when you think about the lyrics of our first album, you will hear so much songs with sad, melancholy stories but at one point there’s a bit of hope… well, something beyond the black.
RK : Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? How did you all first meet each other? Has anything surprised you about it all so far?
JH: We actually met over Hannes from Kissin Dynamite. He was writing songs with me and I was sure to wanna have a band for this kind of music – to travel with friends around the world . He knew a lot of good musicians from a famous music university in Germany where he studied as well, so he brought us together and BTB was born.
RK : Which are your biggest band influences?
JH: That’s a tough question, because you don’t always know what influenced you the most, if you’re listening to so many different styles/genres as we all do. I think that exactly is the reason why BTB songs are so different from each other. We don’t take a band and try to write in the direction they did… of course not! ;) But if you wanna hear some bands we’re listening to, I’d say: Ghost, Bring Me The Horizon, Queen, Killswitch Engage, Within Temptation, Dallas Green, Gojira, … this would be an endless list.
RK : What was the first song you played as a band?
JH: The first song of Beyond the Black that was ever played live was “In the Shadows” at Wacken Open Air 2014. You can watch that moment on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbwGaiaWYqI . It’s kind of overwhelming for me to watch it these days!
RK : Let’s talk about your album, “Heart of the Hurricane” released in 2018, which is already a massive hit. Tell us something about the album.
JH: It’s the third album of BTB and the very first with the new lineup. That’s why it was and is very important for the whole band. It shows many different sides of what BTB is and can be like, that’s one reason why I’m proud of it.
RK : What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
JH: We wrote a lot of songs during half a year and in the end, it was surprising for me that all of these songs sounded so various without having like a plan or something that we followed. It just turned out like that. One of the things that I enjoyed a lot during the album processes was creating the perfect order of the songs. I love to have a very heavy song like “Freedom” and directly after that the softest one, that was “Breeze” in this case.
RK : Your debut album Songs of Love and Death became popular immediately after the release, which has reached 12th place in the German music charts and 21st place in the Austrian charts. How did it feel when you got so much support from your listeners?
JH: To be honest, I didn’t really think a lot about the chart entry. I was told that this was good, but for me the most important thing was: what means “12th place in German music charts” in “people in front of the stages we’re playing”? To play in front of people and sing along together means the most to me, so I am happy to see that our crowds are growing and I’m more than thankful for everyone who’s supporting us in any way possible!
RK : Let’s talk about your music video "Night will Fade", the music video is magnificent, What is the message you seek to send through this music video?
JH: First of all, “Night will fade” is the theme song of a German medieval TV-movie called “Die Ketzerbraut”. That’s why the song is about a medieval incident. Poor, ordinary people that are not willing to accept the oppression any further and the one that is guiding them.
RK : Where do you think you are all happiest: In the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
JH: That’s an extremely difficult question for me! I had so so many amazing moments on stage with the fans, singing together, as well as in the studio just with my own emotions trying to get deeper and deeper into these emotions. At the moment, it’s impossible for me to decide, I’m sorry. Besides that, I’m particularly happy just being at home surrounded by my loved ones. This and music is all I need in my life!
RK : Since you are on the metal scene for quite a long time we are sure you went through many challenges. Was there ever a time when you simply want to quit?
JH: There were definitely times of doubt, especially the time when all of my “old” band mates decided to not go their way further with me in 2016. That wasn’t really easy for me but it all caused something positive in the end. At that time, for example, I just realized how fast things can change and that’s why I got so much more energy and attention to what we’re doing here. It was some kind of restart to make things more conscious.
RK : What advice Beyond The Black would give to fellow bands when picking up a studio?
JH: In our case, the studio itself isn’t as important as the producer. We have an extra studio to record drums, but with the other instruments/vocals it doesn’t need much. Most of the guitars and bass where recorded at home. What is always important for me is to record the vocals together with our producers. We have Sascha Paeth and Elephant Music that are working with us. Both of them are working so differently and I absolutely love it!! Elephant are more like giving emotional pictures or roles we want to transport into the song, that get new facets out of my voice sometimes and they are definitely perfectionists – what I also am most of the time. ;) Sascha on the other hand is rather waiting for the “magical moments” that are coming up naturally and loves the perfection in imperfection, what makes it less “safe” but also more interesting sometimes. I love to have the possibility to work both ways!
RK : Outside your genre, what music do you like?
JH: Almost everything that has great melody-lines, I’d say. Songs that could be played on an acoustic guitar or a piano and would catch you as well. I guess, it’s that simple .
RK : How has 2018 been treating you so far? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year and how close are you to reaching it?
JH: We had two of the biggest successes in BTB history this year. Even though the first is just for Germany but it is something I’m f*** proud of. It’s a huge German music show where some of the biggest German artists are giving the other artists’ songs a remake in his own way. The second thing was and is the tour with Within Temptation – of course! We love their music and it gets us so many new fans… it’s incredible! We’re so thankful for that possibility!
RK : Have you ever been to India and anything you know about Indian Music Industry?
JH: Unfortunately not! But I would LOVE to go there soon! I really hope, we get the chance to come, see a lot and play for our Indian fans out there!