Beyond the Black interview. January 2017

I spoke to Jennifer Haben from Beyond the black ahead of their UK date supporting Epica and Powerwolf.

Last summer the entire band quit shortly before the summer festivals.  It must have been a challenge to get a new band together in time for the festivals.

We had three days to rehearse everything so it was tough but it worked brillant.  Three of the guys we had for Wacken and the other festivals in the summer are now in the new band lineup.  It’s awesome with them.

How did you go about finding the new guys?

I got to know them through a friend of mine.  They are all in the South-East of Germany, and a friend of mine is living there so he asked them if they wanted to play some shows till I got the new lineup, and they wanted to do it – for the rest of their lives I think.

Since then you’ve supported the Scorpions. It must be quite nervewracking performing in front of a huge crowd of people who are all there for Scorpions rather than being your fans.

Scorpions was awesome, incredible.  We were on that stage and I can’t explain what that feeling is like. It’s hard work when people are there for another band but I think everybody had fun.  That’s the thing a support band have to do.  It was perhaps the last tour of Scorpions.

You’re off on tour in a few days.

Yes with Epica and Powerwolf.  We start in Germany and we go to the UK and Switzerland, Austraia, France and more.  I think we have some songs that will appeal to fans of Powerwolf as well as Epica.  We have so many songs, I think it will be good.

Beyond the black are well known inside Germany but not so much outside Germany, so the tour is a good chance to gain some new fans

Excactly.  We did not release anything outside of Germany till very recently so it’s now the step to Europe and the rest of the world, so they will have to learn what Beyond the black is.

You toured in the UK a few years ago suporting Saxon just after your first album came out

Yes We had our first tour with Saxon at the end of 2014, but the album was only released in Germany.  Now we’re releasing the “Lost in forever, Tour edition”, and soon you will also get “Songs of love and death”.  We have four new songs on the tour edition.  One of the new songs is the Wacken Hymn 2015 which we played on the Wacken main stage. The other three are brand new songs.

Where do you get your ideas from for writing the lyrics?

I have a very good imagination.  It’s not always a personal thing, I’m a really happy woman and it’s really dark in the lyrics.  I love to have the different emotions.  I don’t write the lyrics by myself, I have some really great guys who write the lyrics because I’m better in German than English, so I tell them the story and they write the lyrics for me.  I think when I’m a bit better at English I can write the lyrics for myself.

Have you started to write songs for the next album yet or are you planing to do more touring first?

We are writing songs at the moment. We have 20 ideas I think, so we are working hard but it’s always so fun with the new guys – they have so many creative ideas and that’s really cool.  I think the new album could be really good.

Do you all sit down and write together or separately?

It’s always a little bit different because we don’t all live in the same place, so we make our own little ideas and send it to the other guys, and maybe we are together at one point and do some writing together, that’s always a bit different.

When you are together it’s probably mainly going to be rehearsing or on tour.

That’s right, and when you think you can do something on the off days between shows, no way.  You have to make sure every evening that you relax a little.

What musicians or singers insipred you to get into music?

I had a band when I was 9 years old.  We played ACDC, Amy Winehouse, The Beatles, Whitney Houston, we played everything, German, English, French, everything.  I think all of that influenced me a little bit.  I think the biggest influences are the powerful women, the powerful voices, like Floor Jansen.  I love her.

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.