Interview with Nils Middelhauve – Xandria, London 9th October 2011

Ant May and Rowena Lamb from Planetmosh spoke to Xandria bassist Nils Middelhauve shortly before the band performed at the Out of the dark festival in London.

Planetmosh: You’re working on a new album for release next year.  What’s the progress on the album so far?

Nils: The recordings are almost done and we only have to work on some small things and the programmings which means all the samples you hear, the keyboard stuff, and then we’re doing the mix and that’s it.  The album should be releases in early 2012 then.
Planetmosh: Is there a title for the album yet?

Nils: Not yet.  We have some ideas but we don’t know the real title.

Planetmosh: Who writes the songs – is it a group effort or are there one or two main songwriters?

Nils: It’s always single persons.  Normally its Marco our guitar player who founded the band.  On this album he wrote all the songs except one, one’s written by Philip the second guitar player. On the other albums Lisa and me wrote quite a few songs but on this album Marco did the main job.

Planetmosh: You’re currently touring as part of the Out of the dark festival with Van Canto, Tristania, Serenity and Amberian Dawn.  How has the tour gone so far?

Nils: It couldn’t have gone better I would say,  but its a great spirit among all those bands, we couldn’t have dreamt of better bands to tour with, musically and as persons.  Just great, we’re having so much fun, not the slightest kind of tension among the bands, it’s really great. Great people
Planetmosh: It must be quite chaotic with so many people all trying to set their stuff up and so on.

Nils: It is chaotic, and if you’ve ever been to a tourbus then you’ll know its not the kind of glamour you dream of as a little boy or girl, but we have a fantastic crew with us so finally all is working out fine.

Planetmosh: On a tour like this do you get time to relax and be tourists or are you constantly travelling, soundchecking and playing?

Nils: Very little time to relax or look around.  You’ll do a sound check in the afternoon then time for dinner and then get dressed for the show because the shows start pretty early actually as we have five bands playing.

Planetmosh:  It must be a relief at the end of the tour to get home and be able to relax and sleep in your own bed instead of having to drive to the next show.

Nils: Instead of driving somewhere its going to work, because none of us live on music you know, but I’m really looking forwards to a shower for me, a toilet just for me, a bed just for me and my wife, that’s great of course.

Planetmosh: After the current tour you’re playing MFVF – are you looking forwards to that?

Nils:  Yes of course, I always enjoy playing live, that’s why I’m in a band so of course I’m looking forwards to that.

Planetmosh: What is your favourite type of live show and why – festival, large venue or small venue?

Nils:  Theres something to all of those, but I’m the small sweaty close stage guy, I like those hard working people on smelly club stages, I like to have contact with the fans.  I’m kind of a slut – I like to be touched.

Planetmosh: What bands do you think have influenced your music?

Nils: I grew up listening to Kiss and Iron Maiden, I’ve ben listening to both of them for almost 30 years now, I’m getting old, and I don’t think they’re actually influencing my music nowadays, it’s just like meeting old friends again after a while you know, these are the bands I will always get back to.  As a band, we all like Nightwish, Iron maiden of course, Queen, Savatage, probably most of us – Dream theatre so there are many influences.

Planetmosh: What would you say is the highlight of your career so far?

Nils: Playing here tonight probably (laughing).  I love touring thats the main part, but not just to tickle you pink, I love to play the UK and especially London I love this city and always enjoy coming back, so that’s a highlight, but not THE highlight.  My second show with Xandria when I joined in 2004 was in Busan, South Korea where we played a festival with 35,000 fans which as a second show was quite a nice start I have to say.  It was great.

Planetmosh:  You’ve got lots of influences, and when people are asked that they mainly list metal or rock bands.  What album in your collection would you describe as a guilty secret?

Nils: I don’t feel guilty for anything, because I liked that type of music when I was young, but I started listening to pop music when I was like six or seven years old, so the first album I bought was a 50 pfennig one, it was Boney M’s Nightlfight to venus.  I’m not ashamed of it, it was a fantastic production at the time, state of the art in pop music back then.
Planetmosh:  A lot of metal bands do seem to listen to something other than metal to relax.  One of the guys from Exodus plays in a country band when he’s not doing thrash metal with Exodus.

Nils: I think you’ve got to be American to be in a country band.  Country’s not my style, I like rock music, folk music, I like classical music, but rock is such a broad variety, it’s mainly rock music that I’m listening to.  I love the Beatles if that’s rock or maybe its pop, I dont know

Planetmosh: It’s hard to categorise bands sometimes

Nils: What is Xandria?  We’re labelled as gothic rock band or gothic metal band, I don’t care really.  We see ourselves as a metal band.

Planetmosh: There does seem to be a need to classify bands sometimes.

Nils: Of course for the people and for the record labels as well because they want to sell.

Planetmosh:  Ok thanks very much for your time.

Nils: Thank you.  Are you going to watch the show?

Planetmosh: Definitely – we’re looking forwards to it.

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.