Interview by Meghan Hall.
Avantasia have graced the music scene with their style of beautiful and epic metal since 1999. They have given fans a feast of beautifully written operatic metal with an incredibly diverse range of voices on each album thanks to the German mastermind Tobias Sammet’s vision for a metal opera. With the release of Avantasia’s eighth studio album ‘Moonglow’, the metal opera is again touring the world. Avantasia’s first ever tour of Australia is quickly descending upon us; one of the band’s many talented lead singers Jørn Lande spoke with Overdrive to discuss the upcoming tour and his amazing career.
“Your country has such a great variety of everything, one of the reasons why I love to go to Australia. I probably won’t be able to see everything but start with the food and some drinks and check out the local area. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia.”
Lande explains the excitement for visiting Australia, as well as the excitement of his fellow members of Avantasia.
“The highlight of the tour! For most people in the band, it’s the same. Everyone is really excited about going to ‘The land downunder’ he continued.
Lande talks about his musical influences, in terms of the bands and singers he grew up listening to, which were musically different to the styles he would go onto work on and experiment with.
“The Little River Band was one of my favourites growing up, Johnny Farnham, John was one of my biggest influences, growing up as a kid in the late 70’s, it was Elvis Presley, Cliff Richards, Rod Stewart and John Farnham who I listened to the most. I grew up with music outside the rock and metal scene. It’s been a great variety of music. I experimented a lot when I was younger, I didn’t know what direction to go. When the time came, I was able to get a record deal and was able to do this for a living. It was a change in the world people would really not accept the 70’s, 80’s formula anymore, so we experimented a lot with the music. Ark for example, we still wanted to be doing what our influences did, but with our own twist, but those days were more or less over.” Lande explains, discussing experimenting with influences and musical style in a changing musical landscape.”
Lande continues to reflect on his time working with bands such as Ark and Masterplan.
“This was a time where it was difficult to do what we really wanted to do, so that’s why we found a way to be more extreme with things and to experiment with things and still be in the rock and metal formula. You bring all these other elements from jazz to prog, and pop and opera, so that was all experimental, but great experience and very honest work. Other bands like Masterplan, a couple of records before I left the band, same thing kind of. Things were getting more structured, it had to be ‘Masterplan-ish’. I guess you know over the years, you started to become more ‘calculated’. I still think I was quite honest with everything I did.”
He goes on to reflect on his solo career.
“I started bit by bit to do my own Jorn albums, there’s been quite a bit over the years. I’ve gone back to basics, to this classic rock band thing. I got tired of experimenting with everything, I just wanted to be a singer in a band.’
Lande then explains how he began working with Tobias Sammet and Avantasia.
“He was more of less a fan, I think of the music and the records that we did when we were younger, he just got in touch with singers that he liked, you know? Geoff is an old hero of Tobi’s, Tobi really liked Queensrÿche, you can hear it in his singing. He has a similar style when he expresses himself when he sings, you can hear it when he writes. I think it was 2007 when he called and asked me to do a project called ‘Avantasia’. I did it, it was good, it was called ‘The Scarecrow’, I did the first tour, which was also quite successful. I did another couple of albums after that, except for one album, which I was busy doing a record with my guitar player, which was also a rock opera-oriented project.
I was back for the next one, ‘Moonglow’. It’s great! It has evolved today, to become something really unique. Now we have different singers on this tour compared to some of the other tours. Yeah, a great bunch of people, it’s quite diverse all these different singers!”
Lande enthuses about Tobias Sammet’s writing.
“He writes what the singers would write themselves. The sound of Moonglow as an album bringing in those elements from past Avantasia records into this new record really sounds good, you can say this album brings everything together. It’s like the concept is complete now.’
When asked what he expects from Australian fans, Lande responded “We don’t know what to expect really. We hope you enjoy it. Avantasia fans are really dedicated. The band sounds great, very solid. No one’s going to be disappointed!”
He then went on to discuss the overall reaction to the album and tour from all fans. “It’s been overwhelming really. It’s been sold out already, most of the shows. We’ve played three days in a row, three sold out nights in a row, it’s great! It’s more than we expected, but this is the best tour. It’s not cliché to say, it’s actually the truth.”
Avantasia is set to hit Australian shores on the 12th of May.