While many bands have bumped back the planned release dates of their new albums in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, German trio stayed the course when it came to their third full-length, the freshly dropped, Once Upon a Time. According to guitarist André Jean Henri Mertens, the adventurous LP “builds on our first album but with a lot more experience under our belts — as human beings but also as musicians and composers. You can hear that the new songs are created in a much more organic and liberal way, made of an endless number of colorful dots. That’s what makes this record so exciting.”
Unfortunately, when it comes to playing shows, the decision is out of the group’s hands, as the coronavirus crisis and resulting social-distancing restrictions have shut down the live music industry. With that in mind, we recently caught up with the prog-metal group — vocalist-keyboardist Simon Moskon, Mertens, and bassist Marc Andrejkovits — to look back on some of the standout gigs that they’ve attended as fans and to look ahead, too, at their dream concert.
Iron Maiden, Dance of Death Tour, 24th of November, 2003, in Dortmund, Westfalenhalle. That was my first ever concert when I was 13 years old. That was a dream come true. In that time I could not believe that I really had the chance to see this band in real. From that time on I just wanted to become one thing: a performing and composing artist in my own way with a band like Maiden and I think I’ve achieved this now.
I can just tell an own short story. I played with an old band in January 2010 in Berlin, traveled over 16 hours by train with my fiancée to get to the show. It was mid winter – 15C. We had a long overnight train ride and stranded on an empty train platform with no heating at all. That was tough. And when the night was over, we arrived at the gig and performed for 15 people. It was basically just the other bands and one paying fan. This is the sort of story you have to experience yourself as a musician. If you look back to it it was just madness and somehow funny.
Another story of my own shows. The craziest show I ever had was when I toured with guitar legend Uli Jon Roth in the United States in 2012. We played in B.B.Kings Blues Club in New York. Of course that was just crazy but also funny, Leslie West the legendary guitarist of the Band “Mountain” was a special guest and performed a few songs with Uli. He was in a wheelchair and my cable was still on stage and connected to the amp, when he was crossing the way with his wheelchair he broke the cable. I was not onstage and when we started our own set I had the staring chord and thought I was plugged in. A suddenly angry look by the legend Uli himself, and I thought: Hell, nothing works here, I put my cable and recognized it was cut down from the wheelchair, that was one of the craziest moments in my entire musical career and, of course, really embarrassing.
A small street concert by an Indian musician who played the panflute. That was really beautiful and I really like the vibe they can create. You just close your eves and feel connected to nature.
The biggest show I ever attended was the headlining show of Iron Maiden’s show in Wacken, 2016. I think more than 80,000 people and I was in the front row. Outstanding experience.
My dream show would be to support the mighty Iron Maiden with my band Cryptex. If that would happen at some point of the future, I can’t think of a better concert to be in.