Javi Izkar: Listening to “Architecture Of a God” album, I´d say that it´s what a Labyrinth´s fan could expect, It´s not “Return To Heaven Denied” but I can feel that it´s more close to that kind of songs/production than for example “6 Days To Nowhere”.Could you explain us a bit about how do you think in the new album about production/songs?
Olaf Thorsen: We absolutely wanted to play the music Labyrinth are supposed to play.
It’s what we like and it’s what fans are expecting from us, whenever they see a new release with our moniker on it.
At the same time, we didn’t want to copy ourselves, repeating the same album 20 years later.
The result, is this AOAG, which is clearly continuing on the same path we always walked, but at the same time it sounds actual and perfectly fitting to nowadays standards.
We actually consider it to be the best album we ever realized, so far.
3 new members in the band, Oleg Smirnoff (Vision Divine, Edritch) on keyboards, Nik Mazzucconi (Edge Of Forever) on bass and John Macaluso (TNT, Riot, Ark) on drums. will this line –up work also for the live shows. No needed to introduce Macaluso to our readers but why did you choose him?
They are not sessionists, but full members. This is Labyrinth 2017 and we never had such a stronger line-up. We choose John because his technique, together with his experience, could have added something to the music we were composing. His style, for those who know him, is clearly recognizable in this album and it surely helped to make the songs sound the way they do. Beside this, he was absolutely enthusiastic to join the band and this is something even more important, than hiring a sessionist who does something just because “it’s a job”.
You have needed 7 years between “Return To Heaven” Part II & the new one, How has been the songwriting process?
I worked together with Andrea, as it always happened in the past. We sit with our guitars and we start from an idea, be it a riff, a melody, whatever it is.
if it works and it sounds good while still so rough, then it’s a good one.
After the music is done, Roberto works on his melodies and the rest of the guys complete the songs arranging their own parts.
“Take On My Legacy” & “Stardust and Ashes” reminds me a lot the “classic” songwriting way of the band, I mean the “Return To Heaven Denied” era…fast, powerful, technical & melodic tracks..Is hard for you to write this kind of tracks in this moment?
It isn’t hard, I would rather say those would be the easiest song to write, for us, but we didn’t want to write an album full of speed songs, because, after all, it’s 2017 and that wouldn’t represent the band as it is nowadays.
We still enjoy playing fast, but 11 songs in a row would be too much, not only for us, but also for our listeners, we guess!
You have included a good amount of mid-tempos sounding more into Heavy Metal and lets say without the modern way you worked on “6 Days To Nowhere” or “Freeman”, what can you tell us about this change?
There is no change, actually: as Labyrinth, we always composed the way we feel in a specific moment or period and also, we always repeated that we consider ourselves as a Heavy Metal band.
The “power metal” genre was born while we were composing Return to heaven denied, but we had no idea what it would have become, that word didn’t’ exist ( if not for the American “power metal” which is completely different from what we are talking about).
How important was the participation of Frontiers Records to have this album in our hands?
They are the ones who really insisted in order to make us “reunite” and start working to a new album.
I can’t say the band would have been shut down, because I was still working with Andrea to some new songs, but it would probably have needed more time and the line-up would have been different. They are those who put all the pieces together and noted a date on the calendar, telling us “please give us an album within this period, and please make it be a very good one” ahah!
Your most important release was “Return To Heaven Denied” released in 1998 with Metal Blade, how did you feel playing this album in the Frontiers Metal Festival?
It’s always a good feeling. Every time we play it, we’re especially moved by the reactions of people and fans, since we still cannot believe, after so many years, how is it possible that something we wrote could mean so much for so many people.
We’re proud of that album and we feel blessed to have composed something which will probably last forever. That’s not something that everybody can achieve.
Taking a look to the band´s career with so many changes in the line-up, projects, etc…How do you see the future of the band? Have you plans for touring with the album?
The changes are part of all our lives. We all changes and all or our lives change, even if we do not think about it. Changing a line up simply means that our goals have changed, as it’s changed the view and the perspective we had about music and the band itself. It’s not a tragedy and it doesn’t’ mean that we had any particular fights.
It’s much better to change and move on with new members completely commited to the band and to the music we play rather than going on forever with the same people who maybe lost that “magic”, about creating music. We will surely tour and promote the album live. Right now we’re starting to add new shows to our calendar.
Recommend us one song of the album and why this election?
I personally love “ Architecture of a God”, because it sounds “complete”, it’s different from any other song we composed and it reflects at its best what Labyrinth (also) are today in 2017.
Last words for the Spanish readers….
Thanks to all the people, friends and fans, who continued staying in touch with us even during our long silence. Many people never stopped showing us their love and hoping in a new album. This Architecture of a God is dedicated to all these people. Hope to see you soon in concert!