Ant May and Rowena Lamb spoke to Stefan, Inga, Sly and Bastian from Van Canto in London when they played as part of the Out of the Dark tour in October and asked them a few questions..
Festivalphoto: How are you enjoying the tour so far?
Van Canto (Stefan): A good tour, many places we've never been to before with the band, perhaps on holiday but not the band. We've never been to the UK before so it's very exciting, and right now half of the tour is over and the lat part of the tour will take place in Germany where we are already well known so it will be the routine part of the tour but for now we're excited for this evening.
Festivalphoto: Have you managed to see much in the UK?
Van Canto (Stefan): No, today I think we had about 3 hours time, and we went to Camden Town, that was nice, spent too much money..
Festivalphoto: What's been the highlight of the tour apart from London?
Van Canto (Stefan): My highlight was the leather jacket I bought.
Van Canto: In terms of the audience I think we had a very great gig in Prague, our first time in the Czech republic, but all gigs were ok, we had one show where we had some problems due to illness where we had to shift and play a shorter set, but that happens when you're on tour with five singers and you get the flu on the bus and everybody has it. But we're recovering quite fast.
Festivalphoto: Your fourth album has just come out and has been getting some very good reviews. How are the fans enjoying the new songs in the live shows?
Van Canto (Stefan): We always try to include new songs, old songs, covers and our own songs, and of course there are some from the new album included. Tonight we'll play "Seller of souls", "Black wings of hate", "Neuer wind" the German song, and we also have "Primo victoria" the cover in some sets but we are not the headliner today so we only have 50 minutes so we cut out some songs. It works well. Of course the other songs, we've played them for I dont know, 50 shows so there's a little bit more routine in the older songs but there are more shows to come and with every show we play we get more used to the new songs as well.
Festivalphoto: With the new album being you fourth, was there anything in different in particular you wanted to do with it?
Van Canto (Stefan): Yes its always good not to repeat yourself and as Bastian is running his own piano project it would be quite silly not to ask him to play piano on the van canto album as well. The same goes for the ballad where the Blind Guardian guitarist played with us. We wanted to change some things but not too many so it can still be recognised as Van Canto, metal A Capella band.
Festivalphoto: What's your favourite song on the new album?
Van Canto: That's a silly question
Van Canto: Depends on mood
Van Canto: When you're sad or tired you use the ballads to feel better maybe, or when you're angry you take maybe "If i die in battle" to push the anger out, so it changes.
Festivalphoto: If you had to pick one song you've done as a way to introduce someone to Van Canto, which would it be?
Van Canto (Stefan): I think the best song to show the range of vocals is "Lost forever" because there's a pure A Capella part at the beginning and there's some male lead vocals and female lead vocals and you have a very rhythm guitar-like breakdown and a solo, so it's a bit of everything, but to be honest if someone tells you of Van Canto, they will surely play you a cover because that's the most easy thing for people, they only have to focus on the new sound and not on a new song at the same time. Most of them go for "Battery" perhaps because it was our first cover, or "fear of the dark", I dont know, "Kings of metal".
Van Canto: "The Mission" is our best known song live I think. It's not a typical Van Canto song because there is no guitar solo in, but still it's the most known of our own songs.
Festivalphoto: You've had several collaborations so far. Are there any more people you'd particularly like to work with
Van Canto: I have my idols..
Van Canto: There's one person I think..
Van Canto: I can name three, which one were you thinking of?
Van Canto: I was thinking of Joey Tempest.
Van Canto: Yes Joey Tempest from Europe would be first choice, then Eric Adams, James Hetfield. Everyone of us has our favourite singers. The bad thing is that my favourites are all dead, like Freddie Mercury or Michael Jackson.
Van Canto: I'd love to have Jack Black on our album
Festivalphoto: When you first started Van Canto, how did you decide who did which vocal part?
Van Canto (Inga): Stefan started this vocal project. He knows all of us from our former bands, playing gigs together and I think he had in mind which voice perfectly fits which position.
Van Canto (Stefan): On the first album, the only clear parts were the lead singers, but the others did very much lyrical and vocal stuff. Deciding that we were indicating guitars started with the second album actually. On the first album we have many choir parts where we all sing lyrics and the only thing thats different is that Ike has the lowest voice then me then Ross then the two lead singers, but the decision that Ike is the bass came with the second album I guess. We're not trained singers apart from Sly and Inga, but the rest of us are
guitar players and we had to learn to it.
Festivalphoto: Are there any questions in interviews that you dont get asked but wish people would ask you?
Van Canto (Stefan): No I don't think so. It's good that you didnt start the interview with "How did you choose the name Van Canto"
Festivalphoto: The answer's on your website
Van Canto: *cheers from all of them*