Interview with Kalle Wallner of Blind Ego and RPWL

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It’s been a while since “Numb.” What made this the time to do another Blind Ego album?

Yes, it is a pity to had a break for such a long time. But there were very busy times for me. 2010 we decided to found our own label GENTLE ART OF MUSIC which meant that we had to handle loads of administration- and managing work suddenly. Furthermore we did four RPWL albums and we released around 45 (!) albums from other artists in this time period: SYLVAN, PANZERBALLETT, DANTE, etc. In the meanwhile our label-catalog is quiet large. So I hadn’t the time and the muse to complete my 3rd solo album faster. It’s a total difference if you are able to make and you have to make all decisions by your own. Sometimes your can be faster, sometimes it takes much longer…
Another point was to find one or more new singers. After the NUMB album and its tour I wanted to work with other musicians. Not because I wasn’t happy with the performance of the latest line-up but a big advantage of a solo project is to try something new and to work with different musicians. That was and is very a fantastic and an important thing for me.

 How would you say Blind Ego differs musically from RPWL? Is it more than just prog metal vs prog rock?

Musically, the basic sound is much harder, the keyboards have no dominance, and of course other singers are perhaps the most obvious differences. But this is probably easier to judge someone from the outside than me. I consider all this as my own, and I could not say that I have one more than the other. BLIND EGO is definitely closer to myself.
Another aspect is the workflow: It’s such a difference to work alone instead of writing sings with a band. You have the power to decide everything by your own but you have to do it, too. My personal challenge is to write also the lyrics and all the vocal lines which I do not too often on RPWL songs. Some songs I wrote just with the acoustic guitar e.g. BLACKENED and SPEAK THE TRUTH.
Personally I don’t think in those musical categories, for me it is just a rock album. 🙂

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 How did you choose the 3 vocalists used on “Liquid”? I’d love to have heard Arno on all of the album!

It was never my intention to found a real band next to RPWL. That’s what is much fun at a solo-work: You can make music with lots of other great musicians! But when I wrote all the songs on the first two records I had no idea about the line-up. Same as on LIQUID: After I finished the song-writing I thought about the musicians. The hardest decision was to find the right singer. So that might be the reason why you can find 3 singers on LIQUID: I couldn’t make the final decision…. and they are all great! But in opposite to a fix band line-up I could pick the perfect singer for his perfect song! So I had the chance to invite Arno Menses from SUBSIGNAL for some songs. He has an amazing voice and especially the first single BLACKENED became maybe one of the best songs I ever wrote. Erik Ez Blomkvist from Sweden is a „Metal-head” and his voice fits perfectly to the more rockier songs. The third singer is Aaron Brooks from the US band SIMEN SOUL CHARGER. I love his voice on this last track SPEAK THE TRUTH on LIQUID! He sounds so emotionally. Different bass-players like Sebastian Harnack from SYLVAN, Ralf Schwager from SUBSIGNAL and the incredible Heike Jung from PANZERBALLETT made a perfect basis together with drummer Michael Schwager who already plays on the last album NUMB. I’m really happy with this great line-up and I’m pretty sure the listeners will like the different colors of LIQUID.

Did you have specific songs in mind for each singer?

Yes. I’m a big fan of Arno and I know him for many years. So it was clear to ask him for some songs. For other songs I was looking for singer you had this Metal attitude. A friend of mine recommended Erik Ez Blomkvist from Sweden. Some know his former band PLATITUDE. Great singer, great voice with lots of energy. I’m really enthusiastic about his performance on the four songs he did on LIQUID.
For the last song SPEAK THE TRUTH I had the idea to ask Aaron Brooks from SIMEON SOUL CHARGER. After the recording session I was totally impressed of his performance and how he put this song on a higher level. When I wrote this sing with the acoustic guitar I was not sure if it would fit on the album, but now I’m happy because it is a very personal and emotional song and means a lot to me.

 Did you ever consider doing an all instrumental album? “Quiet Anger” is one of my favorite songs on the album and many of the songs sound like they could exist without vocals.

Thank you. It is almost a tradition to make one son as in instrumental on BLIND EGO album. But I prefer songs with vocals so I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t do an instrumental album. But who knows?
QUIT ANGER is a good example how some songs changed during the production. Not only Michael Schwager is doing very well on but bass player Heiko Jung from PANZERBALLETT hat great ideas about the grooves and finally the bass solo at the end which was never planned at the beginning.

It’s unavoidable for you to get compared to David Gilmour but I am curious who are your influences?

I grew up with all the Rock/Hard Rock/Heavy Metal in the 80s. But I always loved melodies. So for my opinion this is very special for me: not always playing as fast as possible but always playing for the song and its emotion. Band I listened a lot at that time were Queen, Deep Purple, David Bowie but also Metallica, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Rush, etc. Even I listen to so many different styles for music today these influences is still there and very important for me.

Any touring plans for Blind Ego?

First of all a European tour for January is already scheduled. We will do these concerts in January 2017 as a double headliner tour together with SUBSIGNAL! Nevertheless Arno Menses won’t join BLIND EGO as a singer neither the other singers on the album. Unfortunately there are not available. But with the American singer Scott Balaban I found the perfect singer for the live shows. Scott just released an album with his own band Amon Ra. He is a fantastic singer and a great guy! Michael Schwager on drums, Sylvan-bass player Sebastian Harnack on bass and Julian Kellner from DANTE on the other guitar will complete this awesome live line up of BLIND EGO. Finally, it would be great to come back to a festival to the States!

 I have to ask this. When can we expect new music from RPWL?

We just released another Live DVD/CD form our latest special: RPWL plays Pink Floyd’s ‚THE MAN AND THE JOURNEY’. We recorded that live at a show in the Netherlands last February. But before we go to a new RPWL record, we will also release our concert film A NEW DAWN, which we recorded last year in our hometown. But after that, we’ll focus on the new RPWL album. We already have many ideas. Whether it is a third part to the last two concept albums or a complete new story, I would still leave open.

Kalle, thank you for taking time to answer my questions!

It’s my pleasure. Thank you very much!

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About progmanrob

I have been a fan of progressive metal and progressive rock for most of my life. My music collection is insanely large. My passion for life is music...progressive music!
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