A few weeks ago our reviewer looked over the new album from German modern rock band April Art and the review showed just how well “POKERFACE” went down in the office. “Loud, Proud and Talented” was the phrase used to introduce them to our readers, and “power rockers’ ‘ is the expression chosen here and now. After the review we reached out to the band for an interview as we are sure 2023 could well be their year.
The band is composed of: Lisa-Marie Waltz (vocals), Ben Juelg (drums) Chris Bunnel (Guitars) and Julian Schuetze (Bass) (replacing Nico Newfeld).
We were joined by Ben Jueig, who (in addition to playing drums) was the producer of the album, operating the recording studio and assisting in the creation of the complete album in just under four months. The result is the 12 strong set of versatile melodic metal with a pounding rhythm section and a highly recognisable frontwoman in Lisa-Marie. We have included the official video for album track “Rising High” below and that gives the evidence for the power within the music, listen for the drums on this one raised in the mix and ripping through the rhythm.
We began the interview by noting how the band seems to be in a great place at the moment with a new exciting, well reviewed album out there, one that has a very different feel to their first outing. How did Ben feel the band has developed after 2019s “Rise & Fall?”
Ben- The band has turned 180 degrees once since 2019. In 2020, we decided to rethink the entire band, from the sound and songwriting to the band’s social media activities to stage outfits and stage show. We are very happy with the current result, because it is 100% us and it represents the band April Art just perfectly. Our music has become harder, our lyrics have become more positive and we have as much fun as possible on stage.
That is really true. In the office, a couple of people noted the uplifting feel of the music. It was hard-edged but succeeded in putting a smile on the face of the listener. Our reviewer really liked the little interludes on the album that break it up; the short instrumentals and the choral “letters”; they were so interesting. How do these segments fit into the feel of the album as a whole?
Ben- We really wanted to include interludes in the album, so that you always have a little break to breathe between a series of songs. They should also create a certain mood and round off the red path that runs through the album. The album itself is a very energetic album, and these interludes let you immerse yourself in the mood of the album in a dreamy way.
Some of the tracks seem to be made for the main stage. “Leave it Behind” and “Superhero” were two favourites here in the office. We asked Ben to tell us something about these tracks
Ben- “Leave it Behind” is one of the last songs we wrote for the album. It’s about looking forward and letting go of negative experiences. We just love the mood of the song because it sounds so dreamy, open and positive. “Superhero” is like the quintessence of the whole album. It says that once you have addressed your inner issues and are at peace with yourself, you can achieve anything you want and that only you can be your own superhero. In this song, we had a lot of fun experimenting with sounds. At live gigs the song is a lot of fun because it is just very powerful and just lets the party explode.
The band seems to have a more defined image than in 2019 (where they were a metal/punk crossover). The new official photographs and videos show them in red, the colour contrasting with the backgrounds and all the band presenting a coherent image. The album art is also interesting, as it was for the first album. Who is the artist and do you see the album art as an extension of the music?
Ben- Our artwork is all designed by Flix Stephan, a very talented graphic designer. We have been working with him for a very long time. We can absolutely confirm what you say: the artwork should represent the music in a graphic way. We want to express either a statement or the mood of the music with the artwork. In “POKERFACE” the face represents the taking off of the mask and the personal development and individuality of a person working on their inner issues and being their own superhero.
One of the aims of this magazine is to get behind acts we like, and often we know we introduce artists to readers who may be unaware of them. For people discovering your music for the first time, what track would you say they should listen to first? What song would you play for them and why?
Ben- I think I would show them “Break Out” because the song just perfectly represents our style and because we just still really like it and it’s one of our most successful songs.
Returning to the image of the band now, the clothes and the use of colour contrasts etc. The official video for “Headline” was shared on the review page. We loved the red colour on the dress that stands out from the black and white background at the start. The raised arm, etc., is a great start. We wondered whether the concept for that video came from within the band.
Ben- Yes, this video was conceived as a band, like almost all of our videos, and I have taken over the production and post-production of it.
Lastly, this is a very active band, on the road and busy making videos. There are a number of new activities worth mentioning.
Ben- We are currently on the road on our first headlining tour across Germany, and we are working hard on the bookings for next year! There will also be some dates outside Germany, hopefully also in the UK! We also released a brand new video for the single TRY. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out (it is in one of the links below)! We hope to see as many of you as possible live on the road very soon!
So, Rock the Joint Magazine wishes “April Art” well. They remain our hot tip in the rock world for 2022, and if they head to the UK, we will be there watching! But for now, a couple of great videos are here for your viewing pleasure below.
By Benny (The Ball) Benson
Mark C. Chambers