Interview with Andy Kuntz (Vanden Plas)

Metal Express Radio recently had the privilege to interview VANDEN PLAS vocalist Andy Kuntz. On tap was discussion about their exceptional new release The Seraphic Clockwork.

MER: First, I would like to congratulate Vanden Plas on their new release The Seraphic Clockwork. What kind of preparation goes into putting an epic album like this together?

Andy Kuntz: Thanx a lot man! Four years of living in the middle of new inspirations. The chance to work out our own theater pieces during the last 3 years helped a lot in this case. We had the possibility to develop ourselves in diverse directions. Getting aware of dramaturgy! How to put the right spot on an epic story or a song so that it’s interesting and still understandable for the people. But the biggest point is the songwriting. If you don’t have ideas for good songs all the technical qualities will not help you nearly enough.

We’ve been composing the new material for the last 3 years. So when we did decide to release a new CD we had a big listening session with all guys of the band. We took a pre-selection of 15 songs and I worked with them to see to which songs I could get the biggest affinity from. I created a story and took the songs of which I thought I could compose the best vocal melody lines from. You can write an interesting story but this story is nothing without fitting perfectly with the musical language.

MER: What are your sources of inspiration that go into your songwriting?

Andy: My belief in Jesus, the power of dreams and my affinity for great epic melody lines.

MER: The Seraphic Clockwork is a unique album title. What is the meaning behind it?

Andy: It’s a metaphor for the inescapability out of our destination. On the other hand it’s the symbol for the machine in the story itself which is able to cut a hole in the sky and let the main character, Tio, pass the gates of time.

MER: What are your favorite tracks from The Seraphic Clockwork, and which ones do you enjoy playing live?

Andy: At the moment I must say the most enjoyable song to play live is “Holes In The Sky”. But we will try out all of the songs for our new tour. My favorite song at the moment is “On My Way To Jerusalem”. This song expresses all deep feelings inside of me and has all kinds of trademarks that the band Vanden Plas stands for.

MER: How do you think this album compares to your prior releases?

Andy: Hard to say. I like all of our outputs. But this one is the most complex one and the darkest.

MER: What do you think separates Vanden Plas from other Prog Metal artists?

Andy: I really don’t know. We just try to write good songs and concepts without keeping an eye on the market. I want to create stuff that moves me from the bottom of my heart. I hope that – being authentic, moves the listener too. We never decided to play Progressive Metal. This is a drawer, which is created by the journalists. I think this seal fits, no doubt about it. But we don’t want to limit ourselves because of this stamp.

MER: Can you name some of the bands or artists that have influenced you over the years?

Andy: I’m influenced by Sting, Pat Metheny, Magnum, Kansas, Styx, Genesis, Pink Floyd…

MER: What are your tour plans for 2010? Do you have any major festivals lined up?

Andy: At the moment unfortunately not. But we definitely want to go on tour. With a big focus on the new output.

MER: Are there any plans to tour the United States?

Andy: Plans yes… but maybe you know that we had big problems several times to pass the border line. That hurts a lot because we did nothing wrong. Even harder is that we really like the mentality of the American people. We would love to come over. It feels like ringing on a friend’s door… and nobody opens!!

MER: You have been involved in Rock Musicals and Theatrical projects in the past. How do those experiences get incorporated into your music?

Andy: A lot. It’s a gift to learn much more about the profession you play.

MER: What are some outside interests from the band members, and how are they incorporated into your music?

Andy: In the summer we sit together from time to time without working on new songs and our special interest is: Football and Barbeques… hahaha… we’ll meet you in the quarter final!!!!

MER: Looking ahead to the future of Vanden Plas, what are your hopes and ambitions?

Andy: We hope that our fans will like the new album and that we will find a way to see them all on tour. We’ll definitely work on that!!

MER: Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions for your fans, best of luck to you in your future endeavors!

Andy: I thank you a lot Sean!!!


  • Sean Meloy

    Sean Meloy was a reviewer, interviewer and DJ here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Iowa , USA. By day he is a straight laced, buttoned up, number crunching accountant; armed with his portable calculator. All other times he is a hard rocking Metal head! He spent many hours listening to records and 8-tracks with his father. Classic bands such as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton just to name a few. His father bought him his first record, Kiss Alive II, at age 6. By the time he reached his teens he was discovering all the Classic Metal of the 1980’s; Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, etc. He became a huge fan of the Thrash Metal of the time as well; Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus, and Overkill. During the 1990’s he experimented with the Grunge and Hard Rock. However, by the time the millennium came he found himself going back to his roots and rebuilt the music collection he started in his teens.

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