Epigram for the last straw - Superior Interview WWW0.ORG / PROG Last Update: 12 Feb 2002


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Here is a Superior interview (with Bernd Basmer) from December 1999

By John Vidiadakis

Superior is one of the unknown bands for many fans, so it would be really nice if you gave us the history of the band.

Superior was founded (as the band is now) in 1992. Shortly after that point of time we recorded the demo "Timeshift" and were playing a lot in the south west of Germany. In 94 plans became concrete to record our first CD and we started songwriting which took one year. In 1995 we went to studio to record "Behind". We released that album ourselves at first and had a look then if there would be a record label interested in our CD. In early 96 we signed a contract with Limb Schnoor (our publisher) who brought us deals with Noise Records and CNR Music. The deals with those record companies were signed in July/August 96 and the album was officially released by them in October that year. Shortly after the release we went on a Germany tour with Virgin Steele and Angra. After the 4th gig of that tour our keyboarder broke his hand and Andre Matos of Angra took his part in a few songs so that we could go on with the tour. When we were home again, we weren't able to do anything for half a year because Jan's hand didn't heal very fast. In spring of 97 we did a short acoustic tour in France and after that we started songwriting for the next album. In November 97 we did a bigger tour through France again with Vanden Plas. In Spring 98 it was studio time again. We recorded our second album "Younique" which was released in late August 98. We were promised to get a  tour again but just nothing happened. So we didn't sell very much albums because there was almost no promotion for Younique. We played a few concerts in France again in January 99 (some of those shows were together with Angra and Stratovarius). In Spring 99 we did an acoustic tour in France again. Shortly after that we started to collect ideas again for the next album and right now we are in the song-writing process again for the next CD.

You began your route in 1992, and I would like you to remember the acceptance the "Timeshift" demo (great work for a demo) and your debut album "Behind" (1995) had faced. How would you describe your musical style back then?

It's always a little difficult for me to tell what our music style is like. (smiles) I'd say that our music has grown up a lot between the Timeshift demo and our first album. On Timeshift we did a more classical kind of Heavy Metal while on Behind we did more a kind of Progressive Metal music. I think that's what describes our music best.

"Younique" is the next step made last year. In which way is it different from the previous works of the band? Generally how would you describe your musical style in this album?

Younique is much more open towards different musical styles. The album includes even some jazz, blues and latin influences while the music  is still very heavy and melodic. Like I said earlier, it is quite hard to define our style of music. Let's say it's heavy rock music with influences from a lot of different music styles. (smiles)

The prog metal scene seems to be trapped within the boundaries Dream Theater set in 1992 and few groups seem to dare to make something on their own. Why do you think has this happened? Which is the different musical suggestion that Superior has to offer?

Dream Theater has indeed set a kind of standard for the prog metal scene. They are high talented musicians and incredible song writers. A alot of bands tried to copy them but I think that just no band can reach them anyway. Their ability to combine complicated music parts with great singing lines and songs is just a phenomen in itself. I think though, that Superior goes different ways. We see more the song itself than playing solos and that kind of stuff. On Younique for example you won't find many solos because we don't think that they are necessary for our music. It's still interesting enough without them. I don't want to say here of course that the music of Dream Theater
is not interesting but a lot of other bands just drown in their solos and the "look what I can play" scene and that's just not what we want to do. The song itself is important for us. A song must have suspense and thrill and feeling in it in our opinion and it just doesn't matter at all that there is no fast fiddling in them.

You are one of the very few bands that had no line-up changes from their really beggining. Why do you think has this happy thing happened? What is the reason that leads people in departing and groups in splitting up?

We have been together for quite a long time before we have decided to take the next step and record our first album. Maybe this is a reason for this. We all know each other quite well and we are all open for critics from the other members also. I don't know why so many bands just break up or have a lot of changes in their line-up. We just fit together very well and of course we have fun together too. (smiles)

Your lyrics seem to be a work on which you have paid much attention, in both their matters and their writing. What are the main facts and situations that drive you in writing lyrics, and how much important do you think they are for the final result?

The lyrics are at least as much important for us as the music itself. It depends on the situation when we write lyrics. There are things that happen and that move us inside and then we just sit down and write down our feelings. Our lyrics are quite personal at times. On the other hand there are also lyrics that are just short stories with a meaning behind them (see "Think" for example). We like to do both. If we are able to write lyrics just depends on the moods we're in. Therefore it takes some time quite often to dig them out. (smiles)

I know that you have played cover acoustic versions of songs written by Queen, Beatles, Rush, Styx and other artists. What is the thing you find interesting in covers and especially in the acoustic ones? Should a cover stay close to the original or should it differ totally?

When we were playing the acoustic covers it was very interesting for us to take those songs and give them our own touch by playing them just with acoustic guitars. We also liked those songs very much in their originals and that's why we also had a lot of fun playing them. But also playing a cover just as close as possible to the original can be really fun. But that's not what we wanted to do here of course. We took the songs and gave them something new by playing them in a different way. Also with our own songs it was something different. If you compare the original of "Why" and the acoustic version of it, one could think that these are just 2 different songs. (smiles)

Which are the artists that you would name as your main influences? Which are the albums and artists that you used to listen to in the past but you don't do anymore, and why so?

My main influences for guitar playing were definately James Hetfield for the riff playing and maybe the Queensryche guys for the solo  stuff. I like to play melodies when I do my solos. It's not important
for me to play fast scales and run up and down the fretboard as fast as I can. Somebody said that "a solo should be a song in a song" and that's how I do it too. In the past I listened to a lot of heavy metal music but that has changed a bit. Nowadays I am more open to different kinds of music and that gives me also the possibility to include different things into the music I write too. I don't know why that has changed. I mean, I still like heavy music but it's not that classical music anymore. 
Nowadays I like more stuff like Clawfinger, Limp Bizkit and that kind of music. On the other hand I also listen to Sting or Keb Moe for example. Maybe I just go with the time a little or maybe I just
got a little older... (smiles)

What do you think does the future holds for Superior? Do you think you can gain a wider success, and why haven't you been more recognised in your opinion?

That's a very difficult question. The future for our band cannot be told now because nobody knows what the future will bring us of course. I hope that we still can do a big step forward but we will just have to wait and see what happens, I guess. Why we didn't gain more success in the past has also to do with a lot of different things. One big reason was for sure that we didn't get much promotion from our record company. Another reason is for sure that we don't do main stream music. Our music is quite complex and not everybody likes that of course. But still we like our music very much and we will go on doing our own stuff because we want to stay true to ourselves of course. 

Give me the 5 most important songs for your life, and the 5 albums you listened most at during the last week.

Master of Puppets - Metallica
Back in black - AC/DC
True colors - Cindy Lauper
Eyes of a stranger - Queensryche
Why - Superior (smiles)

Dream Theater - Scenes from a memory
Limp Bizkit - Significant other
Incubus - S.C.I.E.N.C.E
Sevendust - Home
Superior - Younique. (smiles)

That's it. (smiles)

(for info on Superior look at http://www.free-minded.de )

Epigram for the last straw ©2000

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