I’m going to put things clear straight away, I quite like Stranger. I find that it is a beautiful album, of course different from tortuous Berlin School that made the fame of Rainbow Serpent, to say the least since I know your music (from since 2005 and The 8th Nerve) and from what I read concerning your other albums, but it is a melodious album. Thus, the 1st question that strikes me is; what motivated Rainbow Serpent to unite its music with the voice of German female singer Isgaard? Because contrary to your previous albums, of which Live @ Liphook on 2007, this time Isgaard really sings songs, while Eva-Maria Kagermann blew of pleasant dreamlike vocalizes.
Frank Specht: The desire for an album containing songs was already there and also inspired by the vocals of Eva-Maria Kagermann on the album "Live @ Liphook". In search of a singer our first choice was Isgaard, whose songs we knew from the Schiller album "Zeitgeist ". We wrote to Isgaard and told her about our idea, but without having concrete tracks. Isgaard liked our previous music, which she knew from our MySpace page and spontaneously agreed.
S&S: In a previous email Gerd mentioned me that it was a long time dream for Rainbow Serpent to work with a female singer. What influenced you to do so?
Frank Specht:We both are fans of Lisa Gerrard. As musicians we always want to evolve ourselves and we believe that the human voice can't be replaced by any instrument. The music thereby gains an additional dimension.
S&S: Did Rainbow Serpent was really at this point in its career?
Frank Specht: The highlight of our career? Only our fans can answer this question. For us, each new album is a highlight.
S&S: Don’t you think that your fans will be disappointed and annoyed by this new musical approach? After all, artists such as Tangerine Dream and Jean Michel Jarre broke their teeth after such an attempt.
Frank Specht: We make our music first and foremost for ourselves. We always tried to develop our own style and never wanted to be a copy of Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze or someone else. We already knew that some fans would be disappointed if we put out an album with vocals. On the other hand, we think that we will win some new fans. This CD doesn't mean that we will bring out only albums with vocals from now on. In future we'll continue to publish purely instrumental albums.
S&S: Is it a commercial or a creative approach that pushed Gerd Wienekamp and Frank Specht to undertake such a turn?
Frank Specht: Definitely a creative goal. If this change also leads to commercial success, then we are very pleased about it. Especially commercial success means that the music reaches more people and these people like that music.
Gerd Wienekamp: Working with Isgaard I again met with the popular music. I'm very exalted by particular groups such as Bad for Lashes, Hurts and Delphic. It also reflects my love of old pop music of the 80's (e.g. Heaven17, DAF,Frankie Goes To Hollywood,OMD,Yello).
S&S: If I asked each of you what are your 5 best albums, movies and books? What their will be?
5 best albums
Pink Floyd "Division Bell" and "Wish yo where here"
Peter Gabriel "Passion"
5 best movies
Planet of the Apes
The Time Machine
Sweet November with Charlize Theron
5 best books
Nick Hornby "High Fidelity"
Frank Goosen "Radio Heimat" and "So viel Zeit"
5 best albums
Pink Floyd "The Wall"
Peter Gabriel "Passion"
Mike Oldfield "Amarok"
Klaus Schulze "Audentity"
Isao Tomita "The Planets"
5 best movies
Lord of the Rings
5 best books
Songs of Distant Earth
& anything from Stanislaw Lem
S&S: If I said to you that certain songs of Stranger (Beyond New Worlds, Wide Open Spaces, Rub Al-Chali, Stranger and Beautiful Child) are outdistancing from the very Berlin School repertoire of the band to embrace a New Age tangent, even the Easy Listening kind. How would you react
Frank Specht: We do not longer make pure Berlin School. We always tried to combine different influences in our music. Thus, we usually don't think in drawers. Everyone has to decide by himself, in which drawer to class us.
S&S: How you define the music of Stranger? Berlin School, New Age or simply music?
Frank Specht: Just music! The influences we have on this album are too diverse to be specified in just one genre. It's just the Rainbow Serpent mix.
S&S: Do Stranger has more radio airing or commercial visibility with Isgaard in the band now?
Frank Specht: Absolutely. We are planning two or three radio mixes of tracks.
S&S: How her fans reacted with this association? After all, her musical direction is also strongly different than your’s!
Frank Specht: The reactions of the fans have been very positive. Isgaard herself serves a variety of styles from classic to pop (thinking of her project "Schiller" and her solo albums).
S&S: Stranger, is a beautiful mixture of cosmic EM (Beyond New Worlds who is astride between Jarre’s Oxygene and Metamorphoses areas), complex Berlin School (Intense and Elements) very melodious EM (Gateway and Memory Leaves) and of more accessible songs in the vein as Enya and Sarah Brightman. Does Rainbow Serpent is searching itself is it the musical direction that you will use from now on?
Frank Specht: Definitely no! We don't know at the beginning of an album where the journey will take us. Because behind the album "Stranger" there was no concept, we just wanted to explore the vocal styles of Isgaard. Thus more by chance, a very varied CD was created with a large spectrum. In which direction the next CD will lead us can't be predicted. The cooperation with Isgaard will continue if vocal tracks are needed.
S&S: Stranger is the 13th album of Rainbow Serpent. With hindsight, how you do analyze the road crossed by the group? Are Gerd Wienekamp and Frank Specht satisfied by the evolution of Rainbow Serpent?
Frank Specht: One is never satisfied. Satisfaction would mean a halt but we want to develop on each CD. When a musician speaks of development that is something different than the fan perceives.
S&S: Does Rainbow Serpent reach the goal you both fixed?
Frank Specht: No! Achieving a goal means we can begin to go to bed. But we still have so many ideas that we are now just waiting to compose the next album. For us, the road is the goal!
S&S: What can we expect from Rainbow Serpent shortly?
Frank Specht: At the moment we are still busy with the promotion of "Stranger". There aren't concrete plans for a new album existing. Life performances with Isgaard are possible.
S&S: So you think giving concerts with Isgaard could be something possible?