"Touring for me, that’s the real musician’s life."
Freedom Call is the headliner of the Rising Fest 2018. Chris Bay gave an interview at La Grosse Radio Metal before his first show at Longvic. Chris talks about his current solo tour and the projects of Freedom Call to come.
La Grosse Radio : Freedom Call is the headliner of the Rising Fest. How do you feel just a few minutes before your first show here ?
Chris Bay : So, first, we are always feeling honored to be headliner in a festival like this. We played many times in France and, honestly, the first show ever for Freedom Call was in France. We started in 1999 in Grenoble with Edguy and Angra. That was the beginning. So France is always a special country for us, because it was the beginning and we always had great times. As a musician, you’re working hard to get a contract with a record company and when we get the first chance to go on tour, it’s really an exciting time that keeps in your mind forever.
You like playing in festivals as much as in concerts ? It’s different no ?
It’s different, exactly so both has its charm. On festivals, you do not have the same time to prepare all your gear, all your equipment for the show, but may be there is a sense in it, so it’s more spontaneous and you're pretended to play for more people than you would do in the position of a touring band.
How do you prepare a setlist for a festival ?
Ah, it depends on the playing time. So as a headliner, we have the honor to play 90 mn, more than one and a half hours, so we can play the full set, and so there is enough time to talk to the people, to do some jokes with the people. Sometimes, on the big festivals, you have a short time of one hour, so it’s my opinion that we are foreseen to have a good time with the people, to play partying music because Freedom Call is "Happy Metal". I never want to prove the people that we are able to play our instruments or that we’re playing some complicated music. It’s just entertaining, to have a good time, that’s the same reason why the people are going to festivals and same for us : to have fun, that’s it, quite easy.
And the one for tonight, something different in the setlist ? Any surprise ?
No surprises, every show is special. So I'm sure that people will be happy after the show and nothing will be left, nothing will be missed.
What’s the song that the public claims the most ?
Ah, it’s always the same ! On the one side, the people are yelling : "Oh, you gonna play always the same shit !", and then when we are starting to explain to the people "Oh, this night we won’t be playing the song "Warriors" or "Land Of Light", then they cry "No, you can’t kick off these songs !". So I think there are a couple of songs we have to play night by night. But it’s cool for us too because the atmosphere is different everytime.
And what's the song that You prefer ?
Chris : Oh too many. But it’s a different thing to listen to a song or performing a song, and it’s always a pleasure to perform a song like "Power And Glory" or "Freedom Call" or "Warriors". I think it’s a similar thing in between the crowd and the musicians, it’s dynamic.
You have started a tour following the release of Chasing The Sun and you're still on tour and … in parallel you had concerts also with Freedom Call. How do you manage that ?
Yeh, I got the ability to split myself haha ! No, I’m enjoying the time to be busy so I’m not a lazy but just laying on my couch watching TV, it’s not my style of life.
So it’s not difficult ? Really ?
Honestly, it sounds much more busy than it is in the reality. so, about my solo stuff, I could do all by myself, so I didn't have to organize some gatherings with the band or with a record labor or with an agency. I have all the responsibility to myself, it’s quite easy to handle. And I just have for the solo shows my acoustic guitar and less gear. I take my private car and drive around everywhere. I played in Colombia, I didn’t drive by myself with my car to Colombia but I played in Spain, in UK. I have been in the Netherlands and, yeh it’s quite easy. So it’s not a hard working job and with Freedom Call, it needs much more preparation. But I ‘m loving both. So it’s a good balance in between.
You have joined Eric Martin last week and you're about to share the stage also with Axel Rudy Pell. Did you like it ?
Yeh, in Nuremberg, my hometown and Amsterdam. I had shows with Eric Martin last week. And yes, it’s very exciting because, when I'm staying alone as a solo artist on a big stage, no musicians beside or behind me, it’s very exciting, I'm like : "Chris, let’s have a good time". And also for the people, because after my solo show is a real band playing, The Unity, a very good band, new band from Germany. And then Axel Rudy Pell with a big sound, drums and keyboards and two guitars. It’s a spectacular thing and I’m staying alone with my guitar, it's a challenge and I’m loving it.
You have been nominated for the best rock album 2018 and you are in a good position. I have voted for you !
Yes haha ! It's cool to feel the good connections from people for me.
You were at the 70000 Tons Of Metal in February. The way the audience has cheered you in the Alhambra, all people singing the songs with you, was amazing. Tell us about this experience.
It’s very special, just the place you are is special, it’s a dream of everybody to be part of a cruise ship going to the Caribbean sea, and for us it’s both because we can realize our passion to play music and we can combine it with a beautiful vacation. What more in life ! We tour almost all over the world and these people coming to the ship are into concerts, festivals and there were a lot of people that we met them before.
Now about next year and may be more. You release an album every two to three years, can we expect a new album for 2019 ?
Yeah of course, I’m just right now very busy in songwriting. I have to combine because I am on tour with my solo stuff, but I'm writing songs and it’s running perfect. So it’s really looking like the next Freedom Call album will become amazing.
That’s a good news !
Yeh, there’s a really cool concept and may be a little bit unexpected for people but it’s typical Freedom Call. So we won’t leave our direction of music, it will be "Happy Metal", and the same style of music, but we have very good ideas so you can be really excited about that.
You played Wacken, Leyendas, Bloodstock, 70000 Tons of Metal among others. Any chance to see you at the Hellfest someday ?
From our side, everytime we are ready to play. It would be definitely a topic for Freedom Call but we are waiting for the invitation of the promoters. But we are patient, there are so many millions of bands longing for to getting a slot, and I know that we are always in a place that we are ranking. So may be next year with the new album !
How do you work as a band, do you write the songs on your own ? What is the process ?
There is a thousand way to build up a production or to write songs. It's a cliché that band of five or six members, sitting together working on the same songs. In less situations, it could work, every single musician has his own character but a band needs one aim, one attitude and it’s really hard to collect people to have the same attitude. I think the normal way is that you have a songwriter, every member is writing one song and then you can work together as a band, everybody can bring in his influences but that is part of the production, not songwriting. A song starts sometimes with a really tiny, small idea and that depends not only on the music also depends on the lyrics and it’s very hard to share one idea with the other person.
What’s the most important for you in the business ? Is it the songwriting ? The sound ? The recording ? Touring ?
Touring definitely. For me, that’s the musician’s life. Sometimes I’m death tired when I’m coming home from a tour because you have less sleep, less food. I'm always on 150% and when I have a show I’m not hungry or thirsty. I am just thinking of a direction to play a good show. After a long tour, it’s good to have a short time to work in the studio, writing songs. But then I’m already longing for continuing touring. That’s my real musician’s life, stay on the stage, looking into the people’s eyes and then, you immediately will see if the music find a place in their heart and that’s the most important thing.
What kind of message do you want to share in the music ?
It’s quite easy, just have fun, nothing more. I do not have special messages to change your life, thinking better things. No, enjoy your life ! When a band is playing for 90 mn and has the chance to give the people a better mood to forget the everyday problems family or job or whatever, that’s it, nothing more.
Who are the bands or artists who had a strong influence on you ?
Oh there are too many. In my youth, I heard all the music which my sister and my friends were listening to. Hum, I do not know where to start : Is it Barclay James Harvest ? Simple Minds ? INXS ? or is it Metallica ? Iron Maiden or Cradle of Filth ? Hu, so it’s totally different but I can say that my favorites are the 80’s and 90’s rock pop things and ... I ‘m also loving Trivium, so it’s totally different.
Does the tour bring you fresh ideas ? You write during the tour ?
No, I tried it during the first times and packed some recording equipment with me to the tour bus but I recognize I’m not able to write on tour. You’re partying, talking to people. I’m not writing songs in my mind but sitting in the studio and playing then I get inspiration. I’m not waking up and saying : "Oh, I have a new song !" I think it’s just fake. No, it’s just if you’re working hard on it, then you’re getting new ideas.
And it seems you're enjoying the business as well as 20 years ago, what’s the secret ?
May be, there is no plan B ! I finished the school and then I started as a professional musician so I didn’t learn another profession. No, I’m kidding ! It’s passion, yes. I can’t imagine day by day, do a job and not loving to do it. I don't have many responsibility to paying for a house or some big things. So, I’m a simple living person and I do not need the big money to be happy. I have my passion to be happy.
This will be the last question for today. Do you have a message to the French fans ?
Yes, of course. So as I told you, France was always a special country for us and I'm not talking the same words every country, no. Because it was our first show ever for Freedom Call in Grenoble and then we continued to, I think, Brest then Strasbourg and Lyon. That are situations in a musician's life when you have your first tour, it's like you have your first love and you never forget it in your life. When we are coming to France, I remember these times, because it's so exciting. So French Metal fans : We are loving you.
SAMM : Thank you so much Chris, have a good show.
Chris : Thank You.
Photos : © 2018 SAMM
No reproduction permitted wthout the authorization of the photograph.