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INTERVIEW WITH ROCCO STELLMACHER & JUAN RICARDO
Blind Cross is a power metal band, but not only, it’s the third Juan Ricardo’ project, along with by his bands Sunless Sky and Wretch.
Guitarist of Blind Cross is none other than Rocco Stellmacher (Gorgon Eyes, ex-Mind Odyssey), who composed and produced "Merciless Time" and is joined by Powerful Heavy Metal with rich yet catchy melodies and good Hard Rock influence is something this band deliver in a very good way.
Here, for Rockers And Other Animals, Rocco Stellmacher and Juan Riccardo answer to this interview.
Welcome Blind Cross on Rockers And tee Animals’ pages. First of all let me tell you how great your “Merciless Time” album is. A concentrated pure magnetic energy, this was my impression in this regard.
How did the Blind Cross project and the album itself come about?
Rocco - Thank you Valeria, it's nice that you like the album so much!! What had happened was that the time of Gorgons Eyes had just ended when I played Pure Steel president Andreas Lorenz parts of my song ideas. He said to me that they are good, so I asked Andy and Matze if they would record the songs with me. The name Blind Cross came to mind, because each of us has to carry a cross, which you do not see. After a long search for a suitable voice, we asked Juan if he would sing on it and he said yes and about that I was very happy. He is exactly the singer I imagined for the songs and so Merciless Time was born.
Juan Ricardo, three projects for you, how do you manage each one of them? And how much do they influence each other in your compositions?
Juan - Well I actually sing for 5 bands... Wretch and Sunless Sky, and I just finished a tour with Ritual and a new Dark Arena album coming out later this year, and now Blind Cross! All the bands are very different from each other and I try to give each their own identity. I love to sing and obviously like to be busy. When I heard the songs from Rocco I instantly said YES, they had a great classic metal sound and I really liked his sense of melody.
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Blind Cross, being very skilled musicians, each member in the band has their own unique influences. From those, what ones do you think are most evident in your music?
Rocco - Thank you very much for your compliment! I believe that the influences of our music is from the 80's and the 90's and we refer to that, but we each have our own style and the songs develop a certain autonomy from each of us.
A solo should be played so that it is always similar to the song and flows into song. Here, the feeling is an important point but one does not exclude musicality. Both are important.
In a balance between arrangement, lyrics and melody, which is most important to you?
Rocco - All three points are important, they complement each other to make the whole thing round. Each part causes a certain amount of emotion for the people. Sometimes it is the arrangement or the text or the melody that stays in the ear, where one says I like or he does not like a song like that.
Juan - I agree, when I write lyrics I want to tell a story, but it's my deliver and the melody that causes the emotion in the listener. It's the combination that completes the circle...
The band is made up of four musicians with a strong metal past behind them, a nice background for each of you. How much can it influence everyone's musical career in a project like Blind Cross?
Juan - When you're in a band where the members have this much history and experience it shows in the music and each member raises his individual identity. People want to hear what we can do together.
Rocco - Well, certainly there is certain influence because you talked to us and listened to us over the years, through the other bands that were active and still connect, but the deciding factor is wether the album arrives and pleases. I hope so, then Blind Cross would have an in-depth influence on each of us.
If you had to describe what you want to convey with your album to a listener, what would it be? And what would you say is the message of “Merciless Time”?
Rocco - Merciless Time is the way of life that everyone lives through with all it's ups and downs. The time we have is merciless and unstoppable, wether we like it or not.
There are three songs I really love in “Merciless Time”, first of all “Rise Or Fall”, then “Bioluminosity” and “The Yetis Call”.
Would you like to explain how they were born and what they talk about in a particular way?
Juan - Thank you! Rise or fall is about the human condition, wether you are being heroic like a soldier or a regular person standing up against injustice, we rise or we fall together. Yeti's Call is about the legendary Abominable Snowman, basically a cautionary tale to not climb his mountain. Bioluminosity is a word that means a living thing can make light with their body to draw prey to them... So I imagined a woman like a succubus or vampire who was capable of emitting a glow to draw unsuspecting men.
Where did you get the inspiration to write the themes for your lyrics for the whole album?
Juan - My lyrics come from many different places.... history, science, legends. I love to write about exceptional things, but also current events and world trends like Blind Nation.
"Merciless Time" seems to be the description of the life we have been living in recent years, is it a title that reflects the reality of today or has a deeper meaning? I ask you because even the artwork is quite impactful.
Juan - You are exactly right Valeria... The merciless march of time is something that everyone has to face.... we are all mortal. In the endless game of life, time is undefeated. The cover art continues and represents this theme perfectly... each part of the painting means something different to everyone who looks at... I love art for this reason.
The album will use the 5th July 2019, will we have the opportunity to see you play live on some particular occasion such as Festivals or a tour of your own?
Juan - Of course we are really looking forward to doing these songs live in front of the metal fans. How many shows depends on everyones schedule and the fact that I live in America and Rocco, Andy and Matze live in Germany but if there is an opportunity and the fans want to see us then we will play.
We know that for better or for worse, the world of music has changed in the age of the internet. What are you missing from the past and what do you like about this way of offering music with a mouse and a keyboard?
Juan - I have been recording for over 30 years and I recall editing a song using a razor by cutting a portion of tape off and splicing the tape ends together.... now I can cut endless takes of a vocal track in minutes. I am not nostalgic for the old days. I love the new technology. I admit there is a segment of fans that loves the old sound, the warmth that seeems to be missing in modern recording.
I really thank you for your time and with greetings, would you like to add something important that has not been mentioned or that you would like to tell us anyway?
Juan - I would just like to say thank you to all the fans that has supported us over all these years and especially all our fans in Italy, hopefully we will see you soon.