The Unity – Steady and StrongFriday, 19th May 2017
Dead Rhetoric: Considering your work with Metalium, Uli Jon Roth, Love.Might.Kill, and Firewind among others, what do you consider some personal benchmarks or highlights that have occurred in your musical career? At what point did you know that you were going to be able to possibly make a living through music?
Ehré: I think it started when I joined Metalium in 2001. I was already 30 years old, but that was the first band where I earned money with the music. A few years later I joined the band with Uli Jon Roth where I had to focus only on being a musician. It was the way it is- I don’t know why it didn’t happen earlier. It’s my job being a musician, which I (can) say can be pretty hard from time to time. Especially now that Kai Hansen is doing this Helloween reunion and Gamma Ray is on a long break- it’s really hard because we all have to see what we can do during that time. Being a musician, you start as a hobby, but when you become a professional musician and start making a living at it, I have a family, a house, and I still have to pay my bills. This is from time to time not easy, but I won’t complain. I have a lot of drum students here in my hometown, and I get requests for playing on other bands records, or shows as a substitute. For example, last year I played a show with Unisonic, and I played a show with Hansen and Friends. If I would have finished my studies being a teacher, it would be sometimes a little bit easier money-wise.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you feel very comfortable in your role within Gamma Ray since replacing long-time drummer Dan Zimmerman in 2012?
Ehré: I have to say I was really surprised that all the Gamma Ray fans were so happy with me as a person because I know Daniel, I know him personally and he’s a fantastic drummer. He’s so fast and full of power – I really had to work hard to get on this level. I think there was no one that never said they were not happy with me in the band, it was the opposite. Some people also told me I brought a kind of fresh air to the band because they were together with Daniel for almost 20 years I guess. That happens naturally, when a new member comes into the band that you get the kind of feeling that there’s a newness to the band. I was afraid I couldn’t make it because the footsteps were really big for me. I had to practice a lot, a lot of sweat and hours practicing double bass, power and endurance- but in the end it worked out. Nowadays playing in a band that’s so big like Gamma Ray- it’s an honor and I can be glad I have joined such a big band.
Dead Rhetoric: What would you consider some of your favorite missteps or failures that have occurred in your musical career- and what do you think are the important lessons that you’ve learned as a result?
Ehré: It’s hard to say. Maybe it sounds unbelievable, but if you are asking me for mistakes, I can’t remember any big mistakes. At least none of them were so big that they influenced my career in a negative way. Every person in the world is making mistakes. I’m learning all the time- but I’m not only learning about the mistakes that I make, I’m learning about things that I can make better, which doesn’t necessarily mean I did it wrong in a way before. You can get better and better- not only as a musician but also as a person, especially with business. You have to- otherwise you won’t improve and that would be terrible.
Dead Rhetoric: Do you feel like you’ve learned a lot on the business end through Gamma Ray that you’ve been able to apply to The Unity?
Ehré: Sure, I learn from every band I’ve been in. It started with Metalium, a lot from Uli Jon Roth, most of the stuff I learned from Uli was about music. Not so much about the business, I learned more about that from bands like Gamma Ray and Firewind and Metalium. The good thing is, I always have played with different kinds of bands. Firewind for example was a Greek band, Uli Jon Roth being with the Scorpions before, he has a different approach as a musician which is different than a metal band like Metalium. I picked up all the things that were important for me from these different bands and apply it to the Unity.
Dead Rhetoric: Where do you see the state of heavy metal today? If you had the ability to change anything for the great good of the movement, what would you change and how do you think you would go about it?
Ehré: I’m 45 years old, and when I look back to the early 90’s – that was really a hard time for me because as long as I can remember, I was a fan of hard rock and metal music. And even a band like Nirvana, couldn’t change that for me. I remember a lot of my friends back then, school mates had long hair and weekend to weekend we visited a lot of metal and hard rock concerts here in Germany. It was a shock because back then all of a sudden all these friends changed their minds. I had one friend who gave away all his Iron Maiden vinyl records for free. Now I come to the point where I see metal – when the metal came back, it was never really gone, but it came back in 1996 or 1997 with the first Hammerfall record. I think it’s been on the same level since then, and I’m really proud of it because for 20 years there’s a fan base that has dedicated themselves to metal music. You don’t have that in any other genre, you don’t have fans that identify themselves so much with the music like metal fans do. That makes me really happy and proud, I don’t think this will ever change again- not even if there’s a second Nirvana that comes in five or ten years. They won’t change the thinking of the metal fans today.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ll be doing some dates with Sinner soon to support the new record across Europe – what can the fans expect from the band in a live setting? Do you have a personal preference between the studio or the stage – or are both equally satisfying?
Ehré: It’s (that) both are equally satisfying. If you are working on a record like we did for almost two years, and you have the final product in your hands. I remember the day when the postman brought the CD, and I was so proud. A few weeks later the vinyl came, and again it was a moment where you are so proud because you remember how hard the process was to get to that point, holding this vinyl in your hands. I really like playing live- you have the response from the audience, you can talk to the people after the show. There’s a certain energy that’s growing during the show, and this is also something I really love. You can’t compare it, both are satisfying.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you see the next 12 months shaping up for you and band/recording activities? Are you still teaching drums as well when given the chance?
Ehré: I teach for a living now, and I like it. When you teach the kids over a few years and you see the progress, it makes you proud. You see how they develop, how they get better week to week, and they are always interested in what I am doing. And it’s not only about advice about technique, I can also give them advice to how behave in a band, how it is to have a band, how to avoid mistakes that you usually do when you are in a band.
Within the next 12 months- we have kind of a plan. We will start on the next record for The Unity, and we have to, because it shouldn’t take two years to have the next record out. We have received tons of amazing reviews- we didn’t expect that, we knew the record is not that bad but we have got great reviews. It’s a high level that we have to achieve next time. We will do the tour with Sinner, some summer festivals, we are working on getting another tour for the autumn this year, and probably we have to start working on the next record also in the autumn. I think this is very realistic.
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