Serious Black – Delivery of MagicThursday, 17th August 2017
Dead Rhetoric: You’ve gotten some high-profile exposure in Europe on great tours to build the profile of the band quickly. What standout moments have you had on the road between these tours and festival dates – and do you believe it’s even harder to win audiences over today given the competitive touring model that today’s industry morphed into because of the changing music landscape?
Lochert: The music landscape is becoming difficult- 150,000 other bands want to be able to stand in your place. That’s the truth, we don’t have to lie about it. So, you have to make sure that you deliver, especially in terms of shows, in the best way. To always give, not 100% but 150%. It’s really exhausting- we’ve toured a lot- the two support tours for the first album, we did them actually for free because we wanted to grow. We’ve played nearly 100 concerts already and I’m very proud of it- we’ve played a lot of festivals too. We’ve done a lot more than some bands in their complete history- in two and a half years. We can be proud of our booking agency – and hopefully the US citizens won’t have to wait that long for us to tour there.
A special festival for us to play was the Masters of Rock in the Czech Republic- this was the biggest festival that we played, it was amazing to see 25,000 people in front of the stage, everyone clapping their hands and the first three-five rows already singing the songs. This was really strange to see this after five months after the release of the record. The live in Atlanta show as well from ProgPower. It was an overwhelming show- the second band of the day in a sold out Centerstage. We were really impressed, because the band in front of us, no one was really there.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you balance your music/work schedule, as you juggle many jobs between studio work, All Access Booking activities, and another band Emergency Gate? Does the diversity help you gain fresh ideas and perspectives to further your career goals?
Lockert: Music and the work in the music industry, it’s my passion, my love, and my life. Of course, the day has 24 hours but somehow I fix it. I love to do the booking and the management stuff- the face of Serious Black is Urban, and I like to work with the guys- others are more focused on the music and I am the guy behind a little bit that’s pulling on the ropes. With ideas for merchandise and stuff, how we present it outside. It’s a lot of work- which means for Emergency Gate- we are sleeping a little bit. I don’t know how, but it’s working perfectly. The response you get from the audience and from the fans, it’s amazing.
Dead Rhetoric: I understand you had a love for soccer in your childhood. What memories do you have surrounding the sport, and are you an avid follower of any teams/leagues or the World Cup in general?
Lochert: I’m watching the World Cup and the European Championships. I loved to play soccer. When I was really successful, I (scored) more than 160 goals for my club. I was (45 pounds) less in weight, and now it’s too dangerous. Like my friend Gus G always says, ‘Mario- there is no reason to kick this ball when you have a day after a show.’ That’s why I now keep distance from it, I do swim, and I have a small two-year old who keeps me active. Soccer is too dangerous for me to risk my music career. Germany is one of the favorites along with Brazil, Spain, Argentina, and Italy. Maybe we can talk after the World Championships again.
Dead Rhetoric: How did you feel about your US debut at the ProgPower festival in 2016 – where Urban has been a regular attendee beyond performing there before? Do you see a major difference between US power metal fans and fans in other parts of the globe?
Lochert: The power metal scene in the US is really difficult. Power metal is not the music that all Americans are totally into. It exists, like at ProgPower – you see it with bands such as Sabaton, and symphonic metal too through Nightwish and Kamelot. The most popular metal in the states is metalcore, folk metal, thrash metal such as Exodus and Kreator or the old stuff like Metallica, Iron Maiden. We are a good band and a good live band, we will see if we can break through. We need to do a support tour to get into the market, but we have already sold a good amount of CD’s in that market. With Urban’s help, we are selling a good amount- new bands are entering this market and selling a few thousand CD’s as well, it’s amazing.
Dead Rhetoric: What are your thoughts on the metal scene today compared to when you first started in bands?
Lochert: The metal scene, when I started to listen to Mötley Crüe was heavy metal, like Alice Cooper, Metallica, Sepultura – all of this was heavy metal in the subject. And then the other party existing was hip-hop. Now you have so many other genres- power metal, melodic metal, AOR, thrash, dark metal, doom metal, gothic metal, symphonic metal, opera metal and so on. This is total nonsense, metal music is metal music. You don’t have to split it into 1,500 parts. The metal scene gets bigger, it was never this big like it is in this time. But for the musicians who are playing this music, it’s getting more difficult. No record company has the power to put this much money into the band, like in former times with bands like Metallica, Poison, etc. To be an icon is done- too many bands exist, too many record labels, no one wants to make a push to make a second Metallica or Guns ‘n’ Roses.
Dead Rhetoric: What changes would you make (if any) to improve the state of the industry for the benefit of the bands, fans, promoters, venues, etc.?
Lochert: This is a really hard question. For me, good music has to be cool and something to live forever. Smaller labels, they seek distribution and it screws up the story a little bit.
Dead Rhetoric: What has been the piece of advice you’ve received when it comes to your career- and if people ask you for advice, what words of wisdom do you impart?
Lochert: The first and best thing was the first record deal. It was really amazing to hold a paper in our hands, the first record deal of my life. Because everyone was dreaming for a record deal, and for us it was a deal with Universal. I always say, learn a regular job. Don’t try with music- it keeps you alive much easier. It’s the truth, you have to work as a musician seven days a week. You have to be at the point, you can’t miss a chance, it’s important that everything is working in a very good way. You have to keep your eyes open to people, the right point at the right time. This is really hard. What I always tell young musicians when they ask me, I tell them ‘you know how to reach one million dollars very quickly?’ And then they say ‘no, please tell us!’. I say, ‘okay- start with two million dollars, then you will reach it easily.’ (laughs).
Dead Rhetoric: Do you feel that AFM is the best label for Serious Black, especially because of the styles of metal they work with?
Lochert: I think AFM is the best label for us at the moment. We love to work for those guys, they are working their asses off. You see it on Dustin and Timo, they are working on Saturday, they are working on Sunday- I can call them on Sunday evening at 10 o’clock and they are trying to make things possible. Of course, sometimes it is annoying for them but that’s the Bavarian in me.
Dead Rhetoric: You have a headlining tour set up for mainland Europe in the fall, plus Russia and the Far East on the docket during 2017. How do you see the early part of 2018 shaping up for Serious Black – could there be the possibility of a longer North American run if the opportunity presents itself?
Lochert: That’s what we’ve discussed before. We are going to be doing a second headliner tour in Europe, then we go straight away to Nipon in Japan. Then we will go to Russia- and a small break. Then let’s see if we go to South America, and I am talking with bands for a US tour. Let’s see how the conditions are, because at first, we will have to play a support tour there. We will do our best to play a complete tour in the US, we really want to break into the market there.
We already did a video with a professional team in Belgrade, Serbia – we did the song “Serious Black Magic”. A second lyric video is coming, so we are working on the highest professional level.
Dead Rhetoric: From what I understand, is it true one of the birds in that video was from Game of Thrones?
Lochert: Yes, we rented the crow with three eyes from the Game of Thrones. It was totally crazy- the bird is very much like a human. He’s doing what you tell him to do- it was astonishing. It was great- this was nice.
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