Van Canto – composer Stefan Schmidt about inner strenght
text: Helena Torstensson
photo: Van Canto copyright.
The man behind the ‘solo guitar sound’ and ‘low vocals,’ is willing to answer some questions about their new album ‘Break The Silence.’
Our album review rates it extremely high with an 9 out of 10, and their tours are sold out pretty fast: media and fans adore their sound. What is the key of their success?
How would you like to introduce Van Canto as a band and your music to those who have not heard of you before?
Stefan Schmidt: “We are Van Canto, we do Metal A Cappella. Our band consists of five singers and one drummer.”
When it comes to influences, are there any bands or persons that have inspired your creative work as well as your style?
Stefan: “For me as the main composer, I want to mention the bands Metallica, Blind Guardian, Manowar, Europe and Nightwish as my main influences.”
What or whom inspires you when you write lyrics, and create music?
Stefan: “Our lyrics are about inner strength, belief in yourself and about staying on a path you once choose. So it’s much about personal subjects and most of the time very positive lyrics.”
Do you need to be on a special mood to be able to write music?
Stefan Schmidt: “Yes, of course. You can’t just sit down and say ‘Now I have to write a song’. It has to be a special mood for me, but I quickly notice if it’s a good day for writing a song or not at all.”
Do you write mostly to express your feelings or are there other reasons?
Stefan: ” Yes, mostly. We don’t have any political message or something that drives us. It is about personal experiences.”
What drives you and makes you keep on working with music?
Stefan: “I can’t tell. I have been doing music since I’m seven years old so I just can not imagine a live without it! It is a big passion of me and a force to do this with Van Canto.”
If you could not use music as a creative outlet, what would you use instead?
Stefan Schmidt: “I’m very happy that I have music, because my other talents are not that big (haha). I could never paint a picture or something like that. Perhaps I would try to direct music videos, as I also do this for Van Canto from time to time.”
You recently released your fourth album “Break the Silence”, what would you like to say about it?
Sefan: “It’s our fourth album, consisting of nine own songs and 3 covers. We produced it with Charlie Bauerfeind in the Blind Guardian Studio and in our own studio.”
How is it different from your other albums?
Sefan: “It’s the most live inspired album so far, because we wrote most of the songs while touring during our former album ‘Tribe of Force’. So we wrote songs inspired by which songs work great live.”
Which song or songs are favorites at the moment and why?
Stefan: “This changes from day to day. Right now it’s our first German song: Neuer Wind.”
Would you like to tell me when your love for music begun and how you have worked to achieve your goals and become the musician you are today?
Stefan Schmidt: “I started playing piano at the age of six. My first record was the”Final Countdown” from Europe. When I listened to their album ‘Prisoners in Paradise’ in 1991 I wanted to start playing guitar. I was 12 at that time.
I founded my first band at the age of 14. And I got my first record deal with my second band when I was 18. We played Power Metal but never got very far. In 2006 we founded Van Canto, we all knew each other from our former bands.
With Van Canto everything went quite fast and we finally got the chance to play all the festivals we always had been dreaming of.”
When you listen to music, what is the most important for you? I mean do you listen and read the lyrics or just enjoy the music part or kind of take it all in at once?
Stefan Schmidt: “Good question. Most important for me is the music, the singer, the melodies and the composition has to catch me. When I got into the music I also like reading the lyrics along. That’s why I buy CDs and do not like downloads very much.”
How has your own taste in music changed through the years? What do you listen to today?
Stefan: “Not that much. I still like all the bands I loved as a teenager, I already named them as my main inspiration. Apart from that I like Progressive Metal Bands like Shadow Gallery, Threshold and most of all Symphony X.”
If you were hit by a car and lie dying on the ground: but you got to sing one song that people would remember you for, a song that would sum up you, which song would that be?
Stefan: “Take to the sky.”
More information about Van Canto: VAN CANTO – Hero Metal A Capella official website.