inside story: Kissin Dynamite

We always hear so much these days about the struggles that accompany the early careers of young bands, and we've seen many fall by the wayside, even here in the pages of Fireworks. I'd hazard a guess that one or two could do a lot worse than research the career of youngsters Kissin' Dynamite, a band who started back in 2008 (with the singer and guitarist's father as 'manager') and worked hard, got themselves a 'development' deal with AFM Records and have gone from strength to strength with true and more experimental releases ('Money, Sex And Power' - 2012 and 'Megalomania' - 2014, respectively). Things have clearly moved on quite significantly in KD land though - the management situation has changed twice in two years and the band is now a hard-nosed, hard-working touring band with many miles on the clock - so it's time for a new album, entitled 'Generation Goodbye'.
How did you approach the new album?
We never aim to do the same album twice so we talked a lot about where to go after 'Megalomania' and actually came to a conclusion pretty fast. We wanted to sound more guitar based, with less synth but still in a modern 'young' way. Also many things happened personally in the last few years, so we were able to write a more serious and darker album, though it's still very much fun to listen to and with the typical Kissin' Dynamite humour. What's really special about it is that we totally produced it ourselves. We wrote the songs, recorded it all and Hannes (Braun), our singer, then finally did the mix. It's a very personal album, honest to the core.

You apparently took everything in house as well, parting company with your management, who had nurtured your career since the very earliest days of the band. Well, actually our 'manager' from the very beginning was Hannes and guitarist Ande's father, so it wasn't a big issue. He had taken really good care of us; showed us the ways of Rock 'N Roll without forcing us to do anything we didn't like. As things got more professional he was searching for a more professional manager himself for us. We split with that professional manager two years ago mainly because we were already doing most of the stuff ourselves; and it wasn't a big deal. In this band everybody has his own job to do. One guy takes care of merch, another takes care of social media stuff etc."

You've had two very busy years - a significant amount of touring for 'Megalomania' certainly cemented your live reputation - but when did you actually sit down and decide a new album was appropriate?
We actually started a year ago basically, just talking through a few musical ideas and starting to compose. Some of the songs were even written on tour in the bus or in stinky dressing rooms. Hannes wrote most of them this time and Andi (Schnitzer), our drummer, wrote the lyrics. They form a strong unit when it comes to writing, so it's just seemed right.

The bio we got with this mentions a full complement of personal involvement; Hannes as producer, Andi as lyric writer. So where did/do you stop? Did you try to bring any outside influences in at all?
Not really. I used to write more songs in the past myself, but this time I've just started studying pop music in Mannheim, where Hannes also studied, so I didn't have as much time for writing. I contributed to the guitar riffs and of course my guitar solos, but my job for this record was basically to film the documentary for the special edition, do the cutting for that and edit and cut the two live videos for the DVD that goes with the special edition.

Hannes' vocals have clearly matured a lot here - the tone is significantly deeper. How much maturity do you think has carried through to everyone else as well?
A lot, but I totally agree with what you say about Hannes. I think he sounds really, really true. I mean, you believe every word he sings. He recorded alone, and that's probably why he just sang how he personally felt at that moment and it comes across how he heard it and then produced it, and not how a producer outside the room might feel it. We've certainly all got a little wiser over the years and better in how we do things I think. Not just when it comes to playing our instruments. It filters through into who we are, how we want to be seen and just being more efficient in general.

A stable line up must have helped with this record? Just how important is it that you've all known each other for so long?
I think this is one of the main reasons for our success. We have a strong brotherhood. Your new album 'New World Order' is the first Q5 album in nearly 30 years. What led you to reform and get back in the studio?
In 2009 Nightshade was asked to perform at the Headbangers Open Air Festival in Germany. I was the original drummer for Nightshade in 1991 but when I had to leave they brought in drummer Frankie Rongo, and eventually Evan Sheeley would join them. The promoter asked, since there were three original members of Q5 in the band, if they would consider doing two sets at HOA; one as Nightshade, the other as Q5. The band agreed and the response was fantastic.

In 2014 they were asked to perform as Q5 at the Sweden Rock Festival. For this show they recruited guitarist Rick VanZant (currently with Metal Church) in Floyd's position, and the crowd response was so overwhelming that the decision was made that Q5 would officially return. Once they came back to the States, however, Rick VanZant returned to his duties with Metal Church and Frankie Rongo returned to his very successful physical training career. Frankie Knowing each other for more than ten years has really helped us to talk more freely about our feelings within the band and discuss them without getting into a fight at all. At our shows, people see and feel a band on stage and not just five musicians getting paid for their job, if I might be blunt about that."

Let's talk about some of the tracks. The title track has a very strong title itself. Do you really feel you're part of a 'lost generation'?
There's so much shit going on in the world at the moment, but people who feel 'safe' just seem to care about nonsense things, like Facebook likes and Twitter messages - they don't see the "small" things happening around them. The message we wanna spread is: reduce your digital , at least a little, and live your life in the real world. It's all about meeting awesome people, talking about awesome things, hearing great stories, etc. For me, this is having a worthwhile life.

Kissin' Dynamite is known as a good old-school German classic Power Metal band to many, so do you feel that the 'messages' you're talking about in that track, and in single 'Hashtag Your Life', will come across and be understood by your fan base?
Absolutely. From the very early days Kissin' Dynamite was always a band playing in front of three generations. There are the old guys, loving the big choruses of the 80s; their kids - because we are young and doing a crazy show - and the guys in between. As those generations are getting older and learning from their kids about new stuff - Facebook nowadays is really quite old, with a lot of adults learning it off their children - I think many people can understand what we're trying to say. So many know the posers and wanna-be heroes on the internet. Everybody knows about going to concerts where there are always all these dudes with mobile phones texting, filming shitty videos with horrible sound or doing other things other than enjoying the show. There's nothing worse than being on stage as a band, full of energy, seeing someone texting in the front row!

Give us just a flavour of the background to songs such as 'Hashtag....', 'If Clocks Were Running Backwards' and 'Masterpiece'. They're all very different...
I think those songs perfectly illustrate the range of songs we're capable of. 'Hashtag....', as I just said, is a socio-critical song whereas 'If Clocks Were Running Backwards' is a total love song, musically transposed in a way, like a classic German/Scorpions Classic Rock style. What's really special about 'Masterpiece'? Well this song is written in the style of a duet. We were searching for a female singer and found Jennifer Haben of Beyond The Black, really good friends of ours. She just fitted that song perfectly.

Later in the album there's tremendous riffs in 'She Came She Saw', 'Highlight Zone' and 'Under Friendly Fire', which has a really aggressive edge! So is this a sign of what's to come from you guys in the future, or just summing up where you are now?
I'm really excited about the future. We are not really sure where this journey will lead right now but I love those songs. At the moment we're just focusing on touring in the autumn and having the chance to present these new songs to an audience. It's exciting as hell and the best part of being in a band. The songs just cry out to be live classics for me. It's not just about performing your songs though, it's about meeting friends and fans all over the world and travelling with my best friends to the awesome places we get to visit. In the near future, after the tour,
we will sit down together again and talk about future material. But one thing is for sure: Kissin' Dynamite won't get boring."

I saw the European tour dates yesterday and still you've not managed to get over to see us here in the UK? Do you think this might be possible with this album finally?
I absolutely hope so! We are actually planning support shows at some point for you guys, so let's see what the future brings. 'Generation Goodbye' is released here through AFM Records on July 11th 2016.

This article was used with kind permission and co-operation from FIREWORKS MAGAZINE

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