Interview with BEYOND THE BRIDGE

Beyond the Bridge

German progressive metallers, Beyond the Bridge, put out their debut album entitled The Old Man and the Spirit in January 2012 on Frontiers Records, what opened them many doors in the prog metal world. Though the band had a few difficulties in the time span of last two years, they had quite a few live performances. Their next live performance is the upcoming Generation Prog festival in Nürnberg, and we talked with bassist Dominik Stotzem and guitarist Peter Degenfeld about many topics concerning the band.

Prog Sphere: It’s been more than two years now since your debut album The Old Man and the Spirit was released via Frontiers Records. Considering this time distance, are you satisfied how the things work out for you ever since then?

Dominik: Well, we have had ups and downs. Clearly, losing our bandmate Simon shocked the band and made us numb for a very long time. Eversince then we are trying to get up on our feet again. We figured that in our situation it is most important to play live to feel the energy coming from the audience. So yes, we are very happy with our past concerts and every single one of them has a special meaning to us. After the shows we have met with many supporting fans and apparently some of them can not imagine a life without our music anymore. This is more than we have ever expected and it gives us what we need so much right now.

Prog Sphere: Are you satisfied with the reception you received for The Old Man and the Spirit?

Dominik: The promotional work right after the release in 2012 was very intense and boosted the name Beyond the Bridge into the prog scene. It felt great for us.

Beyond the Bridge - The Old Man and the SpiritProg Sphere: What is the story you try to depict on The Old Man and the Spirit? Can you give me a snapshot of the topics you explore on the songs?

Peter: In short, the character of the „old man“ embodies a man who lived trough the full range of human sensuousness, now seeking for superhuman awareness to make his existence complete. The character of the „spirit“ offers anything that the „old man“ strives for but completely lacks of human emotions. The album deals with the fight of the two characters as both realise that they have to choose between humanness and it’s contrary. There is a lot of room for interpretation in the story. Everyone is invited to find his own thoughts. These thoughts might change and alter during time and personal emotional situation. Today, I would like to say that the album deals with similar questions as a physicist from Munich has who wonders in the morning whether he should go to the office for science or to the „Oktoberfest“ for girls and beer…

Prog Sphere: What were the biggest challenges you faced when working on the album?

Peter: Keeping everything and everyone together over a long time and over very long distances. And of course, something that is always the biggest challenge to me, keeping up the passion through the struggles of everyday life.

Prog Sphere: I assume that you are working on new material. At this point, how far are we from having the second Beyond the Bridge album? What is the direction you take with that new material?

Dominik: We have taken the first and most important steps. The rest is just a matter of time, money and a good portion of luck. We will be having another concept album but with a concept which will be a lot easier to relate to but without loosing its conceptual depth. We are trying to write songs that are a bit more suitable for live situations. A good thing is that we did not change the songwriting team. As I always like to say… don’t touch a running system.

Prog Sphere: Let’s talk how Beyond the Bridge came into being. How did you go about forming the band?

Dominik: The core line-up of the band started back in the days of high school. We have been able to put some of the music which was written back then on the album. Before completing the band we finished the song writing process first.

Prog Sphere: It’s obvious that you grab inspiration from many distinctive genres. How do you go about channeling this inspiration into writing?

Peter: I guess it’s all about listening to a lot of music. The ear needs to get used to musical structures and so on. When I hear something especially interesting I try not to forget about it, so I write myself a note. Today I heard a childrens toy playing „Brother Jacob“ but the keyboard backing on that toy are amazing. In my notes it says now: „Bruder Jakob auf dem bunten Würfel“

Prog Sphere: Your next live performance is the Generation Prog festival on November 15th in Nürnberg. Do you prepare something special for this occasion?

Peter: Well, we have the possibility to play a long set. Some of the songs which we present in Nürnberg have not been performed by Beyond the Bridge quite a long time ago. We are also performing with Maggy Luyten (Ayreon, Beautiful Sin, Flaming Row, etc…) who sings the “spirit”. This alone will be something that is new and special compared to the original album version of the “the old man and the spirit”. The day after the concert will also be my 30th birthday, I have not yet decided whether I start drinking before or after the show ;-)

Beyond the Bridge (photo by Redl-Nagy Zoltán)

Beyond the Bridge (photo by Redl-Nagy Zoltán)

Prog Sphere: What is your perspective on progressive rock / metal’s importance on the music scene at this moment?

Dominik: As the name says, it is all about progressing. Prog music is there to create new and creative ideas. Whether it is important to a broader audience is not the question prog musicians should be facing. Because if it was, the answer would be very discouraging. However, there are certainly some great old prog bands that became heroes not only in the prog scene. But this happened over the course of time and I can imagine that it was not the very first intention of these bands.

Prog Sphere: With Prog Sphere we tend to release the Progstravaganza compilation series, highlighting the artists coming from progressive related genres from all around the world. Do you think such a thing is good enough to showcase the potential of many unheard bands on the already overcrowded scene?

Peter: It is a very good thing. Please, keep it up. As you say the scene is overcrowded and I don’t know any trick to make a band stand out. The only way to promote a band is by doing promotion over and over again. I like to listen to compilation CD‘s – every song is a surprise. Thank you for the chance to get on.

Visit Beyond the Bridge online:

Nikola Savić is a prog enthusiast, blogger and author, in addition to being the founder of Prog Sphere, Progify, ProgLyrics and the ongoing Progstravaganza compilation series.

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