ENTREVUE / INTERVIEW
WITH: FRANK BOSSERT
ALBUM REVIEW HERE
Philippe André - février 2016
Profil - EUREKA est le véhicule de création du compositeur et multi-instrumentiste allemand Frank BOSSERT, qui est peut-être moins connu de ce côté de l’atlantique. Le premier album éponyme d’EUREKA a été publié en 1997, il a été suivi en 2002 par « Full Circle », et en 2005 c’est le troisième album « The Compass Rose » tous les trois en autoproduction. Plus tard EUREKA signe avec le label Inside Out Records et sort son quatrième opus en 2009 intitulé « Shackleton’s Voyage ». Les débuts musicaux d’EUREKA pouvaient être décrits comme un mélange de de progressif saupoudré généreusement d’influences celtiques. Plusieurs autres comparent la musique de ce projet à des musiciens comme Mike Oldfield. Sur l’album « Great Escapes », il semble que l’auteur ait modifié son approche pour nous offrir un son plus rock. Nous allons laisser à Frank BOSSERT le soin de nous expliquer cela et bien d’autres choses.
Profil - Thank you for answering to these questions for Profil.
Profil - You just produce your fifth album under the title "Great Escapes", what is the main idea behind this title?
FB - When I started writing the first songs the lyrics revolved around a main topic, just because it’s what moved me at the time and it still does. It feels like we’re trapped in a parallel existence these days with all that digital shit we’re addicted to. All that animated stuff that keeps us from our real life more and more and it starts to make people weird and unhappy. Not speaking of the loss of social capacity! The songs on „Great Escapes“ are about the different ways we try to escape from these circumstances that make us unhappy. You can say it’s a lyrical concept album, but it happened by accident :-)
PR - Despite the fact that there is a central theme found on the majority of the compositions of the album, "Stolen Child" is exception to the rule, can you briefly tell us about?
FB - "Stolen Child“ is about the alienation from my son, recklessness forced from his mother after I decided to leave her. I’ve been to court procedures over a span of seven years until I gave it up - you don’t get any help in this as a father in Germany. It’s a huge problem in today’s society - a hot potato for politics and the media. Thousands of children have to grow up in Germany without having a father on their side just because no one stops these mothers. They can almost do what they want with their children after a couple split up. The effect on the children is known as the „Parental-Alienation-Syndrome“. I wrote this song as a „wake up call“ because nobody dares to stand up! It’s a disaster - nobody got the eggs! We have all these „Father Associations“ building up, but society doesn't take notice from them in a positive way - it’s something to smile at. It’s such a sad thing for my son and me. You don’t want anybody to go through this, believe me!
PR - It seems that your Celtic influences as well as Mike Oldfield have disappeared from your compositions and they have been replaced with a more rock sound on this new album. Why this change of tone?
FB - Actually „Shackleton’s Voyage“ was the first album that was going in a new direction for Eureka. It was the transition album for me. It had some of the old Eureka trademarks in the folkier tracks but it had the vocal tracks with Billy Sherwood leading in a more song oriented, rockier direction that already showed what was to come in the future. It was the perfect vehicle for me to make a transition to rock music again because the story of the first albums was told. Looking back I really like the „Full Circle“ and „Compass Rose“. I did put a lot of work in those albums, but I wanted to make rock music again. In the end that’s what I feel most comfortable with and what gets more and more important with the years.
PR - I read that you had envisioned changed the name of Eureka for Taurus Project, but Great Escapes is still released under the name of Eureka. What made you change your mind?
FB - I had the plan to release the new album "Great Escapes" under the new name "Taurus" but in the time of the songwriting I realized that it wasn’t necessary to give these songs a new vehicle. They just felt like the logical transformation I was going through with Eureka. As an artist you try to reflect life as you live it, and that’s the simple reason why the music of real artists is changing - just because life is changing. Musicians that are willing to recreate almost the same music with every new album are part of machinery – that’s o.k. for some reasons, but from an artistic point of view it is completely the opposite of what I feel songwriting is all about!
PR - Why have you waited so long (six years) to release a new album?
FB - From the perspective of a musician who can’t make a living from his art (who can?) six years are not as long as it seems from the outside, especially when you’re doing it all by yourself. Like the most of us I have a day job (as a music teacher), so you have to spent most of your free time writing and recording songs for a new album. It eats up your life when you can’t earn proper money from it. Ask that same question to the likes of Peter Gabriel, sitting on mountains of money and just revisiting their old stuff time after time - so who is to blame?
FB - Seriously, I’m a very hard working guy, but an album like I do costs a lot of money before it is released, not to count one hour of my work - just the mix, manufacturing, musician fees, equipment, photos and so on - you don’t earn a cent from it. It’s just a question of how much you pay on top to release an album these days if you are not one of the top sellers.
FB - And that leads us to your next question. I founded my own label „Silverware“ as an attempt to keep some money or loose less to be correct. When I asked Inside Out if they want to release the record they answered me that they are not working with German bands anymore, funny isn’t it? A German label is not working with German artists - that makes sense! That confirmed me to go ahead with what I had already planned. It’s a little harder on the promotional side because a lot of the big magazines ignore independent labels but anyway. I think my music speaks for itself. “Great Escapes” is such a strong album it will make it on one or the other way.
PR - On "Great Escapes” We note the presence of Yogi Lang (RPWL), which makes me think this. Have you ever thought to publish your album on a German label for a better promotion of your album?
FB - "Shackleton’s Voyage" was released by InsideOut/Tempus Fugit with all the usual promotion. So I know how this works out in the end. You may be selling a few more copies but end up earning so less money that in the end you pay on top if you face the money you have invested in the production. Establishing my own label „Silverware“ is an attempt to achieve a better balance between costs and earnings - or more concrete: pay less on top! Otherwise it would become suicidal :-)
PR - At one time you were part of a group, today you do almost everything alone. Do you think that the result might have been different if there had been a group with you?
FB - The times I’ve been in a band, in my early years as a musician, were the best years of my life - no doubt! But we were in our twenties then and friends from school years on - finding partners like these again in you forties is like finding oil in your garden :-) Writing with other musicians is not easy and if you’re living in the countryside or a small place like me, there are not hundreds of bright musicians around you, so it is obvious that you do as much as you can on your own - in my case that’s pretty much all of it! :-) I have a drummer (Steve Hanson) who is working with me for long now and I give him a call when I feel like he is the better drummer for a song. He did a great job on the album and our different drumming styles are sort of an extra for the songs. Another thing are the backing vocals. I know some fantastic female singers who also helped me on choirs on four of the songs. But that’s pretty much it!
FB - Phil Collins said in a recent interview, answering the same question: „When I can do something on my own I’ll prefer that!“ I’m with him in this point. Working semi-professional sometimes leaves you with no other chance also. You don’t get the time to wait for wonders otherwise it would take even longer to finish an album.
FB - I know there is this cliché that albums made merely by one person have a lack of interaction, but believe me this is a myth! You learn to work around that and in the end the advantages outweigh this. In a group so many musical aspects have to be compromises. If you are working on your own you can focus exactly on your musical vision. You can bring things more to the point.
PR - Is - what you stand informed of what happens onstage progressive both in Germany and elsewhere in the world?
FB - I think that the term progressive is not used in its original meaning anymore. It’s so worn out! So if you mean progressive linked to bands that have long tracks on their albums, using odd time signatures and a lot of mellotron than - yes! There are still bands in Germany as well as in the rest of the world that could be described as progressive. But to me this has almost nothing to do with the spirit of the bands that raised art and progressive rock. It is stripped down to a formula these days - a bit like a cartoon. Most of the bands that define themselves as to be progressive just use the blueprint of past bands without moving in a new direction, what would be the meaning of being progressive to me! But there are still some bands that sound fresh and open new doors that are linked to the genre. "Lifesigns“, "Sound of Contact“ and not to be forgotten, the new Eureka album, are good examples that there is still some fresh music that could be linked to the genre. But there are lots of Progheads out there that want the music to stay like it was defined in the seventies and that’s the problem!
PR - Do you believe in the survival of music as we know it today?
FB - Hard to say. To be honest I think music and the status of music have changed so immensely that you can’t see how deep the fall will go. On the other side who says that things can’t change to a positive one day? Right now it doesn’t look very good at all. The casting generation rules as well as the dumb internet-piracy. The categories in music are getting so narrow in their interpretations that it’s pretty cartoon like on some levels and that’s not a good answer of the artists in a time of crisis because it makes it all worse when musicians get afraid to leave beaten paths. In my opinion it’s a matter of character. If you stand in for what you believe is your way musically people will always like your music because they can feel it is made from the heart and not with the possible buyer in mind. It’s a matter of stamina :-)
PR - What is the future of Frank Bossert? And Eureka actually gone?
FB - In a few months I’ll get 49 - that’s a good question! I’ve been through some hard years as well as I have experienced very happy times. It’s a matter of perspective how you see the past as well as you look into the future. As this is foremost an interview with me as a musician I have to say I cannot be happier. I have made an album that leaves me so satisfied that I can hardly imagine doing it any better! But as I say this I know I’ll be much too curious to try it nevertheless! :-)
PR - You have ever thought to give it all up?
FB - I can’t imagine there is one musician out there who has never asked himself that question! But again - I’m much too curious to see how it will turn out :-)
PR - What are your short term plans?
FB - My next project is to form a live band. When I started to write the songs for "Great Escapes“ I wanted to write music that could be played in a power trio format and that’s what I did. Apart from two or three songs every track on this album is arranged to be played by a trio. It will take its time to form the band and rehearse the songs so I don’t want to hurry anything but as soon as possible I will do Eureka live. Should be great to do some concerts and hopefully make a live album.
PR - You got the final word…
FB - Buy my new album "Great Escapes“! It’s an album that will please you the rest of your life for the cost of a cheap restaurant meal that is gone the day after…
PR - Thank you very much.