BraveWords Preview: VAN CANTO Vocalist STEFAN SCHMIDT Talks Covering QUEEN’s “I Want It All” – “It’s Really Like Working With Two Lead Singers; One Is Singing, The Other Is Playing Guitar”

    Germany’s a capella outfit Van Canto recently released their eighth studio album, To The Power Of Eight. BraveWords spoke with vocalist Stefan Schmidt about the album , and following is an excerpt from the feature due to be published soon.

    On covering Queen’s “I Want It All” for To The Power Of Eight

    Schmidt: “With Queen it’s really something special because over the years we’ve made a lot of progress when it comes to imitating rhythm guitars, but if you cover a Queen song it’s really like working with two lead singers. One is singing, the other is playing guitar, so it was something special, but I leave the judgement as to whether it actually worked up to you (laughs). But, it was a lot of fun.”

    “We discussed doing ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ for the very first Van Canto album (Hero, released in 2005) – it was the record company’s suggestion – but we said no because the voices on the song are perfect and we can’t do it better. Doing ‘I Want It All’, we at least had the feeling that we had some room for… let’s call it improvisation when it came to the metal feel of the drums and the interpretation of the lead guitar. But, we didn’t want to move that far away from the original. There was a thin line when it came to approaching the song. It took us eight albums to do a Queen cover, so I guess that says it all (laughs).”

    Watch for the complete feature, coming soon.

    To The Power Of Eight marks another milestone in the band’s impressive career and presents Van Canto as a coherent entity stronger than ever! Starting out with their first full-length, A Storm To Come (2006), the unstoppable force set the stage for their very own genre and never failed in surprising their fans and beyond through the time being, while showcasing that metal can be heavy as hell without any riffage. With their previous full length, Trust in Rust (2018), the German rarity reworked its lineup, consisting of seven members since then. For To The Power Of Eight, the unit once again joined forces with Philip Dennis “Sly” Schunke, who had been the lead singer on their first six studio records. Sly joins lead vocalists Inga Scharf and Hagen Hirschmann on all twelve flawless tracks as third vocalist and special guest. It’s clear that this peerless piece of music was written with three voices in mind: To The Power Of Eight embodies a special sense of common bond and presents Van Canto in undeniable peak form.

    Van Canto on the new album: “Being able to present an album after 15 years of band history, where three lead singers share the microphone hand in hand, makes us incredibly proud. Due to the pandemic situation we had a lot of time to work on To The Power Of Eight and put all our heart and soul into the compositions, the arrangements and the production. Originally we planned to have Sly as guest vocalist for one song – but it turned out to be twelve in total in the end. If someone would ask for one record to present Van Canto the most suitable way, we would choose To The Power Of Eight.”

    From their own original speed driven tracks, like flaring “Dead By The Night”, raise-your-fist animated “Heads Up High” or mid-tempo, heart-warming “Turn Back Time”, to anthemic heavy metal covers such as Amon Amarth’s “Raise Your Horns”, Iron Maiden’s “Run To The Hills” or AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”, Van Canto always manages to easily serve their own unique take with every output. On the one hand, To The Power Of Eight reflects a well experienced collective that has gathered several top 50 entries on the German album charts and played numerous shows around the globe and festivals like 70k Tons Of Metal, Wacken and Masters of Rock. But at the same time, it presents these energetic visionaries of acapella metal, who are far from resting on what they’ve achieved so far.

    To The Power Of Eight is available in the following formats:

    – 1 LP Gatefold
    – 1 CD Digipack
    – Digital Album

    Order here.

    To The Power Of Eight tracklisting:

    “To The Power Of Eight”
    “Dead By The Night”
    “Faith Focus Finish”
    “Falling Down”
    “Heads Up High”
    “Raise Your Horns”
    “Turn Back Time”
    “Run To The Hills”
    “Hardrock Padlock”
    “From The End”
    “I Want It All”

    “Faith Focus Finish” video:

    “Raise Your Horns” video:

    “Falling Down” video:

    Van Canto is:

    Hagen Hirschmann – Lead Vocals
    Inga Scharf – Lead Vocals
    Ross Thompson – Higher Rakkatakka Vocals
    Stefan Schmidt – Lower Rakkatakka Vocals
    Jan Moritz – Pad und Backing Vocals
    Ingo Sterzinger – Bass and Backing Vocals
    Bastian Emig – Drums and Backing Vocals

    (Photo – Tim Tronckoe)

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