Interview date

December 2006


Yann G


Hello Axel, thanks a lot for accepting this interview for the french metal webzine http://www.auxportesdumetal.com/.
You've just released with your band DOMAIN your latest album "Stardawn". Can you please present us this new release ?

It's a good mixture of the classical Melodic Metal / Power Metal songs for the traditional listener and the epic / symphonic stuff for the new generation.

You are today, 18 years later, the only remaining member of the original line-up.
Can you present us the line-up that recorded "Stardawn" ?

Axel "Ironfinger" Ritt: Guitars, Backing-Vocals
Carsten Lizard Schulz: Vox
Erdmann Lange: Keyboards, Backing-Vocals
Jochen Mayer: Bass, Backing-Vocals
Stefan Kollner: Drums

On your website, it is announced that the singer Carsten Schulz is now replaced by AVALON singer Chity Somapala.
Can you please explain us this decision ?

Carsten and Jochen left the band on their own request. Carsten was of the opinion that the band didn't accord enough appreciation to him and Jochen couldn't live with the fact that I have the accountability for the band.

How did you meet Chity ?

Chity contacted me some months ago to apply for studio recordings. It happened by accident that he was the right man at the right place.

How would you compare this new release with your previous ones ?

After the success of the last DOMAIN-album "Last Days Of Utopia", we had a long discussion within the band regarding the orientation of the upcoming album. I didn't want to leave the new epic-symphonic path we've headed but some of us favored to step back to the traditions of the Melodic Metal background the band celebrated in the albums before.
So we decided to divide the complete album into two partitions. One partition should satisfy the wishes of the longtime fans, the other one should strike the right note for the new fans, who, for example took "Last Days..." for the debut album of the band.
To create the first partition, all of us picked up their hooks, ideas and arrangements to place them in the new songs, which finally had been completed in our rehearsal studio. To create the second partition, the band permitted me to exploit my whole creativity by composing a complete 25-min. symphony, divided into 7 chapters, basing on a story of our singer Carsten.
This opus made me pushing the envelope. The sheer monstrosity of "Shadowhall" took about 3 months of pre-production and arrangement/score-works before I could start with the actual recordings. All in all, it took almost one year to finish the album. Never before have that many tracks been recorded, has the orchestral arrangements be that extensive and never before had that level of virtuosity been performed.
I believe that we've strike a balance between past and present, between yesterday and today, still looking for the musical borderlines we didn't reach until now.

Stardawn is now released in limited edition in 2-CD edition + 1 DVD. Can you please tell us more about this package ?

It's a 4000 copies worldwide limited edition with a double-CD plus additional DVD, containing in addition to the new studio album various special features, for example:
- 9 brandnew tracks incl. the 25min. epos "Shadowhall"
- 35min. live-cut of the international in Korea
- 15min. live-show at Koreas biggest Saturday evening TV-show
- 40min. tour-dokumentation with band-interview
- diashow
- a 16 songs best-of collection of all DOMAIN-albums which had been released between 1987 - 2005
- a re-release of the hits "Lost In The City", "I Dont Wanna Die" und "Hard Road To Midnight" in remastered versions
- a re-release of the tracks "Stormbringer" and "Over The Hills And Far Away", which had only appeared on 2 rare samplers.
- all in all a 5-piece box-edition with 3 booklets, over 240 min. playtime, you can't get more value for money! You can prelisten to 2 new album tracks ("Crystal Stone Island" and "Temple Of The Earth") at www.myspace.com/axelritt.

Let's now talked about the songs and influences contained in this release.
All In The Name Of Fire" sounds very neo-classical. It reminds Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Stump heavy-metal. Do you agree with this ? Who are the guitarists who influenced you the most ?

Well, many listeners compare some of our faster tunes to Malmsteen because I used classical scales a little bit more at my solo-works in the last times, so far I am able to relate to that. When I was a young boy, my biggest influences were Jeff Beck, Brian May and of course Gary Moore.

"Temple Of The Earth" sounds a little bit like Edguy, another german band. Even the voice of Carsten sounds a little bit like Tobias Sammett's one.

"Temple..." is one of the typical DOMAIN tunes, we practised these arrangements already in our early days and we composed this song especially for our traditional fans.

It's very surprising that you decided to do a cover of one Chris De Burgh's song "Don't Pay The Ferryman". Can you please explain us such a choice ?

The reason for taking this hit as a cover-version is a funny story. About 20 years ago, the first concert our singer Carsten ever went to, was a CDB-show. It looks like that the show has left a mark, so that he decided, now that he's a musician as well, to recommend this song for doing the cover-version. First, all of us were very mistrustful about this proposal, but the more we look into this subject, the more we recognize that this song is already very "Domainy", we just had to make contact to the actual DOMAIN-sound. The song fits perfect in the classical DOMAIN-song-structures, so I gave it a modern sound, more punch in the arrangement and here we go.

Did Chris hear your cover ? If yes, do you know if he liked it ?

Chris de Burgh liked the DOMAIN version of "Don't Pay The Ferryman" that much, that he invited the band to be present at his sold-out concert at the Festhalle Frankfurt. Chris lived up his name as a polite and friendly entertainer and met the band one hour before his concert started for a chat. Please check out http://www.humbuckermusic.de/CDB/Desktop.html.

"Shadowall" is the longest song with its melodic, progressive and symphonic metal of 29 minutes. Can you please tell us about the themes of the lyrics you developed in this song ?

It's a song about a vampire clan but you can also describe it as a story about good against bad.

Do you have any future parallel personal project outside DOMAIN, like for example recording an instrumental shredding release ?

Not at the moment, because as the guitarist, composer, arranger and producer of DOMAIN I don't have the time to feature other projects beside, but you'll never know.....

Do you plan to tour to promote this new album ? Do you plan to visit France ?

Yes, we're planning to tour in spring 2007. The next show will be the End Of Dayz Festival at the Z7, Switzerland Dec. 30th.

With which bands or guitarists would you dream to tour with ?

Blind Guardian, because it's the actual band, comparable with our style, that got the best attendance at the moment.

DOMAIN's metal reminds the 80-90s. How do you judge the evolution of traditional heavy-metal stage today ?

Nothing has changed. The people still love the riffing of those decade, the only difference is that most of the modern metal bands don't have a singer anymore.

Would you have some words for the french webzine readers ?

It would be a great pleasure to see you on tour!

Thanks a lot for this interview and congratulations for the "Stardawn" release.

You're welcome.
Axel "Ironfinger" Ritt