Development of a civilized market in this bloody country finally starts to bear some fruit for us metalheads. In this particular case I'm speaking about an album of a superproject called Beto Vazquez Infinity that was released in Russia three months before its official release in Europe. For those of you who don't know, Beto Vazquez is an Argentine guitarist and composer creating symphonic and progressive power metal music, whose debut solo release features such superstars as Candice Night, Jorg Michael, Fabio Lione and Tarja Turunen (no need for mentioning the names of their main bands, I hope). I got the chance to talk to guitarist and songwriter Lanvall, the mainman of Austrian band Edenbridge, who also made a valuable contribution to the project together with Edenbridge singer Sabine Edelsbacher. Check out our reviews section to learn about what we think of the album and read on here to find out what Lanvall thinks. Mind you, the interview is not limited to Beto Vazquez Infinity only, we also talked a lot about Edenbridge and other things that are of interest and importance to fans and creators of music. First of all, tell me how you got involved in the project.

Lanvall: Actually I got involved in the project through Sabine, because she got a call from Argentina, from our label chief Marcelo Cabuli at NEMS Enterprises, and he was asking her if she liked to be a part of the Infinity project, and he told us that Tarja, Candice Night from Blackmore's Night and Fabio Lione were also involved in the project and that Jorg Michael was playing the drums. It actually took place one day before our first live concert in the year 2000, in November. We talked about the project and telephoned each other many times, then Sabine got the demo of the songs and I was asked to do the vocal line and the lyrics for one song, "Wizard", and that was my contribution to the project. Have you ever met Beto Vazquez in person?

Lanvall: No, we never talked to him either. (laughs) It all went through his manager and label chief Marcelo, but I'm sure we will get in touch soon, that we will mail each other. I've heard that he likes our new record very much and we also like the Infinity record very much (laughs). How were the songs distributed among singers? Was it Beto who assigned a particular singer for each songs, or did the singers choose the tracks they wanted to sing on?

Lanvall: I think Beto chose all the songs and the singers that should sing each song, and we got only the songs that Sabine should sing. I think it was decided before. Can you tell me anything about the concept of the album?

Lanvall: Well, then you have to ask Beto, because I don't know anything about the concept (laughs). I only can tell you what the song that I wrote the lyrics for is dealing with. Marcelo told me what the song should deal with, he said it should be about the wizard that was supposed to work with black magic, but then it was clear that he's dealing with white magic and I was writing the lyrics around this concept. I tried to bring in the positive style that also stands for Edenbridge. It was fun. I've heard that there were several versions of "Promises Under The Rain" done by different singers, is that true?

Lanvall: I don't know if there were several versions, I know that Candice had already recorded her part when Sabine got the CD, and she was listening to the recording (as far as the CD booklet says, it's Tarja who did the backing vocals on that track - ed.), but Sabine's got a totally different way to sing that song. Sabine recorded her part here in Austria, and then other singers recorded full versions of the songs, and then Marcelo and other guys in Helsinki decided while doing the mix which singer should sing the verses and choruses. Are Beto Vazquez Infinity doing any live shows, and if so, who sings there?

Lanvall: I don't know either. So you weren't invited to participate, were you?

Lanvall: Not until now, but if there is something I don't think it will be for me, because I'm only the guitar player and the mainman of Edenbridge, I didn't play anything on the album. If there are live shows in Europe I could imagine that there are might be guest singers for some shows, but at the moment it's a studio project. I heard that Beto Vazquez has live shows in South America, maybe he has a female singer who is singing all the stuff and all the songs there (his official page says that he indeed has two female singers for local shows - ed.), but I don't think that something is planned for Europe at the moment. Are you involved in any other side projects?

Lanvall: At the moment no, because I'm totally busy with my band Edenbridge, I'm writing all the songs and also all the lyrics and I'm doing interviews for Edenbridge and the management at the moment, so this is taking my whole time. At the moment I'm writing songs for the third CD which we will record in November, and therefore it's really time-taking and I have no time for any side project. A few albums have been released recently that involve many guest stars, guest singers, I mean, Ayreon or "Leonardo - The Absolute Man". What do you think of them?

Lanvall: I like a lot of them. "Leonardo" is really a cool record, because I like how James LaBrie is singing on it, he did a fantastic work, and I like other singers that took part such as Steve Walsh and Michelle Young, that's very cool. I also like the "Avantasia" record. Ayreon is not really my cup of tea, it's too… I wouldn't say "atmospheric", but I'm missing the real great melody lines there. Can you tell me a little bit about your own career? What bands influenced you in the beginning?

Lanvall: Well, I started playing piano at the age of seven and took lessons for 12 years. Then I came to bass guitar which I learned by myself and then to guitar which I studied for one year at the American Institute of Music in Indiana, I graduated from it with a diploma. For the first 14 years I only was in touch with classical music and then I discovered heavy metal. The first bands I listened to were Scorpions and Europe, the melodic hard rock stuff, and from the point on where I started to write my own songs I always wanted to combine classical music with heavy metal. I think this is the thing I'm doing now, bringing in classical ideas and also other ideas like Far Eastern influences into metal music. Did you have any bands before Edenbridge?

Lanvall: Not really, I had a solo project where I recorded three CDs for a small German label under my name, it was primarily symphonic guitar rock music with a lot of different influences. I integrated a church choir and also different instruments and everything. That was before the start of Edenbridge. I had another project out of which Edenbridge was created. Is Lanvall your real name?

Lanvall: No, it's my stage name. Does it have any special meaning?

Lanvall: At the point where I was recording my first solo CD, I had to think about the name under which the record could be released and I didn't want to use my real name. So my record label at that time made some proposals and Lanvall was one of them. I liked it very much, I thought that it had some similarities to the music I was making at that moment. Actually Lanvall is a hero of a novel by Marie Le Swars (not sure about the spelling - ed.), as far as I know, he's a hero of English and Irish mythology. Is Edenbridge your main occupation or do you do something else for a living?

Lanvall: It's the thing that I'm living from. As I said before, Edenbridge is taking all my time and I can't do anything else. The fact that I'm doing all the music and lyrics is bringing some money (laughs), I'm not rich if you mean this, but it's enough to live from. Was it difficult for Edenbridge to get a deal with Massacre?

Lanvall: No, we did our first CD "Sunrise In Eden" in 1999 and then sent it to about 30 record labels around the world, and two weeks later, Massacre were on the telephone and offered us a deal immediately. It was fantastic because I haven't heard about another band that got a deal in two weeks. It was really great, we got some other offers, but Massacre made us the best offer at that time, and it was a really good idea to sign there, because they did a great promotion job for our first record, and also for the second one ("Arcana", 2001), they managed to license the record to all important markets in the world, and it's fantastic for us. What inspires you when you're writing music and lyrics for Edenbridge and Beto Vazquez?

Lanvall: Well, there are so many different influences, it could be movies, other music, nature, reading books, etc. Inspiration can come from everywhere, I mean, I am a big science fiction fan, especially "Star Track", from where I derive a lot of inspiration. What is your opinion about extreme metal genres, like death and black metal? There is a whole war in the Russian Internet where fans of power metal are fighting fans of death and black metal on various forums and pages?

Lanvall: Maybe that's the same like years before here in mid-Europe, when "posers" were fighting against "thrashers" (laughs), it was in the 1980s. I mean, it's bullshit, because there are so many different bands and every band should have its place if they are making good music. I don't like death and black metal so much, because their vocals suck (laughs), I like melodic vocals. But I like bands from this sector like Children Of Bodom and Dimmu Borgir because they're making great music and therefore I don't care so much about the vocals in those bands. I think every band should have its place and every listener should be free to listen to whatever he likes. What do you think about live shows? Do you enjoy doing them? The official Edenbridge site says that the band originally started as a studio project.

Lanvall: Edenbridge started as a studio project because it was very important for us to make an album first of all, not to start as a live band. When we got a deal, we were to make up our minds to make live shows. We rehearsed for half a year, recruited a second guitar player and then started to play. I like live shows, they're an important part, it's something completely different to the studio. I like both things, studio works last forever and a live show is lasting for one evening. I like the thrill on stage and I like when a live show is very good. I hope we will be on tour soon. What's your best live experience?

Lanvall: Definitely when I saw Dream Theater the first time, that was in Munich on the Images and Words Tour in 1993, they still had Kevin Moore in the line-up. I don't have the words to describe it, it was simply incredible. There are not many power and symphonic metal bands coming from Austria, most of what we hear are death and black metal stuff such as Pungent Stench and Summoning. Can you recommend us any Austrian bands that are of interest to you?

Lanvall: The only band that's coming out this year is Visions Of Atlantis, they're just recording their first album. They're going in the Nightwish style with two different singers, the lady is singing very high in the vein of Tarja, and the male singer has a very… I wouldn't say low but mid-voiced. The music is very Nightwish-influenced, but it's a very good band. We played three times together here in Austria, they were opening for us, and I think their record should come out in summer or maybe before summer. Do you know whether a second album of Beto Vazquez Infinity is planned?

Lanvall: Yeah, I hope so, the first album is very good, and I would like to see a second album with the same singers. I think that could be an interesting thing because projects always have this money-earning status. It's important for a project to last over more than one record, so it would be cool if there is a second album soon. A traditional question - is there anything that you would like to say to Edenbridge and Beto Vazquez fans in Russia?

Lanvall: Yeah, I wanna greet all our fans in Russia and I'm really hoping that we can play sometimes in Russia. I heard that fans are very crazy there, that it's possible to play to 3,000-5,000 people at live shows. I also heard that Udo, who recorded his last album in Russia, had said that Russia has the best recording equipment (?! - ed.) for live albums. I really hope that our record company can bring us there sometime, and greetings to all our fans there! Well, that's it for today. Thank you very much for calling me, it was a very interesting conversation.

Lanvall: Thank you too, it was the pleasure for me as well.

Questions asked by Roman the Maniac

Special thanks to Iris Bernotat (Focusion P&M) for making this interview possible.

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