One can think that the ride of these guys has been always easy. The first major label deal at the age of 15. Four studio albums by the age of 23, and the most recent one, Megalomania (2014), at one of the most respected labels AFM Record. Huge fan and media support, performances at the biggest European festivals, lots of headlining shows… They have never looked as rebels with their parents’ help since childhood, etc. Looks easy, right? Not at all! According to the frontman and the main composer of KISSIN' DYNAMITE Hannes Braun it has been a real hard work since the first steps. And it’s still a long way to go to their main goal – to present always the best quality stuff to their fans and to reach total worldwide success. But it seems these youngsters are ready to meet the challenge!
MetalKings: Hannes, what did attract you the most in metal music in the beginning? I mean, the sound, bands’ image, long hair, freedom, energy or anything else?
Hannes Braun: Everything about it! But what I loved the most was this feeling of one united crowd having a good time! It always gave me goose bumps when I watched live dvds of my favourite bands and saw their crowds simply freaking out! I loved Iron Maiden´s Rock in Rio so much, that actually my biggest wish is to perform on Rock in Rio!
MetalKings: I read somewhere that actually you create many more songs with KD than you finally use for your albums. Like you create 50 ideas and put to a CD 11 only. Do you feel ok rejecting some of your ideas putting them to trash?
Hannes: It’s absolutely ok, because nobody is just a genius and everything that he or she creates is just perfect. I stop writing songs for our albums, when I’m really satisfied.
MetalKings: How do you create new songs?
Hannes: Everything is possible. Sometimes a song title hits me all of a sudden. Sometimes I play piano and suddenly I notice that I just played a good melody. This is the cool thing about being creative: It’s always different! It doesn’t get boring!
MetalKings: As far as I’m concerned it’s your drummer who writes most of the lyrics for Kissin’ Dynamite. Do you feel comfortable singing the lines created by another person, presenting ideas of another guy? Are you able to sing it from all your heart?
Hannes: You know, we are both working on new songs. We basically do what we do best. I compose all the music and melodies and Andi does most of the lyrics. But we are always communicating with each other. We have a plan behind a song and we work it out together. Musically and lyrically. So yes, I can sing the songs and their lines from all of my heart.
MetalKings: At the same time, I’ve read in some interview that some songs are created according to your ideas, for example, VIP In Hell when you saw a poster on the street.
Hannes: Well, every song needs a great idea. Whose it is and whose it was doesn’t really matter to us. We want a great song in the end. And VIP was just an example how it possibly can all start writing a song. You never know when creativity strikes in, so you better take every chance you get.
MetalKings: You used to write metal anthems about “steel”, “metal nation”, etc… in the beginning…
Hannes: We grew up listening to AC/DC, The Scorpions, Judas Priest and Accept because our parents listened to that kind of music. So we were influenced pretty a lot with all that 80´s hard rock and metal music. And for a very very long time there has been only metal and rock music in my life musically, so I think yes: We meant it singing "We are addicted to metal!"
Hannes: No, I guess he was very happy that his children had the same musical taste! I mean, he was very proud of us that we also loved his heroes and wanted to do all the same.
MetalKings: As we talked before, we can hear your real adult voice first on Money, Sex & Power then on Megalomania and I really adore it. Do you have any idea to re-record your OLDER songs using your current vocal capabilities, variety and power of your voice? Because there are lots of good ones, some of them we can hear at your shows, and it’s clear that they can sound a bit different nowadays, more powerful with all your experience and capabilities!
Hannes: I think this is something for the end of our career in 30 years, when we’re not able anymore to write good songs, haha! No seriously: I don’t think that there is any need to re-record the old songs. They were part of our beginning and stand for a specific era of our band and our time. It would loose all the magic the songs have if we re-recorded them. We always want to deliver awesome new material and I think this is why our fans love us so much!
MetalKings: Ande Braun is your brother by blood and you began this musical adventure together! But I see you more often (at least, on public) in a duo with another guitarist, Jim. I mean interviews, TV and radio presentation etc. Does it mean that he’s closer to you nowadays, at least, in music?
Hannes: No, all the band’s members are my brothers. Not only Ande. You know it’s kind of similar to the songwriting process: Over the years you find out which is the best working team for a specific task. And when it comes to interviews it’s me and Jim. Ande for example is the best guy when it comes to all social media stuff. He’s the chief of this specific department. I think as a band you have to question yourself what you’re really best in. This is also a very important key to success.
MetalKings: Usually, performing I Will Be King you “mistreat” your colleagues on stage demonstrating your king power ;) Don’t they feel like taking a vengeance on you backstage after the show? ;) And why the main victim of “Your Highness” is always the bass player?
Hannes: You know, it’s always the bass player! :-) The whole world is joking about bass players, so why shouldn’t I? :-)
MetalKings: Could you tell us about your first music teacher? What was the main lesson, the main advice did you learn from him/her or other teachers you met in your life?
Hannes: My first music teacher was the one and only Ginger Mac Kenzie from the US. She was simply the best! She gave me vocal lessons at the age of ten. She just showed me everything. How to sing, to perform like a boss and the good old entertainment school. She was so friendly, powerful and just awesome! Of course I had some other teachers as well, but she was the one I will always remember!
MetalKings: You used to play in rock bands while studying in secondary school. Did your school teachers like it? Long hair, shows, etc. And the other pupils? Were you popular among your classmates or did they find you strange with your old fashioned music?
Hannes: Yeah, the teachers liked it, but my comrades were hating us at first at school. The always put me into the trash bucket. But this is something I will always be thankful for! I hated them as well!!! It gave me so much power and motivation to kick each and everyone’s butt of them! I became a problem child then. Then they loved me until high school. Cuz when I got my first record deal, all the guys would hate me again for our success on the one hand and for the fact that each and every girl from my school wanted to date me instead of the other guys. :-)
MetalKings: Could you advise a show like Star Search for the beginning of musical career? They are very popular worldwide! In some of your interviews I read that you were rather disappointed with such kind of shows… Why?
Hannes: It’s nothing to advise! For me it was somehow good, because I was thrown into the deep water and I had to learn to swim on my own. So I became a professional really early when it comes to my mind. But since I had a fucked up childhood it wasn’t a cure though. You simply cannot understand as a kid at the age of 10 what’s happening... Everybody recognizes your face on the streets. Everybody wants to take a photo with you. I couldn’t handle all this. I started to hate people back then! But luckily a few years later I was adult enough to rethink everything and change my mind.
MetalKings: Usually, you are very active on stage doing lots of movements, jumps, gestures. How do you succeed to keep singing, breathing, to stay in tune in this way?
Hannes: Oh, this is simple: Technique! And some beer after the show... :-)
MetalKings: Do you prepare your gestures beforehand, maybe using a mirror or everything is really spontaneous?
Hannes: It comes always differently. It’s not a fucking musical. It’s a rock’nroll show!
MetalKings: Are you not afraid to burn yourself fast being so active and dedicated at EVERY show?
Hannes: I always say "LIVE FAST AND DIE YOUNG"! I could wait for example to buy me a cool racing car until my 50´s. But fuck no, I recently bought myself a racing cabriolet. Why? Because I want it now and I don’t know if tomorrow I’m still breathing. I want to make the best of my life. That’s all. No compromises!
MetalKings: Kissin’ Dynamite in its creative work and not only touches such delicate subject as death. I mean such things as a song Forever 27 or the video Six Feet Under or your tattoo ‘Look a good death’, for example. Are you guys not superstitious? Ok, it’s common in metal to talk about death, to use its symbols, but you do it in a rather ironical way. Are you just kidding or is it a kinda philosophy, attitude?
Hannes: I don´t fear the death, cuz somebody gave me a good life. It’s something natural. Death belongs to life. People simply fear death because they cannot imagine what happens next. But this is probably something humans are not able to. We all will see some day... But to answer your question: Of course death is a fascinating subject to us.
MetalKings: It was really interesting to read in one of your interviews that you have 4 octaves (that you first used for Money Sex & Power). Ok, so what do you do for your voice? What kind of restrictions do you have? Can you drink a cold beer, for example?
Hannes: I actually never drink before the show, not even one beer. In my career there was one night in Vienna, where we played the most horrible club in the world and I was like: "Hmm, in this case I need a beer to accept this frustrating conditions of PA, dirt, smell and so on. So we went to a pub in the city instead of doing soundcheck. And everyone of us was drunk in the end. But luckily the fans still had a good time. In the end I felt sorry for the crowd, because my performance was soooo bad... This won’t happen again.
MetalKings: know that you live and study in Mannheim but if I’m not mistaken, your studio at Elephant Music is located in a different part of Germany, isn’t it? How do you work, do you travel always from one place to another?
Hannes: You know, since I remember I never had a real single home. I was always moving a lot and it didn’t change. I’m a traveller. There was a year in 2012 when I only lived out of my suitcase. I played a hundred shows in Europe and never had the chance to stay longer at one place than 2 days. I’m used to it I would say!
: When I was at your show in Frankfurt I paid attention that you guys are not like always looking at your iPhone screen, you hang around, talking to one another and other people instead of devices…
Hannes: Well, we do have smartphones and all.... But for us it’s also very important to keep in touch with our fans. They are the reason for our success and we respect them!
MetalKings: In many cases you perform at the same events with old rock stars, some of them (such as UDO) are your friends and partners. Do you communicate as equals? Do you still get autographs?
Hannes: I stopped demanding autographs at the age of let’s say 12... For me it’s useless to have somebody’s name on paper. I do photos more likely with my idols. The last one I took was with Slash himself. :-)
MetalKings: I’ve heard that you compose for many OTHER musicians. I’ve found your guest appearance at Beyond the Black show at Wacken 2014, I understood that you create songs for them. Don’t you feel sorry giving your “children”, your melodies to other hands? Or do you rather feel proud of it? Or is it just “this is my job and that’s it”?
Hannes: I simply love being creative and I love composing in very different styles. The thing with Beyond the Black is, that it’s something entirely different than KD. I wrote 5 tracks on their record and I’m really happy about the result. I saw the guys live and I was even happier to see that the songs work and the fans freak out to them. That’s a still new side for me as an artist. It’s exciting!
MetalKings: And how do you feel working with the genres and subjects that are very far from what you do in KD? Pop music, folk, medieval stuff, Tolkien themes etc… Do you really like these matters as well?
Hannes: You know, I like to hit right into the spot. If it is my musical taste or not is not the question. The question is: Am I good enough achieve this musical task. I challenge myself with that. It’s like sports for me to stay fit.
MetalKings: There are many partners mentioned on KD official website as your management, booking, publishing etc etc etc. Many companies. It’s nice ‘cos various parts of the band’s work are assisted by professionals. But… do you feel FREE enough with so many people who can tell you what to do? How much are you independent to do what you want, what you consider right? Who makes decisions about your career, KD future way?
Hannes: The cool thing is: We have the last word. The companies can make suggestions and often they are right. But if not we do what WE wanna do. So there are no restrictions. We are working always hard to develop KD to the next huge rock band of modern times. If we succeed or fail, we will see, but we won’t stop!
MetalKings: You mention on your Facebook profile that you speak many languages… English, French, Spanish… Really? And is Swabian German really different from official German? Could you give any example of Swabian German that doesn’t exist in that German people study etc?
Hannes: Well yeah, in school I was only good when it came to languages. So I’m able to understand these languages. I can’t speak all the languages like my mother tongue though. Yes, Swabian IS different. For example: "Halt dei Gosch" means "Halte deinen Mund" in German. (In english: Shut up!)
MetalKings: How do you speak in your everyday life, Swabian German or official German?
Hannes: It belongs to the place I am and the people I talk with. In the North of Germany I won’t speak Swabian because they wouldn’t understand what I say. When I talk with my family I choose Swabian of course. It’s pretty comparable to how I feel then.
MetalKings: They tell that many of our old rock idols are not angels. ;) It’s not a secret that many musicians have complicated character. Do you think it is possible to be a great genius musician and not to be a complete motherfucker? And what does it mean for you – to be a good, nice person?
Hannes: I don’t think that you have to be a complete asshole but in fact every successful person in music business that I know is at least a very special character. I think a normal person (that sounds stupid but anyways...) cannot understand how a real artist is thinking, working, creating. In their own world they are captured. No way out and there is no need to break out unless you are a serial killer psychopath (who are often artists as well)! :-)
MetalKings: Usually you’re quite crazy rocker on stage, and sometimes you look rather like a nerd, you can be closed and serious (before the show), another time you’re relaxed and talkative… Where is your real identity?
Hannes: You will never find out! Haha :-)
MetalKings: Just recently you had a meeting with your records label AFM in Hamburg and they tell that we can expect many good things from you in the future. Could you reveal some secrets – is it about future album or do you prepare even more surprises?
Hannes: TOP SECRET, yet!
MetalKings: You have recently started summer festival season, do you have any new impressions, new challenges or achievements this year?
Hannes: Enjoy the summer, take a time out maybe and play some awesome shows!
MetalKings: Thank you a lot for your answers, I wish you all the best for the rest of summer festivals and hope to see you in Russia or wherever!
Hannes: Thank you, too!
Thanks to Timo Hoffmann (AFM Records)
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