I really tried to keep my fan girl excitement under control when I booked this interview. Y’all know how excitable I can get. Okay, I won’t tease you anymore. Please welcome the very talented and charming Hagen Schneevoigt to the blog. Hagen is the vocalist and bass player for Tunes of Dawn, one of today’s most versatile rock bands. If they’re not already on your playlist, you’re missing out.
JJ: Hey, Hagen. Thanks so much for indulging my journalistic and musical curiosities. Tell us a little about the inception of Tunes of Dawn and your unique sound.
Hagen: Thank you for discovering us! It all started out back in 1993 with lots of dreams of becoming rock stars and rich and famous, but with less know-how :o)
Death Metal was very popular at that time, so we gave it a try. But we got bored over the years with the guitar-shredding all the time. When we were on a trip to Paris in 1998, we decided to make a new start with the band; new name and new music. At least we had improved our ability to play music. And it’s cool to say, “Hey, we founded the band in Paris!” Over the years, we tried lots of sounds to develop our style, becoming more rock-based than metal. It was a long road but I think we’re all pleased with it today.
JJ: Who are the biggest influences on your musical style and why?
Hagen: Every one of us has so many different influences that sometimes it’s hard to combine everything into a song. The range reaches from metal, of course, to rock, blues, classic and even jazz music.
There are also personal influences like Black Sabbath, Type O Negative, AC/DC, The Ramones and all that classic stuff, but also Beethoven and pop music as well. Not only music influences us, but also daily things in life, like love, death, happiness, despair and life itself.
JJ: There is so much feeling in your music. One of my all time favorite Tunes of Dawn songs is A Warm Sigh at 6°C. What is your writing process like?
Hagen: Thanks. That’s also the song we like the most. It all starts with a melody growing in my head. After thinking, “Hey, it’s good!” we all work together forming it into a song. The lyrics are written afterwards, mostly to fit the words into the song. Sometimes, we also dig out some old stuff and re-, de-, or mis-compose it again. It can take as little as hours or as long as months to create a good song (in our opinion) and we’re not done with it until everyone says, “Yeah, that’s good.”
JJ: When you’re not doing the band thing, what do you do for entertainment? Any hobbies?
Hagen: Well, we all love to go to concerts or to the cinema or just hanging around and having a beer. Some of us have a family so there’s not that much time left to spend together. There are also other musical projects going, like playing in a cover band to earn some money. Besides that, we all have regular jobs to pay the rent.
JJ: What’s “A Day in the Life of Tunes of Dawn” like?
Hagen: Nothing special, I think. Like most bands, when on tour or something, we’re checking our equipment, writing new stuff, drinking beer, talking rubbish and looking forward to the next show. When rehearsing, we concentrate on exercising the songs or making plans for the future, if there is one…. Ha ha…..
JJ: I recently picked up the EP Basement Goodies. Your cover of Nine Inch Nails’ Hurt is amazing but I have mad love for the hauntingly beautiful track Upon My Grave. What’s next for Tunes of Dawn?
Hagen: Thanks for purchasing our product ;o) Hurt was recorded during our latest album production. It’s just an adaption of Johnny Cash’s version. The piano version of Upon My Grave felt totally different from the original one, so we decided to record it as well and put everything on that EP.
At the moment, we’re in the writing process for our next album, which will hopefully be done in the middle of next year. But first we have to find a new record label to work with. So, things are not that easy right now. But nevertheless, we’re looking forward.
JJ: Any upcoming tours or appearances where fans can catch a live show? Any chance you’ll be in the U.S?
Hagen: It’s getting harder and harder to get gigs. We’re not that well known in Germany, so it’s almost impossible for us to play at festivals or bigger events. That’s the very sad thing about the music business. No money = less shows. Often you have to rent the whole club to do a show or you pay to tour with a bigger band.
Unfortunately, we haven’t got that much money. So it’s even harder for us. Once we had an invitation to play some gigs in New York, but it was cancelled by the organizers because they didn’t want to pay for the flights anymore. So I think we’ll never play in the U.S. unless we win the lottery or some other wonder occurs. We’re sad about that.
JJ: I’m so glad I had the opportunity to sit down and talk with you. Not only do I appreciate your taste in music but I really admire your graciousness. I had a great time.
Hagen: We would like to thank you for your interest and for interviewing us. Spread the word and the music, maybe we will meet one day if we ever make it over the ocean. Thanks to everyone who listens to our music.
JJ: Thanks again, Hagen. If our paths cross, I’ll buy you a beer and you can sing to me. *smiles*Hagen's Lightning Round Favorites:
Color: Mostly dark ones
Season: Summer and Winter
Book: Lemmy: White Line Fever
Movie: Harold and Maude
Band: All-time favourites – Elvis Presley, Type O Negative, Muse
To keep up with the latest happenings of Tunes of Dawn, follow them on Twitter @TunesOfDawn and like them on Facebook.
Their fabulous EP Basement Goodies is available on Amazon. Go get it! Check out their website TunesOfDawn.com for more purchasing options.