It’s been a few years since the previous Crystal Ball release Secrets back in 2007, but a lengthy hiatus has brought the band into a brand new electrifying level of creativity. Dawnbreaker, now available via Massacre Records, shows a rocking collective ready and willing to take on the world at large. Never mind its their 7th magnum opus overall, as Crystal Ball has delved into a sonic renaissance that is stunning to behold. Here is a recent interview we conducted with founding member Scott Leach to find out more about the past, present, and glorious future days ahead of the mighty Crystal Ball. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Crystal Ball, and how long the band has been together.
Hi, I am Scott Leach, founder, songwriter and lead guitarist of Crystal Ball. The Band started out 1995 as a cover band called Cherry Pie. These formative years of stage Experience became the foundation of Crystal Ball. 1999 our debut album came out and the band renamed itself to Crystal Ball.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local metal scene like there?
Weâre based in Lucerne, Switzerland. The are lotâs of bands but not too many metal bands, most of them are underground bands. Switzerland ist quite small so we rather think of the swiss metal scene than of a local/city scene. The scene got bigger and more professional over the last couple of years. But itâs still in the shadows of the media, who almost complete ignore it, except some webzines and independent Radios / Webradios. Because Germany is so close, this is like our extended scene there and very important for us.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Dawnbreaker?
Well, the concept is very simple: We’re back for good! That’s it. It’s a new chapter in the bands history. We were looking for a title to symbolize this new beginning. And there is more to come in the next years.
Select two songs from Dawnbreaker and what inspired the lyrics.
Stranded: This is the only song that wasn’t completely new. I originally wrote in 2003, after the breakup of a long relationship. Without going into details, it really brought me down and it took me quite a while to get back on my feet again. Back then the song wasn’t ready and the line-up was not right for it. So I re-arrangend it and re-worte a couple of things and it worked out very well this time.
Touch the sky (bonus Track): A friend once wrote me this sentence: “a feeling of boredom after each novelty wears off.” I thought it sounded cool, like a song from Meatloaf ;-). And I wanted to use it in a song. It inspired me to Touch the sky even though I couldn’t incorporate the sentence at all. It’s about us (mankind). We always get bored with what we have, and we have to to further, higher, faster to challenge ourselves.
How does Dawnbreaker compare to the other Crystal Ball releases?
It feels very fresh, almost like a debut album, but with more experience for course. It is our 7th album actually. Because of the new line-up and the long waiting period since the last record it feels very exciting again. Of course the new voice of Steven Mageney makes the main difference to the other Crystal Ball releases.
It’s been several years since the previous Crystal Ball album. How frustrating was it to wait so long to release new material?
At first we needed a break after the Secrets record. Many things went wrong with the tour, the promo, etc. We were tired after 6 six albums, giving everything and still managing ourselves, which was a lot of work. When we wanted to continue and pick up the writing for the next album, the feeling wasn’t right and our old singer left the band. So we had to look for a new singer. That took us two years. It was rather exciting then frustrating. Of course we would have preferred to find the right singer quicker, but some things just can’t be sped up.
Who did the artwork for Dawnbreaker and how much input did you have on it?
The ideas and the drafts for the cover were made completely by me. The final artwork was done by Thomas Ewerhard, who also did the covers for our album Hellevtia and Timewalker. He did a great job also with the booklet.
Who are the new members in Crystal Ball and how did they become involved in the band?
Steven Mageney is our new singer. He is from Wuppertal, Germany, which is about 600km away from us. We met through Facebook. I drove to Germany to see a show of his cover band. After that I invited him for a live session and some studio recordings to Switzerland. It became clear very quickly that he was the right guy for us.
Markus Flury started out a Crystal Ball’s bass player. Even though he is a guitarist too. When we had to look for a new guitar player, it was the best thing for him to switch back to guitar and we had to find a new bass player. So it happened that Cris Stone on bass joined the band, he was the lastest new member.
Do you still keep in touch with previous vocalist Mark Sweeney and what do you think of his new project Wolfpakk?
Yeah, we met on our CD release show, and talked about old times and stuff. I don’t really know much of the Wolfpakk songs, but what I heard is cool.
What could one expect from a live Crystal Ball show?
Lots of energy and a band that really enjoys to perform and has lots fun doing it. We play a mix of older and new songs. We rearranged some older songs to keep it fresh, and we also play an old song that we never played live before.
Has Crystal Ball ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
Not yet, unfortunately. If we get the chance or possibility we’ll be there right away. At the moment there are no plans in the near future. Maybe
some festival to start off would be great. But it’s not the band who decides where to play, it’s the promoters who book the festivals.
If you could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
We would love to open up a station-tour for a band like The Scorpions or Def Leppard. Everybody tells us we belong on a big stage and our music is “station rock”-like. Even thought we like to play smaller clubs too, itâs always the bigger stages thatâs makes us live up to the max.
What is favorite beer of choice and why?
Oh, you could ask every other member of Crystal Ball and they would probably be able to tell lots about beer, except me, haha. I don’t like the taste of beer. I rather stick to Coca Cola or Red Bull.
What’s up next for Crystal Ball?
We have some shows in Switzerland coming up and in March we’ll be touring in Italy and Germany with The Poodles, a great Swedish band. This will be a great Package. We’re still in the process of booking, so there will be more shows, maybe another tour also.
Any final words of wisdom?
Get the the Crystal Ball Tattoo and join out Tattoo-competition. We’ve made temporary tattoos with the Crystal Ball logo. Everybody is invited to take a picture with that tattoo and upload it to our facebook-site. They can be ordered at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Don’t forget you complete address, including your country. There will a voting on Facebook and the winner will get cool merchandise or a day with Crystal Ball.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions! Hope to see your band here in the States someday!
Thank you Ken for the cool interview. We would love to play in the States. All the best, Scott Leach.
Crystal Ball is:
Markus Flury – Guitars
Marcel Sardella – Drums
Scott Leach – Guitars
Steven Mageney – Vocals
Cris “Iron” Stone – Bass
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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