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Sandra Schleret Interview

A Chat With The Siegfried and Elis Vocalist




Napalm Records
Chad Bowar: How has Siegfried's sound evolved in the six years since the last album? 
Bruder Cle: To be honest, I think we really found our sound with this album. The most important point is, that we now found the right mix between epic, orchestral parts and the complex metal riffing on one hand, and between the three different voices on the other hand. Every song and the album itself is very well balanced. Siegfried is definitely not a band you can easily compare to others – you will always recognize Siegfried by these unique trademarks. Daniel, who writes all the music, was also heavily influenced by soundtracks, e.g. of Hans Zimmer’s Gladiator, King Arthur or Pirates Of The Caribbean.

Describe who the Nibelungen are and how the characters are portrayed in the band. 
Bruder Cle: Well, it takes some space and time to answer this question. The Nibelung saga is one of the oldest pieces of literature in Europe. Parts of it plays in Austria. The story itself circles around the life of a young hero, Siegfried and his mighty sword Balmung, who slays a dragon and wins a giant treasure and a mask that makes him invisible. He also bathes in the blood of the dragon, so that his skin can’t be penetrated by any weapon (apart from a small space on his back). After that he seeks the most mysterious maiden in the world, Odin's daughter Brunhild, who is trapped in a circle of fire on a deserted island. He manages to free her, but he is not yet ready to marry her. So he leaves with the promise to come back.

Rich and famous he comes to the kingdom of Burgund. He helps king Gunther to battle their enemies, the saxons, and falls in love with his daughter Kriemhild. Before he can marry her, he has to help Gunther win Brunhild. But the maiden has mysterious powers and only wants fo marry somebody who can beat her in a couple of fights. Siegfried betrays Brunhild by using his mask and helps Gunter to beat her.

Gunter marries Brunhild, Siegfried marries Kriemhild. But in their first night Gunter cannot make her his wife because she is too strong. Again Siegfried helps him and takes – invisible under his mask – Brunhilds belt of power. Gunter can make her his wife but now the misery starts. Kriemhild and Brunhild have an argue one day and Kriemhild tells Brunhild about Siegfrieds betrayals.

Hagen, the swordmaster of king Gunter, sees that the honor of his kings wife is threatened. With a trick he finds out, that Siegfried has a space on his back where he can be wounded. On a hunt he kills Siegfried to free Burgund from him. After that he even takes the big treasure and throws it into the river Rhein.

Kriemhild marries Etzel, the king of the Huns and years later she invites all the Burgund warriors, King Gunter, Hagen, etc. to Hungary, to the castle of Etzel. In a long and bloody fight all of the Burgunds get killed. A lot of heroes die and in the end even Kriemhild gets killed. Total tragedy.  

What is the charm behind it? The story and the conflicts portrayed in it are still valid today. It is about the fact that if you only aim for power and gold everything will end it tragedy. The actual economic crisis is just about the same. All the heroes in the saga  are not painted in black and white. They are all grey. There is no good or bad guy. All characters have good and bad qualities, just like in real life. It also mirrors the conflict between Christianity and heathendom. It's really interesting.  

So you see, there is a lot to find in that saga. In Siegfried we try to portray the different characters with three voices: Sandra (all female voices), Werner (all the heroic, Christian figures) and myself, Hagen alias Bruder Cle (all heathen figures). By the way: all the lyrics deal with the saga but work on different layers. The first is the story itself, second the general meaning behind it and the third layer is the personal meaning of the lyrics to me. 

Are the lyrics all in German?
Sandra Schleret: Yes, there was never an English song in the story of Siegfried.

You worked with Alexander Krull on both albums. How would you describe his producing style?
It was different for both bands as Alex knows the guys from Elis very well and is also our manager. He was involved more as a producer. For Siegfried he was more the engineer, but he also gave us good advice.

Is it difficult to be in two bands at once, both with the physical and scheduling demands?
Well, as Siegfried was not very active in the last 6 years I didn’t feel it that much. With Elis I rehearse regularly, and as I do all the vocal lines, vocal arrangements and lyrics there of course I feel it is my main topic. But Siegfried gives me the chance to show another side of my voice, and I really like my band mates there a lot since I've known some of them for nearly 20 years.

How did you get started in music?
As a kid I learned keyboard and guitar (both not very well) but soon it was clear to me that my favorite instrument was my voice. Singing always gives me the feeling of being closer to my soul.

Was there an album or artist that inspired you to want to perform music?
I cannot remember anything like that, I didn’t search for a band in the beginning. I simply was asked to join, and after some time I really loved being on stage.

What was the first concert you attended as a fan?
I am not sure anymore, but I think it was Metallica in 1992. It's also possible that it was Megadeth, Faith No More or Running Wild. I same them all in the same year, and cannot remember anymore in which order I saw these artists.

What was your first band?
My first real band was Dreams of Sanity.

When did you decide music would be your career?
Well, this decision is still open. To earn my living I’m working as a technician in a laboratory.

Who are some fellow vocalists you admire?
I like Tori Amos, Loreena McKennitt, Mike Patton, Russel Allen and Daniel Gildenlöw.

What is your all time favorite album?
Queensryche – Operation Mindcrime

Anything else you'd like to mention or promote?
Thanks for the nice interview, we hope to come to the U.S. soon!

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