JUNE 19th 2015

Welcome to Metaltitans, Guardians of Metal Entertainment Worldwide, we are here with Axel A.J. Julius from Scanner, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us here at Metaltitans.
1. Scanner is an unusual name, how did you come up with this for the band name ?

When the band was formed in the late eighties this word was brand new and did not have the meaning you associate with today. We got it from a Perry Rhodan SF book and found it kind of an interesting name for a band with SF themes etc..  A few years later the word was connected with different technical things before ending in its today’s meaning.
For us the SCANNER was an android created by the US forces that hived off and observed the earth with a battalion of a few other androids to save it. This is the story our first album “Hypertrace” from ’88 is telling.
2. How did each of the members come to be in Scanner ? Did you know each other, or ....

 Scanner has such a long history, so we had a lot of line-up changes meanwhile. But well, Efthi our singer did join the band in 2003 after an audition we made. Character wise he was fitting to the band.  Later he brought Andreas, our other guitar player, to the band. And our former drummer, Franz, and Jonathan, our bass player, knew each other from their studies in jazz at University. Patrick, our drummer was recommended by a friend when Franz could not play some gigs in the past. And Patrick joined the band as a full member when Franz left the band in 2013.

3. Has this always been a dream of yours ?

 Yes, I always wanted to be a creative musician or an astronomer. So I tried to be both, but cancelled my studies in physics to get into the monkey business.
4. Do you remember your first guitar, what was it ?

Yes, it was a Gibson SG copy, a very cheap one and the headstock said “Arbiter” on it. I started playing with this Electric Guitar first and later switched to a classic acoustic guitar practicing all the basic stuff.

5. Do you like one particular type of guitar, (brand) over others ?

Well, I like the strat type most, and most of my guitars are of this type. My favourite brand was HAMER, but when they decided not to continue their guitar line from the eighties I came over to Ibanez guitars. More specified:  The Steve Vai model. But I also have a Gibson LP Custom and a Fender Strat for classical sounds.
6. How about first time on stage, do you remember how you felt, were you scared, nervous, and do you still feel like that before stepping on stage now ?

Yes, it was with our school band and I was very nervous, because all the girls were staring at us… and I was a very shy boy. But today, it’s kind of more relaxed before a show since most of the girls are gone and the tough guys took their places in the first row.  No, I’m joking, I’m still a bit nervous and the thing with the girls I have to check out again ;-).
7. Were your parents supportive of your choice in a career ?

Well, at the beginning when I was a young teenager they were supporting me a lot. But then there was a break in their support when I cancelled my studies in physics at University to be a musician only. And this took as long as I signed my second contract with a record company. Then they were kind of surprised and proud, but still quite a bit suspicious of the music business.
8. If you could not be in a band, what do you think you might be doing ?

I think I would be an astronomer or physician with ambitions to dive into space “Across the Universe”.
9. You did the recording, mixing and production on "The Judgement", what made you decide to take this on ?

“The Judgement” is the fourth SCANNER album I have produced now. But it was the first time that we could record and mix an album in our own new studio and you can say this was quite a bit more direct approach than with the other albums before. You can determine all the schedules by yourself and you are not dependent on anyone else. This has advantages. However, it can also tempt you to stretch the periods of course, which you must counteract with discipline then. Let's put it this way: For "The Judgement" we have cut off from the outside world and did exactly our thing. And we did not mind or oriented as it would sound today or what is modern today. This was our main idea for this album. 100% Scanner.  And I tried to let it sound more direct and row by using again our own drum sound instead of using triggered samples for the album as done and heard on thousands of other productions nowadays. But the big plus is to save the money for the production in an expensive studio if you are doing everything in your own studio and by your own.

10. The mastering was done somewhere else (Chartmakers, Helsinki, Finland with Svante Forsbäck), why was this done at a different studio ? And does it make it more expensive when things have to be done at different studios like that ?

The simple answer is yes it is very expensive, but our studio is not equipped for the job of mastering, yet. And another important point for me is, I want an objective sound engineer doing the job since I’m too much into the stuff after a few months working on it and at least I do not have the distance to the project which is necessary for a good mastering job.
11. "The Judgement" will be released Feb. 17 through Massacre Records, what can people expect to hear from this 6th album ?

We attempted to receive and revive our sound and the spirit of the 80’s again on “The Judgement” and we were guided by our old stuff from this time. And therefore the album sounds old school metal by default. Our fans will get an intense and passionate SCANNER album they were awaiting for a long time after our former release. And there are voices already heard saying it is our best album so far. Thanks for this. The more people thinking like that the more I’m getting happy. We put a lot of passion and energy in there and think and hope that people feel that too. Plus that they will return some of the spirit and energy as a feedback to us. During our live shows perhaps as well as on our Facebook page, our webpage etc. .

12. The band is labelled Heavy Metal/Power Metal/Speed Metal, does that matter to you what genre they put you in, or you just play the music you love to create ?  For me, it never matters what genre, it's all about whether I like it or not.

It’s the same with me. There is only good or weak music for me. I don’t choose a genre and then like this only. I’m open-minded in any case and also in listening to music.  But I have to accept that some people need those genres to describe things better and get them separated. SCANNER is a very versatile band and did never fit to one genre totally. Speaking for myself I always created the music I liked and did not bother which genre it is.
13. Is there a genre that you really can NOT listen to ?

Ok, there is one genre but not in metal: It is Free Jazz. This is not mine at all. And here in Germany we have VOLKSMUSIK that is hard to listen to, because it is so dump and stupid, but with 10 beers you can stand it.
14. Who writes the lyrics for the songs, and where does the inspiration come from?
I wrote most of the lyrics and I take most of my inspiration from world affairs and processes around our society. I’m kind of sensitive towards things which are getting worse in our world. So I try to compensate this in our lyrics.
15. Do you yourself have a personal favourite ?

Well, yes, I like “The Judgement” song lyrics most. It deals with our attitude of wealth, ethic values and religion, ending in the picture of burning churches.

16. The cover artwork, design and illustrations were created by Anestis Goudas, how did the artist come up with the idea for the artwork ?

Well the idea came up by the band first and Anestis Goudas did the realization of it.
Tthematically and basically “The Judgement” means doomsday for us. As seen on our cover. And on that very day the SCANNER (the SF character/ figure from our story on the band’s first album “Hypertrace’88) returns back to earth and witnesses what's going on. Did evil triumph over good finally? And how will the future be on earth after this.
Thus, in the broadest sense it comes to religion and we detail songs about different groups in our society (Pirates, The Legionary, Warlord), all of their own religion and values throughout.

The alarming thing about it is that almost all people who rely on religion are still directly related to violence also, especially when it comes to conflicts. One can see that especially in the extremes in Syria and Iraq with the IS. So the question may arise what religion actually contributes to peace in general? Or, isn’t religion the root of all evil perhaps.
The exciting question is: If there was no religion and man would not believe in a higher power would the human race be more able to live in peace than all the millennia with religion?

And what are our values today, if e.g. stock broker are our saints? This is the question the title song "The Judgement" is dealing with.

The main idea in almost every song of the album is that something is going wrong on the planet in terms of our ethical value system. And that runs up through all religions and societies.

But today, it is really getting worse and is actually unworthy for a highly developed and technologized human race of the 3rd millennium. You can ever think about it, we thought.

17. How did you pick this artist?
We knew him from his different works in this métier he did in the past and we liked his style. So we asked him to realize our cover. A French artist I appreciate very much also had refused to do the cover artwork before; he did not want to paint a burning church or cathedral. And I could not convince him to do the job. I think he felt like setting it on fire himself or something like that.  
18. I have to be honest, until I was asked to do an interview with the band, I had not heard of Scanner before, but that has now changed, especially after listening to your video "The Scanner", so impressed, I don't know how many times I listened to it. I am pretty sure this will catch peoples attention. What made you pick that song to put into video?

We thought this song has something important to say in our times and we could easily find some pictures for this. So we decided to make this our first video of the album.
19. Is there anything you would like to add to the interview that I might have missed asking you that you want people to know about SCANNER ?

We want to say thank you to all the fans that have never forgotten us and were waiting for the new release for a long time now. We hope they have fun with this album and we could fulfill some of their expectations. And we hope to win new fans too who are willing to explore the bands history also and have much fun with it.
Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview with us here at Metaltitans, and I wish you much success with your album "The Judgement"

The Judgement:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z95bCP_pOhs