Spotlight on … Mäx Behr (Iron Angel).

*When did you really get involved into music in general and into metal specific? Who was responsable for your interest in (metal) music?

My father has been a drummer and both of my parents were listening to metal, so the connection to both has been established fairly early on. When they divorced, both drumming and metal disappeared for a while, but came back later. I started playing drums at the age of 13 and at 15 I turned into a metalhead.

*Which artists or bands did influence you the most?

I could name a lot of bands here, but the two that probably had the most impact in terms of influence on me have to be Metallica and Slayer.

*Which instrument do you play and how and when did you learn to play? Did you had lessons in school or private lessons? If so, was that because your parents expected that from you? Or did you learn to play the instruments by yourself? Do yo still follow some lessons?

In Iron Angel I play the drums and do background vocals occasionally (but I also play more instruments). I´m also the band´s sole lyricist by this point and on the new record I also wrote around half of the songs musically as well. I´ve got a degree in music (I graduaded in 2009) and I´m working as a music teacher ever since, so I´m the one giving the lessons, but before that I have been self-taught.

*Do you follow other or are you intrested in other styles of music beside metal? If so, what is the music you prefer to listen to?

I mostly listen to metal (Thrash, Power, Speed, you name it…), but believe it or not, my other passion is classical music. I just love the way it evokes emotions, builds itself up and resolves (or sometimes doesn´t resolve), there is a lot to discover…

*Is music a full time job for you now or do you have a job beside music? If so, what kind of job are you doing? If you would be really succesful with music, would you quit your other job?

I´m a teacher for music, so my job is already very musical, but of course there´s a big difference between teaching and being in a band and I´m not gonna lie, as much as I love my job, I´d definitely prefer the latter.

*If you could start a band with other musicians on other instruments, which artist would you pick for wich instrument and why? (Something Like an “All Stars Band”.) Would you still go for a speed metal band? Or would you do something completely different?

I think most All-Star-Bands are usually found to financially exploit on everyone´s collective fame, which wouldn´t be a bad thing, if these bands produce some good music, which they hardly do, instead there´s a lot of hype, anticipation is being built and the result almost never lives up to that. I´d rather surround myself with musicians, who share my artistic vision, bring qualities and skills to the table that I don´t have myself and are great people to be around with. Yes, it would definitely have some Speed Metal elements in it too, but also stuff from other metal genres as well as other genres in general to a lesser extent.

*If you had been banned to an uninhabited island and you may pick 5 albums to listen to, which albums would you choose and why?

Difficult question…I definitely go with Metallica´s ‘…And Justice For All’ and Slayer´s ‘Seasons In The Abyss’ since both were the first two metal albums that really caught me. Further I would add Death´s ‘The Sound Of Perseverance’, Testament´s debut ‘The Legacy’ and ‘Nightfall In Middle-Earth’ by Blind Guardian.

*The band was started in 1983 and lasted untill 1986. In this time there were two full-albums made. What happenend to stop after only three years?

I think it all came down to mainly two reasons. The first one being, that the band was not a cohesive unit anymore in terms of musical and non-musical goals and according to Dirk, there was also some dissatisfaction with the way things turned out for the band from a business perspective.

*Between 1997 and 2007, that’s ten years, nothing new come on the market. Why? No Inspiration? Not the right persons in the band?

Well, that´s not entirely true, since 2007 saw the release of the “Back from Hell” ep (although not via label or distributor), which is made up of songs that were supposed to be on a follow-up to the first two records back then. However, this ep is merely a demo and since the material wasn´t exactly what fans wanted to hear from Iron Angel, we´ve never further elaborated on that. It featured Dirk on vocals and original drummer Mike Matthes on guitars. Bass and drums were programmed. Apart from that, there were rumors spread by both Dirk and Mike about some unreleased material from the time prior, but to be honest, that was made up to keep the name in the press. There is no secret unreleased album with material from that time waiting in our vault.

*Since 2015 the band is going strong. There was ‘Hellbound’ (2018) that was well received and now, after only two years you have a new album out. What’s the difference between this period and the active periods that went by? Is the band at a creative peak?

To be honest, there´s only one other serious active period in our history and that was from 1983 – 1986. To properly answer your question, I think I would have to elaborate on a lot of things, but to keep it as brief as possible, these two periods were the only time the band was actually complete and functioning, although the way both installments seem to work is quiet different from each other. I´m sure the guys back then rehearsed more than we do now. The old songs came together in the rehearsal room pretty much, while the new material is usually written by one guy and then presented to the others.

*Every new album (or ep) of a band or an artist is the best one (we don know it’s the first full-album), that’s what they always say. So here is a chance to promote the album. Why should a music lover buy your album? What are the standout tracks for you on this new album and why?

I think one of the strong points about this album is that it is not so easy to point out absolute standout tracks, since all the material is relatively equal in terms of quality. We´ve asked friends, family members, etc. to tell us their favorite song from the new album and we´ve almost received 10 different answers. That´s the sign of a strong album. Apart from that, we see this album as an improvement over the last one in every single way possible and so far, everyone that heard it agrees with us.

See “CD-Review” for a review (written in Dutch) for the new Iron Angel album ‘Emerald Eyes’ (Mighty Music) –

*I suppose you will promote this album through live concerts (when of course everyting is getting back to “normal” after the Covid 19 disaster). If so, would you prefer small clubs or big festivals? And is there a chance we can see Iron Angel in Belgium?

Both have their unique charms: In smaller clubs you´re closer and thus more connected to your audience, which is something we always enjoy. On a big festival stage my bandmates won´t constantly bump into each other, so that´s also a big plus. 😀 Hopefully we´ll get to play Belgium again. As of now, there´s only one show scheduled for the remainder of the year and that will be in Czech Republic, but we´ll see, how things turn out to be. We´re definitely looking forward to play for you again.