Wacken Metal Battle: Interview with Sascha Jahn

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Wanting to know more about Wacken Metal Battle, I contacted Sascha Jahn, the manager of Wacken Metal Battle, who with great joy and willingness answered all my questions about the institution.

Read the greek version here / Διαβάστε την ελληνική έκδοση εδώ.

Mixgrill: Hi Sascha, just tell us how the Wacken metal battle idea started and what do you think are the reasons for such an institution to exist?

Sascha Jahn: Wacken Metal Battle came to life in 2004. The idea was to promote new bands and give them the chance to perform live.

MG: Have you ever thought there would be interest from bands from all over the world and that year after year the Wacken Metal Battle would grow?

SJ: Heavy Metal as a genre of music and even a lifestyle for some, unites a community of people from all over the world. Even in very distant (from Europe) and barely visited places there are friends of this kind of music. That's why it's great that bands from all parts of the Earth can have the access through Metal Battle to expose their music to the rest of the world. If you see it from another perspective, fans have the opportunity to get to know bands from very exotic countries.

I will briefly tell you that I am very pleased that Metal Battle continues and  constantly grows and because Metal is scattered all over the globe makes it even more great that through the competition, the various regions of the planet present their bands which could hardly be at the center  of interest.
WackenMetalBattle

MG: Are there bands that have been distinguished here and since then have a career? And if so, what should a small band have to do to make it happen?

SJ: There are many bands that were able to use the contest for a record deal or a tour and were first introduced to Wacken before an international audience.

Some of these include Battle Beast, Torture Squad, Drone, Hammercult, Crisis, Hamferd, Audn and One Misere.

All bands that take part in the Metal Battle can get in touch with people  from all over the music industry. During the  Wacken Metal Battle finals at Wacken Open Air, artists are given the so-called "Metal Battle Lounge "as a point of  meeting and contact. Here we invite many representatives of the music industry like tour agends, managers, promoters,record labels, producers etc. This way, the bands have the opportunity to create contacts that will be very useful for their career.

MG: Over the years what were your favorite bands that participated to the Wacken Metal Battle and which countries were they from?

SJ: All bands participating in Metal Battle have a high standard. Especially the participants in the final, the winners of the local contest in each country, impress me every time.

The fact that so many bands participate in Metal Battle, reflects the different cultural aspects. That's what makes this competition so compelling. So it's not easy to answer this question. It's impossible to name some of the bands individually. All participants are just fantastic.

MG: This year is a very special  for the festival. It is celebrating 30 years and I can imagine that you as well as we all expect it to be a very special festival. Do we have to wait for something similar about Wacken Metal Battle this year?

SJ: Surely this year we will have enough Highlights among the 30 participating countries. And I certainly do not exaggerate, when I say that the program will have something special for every viewer. We will have participants from Uruguay, Japan, Egypt but of course also countries that have been taking part in the competition for many years, such as Greece. This in itself creates a unique experience and something similar in the form of this contest does not exist in any other festival.

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(Sascha Jahn, Thomas Jensen, Gunnar Sauermann)

MG: Thomas Jensen [one of organizers of W:O:A] said in an interview that bands at Wacken did not fight each other but fight together for Metal. How much does the Wacken Metal Battle help to unite the bands and fans and what is the message you want to share to the world?

SJ: Just as Thomas described it, this is exactly the case. The bands are celebrating together in a huge party, which unites in Wacken Open Air all the metal scenes in the world. This is the uniqueness of this institution. Even though each band would like to see itself among the winners, they are all united. Here we all celebrate our passion for music and everyone respects the other, no matter  where he  comes from.

MG: How do you imagine the future of the Wacken Metal Battle in the years to come and what are your personal wishes and expectations?

SJ: It is our dream that all countries of the world will participate in Metal Battle or at least each country to participate at least once. I personally expect that in 2019 many and good bands from different countries and cultures will take part in a great celebration.

MG: I guess people working on the Wacken Metal Battle share the common love and passion for metal support small bands with dreams and hopes. How important is the selection of partners for such an organization?

SJ: This "job" requires a lot of dedication and passion for music - always to be in the first place. Finally, this brings with him a great responsibility, because in the end everyone presents their country, on and behind the stage and in front of the eyes of the whole world.

MG: What do you think of the Greek bands that have played there, was there any in particular that you really liked?

SJ: Greece really has an excellent metal scene. There are all kinds, Black, Thrash, Death, Metalcore, Heavy Metal. All the years I work at Wacken Metal Battle, I remember for example Cronosphere who in 2013 made an excellent Thrash-set. A year later we had an impressive metalcore with Kin Beneath. After a pause, Greece went into power metal with Tidal Dreams and in 2017 with the explosive Domination.

I am particularly pleased that Greece will return in 2019 to the Metal Battle  after another pause in 2018 and I'm looking forward to this year's participation.

MG: Sascha thank you very much for this beautiful chat we had. Would you like to give a message to Greek fans and musicians who have bands?

SJ: Thank you very much for all the years you are with us at the Wacken Metal Battle. Greece has an excellent metal scene and it's always fantastic to get your bands to taste - "καλώς ήρθατε!" [Greek: welcome!]

After this so enjoyable conversation I had with Sascha, I have to say that I am very curious to know which band will represent Greece in the final of 2019. 
The Greek final will be on April 21 in the An club in Athens and the bands to compete are:

-Moral Corruption

-Inhuman Rage

-Project Theory

-Fail of Order

-Skybinder

-Psyanide

Good luck to all bands and see you in Wacken rain or shine...

Let's get ready to rumble metalheads!


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