Hello Axel Ritt, how are you doing?

I’m fine thank you. Lots of work, because I’m the owner / CEO of my own record label and publishing company Humbucker Music and my Meadow Recording Studios, but I’m fine.

Please tell us something about your hometown?

I was born in Cologne and lived there for about 22 years. Then I studied music and architecture in Dortmund and now I live close too Frankfurt somewhere in the woods 🙂

How is the metal scene in your area?

Well, lots of people around my place are making music, but none of them will own a living on it, so they all have to treat it as a hobby, which means, you don’t have the time to create something new, so it’s always some kind of music you’ve heard somewhere before. That’s nice, but not that interesting.

You are for about 11 years the guitarist in Grave Digger now. Please tell us about this exciting times in your live/career?

Well, there is my band DOMAIN, former KINGDOM, which is still on hold, but there’s no time at the moment to work on new songs, because GRAVE DIGGER is a lot bigger time eater than I’ve expected, but I like it. When I was young, I signed a lot of contracts, which made everybody around me earning money with my music, except me. So many decades ago I decided to learn as much as possible about everything regarding the music business. It took many years, but now I’m independed to the bone, so I can handle everything by myself, if I would like to. That helps a lot in these days.

Can you tell us how the coronavirus has affected you and the other bandmembers last few months?

The situation in Germany is the worst disaster you can imagine. There are some music industry organizations like GEMA for example, where you can tell how much money you’ve lost because of no live shows, but the money you get is just a credit and completely billable with your further income. Germany is a very rich country and the government pays from the tax income 9.000 Millions Euro for Lufthansa or close to 7.000 Millions Euro for the Deutsche Bahn for example, but not a fucking cent for solo self-employed. Of course politicians are only interested in supporting companies, who will give them a job, when they were kicked out of the government at the end of their career, so they take the taxes from the poor, give it to the rich and the rich will take care of you. Simply an indirect corruption, works fine for the politicians since decades. Everybody knows, nobody cares. Musicians are not „system-relevant“ and it’s a lot cheaper for the government to kick thousands of artists to social care, instead of supporting them. The devil only throws his dirt always on the biggest pile, you know. Most of my colleagues will not survive the crises, so the venues will do as well. The complete music scene is slowly dying, everybody is watching it, but nobody cares. Live music is gone!

Any idea what will happen with the upcoming EU tour this Fall with Ordan Ogan?

The tour had to be canceled and I’m sure, that there will be no regular shows for any artist in 2020 so far. We will do a headliner tour in spring 2021 depending on how many venues will survive the Covid-19 madness.

Please tell us about the new album; Fields of Blood. Writing Process, time in the studio and how the fans and press reactions on the album so far?

The reactions of the fans is more than awesome, I guess we did something right 😉 D.: The procedure of the recording process is the same for now 11 years. Chris (Boltendahl) develops a new concept for the album and tells me what he thinks would be best for the upcoming album regarding lyrics and story. Then I’m gonna compose some rough song ideas I sent over to him and he sent me back some vocal hooks and lyrics. Then we both meet in my Meadow studios and arrange a pre-production, which contains the complete song, but with programmed drums and all instruments like guitars, bass, keyboards aso. performed by me. The result got a pretty high quality and some bands would release the output as a final record, but then we take the last step, by replacing the demo instruments by the final instruments, played by Marcus at the drums or Jens at the bass. Of course all guitars and vocals will be replaced as well, so the whole record is will be recorded twice. You can do such a time-eating process just when you got your own studio, otherwise the costs would be to high. 

Where is the album all about, lyrically I mean?

It’s the last part of the Scottish history trilogie, so the lyrics are about the Scottish wars.

In May the record label together with the band released the videoclip for the new album; Lions of the Sea? please tell us about the production of the videoclip and who came up with the idea to choose this song to be the new videoclip?

This is a sad story. We had big plans for „Lions Of The Sea“, having a shooting with a crew of almost 30 people at the original Scottish highlands, but Corona killed everything so far. So we had to do a pretty simple video, which is fine so far, but you can’t compare to the original plan 🙁

I have to say that Grave Digger always choose really great frontcovers. And on this album again! Who was responsible this time for the lay-out?

It’s a Russian artist called Alex Tartsus and Chris found him by accident. In regular cases he does extreme black and death metal artwork with horrible pictures, but his style fitted perfect to our vintage attitude of the artwork.

What are some of your own favorite albums/artists?

Dogman by KINGS X, Back In Black by AC/DC, Tres Hombres by ZZTOP, VAN HALEN first album, A Night At The Opera by QUEEN, Guitar Shop by JEFF BECK, Live And Dangerous by THIN LIZZY, Hysteria by DEF LEPPARD, almost everything by GARY MOORE.

Do you have a last word to the readers of Bonavox.nl?

R.: In the name of the band: Hope to see you at one of our upcoming shows. For me personally: Become vegan! If all people were vegetarians / vegans, we would have no AIDS, no SARS, no ANTHRAX and no CORONA!

Grave Digger

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