Why Artist ASP Misses Some of His 'Babies' on Tour -


Writed by - Andy Gocker
  Musician ASP deals with profound themes in his songs.
Musician ASP deals with profound themes in his songs. © Heilemania

von Denise Kylla

Anyone who deals with the music of Alexander Spreng, aka ASP, dives into the abysses of man, into worlds of magical beings and longing love. The artist has just published an illustrated book called Das Reich des Einhorns; before that he released his album “Endlich!”. From April 12th he will go on a big tour and can be seen on July 15th in Neu-Ulm at the 'Full Power Ahead' festival. In an interview with RTL, ASP spoke about his tower construction project, the effects of the pandemic and some babies that he sorely misses on stage.

The new year has begun, what have you planned for 2023?

If you put it appropriately in the 'dinner for one' style: 'Same procedure as every year!'.
I plan to work less hard, have more time for the beautiful, good and real things in life and experience a little more harmony. The year 2022 was quite a grab in the toilet for me in this respect, but that should be a fate that I share with many due to the general situation. The year 2023 doesn't have to work very hard to get better as the bar isn't set particularly high. We going to make that!

  Artists with profile: ASP writes extraordinary songs that don't fit into a category.
Artists with profile: ASP writes extraordinary songs that don't fit into a category. © Heilemania

Many people find the time at the beginning of a new year strange. Do you like the beginning of the year? If yes why?

Many people also find me strange, which shows how little you should give this emotion. Jokes aside, usually an arbitrarily set date doesn't have much impact on my life. Many people use the last days of the year to reflect and make changes for the coming year. I, on the other hand, do it all the time, because that's the only way to survive in my weird line of business. Whether that's December 31 or September 6 doesn't really matter. However, since many people and also governments or institutions use such data for changes, the social pull cannot always be resisted. I don't like that then.

From April 12th you will go on the 'Endlich!' tour. How much are you looking forward to being able to perform, hopefully without corona restrictions?

Rocking out on stage is an important part of my humble mission of existence, so I'm looking forward to the tour with some enthusiasm. On the other hand, I've learned to be a little more economical with the anticipation, because at the end of the year we were able to complete an unplugged tour, the execution of which clearly showed us that our industry is still a long way from getting back to a normal level - and it will not be back for a long time, if at all, due to Corona.

  ASP takes its fans on a journey: for ten years, the band
ASP takes its fans on a journey: for ten years, the band's albums described the 'stranger' cycle. © Nightshadow Photoart

How much has the pandemic affected your everyday life as a musician and your music?

For me and many of my colleagues, the two years without concerts were tantamount to a professional ban. There may be mega-stars who have come through such a crisis unscathed, but everyone else looks to an uncertain future with two black eyes and no telescope. The other day I joked with a bit of bitterness: 'After the crisis is before the crisis.' After the restrictions that have been imposed on us in recent years, an economically uncertain time is now following, in which even friends of live music are thinking twice about whether they can buy a concert ticket, a band shirt, or whether their bad earnings will be swallowed up by the next gas payment. Dispensable things like art, culture and entertainment have always been and always will be: The first thing you can save yourself. You have to accept that.

They initiated the ASP tower building project. What's it all about?

Well, that was exactly a measure to counteract the problem just described. Basically, it was a very large and also extremely unusual crowdfunding project. The remarkable thing about it was that the supporters didn't get the end product in the form of an album for their support, as is usually the case, if it was successful, but instead “buy” me the time to realize the project. That sounds complicated, but I wanted to set an example. Because many now assume that the artist can live on air, love or applause and as long as the production costs for new music somehow come in or fall out of the sky, he is obliged to invest his heart's blood. However, in the times when only streaming is done, the artist is as good as cut off from the enormous sales that are made with music. But it has to come from somewhere, doesn't it? Living expenses aren't something artists are exempt from.

How did your fans react to the tower building project?

Mostly fantastic! Of course, what was described above required some explanation and courage and trust from all sides. And that's what it was about! The fact that the campaign was also economically successful is a blessing, but the main thing was something else: Because in times without concerts and almost without positive feedback, people made it clear to me with fireworks that my twisted musical narratives, these concept albums that completely bypassed the mainstream , still be wanted. And to be wanted, that's why a signal was so urgently needed and what 'systemically irrelevant' rock musicians like me brought some inner healing after the frustration of the last few years.
I'm open about it. Many musicians only ever want to pretend that their fans are positive, because in this industry that was long considered an unwritten advertising and promotion law. But anyone who does niche stuff like me shouldn't care. Honesty rules.

The project was successfully completed. What's happening now?

Throughout 2023 I will try to bring my many ongoing projects to a good conclusion and then, as promised, I will begin the three album 'Tower Cycle'. It's going to be a lot of work, but it also promises to be very fulfilling, because fans deserve nothing less than the craziest, box-busting, ASP music project ever.

Your photo book called Das Reich des Einhorns was published in December. What fascinates you about unicorns?

This picture book with a song is the sixth part of my series 'Asp Sprengs Twilight Stories', in which I let off steam in all areas of the fantastic together with wonderful illustrators. Often there is also a song from my second band HERUMOR. Volume seven is in the starting blocks. With HERUMOR I indulge my second great passion, folk music.

  His new illustrated book is about"Das Reich des Einhorns".
His new photo book is about 'The Kingdom of the Unicorn'. © Heilemania

'The Kingdom of the Unicorn' is a homage to the wonderful American author Peter S. Beagle, who, unfortunately, is known in this country almost exclusively for the pretty cheesy animated film adaptation of his novel 'The Last Unicorn'. He wrote grandiose, very poetic fantasy that has accompanied and delighted me for decades. So it was time to pay tribute to him and his multiple angles on unicorns.

Where does your interest in magical beings come from?

This stems from my enthusiasm for fantastic literature.

After ten years, the cycle of stories “Fremder” ends with the album “Endlich!”. How does that make you feel?

Does that leave a void or are you looking forward to being free for something brand new?
Liberating and a bit scary at the same time. Hence the album bears this title. Because our finiteness is addressed in it, but also the other meaning that something comes true after a long wait.

A few days ago you released the single 'The Last Refuge'. A liberation from darker Corona days?

Absolutely! The song is an anthem written to celebrate the return to our audience. The motto 'Let there be light! Let there be noise!” is the absolute program.

In July you will also perform at the 'Full Speed ​​Ahead' festival. Do you prefer big festival appearances or club shows?

Both have great appeal for me. The big festivals have a different dynamic and it's absolutely thrilling to play in front of so many people. For example, we were allowed to be guests at Wacken again last year - and how many enthusiastic people still celebrated us frenetically at night, that was gigantic. I'm actually the kind of person whose likeness appears next to the term 'unpretentious' in the dictionary, but at that moment we all felt like rock stars.

I'll admit though that the club shows have one huge, all-powerful advantage: we just play longer there! And that in turn means: more ASP songs! I'm one of those artists who will never have a problem filling their set list for a concert. I love so many songs from ASP's almost 25 years that I always have the problem of sorely missing any of my babies on stage. I can truly feel blessed that many of our fans don't just want to hear the supposedly 'good old songs' either. It's a gift and that's why our tours are a source of extreme joy for me.

  Dark and creative: This picture was taken as part of the"Kosmonautilus"-Albums aus dem Jahr 2019.
Dark and creative: This picture was taken as part of the 'Kosmonautilus' album from 2019. © Heilemania

Do you go to festivals privately? Which are they?

What does that word mean? I have no life outside of my job. And if there happens to be a free moment, then I grab my dog ​​and go into the forest.

What music do you listen to privately when you want it to be less dark?

I have an extremely large collection because I have always remained a music fan who has fulfilled the dream of releasing my own music. I have good music for every mood that somehow fills me up and makes me happy. Even when she's dark. But I actually also enjoy listening to an awful lot of non-darkness styles of music, from 80's hair metal to Celtic folk, from singer-songwriter to 70's progressive rock. I'm currently in my Jethro Tull phase again. Almost nothing else gets into the player for two or three weeks. I've completely freed myself from whether other people find cool what I like. I'm not ashamed of anything I like. Music is just wonderful. Of course, not everything is to my liking. You can chase me with hits and/or folk music. Far and fast and hooking.

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