Interview with Jan Bunning, bass player for Paragon 10/15/03

Well Jan, thanks for allowing Maximum Metal a little bit of your time. Paragon has a brand new record out on Remedy Records called, "The Dark Legacy", which in my opinion is the best album to date from the band. Would you agree?

Of course I would agree though I have to admit that I think LAW OF THE BLADE was our most "perfect" album so far. Maybe too perfect! With DARK LEGACY we tried to capture our live energy, used less tracks to record, were more spontaneous and all in all we had less time in the studio than for LOTB or STEELBOUND. Itīs straight ahead, aggressive Heavy Metal in your face!

"The Dark Legacy" turns out to be a very well written concept album. What is the story behind this record and who did most of the writing for this one?

Our singer Buschi is reading a lot of books - most of it fantasy stuff. He mixed up different ideas which came into his mind while reading all this stories. The hero of the last record inherits an old house and finds an old spell book. While reading it he suddenly gets sucked through a mirror into a different dimension and has to survive a lot of adventures. Itīs really nothing with a deeper meaning but written very well and entertaining like one of these old sword & sorcery books!

Famed producer Piet Sielck has produced the band's last three records, "Steelbound", "Law Of The Blade", and the new record. What does a producer like Sielck bring to this band? There is a world of difference between "Chalice Of Steel" era Paragon and the newer sound the band has aquired.

Piet helps us a little bit with arrangements, gets out our best playing and of course is responsible for our (besides our playing) aggressive, crystal clear sound. STEELBOUND was the first record that did our playing justice - before you e.g. you could not hear every doublebass note or any bass picking. STEELBOUND was already ok soundwise but when recording LOTB Piet knew what we are able to play and he forced us to play like we never played before! So he was able to produce this very "sharp" sound. He also had great ideas when it came to vocal and melody lines - but thatīs his job.

Who had the idea for Sielck to contribute vocals on the chorus parts for these albums?

"It seems we really hit a nerve in the USA!."
Before STEELBOUND we always wanted these big stadium choirs but the producers who mixed us before didnīt knew how to achieve it. Piet worked already with bands like Blind Guardian or Grave Digger and they had choirs like that. He can arrange a choir like this with Buschi, Martin, himself and me in a very short time which saved us a lot of time and money. So it was more a question of money than anything else! On THE DARK LEGACY we reduced his contribution a little bit because itīs always very hard (or better impossible) for Martin and me to reproduce Pietīs backings live!

Remedy has really put some beautiful packaging together for this release. Did the band come up with the idea of how this record would be packaged? Who did the album artwork and what other albums has this artist worked on?

The basic idea was discussed while we were out with the guys (and girls) of Remedy, Paragon and the artist himself who is Dirk Illing (www.x-m-d.com). After that I often talked with Dirk and he sent out sketches of his ideas until it became the coverart it is now! He already did artwork for Exhibition, Victory, the Wacken Open Air crew, Gothic Knights etc. He a very nice and talented guy!

How is the band relationship with Remedy Records? Have they done a good job promoting this record?

All in all they did a very good job, some things could be better but I think as band you always find reasons to complain about your label! Show me a label in which you can make a party with the boss until 10 oīclock in the morning!!!
 How many more Paragon albums will we see on the Remedy Label?

So far the next one will be the last one. We plan to release it at the beginning of 2005 and we have to see if Remedy give us another good offer or if we get other better offers. At present I feel fine with Remedy and really donīt know what will happen in over a year!

Right now the band is going through some lineup changes. Guitarist Claudius Cremer is now out of Paragon and replaced with Gunny Kruse. How did this happen and how will it effect the Paragon sound?

When Paragon refunden in 1996 Claudius more or less already moved to Darmstad to study which is 600 km away from Hamburg. SO we were not able to rehearse regulary and he also only contributed a few riffs to the record. It was always planned that he would come back to Hamburg some time and it became a little bit frustrating for both parties so that we decided to part ways.

We are still friends and I always chat with him every day. I hope he finds a suitable band in his area very soon! Günny used to be our roadie and "only" played in cover bands before and always wanted a "real" band. He is a very good, skilled and relaxed player. Judging from the gigs we played so far with him everybody said we sound even tighter than before and I am sure he also will contribute some riffs to our next record.

You are hitting the road with Majesty this weekend. How long will this tour last and how many gigs are planned?

To be honest it will not be a real tour because itīs very expensive to have a big nightliner but we will do two to three shows a weekend. We already done three weekends and have one more show to come but we will continue like this next year.

Have you had a chance to hear the new Majesty record? I'm really looking forward to it!

Itīs the best so far even though we always tell bad jokes about the guys - but they take it with humor! The first song is called Heavy Metal Battlecry - which easily could be changed to Heavy Metal Apple Pie - They really had to suffer some times!

I know there is early talk now of a small tour of the US. If that tour happens, when can we expect it and is there any idea yet of what cities you will be hitting?

Tony Taylor of Twisted Tower Dire promised to organize some shows because half of the eMails and reviews we get are from the USA - and they are always from very good to sensational! It seems we really hit a nerve in the USA! We plan to do it in April / May of next year - I am not really sure where we will play but If somebody wants us to play there or organize something we would play wherever possible as long as we can afford it in anyway and donīt loose too much money (at present we try to save as much money as possible for the flights from our recent gigs here in Germany and Europe).

Well Jan, thanks again for your time. Paragon are definitely the leaders right now of European power metal. Good luck for the future and keep holding the torch high!

Thanks for the praise Eric! I hope REAL Metal will rise again in the USA and that we really have the chance to play in the USA! As far as I heard you have the most beautiful Metal Chicks there! We want to check this out! If anybody wants to contact us please write to legionsofmetal@gmx.de or visit our webpage at www.paragon-legions.com! Heavy Metal Forever!

Jan BunningEric Compton11/20/2003

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