Shakra: a lasting identity

Despite the frequent line-up changes they have been through during their career, Shakra have managed to keep a lasting identity thanks to the two founding members, who have maintained the original spirit of the band. When we interviewed him a few weeks ago, guitarist Thomas Muster insisted: “Actually, it wasn’t that hard, because Thomas Blunier and me, Shakra’s core, we’ve known each other for twenty years: so Shakra hasn’t changed so far. I’m also the main song writer, and I think this is the reason why Shakra still sounds like Shakra: it doesn’t matter whom we work with, it will still be Shakra. These changes weren’t a big problem for us. There are bands, like Iron Maiden, who changed their singer, and it didn’t work: in our case, it seems to work and we’re really happy with that. […] Having new musicians is a new experience for the band, for sure, but in the end, what is important to us is Shakra”.

Thomas seems satisfied with the balance the band have found between said original spirit and the involvement of their new members, Dominic Pfister and John Prakesh: “Dominic and John wrote some lyrics: it was cool. Both are focused and integrated in the band, and that’s perfect. I think you can hear this on the new album: Shakra sounds like a really strong band. ”.

The band’s new album, Powerplay, was released just recently. The song chosen to represent it as a single is the “Wonderful Life” ballad. Even though it was not exactly a choice, but rather a necessity to be broadcast on Swiss radio (something Thomas confirms willingly: “In Switzerland, Shakra is quite well played on the radios, but of course, not with the heaviest stuff. […] The swiss radios only play Shakra’s ballads, so we had no other choice than picking ‘Wonderful Life’ as the first single”), the song’s lyrics are representative of the album and of the band’s highly positive spirit. “It represents how the band is feeling right now. We had some really hard time in the past, but now the band’s doing good, we’re feeling great and that’s why we wrote ‘Wonderful Life’. This song is about a beautiful and a powerful life: you know that there’s a lot of pain in this world, so sometimes, it’s good to tell the people that everything is not bad. […] Almost every song on the album is pretty much positive. For instance, the opener, ‘Life Is Now’ is about living for the moment. ‘Higher’ or ‘Dream Of Mankind’ are also like that. All the songs are more positive than in the past. That’s the way we feel, so does this album.”.

A rather bright frame of mind, quite reminiscent of the latest album released by their countrymen of Gotthard, whose style is also very close to Shakra’s. And yet, Thomas affirms that the two bands barely know one another. When Gotthard announced they meant to go on with a new singer, we did speculate that vocalist John Prakesh could be contacted – or could contact them himself – to audition, his voice sounding very much like that of the late and lamented Steve Lee: “John joined the band in 2009 and Steve Lee died in 2010. (note: Steve Lee did indeed die on October 5th, 2010). Also, I don’t think he sounds like Steve but our music style is not far away from Gotthard’s one, so both guys are compared, it’s normal. I think that John sounds more like Jeff Scott Soto (note: former singer of Talisman, Yngwie J. Malmsteen), for example and it’s always good to be compared to great singers.”.

Regarding Shakra’s upcoming projects, Thomas mentions the shooting of two videos, for “Wonderful Life” and “Save You From Yourself”, but there’s not much more he can tell us. Indeed, the band have given the director full responsibility for these videos: “We know what this director usually do : we saw videos he did for other artists in Switzerland before. That’s why we chose that guy and wanted to work with him. We know he always makes a good job, but of course, we need to trust him.”.

Regarding concerts, only Europe is concerned, with dates in France, Switzerland and Germany. “Right now, we only have a few ones booked, and that’s okay for the moment, but of course we are planning to do more dates which will be announced soon, I guess. I can’t talk too much about it, because we are currently talking with a German band to plan a co-headlining tour in Europe. The dates are not fixed yet.”, Thomas says. Shakra are not yet able to tour outside of their continent, but it’s not for lack of wanting. “It’s very hard to play in the USA with the music style that we have. We’d love to tour in South America, that’ll be cool: we have sometimes requests from over there, so maybe it’ll happen. North America would be pretty hard, I guess, but we’ll see what happens.”, the guitarist says.

Interview conducted on December 14th, 2012, by phone
Transcription: Jean Martinez – Traduction (s) Net

Shakra’s official website: www.shakra.ch
Album Powerplay now available.

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