Al Crespo


For hard rock newcomers UNBREAKABLE, the future is now. The buzz around this band has been growing steadily for the last couple of years, and with the release of their debut album, "Knockout", the time has come for the world to witness what everyone has been talking about. Consisting of Al Crespo (vocals), Martin Ries (guitar), Pascal Alles (guitar), Lukas Mittler (bass) and Alexander Ries (drums), this band plays a style of music that is very reminiscent of the classic 80's hair bands that once dominated the music industry and propelled many bands into the stratosphere. I recently had the opportunity to interview frontman Al Crespo and hopefully, get our readers a little more familiar with the band.
By Jeff Legg
September 24, 2014
Interview - Al Crespo (Unbreakable) interview
Because you guys are a relatively new band, how would you describe UNBREAKABLE's sound to someone who is unfamiliar with your music?

Classic Hard Rock, back to the 80's. It's just straight on, good time Rock & Roll with the sound and quality of 2014.

Was the band formed as a group of guys that played the same style of music or was your distinctive sound something that developed naturally?

It was a process to find our own style of course, like a painter who tries to find himself in his pictures. But now we are in a position that we can say that UNBREAKABLE has found a good way to make music, but the journey is only beginning.

Are you five guys all of the original members of the group?

The band was formed 2003, the drummer Alex Ries, as school band. Later on, when things started getting serious, came Pascal Alles (guitar), who kind of restructured the whole thing. Martin Ries (guitar), Lukas Mittler (Bass) and myself, Al Crespo (vocals), joined the band and the magic happened. This is the true UNBREAKABLE DNA and the best formation that could ever happen to us.

Can you remember the first song that you guys wrote together as a band and is that song still in the band's live rotation?

The first song was "Rock The Nightlife". Every time we play it, it is a fantastic feeling when people bring up their arms, sing the chorus like crazy and play their imaginary guitars in the solos. This is exactly the atmosphere we wanted to get with the lyrics that have been co-written with Herman Rarebell, the mastermind in many SCORPIONS hits.

At what point did you know that this band was special? Did you have a good feeling about it from the very first jam session?

Yes of course, if the chemistry is right you know it immediately. We all have the same philosophy. We are 5 friends, who have the same vision. To play live in front of our fans and have fun making music together.

It's obvious that you guys sound a lot like SCORPIONS, (you in particular sounding so much like Klaus Meine), and were deeply influenced by their music, but were there any bands from the U.S.A. that you would consider a big influence? Maybe some of the classic 80's "hair band" era bands?

You said that, we never heard that before. It´s an honor to be compared with such big legends of in rock history. About the influences, we can say that we just wanted to capture the feeling of those arena rock days. It´s all of our inspiration. American bands? Well difficult to count them: VAN HALEN, MR. BIG, TOTO… There were so many great bands at that time. We hope to get to that level one day. We tried writing songs with strong melodies and shakable choruses. If we got that on tape? That depends on the listeners.

Knowing that your sound strongly resembles the SCORPIONS, was there a concerted effort to highlight this sound on the album?

Hahaha, no that's our style, maybe it has something to do with the fact that we are German.

It seems like almost every article written about UNBREAKABLE, mentions the SCORPIONS. Does that reference ever get old?

Herman Rarebell is our producer and manager and everyone knows he was the drummer and the heart and soul in many SCORPIONS lyrics, from "Blackout" to "Rock you Like a Hurricane" and many more. And that´s the connection that we have, the guy is one of us now.

How and when did you first meet Herman Rarebell? Did he hear you guys and show interest or was he someone that you asked to listen to your music?

We send him our demo tracks and we got an answer back, "Hey guys this is good stuff"! A week later he joined us in our rehearsal studio and listened to us live. And in the week that followed, we where already in the recording studio making the final record.

What has been the most difficult thing about becoming a major-label recording artist? Was there something that you took for granted before you got the record deal that turned out to be a real pain in the ass? Like the media, or interviews?

The most difficult thing was to find the right people to work with, to get the right support for the band.

Can you describe the songwriting dynamic within the band? Who writes the bulk of the music and was there a specific period of time that you guys sat down and starting writing for this album, or were the songs something that just happened over time?

It´s a process to make an album. Mostly Pascal and Martin come up with cool riffs and we jam and record the ideas in our studio in our hometown in Germany and write lyrics to the songs and so on.  And later we listen to the songs with our producer Herman, who always has great ideas to round things up.

You guys must have had a lot of songs written prior to recording the album. How did you settle on the tracks that made it onto the album?

We do the recording of all songs we have in our studio. Then comes the difficult part to choose which ones match up to come together in our album.

One of the first things that stood out to me about "Knockout" is that you guys sound different than most every other new band emerging in the hard rock genre. Do you feel that being unique will be an advantage or disadvantage?

We play all songs in our way and with our feeling. That makes us unique. The feelings reach the people and so we think it is an advantage, because everyone can notice we´re not following a trend or copying others. We just play, what we love to play

For the last couple of years, you guys have been under the microscope and have been tabbed the next "big thing". What was the mood like within the band as the expectations grew and the pressure mounted to record an album that would live up to the press?

We had the feeling that our way to make music and songs is the right way. It's like butterflies in the stomach and you gotta trust and believe in what you do. That´s the only way.

What would you say is your most proud moment to date?

The greatest moment for us was when Herman decided to produce our album.

With the album already on the market, do you find yourself reading reviews of "Knockout" and articles about the band, or do you just tune it all out? Come on, you can be honest with me here.

Yes, we read all CD reviews and articles about us because we are interested in the opinion of the people, what they think about the album and us. It´s important for us to be in contact with everyone who is into music. If we recorded an album is because we wanted to share it and infect everyone with our energy. It´s important for us to know if it´s working out.

By admission, you guys have been heavily influenced by some of the classic hard rock bands of all time. How does it feel knowing that you are inspiring younger bands wanting to be like UNBREAKABLE? You were in their shoes once, growing up listening to you're favourite rock stars and now using those influences in the music you play today.

It feels good, because you can give your experience to the younger musicians. For us Rock & Roll is a philosophy, a way of life.It´s our reason to stay on our tracks!

What can you tell me about your touring plans for the rest of the year and into 2015?

We plan for 2015 to come to the USA and play a lot of concerts: right now we´re working on that. We hope we see you all there on the road and "Rock The Nightlife".

I want to thank you again for taking the time to sit down and do this interview. I really look forward to seeing you guys out on the road and wish you great successes in your career.

I hope to meet you soon, too! Thanks a lot Jeff for supporting our music!

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