Alex Frey


When enough is enough, better to just let it all out and let everyone face what has been buried deep down. Sure, there is a way to express anything that aches the heart, but why not write about instead of doing something that is considered harsh right? Being struck by the wave Covid, things went to a halt for the DeVicious camp, like all the world of culture worldwide. The new release of "Black Heart" sums up a tough period for the band and a great platform where all that ached was unleashed. Steinmetal had a good talk with the band's Alex Frey about it all.
September 13, 2022
DeVicious's Alex Frey: "…I basically ranted my heart out on most of the tracks. Black Heart is most certainly a symbol for the stacked-up emotions I had…" interview
Hello Alex, it is great to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

I have been doing fine, thank you for having me.

The grand stand energies that DeVicious has been showing ever since its inception, back in 2016, have been quite surprising. The band accomplished quite a lot, delivering the first three albums year after year. However, with the pandemic on the rise, you threw away the stone from the gas pedal. Would you say that it was a sort of 'meant to be' for you guys, to stop for a little in order to capture your breath?

We weren't out of breath, we got more bookings than ever, sold more albums than ever, when things are moving into the right direction you want to keep going. The pandemic didn't just take the foot off the gas, it was a full hit on the breaks because there was nothing we could do, tours got cancelled several times and while we should have been out there playing shows the success of the third album was basically worthless because we weren't able to built up on it.

Talking about the pandemic, while it allowed time for musicians, and artists, to hone their creativity, and creations in overall, it was also a troubling time. There were those that lost their motivation to do anything concerning music, and just waited for the storm to fade, mentally damaged. How did the fierce waves of the pandemic make their effect on you on a personal note?

Well, as I said before it brought us to a stop which was sad but there have been lives at stake and we are all very rational people, we knew we would have to wait it out, our time would come again.
I personally am great with spending time alone, what really messed me up were these discussions about it all. So many high-level experts of a virus that was just a few weeks old while at the same time you receive the news that someone you know just died of it. This was hard because I really didn't have an outlet to vent off except for putting the anger into new music.

With you being one of the artists that took their time in order to open your minds to new possibilities, which still have closer proximity to your AOR meets Hard Rock musical efforts, you were able to work, and complete, your fourth album, "Black Heart". The record also marked your return to your first label, Pride & Joy Music, which released your debut record, "Never Say Never". Would you say that the road was paved for you to return to Pride & Joy? How did that happen?

Pride & Joy was the road not taken, the first album was more of a re-release instead of a planned Pride & Joy album, we were extremely inexperienced when we offered "Never say Never" to labels, we got tons of offers and too the worst one. One that never ended up being released properly. Birgitt the Big Boss of Pride & Joy has been kind enough to take it under her wings when it was about 6 months out, it was supposed to be released 18 months prior to that. After the third album we had a lot of options and decided to go with Pride & Joy because Birgitt was also involved in all of our releases on the promotion side and there was never even the slightest problem with her, she is the most reliable person there is. We thought we owe it to ourselves to go with her.

"Black Heart", similar to its music, which we will talk about in length later on, sends a different vibe in its philosophical perspective. How big of an effect did the latest worldwide state of events influence on your lyrical themes? What is that black heart in question?

Obviously the album was influenced by the events around the world. There has been devastating fires in Australia, an attempted coup in America, Racism and protests and also a lot of lying and misleading from people that are supposed to serve their countries and not themselves. I don't know maybe these are normal events, but I had to experience them sitting at home with nowhere to go with my emotions, so I basically ranted my heart out on most of the tracks. Black Heart is most certainly a symbol for the stacked-up emotions I had but it is also a villainous character in our upcoming Comic Book Series "Dollhouse DV" (late 2023 4 years in the making)

With the manner of "Black Heart", and according to your perception of the world as we know it, would you say that some of the written word on the record channels your fears, or things that you hope that wouldn't happen in the future?

No, because I am not driven by fear. I have channeled by anger and funneled it into the Lyrics. I even had to ask my band mates if they are okay with it because it was clear that once people understand the message, they will hate us for it. I am beyond hope when it comes to the future, I know things will run out of steam eventually and we will return to normal again.

In your view, what are the main morals that can be conjured from the main themes of "Black Heart"?

I have to admit, that is a very fun interview, I was ready to give you my copy and paste answers, but this is so much better because we are actually talking about the music. Thanx for that.

In Germany the fairytales for children always end with the sentence "and the moral of this story is…" and then they explain the metaphor. I wasn't really using any metaphors and I don't think there are general morals to the album, it has 2 Soundtrack pieces with "Heroines" and "Black Heart" which are completely fantasy based and there are songs like "Welcome the Night" that are about the relationship with the fans once we hit the stage. There are also some deeper songs such as "Afterlife" written from the perspective that all climate related issues have been ignored by humanity and the worst case has already happened.

Is there really a moral to that or is it based on the believe system of the individuals? There are quite some political songs on "Black Heart", I wouldn't be able to say what I am saying if I attack morals to these lyrics. This is my point of view, I believe some people in world politics are extremely bad and I believe I can read them like an open book, while the supporters of these individuals believe these persons are playing some sort of high-end Chess. I can't tell people what to think or who to support. All we can do as a band is using our music to deliver a counter argument. That being said, this might not be what a band such as DeVicious should do in the first place, but these were strange times.

"Black Heart" is an effort that could be rendered as more than a mere step up in light of the band's musical heritage. While remaining melodic, things have gotten heavier, appearing more serious, delivering chunky swings, chopping at times in a fashion that broke the lighter image of the past. Would you say that if there was no pandemic at all, you would have kept yourselves at the lighter edge of the melodic Hard Rock stream or would you say that you were a little fed up?

We were fed up indeed. That being said, we have gotten significantly harder on each album and with a young front man such as Antonio things had to go into a direction where he becomes more believable for a younger audience. I'd say the music would have happened without all the drama in the world, the lyrics not. It was a fantastic experience and it is a great album, one wonders if it is the album our fan base wanted.

How do you view the musical progress of DeVicious, in light of "Black Heart", other than mainly becoming a heavier band?  In a way, would you say that this record got you a bit more mature in your songwriting?

What is mature songwriting? To deliver a beautiful straight forward melody driven song or to add 4 minutes of progressive Drums Bass and Guitars? I would answer the question with a strong no.
Mature music is when you have a vision and can deliver it the way as you intended it. Bands like Europe have never been less mature as Dream Theater or Rush, they just had different priorities. Our Priority on this album was to lose the music corset and do what is fun to play.

Mentioning the songwriting process of "Black Heart", what can you share about the proceedings, the sessions of writing the songs, and of course coming up with the music? I guess that it wasn't really a joint effort with all the lockdowns, so how did you manage everything?

The process is always the same. When I have an idea in my head I hear the full song, mixed and mastered with every little detail. I start recording bass on a click, program some demo drums and lay down the basic keyboards and send it to our guitar player Radivoj who usually comes up with some killer Riffs and once that is done, I write the Lyrics, get some Demo Vocals going, in this case it was Carsten Lizard Schulz who recorded my ideas and then everyone else gets involved detailing their parts.

Even though the backing vocals would probably show otherwise, the self-titled song, "Black Heart", is actually one of the album's heavier blades, it also portrays an enchanting form of darkness, while being highly melodic and hooking. What can you tell about the efforts made surrounding this song?

The title track describes a very particular scene from the comic books, it is basically the 5 protagonists first attempt on a boss fight early in the series. The environment where the fight takes place is quite dark and gruesome and I was trying to transport that into the lyrics. At this point I can't really reveal more why the chorus goes "NA NA NA NA" but it has a meaning and quite a good one.

A little lighter, but no less a hit that could be relied upon is "Heroines", the 80s are coming to life on a sacred ground, displaying several genres going wild together, whether AOR, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. What do you make of this track?

This song introduces the 5 girls from the comic books, they are very different by character and each part of the song describes a character without really talking about it. The concept was clear to me from the start, describing the girls as a Team but making the effort to give each of them their musical spotlight which will once again make more sense once we start advertising the Comic Books in videos.

"After Midnight" goes Heavy Metal, almost in a full swing, as it is not easy to escape the grasp of the low tuned guitar riffs, delivering a straightforward tone for the album. Is there a chance that this would be the next face of DeVicious on its future albums?

Nope, been there, done that, literally got the T-Shirt. We are kids from the 80ies. Antonio who was the singer on "Phase Three" and "Black Heart" was 20 years younger, we wrote songs like After Midnight for his younger audience, we love the song, we love the energy but with "Baol Bardot Bulsara" (TNT) joining the band we knew instantly what we want to do which is going back to our roots as a band and to our roots when we started making music. The times have never been more favorable for this kind of music as it is now.

Lastly that I have to mention is the Dokken driven "Falling". For a minute there I pictured "Breaking The Chains" playing alongside, I don't really know why but surely a mesmerizing early 80s Hard Rock meets Heavy Metal. The Keyboards also provided an additional touch that colored the effort just a little bit. What can you tell about the creative process of this track?

Our guitar player Radivoj wrote the basic concept of the song, he came with the Riff and we added the rest together. I guess it has a bit of a Dokken touch, you are right. It was a very intuitive songwriting process to be honest. I don't think it took us longer than 1 hour to record the demo after recording the basic Riff.

Soon you will be releasing a comic series, which from what I could understand "Black Heart" is its center, and its models on the cover. What can you share in regards to what "Dollhouse DV" will be all about? Also, what made you come up with this idea?

If you use "soon" as a very elastic term then yes it will be coming soon (End of 2023). The Series is about 5 young women from another planet that are sent to earth to save us from evil forces. While that sounds like every single comic book, it is combined with a lot of research and an extreme effort of character development. There will be 6 Books for the first series, each with 100 pages of content and each page has 8-10 parts. Everything will be rendered photorealistic in Hollywood Quality. It is a gigantic project that was never planned to become this big but now there is no way back 😀 The Idea was spontaneous and we though the synergies would be fantastic since the CGI Girls could be in our videos and we could be in their Environments. This however is something for Album 6, Album 5 will have nothing to do with the comis.

I noticed that you had a double headliner tour last month, is there a continuance to your efforts to support "Black Heart" in the coming future?

Each concert we do with our recent album will contribute to support "Black Heart" The concert market this year is weird, we will focus more time for live shows on next year and who knows, maybe we'll have a new album out by then.

Alex, I wish to thank you for your effort on this interview. You sure had me surprised with "Black Heart", and I am sure that it was also my first full length experience with DeVicious. All the best

Thanx again for having me, it was a very fun interview. Feel free to listen to the other 3 albums as well, they won't kill you and maybe you find yourself singing one of the songs in the shower 😀

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