Mischa Mang exclusive interview (Ivanhoe, ex – Ivanhoe)

One remembers only a few moments in life. Moments which are forever imprinted in ones memories. Moments which enriched life with beautiful memories i nostalgia. Moments which will be remembered until ones end. Moments filled with memories of beautiful experiences. One of those rare moments was when 1996. I listened through the first progressive metal album I ever heard – it was the album “Symbols Of Time” by the legendary band Ivanhoe. That album left a permanent mark in my heart and with it I lived through many experiences which to this day I recall in my mind from time to time. Call me a dreamer or a utopian, but moments which one can experience with such an album are moments filled with contemplations and ties which go beyond past and presence, place and time, linearity and future. As I mentioned before several times, I am undoubtedly in love with this band since the winter of 1996-97(as well as with the side project Charisma). The rest is history. With this interview a boyish dream came true – I talked with a member of Ivanhoe. This was made possible by Mischa Mang, a singer who worthily replaced Andy B. Franck(Brainstorm, Symphorce). Unfortunately, while the interview was being made(the interview with Mischa was conducted in two parts), Mischa left the band!!!!!!!! In front of you is an exclusive interview with Mischa which was conducted closely before and after he left the band. In the name of Vision Rock Metal, as a journalist and as a fan I wish all the best for Mischa and Ivanhoe in the future and I wish they will continue to surprise us with new creative achievements.

1. Mischa, how come you’re not in the band anymore? What brought this on?

A lot of bad experiences over the years, to much and to long bad story´s but just a few days ago I`ve realized that one Ivanhoe member gave the info that he composed all the songs. He gave statement in the press and to Gema as well. I`ve composed this song long time ago in 1990. in Berlin. You can hear Mad House at

https://itunes.apple.com/de/album/mang-94/id478614977
in a old version from 1994.
The new Mad House-Ivanhoe Version on new “Systematrix” album is my song and Richie Seibel give a very important influence to it, as well as Andy Horn, of course!
I give Richie Credits, but all the sudden Mad House was registrated under a new number within a composer, which has nothing to do with that composing; and without Richie(just the last step would be a reason to leave don’t you think?).

2. I`m really sorry to hear that. I`m a big fan of Ivanhoe since 1996. Let me ask you some questions about your Ivanhoe days…It is known from your biography that guitar player Achim Welsch, who was a sound technician in the musical Jesus Christ Superstar, where you portrayed Judas in the year 2001., was stunned by your vocal capabilities. What was the course of events at that time, both before and after you entering the band?

I had an exhausting mega musical tour behind me, where I mixed old demos via laptop in our Tourbus. My band was history in Berlin and Achim wanted precisely listen to this CD (more demo from 1994). He began to work with the material, and conjured up a fat version of “Who will I be” for me. I was very impressed by him. What happened then is now history again.

3. What was it like to replace Andy B. Franck?

Honestly, I didn’t care that much about the shouter before and as how he was singing the old Ivanhoe CD’s. Amazing Voice, different planet.

4. Wherever I look, Achim is listed as an active member of Ivanhoe, except on your Facebook page where it is said that he is not in the band. What’s the story with Achim?

It’s complicated, he’s a genius and geniuses usually have extreme character’s. I can only say that for me personally, I thought he slowed down the process of create a new CD into unbearable, but now it turns out that it also does not go faster without him.

5. To this day you’ve recorded two albums with Ivanhoe: “Walk in Mindfields” (2005) and “Lifeline” (2008). When will a new album come out? How is the work progressing on the new album?

The album will be in stores at 24.05.2013!!! The working process was much different than before, singing was done in almost one week, thats a big of a different than in our former process. But it takes time to comes to a composing dialoge without Achim.

6. How did it come to you working with the progressive metal band Dreamscape from Munchen? Did you leave Dreamscape because it was too much work to sing in two complex bands like Ivanhoe and Dreamscape are?

Dreamscape…..many factors came together. They were far away in Munich and the musical views between me and the band leader drifted in 2 different directions.
But I am grateful for two wonderful tours and I love to see my friends now doing the great band Subsignal.

7. Can we divide Ivanhoe, concerning it`s opus, in three phases: 80′s demo phase, 90′s Andy B. Franck phase up until ’98. and from 2001. onwards the phase with you as a frontman? Could it be said that since 2000. Ivanhoe entered a different phase than the one with Andy B. Franck, a phase which has more classic German heavy metal influence and less progressive experiments?

I can divide that like you´ve sad but I don’t know what you mean by German Classic Heavy Metal?! You are right it sounds not that jazzi but Pink Floyd called progressive as well; no one would ask them why they don’t be more DT! “Progressive” means developing and and that is quit in our music.
Our Progressive proportion is not that obvious but it is there and it`s hard to play for the most drummers
(just listen to the drum in our song “Life Line” which comes across really straight). Talking about not easy playable drums, be prepared for the song “Systematrix”. If anyone can play this without trying…is the Boss….Wow!

8. “You Will Burn” is perhaps in my opinion the strongest song from the “Lifeline” album and it’s as if it presents Ivanhoe in a darker and a more intense light. At least that’s how it seemed to me while listening to it. Will the new album feature more peculiar and great songs with such well made darker atmosphere as in “You Will Burn” and a deep mystic, almost chaotic and in moments epic atmosphere as in “Angels Hologram”?

Epic atmosphere will be there in “Mad House” on our new CD. Epic is more my thing. “Angels Hologram” is me and Achim´s work the most. The other songs are much more…lets say “no easy listening stuff” :D
No serios…it`s so different again. I can`t really tell.

9. Your engagement in rock operas is really fascinating. In how many of them did you perform to this day and which undertaking would you single out is your favourite or the most interesting?

Honestly, I didn’t count anymore, they are a few pieces I used to play. I guess Jesus Christ superstar is the most interesting after all…
I’ve played in different theaters and you can find different interpretations every time!

10. What is your opinion about progressive metal being ignored and having less publicity in the 90′s and 2000′s?…It is a sad fact that only Dream Theater is enjoying world wide fame while many other bands are
condemned to life on the edge…

In the past people call me a crazy “being on a mission prog metal priest”. So I have learned if they don’t find way to validate no one else can ;-) Fine.. But I think if radio could break out of the circle playing what people could love and beeing more brave, that would be a chance for prog metal…and so for us!
Thousands of people’s going to prog metal festivals every year, so give me a break there are a lot of consumers for prog….

11. What are your views on the German progressive and heavy metal scene in general? Do you think that German heavy metal is still on the top of worlds heavy metal?

Sorry I have no prog political overview about the prog metal scene, I just know one or two bands which I realy like and want to hear and listen to. Subsignal and Vanden Plas for example.
I never thought that Germany is the top of heavy-metal if we talk about “bands”, but if you mean festivals !?? Okay, than Germany is still the top :-)

12. Can you make a living from progressive metal these days?

No. Maybe Circus Maximus or Vanden Plas cause they do it in the right way and intelligent; Vanden Plas compose musicals and they are successful cause those pieces are good.

13. When I look at a lot of older and new prog metal bands I mostly see 2 patterns – they are either working very slowly and thoroughly and are
putting out records every 5 or more years, or they are working at a standard tempo but have problems with keeping members…There were only a few instances where a band by passed both patterns. Do you agree, and if yes, why do you think that is?

What a prophetic question!!! Are you testing spy?? :D
I can`t speak for everyone else but in my opinion it’s hard to doing music which you love while knowing you can`t pay your rent, so you have to do a job anyway and that job takes the most of your time.
After while your band becomes more and more the position of a special interest. If it is just a special interest why it takes all your energie, money and time?? Then you ask yourself: did I want all of this?
When I say could be the answer for bought of your questions and maybe it is the right one.

14. Is it important today for members of a band not only to be connected musically but at the same time on more levels…ideologically, philosophically, mentally, spiritually?

Yes, I guess so, going through hell of existing as a band it really helps.

15. Which album and what song would you single out as Ivanhoe’s best?

Album as a view to an album? Lifeline.
Songs? They are a few I really like. One of my favorites on “Walk in Mindfields” is “What love is for” but after all “Angels Hologram” is my fave cause I simply played the most.

16. What are your plans for the future? Do you perhaps plan to form a band and continue in a similar direction? Do you plan to enter a band? Or maybe to continue solo and in some other music genres?

First of all, I have a lot to do with my solo stuff (really a lot). I have a producer in Vienna and I think the next Mang CD will be more audible for everyone ;-) If you know what I mean…
But I never know… maybe a band like Circus Maximus or Subsignal cross my Lifeline and then …bam….:-)

17. Do you think that in the future there will come a better time for progressive metal and progressive rock, or will prog metal still be a sub-form in many genres and sub-genres?

I guess it will always stay a sub genres. It`s a bit sad but on the other hand it makes me feel very exclusive cause it`s not a metal headbanger club really outside everything. I`ve read in a magazine: “Prog is the new Punk”. Interesting phrase…and sometimes I really
want to know how these guys think about us :D

18. As an experienced musician and a man with vast life experience, what are your views on working in music? Is the sacrifice that a man presents on the “altar” of music(especially if we’re talking about creative and innovative music in which man must put a great deal or maybe even all of oneself) worth it? Must one, in today’s world, be literally a “fanatic” to pursue and work in the field he loves?

Yes, it seem so!!!!
But I don’t want bitching to much about it, at least I`m a fanatic ;-)

Ivanhoe – band official site

Mischa Mang – reverbnation page