Raimund Breitfeld: “World5” by Eileen Shapiro
Nestled on a small Island in Sweden, near Gothenburg, amongst the wolves and albatrosses, (both of which happened to be house pets), resides the drummer and founder of the adult contemporary rock band World5. Raimund Breitfeld originally from Germany formed the band with friends who had previously performed together in Europe and the in the states. The band migrated all over the world and became an anomaly and a unique global experiment. Currently the members stretch between 4 countries and 3 continents, recording their music for Spectra Music Group via skype.
Aside from Raimund Breitfeld on the drums, the members of World5 currently include: Steffen Goeres residing in New Zealand and playing guitars and trumpet. Joe Gavito residing in the USA on guitars, along with fellow American based musician Jimmy Olsson supporting the bass. The newest member of the band is the handsome and suave U.K. based singer, Sam Stevens lending his rich and opulent lead vocals to the faction, completing the sophisticated collection of musicians. The band is an inspiring hidden gem getting ready to explode with a new single and a new album on the rise.
I had an in depth heart to heart with Raimund regarding the band, their musical philosophies, future endeavors, and his animal farm as well……Presently the band is promoting an over-the-top campaign. They are collecting people from all over the world and inviting them to actually sing on their album. They are also inviting fans and supporters to include their name on the album cover as well.
Rai, I’m wondering why you beginning originally from Germany aren’t based in Berlin where the music scene is rocking?
Actually I moved to Sweden from Spain. I lived on the Canary Islands for many years. It was beautiful there. We moved to Sweden because my wife has a daughter who went to school in Sweden. On the Canary Island it’s all sun and parties all the time so Sweden was better for her education. But my entire musical soul was in the Canaries. It’s such a melting pot of cultures. They have all these great sounds and music, rock and pop. It’s magic there, I love it.
I feel like all of you European people travel a lot. America is so big we’re more self contained.
We actually do. I love to travel. I’ve traveled all over the world. I’ve been in the U.S. I visited my best friend Steffen, the guitar player in New Zealand. New Zealand is beautiful. You have ocean, you have mountains….so Steffen did the right thing moving to New Zealand. I’ve been in the U.K. several times, but I’ve never been in Nottingham where Sam is so my next stop is Nottingham. It’s so famous because everybody has read Robin Hood.
So, you are the founder of World5, how did you find all the members who are spread out all over the world?
It’s interesting. My idea was to meld all of these influences. I knew them all before from Germany when we started. Then everybody moved somewhere, I moved to Spain, and we lost contact. I thought that these guys were really professional musicians. Steffen is living off his music…..everyone of us was. So I thought why not do something together again because the internet connections were so good we could skype and communicate. It wasn’t possible say at the end of the 80s or 90s because of those old modems. Then technology advanced and since we knew each other so well musically, the entire idea is to put all of the influences together, and it still is. New Zealand has different musical influences, and I had influences coming from Spain. All of this salsa, and South American music coming in….then in the US we had the guys from California. We put this all together in a melting pot.
It’s a great concept.
Actually I think we were one of the first doing an entire album with all of the players not seeing one another.
So do you ever plan to tour?
Yeah. We have to tour. With Sam I think it’s going to happen. I’m really very happy about having him on board. When we were screening for a new singer after the last one left, there was 300 singer’s. I put an advertisement in for a singer in reverb nation. I went through all of them and they were great singers. Sam has a king of special voice, almost like Bowie or Brian Ferry. They were all awesome singers, and Sam was number 300 in the screening process. The last one. I wrote him an email and we chatted, and that’s how it happened.
Personally I think you picked the right singer.
He came here and we had a lot of fun. Did he tell you about this bird I have, it’s an Albatros.
Yes I’ve heard that story.
I still have him. Now there are two birds, a mother and a little one. They come everyday.
So they’re pets?
Yeah. One is the hugest Albatros I’ve ever seen in my life. He always knocks on the window in the morning for food. So when Sam was here he was knocking on the window, and Sam wasn’t used to this. So he was sleeping there and then at six in the morning the albatross started knocking on the window and it was really funny. So next time I want to go to England and meet him there. I really love that he’s out there. The singer we had before had a great voice, but he was kind of like the grandpa. You cannot have a grandpa if you have a rock band. We are working on an album now with some really good songs and when we finish it I think we should go out on tour.
You have great ideas, but every band tours eventually.
Everybody wants to. Everybody is already playing live. Joe plays live all the time and lives from his playing. Jimmy is also making his living from playing. Our problem is of course the logistics. It must be feasible economically also, but I think we should play live. It’s fun to go live because then you can improvise. I say we need two weeks practice and then we can go out. When the album comes we will have a product and then it makes sense.
When do you expect the album to be released?
I think in autumn of this year. We’re going to release another single. I know you guys like “My Kind of Crazy”, and I like it too. But we have three now prepared and will listen to what the label says. So we will release another single, then the album.
You have a cool concept that you are currently promoting now?
I’m doing the promotion for an idea that Sam had years ago. We will collect people from all over the world and have them sing on the album as background voices. We have a track called, “No I Don’t Like It, I Love It” that Sam and I wrote together. On this tract there is a lot of room for many voices in the chorus. Singer’s are already sending their MP3s. People from all over the world will be singing on this chorus with us. Then second to that we will have our fans and supporters names on the album cover as well. We will have people singing from Africa, China, all over as long as they can sing some English words. They can send a file which we will mix together in the studio in Houston Texas, and it will be on the track included on the album. It actually fits within our whole concept. It’s out on Twitter and Facebook. Some of the radio stations that we get airplay from also want to be on the album. So we will have a collection of people on the album, and it’s a great thing, and then since they are all super fans already, they will promote as well. It’s free for them so why not. I have something on the web page, and it explains what they have to do. They can download it while Sam is already singing on it. They will know exactly when to come in, and then just sing as if they were a choir. Like a harmony.
So tell me a little bit about Rai. When did you start doing music?
I started when I was four. My mother was a concert pianist. She wanted to teach me piano but I didn’t like the piano. I started guitar when I was ten years old. I bought a cheap electric guitar, and I started to play together with Steffen. We were two guitar players. So we knew each other from the time we were kids. Steffen though was so good. He was literally sleeping with his guitar. He received a scholarship and went to Los Angeles and studied guitar there. He learned jazz guitar and these days he’s making a living through music and teaching guitar. He’s good in every genre. He plays Spanish guitar perfectly, classical guitar, rock…..So I couldn’t keep up with him and I decided to choose another instrument. I studied drums with many different teachers because I wanted to learn everything. I still have guitars though. I still play a little bit.
I love drummers, there is a mystery about them the way they sit in the back all alone.
Drummers are great songwriters. One of the best songs in the 70s was by Don Henley. He wrote “Hotel California”. He was a drummer.
You also write music?
Yeah, I write a lot. I wrote most of the songs on the first album. It’s different now. I really like to write songs with Sam. He has a different kind of singing. Some singers are fast paced, Sam is a little bit more slower. I’m use to this fast paced singing. I’ll put some of mine on the album too. It’s nice because with Sam we can work on the songs together.
How did you think of the concept it World5?
I just called my friend in New Zealand and he agreed, then I called a singer in the US that I met in California, and he said yes, I called another one in Spain at the time, a bass player and he said ” why not”. We already had songs because everybody had written songs. We just sent them around and we chose some. We made the concept and everyone played their part and we sent it over to Randy, a really good producer in Austin Texas and he put the whole thing together.
How many albums do you have out there?
This will be the third one. We have one called, “Heartbeat of the World”, and ” Global Experience”, so this will be the third. I was impressed with Spectra because they had Lou Gramm and I was a big Foreigner fan. They also had T-Rex. Spectra has some good artists like Leon and the Peoples”.
I interviewed him, he’s a fabulous artist and person. So what do you do when you’re not doing music?
I’m the one with the animal farm. I have a dog, I have a cat and I have these birds, and a wolf. I live on a little Island. It’s about two miles long, and about one mile wide. It’s in the middle of the ocean. There’s a ferry that takes you to town. There are about nine hundred people living on this Island.
Do you have stores?
We have one, but the ferry comes every hour. So when I’m not doing music and when I’m not doing the farm, we have one car on the Island for the older people, that’s what I do. I drive the older people to the ferry. When I moved to the Island I couldn’t sleep because of the silence, you don’t hear anything. So I have a lot of time to work on the music…a lot of time.
If you could say anything to your fans and followers, what would you want them to know?
Well if anyone wants to do something similar to what World5 does they have to know each other musically. Otherwise I don’t think it will work. I imagine that people have tried something similar, but without being connected I don’t think it would work. Of course we have people like Sam who we didn’t know before, but the rest of us were so well connected musically, so it was easy to create the music around him. He has a very, very special way of singing. It’s cool, I like it. But, we cannot write the same songs that we’ve written before. We had to rethink it.
Change is good sometimes.
Of course, it’s a challenge. It’s a positive challenge. You have something coming in and it’s raising the bar a little bit.
Follow on Twitter @World5music