Q&A with Austria-based blues musician Marius Dobra, has been on the road with his guitar for more than 40 years

"I think music plays a big part in our everyday life and it helps people to be more cheerful and brave."

Marius Dobra: On A Mission From God

The bandleader and songwriter Marius Dobra has been on the road with his guitar for more than 40 years. Music and lyrics are, with a few exceptions, all written by local lower Austrian artists . You can clearly feel his passion for blues, Jesus Christ and the influence of his role models Gary Moore and SRV. The Marius Dobra Blues Band has performed at numerous national as well as international festivals featuring famous musicians such as like Josè Feliciano, Supermax, Robben Ford, Josh Smith, Eric Gales, and many more.

They succeed by the right mix of blues, rock and very strong ballads – the tension definitely never drops. The band: Marius Dobra on guitar, Roman Kovacs on bass, Martin (Shützi) Wagner on drums and Matthias Ihrybauer on Hammond.

Interview by Michael Limnios

How has the Blues and Rock Counterculture influenced your views of the world and the journeys you’ve taken?

That’s a good question. And I never really thought about this. As musicians, we are clearly pacifists and spread our personal feelings. I think music plays a big part in our everyday life and it helps people to be more cheerful and brave.

How do you describe band's sound, music philosophy and songbook? Where does your creative drive come from?

In my early years I was more into playing hard rock music, which is also one of my main influences regarding my sound.  Nowadays I prefer blues-rock over classic blues. I'm not gifted enough for classic blues. I started playing blues rock 10 years ago when I accidentally discovered a video with SRV. My compositions are influenced by everyday life. I am a devout Christian and my lyrics reflect the peaceful thoughts of Christianity. The sound of our band is very fresh and you can feel our joy when playing.

Are there any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?

Sure. Once at our show for the open-air in Breslav in summer 2017, there were approximately 4.000 people. It was over 40 degrees outside, even more on stage, and I suffered a collapse on the stage. It was very difficult for me to finish the concert. One of the best things happened in 2008. While in the studio for my first album, I composed the song „Please don’t take my guitar“ in just a couple of minutes. It just came out of me.

"There is a very large and talented blues scene in Austria. All variations of blues are played. Not to forget one of the biggest blues festivals which lasts for 30 days, the Vienna Blues Spring Festival in Reigen Club." (Photo: Marius Dobra, 5th European Blues Challenge 2015, Belgium / Photo by Christophe Losberger)

What do you miss most nowadays from the blues of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of?

Blues has become a very broad musical style these days. Classic themes are played in a very modern and virtuoso way. For me it is important that you bring your one personal touch into the music. I really have no hope and no fear about blues for the future. Only play music that comes from the heart.

If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?

I would ban live playback and „tricks“ in the studio. Talent should be rewarded. It’s all about honest music, not faking it.

Make an account of the case of the blues in Austria. Which is the most interesting period in local blues scene?

There is a very large and talented blues scene in Austria. All variations of blues are played. Not to forget one of the biggest blues festivals which lasts for 30 days, the Vienna Blues Spring Festival in Reigen Club.

What are some of the most important lessons you have learned from your experience in local blues circuits?

You gain experience and get to know the people who love blues.

What is the impact of Blues music and culture on the racial, political and socio-cultural implications?

I don't want to express myself politically. Racism has no place on our earth, we are all equal before God.

"Blues has become a very broad musical style these days. Classic themes are played in a very modern and virtuoso way. For me it is important that you bring your one personal touch into the music. I really have no hope and no fear about blues for the future. Only play music that comes from the heart." (Photo: Marius Dobra, 5th European Blues Challenge 2015, L'Ancienne Belgique, Bruxelles, 13.03.2015 / Photo by Christophe Losberger)

Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really want to go for a whole day?

OMG, hmmm, probably in the `50s. That is the time where I would have loved to live. In my opinion everything was real and honest in this era.

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