Patrick Prince of Powerline recently conducted an interview with guitarist Michael Weikath of German power metallers HELLOWEEN. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Powerline: Now, you’ve said that the new album is “a continuation of the ‘7 Sinners’ directive,” but more positive. Maybe you can explain that a little more.
Weikath: It’s just the way of working and the lineup that we have now, since more or less ten years. And you just know that you’ve got a good outfit and what are the strengths and what are the weaknesses of everyone. And you come up with new tracks, you upload them onto an Internet server and you download them, listen to them and then pick the tracks that you want to take on the album. It is a feasible way of doing things and that’s what we’ve been doing ever since “Gambling With The Devil” (2007), “7 Sinners” (2010) and now this one. And you get good results, you know. Everyone has tracks at home and gets prepared for the recordings, for the actual ones at the studio, in person, with the producer, Charlie Bauerfeind. And when it’s done you just travel back home. We’re spread over Germany — like, one guy is in Berlin, the other guy is in Hamburg and others in the south of Germany or the middle of Germany — and then there’s a guy like me who lives in Tenerife (Spain). And, so, we always orchestrate that stuff there and we’ve had great results in the past. In that way it is a continuation of the workflow that we’ve adopted.
Powerline: Well, most of the members of the band contributed to the songwriting on the last album. Is it pretty much the same for the new album?
Weikath: Yeah, it’s written by the same guys but it’s like a different variety. Producer Charlie Bauerfeind said he wants to optimize and put in the old trademarks again like huge choruses, big orchestration and shiny sounds and all this. Paired with the other modern elements thatHELLOWEEN also stands for, meanwhile, and that has been combined so we have a very accessible, open, good sounding record, I’d say. He tried to let everything sound a bit more loose.
Powerline: Do you still keep in touch with [former HELLOWEENmembers] Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske?
Weikath: If you read the interviews with Kiske saying something … he still says he has a problem with me, so that has to be sorted. We have to eventually have a talk or whatever, sort things out. If you ever want to do some “reunion” activities in the form of public appearances with ex-members or recordings with particular tracks. If you want to do something, you at first have to sort things out. He seems to have a problem and I’ve heard that he is maybe willing to have a talk about this because this eats at you, you know. If you have trouble in public … it’s not exactly easy for anyone. You don’t just carry that with you. You want to have a talk. And that’s what is going to take place one of the other times.
Powerline: Life is too short to carry on quarrels about the past.
Weikath: Right. You know, you’re so busy, like everyone’s doing one’s projects and you always think like we can have a phone call or we can write an email and then you don’t do it and you proceed with the other things. And then you go, “Oh, I wanted to talk to Weikath but I’m not in the mood right now or I’ve got this to do…” And that can happen. And the same goes for me.
Powerline: Throughout the band’s history, HELLOWEEN never changed to appease a record company. You stayed creatively true and you must be proud of that, no?
Weikath: Yeah, even though there was the move during “The Dark Ride” (2000), it was tried to equalize the HELLOWEEN sound with the grunge scene at that time, to appear more cynical, more dark, more sinister or whatever, to maybe cater to what was going on then at the time. So that was the point but it wasn’t actually pushed on us by a record company. It went on by our own accord. And i really didn’t cherish that idea, I must say. But on the other hand, if you’ve got that record, and there are many people who love it and … what the heck, you know.
Read the entire interview from Powerline.