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Twinmusix got to speak to Makus from Helloween about their new album and more.
TM - Hi, this is Amelia and Elizabeth from Twinmusix.com, we are here with Markus from Helloween. Thank You for having this interview with us today, we appreciate it.
MG - Hello, this is my pleasure.
TM - Awesome, how has everything been going for you?
MG - Everything went quite well you know, we did the record, we went through all the arrangements, we did the mixing and mastering and as everybody knows we have to go through crazy crazy times now so we delayed the release. It's coming out on the 18th of June, one year later than we were supposed to release it, you know, crazy times. You never know what you can do right or wrong in times like this so we decided to bring it out now.
TM - What can fans expect from your new self titled album?
MG - I think with the old guys coming in singing and composing and arranging but still having two of the old new guys in the band, that was the idea of extending the whole thing, not just doing the reunion just like everybody is doing. Two people out, two people in, we kind of just had the idea to make a big Circus you know. I think it's very interesting having two or three singers on that album. I can only remember listening to the very first mix because I was not there when the decision of who was going to sing what song and what songs their sharing and all that. For me it was the first time listening to a very very big surprise, it was a great experience. I think the people will have the same feeling about it, wondering who's singing what song and what song is going to be shared vocal wise and stuff. It's really interesting and I still find different pieces and parts listening to it.
TM -Your opening track out for Glory is powerful and it sets the tone for the record as well.
MG - We thought we were going to make an album. It sounds like there's a lot of stuff that makes Helloween, that is a really important trademark of Helloween. From the beginning of Helloween from the past of Helloween albums till today and even for the future because we had so many ideas. We can do another record anytime you know, but I think it's a good group presentation. From the past from the present and it's telling me it's also something for the future because it's great ideas and it represents Halloween in their best way.
TM - We got to see you at Rock Fest Barcelona in 2018 and got to photograph, you that was an awesome show.
MG - Yeh, it's a great festival, we are kind of missing them of course. Now it is summertime. We kind of Miss those great, fun, wonderful European festivals. We are trying to do what can you do right now. You just have to wait till the situation gets better and gets more controllable and then we are out on the streets again.
TM - You have an upcoming tour with Hammerfall next year, can you tell us more about that?
MG - Yeah, it's cool, I think the music from HammerFall and the music from Halloween fits very very well together. People seem to like the power metal and the hard rock heavy metal type of music, it fits very well. Instead of being the supporting act, they play for 1 hour and 15 minutes. I think it's good for you for the people coming and listening to the show.
TM - Yeah, I think I'll catch you at some point in Europe. I mean we are always there. Back to the Album, what was your writing and recording process for that?
MG - It was very very interesting because we started hooking up in the studio a couple of months after the tour. After we wrote our songs at home, collecting ideas, hooking up to find out what the best material, is to work with which was a lot of material. Then deciding what we are going to work on, we took five weeks in the studio to arrange songs and decide what songs we are going to take. We had the luxury problem of having too many songs and at the end of that collection arranging and jamming process. We weren't allowed to go into the studio with seven-plus people and producers and engineers more than ten people weren't allowed to be in the studio, so we kind of split up you know in different studios, but we are kind of use to work like this.
It was easy Andy did his vocals in Spain and I stayed in Hamburg, we put it on a server directly to the producer who put it all together. We kind of use to work like this and it was kind of easy, it must be because we have two more people in the band now. That means there are more people coming in and throwing ideas at you. Then your head is exploding as if you don't have enough ideas already, it's another luxury problem that you have. Loads of ideas to try out, it wouldn't make things easier, but it's a really interesting process. The creativity that's coming out of you when you are trying out a song is amazing, we needed people from the outside saying ok this is what the song is. We got hundreds of parts we could squeeze in but this is what the song needs. There had to be a selection of parts and bits and pieces that brings the song forward, it was not easy but it was really interesting.
TM - You used the original drumkit of Ingo in the studio what did this mean to you?
MG - Yeh that meant a lot to us because as you probably already know we had Ingo involved in the last tour with that video stuff, We did on the walls, which were great, it was the most emotional part of that tour. We had the idea of how do we get the Vibe of this a little bit of this into the studio for the next record and there was this guy that was offering us the drum kit that Ingo we used to play in Japan on the European world tour and stuff like this. It was amazing seeing that old drum kit at this studio and also the use the same studio that we used for Masters of the Rings and a couple of albums that we did in the same studio with the same analogue and that was trying to catch other Vibe of this Ingo drum set. TThe same studio using the same analogue machines so that way we were trying to save a little bit of that vibration there that I kind of like.
TM - Your new album cover incorporating a lot of the album covers and it was artistic and amazing, can you tell us more about that?
MG - It's like we had loads of stuff on the table but this one just stuck out when we saw it. We were like, yes the keepers involved, yes the ring, yes the key. There's a lot of Helloween stuff in there from the past but this album takes you into the future, that's what I like on it. You know I love it and it has this old fashioned kind of painting style I kind of like it a lot.
TM - I really like it, it's so cool.
TM - How did you come up with the video for "Skyfall" and what was it like working with Martin?
MG - We have used Martin in the past, we have done a lot of pictures videos and photoshoots with him and we like him a lot. We see him as one of the family members of Helloween because we love to work with the people surrounding us. The crew members are in the family for years and years and if possible we like to take them on tour every time. It's not always happening because they are booked somewhere else. We know those people for years and years and years and I'm working with those people again and again. Just like Charlie is a big part of the family, the producer we just love working with people we know already.
It's just fun to expect the concept was quite clear because the lyrics are this little guy crashing down to earth in a UFO and crashing directly into Area 51 and they keep him for testings and stuff like this. Our hero Andy gets him out of this whole mess and try to help him and tried to get him home. I think it's well done you know it took a lot of time to get this together from Martin and I think it's a great video.
TM - You brought out a " Skyfall" single edit and a "Skyfall" alternative vocal mixers, that are not on the album, what inspired this?
MG - There's a long version of the album of course and then we have the two shorter versions because if he took the longer version from the video it would not be ready to go yet. It's that computerised stuff and it takes a lot of time. The lyrics tells it all and the video is that little guy you can make a hell of a story. It's also an epic song, who knows maybe there a second part coming out of it because the song itself. It is so inspiring with all those epic parts and all that stuff that's in there you know.
TM - If you could have any band play one of your songs what band would it be, what song would it be and would it be in your style or their style?
MG - Mabey Iron Maiden covering a Helloween song, of course they would drive it up to what Iron Maiden would sound like, with the Galloping and the bass stuff. It would be very interesting to hear Bruce trying to cover three singers at the same time, I guess he would be able to do so.
TM - If they do it let us know.
MG - We would pay them to do that and then they would probably get even more famous with a song from Helloween.
TM - And then you would get royalties from them singing it.
MG - Yes and then we don't have to go out on tour anymore they go on tour for us.
TM - so that's a challenge to Iron Maiden to do one of your songs?
MG – yes, so we can stay at home being very lazy (laughs). They are one of the biggest metal bands in the world and then if they go out with a song by us then we don't have to go you know.
TM - What's your favourite memory of watching someone else perform live?
MG - I can remember my very first rock show when there was the Scorpions. Do you remember a band called Viva. It’s the sister of the Schenker brothers they had a band called Viva, they were supporting the Scorpions back in the 80’s. That was a very big expression or the first Judas Priest tour.
I was working just like the first Ozzy show when he came to Hamburg, it's like those memories that you will never forget you know, you hook up with a couple of friends and you listen to the record from the band that you are going to see sharing a couple of beers and then you go to the show and that's amazing memories and that's very emotional you never forget things like that and I guess. That's the essence of music you know, it's all that memory stuff you listen to a song. You listen to a band and you will have a situation running in front of your eyes you know it can be good memories. From a girlfriend or a boyfriend it can be a good party or a great holiday where you were listening to the songs. I kind of like that that's what music is and about you know its very emotional.
TM - What is one of your favourite memories with your fans?
MG - There's a lot to pick one particular, I can't remember. A family in Spain had a son with IDB syndrome kind of sickness and they asked me to bring him backstage. I brought him backstage and he was crazy about the band and seeing all that backstage seen and all that, those are cool memories.
TM - That would be exciting and that's nice of you to do that.
MG - It was emotional for all of us.
TM - Is there anything else you want to say to your fans?
MG - We have to read a bit more patiently and wait for it to get a bit cooler and let numbers sink in about that virus stuff going on right now and then hopefully waiting getting ready for the next tour, getting back to a normal life. See you there sharing a nice cold one I would say. Hopefully we will start going out next year in April and then hopefully going out for the rest of the year.
TM - Are you on many European festivals?
MG - well see that's the thing we don't have many European festivals because we were doing our plans for the record. We didn't plan festivals when we go into the studio. We weren't booked on any festivals the plan was to bring the albums out and do the festivals. The very next year you see but now there all rebooking with the same line up. They had already book the bands already because they're replacing the going from one year to another. See it has a bad tail those kind of sickness, you realise you would like to do the festivals but there no spots left then we do it one year later. It's one of the great things doing the European festivals playing outside playing in front of a great crowd hanging out with great people, hanging out with other bands that you see around having a beer sharing a nice talk with all the other bands we appreciate that.
TM - Thank you for speaking to us today we really appreciate it.
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