Arto Lehtinen of Metal-Rules.com recently conducted an interview with Swedish producer and KING DIAMOND guitarist Andy La Rocque. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.Metal-Rules.com: It's [been] about five years [since the release of the last KING DIAMOND album, "Give Me Your Soul...Please"]. You must have started [putting together] some new songs, new riffs. Can you tell a little bit more, if you have started talking about making new songs? Andy: Yeah, we did, and we were actually talking about starting writing songs this fall, but I started many years ago. So I think I already have like five or maybe six songs already for the next album, more or less ready, I would say. I don't really think that King [Diamond, vocals] has come that far in the writing process, but he got a lot of ideas in his head about the next album, I know that.
Metal-Rules.com: Do you ever miss the old-school writing process that each member makes their own things at home then you get together in the rehearsal room and start rehearsing? Or is this the normal way to work nowadays? Andy: Yeah, that's the normal to work nowadays like sitting in front of the computer writing riffs and sending them to each other, I believe. But sometimes you miss the charm with being in the rehearsal room, but for us it's not possible since we live all the world; we've got the bass player in Denmark, we've got Michael [Wead, guitar] in Stockholm, we've got King and Matt [Thompson, drums], they live in Texas. So it's, like, impossible to do it that way nowadays. So we just send it to them, the guys rehearse their stuff and then when we get to the studio, they all know what to do. Metal-Rules.com: The current lineup of KING DIAMOND has been the most stable. Mike Wead has been in the band a long time and Matt has also been in the band a long time. Do you think this has helped you because having a stable lineup [makes it] easier [to] work nowadays? Andy: Oh, yes, I think that's very important. I mean, it's important for us, of course, and it's also very important for the fans to have a settled lineup, I think that's really important. I mean, you look at many bands that they fire their members every, like, six months or even more often. But the fans, I would say, get a little confused about that. I mean, we had a very stable lineup now for more than 10 years, and I think that's really important, of course, for us but also for the fans.
Metal-Rules.com: Has it been difficult for you to have different wingmen during the 20 years because the guitarists have come in, then left, then new guys came in and then left? Andy: No, it's not, really. I mean, it is not a problem. I have my style and I hope that the other guitarist in the band has his style. So I never really had a problem with it; it hasn't really been difficult in that way so I can't really say that, no.
Metal-Rules.com: What about in general the chemistry in the band, because, as I said, that members have come and gone so have you got problems in the band chemistry in general? Andy: Not in general, but, of course, there has been some members in the past that maybe wasn't the same level as us, I mean, mind-wise or whatever, but I think the lineup we have now is really good. I mean, we played for more than 10-12 years together and we know each other really well so I can just refer to this right now. I'm really happy with what we have.
Metal-Rules.com: Mike Wead is a well-known name in the Swedish metal because he has played in several and known bands, so was it so easy to pick up him to the KING DIAMOND band in general? Andy: Yeah, but I think it's great. I mean, he's a very good guitarist and I've known him since, I think, 1987, I believe, so 25 years. So I know he's got great ability and he's a great guy, he's a great guitar player, so I think it's just a great lineup right now. Metal-Rules.com: You have got other bands as well, like this BLACK band [with vocalist Tony Martin (BLACK SABBATH) and bassist Magnus Rosén (HAMMERFALL)]. Some people asked about what happened to it, as it was on hold. Could you tell more about what actually happened with BLACK? There was some huge headlines as "this is a supergroup with former and current members of KING DIAMOND, BLACK SABBATH and HAMMERFALL." Andy: Yeah, that's right, but we're still actually working on it. I talked to Tony just a few days ago and what we're doing right now is, like, he's going to redo some vocals for the first two songs and then we're going to send that out as a demo tape to a different few record companies and see if they might be interested in releasing the stuff. I met Tony about a year and a half ago, in Sweden, Gothenburg, and I invited him and Magnus down to the studio, because I wanted them to check out the few songs that I had and they liked that very much. So we decided to do like a cooperation. So I sent to Tony a few songs that he put vocals on, but he wasn't really happy with that, I believe. So he wanted to do it again, but then he was really busy with this other band THE CAGE, an Italian band. I can't remember the guitarist's name right now, but he was really busy with that, and he was busy with many other things too. So he didn't really have time back then, and while we were playing at the Sweden Rock [Festival with KING DIAMOND], I kind of almost gave up on BLACK, because I thought nothing is going to happen with that. But then I got in touch with Tony again and he said, "Hey, Andy, I'm ready now. I'm going to send you two new takes of the first two songs you sent me with some vocals." And I'm still waiting for it. But he was supposed to do that, the re-recording, last week, I believe, so any day I will get it now. Read the entire interview from Metal-Rules.com.