Anthony Morgan of Metal Forces recently conducted an interview with vocalist Andi Deris of German power metallers HELLOWEEN. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On the musical style of the latest HELLOWEEN album, "Straight Out Of Hell":
Andi: "This time we actually tried to do a more positive but even more aggressive album, because we thought that after surviving 2012 we should go into the whole thing with a bit more of a positive point of view. [laughs] '7 Sinners'  is a more doomy record. It goes into more of a… I wouldn't say negative, but more of a doomy direction. It sounds more gothic and darker. It's not a 'Dark Ride'  album, but it definitely wasn't as positive from a melodic point of view. It had less catchy melodies, but there are probably much more catchy melodies on the new album."
On lead single "Nabatea":
Andi: "I just accidentally learnt about Nabatea because of the Indiana Jones movie. In 'Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade' , you see this big cathedral carved into a red mountain. I saw this, and the picture looked so real that I thought 'This can't be Hollywood. This can't have been artificially done for the movie only — it looks so real.' When I looked on the Internet and realized these scenes were shot in front of the real Nabatea, then I learnt about Nabatea, that this was possibly the first democracy 3,000 years ago and these people managed to live without slaves. I learnt that they managed to live without soldiers, and still they lived wealthy and prosperous. They never brought a war to another land, and they seemed to be the first democracy that we know of. I thought 'Wow, what a great story.' For thousands of years Nabatea was viewed more or less as a legend, like a dream. Like Atlantis, for example. Then the beginning of the 19th century, an area called Petra was accidentally discovered. When Petra was discovered, they knew that Nabatea wasn't a legend but definitely reality. I thought that this was a great story, because they already had what even us in the 21st century struggle hard to get, like no wars, democracy, wealth. That sounded too good to be true."
On preferring to play guitar:
Andi: "I started out as a guitarist. Because I was the only guy who was able to sing my own song ideas though, my friends in my first band told me that I should put the guitar away and concentrate on singing because there are lots of guitarists out there, but only a few singers. That was the misery I went through. I actually wanted to be a guitarist but I ended up as a singer, but it's okay. [laughs] That started with my first school band, and I went through my first three to four bands like that. There was always a singer when I joined the band, but all of them weren't good enough to sing the song ideas that I brought in. I was probably the bad guy, because I would consciously or purposely ask or demand it. I would join the band as a guitarist, and then sooner or later the singer would be kicked out and I would have to sing. [laughs]"
On his early guitar idols:
Andi: "I definitely looked up to Ace Frehley [ex-KISS] and Paul Stanley [KISS], which was probably a very good thing to do. Their guitar playing is so easy rock 'n' roll, and not difficult at all to learn and copy. I very quickly had some good results with my guitar playing, because the stuff that they played was so easy. I had a good time, actually, learning guitar with KISS, because it was easy. Then there were certainly much more complicated things that I actually tried to play along with, like DEEP PURPLE, JUDAS PRIEST. Then came VAN HALEN, and then it became a bit more difficult for me to actually play all that great stuff from Eddie Van Halen. I have to admit that I was never able to play them as good as Eddie Van Halen, and I probably never will. [laughs]"
On bands his 21-year-old son has exposed him to:
Andi: "The most popular would probably be KORN, DEFTONES, or THE WHITE STRIPES, stuff like that. For example, THE WHITE STRIPES is a great example of a band showing everybody out there that you don't actually need to be super-complicated all the time. For a band like HELLOWEEN, which normally plays complex twin solos and stuff like that, it's good to see there is a way to calm down the song and maybe even put in some dynamics. Maybe we can just play with one guitar for a few minutes, and then you have all of the brutality of two guitars back for the next part which probably demands it. You just open your ears. It's stuff that you know, but seem to have forgotten sometimes. Bands like THE WHITE STRIPES, for example, show you that you're definitely able to make great music with only two or three instruments — guitar, vocals, and drums. You don't necessarily need five or six instruments, so this is something you learn again, so to speak."
On his forthcoming solo album, provisionally titled "Million-Dollar Haircuts On Ten-Cent Heads":
Andi: "I hope to be ready somewhere in May or June, and take it from there. I will probably release it through JVC in Asia, and probably through Edel Music in the rest of the world. We just finished the drums. They sound great, but drums don't make a record. I know that the ideas are very good. It's much harder than you would expect from an Andi Deris solo album, but it's not SLIPKNOT or something like that. It's somewhere in between. [laughs] I would describe it as hard rock meets metal or metal meets hard rock, any way you can turn and twist it. [laughs] The truth is somewhere in the middle. It's modern hard rock with metal influences.
"We're still in the recording process, and there are probably lots of spices we will add or maybe some things that we'll take away again. I would rather describe it as modern sounding but evergreen hard rock/metal, though, so there are lots of catchy refrains and stuff like that, and lots of things to sing along to definitely. There's no speed metal stuff on it, but it's rather heavy."
On the album's provisional title:
Andi: "As the name suggests, it's all about those idiots who actually just work without moral ethics and are just corrupt. They just work for their own pockets, and don't ask about people down there who are actually suffering, and take away money, which is obviously lacking down there. That's probably the reason why we have more poorer people, and more richer people. There's a lot of bitching and a lot of aggression that I've built up during the last few years concerning politics and systems, but it's all in great stories I think, and I think everybody will nod. There's a lot of filthy mouth stuff on it which makes it fun to sing along to, but it's very aggressive lyrically."