Kristen Dunleavy of myYearbook recently conducted an interview with guitarist Michael Weikath of German power metallers HELLOWEEN. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
myYearbook: Your new album, "7 Sinners", is said to be your fastest and heaviest album in years. What made you guys want to return to your roots?
Weikath: On our previous album, "Unarmed", we made renditions of our most well-known tracks in a classical and pop fashion. There were many people who disapproved of that. But we always said we were going to come out with something real heavy next. We had a lot more time than before to come up with new material for "7 Sinners". We had two tracks in the making that had the term "sinner" in the title. I said to [Andi] Deris, our singer, "We're not likely to change any of the tracks, so why not call the album something like 'sinner?'" He said, "Yeah, '7 Sinners'!"
myYearbook: Do you have a favorite song off the new album so far?
Weikath: I never have any favorites because albums for me are like photo albums. I would never say, "Oh, that's my favorite photo, and the others I think are crap." But we have a track called "Are You Metal?" that has the most memorable title. You hear it once and you won't forget it. I wrote a track called "Raise The Noise", which deals with the planet being occupied by another planet and the aliens just faint when they're exposed to complicated things like melodies. We have a flute solo in there that supposedly makes those occupiers faint so they can be collected and held for ransom against the government.
myYearbook: As someone who has been in the metal scene for some time, what are your thoughts on where the genre is headed today?
Weikath: I think it's gotten more and more extreme, whatever that may lead to. I'm an old fart, like I said; I was born in '62. I'm more like a hippie or what people would call a freak. I've been in the business a long time, but that doesn't mean anything. I'd say people will do whatever they like to somehow create an impact.
myYearbook: Are there any metal bands out there right now that you listen to?
Weikath: I'm not following everything, but the new OZZY OSBOURNE album is quite great. What I just downloaded on iTunes is the new SOILWORK. SOILWORK is a pretty extreme band from Sweden and they have the [makes roaring sounds] and they also have melodies. It's extremely intense what they do, but they do it extremely well at the same time. I've loved MUSE ever since they did their "Showbiz" album. I'm a collector of whatever they do because I can't get enough of it. I've always been a huge BEATLES fan, I grew up with that. The re-release of their studio albums sound even better than what I could recreate on my artsy-fartsy, HiFi-equipped record players I have, so it's really worth getting those CDs of the remastered material. They did that "Rock Band" BEATLES game that was the hugest thing ever. The fact that they are able to release a video game like that just shows how huge they still are.
myYearbook: As a band that's toured in so many countries around the world, which country has the craziest HELLOWEEN fans?
Weikath: That's hard to say because wherever you go, even in the U.S., we have lots of HELLOWEEN fans. In South America, Brazil and the other countries down there, we get a big following. Sometimes police are involved because sometimes there's upheaval going on when we play. It's incredible. Wherever you go in Europe, things are more civilized.
Read the entire interview from myYearbook.