Metal Shock Finland's Mohsen Fayyazi recently conducted an interview with ICED EARTH guitarist/mainman Jon Schaffer. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud player below. A couple of excerpts follow.On whether he knew Ronnie James Dio personally and if he ever had any dreams of collaborating with the legendary heavy metal singer: Schaffer: "Ronnie and I were good friends, actually, and I miss him very much. We did have plans to work together. We were on tour with HEAVEN & HELL in the U.K. back in 2007, and even before that, Ronnie and I had talked about doing a project together, but it was difficult to get our schedules to line up. And then when we were on that tour, we got more serious about it. Unfortunately, it wasn't long after that that we found out that Ronnie had cancer. And, obviously, that changed everything. But yeah, I love Ronnie as a human being, certainly as a heavy metal legend, but to me, he was much more than that because he was such a genuine person. It didn't matter who he was talking to, he was always down to earth, he always was listening to the person; he would look you in the eyes. He was just a very genuine, very special guy, and this world is gonna miss Ronnie Dio." On ICED EARTH's plans for the next studio album: Schaffer: "We're gonna start writing [in the fall], but that doesn't mean that there's gonna be a new album this year. It's likely gonna be in the middle part of 2013, or fall of 2013, possibly. 'Cause we still have more touring to do for [2011's] 'Dystopia'. If we decide, 'OK, we're not gonna tour anymore' [beyond] the fall period of this year, then we are gonna start the songwriting process — Stu [Block, vocals] and I will — but from that point after, I don't really know. Because I know for sure that we're touring until 2013 for 'Dystopia'. We're recording a live DVD in Cyprus on August 19. It's [going to be filmed] in ancient theater that's been around through the Greek, Roman and Byzantine empires. So it's definitely a very busy period. But in between all these things, wr are gonna be working on new material and we'll record it as soon as we get it finished." On whether he has any plans to release a new studio album from DEMONS & WIZARDS, his long-running side project with BLIND GUARDIAN frontman Hansi Kürsch: Schaffer: "Hansi and I are definitely going to do more DEMONS & WIZARDS, but I don't really know when. The problem is our schedules — to get our schedules to line up. I'm so focused on ICED EARTH right now and really taking it to the next level that it's eating up all my time. I've been really working hard for about the last year and a half without any breaks. And we're gonna go, basically, right back into the songwriting for ICED EARTH this fall — October/November time frame. So it's gonna be difficult to squeeze DEMONS & WIZARDS in there, because usually when Hansi and I do an album, if we do the songwriting and then the recording and then if do some shows, that's like a year of time, and I can't really take that time away from ICED EARTH right now."