MetalIsrael.com recently conducted an interview with legendary heavy metal vocalist King Diamond (MERCYFUL FATE, KING DIAMOND). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
MetalIsrael.com: In recent years you have been working on the project KING DIAMOND and you haven't been investing as much of your time in the band MERCYFUL FATE, at least as far as we know. Are there any plans for continued work with MERCYFUL FATE, or are you planning to focus exclusively on KING DIAMOND?
King Diamond: "Time will tell, at the moment we are focusing on KING DIAMOND, and there are some very specific reasons for this. The way that the music business has taken a turn because of all the downloading stuff — a lot of these sites that say that they pay artists money, well, they don't pay shit. They don't do accounts and they just sell it and they ask you for a license to sell it, and they have none and it's a mess! I think most of the labels have lost 30% of their sales, and that a big thing. And when it comes to MERCYFUL FATE compared to KING DIAMOND, well, KING DIAMOND always sold more albums than MERCYFUL FATE. KING DIAMOND always had better record contracts, more people at the shows and this and that, in general has always done quite a bit better.
"These days we do have a contract for MERCYFUL FATE, so if we were ready to do an album we could do it, but the thing is that today, because of how the scene is, it's impossible for me to live off MERCYFUL FATE. I still love what I'm doing, otherwise I wouldn't do it, I'd do something else. But I still love the music so much, but it is also a job. I'm fortunate to live off my hobby, you could say, but you have to put bread on the table, you know, and if there was only MERCYFUL FATE today I'd have to do something else. MERCYFUL FATE — I could not live from. I can still live from KING DIAMOND, and since that's what I love to do we're continuing that way. MERCY might do an album if suddenly there is a time period where there is nothing to do for KING DIAMOND. Because it has to be like just a hobby, not a thing where I can take time out and do MERCYFUL FATE because I'll make no money in it. It would be the same like if I said OK I'm going on vacation for 5-6 months and have no income at all — you can't really do that with KING DIAMOND, it's a different thing. So, that's the reason why there has been no MERCY for a while. It's the way it has to be with all the free downloading and stuff, it hurt MERCY more than KING DIAMOND. It became much more difficult that way."
MetalIsrael.com: From where do you get the Middle Eastern influences in MERCYFUL FATE?
King Diamond: "Well, Hank [Shermann, guitar] writes half the music and I write the other half of the music. But there is a certain… what can I say… it's a special mood when we use those kinds of, I mean you can do it, a lot of bands do it, you know, you get a certain kind of atmosphere, a certain feel to it, like RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE, I mean, a lot of bands have been in over there… and there is a certain mood that is very cool in the music. It gives the rhythm a certain mood. The same with classical music — there is a lot of classical music that gives a very special mood, you know. So for us, especially with KING DIAMOND we use anything that enhances the feel of what we are about, for the current album. You know, there is a certain story, and whatever enhances the feel of that story we will do or use. That is whether we use certain, as you said, Middle Eastern or classical influences or this or that — for a mood. That is, whatever the story needs. Same with the instrumentation, you know, sometime we will use an old Hammond organ and sometimes strings or cellos. But of course the band is built up around two guitars, bass, drums, and vocals, that's the main thing, but added to that we will use anything, it can be a little glockenspiel or whatever, if it creates a certain eerie mood that fits the story we will use it."
Read the entire part one of the interview at MetalIsrael.com.