HELLOWEEN :  interview with Markus Grosskopf  www.helloween.org



face - to -face interview by 

dalia "gryphon_spirit" di giacomo ___             

Earthshaker Fest     24/07/2004    




Dalia - So, are you satisfied with the latest release Rabbit don't come easy and the following shows?
Markus - Yeah, it's been great. We toured with that album since September now and we did some great shows in places like Columbia and Indonesia. It was the very first time we did shows in these places and we enjoyed it a lot, and we did after a long time North America again. It was nice, it was a good follow up. We haven't done this  for something like 12 or more years, in North America we have to work a bit more.... laughing...

What do you think, did the new album have a better impact in the USA or in Europe?
Definitely in Europe and in Asia. That's actually more the market for Helloween. In America we do our shows in clubs and there was something like 2-400 people, but, after all these years, you have to show up and let the people know that you are still alive, and that we did with the club tour. But we have to work actually on this market, we have to work on every market. We have to go back there, i think we have to include America with some shows on every tour or something like that. It's not a priority, but it is a good opportunity and we will try. We do whatever is possible.

In my personal opinion, The Dark Ride was one of your best albums. It was dark and something new in this genre.
I would describe it not as something new, it was just something new for Helloween.

But i think that "Rabbit" is a bit a step back in comparison to.....
...Yeah, but we didn't feel really good to do something like The Dark Ride, because....it wasn't easy to do this album, because there was people involved like producers they told us "do this" or "do that", and so we had to work an idea out that it fits on an album like The Dark Ride and you have to work with your head to create something, more than just having an idea what comes from your heart and put it on tape. This is easier, it is more fun... like we always did in the past, but on The Dark Ride there were too many people involved telling us what we had to do. This is not the way we work, actually we have an idea and work it out as an Helloween song: we are feeling good with it, because it is not constructed by too many brains. This was a very heavy process and we feel better doing it when it comes naturally, and that's the way we did on the "Rabbit" album back again,  we felt much better working this way than on the way we had to work on the Dark Ride album and this makes us feel better. Because the process is much more natural.

Among your fan groups, there was a discussion coming out concerning Rabbit Don't Come Easy is an album about sex or not...
It is not really about sex. When we were talking about the album title we want to have one thing clear, that this is not gonna be a Dark Ride again, and so we needed an art -work and a title which tells the people when they have it in their hand, that this is not a Dark Ride concept album or something, and Mike came just with that idea with the wizard and the rabbit and i just told "Rabbit Don't Come Easy" and we just called it that way. So by coincidence for Spanish people in their language it means something like pussy don't come easy, they say it when they don't get a girlfriend very quick. They describe it like this and i didn't know it, so it was just a coincidence.

You took part as bass player in the project Avantasia. How was that experience?
That was different, that was nice. We had like 5 days rehearsing for the two records actually and then Tobias had all this ideas, basic ideas on the keyboard, you know, all the keys he had and stuff. So we were rehearsing a little bit and we taped it. After that we had a couple of days in studio. The whole process of recording these two albums was something like 10 days for me,  it was very very quick,  its a way you can work... its a different way of work, so that experience i had for the first time, you know, to record an album that quick and it sounds very well, but i think you can't do an album always like this. In this project, for me, it was just playing the bass and nothing else. Working with Helloween means i put my songs or my ideas in it. Of course i put some ideas in Avantasia, but the main thing was from Tobias and my priority was just playing the bass and nothing else.  Helloween is different, because we are a band ...but it was quite a good experience.

Three names, Kiske, Kusch and Grapov. Are you still friend with them?
Kiske, well i never saw or spoke to him since he left Helloween. I met Roland a couple of times and we had a couple of beers together and Uli i didn't see but i talk to him at least, but we are not big friends, but i think its not a catastrophe when we would see each other, maybe something is turning over, but you know, as time passing by it would be ok.
I think we will talk and drink a couple of beer, and it would be the same situation with Roland as with Uli. Concerning Michael Kiske, i really never met him or spoke to him, because he is never in the places i go or on festivals and stuff... i wish him luck for what he's doing.

Do you think that some fans could feel a sense of nostalgia for those artists?
I think nostalgia takes a bit more time. I think we will have some kind of nostalgia when Helloween is dead and gone for years and years. Then i would call it nostalgic. .. I don't know..

As member of Helloween, do you consider yourself as a member of a power band?
At some points we were called speed metal, but there were still that melodic line in-between, so actually i don't care. Power metal is fine, or if u like to call it power melodic metal. It can be like soft thrash metal or what ever.... (laughing)...i like light doom.... i don't care.

Chameleon was described as a big flop...
Well, Chameleon was a strange album, an album like this done by a band like Helloween is of course a strange album. It was a flop in one way. Commercially, being signed by EMI, they expected a lot more from that album, because it is a major label. Talking about the band, you can't say that every album sounds the same; there is good stuff on the album, and i think it is all right to have an album like this; we had difficulties doing this album, because that the grunge era was coming up and Nirvana and stuff like that. We at least were trying to find a way to going on. It was one step in the career. 

Actually Rabbit is considered a coming back to the roots....
If you take it like this, yeah.....i don't know. You know, you have an idea and some kind of vision for the album and if you can fulfill your own expectations is a lot. Sometimes you have ideas and you can't get them together and you  think about what was wrong and things like that, and sometimes it works the way you want. The magic is suddenly there, or the vision that you have can be done.

What are your projects for the future?
We will finish the season with this album. Back home we will write some stuff immediately and if we have enough we hook up and put a new CD together.

Do you have already some idea?
Yes, i have some ideas and the others got some, but it needs still development and i think we will come out with a new album in spring next year.

What do you think about a person who likes the following songs of Helloween, for example,  : Why,  In the Middle of a Heartbeat, Hey Lord, If I Could Fly, Time, Sun Is Going Down, I Want Out ...?
Only these songs? Well then i would say it's good to have these songs, because otherwise they wouldn't listen to Helloween at all. That's why we have different stuff on our records sometimes. But as well to satisfy ourselves, you know, we have Andy who writes some different kind of tunes, and Mike has a different way of songwriting. That is what an artist want, to have a wide range.  

The exception proves the rule, is it always true for you?
There is no truth at all. Have you fond the truth? that's my question to you. I will answer that later.... (all are laughing) 

Last question. It is called the game of the tower, and we do this question to every band we are interviewing for the very first time. there is a very high tower and on top of this tower there are three bands waiting for you and you have to kick down two of them , saving only one. For you Cannibal Corps, Slipknot and Anthrax are waiting on the tower. 
I will go for Anthrax, because i don't know much about Slipknot and Cannibal Corpse, but i know Anthrax and they are quite great, so....

Thank you very much!
You are welcome!

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