Helloween: Experience pays off

Some years ago hardly anybody would have believed that HELLOWEEN could release such a great album like their brand new „7 Sinners“. In a few days their extensive Europe tour takes off (see STALKER tourdates). A good reason to have a little chat with band leader Markus Grosskopf.

Hi Markus, thanks that you give us some time! How long did it take to wrap up the “7 Sinners” CD, how long have you been working on it?
Recording the songs took three months. All put togehter, like writing, arranging, checking etc it was about one year.

Quite fast for a band, because there are acts who require 3-4 years to have a record released.
You just don´t sit around and decide: now I´m going to write a song. You get used to it in time how to do songwriting.

And when it comes to composing songs – is that easy for you?
We don´t stick to a deadline regarding releases. It´s different every time, sometimes you have a lot of ideas pretty quickly, sometimes it´s hard. It can happen when the weather is good or when there´s bad weather, but usually I can unleash my creativity best on a rainy day. And all those ideas, I really cannot tell you where those are coming frome. Those ideas come and go.

Once again you worked with Charlie Bauerfein, and you have been working together for quite long time now – so is there something like blind trust between you?
Charlie Bauerfein is somebody who can show us the way when it comes to songs. The compositions on the new record differ from each other a lot, especially when it comes to having different riffs and facets. Every song needs individual and special treatment, you have to think about that every time, from song to song. And Charlie is very good at that.

How did you meet each other?
Somebody contacted him at some point, and I have watched him doing some studio work. Well, so somehow the contact was made.

You have been around with HELLOWEEN for quite a while – and at the latest with the “Unarmed” release we know it´s for 25 years – are you still having fun, how long do you plan to continue?
We took some time-out after the last tour 2 years ago, then in between we played 5-6 gigs and of course you are getting back into the mood! We have always had the same procedure: record – tour, record – tour etc. This time we clearly took a break and we are now starting again with rehearsals, before we go on tour in the end of November.

What struck me in recent years is the fact that audience numbers at concerts are constantly decreasing. What is your opinion about that, what do you think is the reason?
I would say that there are simply too many concerts. Our last tour was pretty successful, actually. We have not been touring for 2 years, what is one of the reasons we probably do not glut the market. It will show soon on the upcoming tour, if the record has found a lot of fans. Let´s see what happens. Until now we have been quite in demand for bookings. I hope that will continue…

So let´s hope your tour will be successful. Will you stick to those 2-3 songs from the new album throughout the tour or will you change them? Are you changing set lists?
We have 2-3 Songs that we can change, but the basic setlist is already fixed.

Back to “Unarmed” – I found it an original idea to release not just a remastered or remixed version of old songs, but to release an album with completely new arrangements – how did that come about?
„Unarmed“ is no mere acoustic album, there are 2-3 tracks for close listening, but otherwise there are many rocking parts and elements that were recorded in a different way than those acoustic tracks. When we want to try or to create something new, we try to make it as originally as possible. We are definitely not the first who came up with it in this form. Helloween records are multi-dimentional, so is this one.

Mentioning the tour again, it is starting soon, and after GAMMA RAY last time you have a very special support act with you, STRATOVARIUS! Is this going to be a co-headliner tour where you are changing the headlining slot, or a pure HELLOWEEN-Tour with Support?
They play the Special Guest-Show! They play before us, but not just 45 min but a whole hour. Therefore they are not just a support act but have their special guest status.

Therefore this is not just a Helloween Tour with Support-Act?
We will probably have a third band, playing before Stratovarius. Yet not a band that will be with us for the whole tour and for every show. Firewind are about to play several shows. We will have several bands who will accompany our tour and play before Stratovarius.

You have been active for many years and definitely owning one of the top spots in the genre. Do you still have some goals you want to reach? You´ll play a tour with SLAYER… what can possibly come after that? Growing older…
We have done a lot in our careers, but there are still things to do, e.g. various festivals, travelling to different countries etc. There are still steps that we haven´t taken yet or things that you haven´t known yet. This is definitely the case, at least I hope so, and there´s still some way to go.

Thank you for the interview!

Markus Seibel

- no longer active - reviews, interviews