Yes, these are hard times.
The end of the world is scheduled for 2011, or was it 2012?,
the yetis are a serious threat to mankind,
royals turn out to be of questionable moral.
So a lot to worry about and not to waste time on putting interview questions.
To follow find an interview I received a few days ago on the occasion of releasing
"Talking ain't enough, Fair Warning live in Tokyo" from "rock united" titled:
Rock United standard
How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
Helge: We are quite content with the reactions on "Aura".
Reviews and reactions of fans have been very good, we entered the Japanese charts on rank 5
and stayed there for some weeks.
As a result we were invited to the Loudpark festival in 2009 and could tour in Europe and
Asia in 2010.
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
Helge: Recording was quick this time. CD 3 took from 17:00-18:00 October 18th 2009.
Cd1&2 took about 2:15 hours on the 22nd of January 2010.
Video shooting didn`t take much longer.
But it took a lot of preparation, almost two decades.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind,
prior to entering the studio?
Helge: The idea was to get as "real as possible". No overdubs, no endless redoing
To achieve that we decided NOT to go into a studio but to record in Halls instead.
To make it as realistic as possible we even invited audience to the recordings/sold
Further we set ourselves a limit concerning how many times a song should be played
before having the final take.
Not more than ONE go was the deal.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
Helge: Due to our long experience in recording we unfortunately had to learn
that producers suck in general.
Therefore we left that position vacant.
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
Helge: Yes indeed we are. We achieved what we wanted, as real , as live as possible.
Did the producer (or you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or
Helge: Yes, a lot. For the "loudpark" reording session we choose to use a broken
microphone as one of the options for the kick drum. Turned out as too experimental
in the end and we used the other mic. Another big part of the overall sound was to
ignore ordinary studio recording microphone setups.
Normally you want as little spill as possible. We did it the other way around.
Not recording in separate rooms, all together instead. Well, ok we had to pay attention
to the "spill" problem of course and set up the equipment in rather big places. So the
physical distance could be avoiding that problem.
We experimented with the size of the halls a lot and came to the conclusion that both,
big and middle sized halls have there advantages/disadvantages in sonic quality.
The first hall we recorded in(Makuhari Messe/Japan) was big, really big and it had a bit
of too much "natural ambience". Therefore we asked the guys who rented that hall to
get more audience in. We needed at least some 15 to 20.0000 people to
damp this hall sonically.
The guys of the hall solved this problem by getting some more bands, like Slayer,
Papa roach and Rob Zombie in to do a recording too. Synergy-effect that is called
as far as I am informed.
The middle sized Hall (Kosei Nenkin/ Japan) sounded different again.
Not too ambient and not too dry, exactly what we wanted.
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound' in the studio,
or perhaps you didn't?
Helge: No, not at all. We turned the principal upside down and brought a
recording mobile to the halls.
Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?
Helge: Hard to pick a song. Look, as I said the preparations of this recording took
almost 20 years.
We experimented with the studio sound, but never quite got what we can deliver
And to prove this difference we decided o release our studio experiments during the
preparation time. Every year or 2 another experiment, entitled "Fair Warning", "Rainmaker",
"GO", "Four", "Brothers Keeper" and "AURA".
From these "demostage" experiments we took the songs we liked best to
put in the final recording "Talking aint enough"
Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
Helge: Yes, to make it suitable for playing live and people enjoying it.
Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
Helge: Hmm, yes. Time is not always beneficial. There should be a law against time.
Especially time you spent in planes and nightliners or waiting for the show to begin.
Should be strictly forbidden!
On the other hand time comes quite handy when it`s down to practicing or writing songs.
The more the better.
I think we found quite a nice balance. some decades of preparation and 3 hours of recording.
Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?
Helge: Not too much. Not at all concerning sound. Concerning the selection of songs a bit.
We recorded 2 out of 30 odd songs which were written by outside songwriters.
These 2 songs our record company didn`t want to have on the DVD release.
Said something about "too expensive". We didn't want to believe and asked the original
publisher (Warner Chappell) ourselves.
The company was right, the publisher refused to move there butts before any payment.
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions
that you can share with us?
Helge: Many, many scenes. We included those as a 11 minute bonus feature
on the visual release, Dvd I think it is.
How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?
Helge: Rough, live, realistic, pure, real.
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
Helge: Too many to mention, from Aal to Aerosmith, from Bach to Blackmore,
from Chopin to CCR. From alpha to omega basically.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
Helge: Thank you for listening to our record before asking the questions.
I didn't expect them to release this but they did, showed more humor than I thought.
Well, they cheated a bit. Here is what it turned out like:
(click to enlarge)