"It's a typical winter day today," says Andi Deris when we meet in a bar in Puerto de la Cruz on Tenerife. Nevertheless, we sit outside and enjoy the view of the city. He points in the direction of some houses a bit away: "Weik lives over there" he explains. Meant is of course Michael Weikath, guitarist of Helloween. But even apart from facts about the band, the musician from Karlsruhe always pulls interesting stories about the city and the island out of his hat. And of course about the pumpkinheads' new album.
eclipsed: "Helloween" is your first studio album as a seven-piece. Were the songs written after the "unification" of the old and new formation or before?
Andi Deris: Both and. "Down In The Dumps", for example, was already in the making before the "Pumpkins United" tour. And the chorus of "Mass Pollution" is ancient, I've probably been carrying that around with me for 15 years
eclipsed: One of the significant innovations is certainly that there are now three guitarists in Helloween.
Deris: That is a great symbiosis. With Weiki you have the ultra-feeling guitarist, who pulls up a note - and you get goose bumps. If you are looking for perfection, because a lot of technique is needed, Sascha [Gerstner; note] does it. And Kai [Hansen; note] you have nicely in the middle. He's actually a shredder-metaller, but he also brings in a bit of feeling. That fits and also works live. Our man at the mixing desk can always push forward whoever has the quality that is in demand at the moment
eclipsed: Musically speaking, what was the idea behind this expansion?
Deris: We can now play the whole production as we recorded it. With the twin solos there is usually a third voice in it. But you tend to ignore it. Strictly speaking that's a lie, most twin solos are triple solos
eclipsed: But you don't just have three guitarists, you also have three singers. How did you go about it?
Deris: The same way as for the live preparation. Michi [Michael Kiske; note] and I went through the songs. He usually said: "You sing that one, it's too hard for me" - and I said: "You sing that one, it has to shine" Sure, you can do those high-pitched vocals with me. But if you have someone where you need a little less grace reverb and grace echo, and it still stays gigantic, then you do that. In the same way, I don't say to Michi, "Dude, this has to snot." Then he would say, "I can't snot." So here too: the perfect symbiosis.