Interview For Rock Universe Site (June 2001)
Translated By Marcelo Hashimoto
Guitarist Roland Grapow, from Helloween, gave us this interview last year, when Rock Universe still didn't exist as it does today. But although it's not an recent interview, it's interesting to see how the band was right before the recording sessions of the great album "The Dark Ride". Check this interview and wait, because soon we'll have more Helloween stuff here.
Roland, how was to play with Kai Hansen and Gamma Ray here in Brazil?
Great, I had a wonderful time and some nice experiences. I felt also home to play with Gamma Ray and to be backstage with them. Cool guys!
We have a new band which is a "promise" here in Brazil, called Symbols. They played with you in São Paulo last year. What is your opinion about them?
They are very nice talents, I watched some songs in the show and I heard also on the CD, I really like it. I hope they are getting not too famous, that we have to support them [Laughs]! I wish them luck and all the best.
Could you speak a little of the new Helloween work? When will it be released, and how it will be? Will it sounds like "The Time Of The Oath or like "Better Than Raw"?
I don't know how it will sound, 'cause we still writing separately, but I wrote some really fast and powerful songs and one epic song like "The Time Of The Oath". Release is in Autumn, this year. The tour starts also in Autumn. But we will do some festivals this Summer in Europe before.
People are saying here that Roy Z will produce the album, so, people are wrongly, or not, concluding that the new Helloween album will sound like Bruce's last albuns. What can you say about it? Do you have plans to invite him as a special guest to play in any song of the album?
No, no plans to invite Bruce "Dick In Sun". About Roy Z we don't know. We don't want to sound like Bruce, but it's half right. We have two producers, Charlie Bauerfeind and Roy Z. I don't think they will change our sound drasticly. Only a bit better or modern. We changed our last producer Tommy Hansen, because he was lazy. I always produced my song on my own. He never was in the room when I played my guitars on all the albums. Producers are always there to help the band a little bit, they don't write the songs and they don't arrange the songs. So what, on my solo record I don't have any producer, Michael Wagener just mixed my record. Producers who really change the sound and arrange a lot are Bob Rock and Mutt Lange, but they are really expensive, see Def Leppard and Metallica. I think the fans shouldn't take this subject too serious.
Do you think that the band will be able to play here in Brazil still in 2000?
No, sorry. I heard we play USA and Europe first and then we gonna do Japan and South America in Spring 2001, but we don't have the 100% schedule now.
How do you plan to manage your solo career with Helloween's tour? Do you usually write songs for your solo albuns while on tour with Helloween?
Yes, that's right, I always have so much time on the Helloween tours, so it's great to use it for songwriting. Last time I wrote 85% on tour, that was a great feeling to come home with a lot of great songs in your bag. Helloween is always doing long breaks after a world tour, too long for me, that's why I use the time for solo activities.
What are your plans for the future? In general: Helloween, solo career...
The next Helloween record is very important for me, 'cause I wrote some great songs for us and we have a great new record company and new producers. I'm really happy about that, It's in our and the fans hands to take us higher, in the position where we belong, one of the best heavy metal bands, I always loved some changes around the band. Or in the Band, see "Master Of The Rings". It inspires me always a lot. It's good for the band engine. When you are rich and famous and you don't have the fire anymore. That is really dangerous, you write boring songs or you don't want to go on the road anymore. For my solo bands is this year a break. We still start working after the next Helloween tour and we will change also the style a bit. Everybody can write songs, we are a real band this time and maybe we will have a band name as well. We gonna work on very powerful songs and on our own style, not so many ballads and classical tunes, but let's see. And we still touring only Brasil [Laughs]!
Helloween, and you, have many fans here... Would you like to leave a message for them?
What can I say, I love Brazil! You are the best crowd I ever played with Helloween and especially with my solo band last time, it was amazing! I have also some nice friends there, which I'm always in contact. If I ever need to leave Germany, I would live in Brasil. That's for sure. I'm honest! I hope to see you before next year!