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Written by Vinnie Pereira
Sunday, 01 April 2007
Follows an interview done by Vinnie Pereira, a brazilian vocal-coach.
When did you started singing?
When I was 12. Elvis made me get the idea.
Who influenced you as a singer?
- Elvis Presley big time, also Bono, John Farnham etc.
The unique Metal and Rock vocalists like Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate, Robert Hallfort, Ronnie Dio.
You make your own thing out of all your influences after a while. The older you get, the more you become your own style.
Have you ever taken vocal lessons?
Has your range changed over the years?
- Not really, but I sound much better in lower and mid ranges these days.
And I don't enjoy it too much anymore, when it gets too high. This very high singing easily become rather ''sports'' than art.
How about high notes? Is there a change in technique you go into the upper part pf your range?
- The voice naturally changes by getting older, so your technique changes a bit too. I think I have a lot more bottom in my voice these days,while on earlier records at the age of 18/19 I sounded thinner. I am also MUCH louder now.
Do you tend to sing loud or at a conversational level?
- People always say that I am loud, but I'm trying not to.Cause if you are too loud, you easily do something wrong.Once I sang a little bit higher in front of Adrian Smith (Iron Maiden) in his house in England to show him that I don't really sing that loud, but he said: Sounds pretty loud to me, my dear!Also the sound engineer from Iron Maiden who also mixed Helloween for a few tours said,that it is a pleasure to mix me, because my voice is so clear that always easily stays on top.I don't think I sing too loud, but I guess the voice carries, if you know what I mean?The voice gets naturally louder, the more you sing, but you should never force it to be loud.
How do you warm up for a show?
- Elvis tunes from 1970; perfect for warming up.
Do you pay any attention to breath support?
- Not enough, I am far too lazy when it comes to practicing; it's a crime!I really should sing much, much more, but I sometimes easily don't sing for a whole year.In the past sometime even for two years!So when I start again, I got to get all condition back first ...
Do have any personal horror stories about hurting your voice?
- Only on my very first tour I didn't know that I have to warm up before a gig.And when I got the flew, I developed a real problem and couldn't even talk for 6 weeks.But after that I only had an equal problem on the very last tour I did; but that was rather psychological.
How is the greatest difference singing in Kiske's solo carerr,of singing in a heavy metal band, like Helloween (talking about the vocal technique)?
- In Helloween I had to sing material of other writers too. And they tended to love extreme heights. Nowadays I only write songs not thinking about having to sing high or low and things like that.
I just write a song, and with my own songs I tend to sing more normal keys and use the higher keys more effective while metal tends to over do this.
Who's your favorite singer now?
- Bono from U2 and Tom Chaplin from Keane.
What could you say about the new album?
- It's a free expression and rather melancholy. Singer songwriter-stuff and a pretty round thing in my eyes.
Or do you mean the next one? - My next solo-album (after the acoustic recording of my old H. tunes de-metalized) will be very different again. At least a big portion of it will be quite symphonic, mystical and big ....
Any final advice for aspiring singers?
- Be yourself, work on your spiritual and moral personality and the rest comes naturally. Soul is everything and much more important than any technique or show-circus.
Strong personality always makes the best singers; don't pretend and fake, just be. If you know what you want and what you're doing and if you do have something to say, people will listen.
Message to the brazilian Kiske's fans (believe in me, my countryreally loves you) :
- As always: Let's fight for getting back the passion and a deeper understanding of free and true music again; rather than fighting against other styles and dogmatize one music etc.
Last Updated ( Sunday, 01 April 2007 )
Written by Lolo Froiz
Tuesday, 12 September 2006
- At first big thanks for letting me do this interview. At the same time i wanted to tell you “congratulations” for your new album. Now I wanted to shot some questions about your solo career for all your fans in Spain and around the world.
At the same time you started your solo career, you started a career as a writer too (a book and also many essays) editing only in German.
Do you used to write before to start your solo career?
Yes, I did, but I only started later to make it available to people.
- I must confess that I didn’t read all what you wrote but I know the main topics of your writings. The most about philosophy & religion.
What’s the topic you enjoy more writing about it?
It all goes together. Your life-philosophy effects the way I look at everything. Actually I'm writing mainly about Anthroposophy and Art-philosophy.
- As time goes by all your fans are starting to see you more as a Humanist than a musician. Well, don’t let me be misunderstood, what I really mean is that your fans are starting to be more interested in other things you are involved. So I wanted to ask you if you feel the music in the same way you did in the past. I mean, is still one of the most important things of your life?
Yes it is; it actually has become much more important again, because I've sort of (re)found music to be the perfect instrument to reach people morally. Art does and will change the world morally in the future, not politics. Even religiousness has it's best from of expression in art. And since the best music is always the most authentic: people who understand me as a Humanist (better a Christian), also understand my music better. So that goes together just fine.
- From some years onwards Michi seems to be a very religious person. My question is… had you always been a very religious person or did you experience any bad personal situation that made you approach to religion in a special way?
I always was, but as you grow older and change or have unpleasant experiences, you learn. And especially since Anthroposophy it has become much, much more important to my life. In the end music is nothing material, it's spirit, so the more spiritual you become, the better your songs can be. Materialism is just another word for a horrible superficiality of the soul; and the less superficial we are, the better our art will be.
- tell us what was the last book you read? And the last cd´s you bought?
I never read just one book. Usually about 5 – 10. At the moment I am reading: Wladimir Solowjew, his second book about the UNA SANCTA. -
Rudolf Steiner GA 168, the connection between the living and the dead. -
Herbert Wimbauer: The flesh-becoming if the Maitreya. -
A great Friedrich Schiller biography by Peter Lahnstein. -
Friedrich Schelling's early writings -
And also Martin Luther. ...
- about your new album. I wanted to ask you about the no presence of electric guitars in relation with the other albums. Don´t you like to listen electric guitars at your works? Maybe are you finally bored of electric guitars? and at the same time I would like to know if you keep on listening any rock band in the present days -We have no idea about the sales of your new album but will it be possible to see Kiske touring this year?
There are many electric guitars on that album, just not so over-distorted as on Hardrock-records. My relationship to hard guitars is even worse than just being bored about it. I am certainly bored with anything that needs to be loud to convince, but I personally can't stand any really brutal guitar-sounds anymore. Those make me get a headache and feel sick inside. I don't listen to much else besides classical music anyway. The sort of modern bands I still like are: U2, Coldplay, Keane, Sheryl Crow etc. The hardest music I am listening to these days is Queen. I still love them!
- Many of your Spanish and South-American fans can be wondering about the topic of the songs of your new album. Could you tell us please about the meaning of the lyrics?
Just emotions captured in words. Painting with lines to express an inner state. They can't all really be explained; and I think they shouldn't either. A songs must speak for itself. And lyrics like FED BY STONES are pretty clear anyway. Others shall be open for interpretations.
- In spite of some metalheads’s opinions, your solo career is really sincere with your thoughts & feelings and we can see this in every album you record . I tell you this because you did a contribution in some metal albums (masterplan, avantasia, tribuzy etc etc) even though you said that you will never do metal anymore. Michi, could you tell us please for the last time why you did this contribution is this albums and if you would do it again if some of your “metal-friends” will ask you about it?
I have major problems with the Heavy-Metal-Scene today, the satanic-ideologies, antichrist and inhuman spirits, and also how art gets treated. But that doesn't mean that I hate everything that gets released under the banner of Metal. 5 Years ago I was still much easier talked into something like that, today I won't do too hard stuff anymore, because it doesn't do me any favour. There were different reasons for every project I did. Sometimes I simply liked the song. Next time I just wanted to do something with that person. Another time I just got talked into it. But real Metal-Songs won't get sung by me anymore. First of all because I 'm very tired of the crying of certain smart-asses. And secondly I don't want to draw the intention of the wrong people into my direction anymore. I need to build MY audiences now. I will still do projects, but I will be very selective. Rock-songs like ONE VISION or HAMMER TO FALL from Queen are my very limit in hardness. Harder than that is negative in my eyes and damages the human soul.
- There are rumours about an album in which you, Kai and Roland are going to work together. Is it just a rumour or are you thinking about releasing a new album with them the future?
We were talking about it, but it seems to be difficult to get the music together. It's very useless trying to talk me into anything brutal; and they (so far) don't seem to be able to get as excited as I am about music that's NOT giving sh***t about any scene or market or dogma. I would really like to do at least one last thing with Kai Hansen, but it depends on how much he can leave the Metal-Box and finds some joy in something less hard. We'll see.
- You know very well that rumours come and go so I wanted to ask you to about the possibility to record a new Place Vendome album.
It was supposed to happen just now, but Dennis is busy doing other productions, so I can't tell you if or when. Not this year for sure.
- Music is culture and no many people have enough money to get all what they want. Now I wanted to ask you about the illegal copies of albums distributed freely in the net. Don’t you think that people who used to buy records will be keep on buying music even though they can get it for free from the internet? And what about the effect caused by the internet in the sales, don’t you think that is the same effect that recordable tapes caused in the 80´s? What do you think about it, Michi?
Some of the music-fans do still support you fortunately, but the majority doesn't. And not having the money for all we want, doesn't justify for getting it illegally. Just because I can't afford a Ferrari doesn't mean I have the right to steal it! And just because you CAN steal the Ferrari of you neighbour doesn't mean you HAVE too. The big problem is the internet and the digital ages. Everybody is connected with everyone now, so it gets spread much more then ever before. Also unfortunately young people don't seem to have much of a social sense left. Most of them don't think farer than their noses are long. So if they can save a bug, they do it, no matter what the effect will be. Even over 70% of the people who enjoy my music today, do steal it and don't support me. As a result future productions of mine are getting more and more questionable. The big label UNIVERSAL is putting their complete catalogue for free downloading in the internet, because people don't buy their CDs anymore anyway! So they give the music for free and show them commercials while they download it! That's how they try to get the money in now! As a result to that it will feel even more normal to people not to ''waste'' money on music-art. So people like me (and smaller labels), who depend on every sold record, will face even harder times now. It's a fact: people don't think music is worth their money anymore, so also music is losing it's quality and true and free music will lose the possibilities to even exist. It's absolutely NOT working anymore with our music-culture. And if I stop producing records someday, there is a 95% possibility that it is because I simply can't afford it anymore. Good productions cost money! But since there's nothing coming in anymore, they must be done cheaper and cheaper, and faster and faster. But I personally always need a lot of time for writing songs, and I am not going to start cheap, weak productions now. But if you as a musician have to work six days a week in a normal job to pay your bills and rent now, you won't have the necessary time and energy left for being a full-hearted musician. And of course your music will suffer from it and sooner or later die. It is a very serious situation, and only a major MORAL change can help. -
- Finally I want to tell you “Thanks a lot” for letting us do this interview. We really appreciate your work and we feel that you are one of the greatest voices of all the times in the history of rock so please feel free to say some words to everybody who read this interview
There are two simple lines as the essence of what any true music-culture needs to be based on to be able to live. The first is targeted towards the industry, the second towards the music-fan:
1.) - The Industry should never design musicians or music for markets. Instead free artists shall create true music, and than the industry must build markets FOR them.- (Everything else creates false art and culture.)
2.) - If you say you like a band or a musician and want to keep on getting music from them, support them by buying their CDs or you make them disappear soon. -
- Thanks Michi, We wish you the best. Best regards from Spain. God bless you!!
Same to you my friend!
Written by Stefano Muscariello
Wednesday, 06 September 2006
Ciao Michi! Thanx a lot for this interview! It is very important to support you! So answer the questions you prefer.
- 3 months are passed by the release on KISKE. How did the press received it?
I don't follow it, so I don't know. I try not to care, but from what I hear from time to time it's going good. It needs to be heard by such which have a heart and brain for it, than it will be received well.
- The new album is enough different from the previous albums. You have had much time to fulfil it. I think you got a good result and I think it is more complicated despite the songs are most melodic and intimate. Seems you wanted to pass on a sense of relax and certainty in your musical direction. Was this your intention?
Not to have many specific intention is more like it. I wanted to tear down final mental walls and boundaries and just let come what comes. And it worked very well.
- KISKE is the title of the album. Seems like a your new reborn. Am I wrong?
It certainly is a new phase as a musician in my life. It always sound a bit funny when some says this, but I think I have grown as a person, and so as a songwriter, and it's coming through. That's the whole reason for making another record: having something new to tell artistically.
- The album is made 100% with your friends? How much important is recording an album with friendship for you?
I will never do anything else anymore. I will never be a member of any band where people don't have the necessary respect for each other. The soul gives the quality in music, so soul mates are essential.
- What is the most representative song of the album for you and why?
I have my favourites, but it's the album in whole that is it. It has some strength in an area that is most important to me. It is emotionally on the spot; if we may say.
The world is sad because it has lost it's spiritual meaning. So many hunt after money and mammon, believing they get fulfilled by that. You see Hollywood- or music superstars, how hard they try to come across as happy millionaires, but the next week you see the news about them having heavy depressions and crises or you hear about drug abuses etc. Everything looks so good in our superficial society, but that's just on the cover; if you look deeper, our society is rotten to the core morally. It's a long story, but just look at the youth alone! There's a lot frustration and sadness that transforms itself into different things like anger, taking drugs, becoming satanist ... The world is really sad, because it has forgotten why we are here!
- In SING MY SONG there are these sentences: "Sing My Song - It Echoes Hard To Pinch A Part Of Freedom - If You Want It - Get It Tonight! [...] If You Don't Want It, Don't Dare To Sing My Song!" Is it directed to people who define themself your fans?
It's targeted to everyone that tries to force music under his ego or tries to make musicians slaves oft his limited music-horizon etc-. Anyone who works against >musical freedom of speech< shall not sing my song(s). Our culture meaning is 'money'. The soul of most of our music today (no matter in what style) is a money-soul. The simple essence of music-truth, that art is only real if it is born in freedom as a true expression of the strong and good human being, has become a lame promotion-lie. This song is targeted at anyone who hates me for being myself and not being his personal whore. But it shall also encourage musicians to start something real again. It is very needed!
- In the forum you posted a message with subjec Shadows Of The Past where you say "I am NOT the sort of musician that 'serves markets'; especially not such a false art-enemy and destructive market like the Heavy-Metal market has become." I think all music markets are not too much free now. Labels want to make money, money and money... and artists too. Is Rock/Pop Market more free than Heavy market?
No! It isn't that simple! You find true and fake in all musical styles today, but only Metal brags so loud about being so real and true, but it has (most of the time) exactly the same lame morals than the industry-driven-boygroup-crap: 'pleasing target-groups'. Far too many Metal-heads don't even know what true music is. They think if you are loud and antisocial that makes you somehow ''real'' or ''true'', but that's just a silly joke of immature minds. In fact the Metal-scene is one of the most narrow-minded and destructive music-scene on earth in my eyes! And I think I know what I am talking about. If you allow yourself a bit too much freedom and creativity, many really hate you and call you a ''betrayer''. But if being true to yourself means betrayal in Metal, maybe Metal itself is a betrayer??? ... Bands that >give the people what they want< and just reproduce they best selling records get applaus and great reviews and all that. That's not my understanding of art at all. Also as a Christian I get very sick of all this hell, evil, death, negativity and brutality glorifying sickness that is so hip in Metal. But I also want to be fair and mention that thankfully not every Metal-fan or band is like that! There are also sweet and open-minded people, and those never only listen to one style of music anyway. And no one should! It makes us music-dumb! In the end I don't give a hack about scenes or boxes or styles or critics; that's all just a big art-enemy cage.
The one that wants and expects the musician to be real and express himself honestly and freely. It's the grown up person that likes to listen to the music of strong and real individuals to get stronger himself through it. That's (by the way) the whole meaning of any art-culture: building better and stronger human beings! And that's only possible if music is REAL and spiritually alive. Fake music with no true heart makes us also more fake and untrue. And as much as the music we are listening to is a lie, we learn to become liars through it. Art educates more that anything else! It's just that we are all so damn superficial today! So many believe the lie as long as it is comfortable and ''pleasing consumers needs''.
- I own the japanese version of KISKE and there is a cover version of "Mary In The Morning". Why did you choose this song?
Because it's one of my favourite Elvis-recordings ever.
- What do you do in your freetime?
Studying philosophy and anthroposophy and listening to good music. Also watching heroic movies like: Braveheart, Kingdom of Heaven, Alexander, the Passion of Christ etc.
- Michi, the interview is over. Now you have a place where you can say what you like. Ciao and thax again for the interview!
If people, who say that they like music, don't come back NOW supporting musicians again by buying CDs, only millionaires or people supported by major labels will be able to produce real records. The rest will have to become ''hobby-musicians'' and ''weekend-warriors''. If as a musician you don't get the necessary money in with your music, you will have to get a normal job for paying your rent. But if you work 6 days a week, you don't have much time and energy left for your music, so your music will suffer and in the end die. If people think music is not worth their money anymore, music will get cheaper and cheaper and thinner and thinner ... and than good productions will not be possible anymore. And the good stuff always dies first! I can promise you, as much as I will never fake records for the sake of getting the money in, I will also NOT become a weekend warrior; I make music 100% or I don't. I won't start making quick, cheap, weak productions. If I still don't reach enough CD-buying and supporting friends of my work, I will sooner or later make space for people who have those. Music fans must decide now if they want their musicians to be able to keep on making music or not. Because it doesn't work if everyone just takes it for free, as soon as they can. Just because you can steal the car of your neighbour doesn't mean you have to! I am really interested to see if it is possible at all to get the awareness about our music-culture-problem into people hearts again, or not. Exciting times we are living in, don't you think?
All the best!