(The interview was done in late summer 2010 and was held back, because at that time they thought that the new Unisonic album will soon be released. They decided now that they should release it until it is too old. There is no second part of that video):
Michael Kiske new video interview done by Rockinvasion in German (Translation is done and it seems to be from 2010 in the process of promoting the Kiske/Somerville Project).
Interviewer: I’m here with Michael Kiske, the man most of you know from „the keeper of the seven keys“ records, but you are also doing lots of other stuff. But first I want to do a little time travelling with you.
Michi: Yes, do it.
Interviewer: Let’s talk about the keeper era, at that time you were quite a silly person on stage.
Michi (laughing): really..
Interviewer: Yes you did let around 6000 people singing some advertising jingles. “Schneekoppe” for example.
Michi: Ah yes (still laughing)
Interviewer: Later you got much more serious, was it age or anything else?
Michi: There were a lot of things which ruined the fun. When I started I was kind of blue-eyed…
Interviewer: You were 18-19
Michi: I was 18 while recording the keeper 1 and 19 during keeper 2. With 24 I was already out. During the first years there was no reason to be too serious, lots of fun and party. Later I got confronted with things less funny, like doing some different thing and not getting enough acceptances.
Interviewer: That was already with Helloween and the chameleon record.
Michi: It already started with pink bubbles that sounded different, but all these things have a learning effect. I must say these things are very important, when there are things which are running like expected. You can learn a lot from these things even if it is quite hard. I also learned many things about the music industry. You don’t learn anything if you are living inside of a bubble “soap bubble” and everything is running fine, you are successful and everyone celebrates you. It’s different when it doesn’t work so well anymore, then you see the reality.
Interviewer: You did not only deal with music, but also with many other things like art, religion..Have you studied these things?
Michi: No I have done everything with a self-study and no university. When I was in the early twenties and out of the band (Helleoween), I had such a ravenous appetite… I started with all the classics of the great keen thinker like Fichte, Schelling, , Schoppenhauer, but also Goethe, Schiller (the aesthetes)…but later also in the direction of the anthroposophy. I tried everything out. I really studied a lot… don’t know how long you study in university… around 10 hours a day reading book. This was a study out of passion and it was not forced.
Interviewer: And you didn’t get any ticket for it.
Michi: Exactly and no one told me to do so. I can strongly recommend this to anyone there are reals treasure which needs to be explored. Real spiritual treasures.
Interviewer: You wrote your first book with 24?
Michi: No…ah yes it was 24. That was my first try to express myself in such a way with my problems in music.
Interviewer: What do you mean with musical problems.
Michi: I meant with all the things that I learned later. To see how it is in reality with the music industry, free music and art.
Interviewer: The whole commercial stuff?
Michi: Yes and that a musician is often only a slave for the music industry without freedom. And many artists accept it that they are only satisfying a special marked. Of course you are doing music not only for yourself, but you must do the music you believe in and find a market for selling it. Then you have true music and an audience which appreciates it. Today it’s the opposite and the market makes the artist. It’s the wrong world today.
Interviewer: Maybe I can interrupt you…what did you think when the 3rd keeper record was released, 10-15 years later?
Michi: I have thought so before…but I didn’t follow the whole thing that much. I kind of forgot about these things somehow. I was asked this in a few interviews what I think about it. I cannot judge it, because I haven’t heard the record..I said in earlier interviews that I somehow find it strange since it’s a different band. It’s a completely different band and only Markus and Weikath there. It’s just a little bit an unfortunate decision. But they have to decide for themselves. I would always recommend them doing something else, tying something new and sounding different. It’s not necessary sounding like keeper stuff.
Interviewer: But it was the most successful period and like you said before, the market forms the artists nowadays.
Michi: Yes I know it’s really not easy nowadays, you as an artist need to pay your bills, pay your lease. I understand that many have lots of problems if the pressure is there, they shall sign some things in contracts and so on…I can only recommend everyone not to do this..just check how many artists did collapse because of this.
Interviewer: The whole “Schlager”guys like “Flippers” and so on..
Michi: Yes that’s an good example, also Roy Black for him it ended in a bad way too.
Interviewer: He needed one bottle brandy for functioning as expected.
Michi: No money in the world is worth such a thing.
Interviewer: You did a lot of different things with your solo projects and Supared was a little bit in the “Alternative” direction. But all these records didn’t work as expected.
Interviewer: Did you suffer some bitterness from this or did you think I couldn’t care less.
Michi: It could not be expected that they would sell a lot. When you do something that different from the stuff you were successful with, then you must find a label that wants to do some activities to find a marked for your music. There is a market for everything; there is also a market for “Daniel Kübelböck”. It is difficult to do music as a true musician, maybe you have luck and sell, and then you are in heaven…but if you develop as a musician and change you may face problems…then you have to decide to be a true musician or a market bitch. All of us must earn some money but not for every price.
Interviewer: Your statements about certain things did trigger some effects.
Michi: Yes about Satanism.
Interviewer: Yes your criticism about some parts of the metal scene. Did you feel misunderstood? When it was announced “Kiske doesn’t like Metal…his own scene”…
Michi: There were a few years when I was very anti…quite extreme…but from the beginning I made quite clear that it was always about Satanism and so on.
Interviewer: About the black metal scene?
Michi: Yes, the satanic ideologies which are wide spreaded…also such a pseudo moral way of thinking. It’s just the topic we’ve been talking about and that only a special marked is satisfied while everyone is talking about rebellion and so on…
Interviewer: Yes who is more extreme and slaughter animals on stage or burning bridges..
Michi: That the most extreme..but you have on one hand the satanic mental illness and on the other hand the artistic untruth. I tried to survive as a musician, sometime blue-eyed like in Helloween and I just wrote my songs also for my solo stuff…and then you face the reactions to these releases. I was facing the negative effects for a very long time and only got negative feedback. Now after entering the publicity again, I see a lot of positive things.
Interviewer: You were quite too much isolated due to your retirement?
Michi: Yes of course. And especially in the internet there are almost only idiots commenting on things. The one with the biggest mouth is the most common one. The nice people are of the calmer ones. They don’t talk that much and therefore you get a wrong idea about the whole situation. You don’t get a real idea until you go on tour and in contact with the people. Therefore it was so important for me to go on tour and play some stuff with Unisonic. There were such nice fans who touched me so much. It was so important for me.
Interviewer: Yes and in Masters of Rock there were so many people jumping at you in front of the bus and you reacted very patient and did a picture with all of them.
Michi: Yes they were such lovely fans and not like I have thought.
Interviewer: How did you think of them before…most of them are really quite nice, what did you expect?
Michi: Over the years I had a different feedback, I had just to deal with the idiots only. That’s another reason why I had such a wrong picture of the whole situation.
Interviewer: How is it for you going on stage after such a long time, did you have some stage fright?
Michi: Yes I had it before, but when I entered the stage it was gone. I felt quite bad prior to masters of rock and that was also because of the slaughter bands which were playing. I cannot endure this, it really turns me down, I’m very sensible for this. Then Mandy said something interesting and mentioned it is important that we set a different tone. He was right and that’s just the right situation to perform express different as a band. And in our show there were no evil mood. I was quite strained before, but upon entering the stage it was gone. But despite that we had a chaotic sound.
Interviewer: But despite of that maybe several people didn’t follow your career you have always done something.
Michi: Not that much, only in a distance of 4 yours a solo record.
Interviewer: Yes solo records, but also participations like in Avantasia where you were involved in 3 recors?
Michi: No on 2 records.
Michi: Yes, but I also did Aina, but that has nothing to do with Tobi. But it was also something nice melodic approach.
Interviewer: Also Gamma Ray…a lot of projects…I think it’s quite funny with Gamma Ray , because of working with your predecessor in Helloween.
Michi: I like Kai very much and I would probably always say yes if Kai asks me. I just connect the best experience with Kai when we were together in Helloween. I just like him very much, he is a great person.
Interviewer: But you have a different feeling on the other person?
Michi: That’s only with one person, but the rest of this band (Helloween) was only fellow-runners.
Interviewer (both are laughing): I think we all know what was meant.
Michi: Two years ago I met Markus in a metro and it was ok. That was around the time when he did his bass guitar solo stuff. It was really ok to meet him. I also came along quite well with Roland when I meet him.
Interviewer: Then there is not much left for any trouble?
Michi: Exactly,I don’t know the other members. I also don’t know Andi Deris, I have only seen him once.
Interviewer: That’s a good catchword. Andi Deris was in Pink Cream 69 before he joined Helloween. And no Michi Kiske is working together with the boys of Pink Cream 69.
Michi: At least with 2 of them.
Interviewer: With Dennis and Kosta…the band name is Unisonic. How did that evolve, it’s a real band now, and no project?
Michi: Yes it’s a real band and that’s also the reason why we got on tour. The basic idea was to form a real band from Place Vendome, but there is the problem that it is so much under control from Serafino that we wouldn’t have any freedom. We thought just let us create a complete new band, because otherwise we would have to deal a lot with negotiations about name rights and other contract details. I like Serafino a lot and I will be always grateful to the things he did for me during all these years, but we wanted to have a free band to start with.
Interviewer: How did the involvement of Mandy start?
Michi: When we talked about a guitarist, Dennis immediately said Mandy, because he knew him since many years. Now I know why, he is a very lovely person and a great musician. He is also that kind of person where you go on tour and never get into quarrels at all. He has not any kind of destructive ego or something like that.
Interviewer: With all your negative experience it is more important for you that the human level fits together very well?
Michi: Yes exactly, that’s the only real important thing..ok the musical aspect is also important…but I don’t want to do anything with persons that I cannot get along very well on a personal level. Even on the management side…I really don’t understand anything from business…I had no management for many years and I’m quite happy to have again a management after so many years. When we had the first meeting with the 3 or 4 people from Bottom Row I only relied on my gut instinct. I had just a good feeling on the human side and I think they are true and good persons. My heart normally never fools me in such situations. That’s why I sign contract and trust them. That’s really very important for me since I’m a burned child in these situations.
Interviewer: Talking about the new songs (Unisonic), do you have influence on the songwriting or are you just singing?
Michi: On Unisonic..oh yes there is one song from me which they took without any problems. But this is a band and we have to see if it will be accepted. My songwriting style differs from the other members, but I will write material for the band..probably 2-3 songs.
Interviewer: You will also play guitar live?
Michi: Yes I like to do this, that’s quite funny and you have to do something while you are not singing.
Interviewer: Then we have another album and for this reason we will invite someone else to this table. …Now Amanda Somerville joined us and you two did an album together. Amanda please tell a little bit about yourself, you did a lot of things with other people.
Amanda:I always had my solo career, but started in 2000 in the metal scene and somehow slipped into this. With different bands like Epica, Kamelot and Avantasia I did a lot of stuff, but also with Aina another metal opera. I wrote it together with the “gates studio” boys. That was the beginning, I worked with him indirectly in these projects.
Interviewer: Also in Avantasia.
Amanda: Yes exactly. Yes we worked on different projects together.
Michi: But it was the first time we really met.
Amanda: And that he really recognized who I am. (Both are laughing)
Interviewer: Are you involved in songwriting?
Amanda: Yes we were involved with 3 songs and all 3 are included, one as bonus track. That is very important for me, since I did invest a lot creativity into this.
Michi: Yes you can always identify much more with it when you contribute some stuff to it.
Interviewer: But you did work separately on the songs, Mat and Magnus on one side and you on the other side?
Interviewer: Did you sing your part parallel together or completely separated?
Michi: Separated that’s how it is been done nowadays in modern times with internet…it’s much easier and you don’t need to hang around in the studio the whole time…I have my own small studio and I feel very comfortable there while recording vocals.
Interviewer: But don’t you think there is a special vibe while recording together with someone else?
Michi: Yes maybe you’re right, maybe in the future. This could be an extra note.
Interviwer: You are American but speak German perfectly. Why is this the case, do you live here?
Amanda: Yes I moved in May 1999 to Germany. At first I could only count until 3 and ask where the toilets are. I really learned a lot by listening to others.
Michi: Very talented…yes very talented.
Amanda: I have this from my mother.
Michi: A language talent. I know Germans who speaks worse German.
Interviwer: But nowadays you are doing also some more metal stuff than only AOR?
Michi: Yes a little bit more rock.
Interviewer: It seems you still like the word “metal” not so much.
Michi: It limits you too much. Everyone has a different understanding on metal. When you play in Itaky rock music, it is already metal. For some others Bon Jovi is metal.
Interviewer: And for some others Metallica is Rock.
Michi: Yes and for Death People, Helloween was Pop Music. For me metal is too narrowing minded.