Hellvetica are the living proof that also Switzerland still has some aces up its sleeve; it only is a bit shy to play it. Despite the fact that they didn´t have it easy and it seems like there´s no metal scene in Switzerland whatsoever, the guys from Aarau have never given up. Their thrashy/deahty songs are simply unique. Axeman Jon Schnider takes us behind the scenes of a band that you should definitely check out!
Who are Hellvetica? Please introduce every band member.
Hellvetia are Roman Wettstein, our bawler, Marco Wehrli and Jon Schnider on guitar, Lorry Treier on bass and Pascal Wettstein on drums. We´re all from Aargau, close to Aarau. The characters of the band are all very different and this has a strong influence on our music. Roman and Pascal are the modern souls of the band, together with Lorry they do the “-core” parts in our songs. Wehrli is more the progressive one, he brings some more technical influences to the table, which is interesting for the more demanding listeners and I´m in charge of the necessary “oldschool”.
Tell us a bit more about Hellevetica, what kind of music do you play, how did you get together as a band?
Marco and I were fascinated with guitar legends of huge bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Guns´n´Roses and such already when we were young. It´s not very exciting, though, only to copy their music, it´s a lot more fun to make music yourself. That´s how we got the idea to start something of our own. Soon after, we had the whole band together and we started to play covers and our own songs. In the meantime our musical style has very much changed. It has become way more versatile. It´s hard to describe our style. It´s a mix between thrash/death metal with solos and lead parts. It´s very important for us always to remember the roots of metal and to mix them up with modern influences in order to create our very own style.
If the band members were comic characters – who would be who and why?
Roman probably would be the Incredible Hulk. He can shout at a tree until it drops to the ground. Let´s not talk about what happens when he turns green… Lorry would be Krang from the Turtles. I could imagine Wehrli to be Mr. Manhattan because he can do just anything. Pascal would be Robin and I probably would be Duke Nukem.
Your latest promo record „A new hate rising“ is out for a while already. What kind of feedback did you get so far?
The feedback was pretty good. We would have never thought that. Unfortunately there weren´t as many responses as we had hoped. We still haven´t made it to Z7 [the Mecca of metalheads in Switzerland, the editors]. The promo record is already two years old and it doesn´t really sound like the Hellvetica of now anymore. There´s only one song that already has that Hellvetica mix and it´s “New Hate”. The rest is water under the bridge and has to give way for new stuff. Our first album is scheduled for autumn/winter 2011.
Right now you´re looking for a label, how would you promote yourselves to make you more interesting?
It´s easier to advertise other bands… (laughs)
Probably: Hellvetica, new, oldschool, melodic, hard, core, BALLS!
Or something like that (laughs)
Who are your musical idols, the most important musical influences?
Our influences start with AC/DC and end with ZZ Top. Some important ones amongst them are: Death, Pantera, Slayer, Testament, Zakk Wylde himself, Lamb Of God, August Burns Red, Heaven Shall Burn and Unearth.
What is your dream, where do you get your motivation?
Since the beginning, it´s our dream to play as a support in Z7. Our motivation comes from the wish to be onstage and play our own songs to enthusiastic fans. We want to show people that there´s better music out there, more than this run-of-the-mill music you hear every day over the radio.
What would you do if your career in music biz doesn´t work out?
I think I don´t need to answer that question as a Swiss artist, not playing a mainstream genre. What else can you do than work and see your “career” only as a hobby? You need a lot of courage, maybe even naivety to become a rock star.
How do you write your songs? What are you looking for when you write a song? What are your lyrics about?
Most of the time, one of us comes with a more or less ready idea when we have our rehearsal. Then we look at it together and decide whether we all like it and whether it makes sense to keep on working on that song. We´re looking for something new in our songs, for something that no one has ever done before. Of course, the song has to be interesting to perform, too. Thanks to this ambition you get a guarantee that our music doesn´t have anything in common with chart songs, which means that one thousand repetitions of always the same shit are absolutely excluded (laughs). Our lyrics are about socio-critical topics and, there are one or two exceptions, where the lyrics are a bit more fictional.
What was the most exciting/disappointing moment in your band history?
The most disappointing and at the same time also the most strengthening moment in our band history was when we were mistaken for a right-wing band called Helvetica. We got some really horrible guestbook entries on our homepage back then. We knocked it on the head with a statement on our welcome page. But still to this day, there are a couple of people who think, when they hear our bandname, that we are a right-wing band. But, when you just look at us and listen to our music and our lyrics, it´s clear that we don´t have anything to do with that.
Do you think that it´s harder for a band from Switzerland to be successful, compared for example with a band from Germany?
I think that bands from Germany have the same trouble if not even more to become successful. In Germany there´s a lot more competition than in Switzerland. In Aargau for example there are not so many metal bands anymore. That´s a bit sad because more bands would be good for the scene.
What´s the best/worst thing about Switzerland for you?
Schoggi, Wii, Feldschlössli en Cervelas (laughs) [chocolate, wine, Feldschlösschen beer and cervelat, the editors] Nah, I´m kidding. Personally, I think the scenery in Switzerland is breath-taking. We have the luck to live in a country, where you can basically get all possible features of landscape. You get blizzards or a 40°C hot summer day. The worst thing about Switzerland is that we don´t have siesta.
What would you like to be asked in an interview?
You´re now 87 years old and for the 54th time you have managend to release one of the most uncompromising metal records, how long do you still want to stay in show biz? (laughs)
Who should listen to Hellvetica?
All those, who want more from music, who don´t want the same beat, the same tempo throughout a song or even throughout a whole album. We make music for demanding listeners but also for people who want to stagedive, drenched in sweat, straight into an utterly wild crowd at one of our concerts. Exactly those people should listen to our music and come to our gigs.
Thanks a lot for the interview and all the best for the future!