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For some time you havenīt heard much from the death glam rockers of Stoneman. After a 3-year break they are now back with a new album. Human Hater easily dwarfs its two predecessors and shows who Stoneman really are. After our last interview in Helsinki in March 2009, we have met the Swiss band again - this time in their home country, before their first gig in a long time. In contrast to our last meeting, there was no cosy, relaxed atmosphere here. While the soundcheck of Eisregen was in progress next door, worsening the mood with every new song, the guys nevertheless happily answered our questions and revealed a bit more about the new album, which will be released on November 26th.
Since our last interview a year one and a half years have passed, howīs life been treating you? Mikki Not so well, we were in the studio for one and a half years. It was a very exhausting and intense time but now we are doing fine. Now we are ready to rockīnīroll again, itīs our first show after 1,5 years. The first show of about 40-50 and weīre totally happy about being here tonight and having gotten out of this dark hole.
There are three years between your last album How to spell Heroin and your new one Human Hater, why did it take so long? Fly Yeah, haste makes waste, thatīs how it is. It will be released on November 26th, 2010. Rico There were many obstacles to overcome, we have made so many songs and then rejected a lot of them again. Then made news ones, went into a wrong direction and then, finally, we found the right one.
But this is now what you want? Rico Thatīs exactly what we want and thatīs why it took so long.
Human Hater is the heaviest album so far, why did it turn out that way? Mikki Mmmh, itīs more gloomy and more aggressive but I wouldnīt necessarily say itīs heavier. Itīs simply more honest and down-to-earth, we have found ourselves. We figured out what we are and what we arenīt. We are a metal band with a sense for melodies and catchy stuff. We just felt like doing an album that deals with hate and war and all this stuff. Thatīs probably the outlet we needed after this long creative break. It didnīt start that way, it slowly went into this direction, the whole work and then we realised that itīs what we want to do and thatīs letīs put it that way, now we are sure how we will continue.
So that means Stoneman are going into that direction, musically, in the future? Fly We will see about that.
Or do you try to reinvent yourselves with every new album? Fly Yes, thatīs more like it. Mikki Well, I think the album doesnīt sound very different than the other two. Itīs just a bit heavier but itīs still, unmistakably, us.
Exactly, yes! Mikki Thanks.
How about that title, Human Hater. Do you really hate mankind? Mikki (longer break) Itīs like exactly in those three years where we didnīt perform very often and where we didnīt do much we realised what itīs all about and this kind of music is mostly about the topic hate. Of course, other things like love and such also play a role but basically itīs an anti-war album. In this sense, itīs against religion, politics, the government; itīs pro having fun, free-thinking, people should be able to lead the life they want to lead. A life, in which they can decide themselves what they want to do and where nobodyīs dictating them what they should do. And 99% of all people in the world canīt do that. They are under the yoke of human haters and the human hater is religion, the human hater is the government, the human hater is politics and war.
Ok, good! Mikki Nice, isntī it? (all laugh)
No Sweet November is more a radio song, how did it end up on the album? Can you tell me a bit more about the song because it doesnīt quite fit with the rest. Rico No, it doesnīt fit! But it doenst matter. We like the song so much that we didnīt care whether it fits or not. And thatīs all I can say about it. Mikki It was purposely chosen to be the bonus track, itīs not officially on the album, just a little something extra. And a little bit more is always better than less.
But why did you pick this song in particular to be your first single release? Isnīt it putting a wrong complexion on the album? Now everyone expects that the whole album sounds like that! Mikki Itīs a radio release and itīs the only song that would even have a chance of radio airplay. In a few weeks there will be another single, Zombie Zoo with Wednesday 13 from the Murderdolls. Heīs a friend of us and this will be the main song. It will be the song that we will shoot a video for and everything but No Sweet November was done together with a friend from Berlin, Van Velvet. Heīs a guy who we have worked with for years, a songwriter and simply a friend of the band. This time we really wanted to integrate him in the album and yes, we are an independent band. We do what we want to do. Thatīs what I meant with: we are free, in all aspects.
So, itīs a song that he wrote or that you wrote together with him? Mikki We wrote it together. He presented the song to us in a different form.
(Weīre getting interrupted because the door jumps open while the soundcheck is still in full swing. Rico quickly leaps to his feet and closes it again.) Rico When you do this kind of crappy music, you could at least close the doors again. Horrible! (all laugh)
On the album you also work together with Wednesday 13, with the song Zombie Zoo. How did it come to this collaboration? Mikki We were on tour with him. We did a short European tour with him and we were his special guests. Heīs awesome. I didnīt even know him before and then we became fans from the first second on. We watched his shows from the crowd, it was amazing. Rico It was just incredible. You can learn a lot from him. Mikki Thatīs Hollywood! The song was made first and then we thought we could ask him to be on it. So, we didnīt want to make a song, where he has a featuring, we just did a song and then we just realised that it would work perfectly. He accepted our offer without hesitation while he was on tour with GunsīnīRoses and his Murderdolls. He found some time in between and recorded it in Los Angeles. We are very grateful to him, weīre happy.
What are the biggest differences between Human Hater and the two predecessor albums? Rico There arenīt so many big differences. I think it is just well-elaborated. For example with How to Spell Heroin, we didnīt have time for it. We were on tour, the album was just ane brünslet [pissed down]. It was ok, we were satisfied but this time we had a lot of time to work on every detail and it sounds way more grown up. Thatīs maybe a silly word but it really sounds more grown up and mature.
So, generally, it has less to do with drugs or at least less than the predecessor? Rico Yeah, thatīs why it probably is better (laughs) Mikki When you write an album under the influence of drugs, drugged up to the eyeballs with different kinds of substances then thereīs a good chance that youīre done after a few months and you love it but then, one day, you wake up. This time we did it like musicians and I think you can hear that. But thatīs yeah, weīre of course older, we have 7-8 European tours behind us weīre not like that anymore we donīt chase every woman anymore and every well, how could I say it? Itīs just let yourselves be surprised. Itīs better than ever, itīs a masterpiece. I love this album.
Thatīs the main thing Mikki That I like it? (laughs)
No, that you ALL like it (all laugh). With the last album you had some German-Spanish lyrics, why did you abandon them this time? Mikki Yes, they are only in English and that they were there before wasnīt done intentionally, it somehow felt right, it just fitted. Every language has its own phonetic and a certain tone and every language has a melody and thereīs music where it fits better. Rammstein in English, it just wouldnīt work because the phonetic is just different. The album works in English and maybe we do one in maybe not French (laughs) but, yes English. Letīs stick with English. Maybe Swiss German, a pure black metal album in Swiss German.
Until now you had most line up changes with your bass player, is this position cursed or whatīs going on? Fly Well, bass players are very special. Cris Iīm not special, Iīm totally normal.
Maybe you can also tell me, why Dave left the band? Fly Uh, no, that can tell you... (points to Rico and Mikki) Rico No, itīs a simple story. The job and the hobby or whatever it is, is mostly about being on the road. We really like it but Dave was sick of all the travelling, the life on tour. Itīs all about he decided to twiddle knobs in the studio, we decided to get someone new. Someone who we already knew. We didnīt want to have someone who wants to be a rockstar. We really wanted someone whoīs already with us, who we know and then it was obvious that it is Cris.
Dave was co-writing many songs, is he still helping out? Mikki Well, if we want it then he will, of course, help us. But what does it mean, he helps us? Dave is producer, itīs his job, itīs part of his job. If we want to enlist his assistance, we will do it and if we donīt want to, then we wont. We are still friends and heīs on the guest list tonight as well.
Last time you wanted to make your former tour manager Cris palatable to the ladies, pointing out his great body. Now you have him on bass, do you think it will now work out with the girls? Rico Thatīs, of course, a difficult undertaking. Cris That I have a chance with women, yes! Rico I donīt know why heīs in the band. I have no explanation. Mikki We will see tonight, itīs our first show together. Cris They simply didnīt have anyone else who had time and so I thought, ok, I will do it. And now weīll see what happens. Otherwise, I will join Eisregen (laughter)
But youīre happy to be a part of the band and not their tour manager anymore? Cris I really enjoyed doing that, too but, of course, itīs much more cooler to stand next to them, doing music with them. Rico No, we also have to say that we really rehearsed a lot, which we didnīt really do before. Maybe you heard that sometimes with our first gigs but we really are we really gave our all. We are really happy that we have a musician on board. Looking cool is one thing and it also works but, in the end, itīs always about the music and this music is better now and thatīs why we do it like that.
And what about your old band, Cris? Cris When you play with Stoneman, you really have no time for anything else. It takes care of itself.
It takes up all your life? Cris Ya, at least mine (Fly and Cris laugh)
You also told me last time that you wanted to have a band dog. In a video from your rehearsals, you can see a Jack Russel, is this the new band mascot, the heir of Rhiannon? Fly Sheīs dead. Mikki Itīs Daveīs dog. No, we have Cris now in our band, thatīs a little bit like Cris Iīm now the mascot. Mikki Thatīs already going into the right direction. Maybe we find another one, weīre touring a lot in Eastern Europe. Maybe we find one, some abandoned one. Then we can pamper him in our tourbus, with beer (laughs whimsically)
Of course, a dog!! How was it again, not chasing every woman? Mikki Pampering a dog, not a WOMAN! Cris Alright now, next question!
Cris, you wanted to tell us why youīre called Iron Cris. Rico (laughs and sticks his thumbs in the air) We dont know that either! Cris I still havenīt told you and come and watch us later, then you will see.
I see, in this case it refers to your well-toned body or what? Cris No, not that. Someone gave me that name and right now it fits quite well. But I canīt get into more detail now, thatīs something for AFTER the interview.
Aha, ok! Rico Yeah, we donīt know it either. Mikki Yes, thatīs what you call, getting people interested in you!
You will play a tour with Tiamat and perform at the Trash Fest in IV in Helsinki again. Are you looking forward to this? And what else can we expect from Stoneman? Mikki We are extremely happy about it, we are thrilled that we can go on tour with Tiamat and that we were invited in the first place. After we were gone for three years, sitting in the studio... That they were even thinking of us and then invited us there wouldīve been 100 other bands, who wouldīve liked to be on tour with them and they invited US, just in that moment when our album is released. Pure coincidence but there couldnīt have been anything more perfect, itīs killer! Also Trash Fest is great and weīre looking forward to see you there, you will be there, right?
Surely but only because of you, otherwise I donīt go. Mikki We will be there!
What other plans do you have? Rico We want to play as much as we can. We will play a few tours and festivals, we try to be everywhere and yes
On the flyer a tour with Mortiis was mentioned, too? Mikki Yes, thatīs a plan but itīs not confirmed yet. Weīre planning to do that but maybe itīs not working out. You always have to deliberate whatīs the most important thing and so on. Right now we focus on the album release and the tour with Tiamat and spending some time on the road again.
Finally, what would you like to ask yourselves in an interview? Fly Buh I would ask whether Iīm really that bonkers or whether I only pretend. Cris I would ask whether I really cannot do anything else than music because I really donīt do anything else than music and it seems to be the only thing that Iīm good at. Rico I would ask why Iron Cris is called Iron Cris! Mikki I would ask whether I really have only one jacket! Cris That was an inside joke!
Ok, thanks a lot fort his interview and good luck with everything! Mikki Yes, thank you. Fly Yes, thanks!