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Interview

Deutsche VersionInterview mit Demonica (09.04.2010)

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HH1: A loud HeyHo from Germany's Heavyhardes to the mighty Demonica. Demonstrous kicked my butt instantly and still does. You really created an In-Your-Face-record - my respect.

Hank: Thanks, yeah we did the best we've learned to get it to kick ass *grins*

HH: Would you first of all please describe the circumstances under that you all got together to form Demonica.

Hank: I had an idea to start a new band and decided to go a bit more heavier than what you would usually expect from me. I liked the idea to get more thrash metal into my songwriting to keep things fresh and challenge myself. All this started in 2008, then I hooked up with an old friend, Klaus Hyr, who claimed he was the right singer for the band, we tested a few songs and it was right on. We had an idea of getting original Bay Area musicians in the band to blend the different styles and this worked out really great!

HH: I like the play on words within the names: both Demonica (vs. Harmonica) and Demonstrous (demon plus monster). Whose idea was it?

Hank: Klaus came up with the band name DEMONICA, he sent me a SMS with the name, I instantly checked if there was other bands with this name, couldn't find any and from
here we quicly decided to name the band DEMONICA. Demonstrous was also an idea that came from Klaus and again he sent a SMS, I checked if any other Albums were named this.
It seems that the word doesn't even excist, but it just felt right for what we were doing!

HH: How difficult was it to start a composing process with five busy musicians and how did it proceed? Was everybody involved in the writing of the songs at the same time or did you advance step by step?

Hank: On this first album I did compose all the songs and Klaus did all the lyrics and vocal lines. The other guys contributed with their unique playing style that added the signature to shape Demonica.
It took all of 2008 to finish the songs and we began to record in February 2009 and final mix was done in July 2009. So from first idea to finished product it took some time as always.

HH: As the Thrash Metal-scene nearly exploded in the recent two years, I believe it wasn't easy to create a record with the potential to stand out from the mass, but you obviously managed to do so. Did the fact of getting into competition with all those "new" bands like Warbringer, Legion of the Damned, Mantic Ritual, Municipal Waste or Bonded by Blood (just to name a few) either bother or excite you while writing the material - or haven't you even heard of them before?

Hank: I started the songwriting from scratch with what I felt was cool and kept it fairly simple. I really didn't listen to other bands other than a few albums from the 80s, so I'm not that familiar with all the new bands around these days. Never felt any competion only working for what I believe is cool. Sure I have heard some of the new thrash bands which are very competent but I prefer the old school Thrashers like Exodus, Slayer, Megadeth and so on if I get time to tune in!!

HH: Thrash in its purest sense to me still is the first-rate style of Heavy Metal to express your emotions and transfer them into music in a very direct and organic way, as it grabs the listener by the balls (if it's played with that certain enthusiasm, just for example in "Demon Class" and many other songs on the record) from the first accord. Would you agree and why do you think that nowadays Thrash is taking the world by storm again?

Hank: Sure Thrash metal is a good form to express certain lyrics and agression combined with technical skills. It has an adrenalin effect that I think a lot of people enjoy if its executed right *grins*
It's popular again for its intensity and many cool riffs and great bands around, it has always been on a street-level that many people can identify with themselves. No glamour, no nonsense.

HH: In my opinion the combination of traditional Bay Area-elements and the unique guitar of Hank Shermann gives Demonstrous that exclusive sound to differ from all the other outputs within the genre I listened to in the last months. Was it difficult to place the Mercyful Fate-guitar into a Thrash-enviroment - for me the leads and soli sound very spontaneous and therefore fresh and innovative?

Hank: I had to get into more speed and precision that it takes to do good thrash metal, but since I'm a natural aggressive guitar player I found this fairly easy!
I'm sure you can hear the Shermann sound in the riffin' and the songwriting that is somehow connected to the Mercyful Fate style. But with all the other players I and the decision to keep it simple and not too complicated it all contributed to the sound and the songs that are on DEMONSTROUS. We split the solos 50-50 and we did it fairly spontanious. The Lead tones turned out pretty good for both of us I think!

HH: It would be rather stupid to ask about outside influences because you ARE the influence, but have there been records from your own catalogue you listened to while writing the material? In "Ghost Hunt" for example I heard a portion of "A Dangerous Meeting" or "The Mad Arab" while "Lucious Damned" brings back sweet memories of "Off The Edge".

Hank: No not really, I justed picked up the guitar every morning and started to jam and by the end of the day I might have gotten a few riffs to work further on. I did listen to some Testament and Slayer to hear how they sounded on the early records. So I was aware that we needed the speed on some songs to reach a good level of agression and thrashing. This first album was written witin a year so the songs are quite different but still connected. I'm sure we will be smoking on the next Album. *grins*

HH: I was wondering about the lyrics in "Alien Six" which come to an end with the echoing "six, six, six". Could you tell us the story behind the song and furthermore who wrote the lyrics for the album?

Hank: Klaus Hyr wrote all the lyrics for DEMONSTROUS and he would be the guy to the depth of the lyrics. General it's about Life, Love and Death.

HH: Normally I'm not a big fan of instrumentals, but "Astronomica" is a masterpiece. I believe the essence of Demonstrous is concentrated in that song. Did it surface out of a jam-session or was it composed tone by tone?

Hank: Klaus came up with the idea of doing an instrumental called ASTRONOMICA. I took the challenge and imagined a journey to outer space meeting with Aliens and then safely return to Earth.
I started with ideas I already had, came up with the different parts and pieced it all together with the guitar solos in mind. This song gives Craig Locicero and myself the opportunity to really explore our instruments and having fun doing all theese different styles of leads. It was fun to do and fitted as the last song on the album. Not sure that everyone will like this one!!

HH: Do you consider Demonica now as the record was released as a full band or a project?

Hank: We sure consider ourselves as a band, this has been important to us all from the beginning, but you'll never know where it takes us, but we are confident for the future and looking forward to start writing the second album when we have showcased this album.

HH: I believe not only I cannot wait to hear the tunes of Demonstrous in their live-versions. Are there plans for a (maybe even European) tour and if yes, is there a chance that some Forbidden- or Fate-tracks will appear in the setlist?

Hank: Yes at this very moment we are planning some shows in Europe in August, to be announced fairly soon. A mini tour in USA is being planned for July, nothing confirmed yet.
We might include a Mercyful Fate/Forbidden song, but we haven't decided yet on this. Obviously we need more songs to play a full show so we are working at this right now.

HH: I really was excited to catch Forbidden at the Bang Your Head-festival in 2008. In my opinion you could have been playing for two more hours. Any future plans with Forbidden?

Hank: Yes Forbidden will actually do BANG YOUR HEAD Festivals this year. In autumn a tour starts to promote the new record that will be released in October.

HH: How are things going in the Bay Area? Any new interesting bands to discover?

Hank: Well the old bands are all very active and we are to busy to get out and check what's going on. *grins*

HH: As a longtime fan I have to use the opportunity to ask about the chances for a Mercyful Fate-reunion in the near future? How is the King? I heard his back is getting better.

Hank: Yes his back is certainly getting better and it all looks much more realistic to do another Mercyful Fate album in the future to come. First we will release the DVD that is set for later this year.
So I'm sure you'll see both new King Diamond and Mercyful Fate stuff in the years to come!

HH: Last but not least it would be great if you could assemble a little list of your favourite a) Forbidden and b) Mercyful Fate songs as it is always interesting for the fans to read what the musicians think of their older pieces.

Hank:
FORBIDDEN : "Chalice Of Blood" - "Forbidden Evil" - "Off The Edge" - "Infinite" - Twisted Into Form"
MERCYFUL FATE : "Evil" - "Black Funeral" - "Desecration of Souls" - "Corpse Without A Soul" - "Doomed By The Living Dead" - "Come To The Sabbath"

HH: Thanks a lot for the chance to prepare this bunch of questions for you. It was an honour for me. The space for the last sentences is reserved for you:

Hank: You're welcome - always a pleasure to get a chance to talk about your band! I'm sure you all will get a good kick listening to Demonica's new Album DEMONSTROUS, let us know what you think!

Fuxx

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