2011. április 30., szombat

Mercyful Fate - second part

In early 1982, Mercyful Fate had recorded two 4-track demos; the first one contained Walking Back To Hell, Running Free, Black Masses and Hard Rocker, as the second one contained Curse Of The Pharaohs, Return Of The Vampire, A Corpse Without Soul and Burning The Cross, how were these demos recorded and how did they sound like?
They were both recorded in a small studio in Copenhagen as far as I remember. It’s a little blimp for me. I wasn’t really involved in the sound, but I think it sounded pretty heavy for the time, when metal was the preferred rock music, but we wanted to create a more heavy sound and I think we succeeded in this.
Is it true, that then co-manager John Kibble had been knocking on all the major label doors, but even though these demos received some attention from the underground tape-trading circuit, nobody was willing to take that big chance, although a lot of the A&R people liked what the band was doing? Would you say, that the demos helped a lot to expand the band’s popularity in the underground?
Yes, John Kibble tried all he could to get the bigger labels interested, but most of them pulled back because of our lyrics. It was too strong for them and they thought that they couldn’t release an album on their label with this kind of lyrics.
Prior to that, the band had already performed a few more headline shows and had also opened for a show of The Gillan Band in Copenhagen, on March 26th 1982, right? How was this show?
It was a lot of fun. Alone to meet Ian Gillan (one of our boyhood heroes). He was a nice guy and we had some fun together. The gig itself went very well and Gillan and his band praised us for our performance. They thought we were a really good live band and that gave us a lot of confidence to hear that from well experiences musicians.
Later on the band flew to Hull, England, to record a session for a newly established label Ebony Records, their A&R man, Daryl Johnston, liked a lot the material he heard from the band, were only Ebony Records that started showing interest in the band or…?
At the time Ebony Records were – as far as I remember – the only label interested at the time being. But other labels were beginning to show some interest.
He offered them the opportunity to do a session for 2 upcoming compilation albums on his label, right so the band then recorded Black Funeral and Walking Back To Hell and Black Funeral was included on the Metallic Storm compilation album, do you still remember about this album? Was this song your decision to be featured on the compilation or…?
I have to be quite honest. I can’t remember if the label decided or if we had any inputs to that.
It came out during the following summer, which was the first album on which the band appeared, wasn’t it?
My God I’m getting old. My memory is not what it used to be. I think we released the mini album before this – or am I wrong ? It’s embarassing not to remember – sorry ! ! !
Why Walking Back To Hell have not been used at this time for a release?
We didn’t think the song at the time was strong enough for a release.
Can you tell us more about your experiences in London?
We went into BBC radio studio to record one song live on the radio. And we went in and played Satan’s Fall direct and the studio reporter was very impressed that we could go straight into the studio and just go through a song at 12 minutes with 30 – 35 different changes and beats and do it perfect. He was very amazed. That is the thing I remember the best from our trip to London.
During the summer that followed, Benny left because of his girlfriend, and Michael Denner went back in the band, so from this point, this line-up had to remain the same until the demise of the band, correct?
Yes we stayed together until we split and called the band King Diamond band, and that was really only to get a better record deal from Rave-On Records.
Then came the Dutch label Rave-On Records, offering the band their first record deal, Rave-On Records was based in the same city as Holland’s leading heavy metal magazine Aardshock, which was a very supportive magazine of the band since hearing the demo recordings; that’s what introduced the band to the label, how did that happen?
If you want details about how the contract was landed, I’m not the right person to ask. King and Ole Bang will know this a lot better. I wasn’t involved in the meetings about the contract. I was actually only a musician in the band.
So, in the following September, in Stone Sound Studios, Holland, the band recorded and mixed, in two or three days only, the 4 songs that had to become your classic eponymous EP, also known as Nuns Have No Fun, what do you recall of the recording sessions?
I remember recording in the Eindhoven surrounds and Eindhoven became our second „hometown”. We had a lot of fun and made a lot of fans and friends in Eindhoven. We always loved to come back to perform in Eindhoven.
Do you think, that you surprise the scene with this stuff? Do you agree with, that the music was complex and unique those times? Did the EP take the underground by storm the year before, bowling people over with a mixture of elements that nobody before or since has ever matched?
I think we did surprise the whole scene a bit, because as I mentioned before the music that was very popular at that time was metal and we played more heavy stuff and at the same time we played some very complex music that most people had never really heard before in that kind of music. And that is in my opinion why we took the underground by storm.
How much did your music change compared to your early days, such as The Brats or Danger Zone? Was it a logical step becoming more complex and heavier?
Yes it came quite natural. We all wanted to get our music more complex and heavier than the other bands we played in before. We wanted to create something new and not just become another metal band.
It’s well known thing, that your lyrics are/were about occultism, satanism etc. at which point did King dig himself in these topics? Did all of you agree with King’s lyrical direction?
King always stood by his believes in satanism, but the rest of us just thought it was interesting, but we didn’t have quite the same believes as King. But when it comes to the lyrics we all agreed that the lyrics were great to create a good live show from. It was perfect to present our music with at live show that represented Kings lyrics.

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