Anthony Morgan of Metal Forces recently conducted an interview with with former HELLOWEEN and current UNISONIC singer Michael Kiske. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
On working with fellow ex-HELLOWEEN member Kai Hansen (also of GAMMA RAY) in UNISONIC:
Kiske: “I also have a good relationship with Kai, and not many know that. Even when he left the band, we were still pretty okay. We didn’t hang out every night or whatever, and we didn’t do anything together musically apart from him helping me out with my first solo record (‘Instant Clarity’, August 1996) together with Adrian Smith (IRON MAIDEN guitarist) and me singing on the fourth GAMMA RAY record (‘Land Of The Free’, May 1995). We didn’t do much, but we were okay. We liked each other and when we saw each other there was always a good vibe going on, but we were not thinking about doing something together until we were onstage together with AVANTASIA in 2010. Before Kai, I had a friend of mine in mind as a guitar player [Sandro Giampietro]; a very strong individual, a great musician, and a guy who’s helped me out on a couple of records I’ve done in the past, but I think Kosta [Zafiriou, drums] was really scared of him. [laughs] He’s some kind of a person; he’s very different, very original, very funny, very friendly, but different. Kosta was a little bit scared of him so that didn’t happen, but when I was onstage with Kai on the AVANTASIA tour, it brought us to different countries. We played a show in Tokyo, we played one show in Mexico, one in Brazil, one in Argentina, and we played Sweden, Switzerland, and Germany, of course. It was a lot of travelling, but there was just a very, very nice chemistry going on between me and Kai, which I had almost forgotten about. We started talking backstage, ‘We should do something together again, because it just feels right,’ and we just didn’t know how, but at that time again UNISONIC just didn’t come up. I don’t know why, but after awhile, when we found out we don’t wanna do another project, Kai made it very clear if we wanted to do something, we gotta do one real thing. He suggested me joining GAMMA RAY, which I didn’t really wanna do, because I didn’t wanna join a band with a 20-year history. You always piss someone off, and to a certain extent it’s also a bit too much for me is GAMMA RAY. I like some of the material, but other material is just a bit too heavy for me, to a certain extent. One of the guys said, ‘We still have just one guitar player in UNISONIC,’ and then it clicked for me. I thought, ‘That’s it,’ because Kai‘s presence adds that extra edge — that extraordinariness — to UNISONIC that I thought was missing. Now he’s in the band and we started working on that first record, he’s proving me right. He fits into the band very well.”
On the track “No One Ever Sees Me” from the “Unisonic” album:
Kiske: “It’s about a girl from countries where they’re more or less the property of man in a very inhuman way, Muslim countries or India, where they have certain traditions that totally take the freedom of women and girls. The parents decide who they marry. Over here in Germany we have Turkish people; of course, not all of them, but some of those hold onto their old traditions where the brothers kill their sister. Or the father kills the daughter because she’s together with a guy that she loves instead of with who they decided she should marry and stuff, which is pretty strange to me. I don’t get it. Traditions are fine to me, and I’m okay with different mentalities and religions or whatever, but when it comes to inhumanity, in that way it doesn’t work. I had the idea of that song and those lyrics when I was watching an Indian father on TV talking about a young daughter of his. He was old, and he said in words, ‘I am going to decide who she’s gonna marry, and if she starts talking about love, I’ll kill her with my own hands.’ He thought it was totally justified. I was kind of shocked how a father could talk about his own daughter like that. This cannot be love, this is not love. I don’t know what it is, but it’s weird. That’s what this song is about. It’s actually from the girl’s perspective in a way, and those girls are actually alright with it most of the time because they just grew up like that. They grew up not developing their own personality and their own identity, so they feel that it’s okay that they’re just property.”
On his upcoming fifth solo album:
Kiske: “I don’t really have a head for another solo record at the moment, but I have decided to do that with Sandro Giampietro. We want it to be a very live record and a fun recording. I have a whole lot of songs which UNISONIC didn’t care much about which I will be doing with him. We will try to give it a nice, live acoustic feel. I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be a very cool record, not so much for metal audiences but some of them are quite open too. Others will probably ignore it, but that’s okay. I’m sure we’ll record it in the summer; when the summer’s over, I’m sure that’ll be done. I’m not sure when it will be released but I still have a contract running for that one, so I have to do that anyway. I’ll be doing that.”
Read the entire interview at Metal Forces.
“Unisonic” (song) video: