SOURCE – How did the songwriting and recording process for The “Veto” compare to other recent Heaven Shall Burn albums?
Matthias Voigt (Drums) – It’s been actually not unlike the recordings for the last few albums. In the time between the last one, “Invictus”, and the new one, we’ve been always collecting ideas. But the real songwriting just started 2 or 3 months before the date we set for the recordings. Our guitar players, Maik and Alex, put all the ideas together in the studio. Alex owns a studio and so they recorded some guitars and added some drum computer, just to get an idea about songs. When this was done, we entered the Antfarm Studio in Denmark to record the drums. I couldn’t play on the album, duo to some problems with my back. So our dear friend Dan Wilding from Carcass stepped in and did a great job!The rest of the recordings took place in the Chemical Burn Studio, here in Germany. It’s Alex’ studio and close to where we live. So everything had been quite relaxed and we could always take some days off, between the sessions. It’s a nice way to work.
SOURCE – What inspired the album title?
Matthias Voigt (Drums) – First we wanted the german name “Nackt unter Wölfen”, which means “Naked Among Wolves”. We had a song with this name on our “Whatever It May Take” album and it’s also a title of a book that we all liked. We didn’t have to, but we wanted to ask the book’s publishing house, if we can use that name. We did that, because we deeply respect the work that they do. They didn’t feel that comfortable and so we decided to look for another name.
Somehow we talked about that and someone said that they gave their VETO against the use of the book’s name for a HSB record. So someone said the word VETO and somehow we liked the idea to name our album like that. We’ve always been a band, who would voice their opinion and also put their VETO against certain things. That’s how we ended up, using the word. Plus it’s easy to pronounce allover the world, people keep it in mind and now the meaning.
SOURCE – When it comes to creating the artwork, what was the level of collaboration between you and the artist?
Matthias Voigt (Drums) – The artwork is from 1897. It was done by John Collier and it shows Lady Godiva. So we didn’t have to work with anyone for the artwork and we didn’t need to explain an artist, what we want…haha. We just took a pic that was there already, paid some money for the use of the image and that was it.
SOURCE – Did you make many changes to the songs between pre-production and the final recording?
Matthias Voigt (Drums) – Not really. In the pre-production the songs get all done. Of course, some things still get changed, but it’s just about details or guitar leads for example.
Sometimes we also makes some parts longer and some others shorter, but when we enter the studio for album recordings, everything is done and well-prepared.
SOURCE – Do you ever think about the influence Heaven Shall Burn has had on bands and the music industry over the years?
Matthias Voigt (Drums) – I don’t think that we influenced the industry in any way. We do our own thing and most of the time it’s just like other bands wouldn’t do it. It’s our way and I don’t think that we influenced any bands with our way of working. Our way was perfect for us, but maybe it wouldn’t work for any other band. There is no right or wrong.
The music influenced some bands, I think. At least we get this kind of feedback and they tell us that HSB had an impact. I guess it’s normal, just like we are influenced by so many other bands. It’s cool if we can remind younger people on older bands that are not around anymore or not that hyped. We like to show them our roots. It’s like carrying the torch of your own music taste. But this is what every band does in one form or another.
SOURCE – What’s the best advice someone gave you?
Matthias Voigt (Drums) – I guess the best advice that you get, is the one that you don’t listen to…haha. We didn’t take much advice. As I said before, we always chose our way and never looked what others did. I’m talking about the business side here. We just did what we wanted to to do and what felt good to us. Sometimes we knew that no one would do it this way, but we still did. Maybe that’s also one reason that we’d been successful over the years. We didn’t stick to the usual business rules. Just like right now.The new album is out and we’re at home. We decided to do the tour just a few months later, because November is the better time to tour here. Everyone knows that, but all the bands tour directly when a record is getting released, wether it’s May or August. We don’t follow such things and for us it always worked out well.
SOURCE – The music industry has changed dramatically in the past few years, at least from a sales standpoint. Is it irretrievably broken, or can something be done to fix it?
Matthias Voigt (Drums) – Times are changing and the music industry, as we knew them in the 80ies or 90ies, is dead. It won’t come back. The big labels made shitloads of money and it’s been like a paradise for them. Money was literally burnt with crazy marketing stuff and things like that. You can’t even compare now and back then. Today it’s also cheaper to record a video clip or to produce an album. You can get a good “product” with less financial input, compared to 20 years ago. Today you can make something cheap sounding “big” and only a sound engineer can tell you the difference. That counts for the mainstream.
In the independent, extreme or alternative music it’s a bit different. They all have to struggle. The bigger companies too, but they’d earned by far too much before. Now they just can’t release all the bad stuff anymore, without getting financially hurt.
Now the industry is more focusing on merchandise and touring. That’s what bring the money. You won’t get rich with CD’s or DVD’s anymore. I mean, it wasn’t even the case before…haha. But now it’s even worse. You need to tour and to sell merchandise, as a musician. So the labels will try to get their share and they already get. Contracts are much different now and are not only about recordings and stuff.
I know that, in Brazil, many labels stopped putting out records and for me it’s sad to see that a place like Galeria do Rock in Sao Paulo turned more into a mall with Tattoo Studios and Clothing stores. Some record stores were shut down since I was there for the first time in 2002. My last time there was 2010 and I don’t even wanna imagine, how it’s looking like now. But things are changing and we all had our share with buying less records and downloading and stuff. People are not that much into physical records anymore. Even if you still buy music, you can do on iTunes and I also do sometimes. It’s much faster… our times are faster! Times are changing and it won’t ever be the same again. If they would have sticked to vinyl in the past and didn’t invent the CD and later on MP3, we wouldn’t need to talk about that.
SOURCE – How difficult is it to put together a set list now that you have so much material?
Matthias Voigt (Drums) – You have no idea…haha. It’s pretty hard. On the other hand, we already know which songs really work live and which not. It’s always challenging. We always tried to take something off each record, but sometimes we can’t even do that. There are a couple of songs that need to played every show and some others are kinda “circulating” around them and sometimes they change.
SOURCE – When will you be doing another Brazilian tour?
Matthias Voigt (Drums) – We don’t know yet, but hopefully when I will be able to play again. Last time I couldn’t come with the guys, I guess in 2011, and, like I said before, I’m still not completely back on stage. So we need to be back. I guess something will pop up, totally out of the blue and then we’ll be there. So keep your eyes and ears open. Our friend Marcos from Liberation Music will probably get in touch with us, when there will be a possibility.
SOURCE – Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Matthias Voigt (Drums) – Obrigado pelo apoio e pela entrevista! Esperamos tocar em Brasil em um futuro proximo. Nos encontramos em breve! Abraços!
P.S. Vai Verdao!