Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Helmut Interview

1.Can you tell us a little bit about the band for those that have never heard of you before?

Helmut is a blues-metal band from Geneva Switzerland. There is Simon on drums, Guillaume on bass, Florian and myself (Sam) on guitar and Peter on vocals. We started in 2006 with almost the same lineup. We had a change on drums in 2010. We released a first EP in 2007 (Mj√∂llnir), our first album in 2009 (12) and finally our second album «XI IX XI» on september 11th 2011 with the support of HeimatHome Records.

2.  How would you describe your musical sound?

Like a nice fat beef steak. It’s raw, juicy and it’s not adapted to vegetarians. The guitars are based on well known bluesy elements, while the drums and vocals have kept the metal feeling on which our first album was based on. Maybe, it’s simply blues the way it’s supposed to be played in 2012. It has all that power that we like in metal music but it’s very easy to listen to.

3.  What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?

Pretty much nothing. It’s all in the music. It is very important for us to not be considered as a band with some kind of message. Our purpose is just about having fun, together with the audience. The lyrics are about food and drinks that we like to share, stuff like that. Actually, nothing. The only song that could have a meaning, would be «Karl Lagerfeld». He’s a fascinating character. I’m sure he would be a nice guy to share a drink with.

4.  What is the meaning and inspiration behind the bands name?

In our minds, Helmut is a stereotypical german tourist on the Costa Brava in Spain. Someone who is fat, burnt by the sun, drinks a lot of beer and disturbs everybody around with his loud and annoying laugh. That’s what our music made us think of, as we were looking for a band name.

5.  What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?

Our best venue was definitely the Silence Festival 2011 in Kathmandu Nepal. We were lucky to play in front of about 7’000 people in a football stadium. One done, on the «what would you want to experience with music ?» list. We also had a wonderful time in Moudon Switzerland, in a club called The Prison. You know, one of these nights, when everything just flows, great gig. Our stage performance is all about having fun, as I said before. I’m not saying we’re funny, but we don’t pull people down with some obscure mood. Playing music live, is something we enjoy. We just want to share that pleasure with the audience, and I think it’s comes across.

6.  Do you have any touring plans for the new release?

Oh yeah, Randy and Olivier, the guys of HeimatHome Records are doing a great job. The record has a good visibility, and promoters in Switzerland get to hear it. We play mostly in Switzerland, but we would definitely want to export ourselves. Not only in Nepal, but also closer, like Germany, France, Italy, Austria and anywhere else where we’d have the opportunity to rock the crowd.

7.  On a worldwide level how has your music been received by fans of underground music?

We get to read reviews from all over the world. I’d say it’s between 6.5 and 10 on 10. Most of the journalists seem to like the record. We know that most of them are musicians too and represent the underground average population in their country. You can tell that they have really listen to the record by reading their reviews, it’s nice. On a more direct level, we get the feeling that the audience at the concerts really has a good time with us. But we only can speak  of Switzerland and Nepal so far.

8.  Are there any other projects besides this band or is this a full time line-up?

Musically, not really. Nothing relevant so far. It’s everybody’s main musical project. But beside the music, three of us are fathers. All the parents reading this will understand my point. Even if I wanted to get involved in some other band as I am in Helmut, I just wouldn’t have the time.

9.  What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?

We have started composing new stuff for what could become our 3rd album. It clearly has a link with our second that we just released. Our sound seems to get more personal and the whole efficiency of the musical elements has grown. It’s in same artistic spirit, but it’s just so much better. About half of the songs of «XI IX XI» were composed with our former drummer. Of course, his inputs would take a song into a certain direction. I think that sometimes, we (Florian and I) would have prefered to take songs to other paths, but we just let go, because it’s how it is to play in a band. Compromise. On the other hand, on those new songs, there’s no compromise. We don’t need to, everybody hears it the same way.

10.  What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

Our main musical influence is ZZ Top. Their music is so attractive. The songs, the groove, the sound, everything. We also share the taste for Van Halen, Cream, Hendrix and some of these great classics. Regarding the music of nowadays, we enjoy listening to Meshuggah, Mastodon, Gojira, Devin Townsend, Tool, Joss Stone, Christina Aguilera and so many others. It’s hard to think of a list. I discovered a great band recently, Jet. I know, they’ve been around quite a while now, but anyway...

11.Outside of music what are some of your interests?

That’s a good question. I like to go running. It keeps me mentally balanced, I suppose. I also work half time to spend more time with my two sons. Guillaume and Peter are parents too. Peter is really into video games, especially the ones of which the title includes the word «war». Guillaume likes Golf. Simon is studying to become a psychiatrist, and Florian just loves to drive around with his car. He does that all the time, and sometimes he will stop somewhere random to get some food.

12.  Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?

I would just like to remind people to the fact that they should really actively support the bands. Especially their local scene. Lots of wonderful dedicated people put together local musical events. Get there. Buy a ticket, buy the CD of a band playing, or a shirt. Nobody will get rich, but these events will be able to survive through this support. If anybody, who’s reading this, is putting together a festival somewhere, and wants to book Helmut, go for it. We’ll be there. 

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