HELLOWEEN singer Michael Kiske recently spoke to Cuartel Del Metal about the decline of the music industry as consumers value access over ownership and experiences over assets. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "The music industry in terms of record productions is pretty much destroyed. It is an art form that we should bring back. We should really rethink it all over, because if records have to be cheap, they're not as good as they could be, if you know you can finance it by people buying it. And the younger generations have this sort of attitude that everything you can get over the Internet [for free] is okay to get. But you've gotta think about that everything has to be financed, and if you want quality, it costs money.
"I think we really have to bring back the record-production culture," he continued. "When I was your age, I grew up in a completely blooming musical culture. In the '80s — '70s anyway, but also in the '80s — when I was a teenager, there was a huge musical culture everywhere, all over the world, with all types of music, and you could still produce records with high budgets and everything like that. And because of the Internet and people just taking things for free and not giving a [crap] that things cost money, it pretty much died out. Many bands disappeared, the whole scene has shrunken down, everybody tours his ass off, because that's the only way to make money. And I like to believe that we can turn that back.
"I like records. I don't just wanna rent songs over Spotify. I have Spotify, and I pay for Spotify, but only to discover music. And if I like something, I look if there's a CD, and then I buy the CD, because I wanna have it; I wanna own it. I don't wanna rent it. And if Spotify disappears, I have no music anymore.
"I think we have to kind of bring back the understanding of the value of record production," he reiterated. "It's a different world than live — a live show is something else than an album you can listen to. It feels different, it's a different approach, and I think we should do anything we can to bring record productions back."
Kiske went on to say that musicians aren't the only ones affected by the fact that music streaming has cannibalized record sales, leaving them at historic lows. "It's also a lot of people that work in this industry and have a job in there," he said. "They're losing their jobs. If the product — the song, the music — has no value anymore, how do you finance it? We really have to turn this around. At the moment, it gets worse and worse.
"Everybody should think about it, that we have lost a huge portion of the music culture," he continued. "But I don't wanna be negative all the time, so I believe we can turn it back, we can bring it back, if we make people aware. Because we love music. We want music. I want records. I want great productions. And it shouldn't be a cheap trick because it's the only way to do it. We had the chance now to spend a fortune on this [upcoming HELLOWEEN] album, but not everybody can do that. It's a mind thing. You have to understand this. And maybe the metal scene can do that. And if the metal scene does it, maybe the rest will follow."
The reunited expanded classic lineup of HELLOWEEN will release its much-anticipated album on June 18 via Nuclear Blast Records.
The "Pumpkins United" lineup features Kiske and guitarist/vocalist Kai Hansen alongside current singer Andi Deris, guitarists Michael Weikath and Sascha Gerstner, bassist Markus Grosskopf and drummer Daniel Löble.
Produced by Charlie Bauerfeind and Dennis Ward, the new HELLOWEEN LP was recorded in part at the H.O.M.E. Studios in Hamburg (where everything started in 1984). The same recording console used for such HELLOWEEN albums as "Master Of The Rings", "Time Of The Oath" and "Better Than Raw" was utilized to record the band's new material. The effort was mixed at the Valhalla Studios of Ronald Prent (IRON MAIDEN, DEF LEPPARD, RAMMSTEIN).
HELLOWEEN's new album saw the legendary German power metallers going "back to the roots," with the band recording fully analogue and Löble playing the drum kit previously used by HELLOWEEN's original drummer, the late Ingo Schwichtenberg, on the legendary "Keeper Of The Seven Keys" recordings.
The "Pumpkins United" tour marked the first time Kiske had played live with HELLOWEEN since 1993. Hansen, who departed HELLOWEEN in 1988, had been joining the band onstage on various tours and festival appearances throughout the years. The set featured several duets with Kiske and his replacement, Deris, along with many rarely played songs, including "Kids Of The Century", "Rise And Fall" and "Livin' Ain't No Crime". Hansen — who fronted HELLOWEEN until late 1986 — sang a medley of several early HELLOWEEN classics, including "Ride The Sky", "Judas", "Starlight" and "Heavy Metal (Is The Law)".
HELLOWEEN's European "United Alive World Tour Part II", which was originally scheduled to take place in September and October will now take place next year.