of all I'd like to say congratulations on the release of another CD,
that is 'Dark Assault'. Excellent album! (Thanks) And I guess the big
news for IRON SAVIOR in the past few months has been the addition of a
third guitarist, I believe his name is pronounced Pisel, is it? (Yeah,
that's right). Can you tell me the reason for adding another guitar
player to the line up?
Actually we're rehearsing just at this moment while I'm
doing this interview, ha ha... (Right, ha ha) And well, I mean, the main
reason is for the live stuff and for the live presentation of the
material. Because if you look at the IRON SAVIOR song material,
basically in every song there is an additional guitar, you know, like an
overdub or an octaved chord that just fattens the sound and everything.
So to bring the IRON SAVIOR sound on stage you definitely need a third
guitar because if you do a live arrangement usually all these overdubs
they are skipped or whatever, you just can't play them with two guitars.
Not too well. So that's one reason, and to add the sound and more
quality to the whole thing. And the other thing is...as you know I'm
singer and guitarist and singing and playing guitar, I can do it. I gave
some proof on several tours that I can play guitar and sing at the same
time but there's always a bit of a trade off, you know, either for the
vocals or for the guitars. With this solution, when there is some heavy
stuff to play where I rather wouldn't want to play guitar now I can do
it and focus on the lead vocals.
Ok, makes sense. I guess also it helps when Kai is
unavailable due to GAMMA RAY commitments it helps to have another guitar
Well, yes and no. Even if Kai is unavailable that
doesn't lead to the conclusion that we'll be on stage with two guitars.
We just started rehearsing with three guitarists and man, I tell you,
it's great. I really love this. Even if Kai is not available I'll
definitely make sure we have three guitarists on stage.
So, how do you think having three guitarists is
going to affect the bands sound or style or do you mainly see this as
improving the live sound?
is what the decision was made for but also, Pisel is a very good
musician and guitarist and also he's a good songwriter. And of course
for the future I do have some hopes that also from Pisel comes some
creative input for the band. I don't think it will change the style of
IRON SAVIOR. IRON SAVIOR has a third full length album. I think know
we've found our style and we know what we want to do and we don't intend
to change that too much. But I think some new influences is a good
thing to have. I'm looking forward to that.
How far along in the writing or recording process
for 'Dark Assault' were you before Pisel was asked to join?
Most of the material was already written so there wasn't
too much left for Pisel to bring himself in. But I think for the next
album.... he'll definitely get his chance. I invited him to come up with
some songs and ideas and to collaborate either with me or with Jan or
Kai. So let's see what turns out in the next album.
Were all the rhythm guitars on 'Dark Assault'
recorded by you or did anyone else get to play rhythm?
Well, most of the rhythm guitars has been done by me.
It's the normal procedure that the one that plays one guitar usually
also plays the other guitar. You know, you have a better doubling
affect. But on "Solar Wings" Kai and I tried out the same
thing that we did on the first album with "Watcher In The Sky"
that he played the left side guitar and I played the right side guitar
which actually worked out pretty well, I was quite surprised by this because
for me it was a bit of an experiment for me I have to say (laughing). It
turned out to be very good so I think we might do that a little more on
the next album but for this one it was too late. Because 'Solar Wings'
was one of the last songs we recorded, rhythm guitar-wise and I didn't
feel like changing everything.
one of my favorite songs actually on 'Dark Assault'.. "Solar
Wings", it's really cool. How about yourself, any personal picks?
My favorite song is "Made Of Metal".
Yup. Cool. Any others or that's the main one?
Well, If I had to pick, I mean, I really liked every
song on the album otherwise I wouldn't have recorded them all (laughter
by both). If you asked me for what is an outstanding song for me on this
album I definitely would say 'Made Of Metal'.
I wanted to ask you a bit about your background in
regards to producing and mixing. Where did you originally learn the
I started working in a sound studio when I was 21 or so,
I started working as assistant engineer. And so I got my training by
learning and by doing. That's basically how I learned everything. A
couple of years later I went to Los Angeles to visit a.. what is it
called?... a school of video and audio engineering, well, to graduate
they asked me questions which I could answer easily. In the years before
I did pick up a little more than I thought. So I spent some time in Los
Angeles which was cool but I didn't study there very much. (both
laughing) When I got back to Germany I had the chance to join Kai for
the first GAMMA RAY album 'Heading For Tomorrow'. That basically was my
first professional production I did. From there on all I learned
was by hands on.
So, Do you own The Powerhouse Studios in Hamburg?
Yeah, that's my little studio. Basically It's a nice
little room where I have my Pro Tools set up. Today you don't work with
tape machines anymore, everything goes to hard disc.. and Macintosh
computers and they don't take that much space. It's a nice little place.
Have you had many bands recording there besides
Yes. Last year in springtime I did a production with a
French band HEAVENLY. I don't know if you've heard about them. (Yes, I
got that CD) That's one thing I did. At the moment I'm working with a
local band here also from Hamburg. You might have heard of them also.
The bands name is PARAGON. (PARAGON? No, I haven't heard of them) Well
it's traditional metal I think, really traditional metal. It's good
stuff. I'm working on their fourth album now and these are the things I
do in between. Because I really have to say that IRON SAVIOR is quite
time consuming for me. It really takes at least 80-90 percent of my time
to do IRON SAVIOR. For me I think it's a good idea to have a second
existence and so I continue to do production but on very smaller range
than I did before.
I wanted to ask you another related question and
that's with regards to your rhythm guitar sound. Whenever I hear IRON
SAVIOR, instantly I recognize, you know, the IRON SAVIOR guitar sound...
perhaps you can let the guitar players out there know a bit about your
set up and how you obtain your sound maybe?
Well, ok, it's no big deal, it's no mystery what I'm
doing.. (both laughing) I mean I did a lot of research, that's true, I
mean, before, with the process of recording 'Unification' I did a lot of
research on which guitar sound I really do like. So I checked out
various pre amps and a couple of guitars and equipment. In the end I
ended up with buying a digitek and I'm using a Les Paul University with
a finger coil Humbucker Pick Up. I have the Boss, I think it's the OD1,
no it's the SD1. Super Distortion One and that's important... this
little yellow bastard is important (laughing) because it gives this
touch of aggression. You don't have to touch the drive. The drive has to
be set to zero. That's the trick. If you turn on the drive the sound
gets nutty. Get the drive off and just play around with the levels. If
you have a hot pick up then you don't want to put in the level too much.
If you have like me a Les Paul then you can crank up the level and you
get this nice distortion. What I do and which gives.. what makes it
sound special is I add a very thin filter at 15k. So that's the trick.
That's how I do it.
Alright. Do you use different amps live or you use
the same ones live?
Actually my recording sound I use it live. All I do is I
use a Marshall power amp then to bring it to the box.
One thing that immediately got me into IRON SAVIOR
was your lyrics. After reading them I always say to myself this would
make for an awesome movie or book or something like that. Have you ever
considered pursuing either of those options?
Having a movie would be great, I would love that.
(laughing) No, but I think before we talk about the movie let's talk
about the book. (laughing) Yeah, I would really love to have the story
in a book. This is something I really have on my list and it has high
priority this year. What I want to do is.. I have to be realistic. I
will not find the time to write a book myself because IRON SAVIOR is
keeping me too busy. Writing a book is nothing you do on the side, you
know, it's something you have to focus on and work on it for quite a
while. But what I want to do is through the internet find one or two
writers who are interested in collaborating with me in writing this
book. And then when the book is ready there are two options for me, you
can either put it out regularly as a book if you get a deal somewhere
and put it out. Or another thing which I prefer at the moment is to put
it out via the internet. Maybe on the IRON SAVIOR homepage every two
weeks you find the next chapter or whatever.
When you write the lyrics for IRON SAVIOR do you
have the full storyline written out first and then you construct the
lyrics from that or do you just sit down and create the lyrics and
that's how the story evolves?
Actually when I do write the lyrics I really work like
if I would write a book. I have a storyboard and of course then the
story is cut into bits and pieces which if you speak in terms of books
would be chapters. Yeah, then I start writing the lyrics like this.
What kind of movies or books or TV
shows...whatever have inspired your ideas? The Outer Limits? (laughing)
Yeah, I mean I started getting interested in Science
Fiction I think when I was eleven or so by watching the original Star
Trek series on TV which I loved right away by watching it from the first
time. Ever since I was very much into Science Fiction. I really
consumed a lot. I basically saw everything. I also read quite a lot of
books. But I think what What inspired me most was Star Trek, old ones
and new series. And definitely Star Wars.. Babylon 5 also is kind of
nice here and there. Speaking in terms of books I think Frank Herbert
with all the DUNE books. When I read them, I think I read them three
times. What I really like about this story is the complexity. It's
amazing what, how detailed this society is described which he created in
his books. This is something I really liked about it.
You obviously had the idea IRON SAVIOR You before
you named the band IRON SAVIOR?
That's right. Actually the name IRON SAVIOR goes back to
when Kai and me had a song called Iron Savior. Somehow I....this was
cool, you know I never forgot this. It's in my head for years. 'Iron
Savior' was the first song I wrote for IRON SAVIOR. Somehow I kept
thinking about what is Iron Savior, a goddess of the sky. That was the
initial idea of this Iron Savior story and then I had the next.
I know it's been a few years for you now but for a
while you were behind the scenes more or less in the studio helping
bands like BLIND GUARDIAN or whomever create their own magic. I was
wondering what prompted you to step up to bat, I guess, and form your
own band and do that?
Basically it was two things. I have to admit I was
starting to get a bit bored with what I was doing. It's a bit like if
you have a license and really enjoy driving a car. Driving a car is a
cool thing. After a couple of years it's just driving. It's still fun.
When you first get your license but it was a bit with me like this in
the studio. The first years where really great fantastic and you get a
routine. After doing this for a couple of years and I asked myself Pete,
will it be ok if you do the same thing in ten or twelve years. That's
the thing I want to do for the rest of my life. So, I felt that I had to
make a change, I had to try out something else. So I had the idea of
doing a record.
What was it like the first time after the record
was done, the first time IRON SAVIOR took to the stage, what did it feel
like? Wasn't your first gig at Wacken?
Yeah, you're absolutely right. It was our first show.
And it was a great show. This show will definitely stay in my mind and I
think I will tell my kids when they are old enough about this show
because it was really cool. When I recorded the first album I had no
idea what would happen to IRON SAVIOR.. if this would be successful or
whatever. The basic reason why I did IRON SAVIOR is I wanted to prove to
myself that I could write, produce and put out a record. I wanted to
find out about if I'm capable of that. Somehow on the way Kai and Thomen
joined the boat and well after everything was done we got a deal right
away with Modern Music. Well, here I was with an all star German
project or whatever it was called in the media. There was this request
from Wacken if we were interested to play and I said "hmmm.. I
never intended to play live but hmmm playing at Wacken was cool and
maybe IRON SAVIOR is not a project maybe it's a band". So I had to
make a decision. I had to make a decision so from now on it's a band. We
put this band together and we started rehearsing. I really wanted it to
be good because it was our first gig. The last time I played live was
maybe when I was 17. (Wow...laughing) That was quite a long... A couple
of years passed by since I've been on stage the last time. So for me it
was really exciting I mean, just before the show I wasn't excited at
all. I know we were well prepared and we did hard work in the rehearsal
room. I think the show was good musical wise. (Right) I had no idea if
anybody would be interested in seeing IRON SAVIOR. I expected a couple
of people hanging out there and seeing the show (imitates concert
attendee: "ooohh alright") then go to the next show. When we
were on stage we were really amazed. The whole thing was packed. Well,
people obviously really loved it. A great entrance of course for me into
the live sector. (Very cool. Better than most bands get I'd assume)
Yeah, absolutely this was, it felt really good.
I think IRON SAVIOR by now and for the past few
years actually has outgrown the tag that some people used to refer to
the band as - and that is just saying that's Kai Hansen's side project.
Obviously having Kai in the band at the beginning at least helped gather
a lot of attention for IRON SAVIOR. (That's true) Have you ever been disappointed
when people still now will say ok that's IRON SAVIOR, that's Kai's side
project...and don't think of it as it's own entity its own band kind of
I mean, it would be a lie if I say that I don't find it disturbing. Of
course it disturbs me because.. but in the end at least 80-90 percent of
the people who know IRON SAVIOR who know that this band exists do
understand that IRON SAVIOR is not a Kai Hansen project, it's my baby.
Fortunately most of the people really do read the credits in the album.
They do write the songwriting credits and they do write the production
credits. For most of the people it's clear that IRON SAVIOR is not just
a Kai Hansen side project. Which of course is good for me. Of course in
the beginning it was very helpful to have Kai in the band. It
automatically gave IRON SAVIOR a certain quality standard for the fans.
Of course this did open some doors easier as if I had done it alone. I
think today in order to start with Unification because there's a lot of
problems that also go with Kai, you know, most of the time he's busy
with GAMMA RAY...of course there's some people who do think I only have
Kai in the band for marketing reasons. For me it is kind of hard to
explain this. To make people understand this is not the case. I'm always
in a position of explaining...explaining the Kai situation you know, and
this. Of course on the other hand since Kai is of course very busy with
GAMMA RAY of course in a way he's blocking off things for IRON SAVIOR
because I cannot act with IRON SAVIOR as I would if Kai would be
perfectly free. We could do a lot more things with IRON SAVIOR. The same
amount that Kai helps, the same amount his present is also not good for
the band so in the end it breaks down to zero. (laughing)
(laughing) Ok. So what are IRON SAVIOR's tour
plans in terms of maybe if you're going to be playing any of the
European Summer Festivals or what countries you plan on visiting for a
Well, I mean we have a short tour coming right up in February,
we play German tour dates with HELLOWEEN. This tour starts on the 6th of
February and we play six shows in Germany. And in April we are planning
our or doing our headliner tour. It starts on the 21st of April in
Sweden and I think maybe two or three weeks we then will tour, we will
of course play some additional shows as headliner in Germany. Not too
much because we had been on the road with HELLOWEEN just two months
before then. But I think two or three shows in Germany we will
definitely do. We do a couple shows in Italy then we gonna go to France
and well then Belgium and Holland. In the end we are talking two or
three weeks of touring Europe. Then in the summer we do, would like to
play or to be present in a couple of festivals but not necessarily only
the big ones. I mean, Wacken would be great, to play at Wacken again or
The Bang Your Head Festival. All in Europe there's lots of other smaller
festivals which also are very interesting for us. This year we really do
want to play more festivals because in the last two years there wasn't
too much because of production and because usually the albums have been
produced in summertime so there wasn't time to do festival. So this is
something we have on the schedule this year.
No festival has been confirmed yet has it?
No, not yet. But All Access, the booking agency, is now
working on a couple of festivals. So there are a couple...we have a
couple of festivals already confirmed outside of Germany. We're gonna do
a festival, play the Rock Machina in Spain and there are two festivals
in Italy I think where we will appear which I have to say I forgot the
Like most of my favorite bands I assume that IRON
SAVIOR's chances of coming to North America is something that isn't
going to happen any time too soon is it?
Yeah, I mean what can I say? (laughing) You probably
know about the problems. (Yeah, I know). It's always the same. I'm quite
sure that if a German band would come to Northern America that there
would be a couple of people. I'm quite sure you can play some good shows
there but the problem is that the initial costs are so fucking high. I
mean, we're six people in the band, we'd need at least 4 technicians to
travel with us so that's ten persons you have to fly over there, you
know? You have to hire extra people and everything. Even if you play
good shows and I'm not sure we can play good shows there and with good
money, fair money even but even fair money is not enough to cover all
these costs. That's always the problem. Flying has to get more cheap.
Yeah, that's right. We'll see. I wanted to ask you
about JUDAS PRIEST. Obviously you must be quite the fan of JUDAS PRIEST
considering you've covered, you know, 'Electric Eye', 'Delivering The
Goods' so on and so on. So I assume you are the one in the band who's
the big JUDAS PRIEST fan.
No, I'm not the only one. So yeah, definitely I am a big
PRIEST fan. For me PRIEST, I have to say OLD PRIEST. The "Jugulator"
album is not really my piece of cake I have to admit but everything they
did until "Painkiller" is definitely for me. PRIEST is the
ultimate Metal band, you know? With Rob Halford of course, I mean, for
me he is the ultimate voice, you know, the prototype of a Metal voice.
And so yeah, what can I say, it's true.
So, besides the fact that PRIEST are the
"Metal Gods" why have you chosen to cover so many of their
songs. I know you did the KROKUS one 'Headhunter' but it seems like you
keep coming back to PRIEST. Is that something you want to continue with
and are you planning your next PRIEST cover as we speak? (laughing)
(laughing) I mean, yeah with cover versions usually we
don't think that much about cover versions because the cover versions, I
like to call them bonus tracks for everybody not only for the Japanese
people. It's something that we put out for free and we do them just for
the pure fun of it. Because usually IRON SAVIOR albums have enough of
our own material so that a cover version isn't really needed to
lengthen, to extend the running time or whatever or to make the album
more interesting. I'd say that every album, every IRON SAVIOR album
could easily exist without the cover versions on it. So it's something
that for us is not really important which song or what we do it's just
something that we pick. If somebody has a good idea and then we just do
it. Since we are, all of us, are big PRIEST fans. Thomas is a big PRIEST
fan, Kai is a big PRIEST fan and I mean, PRIEST has tons of good songs.
ON the other hand if we continue doing PRIEST covers like this maybe a
couple of years we can come up with our own PRIEST compilation.
(laughing) There you go. So what was your take on
Rob Halford's "Ressurection" CD?
Great! I really loved it! (Yep, Cool) Yeah, for me it
was the best release of the year 2000 I have to say. Definitely, yeah. I
mean, I listened to sound files from the internet up front so I knew the
album was going to be good but I didn't expect it to be that good I have
Not after "Two" (laughing)
No, not after "Two." "Two"
also wasn't really my piece of cake.
No, it wasn't mine either. I didn't know what was
going on there! (both laughing)
Last question. I posed a few questions on our
forum saying I'm interviewing Piet from IRON SAVIOR so what would you
want to ask him and the most amusing was and I quote "Ask Piet why
he RULES so much" (laughing)
Why he what?
RULES so much. (laughing)
Yeah, you rule right? (both laughing) I thought it
was a pretty amusing question.
I don't know why I am ruling that much. I just do my
There's no answer really for that I suppose. (No,
not really) Yeah. That's all the questions I had lined up so I'd like to
thank you for all your time and the great band IRON SAVIOR basically.
Well hey Geoff no problem it was really nice talking to
you. (Yep) Thank you for your time and interest.
Yes definitely. Ok then I'll let you get back to
your practicing or whatever you have to do tonight.
Yeah, we have to get back to rehearsal.
Thanks to Piet for taking the time to answer all my questions. Also
thanks to Noise
Records for setting up this interview for us. Finally, cheers to Skyklad
for her "transcriptionation" skills!
©2001 Metal Rules!!