Heart of Steel: Interviews

Zillion Bassist Jens Becker

Interview by Anders Sandvall

Pictures from Frontiers Records
Thanks to Stefan at Atenzia records for the help with the interview.

Here is a short interview with bass player Jens Becker (also bassist in Grave Digger) in the newly founded German (except for the drummer Mike Terrana who comes from the US) band Zillion who recently released their debut album.

How was Zillion born?

Our singer and guitar-player Sandro is my cousin and we always wanted to do some music together. When we needed a drummer I remembered my old friend Mike Terrana, who I know from a tour in 1999 we did together for Roland Grapow  (Helloween, Masterplan). I called him and asked if he is interested, he heard the material and he liked it. This was how it started.


Who came up with the name and does it mean anything special?

The idea comes from Mike Terrana, he had a band in the US with this name many years ago. There is no special meaning, we just liked the name.



Where in Germany do you guys live?

Mike and me live in Hamburg, Sandro lives near Bremerhaven.



How do you comment the fact that Zillion being mentioned as being a new German super-group?

Well, we don’t call ourselves a super-group, haha. This is the idea of our record company. Maybe because we all play also in famous other bands. But of course it sounds better than “Three idiots try to sell a record”, haha.



How long has it taken to write and record the debut?

Most of the songs were already composed when Sandro and I met for the first time. The real recordings were about three weeks. But we always had breaks in between. It was very relaxed working because we did everything in Sandro’s house. He got all the equipment and the knowledge to work with it.



Who has written the music and lyrics?

Most of the songs come from Sandro. I did some music too and Mike helped with the lyrics.



Are the lyrics about anything special?

Most of them are personal things and experiences.



Which studio was the album recorded in?

As I already told, we did all the recording and mixing in Sandro’s studio. They are called AUETAL-Studios and they are near Bremerhaven in Germany.



Why have you chosen not to use an unfamiliar producer?

Because we are old enough to know how we want to sound like. This would be a waste of money.



How was it to be produced by a member in the band?

For me it was a very nice experience because, as I told, Sandro is my cousin. So it was even a family-thing.



Why are there only three members in the band?

Because we like playing as a trio. It is a challenge to sound powerful on stage.

How does the co-operation with your label Frontiers go and why did you choose to work with them?

So far we are satisfied with their work. We think that they are the best label for this kind of music and they showed a big interest in us.



In the info note you are described only as a hardrock act, that’s incorrect by me as I think you play a fusion between classic/melodic heavy metal with the main focus on melodic metal. How would you describe your music?

Well, I think you got it. I also think, that hardrock would not describe the whole thing. There are also metal parts in our music.



Is Zillion a band or a project?

We have to wait what the fans think about it. But of course we would like to make a second album.



What do you think of the other two member’s effort on the album?

Well, as I told before, the biggest part of the music was written by Sandro, but we all gave our best to create a good album.



Have you read any reviews of the album yet? What do the media think of your debut?

So far I only read good reviews about it. Some of them are even amazingly good.



Are there any plans to go out on the road?

We would like to play the material live, but this really depends on the reaction of the fans and if enough people buy the album.

What do you think of the cover of the album?

We like it, we wanted some kind of “Planet ZILLION”.

Who decided to use that cover?

We all decided together.



Are there any plans to release a follow up album?

Yes, there are already some new song-ideas in our heads. But as I said before, this depends also on the selling rates. If Frontiers Records want another one, they will get it.



Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of metal-rules.com?

First of all a big SKOL to our friends in Scandinavia. Fans of Grave Digger and Rage should know, that the album is different to the material of our main bands, but they should at least listen to Zillion, because it is a good piece of melodic heavy music.

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.

Thank you Anders.

Band Website: www.zilliononline.com

Label: www.frontiers.it

Zillion reviews in Metal-Rules.com