5 Questions With... is your chance to get to know and new or up-and-coming metal band. Heavatar is a new band formed by Van Canto's Stefan Schmidt. Their debut album is All My Kingdoms,. Schmidt, the vocalist and rhythm guitarist, introduces us to his band.
Give us a brief history of Heavatar.
I had this friend of mine building me the most adorable 7-string guitar I had ever been allowed to put my hands on. I got it in September 2011. So I played a lot on it while we were on tour with Van Canto from September 2011 to January 2012 and quickly had some cool riff ideas that could not be sung. So I thought it would be a good idea to use Van Canto's live break to team up with some friends and record an album. Jörg Michael has been Van Canto's live booker since 2008, so it was an easy decision asking him to join. David and Sebastian are friends of mine.
Describe the songwriting and recording process for All My Kingdoms.
It was quite easy. I started songwriting by the end of 2011, and we finished recordings in July 2012. Apart from the drums I recorded everything in my own studio and also did the mix and mastering. We put a lot of work into big background choirs, performed by my friends of Van Canto and by members of the Blind Guardian choir crew that I got to know during the last Guardian recordings, where I was part of the choir.
How would you describe the style/sound of the album?
It is European power metal, with rough vocals, inspired by classical compositions. I always like if a band or project has a certain idea. I think it's not a bad thing if somebody tells you that your band sounds like this band or that band, as long as you are able to put something special on top. Of course we are not the first one to include classical parts into metal compositions, but the way we did it is something special, I think. I really tried to imagine what it would be like, sitting together with Bach or Beethoven and writing METAL songs. It just felt like Bach said, "Hey I have this cool part here, let's try to include it in the chorus." and I answered, "OK, but let's transform the chords a little bit and perhaps take a variation of it for the bridge."
Of course I know that I am not such a great composer like Bach or Beethoven, but I ignored that fact and tried to write songs together with them. This and the fact that the singing style is heavier than in other classical inspired metal bands makes it special, at least I hope so.
Is Heavatar a side or one-off project, or is it on equal footing with Van Canto for you?
I know that we do something special with Van Canto and this also helps side projects like Heavatar. And that's what it is, it's a side project, but I wouldn't mind if it gets bigger. I don't want to build up a competetion between two bands of mine, this would be like deciding for one child or the other. I definitely want to bring Heavatar to the stage, but I think that the bigger part of my musicians' work in the near future will go into Van Canto.
Anything else you'd like to mention or promote?
Thanks for your interest in Heavatar!
(photo courtesy Napalm Records)