Interview With Sören van Heek (Snoppi), drummer for Wizard 10/22/03

Snoppi, thanks alot for your time. The new Wizard album entitled "Odin" is out right now through Limb Music. Its a fantastic power metal record and really would be the best album to date from the band in my opinion. How is the new record doing? Are you getting a good reaction from the metal fans thus far?

Thanx very much. But the album is out since March now, so it is not as new as you told, hahaha. The reactions are very different. In the beginning we had to face the fact that a few die hard Wizard fans did not know what to do with that album. For them it sounds to new, to 'normal', to 'professional', not the underground way like it was on our other albums. But we also got very much positive reactions from new fans, who like that album very much. For me it's also the best Wizard album so far. The songs are very good, and I have a good feeling when I listen to them.

This release is a concept album based on the Norse God Odin. Who wrote a majority of this record and do they believe in Norse mythology?

The concept is written by V.Leson, our bassplayer. He also composed a lot for this album. He writes about that mythology, because it's his religion. He believes in all this, he is member of the Asatru Clan (I hope I have that right in mind and I spelled that right). So he only describes his religion. We other members don't believe in this god, but who cares?

With the last release, "Head Of The Deceiver", Wizard used Uwe Lulis (ex-Gravedigger,Current Rebellion guitarist) for production. On this new record, Piet Sielck is the producer. What does a famed producer like Piet Sielck bring to the Wizard sound?

Puh, difficult question. I guess it is Piet's 'Sound'. He has a preferred guitar sound e.g. He also helped Sven (vocals) with some melodies and the way to sing chorus-lines or to pronounce some words in a special way. Also to work with Kai Hansen was a big help for Sven. Sometimes Piet likes to sing backing vocals. I don't know where he sang it exactly, but people told me, that they would hear that. He does that on a lot of albums he produces, but for me it's not important.

Were you a fan of Sielck's work with other power metal acts like Paragon and Iron Savior before choosing him as the new producer?

Yes, I heard the 'Law of the Blade' album from Paragon and that's why I tried to get in contact with Piet. I think the sound is very good on that album, it blew me away, when listen to it first. From Piet's band Iron Savior, I don't know one single song. I don't own one album of him (and he did not want to give me a promo, hahaha).

Do you feel that this record is a bit more melodic than past albums? Certainly the speed and aggession is there but it also has some melodic catchiness to it. Was there an attempt to create a more memorable chorus with these songs?

No, we were not aware of that. You have to know, that the songs sound 100% in another way in our practicing room. When we play it sounds like every other Wizard album. What it sounds like when we come out of the studio does not have anything with that to do what we play at home, hahaha. Of course I speak only for myself. When I play the drums, I only hear a fog of cymbals, double bass drums, guitar-grumbling and a lot of noise. It's impossible to have an idea what a song sounds on a cd, when producing it in a studio. Perhaps you are right, that some songs are more melodic than on other albums, but I guess that the sound does a lot for this (remember 'Unicorn' from the 'Bound By Metal' album? The album was very 'hard' ...). But after all, who cares? I love all the songs!

The album's packaging is simply fantastic, with the cover crafted by famed artist Dirk Illing. Did Illing come up with the artwork or did the band have the ideas for the art?

Yes, I am also very satisfied with the packaging. First we wanted to have the cover artist who also made the Rhapsody covers. He said he would do the job, but then he moved to Australia and did not have the time to make it. So we wanted our old artist Jörg Scheibner, who also made our last albums. But our label said, that we had to take Dirk Illing, and so he made finally the cover for the Odin album. The cover is completely our idea. We told Dirk exactly what he had to draw. You must know, that every little thing has a certain meaning on this cover (e.g. the wolf fenrir, the snake, the raves ....). That's the way we did it also with our last 2 covers ('Bound By Metal' and 'Head of the Deceiver').

"Everybody is the leader of his own luck."
I've seen different versions of the "Odin" album for sale. Some are vinyl, some are digipaks, others have videos. How many different versions are there?

There is the 'common' version, than there is the digi-pack with 2 bonustracks, a video-clip, a small poster, a sticker, 24 site booklet, liner notes .....and there is a vinyl version with a very cool and big poster. So altogether 3 versions. I hope that the most people could get one of the digipack, because it's worth it's money, in my opinion. A lot value for money. Ahhh, I forgot the Japanese version, sorry. On that album there is the videoclip (Betrayer, recorded at Wacken last year on the main stage) and one bonustrack.

What kind of tour plans do you have in mind right now?

In January we will be on Germany-tour with Grave Digger and Symphorce. We are really looking forward for this event and I hope to have a lot of nice parties together with the fans. For more details please also have a look on our site: http://www.legion-of-doom.de

Will the band continue their relationship with Limb after this album? Are you pleased with their promotion?

At the moment I can't say anything to this business stuff, we will see. There are things that are good and there are things that are bad. But you don't really expect that I tell you details, don't you? ;-)

Wizard has been around for a few years now, and has played alot of gigs. What is the one band out there that you feel has helped Wizard the most?

What other band? I guess there is no band that really helped the band ...We did some very great gigs with Sacred Steel, but did they help us in anyway? I don't know exactly, perhaps? We are Wizard since over 12 years now, and I think that only we by ourselfes made Wizard what Wizard is at this point of time. It's always good to have relationships to other 'important' guys in the scene, but I also think that we made the most on our own. If that would not be as I said, we would have become famous 10 years ago, hahaha.

How do you feel about the power metal scene right now, and the fact that bands like Hammerfall and Dream Evil are considered the "leaders" of the power metal movement? Are you a fan of their music? What bands right now do you consider the "leaders" of metal?

Everybody is the leader of his own luck. I like the first Hammerfall album, the other I don't know. I don't know Dream Evil, so I can't say anything to them. I guess that the press consider them as the 'leaders' of the scene, not the bands say that. As I told you in the last question, it's always good to have conections to people with money, power or what else. But after all, it's not very important for me, what's going on in the metal scene. I am lucky when I can play heavy metal. Doesn't matter if people like it or not, I have to like it. Of course it's a great feeling if also other people like our music, but I never would play music I don't like only to have fans. You know, what I mean? As long as we don't live from our music, we can be 'true' to ourselves.

We have had some great tours come through the US in the last couple of years. We've seen Gamma Ray, Edguy, Blind Guardian, Rage, and Angra on our shores. There is early talk right now of Paragon heading over next year to tour with Twisted Tower Dire. What are the chances of seeing Wizard on American soil?

I think that we never will play there. It's very expensive and we are not in the lucky position to pay such a tour on our own. If somebody pays for it: no problem. But I don't see such a person coming the next time. Sorry.

Well that is all for now. Thanks once again for talking with us! We wish Wizard the best of luck and please stay in contact with us!

Thank you very much for this interview! Please also visit our homepage under http://www.legion-of-doom.de. Perhaps I see someone on our German tour in january 2004? Would be great! In the sign of the Wizard!


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