Heavatar has everything you could possibly want in a Power Metal band. Epic songwriting, orchestrated integrity that gives great nods to composers of the past, brilliant musicianship, and a great sense of a musical greater good. Recently I had the opportunity to ask Heavatar mastermind Stefan Schmidt (Vocals and Rhythm Guitar) some questions to talk about the sophomore album, Opus II: The Annihilation which just came out this past Friday (February 16th) through earMUSIC. Here is what he had to say!
Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview!
Opus II- The Annihilation is coming out February 16th through earMUSIC. How does it feel to get your sophomore about album out as Heavatar?
It’s always great to see your idea come to life. Of course the mastering of the album is already months away, because after that it has to be produced, promoted and distributed, but all the songs still feel fresh, because we worked on them together in the rehearsal room. The old school way.
With getting the chance to being able to listen to the album, I really love the direction The Annihilation goes into. It feels like a very natural progression from All My Kingdoms. Was the songwriting as natural as I am making it sound?
Yes, definitely. As I said, this time it was not a guy thinking about a song at his home studio and then getting together friends for the album. This time we already had the experience of one European Tour (with Grave Digger) and knew much better what suits our style best. We worked on every song together in the rehearsal room and came up with arrangements that sounded best for Heavatar.
As with All My Kingdoms, there is great nods and motifs to classical composers of the past on The Annihilation. Was there any particular composers or arrangement ideas you specifically wanted to show off on this album ahead of time or did those ideas come in as the songwriting progressed?
The Chopin thing (Hijacked by Unicorns) was in my mind for years, the other ideas came when we started songwriting and gave some thoughts on which classical motifs really inspire us.
None Shall Sleep and Purpose Of A Virgin Mind has been released as singles for the album. How was it decided those two songs would represent the album?
It’s always hard to decide for singles, haha. I think in these days, the value of a complete album is not so much honored anymore by younger fans. They are more used to listen to music in “Playlists”, perhaps even on ones not did by themselves but by Spotify or Amazon. So it is even more important to chose singles that somehow represent the complete style of the album. I think these two songs give a strong idea what we sound and play like.
With 5 years between albums, how much do you feel the band has progressed in that time?
Especially in terms of growing together, due to the mentioned European tour. In terms of style or playing, you can not do any better than Jörg always does, haha. But it felt really good to take all the experiences from the first album into the 2nd one.
The album also features an outstanding cover of Manowar’s Metal Daze. Where did the idea come from to cover this particular track?
I love Manowar. Eric Adams is my favourite singer and I always wanted to sing a Manowar song. We chose that one because it was the only one Jörg was willing to play, haha.
What is next for Heavatar?
Promoting the album and seeing what options will arise.
Any other plans for 2018 or beyond for you?
For me personally, we will work on the 7th Van Canto album to be released in Summer.
How do you feel about the state of Power Metal in 2018?
During the last years I concentrated more on my relationship to Power Metal. To be honest I do not listen to so much music anymore, compared to when I was 16 or so. It’s more about creating an own idea and finding the best way to bring it to life. And my ideas always seem to result in something power metal related, so I guess, this is just my favourite style and this does not depend on whether Power Metal is still a big scene or not.
For those that may not be as familiar with classic composition and composers of the past; what would you say those who enjoy Metal music could stand to learn or appreciate from the classical art form?
There are some parallels, when it comes to harmony and especially the dynamic range. And also the part of exaggerating (faster, louder!) is a common thing in classical music as well.
Was there any albums in 2017 that you enjoyed?
I really love the new Threshold album and the Sons of Apollo debut.
Once again, thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview. I am really enjoying what has been created with The Annihilation and hits so many areas of music that I love. Before we are done, is there anything else you would like to mention that I hadn’t brought up yet?
Thanks for you interest in Heavatar and keep up the great work!
Hevatar- Opus II: The Annihilation is out NOW through earMUSIC
That Drummer Guy: Radio DJ, Interviewer, Reviewer, overall...an OK guy.