Holy Moses interview (12/2006)
|With:||Sabina Classen [Vocals]|
|Conducted by:||Jeff (in person)|
I realised this interview on a rainy Monday, in a nice hotel close to place Pigalle (which is - in addition of sex shops and others "fun" places - the area where you can find a lot of Metal venues) in Paris. After a great show last night, the beautiful and extremely friendly Sabina Classen was there to talk about her cult Thrash band, Holy Moses.
Jeff: - Hi Sabina, it's the anniversary of Holy Moses this year, I would like to know your feelings about your long career in Metal.
Sabina: Well, it's a strange feeling to be for 25 years now in the scene, because I'm not feeling like doing all these 25 years, but when I'm looking back on all the albums, I see that it's real, it's 25 years. It's a great feeling because when we started to do music, nobody talked about Thrash and Death Metal. But it came from our heart, and if you listen to all the Holy Moses' CDs, old like new ones, you can see that it's Holy Moses. This is something that makes me proud, we created something and that's a great feeling.
- What are the best moments with Holy Moses and the worst maybe?
This is hard to say. Best moments can be everyday, especially nowadays, because it's like a present from our fans that they still love us and support us. And every morning when I wake up, it's a great feeling because I'm still in the scene and I still can do it. The worst, well when all the business started to destroy the band in 1994. We stopped for a while and it was really bad. On the other hand, now I think that those worst moments were good because now I know how hard it can be and we had the chance to grow up again. It's the same in your life, you can lose your boyfriend or girlfriend, your best friend, but you'll get a new one, so without bad moments, no new good ones. It's the same with Holy Moses…
- That's right, and as a Metal fan, what are the best and worst moments of the scene?
All the time this question is coming up, and for me… well, as a Metal fan, it's the same than with the band. It was hard during the middle of the 90s when everything started to become hard for all the bands, but the Metal scene is alive again, there is a lot of new fans s. It was probably easier in the 80s for the bands because it was easier for them to create new things, now you know… But for Holy Moses, we don't have a lot of problems, we have our own style at the opposite of the new bands. It's hard, for them to come with something new but some of them always manage to do it.
- I was at your show last night in Paris, so what do you think of the French crowd? We weren't a lot unfortunately… but it was real fans…
But it was a real party! I mean, this is the most important thing. Holy Moses is maybe aggressive and powerful but this is also a party band. But about the crowd we had something like 150 people and I was happy with this Sunday evening. It's a good step for the future because all these people will say to their friends that they missed something and next time we will have more people, this is an evolution. So I was happy, the fans were happy, they will not forget Holy Moses.
- You released your last album in 2004, did you get a lot of positive words from the fans and the press?
Oh yes, it was really amazing. I mean, I think that it was a right step for the evolution of the band. With Michael I got a really great player and songwriter for the band in 2002. He has the feeling for Holy Moses and we had the luck to started a new chapter and it works…
- Can we consider the guys who were with you yesterday like the new official line-up of Holy Moses?
Michael is an official member. Ozzy played the bass yesterday because our official bassist is ill right now. But we love Ozzy so much that he will become the second official guitarist in the future. Our drummer is not an official drummer but we can work with him, I think so. It's not so easy to become a member of Holy Moses, they need to work hard to understand what is Holy Moses but I wish that the ones that you saw will become the new line-up.
- You talked about a new possible album. Can we have some information? Do you know when you'll release it?
Yes. We will start in January with pre-production and if all work fine, I hope that we will be ready in June and so we will be able to release it in September. We're also working on a DVD, so you can expect a DVD in June.
- Can we say that the new album will follow the way of the last one?
Yes, definitely! My biggest wish is that the new album will be a great one. I have good visions for the new album (laughs).
- Your label is also releasing some re-editions of all your albums. Is it you who wanted to do it?
Well, it's hard to find our old albums. You can only find them on Ebay at a really high price and that's not cool for the young fans. So I talked to my record company and we decide to re-release all the albums with new booklets, with pictures, with bonus tracks like old demo recordings. So the fans will have something new. And it's even good for the old fans because they will get something that they never got before. I'm a collector, I have more than 5000 CDs, and I know what the fans want to have. I'm getting a lot of emails, I have a lot of contacts through the fan club, so we try to decide together with the fans.
- Let's talk a bit about Thrash Metal now, in general. I have the feeling that Thrash was dead during the middle of the 90's and now, a lot of bands like Exodus, Death Angel or Holy Moses are back at the top. Do you agree?
Yeah, you're totally right. Thrash Metal is like the foundation of the other styles. It's a normal evolution that the fans get back to the roots. And you know, new bands like The Haunted or even bands like Trivium, they work with old musical elements so the young fans can discover what is Thrash. The bands which created this style know that they can be proud of what they did. Rock'n'Roll will never die and it's the same with Thrash, it cannot be dead… It's a bit like a circle…
- Thrash is not dead!
Never, never !!!
- This summer, I had the luck to do an interview with Angela of Arch Enemy and she said that Metal is an Heavy music and that female singers should all have strong voices. Do you agree with this statement?
I think that there is a place for everybody. I disagree with Angela, I mean, there are people like Tarja who have a beautiful voice so why not. For me, and on this point, I agree with Angela, this is not something for me. For me Metal means that it must be hard and aggressive and I can't believe that someone can sing like Tarja, but when you see the reactions of the fans, well you can see that these singers have a place in the Metal scene. It's funny because one day, we played with Nightwish and the same audience was crazy for Nightwish like for Holy Moses. So where is the problem? Be free, listen to what you like. It's just a matter of voice, I never tried to put my voice on a Nightwish song, but maybe that Tarja could try to sing on a Holy Moses songs! It could be fun (laughs). I like to make this voice. Doro sings with a Heavy Metal voice but we already sung together and it was great! The music is just for fun.
- What are the plans for Holy Moses? Will you only work on the new album? Will you tour again?
I need the stage. I mean to sit down in studio to work on CDs and DVD, it makes me lazy. I need the power from the fans. So we will tour and work on the CDs. We will do some shows and go back to the studio. It will not be a big tour, just some dates. Working in studio is really hard and without the connection with the fans, something is missing for me.
- Maybe that you'll be at some big festivals this summer?
Oh yes! We're working on it. The booking agency is working on it right now, we will do some big festivals.
- I read somewhere that you work for Armageddon as a producer. Can you explain how it works?
I'm working as a "label management", I search for new bands, I manage bands with production and with organisation and business stuff. I have a long experience so I give all my experience to other bands, young ones like old ones - like Rose Tattoo that we signed lately. I mean it's good because we're musicians after all, we can help each others, that's really great. Armageddon is something special, because people who work for Armageddon also work for Wacken Open Air. We're not a typical music business stuff, we're fans and musicians first, and we're linked with Wacken Open Air. We support young bands, and also we like to help old fathers like Rose Tattoo. It's fun to do that, it's a real family.
- But you prefer to be a musician?
No, I like both, I need both. I like to help other bands but I can't do only one thing. If I work only for Armageddon, I will lose my contact with the scene. As an example, yesterday night we played with No Return, a great band, and believe me I kept my eyes on it, because it could be something for Armageddon later. But I need the feeling of the stage also… (laughs).
- I suppose that you get a lot of new CDs everyday? Did you find something really good lately?
Oh yes, I have a lot of stuff on my desk. And we also try to check the bands on-line too. We have an on-line portal and it's also a download platform so people can try to check our new bands there. We have also, with Wacken, the "Wacken Metal Battle Show". It's hard to become famous but with all those system we give a lot of opportunities to the bands.
- I know that you like a lot the Internet. I work for a webzine, so what do you think of promotion on the net, and also what do you think of all the illegal…
Oh, illegal downloading, well, ok there are two points. First the Internet is perfect, I mean with the Internet, every kind of promotion is easy. Even fans who cannot go to the shows can see videos on MySpace etc. The bad things is that you can have a lot of emails (laughs). Well, second point, illegal downloads. I think a little bit is ok. I mean, it's a bit the same that we did in the 80s with tape exchange. Without the tape trading I'm not sure that Holy Moses could have had a deal. If you buy a CD and give to a friend and say "hey listen to it, that's cool", that's ok. But you must tell to the fans that they must buy CDs too. The bands must pay the studio, the production, the promotion, we need money to pay rent and food, we need food in our fridges. You can't go into a shop and take something and go out. The guy of the shop must earn money to live. That's the same with CDs and bands, we have to pay a lot of things so if you think that you can get everything for free, in some years you'll not have any more bands. But I have to say that it's not so horrible in the Metal scene. I still believe in the heart of the Metal fans. The Metal fans know that they have to support the musician. I have to say thx you to the fans who come to the show and buy the shirts, CDs etc. Thank you for that really.
- This is the end Sabina, thx you a lot for your friendly attitude, if you have something to add…
We have a good fan club. We're building a real network connection through the Internet in Spain, USA, Argentina and all around the world. We want to work with everybody, your webzine is perfect because it can touch everybody on Earth so people, contact our fan club, support Holy Moses and thank a lot for your support during those 25 years and tanks a lot for you support during the next 25 years (laughs).
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