Latest release: Helloween (Nuclear Blast)Website: www.helloween.org

Helloween’s Pumpkins United tour in later years of the last decade saw the band implement an expanded line-up of seven members, including the ambitious move of having three singers in the band. It was initially intended as a one-off for live performances exclusively. However, the gamble paid off so well, with an extremely successful tour as all members were able to work as a focussed, unbeatable musical team. As a result, various developments meant that a subsequent self-titled album, Helloween, was recorded with a remarkable amount of attention to detail. 

The Helloween album is nothing short of epic, climbing high sales charts in numerous countries, including topping the albums charts within Germany. So, Helloween have reasserted themselves as one Germany’s most influential metal bands. In honour of such a landmark achievement, Loud Online spoke to three members of the band; original co-founding members, bassist Markus Grosskopf and guitarist Michael Weikath, as well as long serving drummer Daniel Loeble. Much like the album, surprises and deprecating humour abounds in this roundtable discussion, primarily covering the simply flawless Helloween album release.

The Helloween album has finally been released. Did you expect it would happen?

Michael Weikath: I am very proud of it and it has all these rave reviews. It is like magic, but we could have even added many more tracks and made it like a triple album of the same quality. We were critical about it and Kai Hansen [guitars and vocals] had said so long before, saying, ‘Look, if we don’t do anything of that kind, we’ve got to be stupid,’ and then, Markus and me said, ‘Yeah, it is like a nice fantasy,’ but we were seeing Gamma Ray, Helloween and whoever was involved going in different directions and with different managements. You would not have guessed how it would all come together but it was basically because they did Unisonic [the band including Michael Kiske, Hansen and Dennis Ward – co-producer] and then everyone was under the same umbrella of management, which only made it possible. It is questionable how far management might have steered us in that direction but I wouldn’t know. I still find it surprising as it really could have not worked.

Markus Grosskopf: It has been a big inspiration with the two new guys [Kiske and Hansen], bringing in their power and their ideas, and the working flow was just great. Everybody was still affected from the tour which went very well, we had a lot of fun and the reactions were so great. It lifted you up. That’s where the creativity is coming from with what the tour was like and then deciding on doing the record, going into the studio. The first time in the studio, with a month of arranging, creating and working on ideas, was kind of inspiring, working together and sitting there collecting ideas. Two more guys are coming up with heaps of ideas, coming at you until your head is steaming; you try them out until you don’t know what you did because there is a lot of stuff coming in from everybody. It is not easy to fulfil everyone’s wishes but you decide what is best for each track. It was a great work.

Production wise, you’d had glowing praises from co-producers Charlie Bauerfeind and Dennis Ward. 

Markus Grosskopf: While we were arranging, fooling with ideas and parts, Charlie was running the tape all the time. Dennis was with us in the studio, overlooking the whole thing and bouncing ideas around. It was good to have two guys controlling it all because a band is like a bunch of chickens going here and there. They kept it all together. We started with listening to all our ideas, which was four hours long. There are a lot of songs, parts, ideas and so on to choose what goes on the record. After the first meeting, we had another two weeks considering options and deciding on which ideas to work on for the record. It has been a long process to decide what is good enough for a Helloween record. 

Seven members didn’t seem likely but it happened.

Markus Grosskopf: That’s why we started with a tour as you find out on tour if it is not going to work, where you’re trying to kill each other or the understandings are not so good. You can still do the show and piss off to the hotel room rather than being in the studio where you have to work on those tracks in a much more creative way. This would have been hard finding out during the recording process. That is why we did it this way around but it worked in both instances. Before I heard the final mix and master tapes, I didn’t really know which singer was singing which part. It was very interesting to me to listen back to it from the very first time.

When touring, did you see the new album ever eventuating?

Markus Grosskopf: Not from the beginning but it started well. There was no big thing; it was just a couple of shows that felt very natural. That is when we realised it would work and the reaction from the people was emotional but it gave us ideas on what we might do for a record. That is what we did because it worked out well on tour.

Daniel Loeble: I wouldn’t have put it past us anyway but we surpassed our own expectations. Am sure you’ve heard this many times before but whenever you start writing, you never have the success of what you are going to do in mind. We just smashed the ideas out of us, gave our best and spent a lot of time, and a lot of money. We just wanted to get the best out of it. We wanted to have the best mix and the best sound. It turns out that it was worth doing it. 

Markus Grosskopf: It is still not easy to get all the ideas together because we have five songwriters in the band, or even six. We had a hard discussion about what a song is supposed to sound like but we all know that we are doing it for and it is to try to do something big. It is not easy to have seven people come to one point but it is also worth all the work.

It is reflected in the lyrical maturity and adulthood. You probably have a good laugh at the scene.

Markus Grosskopf: We always had a good laugh about it and we always laugh at ourselves. So this is kind of a big part of Helloween; having a laugh at each other, about ourselves and laughing about all of that serious business going on with heavy metal but that is just the way we are, it is real. 

Did you find yourself playing differently in this new situation?

Michael Weikath: No, everyone sticks to what he can and we all try to be as good as we can and be the best, even though it depends on travelling situations, sufficient sleep; that varies so the quality given out has to somehow be maintained. Sometimes you get two hours sleep, other times you have the ideal day.

Daniel Loeble: No, but I have been in the band for such a long time; 17 years. Markus and myself know each other inside out so we don’t need any rehearsals like we did at the beginning when we rehearsed and rehearsed. Nowadays, I know exactly what he is going to do and vice versa. With the singers, the Pumpkins United Tour was a kind of foundation for the work for this record. We had spent five months rehearsing for the tour so we were together for quite a long time.

Having Ingo’s [Schwichtenberg] kit on the album is perfect, giving the long songs an authentic 80’s vibe. Did you feel you had a responsibility to do that by playing his kit?

Daniel Loeble: Not really. After the last show we did for this Pumpkins United Tour, we hosted an after show party. During the party, a guy named Mike told me he owns Ingo’s drum kit. A couple of weeks afterwards it dawned on me and I thought, ‘Hey man, Ingo’s drum kit, that’s a Sonor drum kit’ and so I thought to bringing back that kind of sound would be amazing because we are talking about a Sonor signature drum kit which is a specially made kit from the 80’s. I mean, that kind of drum kit gave so many epic songs from the 80s and 90s the face of the drum sound. These drums are responsible for the sound of metal during the 80s and 90s. So therefore I thought, ‘Ah, bringing back the Roland tape machine, it would also be a great idea to bring back the old vintage drum kit and on top, Ingo’s legendary legacy.’ This drum kit took place on records like Keeper of the Seven Keys albums and Chameleon, and so on. After discussion with the boys and I put the idea on the table, everybody was quite overwhelmed by this idea. So Mike, this guy from Hamburg was able to send me a couple of drums so I was able to be checking out drumheads, feeling what it would sound like. In the studio we checked out the entire drum kit and it turned out to be, wow, amazing. It is a massive drum kit, it has thick, long shells and you have to beat the hell out of it to get this sound out of the thick shells. To be honest I was kind of taken aback by listening to the drums recordings because the sound is unique. You can hear the spirit of the 80’s and you could easily name Ingo’s was roaming around, or whatever. 

How does it compare to your own drum kit, as well as your signature cymbals?

Daniel Loeble: I brought in my own cymbals, that is always my signature with prototypes and specially made cymbals to say, with boasting around. But, this drum kit, I am used to playing with thick shells or long shells, even on my live set, or my entire range of drums are long and thick shells. But that kind of drum is really a standout in a point of thickness. I am a hard beater anyway, I always hit as hard as possible so it was nothing new to me but I felt a difference compared to the kind of modern made off the rack drum kits, as opposed to this old, drum kit with that thick chrome hardware. It is like a Mercedes with a diesel motor engine. It is unbelievable to drive.

As a result of using Ingo’s kit, did you consider using old guitars too?

Michael Weikath: Yeah, even though I’m not buying the old vintage stuff. Kai has a collection of Randy Rhoads reissue replicas series – I think he has three of them. I happen to have two blonde LPs from China but they are amazing, equipped with different pickups and stuff. I got a real one from 1990 so I wouldn’t go and buy a real vintage guitar because I have too much respect for them. The older stuff I have are some Strats from ’74 or ’75, that is as far as it goes. The ones I have are made out to be vintage and stuff but they are brand new or just a few decades old.

You used the same modulators from a Hamburg studio [Chateau du Pape aka H.O.M.E]?

Markus Grosskopf: That was the studio where we recorded a few records. We started recording there for the Master of the Rings and some other records [The Time of the Oath and Better than Raw]. Also, we were recording Ingo’s drum kit in the studio where he played it and we were recording it on the old analogue machines. That was the vibe that we wanted to capture in a way. We started doing that drum solo but with Dani and Ingo on tour, to keep a bit of that ghost into the studio. The whole record was done with his drums, some in the same studio.

As part of the rhythm section, that must have been an emotional time?

Markus Grosskopf: Yeah, it was. Seeing that old drum kit, being treated very well by Dani. It has also been emotional having Kai and Michael with us as well. All of that kind of made sense for me.

How does the song writing process work? Given your song, Indestructible is on the album, presumably it is democratic?

Markus Grosskopf: Everybody sits at home together with their ideas with our own little recording studios. We present to the others, giving time for others to listen to it and then meet to discuss it. If you write ten ideas and seven songs, you know they won’t all get on the record. You’ve got to paint a picture of how you want the record to sound and it’s not easy if your ideas are pushed into the garbage can, in a way. But you can swallow your pride knowing what is important is for Helloween to be presented in the best possible way.  

Michael, you play a Flying V guitar, as does Kai, Sascha [Gerstner – guitars]. Did you consider sticking to the Les Paul or even trying a Stratocaster?

Michael Weikath: No, it is just that we share that passion for great Gibson guitars. We had that Suzuki Flying V in the beginning and that was the first V I’ve ever bought. Kai borrowed it for shows after I had painted it white when before, it was mahogany. The Suzuki ones of the 70’s were pretty good even though they were made from pressed wood, so they were a little larger to make up for tone suspension. He played it and put some black foil around the pickguard for contrast. He even had a Suzuki Explorer on the Walls of Jericho album. I saw Scorpions, Michael Schenker and Wishbone Ash with these guitars in pop magazines. Early on, I saw the guitarist from Abba with a Les Paul. It was a dream for decades ahead that we would ever be able to acquire a real Les Paul.

Dani, over the years, have you changed your style with say double bass drumming? Robot King has got it all over it.

Daniel Loeble: Yeah, when you get into a band like Helloween with a legendary drummer such as Ingo, or even Uli [Kusch] or even Mikkey [Dee] who jumped in for a recording session, you have to fill in large footprints. Over the years that is my kind of drumming. I consider myself as mixture between Ingo’s straight ahead drumming and Uli’s more technically oriented drumming. So, I am in between, and over the years I put on all the distinctive drum features and made it my own. You can hear, on this album, that is my drumming, and in Helloween, you have to exaggerate. You have to overplay and then it is okay – then you are on okay level than you overdo. More actually is expected but I couldn’t play more because I ran out of legs. 

Where do you draw the line in being entertaining but not being over the top?

Daniel Loeble: Ah, that is a really good question. To be honest, to draw a line, I always try to be myself. The rest is up to the listeners. I am in awe of Ingo and Mikkey Dee. I took a lot of techniques from Cozy Powell, and Tommy Aldridge is a big influence, even Tico Torres of Bon Jovi, then Slayer and Metallica, they all made me playing drums that you can hear in my styles. It is kind of tricky.

Playing with three vocalists from different eras, did you find your playing style fitting in with how you played when they were previously in the band? Is your bass playing more fingerstyle or picking?

Markus Grosskopf: That was interesting because I didn’t know where or what it would be like with who is going to sing where. I heard them all singing separately in the past. Now having them on the one record without knowing what was going on, I thought it was great and also interesting for the listener because they sound very different from each other but still feel the song. The song tells me what to do, in a way. Even in the studio, I play sometimes with a pick because it has more attack. If it is a ballad it mostly sounds a little softer with a fingerstyle technique. But live, I decide when I go into the rehearsal room, either what the song is asking for or the way I feel when I play it. I might play with a pick in the studio but just use fingers playing live. I have to play in the rehearsal room to make that decision.

Skyfall, the first single, is a massive track. As there are various references to great artists such as David Bowie, Deep Purple and Ronnie James Dio, is that a challenge to agree on those elements?

Markus Grosskopf: Yeah, but it is nice. When I first heard the vocals I heard a lot of Deep Purple, Dio and Bowie. I was amazed myself because I was not involved in the decisions as to who should sing which parts so it was a big surprise for me. But the songs are standing there and it is democratically decided for what we take from the record.

Skyfall has a Rainbow Rising song reference. Melodies like that clearly last for a long time.

Michael Weikath: Yeah, we have a Rainbow fadeout. On the older song Nothing to Say [Rabbit Don’t Come Easy], that consists of lots of riffs of Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. I was thinking that the Yardbirds with Jimmy Page and Jeff Beck didn’t do that many recordings even though they used to tour the States and were a roaring success. They came back but I didn’t find any big recordings of that formation so I just constructed Nothing to Say for myself in imagining what they could have been like, just to excuse myself. We have also said that the ending with Rainbow’s Stargazer is pretty similar to Skyfall [said in Weikath’s typically laconic, virtually undetectable, tongue in cheek fashion].

Did Kai’s presenting Skyfall to you involve a different way of working than before?

Daniel Loeble: Yeah, never in the seventeen years did we do a jam session for an upcoming record. The seven of us, every one of us, has their own studio back home. When Sascha has an idea, he writes a complete song and I play my demo drums on it so you can sort of give the songs a face, then everyone was happy before we’d go into the studio. This time, we wanted to have a kind of a jam session so after the last tour segment which was in South America in October, 2019, we went directly into the studio in Hamburg and locked ourselves in there for I guess five or six weeks for a jam session. That was the first time to me having a jam session but it was quite interesting. Kai came in with just a couple of riffs so it was the three of us; Markus, Kai, and I, and we just jammed. At the end of the day, Kai came up with this wonderful Skyfall song, based on the ideas of this jam session. Thank the Lord we do have a long song on that self titled Helloween album. Without the long song, it wouldn’t have been a typical Helloween album because long songs are a distinctive feature for Helloween. 

Best Time, co-written by Andi [Deris – vocals] and Sascha is a great single from the album.

Markus Grosskopf: It is great. I love it and it is an excellent single. It has a good message and we need something positive for the future so people can look bright ahead and it is a cool message to give to people at the moment.

Rise Without Chains is another very catchy one from Andi.

Markus Grosskopf: Yeah, in typical Andi style, he comes up with wonderful ideas. He must be standing up each morning and just dumping ideas. I like it a lot.

Michael Weikath’s songs are great too. 

Markus Grosskopf: He comes up with some really crazy ideas but I just think it is fantastic. It is very creative and what I love on it is that he has that overwhelming craziness in what he does. It is intelligent but it is still funny, creative and crazy – I like that combination. 

That haunting intro on Out for the Glory sounded like turning into very moody Slayer initially.

Markus Grosskopf: You can hear it after listening to it and have a laugh but you still listen back a few times as he is working with so many notes at the same time. You have to listen to it a few times before you actually understand what he means.

Michael Weikath: Sometimes one guitar might kick you on. I didn’t steal that riff off Slayer because I wasn’t aware and then it sounded kind of familiar to me and so people fight about whichever track they say it is. The reality is that I ordered a mahogany red Les Paul off Amazon. It was really cool so when I tried it, that was the first thing that I played. All the measurements go wherever, not even the pick-up frames would stick to the real measures, that guitar is all over the place. I just tried it and that really is how that riff came about.

Out for the Glory is a great opening track. What was the story behind the melody?

Michael Weikath: I had watched Al Gore’s film on climate change called An Inconvenient Truth. I sat there and was humming the film title thinking, ‘they’re shitty words for a chorus,’ but I had part of that melody. That was 15 years ago. Then I had a version of that for the 7 Sinners album but we didn’t continue work on the song as the words weren’t that great and other parts were not that convincing. It kept bugging me, you know, ‘You’ve got that melody, just put the freaking correct chords there and everything will be great, just do it.’ So I went about like, ‘Yeah, I am going to freaking tackle that one thing that has kept being busy on my mind for freaking fifteen years!’ That is how it came about. I then had the little files on my computer and some little file that went [sings melody], I was like, ‘Hmm, could that be a verse? Is it crap or is it any good?’ I just tried it, added the next line and thought it was going to sound pretty good if Kiske or Deris sings it. I just kept going.   

Down in the Dumps also has a haunting intro but you’ve got feedback howls. Was there a similar approach in song writing?

Michael Weikath: Ah, that was like a real old demo that I had and was actually a track in German. We had management [Sanctuary] back then who proposed we try something in German because he thought he was like a clever guy coming up with that idea. So I kind of had a techno rave metal number because I was thinking I Was Made for Loving You by Kiss was disco and I thought, ‘I’ll go rave’. Yeah I did, and Deris also sang on it so I kind of have an embarrassing demo of it which you could play to someone but that is how it went with electric piano in the beginning [sings riff]. It was good, it was impressive and everything, just not presentable and probably not very clever to do with Helloween at all. So I kept thinking back, ‘You have the old riff, make something out of it, take your guitar and play it properly and come up with something,’ and it was called Dance Around the Calf, like the Golden Calf. Yeah, so, I went about it and then decided to change everything and make it about daily mishaps like falling out of bed and breaking things, fidgeting about with your arms. So I added more of those little unhappy things like locking yourself outside. That is how these things happen. 

How did you go about deciding which guitar to use on your own solos on Helloween?

Michael Weikath: I have three amazing guitars. One is built by Igor Vidojkovic in Germany [VIV Guitars] and sounds really good so I used that for the typical Flying V solos. For many melody solos and any twin vocal guitar solos, I happen to have a Parker Mojo Fly guitar that we played across a Fender Sidekick amp with some final Blackstar amplification in the end. It sounds like a violin melody, some guitar from the early 40’s if there were any humbuckers at the time, which there weren’t or semi-acoustic old guitars or old Telecasters, Strats, ’54 or ’57 Les Pauls. Then I have a cherry sunburst ’58 Les Paul re-issue for almost all rhythm guitars and a few solos including the slow solo in the Robot King. Usually in the demo process you fill up tracks with some free solos or a basic idea of what it is supposed to be and then you go to Kai or Sascha so they would play something along that or ignore the demo and play something different.

The album has excellent clarity for all instruments and vocals, with the final mix done in the Valhalla Studios in New York. How did you capture such a great sound beforehand, in Hamburg?

Daniel Loeble: We wanted the best of both worlds with vintage sounds from the real Roland tape machine, connected with today’s technology such as Pro-Tools, which is state of the art. For me as a drummer, with the vintage drum kit, we went to Hamburg for the first half of the drum recordings to a bigger studio than we used to have with Andi’s studio [Mi Sueño Studio, Tenerife, Spain], which is a smaller room. The clarity comes from the drum room and for the second half of drum recordings; we moved to south Germany into a fucking amazing, big studio [H.O.M.E] and that you can in hear in songs like Angels. This studio is specially built to record big symphonic orchestras so it is a big drum room. That again is where the clarity comes from because the drum sound has a lot of room to breathe, rather than to squeeze into a little box as a lot of bands today have. It costs a hell of a lot money. 

It is capturing the sound source hitting the air molecules.

Daniel Loeble: Yeah, even with the guitars, it is all miked; speakers, amplifiers, drum, guitar. Air, is a good expression, we just recorded air and that you can hear. Air reacts a bit differently too if you only record a digital signal. A compressed signal sounds completely different, obviously, than air. 

For live setups today, a lot of artists are using digital guitar amplifier profilers. 

Markus Grosskopf: The guitarists do, instead of using really big cabinets onstage because we wanted a clean stage sound. Also, with three guitars, there is a lot of noise, if you use proper overdriven Marshalls. So we decided to clean it up but suddenly I was standing there with my big old Ampeg which became oversized. You cannot really turn a big 400 watt Ampeg down low, it doesn’t really sound good. So I decided to use half stack cabinets with a Kemper that has all the bass sounds in there. Then we are using it with in-ear packages and it is sounding really well. I have a mixture between the stage sound and the in-ear sound.

Power metal from Germany started taking off in the States in the late 80’s. How was it touring with Ozzy Osbourne at the time?

Markus Grosskopf: It was nice. I can remember, the first time we came to America, everything was so much bigger; the travelling, distances between venues. We were amazed and soaking it up. There was a time when LA had what I call the hairspray hell going on but the people were really nice, we were standing there drinking with them, including the guys from Poison. They were all nice guys and just wanted to have a good time like we do and being 22, being in the middle of that scene, I enjoyed each and every minute, when the girls came up, of course we loved it. Ha-ha.

You toured with Scorpions – was there a mutual bond given your heritage?

Markus Grosskopf: I am a big fan of Scorpions. Tokyo Tapes was one of my first albums. Scorpions and Michael Schenker opened the Japanese market in a way for rock bands. We met the guys from time to time, but not very often. You would think two German bands would tour together a lot but we were both touring so we didn’t see much of each other. They were nice guys and had a lot of success; I like the band a lot.

Dani, have you ever been tempted to throw in some blast beats?

Daniel Loeble: Ha-ha, I did it once and I will never do it again. I did it with Are You Metal? [7 Sinners] and then I said to Andi, ‘Fuck off, I will never do it again.’ I am a straight ahead speed metal guy and this kind of blast beat drumming is a completely different genre and you have to approach drumming on a completely different way. I know these guys who can play 4000 beats per minute [bpm] with their legs, but for me it is 200 or 220 bpm and then it is, ‘Okay, I am done with it.’ I come from a different era of drummers. I am used to bashing the drums, but these blast beat guys have to approach it in a different way, technically.

What is the one song on the latest album that you are most proud of, performance wise?

Daniel Loeble: Oh, I would say Robot King. That thing drove me crazy, that’s a battle, and I am used to playing whatever I want to play. But this time, Weikath insisted [mimics], ‘Oh, on the refrain on the chorus, I would like having a kind of, you know what I mean?’ I would say, ‘Oh, that means a thousand legs, right?’ ‘Yeah’, ‘Oh, fucking hell.’ This arrangement drove me crazy. It was a real masterpiece, if you listen closely, and keep close tabs on what the drummer is doing, in hindsight, perhaps it wasn’t me. How did I do that? 

Robot King is considerably heavier. How much input did the producers have in that song?

Michael Weikath: Oh yes, Dennis Ward actually played the bass on that number. He has been studying all about how Helloween songs are constructed to write something for Unisonic. He is knowledgeable about that now because he came up with a few clone copies of what Helloween is purported to be as it sounded exactly like what we would do when Kiske would sing on it. I guess he really liked the Robot King track though, and he also went about doing lots of choir voices. Then I told them what was on the demo, such as the chorus, was to be a bit larger, there’s got be a myriad of voices and let’s make this thing a bit orchestral. I had suggested to Dennis to listen to [70’s progressive band] Nektar’s Recycled album. It is possible he remembered the impact from that because I think the ending is close to what Nektar did. It was like the producer and the keyboard player, Mathias Ulmer, would do the choir arrangements, then Kai Hansen did choir arrangements and they were combating about whose voice was better or more direct. Then we had so many choir voices and orchestration, so it grew naturally. Then I have been sitting there with Charlie saying, ‘Oh, we have some timpani, this other bit and don’t forget that second line for that one guitar, and we haven’t done a dive-bomb here.’ So, you just built it up.

Over the large Helloween discography you’ve been involved with, other than this latest album, is there a particular album you like the most?

Daniel Loeble: Ah, I am proud of almost every album but a standout was 7 Sinners. That was the first album where we decided on new writing and recording ways; you name it. It became one of the most successful albums of this era and it was the first time that we started recording drums without a click track. We did so many new things including changing the tuning of the guitars. After a two year break, we were eager to do new things and we were happy to find ourselves in the studio again, writing new material. To name one album that I am more proud of than any of the others is definitely 7 Sinners.

I remember reading about Alex Van Halen not using a click track but the timing precision in that band’s music always feels spot-on.

Daniel Loeble: Do you know the Balance album? The fourth or fifth song [Big Fat Money] on the record [hums drum fill] and Alex yells something like, ‘turn off the stinking fucking click!’ You can hear Alex screaming through the studio, ‘Turn off the click, I don’t need a click!’ and then he counts in, bursts into a song. Yeah, I mean, recording without a click, I prefer it because it takes away a lot of stiffness. For Van Halen or Metallica, you can feel how they tend to play a little bit faster or slow down a bit. That is what the impressions or feelings I have while playing to a guitar riff or a song, that is what makes art or music, rather than to stick to a stinky fucking click. So with 7 Sinners, you can feel it; try to click along with a metronome or whatever, there is no way – it is up and the down timing wise but the feeling is right. Music needs to say something or trigger emotions and we tried to put that in the new Helloween album. We wanted to have the energy, and our feelings we have because being the seven of us now finding ourselves under the flag of Helloween after such a legendary tour we did together, there is something really special for all of us. That is what we wanted to let the guys out there feel and hopefully it works. We are fucking Helloween. We became our own brand and laid down a foundation for a lot of happy sounding, melodic, speed metal bands.