– Hello Michael, lots of thanks for answering our interview. What’s lately keeping you busy?
Preparing for the Christmas-Special-Tour, writing new songs for UNISONIC.
– Serafino Pugino has been the responsible for some projects you have been part of, like for instance PLACE VENDOME, which made you go back to te Rock scene several years after leaving HELLOWEEN. What made you accept to be part of this project at first? What is that special thing it has?
Thought it was interesting, because I never really sang classic AOR. It simply came up at the right time, I would say.
– From the second PLACE VENDOME’s album («Streets of Fire») on, the project has had outside composers. Do you think this has affected the project’s sound/persoanlity in any way? Maybe has it colored it a little bit?
Of course it did! The songs are always playing a central role on each album. It’s not just the singer, when there is magic in the music, it’s also the song and production.
– Now, after touring with AVANTASIA and being quite active with UNISONIC, you have done a new album with PLACE VENDOME. If I’m not wrong now your main focus is on UNISONIC, a real band so to speak, while PV has always been a project but, what does PLACE VENDOME provide you? Maybe sometimes is good to have less responsabilities and just sing?
Yes, it is easy done. I only have to sing, that’s nice. Place Vendome is like an affair, while UNISONIC is my real wife …
– The newest PLACE VENDOME’s album is entitled «Thunder in the Distance» and has just been released. What are your feelings on the final outcome? I guess for you the most important thing on the songs may be the vocals so, how satisfied are you with your vocal performance on the record?
Very satisfied! I enjoyed recording the vocals a lot! But I was also very surprized how good Dennis produced everything. He did a great job there.
– Once more there has been a huge composers diversity (and there have been some new songwriters) behind the album, and I guess all of them may add their own touch so, could you point any favorite songs off the album? And why?
I like many, but one of my personal favorites is certainly *Maybe Tomorrow*. I like the way chorus opens up.
– And do you personally choose which songs do you want to sing? What’s the criterion you follow to decide which songs are you going to put your vocals on?
Of course Dennis and I decide what we like or not. I would never sing a song I dislike. The criterion is simply if I like the song and melody.
– This year there are coming out seveal interesting Melodic Rock/AOR albums, in fact Frontiers itself is releasing some of the best albums into the genre so, what could you say makes PLACE VENDOME stand out among the rest?
That I am not the typical AOR singer maybe. Also that it is a very good record!
– All this about «Thunder in the Distance» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Totally AOR music.
– I’ve read next year there will be a second Kiske/Somerville album. Could you already tell us something about it?
Not really, it’s too early, but we are working on it. Mat has send me a few songs, but I didn’t even find the time yet to listen to them. But I am sure they are, and the album will be very cool.
– You will also be part of the Christmas Metal Symphony later this year. How are you feeling about it?
Good. Don’t know what to expect though, I never worked with them before, but I am exited about being on stage with an orchestra. We will also be playing LONGING, which is perfect for this.
– Throughout a quite long musical career you have been part of projects as the aforementioned, played in «actual» bands, have released solo albums… What have these different ways of making music taught you? Is there any favourite one?
We learn with everything we do. I still like the 2006 Album or PAST IN DIFFERENT WAYS. Also on the other records were some nice songs. But now that I am with a new band, a new management and on tour again, I learn the most. It was good to take that turn. It was also a good choice to say yes to AVANTASIA, because it has brought me a lot of joy.
– And after so many years into the music world; what have been both the best and worst moments? Is there anything you regret of having done or haven’t done?
No regrets. The best years were when I was a teenager in the first 3 years with Helloween and also the spiritual research-years after Helloween. The worst was how my Helloween years endet and getting betrayed by the ones you considered friends …
– Finally, what are now your future musical plans? And with PLACE VENDOME, is there any chance of putting together, not a tour, but some off shows?
I don’t see live gigs with PV, because of me being in UNISONIC now. Future plans are making a great new CD with UNISONIC, followed by Kiske/Somerville and playing concerts with my own band all over the world next year.
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thanks to you! All the best!