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In Words: Squealer

- Michael Schiel - Oct. 2000 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Squealer: Michael Schiel - live 2000
Claudia Ehrhardt

Michael Schiel (by email) - October 2000

How you came up with the name Squealer?

If you take a look at the word 'to squeal' in a dictionary, you'll find out that we had no other chance with a singer like Henner!

If you look back... Are you still satisfied with your debut and with The Prophecy?

Wrong Time, Wrong Place?! was a decent album for us. We still think that the album incl. a few fantastic songs. Liar is a straight one, other sound kinda weird (Love To Hate You). The Prophecy has a thrashier sound which we mixed with more melodic vocals and some keyboards. We are satisfied with the result. We spend more time to work out The Prophecy, which might be the reason for a more filigree than the predecessors. Made for Eternity sounds more spontaneous in my opinion. It's straighter than The Prophecy, but it's the same style. When we look back we are still satisfied with our previous work, coz all albums represent the sound / style we had at the time of the recordings. Beside that they all fit together when we play them live.

Prophecy... Do you believe in prophecies? Or more in destiny?

Well, less in prophecies than in destiny. Anyway, I think that everybody can influence his / her destiny by taking action and lead the own future in a different direction. That's something Henner tries to achieve when people listen to his words, especially at Wrong Time, Wrong Place?!

Made For Eternity is your 3rd release. How been the reactions so far?

Positively! We have a positive tendency in the sales and are very satisfied so far. At the shows we played the audiences reaction on the new material were fantastic. It's great.

How you came up with the idea for the cover version of People Are People? How about the cooperation with other bands?

Partly the bands are at the same label, others we got in touch with while working with Mike Terrana. It was easy to find other bands / musicians to join us. We kinda like Depeche Mode (especially the 90's releases) beside that the songs has a message, a deeper meaning that's why we choose that one. It ain't easy to make a metal version out of a electro-pop song, but I think we succeeded.

When I looked at the cover artwork / the booklet I saw that there is the Egyptian King Ramses is shown in the 'background' and a skull which is kinda hidden in the moon. How you came up with that idea?

In the past we always gave the layouter an idea about the meaning of the songs which kinda build a red line. Actually after giving this information to the layouter we don't have many chances to take influence. Almost we have been under pressure due to the release schedule, so we just could change little things... Finally we haven't been satisfied with the finished artwork. In case of the artwork for Made For Eternity we collected some photos about the theme 'eternity'. This photos incl. the picture of King Ramses as well as of the Salt Mono Lakes. Out of this material Nils Wasko who's working for AFM Rec. designed a cover. Due to the fact that we see Nils almost every day, we had more influence on the artwork. This time we are pretty satisfied with the result, coz it's an interesting artwork at first sight and is also linked to the lyrics.

As the album opener you chose End Of The World. Not a song with a positive message... Why do you decided to take this one for opening up?

The track End Of The World is not talking about the sudden death of the world, about the Armageddon. It's about the slowly, but surely destruction of the world by the human beings. We destroy Mother Nature by capitalize on resources, if the people don't change and stop this....
But if people think about and try to make a change we can kinda save the planet and that gives the song a positive meaning in the end.

Show Me The Way is about committing suicide. Is there a certain moment which initiate that one?

The words have an ironical meaning. It's about people who think that they will never make it and so are kinda drowning in self-pity instead of taking action.

Who came up with the idea for the lyrics? Is just Henner writing the lyrics or do the other band member have the chance to contribute?

Thursday night after rehearsing we always go to our favorite pub. A lot of strange or funny things happen during until the next morning and so it took about 4 weeks to have the ideas for the lyrics of an album. That's why we just rehearse 4 times between every album!

Is there a certain song which is lyrically important to you?

Actually every song is important and has a certain meaning to us. But this is music, entertainment and not a sermon! It's nothing to analyze in detail.

Do you think that you can change something? Do you think that people might change their opinion or behavior because of a song?

Sometimes I'm not sure, but I still hope that it might make a difference. With the cover version of People Are People we want people to be more tolerant. Especially the about racism I would like to say something, but Squealer ain't a political band! It's not about politics, it's about humanity!

In the past you always had problems with your drummers. At the last album Mike Terrana played drums and also is playing live with you. Are you satisfied with this situation? Obviously Mike's priority is Rage....

If our shows / recordings aren't colliding with Rage's time schedule, Mike will give us a helping hand. If there are problems with his time schedule, someone else will help us out.

Talking about playing live... Any tour planned yet?

We had the offer to play the last Overkill / Annihilator tour, but had to say no. The offer came to late for us to make it happen... We played a few club shows, then at our release party and 3 festivals in France. Wacken was very positive, too. Also our show in Dortmund as part of the festival. Perhaps we play a few shows outside Germany soon....

Festivals... Do you think that a festival like Wacken gives the bands a fair chance? For the fans it's impossible to see every band... There are almost two bands playing at the same time. Or the fans can't really enjoy a show, coz they always have to check if the next bands will be on stage little later... Especially for newcomers it's hard and I think that quite a few fans would give a newcomer a chance, but not if a known band is playing at the same time...

You are right, there are too many bands at that kind of festivals. The fans have to give priority to certain bands, to their faves... Actually we were satisfied with our show at Wacken. No major technical problems, everything was fine for us and a lot of fans came to see us. For us it was great!

In Germany fans know Squealer. What about the other European countries?

Last spring we played two shows in Lyon and Paris. Our album was just released for 2 weeks in France and the older albums, well... Anyway, the audience went wild and many sang along! Also the foreign media is treating us very good!

You signed with Metal Blade for the US. Have you already got any reactions from that side of the Atlantic ocean?

The Prophecy is just released in the States. We signed the deal with Metal Blade not so long ago... They will be surprised to get the follow-up yet, I guess. Quiet a few people told me that the States doesn't have a big metal scene... Anyway, at the moment I don't have any sales numbers from America.

I saw you live in Bochum. It seems to me that you had to face a lot technical problems that night. What went wrong?

The main problem is the venues architecture. The Matrix is like a tunnel and it's a cool place, but not the best place to play live! When we played some mid-tempo songs it was okay, but the fast tracks like e.g. Free Your Mind sound terrible due to the acoustic problems. On stage we had to fight the resonance which is caused through the tunnel architecture. I think for the audience it was the same...

You played a short set which surprised many. Was that caused though the technical problems?

At that time we hadn't played with that line-up for a long time, beside that we had to kick a few fast tracks and the drum solo out of the set due to the acous­tical prob­lems. I hope that we could com­pensate that a little with our show in Dort­mund.

At the live shows you have a second singer who's doing the clear vocals. Who is that? Will you con­tinue working with him?

His name is Marc Laukel and he is the lead singer of Tell Tale Hard. And yes, he'll continue to work with us.

You donated a part of the income of the 1st edition to an organi­zation which works in Africa. At the show in Bochum last May, DM 1,- of every sold ticket was donated to Chuck Schuldiger. How you came up with that idea? Is there a certain happening which make you doing that?

Initially we thought about donating the money to our former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, but our colleagues of Edguy had already done it and Helmut got a lot of trouble.  ;-)
Andy had the idea when he was listening to the words of People Are People and figured out that it's about racism...
The idea to donate a part of the ticket sales to Chuck Schuldiger came from the organization of the Matrix!

I think it's great to have bands like Squealer who are interested in more than just making party.... Who try to change the world a little, who give their share... Who donate part of their income to help other people. But they know how to enjoy life and party... They are no preachers telling you what to do, but try to make you think about certain things and life in general. Good to have a band like Squealer!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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