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Diabolic Night's Kevin Heier: "The magic unfolds every time anew. When I put on a record that always had a huge impact on me, you discover and understand the power every time again and again."

Interview with Kevin Heier from Diabolic Night
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 28 October 2019, 8:43 PM

There are times when the unwillingness to share actually works for the better, an artist needs his own freedom in order to fully express himself without interference of outside noises. It has been rather commonplace nowadays to come up with a one-man band, and there are distinct cases where it unraveled certain charms. Diabolic Night was founded as being a single effort of a single songwriter that wanted to explore. With the emerging album, "Beyond The Realm", Steinmetal had a chat with Kevin Heier, about his experience, the new album, being a single songwriter, influences and more…

Hello Kevin, if you would prefer Heavy Steeler, it is tremendous having you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine. I trust that all is well on your end?

Hello. Everything is fine on my side, thank you.

Just recently I stumbled upon your project since 2013, Diabolic Night, along with your soon to be released debut album, “Beyond The Realm”. Up until now you have been supplying listeners with mere teasers before the main event, which is “Beyond The Realm”. I guess that the excitement levels are high as can be expected from an artist unchaining its first album from the clutches of the studio and into the wild?

Absolutely. Especially when you notice the interval between my last release nearly 4 years ago and the upcoming debut full length. The expectations are high and I want the listener to get the record as a full experience without releasing half of the record before.

Before we sink into the realm of this debut album, what can you tell about this project’s first steps? Other than your admiration for old school Metal, what inspired you to start this project to begin with?

I started Diabolic Night more than 6 years ago. It has always been my ambition to write down my very own vision in a musical form. My inspiration for this are without doubt my favorite bands and records which have accompanied me since my earliest youth.

I guess that the million-dollar question is, why not turn this into a full time band, which can provide you the possibility of a steady lineup for touring and local shows? I can understand that you have a wish to remain on you own, due to what I gather is full control over the songwriting, however, there must be other reasons why not opening slots for indefinite band members?

The concept behind Diabolic Night doesn't fit to the typical band structure where everyone brings in their ideas. It wouldn't be the same in the end. With Diabolic Night I enjoy the freedom to express my own vision exactly as I feel it. In a full-time band, it's usually the case that everyone wants to contribute their ideas in some way, which is completely justified, but not for Diabolic Night. Anyway there is a live line-up created, ready to perform the songs live (again). The live events will begin next year.

For the purpose of releasing the album, you found yourself signing with the German High Roller Records, certainly a home for old school Metal. What is your take on the promotional work done for “Beyond The Realm”? Have you noticed any growth in followers on social media ever since you signed?

I couldn't have found a better collaboration than with High Roller Records. In the past I released my discography by my own label "Mortal Rite Records", where I was able to gain a lot of experience. Due to the growth of Diabolic Night, it's no longer possible for me to distribute this as a one-man label, so I'm happy to have High Roller on my side. The promotion and advertising are going absolutely well and since the official announcement that I signed the contract, lots of people became aware of Diabolic Night for the first time.

What would you say is the fine line between the concepts of each of the songs? Which theme ties them all together under the same branch?

To sum it up, "Beyond The Realm" symbolizes the never-ending fight between good and evil which lasts forever, even after death. A few songs are closely structured into each other and can be read as story, although I don't see the album as a pure concept album. In this case the content of some songs stands too much for themselves.

In your view, do you believe that “Beyond The Realm” has an important story to tell which can be related to a presently topic of interest?

"Beyond The Realm" has become a very personal album, with which I also immortalized certain experiences of the past years. I want to give the listeners the opportunity to create their own vision without going deep into the content of the lyrics now. But I can say already, there is no reference to a current topic in our society.

 “Beyond The Realm” hosts a dangerous meeting of the arts of old school Metal, especially the darker paths, along with a crack left open for second wave Black Metal. In overall, it is a special kind of platter, handling everything that is traditional. What was your vision for “Beyond The Realm” while you were still in the songwriting sessions? Would you say that the end result was satisfactory for you?

When I started to work out the concept for "Beyond The Realm", I already had my final vision in mind, right from the beginning – How the record shall sound like, what the lyrics shall be about and what it should express visually. I deliberately chose the same artist who already painted the "Infernal Power" artwork back then. He is able to realize my idea exactly as I had it in my mind. Musically, it is obvious where the influences for Diabolic Night come from. It starts from early German Speed Metal to classic NWOBHM leads, continues with Eastern European Heavy Metal and ends with Scandinavian second wave Black Metal.

In contrast to your early compositions, can this new album be rendered as the new musical face of Diabolic Night? Which of the elements displayed on the album were given the most attention in order to be featured rightfully? I think that one of the album’s strongest features is the catchy lead guitar melodies

The “red line” of Diabolic Night still is and remains the same of course. I do the songwriting with the same enthusiasm as I did it for the first demo 6 years ago. But over the years the whole concept has been developing steadily. With every song I write, work out and refine, I set myself the target to take the whole construct to the next level. Very important for me and to emphasize on "Beyond The Realm" is, as you mentioned before, the memorability of melodic leads that you can find on almost every song on the album. Furthermore, the bass also plays a very important role and stands out continuously due to its partly concise bass lines.

Part of the early bands that I can listen on your debut, either early Running Wild, Metal Church, nearly any form of NWOBHM, which or what influenced you while writing the material for “Beyond The Realm”?

It's almost impossible to relate to a particular band as an influence. The songs I write reflect exactly the music I listen to since my earliest youth. I don't limit myself to one genre, I let flow everything into my music that has always inspired me – besides of extremely speed structures, it’s also a melody that sticks in your head.

What kind of magic do you find from your musical inspirations? Do you believe that it is possible to recreate the same sensations as it was back in the heydays of Traditional Metal?

The magic unfolds every time anew. When I put on a record that always had a huge impact on me, you discover and understand the power every time again and again. It starts with the unmatched guitar playing, goes over to its concise songwriting and ends with the final sound of the respective album. I could write novels about specific records. By creating your own sound and your own concept during the years it's definitely possible to recreate the same sensations for yourself as it was back then.

How would you describe the songwriting process of “Beyond The Realm”? What are your methods of creating a song? On which aspects do you rely? Are you one of those that write a large selection of songs and select the best of?

The first step is that I build the basic structure of a song and gradually go into the details after. There are songs that are written within a few hours, while other songs last months until they are finished, especially due the fact that I write everything melody line by myself. I write pretty much the number of songs needed for each release, so there is no semi-finished material that I sort out in advance. I devote my full attention to each song until it is fully worked out.

While the Metal scene worldwide slowly shifts its gaze from the old school Metal driven bands, developing stronger awareness towards nowadays trend, which is technical, modern sounding Metal, it would appear that you don’t really care about it and go about your business. However, what still motivates you to continue writing music in a fashion that you believe in?

In addition to this I have to add that I don't deal with modern sounding metal at all. For more than 15 years now the same albums ended up on my turntable. If you still get the same emotions as when you listen to these records for the first time, I think it has an enormous influence on the music you write by yourself. You automatically get back to the same kind of music – you build up your own world and sink into it.

I guess that picking the album’s finest tune is a hard task to fulfill, however, I am positive that you have a track on the album that you turned out to be a part of your world. Can you identify this track out of “Beyond The Realm”?

Each song on the album stands for itself and has its very own characteristics. I define "Beyond The Realm" as a whole thing – one song can't go without the other song, so it's not possible to highlight one track. The fact that every song is so unique, makes it interesting in my opinion.

In general, what do you make out of this mixture of Metal genres of Diabolic Night? Meaning to strongly implement your ability Black Metal attitude along with traditional Metal

I don’t limit myself to specific genres and don’t care for stereotyped thinking of playing only kind of genre. Of course it’s clear that the “cornerstone” of Diabolic Night has its musically structure deep in European Metal (Especially from Germany and Scandinavia) like it was done 30-35 years ago.

Mario Scarpari and Patrick W. Engel took charge over the production duties of “Beyond The Realm”. The sounds at times is a bit raw as expected and it kicks ass. What is your appreciation of their work? From what are you pleased more in your album’s sound?

I started to write “Beyond The Realm” at the beginning of 2016 already. It was directly clear for me that I want to have a very unique sound that express my music in the most powerful way possible. Although the whole writing process until the final recordings took such a long time I am really satisfied with the final result. For weeks I sat with Mario in the studio to work on the Mix which I had in my mind, until we finally made it. The last step (Mastering) was done by Patrick, who took the final Mix on the final level and made it to the result as you can hear it now.

Frankly, it was hard for me to pick one of the tunes that I liked to talk about, as this album is swarming with songs, each to its own, yet the firing is brightly burning. “Infernal Power” truly unleashes hell upon the listeners, a perfect example of blackened speedy Metal, power chord driven, the works. What is your opinion about this track? Please do tell about how did you create it in the first place

“Infernal Power” was already released previously as a 7”-Single back in 2015 and marks the oldest song on my debut. It’s a very special song. Back then it was the summary of my complete discography since I started this project. It contains the traditional trademarks for what Diabolic Night is standing for and even its lyric lines “beyond the realm…” defined the album title of my debut now – So, you can see this track as the “hour of birth” which sees the light of day four years later. For the album I re-recorded the song to let this piece fits together with the other tracks.

For the purpose of recording the drum tracks for the album, you recruited Christhunter, of Nuctemeron. Is Mr. Chrishunter a Diabolic Night material? Were you satisfied from his work?

Chris (Christhunter) is a very good friend of mine and we know each other for several years now. I was always impressed by his way of playing drums because he has his very own technique. A variable playing was very important for me – someone who doesn't play the same beat for five minutes. His drumming gave the whole album a very special dynamic – I couldn't have imagined it in a better way.

A few general questions if you don’t mind. It has been said that Metal music may actually calm the nerves, at least of what several studies showed. Does it sound like a sort of an oxymoron to you? We are supposed to be the wild ones, a pack of wolves hunting posers in alleys.

"Statistics" like these show how much this kind of music has become into the focus of everyday life – of people who don't listen to it, but simply try to entertain the masses with dangerous half-knowledge. I'm not going to discuss something like that any further.

It has also been said that Metal music is a religion, a kind of a way of life. If Metal music mostly rejects religious institutions, why refer to it as a religion in the first place? Isn’t it a bit contradictory? Do you believe that nowadays Metal music is still a way of life?

I can't say much about such statements either. As long as you do your own thing and hold on to it, I think the question is largely answered.

Have you started working on your next album? Can you provide hints on what the listeners are about to face?

First song structures are already written down and a rough concept is already in development. But my main focus at the moment is still 100% on the upcoming album and live shows.

Kevin, I wish to thank you for patience and your time for this interview. You surely made it when it comes to revamping the wild days of Metal along with the beginning of extremity in the genre. Cheers and thank you sir.

Thank you for the interview and your words, I wish you all the best.



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