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Jaded Heart's Michael Muller: "We don't stand still. We are having fun creating music. We will never forget our roots. Hey, I am an 80s guy par excellence, hehehe I love it!"

Interview with Michael Muller from Jaded Heart
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 10 October 2020, 9:58 PM

Keeping firing albums, no matter what, some would probably argue that one has to stop for a second and just think if that policy actually brings in results in terms of magnitude. However, not everything out there is business, and it is possible, and very much so, that there is some sort of a burning ambition to continue putting out albums, not mainly to get somewhere or rise in a kind of rating, but for the sake of the fans and the love for the music created. Jaded Heart, crossed so many paths along its career, aren't even close to stop, but to keep putting the pedal to the Metal. In light of the release "Stand Your Ground", Steinmetal had a chat with the longstanding member, Michael Muller, about the new album, mentioning of bathroom cleaning, 80s, roots and more…  

Hello Michael, it is a pleasure to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir?

Hey! I am good! Thank you! Of course it is a bit scary and weird at the moment because of the pandemic but I am positive we will get through this.

Though the world is not at its feet, let’s hope it won’t, yet the Covid-19 pandemic continues to strike, now with a second wave of infection worldwide. With some countries learning how to live with the virus, some are struggling. What is your viewpoint on all of this? Do you think that people understood that this is a serious matter and it should be treated as such?

I understand that Covid is giving people a hard time at the moment that and some of them don’t want to understand that we have a serious problem at the moment. It’s hard to deal with it. I really hope that it will be over soon.

How do you manage yourself in these crazy times? Are you keeping yourself safe by less going out of the house or have you learned what is needed in order to live your life but carefully?

I am trying to keep myself safe and to keep the people around me as safe as possible. I don’t panic but I am trying to follow the rules as much as possible. I mean, I feel responsible for my kids, parents and my lovely wife. I don’t want them to get sick because I didn’t wear a mask or something. That would kill me.

Well, if there is something positive out of all this is that we are very close to the release of the new Jaded Heart album, titled, “Stand Your Ground”. You guys have been putting out album after album as if firing off a 0.5 calibre. I guess that it is pretty much what the title of the new album conveys right? That you aren’t giving up, you are standing your ground, no matter what comes in your way?

Exactly. I was writing almost the same as an answer for another interview the other day. We just love what we do and we will keep firing albums out the people and we hope that the people will enjoy the albums as much as we do. I mean, we don’t have a commercial breakthrough but we do have a strong fanbase which eats up our music. And this is what it is all about for us. Our record company Massacre Records believes in us 100 percent and keeps pushing us forward. No matter what.

After more or less dissecting the album, don’t worry not physically, it appears that there is barely a relation between the artwork to the songs. One would probably think it is an Epic Metal driven album yet within the content would find a totally different thing. What is with this gladiator displayed? Would you say that a survival instinct kicked in, in order to justify the artwork?

We wanted an album cover that exudes a fighting spirit. To be honest, we had a cover like Skid Row with "Slave to the Grind" in mind. The Skid Row cover design was also very epic although the band is more of a glam metal band. We tried to give the gladiator a modern look. More like a comic figure that still shows the modern spirit of the band. We are not and epic metal band. I don´t like epic metal hahahaha

When it comes to the philosophies behind “Stand Your Ground”, I understood that you weren’t alone in the process of writing the lyrics or themes, yet partaking the journey with a lyricist, Johnny Lindberg. Why was it decided to turn to an outsider of the band? Were you exploring for something different that kept you in a sort of mind block lyrically?

Johnny is a friend of the band since years and we knew that he is a very talented lyricist. We just thought to give him a shot since he was delivering good lyric ideas to us once in a while. We like to get friends involved and we liked the idea to get some influences from outside.

Without a shadow of a doubt, “Stand Your Ground” is Jaded Heart’s heaviest album to date. True that it maintains the 80s Hard Rock vibe that has been integral to the band, yet there is some serious chopping that is purely Heavy Metal in its modernized form. How do you view this form of the band within the album? What charged you up to raise the scale in order to become fiercer?

We really didn’t think about putting out our heaviest album. For me it's still 80s hard rock or 80s metal with a newer production standard. Only that it is sometimes played faster or more modern. I think that's just a natural development. We love melodies, but also very heavy music. With "Break Free" we now have a mid-tempo 80s blues song on the album. We don't stand still. We are having fun creating music. We will never forget our roots. Hey, I am an 80s guy par excellence, hehehe I love it! Mötley, Ratt or WASP are my heroes. Along with Testament or King Diamond. Who knows, maybe in 2 years we will have fun recording an unplugged acoustic album? Who knows.

Do you view “Stand Your Ground” as a developmental stage of the band’s music, a sort of an impact that was surely needed to keep the band going?

No. We don’t have to keep the band going. We just do. :) It’s not that we have to keep the band going. As I said, we love playing music and producing albums.

I also noticed that there were no keyboards on the album in comparison to your previous efforts. Do you believe that the lack of keyboards may have taken away the dramatic and emotive elements from “Stand Your Ground”? What led you to decide that Keyboards were better off?

The idea actually came from me spontaneously. For a few years now we haven't had a keyboard player at all, but 2 guitars. So why record an instrument that doesn't fit into our line-up? The melodies we can write for the keyboard can be played much better on a guitar. At least with our music. It also sounds much more natural and organic.

Since the band members have been spread throughout several countries, would you say that it was your biggest challenge in coming up with the songs? If so, how did you overcome up to guarantee the best possible result for yourselves?

That was actually not a problem. We already had the drums in recorded in a studio at the end of 2019 and everything was recorded at home. Before that we were sending files back and forth. Everyone has a small studio at home. Of course there was a lot of communication going on. We talk and chat every single day anyway. We are working like this since 4 years. 3 or 4 songs and ideas were created during a rare band practice in Germany.

When I listened to types of songs such as “Break Free” for example, I noticed that somewhat harder edge of American vibe Hard Rock, certainly late 80s or early 90s. Would you say that the American vibe of Rock took a substantial chunk of the vibe of music of the band within this record?

Difficult to answer. I think it reflects the mixture of our influences and preferences.

“Kill Your Masters” is a blasting chop of a melting pot of Heavy Metal class, portraying the modernized image, yet with an old school core. I also noticed that you laid this one out in a few hours. Please do tell what is your secret to come up with hits so fast? How did this fast process go?

I am glad you like that one. It is one of the songs that were created by us five during a rehearsal with just jamming. As far as I remember, 80 percent of the song was created in one hour. Peter came up with the main riff and we just played around with it: Different drum beats and grooves, different bpm, Johan was trying out different melodies over it. We just went with the flow. We recorded the idea and were working on it at home. The main melody again came from Peter later at his home in Stockholm.

“Lost In Confusion” is the album’s groove fest, circling between Metal and Rock, displaying an unforgettable chorus that could be rendered as a hit. To be honest, it somewhat connected me to what has been going on in the world, which is a measure of confusion. What can you tell about this track?

Peter told me that the main riff came to him after cleaning the bathroom, listening to Children of Bodom, hahaha The song was written at a time when the confusion in the world was imminent with a pandemic spreading. It’s about a general feeling of not knowing what to think, what to believe and who to listen to. Much like it was in the world a few months back. It is also about the importance of thinking for yourself, turn to reason and not always following in the footsteps of the majority.

If there is a track that I would argue that it is a lost relic from the 80s, with a slight modern adaptation, it is the final tune, “Inside A Hurricane”. I guess that this melodic vibe, no matter the heaviness of the tunes, will forever reign Jaded Heart’s material?

You are a good listener :) Yes, I love that song. I don’t think that this song is a "lost relic". It’s one of our "roots songs" . I think it is our advantage or even problem that we mix so many musical influences because we enjoy it so much. Sometimes people don’t get it :) Luxury problem… hehehe

Surely you have plenty of time on your hands for the moment, since it is not possible to perform live, with everything culturally nearly closed. Have you thought of solutions on how to help promote your music?

Well. We are on our toes planning gigs for next year. We are also trying to be reachable for our fans through social media. Let's hope that normal times come back soon.

What is your standpoint regarding live stream and the fact that it has been spreading like wildfire between bands? Do you fear that it might jeopardize actual live performances in the future?

I believe this is now an emergency solution. Fortunately, musicians nowadays have the technical means to implement such projects. And all the projects are great!! I love watching them.  The internet rules here! It is very positive that all the musicians worldwide have the opportunity to make music together, globally. normally we do not have the chance to do it. but this situation cannot go on in the long run. Fuck Covid!

Michael, many thanks for putting up an effort for this interview. I wasn’t surprised to find out that “Stand Your Ground” is a strong number within your vast discography, you made a heck of a record. Cheers.

Thank you very much!! Thank you too!! :)
 



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