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Snoppi Van Heek (Wizard)

Interview with Snoppi Van Heek from Wizard
by Josh West at 12 April 2009, 1:48 PM

With WIZARD just releasing the brilliant album Thor in 2009, I was lucky enough to have the chance to do an interview with the founding father and drummer of the band, Snoppi Van Heek.

Interview with: Snoppi from WIZARD

Hi Snoppi, thanks for taking the time to do this interview with Metal Temple.

Hi, no problem, I thank YOU for the interview. Sorry that it took so long, but I was very busy the last days.

Firstly, I would just like to take some time to get your impressions on the new album, Thor. How happy are you overall with the album and how was it received by WIZARD fans already?

I am very happy with this album. For the first time I could play the drums like I wanted due to fantastic recordings with Andy Horn. And also the sound is really really good and aggressive. I like very much songs on the album (except 2) and I listen to the album very often, what is not self-evident. What fans say? I don't know, I did not talk to fans since our last concert. The Press loves or hates the album. Nothing between.

Thor is another Norse concept album (WIZARD previously released a concept album based around Odin). What made the band return to Norse mythology as a basis for a concept album?

The main reason is that this is not just a Norse mythology, but Volker (bass) really believes in this Gods. It's his religion and he describes this for us. Perhaps we do a concept story next time about Jesus (I am christian), who knows? So, it's not because there are cool stories and adventures, but because of Volker's interest in this religion. And of course we think that these kind of texts fit very good to WIZARD. Better than writing about Iraque war (but perhaps we will do that in the future??). We are free to write about whatever we want, so we will not listen to any bored people who don't like our texts or think that an album always has to be unique in the universe.

Thor sees original guitarist Michael Mass returning to the band after a four year break. How did it feel to be recording and playing again with Michael?

Playing with him is very much fun. During the recordings I did not see him, because we made a pre-production. So everybody was in the studio on his own. We all love Michael very much (not what YOU think, hahaha) and we are very satisfied with the situation like it is at the moment. He is back in the family.

The album also sees the band using two guitarists instead of the usual one. Did this allow WIZARD to explore new sounds or song areas that wouldn't usually be possible with the one guitarist?

Yes, of course. They can play double lead guitars that sounds very cool. And all heavy riffs come more aggressive with two guitars. Dano has qualifications \[on] what Maassi \[does] not have and vice versa. So it fits very good.

WIZARD is celebrating its 20th anniversary as a band in 2009, a point not a lot of bands reach. How does it feel to have your creation last all of these years?

You feel very old, if you read that, hahaha. Fact is, that we make music together not only 20 years but longer, but not under the name of WIZARD the first years (with Michael I am playing together since 22 years now). Always with the same line up. That's what you call friendship, family: we are bound by Metal. Every week we meet in the rehearsal room, drink beer, talk about music and girls and play some Metal. That was great 20 years before and it is great today and it will be great in 20 years.

Can WIZARD fans expect to see spectacular live shows this year, not only in support of Thor, but also in support of your 20 years?

We are planning a release show in our hometown where we want to play nearly 30 songs. From each album a few. I don't know if we reach that aim, but we try to. On usual concerts we often have only time for one hour and it is more and more difficult to choose the right songs. There are so many good songs we wish to play, but time is often too short.

Do you and the guys still enjoy playing live?

Yes, of course. We always make a good party from a concert. Celebrate with the fans and with the other bands. Drink some alcohol, look at girls(!) and listen to the music. That's why everybody is coming to a concert, isn't it? We don't play very much concerts and so we enjoy each single concert with the fans.

How happy are you and the band with the promotion and support Massacre Records have been giving WIZARD in the past 2 years?

Puh, difficult to say. I think that they do their job. Unfortunately they don't organize concerts or tours. I think, for them it's routine like for all small bands they have signed. And I think other labels are not better in promotion.

You created the band back in 1989, how would you say the band has progressed?

During the first years we learned very much on our instruments. Maassi, Sven and I took lessons to learn more. I think you can hear that on our albums. In general I am sometimes very surprised what we reached. Only by drinking beer and making noise on our instruments. That's fantastic. It seems like there are some few people who like our music (beside our friends and families). That's amazing.

Your debut album, Son of Darkness (1995), is still very difficult to find, you have said before you had no plans to re-release it, but has any of this changed? Can fans have an easier time trying to hear that early WIZARD sound?

No, I don't want to re-release the first two albums. For what? I think that there are not very much people really interested in them. So for me it's cooler to have a very rare CD. We don't really earn money with the albums, so why should we re-release them? If you want to listen to the songs, you can download them in full length from our homepage. And also on you sometimes find this albums.

Do you ever go back and listen to those early WIZARD albums like Son Of Darkness and Battle Of Metal? What are your impressions of them these days?

No, not very often. But especially I like the Battle Of Metal album. I think that there are the best guitar solos  Maassi ever recorded on a WIZARD album. There are much slow songs on it, which I love very much, but also some fast songs (Thunder Warriors etc). If the sound would be a little bit better, I would say it is one of our best albums. Son Of Darkness is not as good. But I also think that you can hear that we played the sound which we play also nowadays. We never changed it.

WIZARD has now found itself playing to a whole new generation of kids and has fans spread across all ages. What challenges are you faced with when trying to write music for such a broad spectrum of fans?

Oh, that's no problem: We don't care about anybody. We are only responsible for ourselves. If we would do what people say, we would not exist any more. The strange thing is, that the more famous we become the more people don't like us. So I am sometimes a little bit angry if somebody writes very negative about us and this guy does not like Metal at all or does not understand what we try to say. But after a while I remember that it has no meaning what this guy thinks or writes. The only important thing is that WE are satisfied with what we do. If we would not love our songs we would stop making music (and would only concentrate on drinking beer and talking about girls!).

WIZARD have been one of the leaders of the German Power Metal scene for years. Do you feel a lot of pressure to uphold this reputation when you enter the studio?

I cannot take this serious. We, one of the leaders? Ha, that's a joke. What about HELLOWEEN, GAMMA RAY, PRIMAL FEAR, SINNER, ROUGH SILK, ACCEPT, BRAINSTORM, EDGY… I guess that we are not half as famous as these bands are. So it is a really great joke. I would be glad if about 20 percent of all German metallers would know us. So you must be very careful with such statements.

Can you see the band continuing for another 20 years? The general Metal scene has seen a huge growth over the last few years!

As long as we can drink and play Metal, we will continue. There was so much we went through, it is a big part of our life and nobody wants to miss it. Thee must happen very much if we should drop WIZARD or if somebody stops being member in Wizard. At the moment this is unbelievable for me. So you can be aware that we will bring out another 10 albums the next 20 years, hahaha!

What impact would you say WIZARD has had not only on the German Metal scene but the Power Metal scene all around the world?

I don't know if I understand the question right. Do you mean, if we had some influences on other bands? Hmmm…one time Volker told me that Tarek (MAJESTY) told him that WIZARD influenced him. That's great but I also think there are not very much bands who listen to WIZARD. I have to say that I am not so much involved in the Metal scene like I was 20 years ago. Nowadays I (we all) have a family and children and not so much time anymore to visit concerts or listen to new CDs. These are the disadvantages of growing old, hahaha. But the spirit is still alive, believe me!

So, what can we expect from WIZARD in 2009 and beyond?

We try to get some more concerts. We will play in Germany, Tschechai, Poland and Switzerland, but that cannot be all…And than we will try to compose another good album, hahaha. I don't know what it will sound like so I am really keen on the new songs.

Thanks! Any final words to say to all our readers, Snoppi?

Josh, I thank you very much for your questions. I hope I could understand them all (and you understand my answers). For more and up-to-date information also visit us on our site or


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