Guilty As Charged.... Michael Muller Speaks Out
German Melodic metal band 'Jaded Heart' are no strangers to the underground scene, having been around since the early 90's when the band were formed by Michael Muller (bass), along with Axel Kruse (drums), Dirk Bormann (guitars) and brother Michael Bormann (vocals). The band started out more in a AOR band style and with the band releasing their debut album 'Inside Out' in 94, this was the beginning of a great future. The band recorded 5 albums with Michael Bormann, their last album 'The journey will never End' was released in 2004, Michael did his own album and later on joined Silent Force.
In 2003 new singer Johan Fahlberg from Sweden was to be the new front man, a great and very powerful singer was what the band needed considering the band were heading for a more heavier approach. Their new album 'Trust' was released in 2005 and released on Frontiers, a great debut for Johan and more excellent albums would follow. The band released their new album for Massacre Records in 2015 titled 'Guilty by Design' which is a killer album. I managed to chat with bassist Michael Muller about the bands history and the new album, Check out what he had to say.
As this is my 1st interview with the band Id like to thank you for doing this interview, I have waited so long to do this interview, just have to see you live now Michael. So I'd like to start the interview off by asking you are the the only original member left in the band?
"Yes I am, its like a marriage or relationship things change, I am the only original member from the 1st line up. Johan has been in the band for something like 12 yrs now and we have changed with the music but Peter and Johan have been in the band for some time now."
As a bass player which bass players have inspired you to play the bass guitar?
"I would say Steve Harris from Iron Maiden, even though I cannot play like him. I also like Gene Simmons and Paul McCartney and the bass player from Korn, I was a big fan of theirs in the early 90s. I also like Doug Pinnick from Kings X, he's a great bass player. Nobody in my family play instruments. I started playing guitar when I was13 and my 1st band when I was 18 but I switched to bass as I liked the bass better and I started by accident and loved it so much."
Looking back at the 1st few albums with Michael Bormann which ones are you're favourite and why?
"I think my the 4th album 'IV' as we had so much fun recording in the USA and we worked with Bob Harris & Bobby Barth and we went their for 6 wks, These days you don't have that so we enjoyed that so much., I also liked 'The journey will never End' in 2002 with producer Tommy Newton who had worked with Victory. They were my the highlights. I don't listen too them anymore as the music is totally different now, we don't sound like the same band and they were pretty much drum computing albums.
Do you think of playing any of the songs from those albums today?
"No not anymore, we did think about it but we have so many great songs nowadays we want to play more of those songs."
So why did Michael leave the band any any other members?
"Michael left the band as he had a different vision on how the band should sound, he was more into the AOR stuff and we wanted to try something different as we were getting bored with the same ideas. In the end we up having arguments and he left the band. I haven't seen him since 2004 and I met him at a festival near my home town, he invited me on stage to play one song and we were drunk and we hugged each other , we are all ok now. He is doing his thing and we are doing his."
When Johan joined the band this is when the music started to go heavier, was there a plan to go heavier before Johan joined? Who else did you also approach to join the band when Mike left the band?
"Well we didn't even disguise how the music would go in a different direction and when Johan joined the band we just throw ideas into a hat and that was pretty much it. We approached people like Paul Lane, and we tried to find a singer all over the world on the internet and in the end we looked for a singer near to home, more in Europe. Johan was a friend of a friend and he was the best choice for the band. We were friends from the beginning and he has a great voice. He was the singer in a Swedish band called 'Scaddero' I think they were called a strange name I no. I think Eric from Eclipse was in that band and Fredrik from Unleashed too were all in that band. I think they only did 1 album but I am not sure."
The band have been with a couple of labels now, 1st of all Long Island and then BMG/ MTM/ Frontiers and Fastball before you're new label Massacre. What happened to you're previous labels?
"Well Long Island went bust we moved on to MTM they also went bust and I think we got to heavy for Frontiers, I think it was just business and there's no hard feelings with them or us."
I really like the Frontier albums you recorded, which is you're favourite album on that label?
"Well I think it would have to be 'Sinister Mind' because there is a strong mixture of melody and heaviness. I also like 'Helluva Times', but that is more AOR feel to it I think. After that album we went for a heavier approach but I still like that album. I still see guitarist Barish Kepic and I played on his new solo album which is coming out later this year. The music is Hard Rock/. Metal which features different singers on the album like Rick from Masterplan and keyboard player from Masterplan too."
Let's talk about the live album/ DVD, which only features a handful of songs, and you were supporting 'Axel Rudi Pell', why the hell did you release this live recording when it wasn't you're own show? I love you're music and I was sadly disappointed to see just a handful of songs. Didn't you think of recording this as a headlining tour DVD? Do you plan on recording a live DVD?
"Well it was an idea from our old label to record it whilst on tour with Axel Rudi Pell, they filmed their show and decided to record our set, to give the fans something to have. We want to record a live DVD, it's a matter of cost and right location and we have recorded some stuff but there was something wrong with the recordings he have decided not to release them. It will happen."
Have you ever played 'Loud Park' festival in Japan, that would be a great location to record a live DVD?
"Yes it would be, please ask them to book us!!"
You recorded 2 albums for Fastball music 'Common Destiny' and 'Fight the System', what happened there, why did you leave them?
"They did a great job but we had to move on. The boss of that label is a friend of mine and he use to sing in another band and a friend told me I should check out his label and we talked on the phone. We we did 2 albums for them and then we went with Massacre Records. "
Before signing to Fastball didn't you try to find a bigger label?
"No we didn't really, the offers were not big enough but Fastball offered us the best deal."
Moving on... let's talk about the new album 'Guilty by Design' , where was this album recorded?
"Our singer and guitarist live in Sweden so we recorded the basic tracks in Sweden as it's not easy to fly to and from to record. We recorded the rest in Frankfurt Germany the bass drums & rhythm guitars and basics at 'Performance Studio'. It was the 1st time we recorded their. The vocals and harmonies where done in Sweden with the solos. It took about 2 months because we were not in the studio at any one time for a period of time. I did my parts in 5 days & then when the rest of the band had time they would do their parts."
How do you see this album as a progression from the previous albums?
"I like it so much, I think it is a right mixture of the last 3 albums, and there are some catchy songs with heavy riffs with make the songs catchy. The song are short and simple."
Who came up with the title of the album? Any other titles?
"I guess the title came from either me or our guitarist Masa and in the end we just voted. Peter came up with the title 'Jaded Heart' but I said Metallica did the same thing, and we thought people might think it was our 1st album."
How long is you're deal with Massacre?
The deal with for 2 albums with options."
For those people who don't know, what is the current line up of the band? Where did you find Masa?
"Well we have Johan Fahlberg (vocals), Peter Ostros (guitars), Bodo Stricker (drums) Masa Eto (guitars) and myself on bass. Well Masa is a long time friend of mine. When he moved from Japan to Germany he was running a website and reviewing CDs, and also knew he was a great guitar player and we were going to form a Pantera cover band Masa and myself but we couldn't find the right singer, and that was 6yrs ago and I knew he was a great player. He stood in for the Masterplan tour when Peter couldn't play for us. We knew he was a great player and when Peter came about into the band we decided to keep Masa in the band and have 2 guitar players. Masa was in different bands in Japan but nobody that made it big."
Why did Axel leave the band, was it the fact he was doing Mad Max?
"Yes that's right, He was with Mad Max and Jaded Herat at the same time and he was becoming hard for him, we are still friends and he was in them before Jaded Heart and he is happy now, we have Bodo and he was going to be the drummer in the Pantera tribute band and he is a well known drummer in Germany, he is a great drummer."
Who writes the song and lyrics in the band?
"Johan writes the lyrics and so does Peter, Peter also does the music with the guitar riffs. He send us the arrangements and then we send flies either on face time or skype to each other. The main ideas are from Peter and on the new album Masa wrote a couple of songs and I wrote 1song too. I wrote the song 'So help me God'."
How well has the album been received by the press so far?
"So far they are great, the worst we have got is 3/5 but most is 4/5 , 5/5 but they are great reviews."
Any plans to play any festivals this or next yr?
"Well we have some in Germany next year, one in Switzerland and one in the USA next year and more in the pipeline. We would love to pay Wacken and Bang your Head festival next year."
How well is the new album selling so far?
"Well the label told us it is doing really well so far considering people download albums these days. We have a new booking agent who si working hard for us and we have a really cool tour coming up next year. We are playing Spain this November & December which we are looking forward to."
Who did the artwork for the new album?
"Well it was done by Thomas Ewerhard who has worked with Kissing Dynamite Avantasia, he also did Sinister Mind, Perfect Insanity, Helluva Times album for us as we got him back for this album cover, we love his work and he is real fast with his work. We wanted a dirty tattooed girl on the cover, we like the way it came out."
Well Michael thank you for the interview, best of luck with the tour and record sales. DO you have anything to say before we finish the interview off?
"Yes thank you for the interview Jason, thank you to our fans for their support. We hope you like the new album and we also hope you will see the band live when we tour.