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King Diamond – Vocals & songwriter for King Diamond & Mercyful Fate

Date: 07/10/07
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. Well for starters congratulations on the new album “Give Me Your Soul Please” landing in the Billboard Top 200 Albums.

KING: Yeah isn’t that great I think the last time that happened was when “Them” came out. I mean these are different times now from in the 80’s when “Them” came out and album sales are not the same but it is good to see it break the chart.

2. What do you think sets “Give Me Your Soul…Please” apart from the last two albums “The Puppet Master” and “Abigail II”?

KING: Well when it came to the writing itself, I think everyone was working for the songs and the album itself. The songs have better riffs right from the beginning to the end within each song, they really flow better than maybe before on the past couple albums. And that has also inspired my melody lines for the vocals that I think work much better with the riffs here. And not anything against “Puppet Master” and “Abigail II” because those records had their strengths as well.

I mean, when I listen to all these songs, it seems like they all fit perfect with the melody lines. And Andy said to me “I haven’t played solos like this since “The Eye” and Mike Weed also said that he felt very inspired playing on this album. And Hal, he is my favorite bass player, and he really did some fantastic work on this one. I mean he is all over the place on some of these songs.

The sound that is on this album too should’ve been on all the other albums, everything is so clear that you can hear every little nuance and emotion in my vocals. The clarity to my vocals are much better now and not as piercing as in the past. There is no E Qing done to the vocals this time as in the past. Sometimes the balance just doesn’t come out right and it has been really frustrating to me in the past but this time we found a nice amount of space with this recording. The bass guitar you can hear every note Hal is playing.

Normally these days maybe because there is so much compression on albums and you lose things. And with this kind of music that we do sometimes we have eight backing vocals going that all need their little space. You have a harpsichord or a church organ or whatever you know, and it all has to be heard. So it becomes important because then in the end where sometimes I have said to myself, “Why do I bother, why am I doing this anyway” because the recording doesn’t always come out the way you want it. And from what I hear I think the fans can even hear a lot more in the music this time around.

Well this time we said “You know what, forget the industry standard of compressing everything, we’ll compress less this time and we’ll get a much better clarity of how you hear everything, and it’ll fit our music better. There are a lot of other bands where that hard compression does fit them very well, but for our kind of music it works against us.

3. Can you give us a brief plot summary of the new album?

KING: Well with this album I wrote it all in real time so everything happens in the present. So there were certain words I couldn’t use which made it for an interesting writing experience, for me. And I think this album people can relate to more to because it is written in the present tense, plus you have this house which could be anyone’s house, a brother and sister (who are both dead in the story and are ghosts), the mirror, the black cat (who is my cat Magic), things people can relate to, you know.

4. Why did you title the album “Give Me Your Soul…Please”?

KING: Well that’s what the album is about. The girl wants me to give her my soul so she can take it back to the other side to her brother.

5. Is there something musically different with “Give Me Your Soul” that separates it from the rest of the King Diamond catalogue?

KING: Well like I said before musically I think with this album it has a more consistent flow to it that maybe previous ones were missing to some extent. Maybe in the past on other records not everything comes out the way you expected and you can’t do anything about that after the fact. Maybe your not getting that warm reverb you are looking for you know. But this time it all came together. I know on some albums also that the drum sound didn’t come out as we expected, you know. Maybe the snare doesn’t always have a consistent ring, and there is a machine that can fix those imperfections. And I know we have done that for an album or two but that usually creates trouble I think. We didn’t do it that way this time around because if you record and try and do a sound repair it becomes to mechanical I think. We wanted a nice natural drum sound and I think we got that. 60 percent of the snare sound is naturally recorded this time and 60 percent of the kick the same. You can really hear what Matt is playing on this album and what he is playing has a nice warm sound.

6. Any plans to record a promo video from the album?

KING: Yeah there are but its gonna be a couple months from now because right now I have a Herniated disc in my back really bad and the doctors insist I rest for a few months to allow it to properly heal. That’s why the European tour was cancelled. I mean right now I am lying down in bed doing this interview (laughs) and my body technically is not resting when I do interviews. Its still work. I know the label (Metal Blade) would like to do a video for the title track and I think that would be great, it has some great riffs and chorus, Hal goes into his own thing. I think it’s a good choice.

7. How about Satanism. There are so many views and opinions on the “religion” so what are your thoughts, or beliefs in the subject? Maybe what it means to you to be a Satanist?

KING: Yeah I mean there have been a lot of those as of lately. I mean there are about as many views on Satanism as there are different types of Christianity (laughs). For me, I was living my life that way before I read that book, you know the Satanic Bible by Anton Levey, and I think that book was miss titled because once you hear the word Bible people automatically think of religion and its really not its more of a philosophy really. You are not worshipping anything when you are a Satanist. I mean there are other types of Satanists who actually worship some kind of horned creature which is a God that is Christian if you really look at it because Satan is a God within Christianity and just one they (Christians) don’t want you to worship. I mean I wouldn’t want to worship that fellow either. I mean I don’t see anything positive in the Christian Satan either.

If someone comes up to me and asks if I am a Satanist, I ask them first ‘What does that mean to you”? and then if they can explain to me intelligently what a Satanist is then I can say yes or no, depending. But if they say “O you slaughter animals and pray to the devil”, well then you are way off there. That is not in my way of life. But Satanism is not a religion and I don’t have a religion myself. I don’t believe in one God and I would be the last person to say there is one because there is no real proof there is a God and there has been no one person to prove to the world there is a God. Maybe some people may be convinced they have proof for themselves there is one, but it has never happened that one person could prove that to the rest of the world. And the sad thing is that people can’t accept that not everyone believes in the same thing and can’t give people that respect without thinking of them as a lower type of species or something because they don’t share a same belief. It makes no sense to me what so ever. And if people had that type of respect for each other then we would have way less wars because many wars happen because of religious differences.

8. When you toured for “Abigail II” and “The Puppet Master” the setlist did not include any songs from “The Spider’s Lullaby”, “The Graveyard”, “Voodoo”, or “House of God”. Will you include some songs off those records for the current tour?

KING: Well I don’t want fans to think I was rejecting those records because I wasn’t. In my opinion some really excellent work is on those records and those records are as important as other King Diamond albums.

But like with the last live album ‘Deadly Lullaby’s”, it wasn’t supposed to be a greatest hits type thing. That’s just the setlist we performed at the time. I would love to play some songs off those records for the next tour yes, and then again there are even some older songs we have never played before that I would love to get in there for this tour. Plus the new record ‘Give me Your Soul” has plenty of great songs I want to include.

The last time for “The Puppet Master” tour we played “Burn” off “The Eye” and that totally worked live. This time I would love to do “Behind These Walls”, “At The Graves” off “Conspiracy” has not been played live since that tour so I want to bring that one back. That one is like King Diamond’s “Satan’s Fall” (Mercyful Fate) really and that’s a fun one to play, very challenging musically.

9. Well I think “Voodoo” is one of your best albums and a couple from that would be great to hear live again. When I saw you for that tour in 1998 I recall hearing the title track, “Louisiana Darkness”, “The Exorcist” and “One Down Two to Go”.

KING: Yeah I am very satisfied with that record too. You know Dimebag Darrel from Pantera played a great solo on that record. It was a nice experience, you know we saw each other from time to time and he was such a great player. I’m glad he was part of that record.

10. How about the stage show for the new tour?

KING: Yeah me and Andy (LaRoque) already have discussed some ideas with the guy who is the head of our road crew and does our lights. He also has some connections to do some special effects also on stage. But since the European tour has been postponed because of my back we have to see.

* Interruption * Metal Blade Records – Sorry guys but we have like a minute left we are already five minutes over.

11. Ok well let me squeeze in two more King if I can?

KING: Sure go ahead.

12. Are there any plans to release a professionally recorded live show for DVD?

KING: Yeah we have a lot of older material we are working on getting released from different tours. I know there is one show that was pro shot from Copenhagen while we were recording “The Eye” which is some really rare stuff. So once all the legalities get worked out we will release something.

13. When the time comes if you have the opportunity to develop one of these stories into a movie which ones would you like to do first?

KING: Well there are several in my opinion that have potential. “Give Me Your Soul”, “The Puppet Master” does although might be a bit expensive with the effects, “Conspiracy” of course would be a great psychological thriller.

I know now a days there are so many remakes its like everyone is out of inspiration really so why don’t we take one of my stories (laughs). Its difficult though its almost like starting out a band. But when you do something like this you want to be sure you do it the right way so it doesn’t turn out to be a B film, you know. Knowing someone in the film industry always helps but for me to be a part of it right now would be difficult what with a new album out and especially with my back problems. I have to take care of my health and the latest record out first before I even think about doing a movie but it is something I would love to be part of in the future.

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