Interview by David Bell (Writer \ Reviewer – MyGlobalMind Webzine)
Shermann is best known for his work with Mercyful Fate. He’s teamed up with former Mercyful Fate colleague Michael Denner and their Denner \ Shermann collaboration resultes in Satan’s Tomb. The review for that (also by David) can be found here: Satan’s Tomb EP Review
Hank spoke to David to get the story behind the recent EP.
MGM: Thanks for taking the time to talk to MyGlobalMind. Tell us a little bit about the new EP Satan’s Tomb?
HS: Well first of all we decided we wanted to make a 4 track EP as a good starting point, and when we had the line up completed, we immediately started to compose and record the songs. It worked really well with our singer Sean Peck, he are very quick to get ideas so we had a fast writing process getting it all in place. The two first tracks on EP “Satan’s Tomb” and ” War Witch” are more straightforward heavy metal songs with our signature of course. Then we wanted to get more in depth and have more layers for the last two songs ” New Gods” and “Seven Skulls”, which shows our signature reminiscent of our early endeavors from our early steps with Mercyful Fate.
MGM: From having the privilege to have advance listening of the EP, I can say I really enjoyed it as a fan and I thought that it sounded like it was a secret tape or something relic uncovered from the studio from the early days. Did you make it intentional to stick with that distinct sound ?
HS: Well Michael and myself discussed and agreed that we wanted to create songs that have all the signature that we are best known for including the sound approach. That is a very easy recipe as I composed the majority of the music back in the 80s and Michael and me have a sound together that is recognisable and sounds the same whether played in the 80s or played now.
MGM: There’s a killer line-up on this EP, can you tell us how that all came about or how you selected the members?
HS: Before we even started to think into the line-up we got a message from Sean Peck saying he read about our new project and was offering his vocals. We took his invitation as Sean has all the layers we were looking for as a singer, and within a few days sent a song to him and we were on a roll with the song writing from the get go! Before Michael and myself joined forces, I was in progress of recording songs for my solo output “Shermann Tank” together with Marc Grabowski, it was natural to bring Marc into the band as he is a very talented and experienced musician.
Snowy Shaw was our first choice as the drummer as we regard him one of the best out there in terms of originality, being versatile and with his own signature. We have played with him in Mercyful Fate, both recordings and live shows, he was up for the task!
MGM: We’ve seen so many of these super group style bands but you guys really seem to work well together from listening to this EP, can you tell us what makes the chemistry between the members?
HS: First of all we are all very well experienced since early 80s, so we know our game and then you add all the talent and signature that these guys have, is a big factor in it all I think. We all know each other from way back is also a key point..
MGM: For long time Mercyful Fate / King Diamond fans, what can they expect to hear or get out of this release?
HS: Hopefully fans of MF & KD is curious to start with, I think if you like the music styles of these two classic bands you might be satisfied with Denner / Shermann, taking the history alone. We are basically starting all over again, like we did in 1981, thats in a way pretty exciting to us..
MGM: My favourite track of the EP was “War Witch”, Do you have a favourite track of the record so far?
DS: We composed only these 4 songs for the EP, so there was a natural progression in the song writing. I think the title track came out really good, a very balanced song with all the elements to expect. But “New Gods” is my fave as it has more layers, tempo changes and elements of surprises!
MGM: At the moment are there any of talks of live shows that fans can look forward to later this year / early 2016?
DS: We are working on possible show dates for 2016, but nothing confirmed at this point! Since we will start to record the full length Album in December 2015, I think the earliest would be May 2016 and onwards for shows.
MGM: I’d love to see some European / UK shows!
HS: Sure we would like to tour Europe and UK. We have very good memories with Mercyful Fate playing in the UK…So lets see
MGM: I really enjoyed watching some of your guitar play through videos on YouTube last Halloween where you played through some Mercyful Fate tracks, do you think you will add some for this latest project?
HS: Well you’ll never know these days. Many new ways to interact with fans, who really like a more personal experience. We do tho have plans to play the Mini-Album with MF to have them all, fans have been very positive on our YouTube videos with early songs from back then…
MGM: Your playing has inspired and influenced so many guitar players and especially new bands with the resurgence of Occult rock that is sweeping the scene at the moment with bands like Ghost, In Solitude (now disbanded), Lucifer, Uncle Acid & the deadbeats, have you got any favourite new bands?
HS: Always nice to be part of inspire other musicians to pick up a guitar or form a band, that’s how we all started ourselves! The Swedish band Ghost have some interesting and intriguing songwriting,
cool riffs and such, image its very powerful and put up a show that fascinates. As for a more heavy approach, I like the new band Act of Defiance and Sean’s other band with Ross the Boos, Death Dealer. Many new bands out there, but I still prefer my old faves from the 70s/80s as I grew up with them and they tend to stick forever as the quality and songwriting was top-notch!
MGM: It’ll soon be Halloween, what are your plans for this year?
DS: Michael and myself are attending a Metal fair convention for all things metal, so meeting a lot of fans and be able to present the new Album!
MGM: Have you got any other comments you’d like to tell the fans on why they should buy this release! ?
HS: For fans of old school metal, early Judas Priest and Mercyful Fate, we highly recommend to check out our EP “Satan’s Tomb”, you won’t be disappointed…
MGM: Thank you for your time, I can’t wait to hear more
HS: You’re welcome, Album on its way…