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In Words: Iron Savior

- Piet Sielck - June 2002 - Nadja -
- Piet Sielck & Yenz Leonhardt - May 2004 - Claudia Ehrhardt -
- Piet Sielck - Dec. 2011 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Iron Savior
© Iron Savior

Piet Sielck - December 15th 2011 (by email)

Personally I'm really glad that Iron Savior are back, back with The Landing. A lot happened since the last album, so it was time to catch up what happened after Metropolis and to get a glimpse of what to come from mastermind Piet Sielck. I don't know how many email interviews I did so far, but nobody have been faster than Piet! Wow, that was quick!

It's been 4 long years between Metropolis and The Landing, back then it was released via Dockyard 1 - your own label which went bankrupt -, now you are signed to AFM Records. That's the facts in a nutshell. What else slowed you down?

The first 2 years of the IS absence have been caused by my side project Savage Circus. I needed to write all the songs and do the production. This all in all kept me busy for 2 years.

The other 2 years can be booked to Dockyard 1, which went down the drain starting out in spring 2009 reaching the collapse in November that same year. After my partners took off and left me with a mountain of trash and liabilities of over 100.000€, I had two really really bad years. In the end I was able to scratch enough money together from my private savings, financial help from my family and by finally selling it all to AFM/Soulfood to pay for most of the debts. Right now the tax department is the last remaining problem to be solved. They are a pain the a.., ha ha.

After selling the whole thing to AFM I had something like a turning point and finally saw some light at the end of the tunnel. I started feeling better by the day and all of a sudden I started to enjoy making music again. So I started writing again...

There as been a line-up change, a familiar face is back... Jan Sören Eckert. Glad he's back?

Yes, when it came to plan out the production, Yenz got afraid, that he will not be able to deliver it the best way possible because of all his other obligations. Therefore he decided to clear his position and create space for another person. Of course we felt sorry about loosing Yenz, because we had some really good years together and he is a great person. But we had to respect his decision. So we were out on the quest for a worthy follower...… and who could have been a better choice than Jan! He is so much connected to Iron Savior! The reason for separating at the time was the conflict with Masterplan. Since things are rather slow with MP at the time, we thought, that this reason is not existing anymore and ask Jan to re-join the band. It has been a really hearty welcome back for all of us. If we were women, we would have cried, ha ha!

When did you start writing songs for The Landing?

I wrote the first piece of music after selling the whole DY crap to AFM. At the time I wrote the first half of RU Ready. In January 2011 I wrote the first complete song for the new album which was Heavy Metal Never Dies. I mud admit, that this song kicked my ass so bad, that I literally got on fire, ha ha. I was so full with ideas and which each and every day my attitude got hotter and hotter. In the end I was almost sad, when the songwriting was over, ha ha.

How long did the recordings take?

Well, compressed in an 8-10 hour workday I'd say around 3 months, but the whole process of writing and recording pretty much blends together in one big thing which started in January and was finish by the end of September. I did not do a pre-production. Since I have the opportunity to compose in a sound studio I always do that with my real guitar sound. I do that, to catch this magic and single moment in time, when a composer first time plays his creation and is 'hot'. When you do a pre-production and then later on re-record your stuff, because you were using a cheesy demo-like guitar sound, you may not be able to catch the same attitude again.. Henjo once described it best when we talked about this attitude-thing: it's somehow like you would cover yourself. So I tried to catch as much attitude as possible, because I would have hated to say later on "huhhh... somehow the demo sounds better..."

To me it sounds like it's more organic in the way of song writing.... Due to the lack of pressure? Due to feeling freed from a burden (Dockyard 1 bankruptcy)?

Absolutely right. I had no expectations for this album. During the DY demise I had periods, where I was honestly thinking to just quit... so when I wrote the songs for the album, I did not care, what would be expected and what would be good or bad for IS... I wrote this album more or less for myself... as my personal escape from all the bad energy and my personal return to life... and the vehicle for that was music. Heavy Metal the way I feel it, directly from my heart. This goes for all songs and I guess that's one big thing about the magic this album somehow has.

This time less songs are lyrically-based on sci-fi, why this change? Kinda channeling the experience of the last years into your songs?

Just like the music also the lyrics mirror my personal situation pretty much, so a big yes, indeed. Looking at Heavy Metal Never Dies for example and having the DY1 demise in mind, one could add up 1+1, ha ha. But also the sic-fi lyrics carry a lot of personal aspects in them. They may not be totally visible, but hey, I know them, ha ha. But also songs like Hall Of The Heroes also reflect this general 'I-don't-care-about-cheesieness-as-long-as-it-rocks-the-shit-out-of-me' attitude I had.

By now you got some feedback... Satisfied?

100% and above! Fans and media worldwide gave us the best and heartiest welcome! I did not expect the reactions being so great. It really touches me, to see so many fans actually having MISSED the band and were afraid, that we gave up. It's a great feeling to see, that so many fans and friends tare still existing giving the Savior such a great comeback so far.

You did a kind of making-of video clip for The Savior, looks like you had fun... Can we expect more behind the scene footage in future? A band's YouTube channel?

Ha ha, absolutely big fun! Can't promise yet, but we definitely licked blood, ha ha. The video is quite 'successful' on YouTube though...

Back in 2002 you said doing a video won't make sense, by now things have changed... So, will you do a video clip? Which song(s) would you like to visualize?

In general my opinion hasn't change too much, but the YouTube success made me think... I guess the magic of this little studio-video is, that this small movie definitely looks different. So, yes, doing a video is on my list, but it needs the right idea to it. I don't think that a 'standard-band-pretends-as-if-they-play-live' kind of video would add something really interesting to the millions of already existing videos of that kind. Actually I am thinking and thinking and thinking... and once I have an idea, I will do it! But unfortunately that hasn't happened so far, ha ha.

Can we expect to see Iron Savior on stage in 2012? Festivals? A tour?

Yes. We are currently working on the booking for festivals, but also looking for a chance to tour. All in the band are determined to bring our new stuff to the stages. Those songs just crave to be played live!

Do you prefer small clubs or big festival stages?

In general I prefer smaller venues because of the directness towards the fans. But also a festival show can be great.. It's really hard to say, because there is good and bad in both... just like with all things in life, ha ha.

Vinyl is getting more popular again, would you like to see your album(s) on vinyl? Are you a vinyl lover yourself?

Well, I still have all my old vinyls in the basement and keep them for sentimental reasons... I'm not really a collector, but I like vinyl. Hey, I grew up with this and the new artwork would look absolutely killer on a vinyl edition!

Different format... DVD. Can your fans hope for a DVD somewhere in future? Do you have some footage from the early years?

Nahh... its all pretty crappy in terms of quality... One couldn't really use that. But yes, a DVD is also on my list. For example we do have some very true and great friends in rather remote areas, who will never have a chance to see IS live. It would be my pleasure to bring them an IS show on DVD for example to the Himalaya!

Savage Circus.... What's the status? Is Savage Circus on hiatus?

Paused for the moment. I really want to focus on Iron Savior and get this year done with as much live shows as possible. So I need my time for that.

What about your work as a producer, what's next on your schedule?

Right now I am working on the mix down for Bogota-based band Vorpal Nomad, which is the band of Felipe Machado Franco, who did our artwork. Great power metal band btw. In January I will start mixing a Japanese power metal band called Maverick. Also what I heard from their pre-production so far, this sound promising to me. In general I would like to get back a bit more into the field of producing other peoples stuff, because I realized, that I actually missed this quite a bit throughout the past years.

Allow me an off-topic question, what do you think about Unisonic?

I haven't had the opportunity to check out one of their shows so far, but I guess the quality I guaranteed with Kai being part of the band. Also Michael seems to have changed his mind in terms of Metal, so I don't think, that the outcome would be disappointing at all. I expect them to do the first REAL Keeper III album, ha ha.
(Exactly my take on it!!! - Claudia)

What's on your schedule for 2012?

Playing music, producing music, raising my children and making my wife happy!

All the best,


I can't wait to see the foursome on stage! Would love to see them doing a tour with another Hamburg-based band... A package with Gamma Ray would be a blast! But that's a dream, but sometimes... You know what I mean. Anyway, I'm glad Piet and so Iron Savior is back. And hopefully no longer breaks in future! I wish them all the best! See you on tour!

Claudia Ehrhardt


Piet Sielck & Yenz Leonhardt (by phone) - May, 18th 2004

It's been awhile since Iron Savior released Condition Red. "Condition Red was an important album for us, coz it was the first one without Kai Hansen. There were people saying that it's the end of the band... Well, we didn't believed them, but we didn't know what to expect. The album sold quite good and we don't wanted to screw up things this time. We took the time we needed and we wanted to get back to our roots." After the release the band played some shows and bassist Jan S. Eckert joined Masterplan. "After 3 albums with Kai it was time to make a decision. Kai's priority was Gamma Ray. In the beginning it was a project and it worked out for a few years. But then it was time to go separate ways. When Jan joined Masterplan we talked about the future and we wanted to give it a try, but about 6 months later I realized that it won't work this way. Not for me and not for Thomas and Piesel." Time to find a new bass player - Yenz Leonhardt. "In 1996 I produced the album of Anathesia - the band of Thomas and Jan. We got along very well and we stayed in touch." Yenz explained. "I also was in touch with Piesel, so it came naturally." In the past the Hanseatic toured with every full-length album. For Condition Red they did just a few shows... Piet explained: "Actually we had planned more shows, but too late we realized that we worked with the wrong booking agent. When we finally realized it, it was too late to change anything. We want to establish the band and reach more metal fans, so we made a change and now we are working with another booker." During the last month several albums been released which were produced by Piet, he was quite busy as a producer in 2003.... He produced e.g. Dyecrest, Persuader and Beyond Surface. "That's right, but I don't work at the weekend and so we can play live even when I'm producing. Okay, it has to be in a range that we can do a weekend show. We will call the coming shows Saturday Night Fever Shows. So we will be doing shows in Germany and our neighboring countries in August, September and October. Due to the fact that we just do weekend shows we don't need a nightliner, etc. and so we can keep the costs down and offer the tickets for a decent price." Unusual, so I would expect them to play festivals during the summer, but... "We played Days Of Metal in Sweden and Piorno Rock in Spain." Yenz throws in a comment. And Piet complained - just a little - about Piorno Rock... "The one in Spain wasn't that good. Our expectations wasn't fulfilled. We had a bad stage sound and so it was more 45 minutes of trying to do whatever is possible to limit the damage. We have a reputation as a live band, so... Instead of playing a festival under bad conditions, we will play more club shows where we have better conditions. The fans get a longer and better show there." Piet already told that he is a 5-day-a-week producer and that he'll will produce more bands in future. Last year he produced the albums of the winners of the Young Metal Gods contest. "To produce Dyecrest was fun. They wanted input. They were glad to get support and another opinion. Therefor Beyond Surface had a very detailed idea how their album should sound. I think that they have a identification problem. My suggestion was to keep the musical direction, but be a little heavier as HIM. In the end they decided to do the mixing somewhere else. I wish them luck." It ain't always easy to work with people who are completely strangers... For a producer it's just a limited time with a band, but when you have to integrate new people into a band.... That's a different thing. "There has to be a magic... The right chemistry between the band members. A band has to grow together. I still have to explain about Hansen. When we did the first Iron Savior album it was planned just as a project. Only this one album, but the reactions were so good... And it was fun to play again. But we straight away realized that Thomen is too busy with Blind Guardian to continue with Iron Savior. With Kai it was different. He lives in Hamburg and he could coordinate Iron Savior and Gamma Ray. That worked for quite awhile, but at a certain point we realized that we can't go on that way. Hansen has Gamma Ray and that's his priority. It was a band decision and we are still friends and whenever he wants to come around to join us in the studio or on stage he's welcome! He's a honorary member." Piet clarifies the situation.
This time the band left the sci-fi concept partly behind. On Battering Ram they have sci-fi songs and songs about everyday life. Again Piet took over "This album is more straight. We have a wider range of songs. We left the sci-fi stuff a little behind. It was good to work without following a concept. We were freed from the corset a concept puts you in. For example Break The Curse is a straight forward track, but not based in the sci-fi stuff. Also the title track Battering Ram. This time the lyrics are more personal. It made me feel free." Obviously the cover artwork changed... Even if they have the space ship, but it's darker... Almost a little depressing... "Well, we still have the space ship which is a kind of trademark for Iron Savior. But the band developed from a project to a real band with an identity." Yenz comments. And Piet adds "We had some offers from cover artists, but that wasn't what we wanted. Also in the past I wasn't always happy with the cover artwork... This time the cover artwork is full of energy, you can feel it! It's the same with the album, it's full of energy. The dark background transports a certain atmosphere, but it doesn't take off the interest. The music is what's important." But some bands seems to forget that once in a while... "We hate to repeat ourselves. We don't want to take pieces from a construction set for metal. We don't want to work with metal cliché sounds." Back to the coming shows... Many bands don't sell enough tickets when they are on the road... "That's a problem in general, coz the fans are surfeited. That's why we want to play off the road, not the typical venues. We don't necessarily have to play - let's say - Bochum," the guitarist and singer explains. "Many bands - or more exactly the bookers / promoters - sell overpriced tickets. This upward spiral is dangerous. We want to offer the tickets for a decent price and due to the fact that we don't do the typical touring, we can offer the tickets cheaper." Another hot topic is always the CD price and that fans burn the CDs... A topic Piet has his own point of view... "Well, CDs are not that expensive in Germany in comparison with other countries where the price is 20,- € to 25,- €. But you are right, when the CDs would be cheaper the fans would burn less and buy more. Even if the real fans want to have the 'real'" package and so will buy the CDs. They won't burn them. But you're right, it would be good for the scene, if the price of CDs and tickets would go down." Hopefully the music industry will choose this way... Meanwhile we have to live with their price politic. Fans should support newcomer bands and all the bands who care about their fans and offer tickets for a moderate price. Don't pay high priced tickets, just because it's a big name.
Last, but not least... Don't forget to check out the latest opus of Iron Savior and check out their homepage! "We have a new website online. Much better then the old one, it's really cool!" Piet adds. "There you can find the newest de­velopments and as soon as possible the tour dates. Hope to see you all on tour!"

Claudia Ehrhardt


Piet Sielck - live 2000
© Claudia Ehrhardt

Piet Sielck (by email) - June 2002

The Hamburg-based band released their latest album called Condition Red. A great album and so I couldn't deny to do an interview with Iron Savior mastermind Piet Sielck. Here we go!

Why a Seal cover? Any why this particular track?

We wanted to do something different and fans know that we like to do cover versions. So, they expect a cover version, but this time we didn't want to take another known metal oldie! We wanted to create something new based on a non-metal track and so we chose Seal!

What do you think about cover versions in general?

We think it's cool, if it's well done... If we won't think so, we wouldn't do it again and again.

What makes it interesting to sing about warriors, etc. these days?

The warrior symbolize almost perfectly the mixture of ancient human instincts and basic fundamental believes. These instincts are deep inside every human being. We live in a modern and mechanized world, but because of this 'basic program' we all react on what the warrior symbolize. This is caused on the image which is engraved on the human race for millions of years.

Why don't you continue the topic of the first albums? Do you think this topic isn't worth continuing?

Hah...? We continued it...

What's inspiring you?

My experience of life! I'm 37 years old now, so I'm an old bastard.

The title and the artwork of Condition Red reminds me of a movie... I think it's Mission Impossible 2... Was that planned? Or did that inspire you?

MI2 is no science fiction, not really, so... But I have to confess that you're right, but it ain't an explosion, it's a supernova!

How is rehearsing and song writing working out for you? For example 'Piesel' is job-wise on tour and not in Hamburg...

'Piesel' is most of the time in Hamburg, actually we haven't had coordination problems yet! Musically he fits into the band perfectly, coz his guitar style and mine are different. It's fresh blood, he adds a new sound to our music and we really appreciate that!

Any stories to tell from the recordings?

Not really, we had a lot fun, per­haps more due to the cool songs we had to record... We always work pretty straight, but this time the fun factor was extremely high!

How do you came up with the idea to play some concerts with free entrance?

It doesn't matter if you tour as a headliner or support, both is very expensive and that's not cool! I had the idea for this concerts and so we took all the money we have for touring and cut short some other budget to get the money to finance this events. The idea was to something which makes it interesting for everybody, for fans & band as well as for the promoters and other business partners to have less shows, but all are 'sold-out'!

Any other promotional activities planned? Signing sessions or something else?

I think there will be something like that... But I can't tell any details yet.

Is it planned to do a video clip, live recording or something similar?

We definitely will record the 3 German show events! To do a video makes no sense, coz there are just a very few possibilities to place it.

Was or is a picture vinyl edition planned?!

We would love to! Just bombard the label with requests!

Vocal parts... Almost everybody is sings parts, was that planned? Was it planned to share vocal duties? Is this the concept of Iron Savior nowadays?

On the latest release I'm the only one who's singing. But everybody has a decent voice and that is an advantage when we play live, coz we don't need samples for the choirs! I'm of opinion that on stage everything should be played live! No technical gimmicks which are done by the crew. No samples, just live!

What do you expect from the appearance at the Bang-Your-Head festival this summer? What can the fans expect from you?

We will play at 3 p.m. and so we thought that we can have some coffee and cake for everybody... Just kidding. We are looking forward to play our new songs live for the first time. The new tracks are predestined for the stage and I think that we won't be the only ones who will have fun!

Have you already written new songs? Or do you have any left-overs?

We never had and never will have left overs! In my opinion the songs on an album should be from the same period, coz otherwise you easily loose the thread. Beside that a left over track won't get better when time goes by. Sometimes I use the left overs to get inspiration for something new. Just to work out something mentally refreshed, but that's it.

What were the highlights in your career? Highlights of the last 6 years as a band?

The Unification album and definitely the new album Condition Red! The Gods Of Metal in '99 where we played in front of 13,000 fans and the RockMachina 2001 where 12,000 people watched us. That was fucking cool!

Any stories to tell from the tours you did? Impressions? Influences? Which package you can imagine for a future package?

We always enjoyed touring. It doesn't matter how many people showed up. We had fun as well as the fans who watched us. Together we had a fucking good time! The live sound is influencing the sound you use in the studio, coz on stage everything is loud and has a fat, big sound. And that's what you try to recreate in the studio. I think we will always tour with bands from the same genre, I can't see Iron Savior together with a Nu metal band....

Last year you had Paragon on tour with you. Was that a kind of supporting the Hanseatic metal scene?

Absolutely right!

Which effect have had the celebrities who were part of Iron Savior in the beginning?

That helped a lot... But later had the opposite effect. Big names get you some attention, but also have a shady side... In our case people hardly saw Iron Savior as a band, but we are a band!

How came that your guitar tech became a member of the band?

If the tech is a good friend of yours and a great guitarist who had no other musical duties and likes the band.... Then you just ask the guy to join the band!

Do you think that heavy metal has a future? How will it be? And what you expect from Iron Savior's future?

The time of the woolly heads had already began... Nu metal is getting more and more popular, coz the classical metal market was ruined by some labels which are responsible for this crisis (check: - there you'll find an essay about the HM overkill). It was predictable, coz it happened before. I remember all the bands from Seattle who entered the charts with out of tune guitars.... Okay, these days they sell tuning equipment again... And grunge is an old hat. That will happen to Nu metal sooner or later... Only the essence will stay alive and the essence of all these trends is classical metal! As a band we are close to this essence with the music we're doing and so we aren't trendy... Not at the moment, but who cares? Not that long from now the people will get tires of all this heavy, noisy riffs and the distorted rap vocals... And then they will wear their woolly heads when they are skiing and will turn back to the classical metal. And then we will be waiting!

Why metal musicians are always try to look mad on promo pics? (Don't take this to seriously!)

That's metal! I like it! I can look friendly, but I always thought that it looks pretty stupid, if you have this honey-sweet smile...

I thank you very much for answering my questions and I hope that one day we can talk personally... Perhaps we'll meet at Bang-Your-Head festival.... Have a good time there!

(translation & intro: Claudia Ehrhardt)


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