2008 - Past In Different Ways
Information Kiske Past In Different Ways
- Recorded, produced and mixed by Michael Kiske in Studio 29.
- Release Date: 09.05.2008
- Japan Release: 23.07.2008
- USA Release: 07.10.2008
- Artwork by Carl André Beckston.
Different editions Past In Different Ways
01 - Standard edition: 11 tracks, 10 old tracks and the new one. (Same than Mexican edition but include a sticker with the Helloween logo).
02 - Japanese edition: 12 tracks, includes the Japanese bonus track 'How The Web Was Woven' of Elvis Presley. (Same edition than Taiwanese/Chinese edition and Korean.)
03 - Press promo edition: Standard of Frontiers Records in slipcase.
04 - Japanese press promo edition: 12 tracks, bonus track is also included in this promo.
Kiske: "The same guys that are on the last record are playing here. Actually the drummer Karsten Nagel is the same person that used to play the songs that I did for Keeper 1 and Keeper 2. He used to play in my schoolband before I joined Helloween. It’s a funny thing that he plays these songs again. I’m satisfied with these guys. They are very good people and very good musicians."
- Hanmari Spiegel: Violins and Piano for 'When The Sinner'.
- George Spiegel: Trombons for 'When The Sinner' and Accordeon for 'Different Ways'.
- Benny Brown: Trumpet on 'We Got The Right'.
Artwork, booklet concept and layout was done by the Swedish designer Carl-André Beckston (Monowasp). The same who did the design for Place Vendôme covers and before the Kiske (2006) solo album and he use to work for/with bands of Frontiers label among others. He has a gallery where you can buy prints of his artwork in various sizes. Andre's gallery can be accessed at this location. Graphics coordinator by Giulio Cataldo.
André: "This new album, is a step back into the past, but at the same time it is the present... These acoustic versions of the old Helloween songs are recorded in anew, with a more mature Kiske, and I find that fascinating. I like you love Michaels voice, and the tangible moods I find myself when listening to them - perceived especially by the sense of abstract touch of my mind - is inspiring...
There is a Owl on the cover, and a sort of a giant clock, alchemic symbols yes, and also symbols of faith and courage, elapsed moments, the past and the future... This may seem like the cover is drowning in details, but it is not... Imagine yourself waking up in a dream where you find yourself dreaming, and at the same time, seeing yourself in different moments of your life. Once your where young, and then your grow older, some memories last, some fade away. You get wiser, you hear a tune that reminds you of something, but it is new. When you mix and take fragments of all these things in consideration - you get a life; and life is like alchemy, instead of creating gold, you create substance, you create meaning to your life... The cover and artwork tries to capture all that, and perhaps even go beyond..."
Kiske: "The artist Carl-André Beckston tried to capture the mood of the album and the mood of myself. He asked me a few questions about how I feel about it and then he came up with this idea of this sort of compass or let’s say a “destiny clock” with the directions you can take in your life. So, you can have a comfortable life, with lots of success and at the same time betray yourself because maybe you don’t do what you wanna do. Or you choose the other way which means you might not be successful, you might not me making a lot of money but you don’t betray yourself. And when you are true to yourself, you are true to God. That’s what this is all about and that’s what the artist is “playing” with on the cover. I think the 12 o’ clock direction on the cover is “lost” and the owl that carries the cross symbolizes the spiritual approach with which I write these days."
Contact between artists
André: "Kiske is very easy to work with since he tells what he likes and doesn’t like. He listens to my ideas and comments them very directly, and that is because he has good eye for art. Many musicians only have an ear for music, but I feel Kiske has both. I appreciate his comments, and in my works, the most important thing is that the artist is happy. I am not doing artwork to boast my own ego. I always feel that my best work is yet to come, and I stay humble."
The promotional picture used inside the booklet of Past In Different Ways solo album and also a few more images that magazines and press used during the promotional campaign were done by the German photographer Steve Haberland (Official site).
It seems Steve Haberland is a photographer specialist shootin' portraits, you can check it on his personal site and facebook account.
There are two promo compilations related with Kiske's Past In Different Ways. The first one is a CD compilation by Frontiers Records which includes the song 'You Always Walk Alone' as 14th track. (Others bands; Work Of Art, Leverage, Asia, Glenn Hughes, Jorn, Saint Demon, Khymera...)
The second promotional compilation is a DVD released by German magazine (included in magazine number of April 2009) RockHard (Rock Guerrilla Tv) which includes an interview with Michael by Götz Kühnemund talking a bit of everything. It also includes Place Vendôme's 'My Guardian Angel' videoclip but I think it can also be included as Past In Different Ways compilation.
The History Behind Past In Different Ways
After being released Kiske solo album, Michael started to collect ideas for the following album. In the official site it was published the next statement: "Michi developed the feeling for his new songs that are supposed to go in a more mythical (at least partly) direction like 'Do I Remember A Life?' or 'Longing'..." With this idea of composing more mythical-epic songs Michael wrote a song like 'No One Ever Sees Me' which was finally released in Unisonic album. He also commented: "It will be another solo album soon, but it will not sound like the previous solo record, I would include electric guitars and the songs will have a more positive feeling, also with less melancholy than the previous solo albums."
In the fall of 2006, Michael was contacted by Serafino Perugino (Frontiers Records owner). Serafino offered to Michael the possibility of make an acoustic album with his old songs, which were released when he was in Helloween but he thought it was a bad idea so he rejected. Kiske said: "No way! I don't want to be dealing with my past all the time anymore!" After a few days, he thought it was not reasons for not make it so he agreed. And also another important reason was because he already knew he would need time to write enough songs for the new album. Michael, on 17th October, 2006, said in exclusive and without asking him, for the fanclub via Questions & Answers he would make this album. He said: "Since I always need a bit of time to get another (good) record written. I talk with Frontiers Records right now about a full acoustic CD with all my old Helloween songs re-arranged. I think this is a very good thing to do, because it shows people how those songs can also sound. And I still like most of them. But it will be very different!" Kiske signed a new deal for this CD because his deal with Frontiers was for releasing two solo albums with new songs, Kiske was the first one so after Past In Different Ways he still have another album signed. Michael explained how it started the idea: "That was Serafino’s idea. My first reaction was that I didn’t want to do it but then after a while I couldn’t find any reason for not doing it actually. There’s absolutely no need for rejecting my own music. I’m not even rejecting the Helloween years. After a while I just thought it’s a cool idea to do that and now that it’s finally done I’m very happy that I did."
One week later than Kiske had been announced he would make this new album with his old songs, Michael had to write an statement explaining the reasons why he will make it because he received a lot of critics of some people and some journalist claiming that Kiske "used to eat from Helloween's songs." But I want to explain well what it happened with the statement. Deborah who was in the staff of Fanclub, wrote to Kiske to say there were a lot of critics of people for making this album. Kiske wrote a statement and he sent it back to us so we published it and I did a translation for the Spanish part of the web, but 5 minutes later, Michael sent another email changing a little parts of the statement... 2 hours later and after 7 more corrections the message was spreaded through internet. He said: "I was part of Helloween band, so I didn't just 'eat' from them. I was BUILDING the band together with the original members, and no one can forbid me to re-record acoustic versions of MY OWN music. I don't think I have to ask to the 'metal popes' for their permission to do that at all. Those are MY songs. If anyone doesn't like that idea no one forces him or her to listen to it!"
First ideas and recordings
Michael started to think what songs should be included in the album, some tracks were a very easy choice like 'We Got The Right', 'A Little Time', 'Kids Of The Century', 'Longing' and 'You Always Walk Alone' but he also have a lot of tracks composed with other members of Helloween. And a very important thing that people don't remember now Kiske and Kai Hansen are together in Unisonic band, but in the early steps of this project Michael wanted a little collaboration of Kai playing one song written by him and Kai refused the offer. It's not neccesary to be a genius to know which song Michael would wanted, 'Future World'. Michael said: "In fact I asked Kai Hansen if he wanted to contribute with one of his songs to record but he was not interested. That was very early when I was preparing this album. So I decided to do an entire album with my old material only." I hope somebody (with a name which starts with "Brig") would ask to Kai why he refused this collaboration, it would be very interesting to know the reasons.
Michael started to work, first listening the old CD's to find the keys and later recording all the stuff with his partners. Kiske commented: "I had to overcome myself every morning as I don’t connect the best memories with the last couple of years in the band and music seems to preserve that. So, I stood up and went to the studio and then it was fun to do it. Of course, we worked and listened to the old cd’s and I was mostly thinking how the songs would be as acoustic, without the electric guitars that carry all the energy. The songs sound very well as acoustics and I don’t really think that they have less energy. In general it was quite easy to do it, except for “When The Sinner”, that was like the most difficult track to deal with. It took me like a year of getting everything done and mainly because we did extremely a lot of mixing on the album." He also changed some lyrics and also corrected the language, according him because: "I had a simple English in those days. I would have prefered to write completely new lyrics, but in the end I just left almost everything the way it was. But for other side, songs like 'You Always Walk Alone' and 'We Got The Right' were too intenses, those songs still remembers to me even more than my new stuff, and I wrote those tracks with 16-17 years old before joining in Helloween. Even I recognize myself in the lyrics, of course are more simples and my English was not good but the lyrics are not very far of anothers I could write now."
Another curiosity is Michael had some problems recording of 'A Little Time' because he didn't want to reproduce the middle part of the song with the ring tone, so he included a mini-cover of 'Rain' (The Beatles) and when the album was almost ready he started to think it would be a better idea to re-work with the original version of 'A Little Time' by Ill Prophecy instead Helloween. But it was too late.
When he had the album ready he had to write a brand new song because that was the deal with the label Frontiers Records. Kiske said: "There is a new song because Frontiers think it makes the album more interesting if there's an extra song on it. On the last weekend that I had available, I wrote that song and it turned out pretty nice. It turned out to be almost like an Irish folk song. I think it fits the album well. Maybe not after When The Sinner. Maybe they should have placed somewhere earlier."
Sales and good response
Although the critics that we talked before, the album had a very good response by the fans, got nice reviews and a few years later Kiske said that the album sold a good number of copies. A lot of fans could not believe Kiske still have the voice in good shape to sing so high notes, so it was a really good surprise for some people.
Another thing very interesting is, when Michael started to make interviews to promote the album, he was very categorical about songs he didn't used in this album like 'Savage' and 'Don't Run For Cover' but in the last interviews he did, and also during the promotion of Kiske/Somerville album, he started to think in different way, for example Michael said: "I let down songs like 'Savage' and perhaps it could be interesting to remade some of them".
Kiske: "It was not always easy for me emotionally to deal with this material. Music somehow seems to preserve emotional memories and I connect big human disappointments with the last years of that time. There's also something very unsatisfying about re-recording old songs; it's always MUCH better to write new stuff, but I wanted to make those songs mine again. And in spite of the fact that I strongly felt for the last couple of years that I rather have to build myself a new base of friends, it's always good to make peace with your past."
Fontaine: "I love working with Michael. He'll often call and say, "Can you come by and play on a couple of songs for me? It won't take too long, maybe an hour or so!" Of course once I'm there we start talking about the latest studio equipment and then the discussion turns to philosophy and somehow it usually ends up in a round of corny jokes! Then one of us will say, "Maybe we should record now." By then, the hours have flown by... Great fun indeed! I wouldn't really call it work but more like helping a friend reach a musical goal."
Sandro: "It's very nice to play these songs, and Michael even sounds better then in those days. I think making this album was a great idea. Everybody can hear that the songs sound good no matter in which style the are performed. I think that Michael will get more fans for the music he is writing actually."
Song by song by Kiske
01. 'You Always Walk Alone'
"I use violin in that song, a real violin. It’s a very interesting feel came up doing this. I will not copy myself, but I’m going to take something with me into the next record. I learned something from my younger self. This unconventional songwriting, the more epic feel is something I still like pretty much. I’m not going to copy anything of that but that was something I really liked about this record. I even feel the 70ties sound in the epic and atmospheric production and the tubular bells in the chorus."
02. 'We Got The Right'
"It was intense to play again 'We Got The Right' because still reminds to me even more that some new songs I've written recently, and that song its very old, I wrote it with 16 or 17 years old before I joined in Helloween. Also in the lyrics, of course are more simples and my English was not good because I was too young but the basic message is very positive and its not very far of my actual lyrics. My voice it sounds much better now, the difference of volume and control is huge, but that's normal because I have 40 years old I'm not an adolescent.... I had the intro to 'We Got The Right' recorded but threw it out again, because I like it starting right away."
03. 'I Believe'
"The song 'I Believe' of Chamleon it was exactly the same that I had recorded as demo in a tape, the song didn't change it. I even played all the guitars in the studio except the fast solos. In the version of PIDW I deleted that it wasn't done by me."
"A song like 'Longing' could fit in my new music. I mean, I never felt that song would fit in an album of Helloween, but it does in a Kiske album, and thats important for me. I think the song didn't change a lot, it's quite similar. And the end its a ballad with guitar and vocals."
05. 'Your Turn'
"I changed the lyrics in this track (He changed Mickey Mouse for Han Solo of Star Wars) because its more modern. I think Star Wars play a more important role for the young people than Mickey Mouse, who cares Mickey Mouse nowadays, right? Star Wars forever! But I usually don't thing a lot in this stuff I just do it if I think it fits better or if I'm in the right mood to do it. I only did a little corrections of my simple English I had in this days."
07. 'In The Night'
"There are songs that I like more and there are others I like less. I was never mad about In The Night for instance or When The Sinner in the old days but I think they work even better now. In The Night is some kind of a rock ‘n’ roll, jam song and to record it like this unplugged version it makes it more convincing I think."
09. 'A Little Time'
"That sound could sound completely different that the original edition but at the end its not very different. I could have worked on the original pre-Helloween version of A Little Time instead; but I had this idea far too late."
10. 'When The Sinner'
"I think 'When The Sinner' sounds better now which is much less overproduced, it sounds more basic. This song never was one of my favourite but now even the lyrics sounds more interesting than when I wrote it. It was like the most difficult track to deal with. It took me like a year of getting everything done and mainly because we did extremely a lot of mixing on the album."
11. 'Different Ways'
"Frontiers think it makes the album more interesting if there’s an extra song on it. On the last weekend that I had available, I wrote that song and it turned out pretty nice. It turned out to be almost like an Irish folk song. I think it fits the album well. Maybe not after When The Sinner. Maybe they should have placed somewhere earlier... I had to write a song very quickly, the time was very short. Also, I wanted to have all the old songs finished before I sit down and write a new song and when that happened it was like I had 3 days to write it. So, I took my guitar, wrote down the music and the lyrics. it was something that just came out that moment."
Curiosities of Past In Different Ways
- Did you know the album was close to be titled "In Different Ways" instead "Past In Different Ways".
The initial idea, the first idea was Past In Different Ways as title album, but at the end of the process Michael thought it would fit better to delete "Past" because it sounded more positive In Different Ways and also it has not the meaning/reference of returning to the past which he didn't like it. Kiske explained: "I do not feel I have returned to the roots for playing old tracks. I never go back to anything, I always try to move forward with each step I take."
When Kiske had this idea, of changing the title, he wrote to Carl-André Beckston, the designer, to change the title and André change it as you can see in the picture on the right side. But unfortunately the label Frontiers Records already started printing CD press promo and making other kind of promotional stuff for sending to magazines/webzines so the title never could be changed and it stayed as Past In Different Ways.
Michael answered this to fanclub: "The album is titled Past In Different Ways but I should have called it: In Different Ways. I like that one better now."
- The other musicians knew the old Michael songs?
In case of Karsten Nagel is not neccesary to say because he is Kiske's friend since 14 years old and he played those songs before being recorded with Helloween. About Fontaine Burnett (the bassist), I did an interview with him and he told me: "Well, to be honest, I didn't really know any of the songs before I played them for the album. I think Mike was also quite happy about that. I remember when he called to tell me that we would be recording some of his older songs, I said, "Cool, let me hear the old versions so I know what I'm dealing with." and Michi just said, "No, I don't want to influence you with what was done in the past." I just learned the songs as if they were new songs, which of course to me, they were!"
And Sandro Giampietro told me: "Of course, like most other Teenagers at the middle of the 80's I listened to the Keeper Albums of Helloween. Now it's very nice to play these Songs, and Michael even sounds better then in those days."
- Change in the lyrics, in 'Your Turn' he changed Mickey Mouse for Han Solo.
On 'Your Turn', Michael changed Mickey Mouse for Han Solo of Star Wars, Kiske explained: "I thought it was better, Han solo is more contemporary. I think Star Wars plays a more important role for young people than Mickey Mouse. Who cares about Mickey Mouse? right? Star Wars forever! But I usually not think a lot in those thing, I just change it if it fits better or if I'm in the right mood to do."
- What happened with the "intro" of 'We Got The Right'?
When the album was released, some people was thinking: "What happened with the first part of 'We Got The Right' which is missing in Past In Different Ways version?" the first part of the song: "Don't turn your head... back to the wall... don't close your eyes... and wait for your fall..." I asked to him and he said: "I cuted the intro because I like it better that way, it fits better. I had the intro to "We Got The Right" recorded but threw it out again, because I like it starting right away."
Rumours about Past In Different Ways
- Gossip: Michael will release a second part of Past In Different Ways album. What it means they would re-make re-record another tunes in that different way, acoustic/orchestral.
This rumour started because Michael was not very happy with how a song like 'A Little Time' sounded, and he also realized fans would love to hear other tracks like 'Savage' or 'Don't Run For Cover'. Michael said: "I could have worked on the original pre-Helloween version of 'A Little Time' instead; but I had this idea far too late."
I asked Kiske why he did not include songs like 'Savage' and 'Don't Run For Cover' in Where Wishes Fly fanclub and he said: "I didn't remake 'Savage' because it was just a joke (press critized Helloween sound in Keepers album because it was not thrash-speed like Walls Of Jericho so I did that song as joke) and 'Don't Run For Cover' is pretty lame". But after a lot of interviews to promote PIDW album, and a lot of questions about that song, he changed his opinion and he said: "I let down songs like 'Savage' and perhaps it could be interesting to remade some of them".
Press ratings Past In Different Ways
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