PYRAMAZE

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This e-mail interview with the guitarist Michael Kammeyer from the Danish progressive metal band Pyramaze was done by Vincent Eldefors in late April 2004.

In the winter of 2001 / 2002 guitarist Michael Kammeyer left his old band Damion to start up something new. The result was Pyramaze, a progressive and melodic power metal band. Now it is 2004 and the band, with Lance King from Balance Of Power on vocals, releases their debut album "Melancholy Beast", one of the most refreshing releases in the genre so far this year. Michael took some time off his busy schedule to answer our questions.

Hi there, first of all I would like to congratulate you on the debut album. It was truly refreshing to listen to.
Thanks so much - I appreciate that!

The album has been out in Japan on the Toshiba EMI label for a while already, has it been a success in the land of the rising sun?
Thatís not true - the album is not out in Japan until 14íTh of May - so I canít tell you yet if it will be a success or not. One thing is for sure though, EMI believes in us, and since they are a major label I recon that we will do quite nice.

Are you happy with the work of your European label NTS? How did you get in touch with them at first? Was it through Intromental?
Yes I am. NTS have done some nice promotion work for us so far, and they are trying to arrange some great gigs for us too, so we are very happy with that label. Indeed we got in touch with NTS through Intromental Management. They have been working together on previous occasions, so a solid business connection was already there. NTS heard our music before we had even recorded the vocals yet, and already back then they liked it very much. So when the vocals and the mix were finished they offered us a deal for Europe, Russia and Canada.

Looking back on "Melancholy Beast", was it the best you could have done or do you feel that there are things you could have done in some other way?
Considering our financial situation (I paid for the whole recording myself) and the time that therefore was available in the studio (12 days) I think we did the best we could. Thereís always a thing or two that could have been changed, looking back on the process, but I think thatís the deal with every musician looking back on his or her work. So in general Iím very happy about the outcome of our recording.

The cover art is somewhat mysterious to me and so is the album title. Was there some deeper meaning to them?
Yes, there was a ďhiddenĒ meaning. Something like ďdonít judge the dog by its teethĒ. Even a beast (or someone/something that looks like a beast) can be something else in disguise. If a good soul is being judged by itís frightening appearance, then I guess that would create some kind of melancholic mode - and thatís what Iím trying to say. I think people who donít understand metal, often judge us all like some kind of evil things, who worship demons and stuff. That of course is not the case, and I think the title relates a bit to that fact.

I think the title of the album works well with the music as there is a strong sense of melancholy even though it is melodic and rather upbeat, do you agree with me on this?
Yes I do - I think the melancholic tunes have e way of sticking to the mind, so that the songs are better remembered, and this is combined with upbeat tempos and good melodies, which fits the title of the album quite nice - so youíre absolutely right here.

The history of Pyramaze began in the winter of 2001 / 2002. Did you record any official demos or was there no other goal but to get a record contract for the band?
I basically put all on one card, and we recorded a full-length album right from the start. This was quite a gambling because we did not know if anybody would sign us when we where finished. The goal was to get a record deal, and by that present our music to the masses, and fortunately we succeeded in that :-)

How did you get in touch with Lance King? Was he your first choice as a singer for the band?
Again the contact was made through our managers. They sent me 5 or 6 promo cdís with some different vocalists. After listening through it all, there was no doubt in my mind. Lance King was the one who clearly stood out - heís great ! So Intromental approached him to find out if he was available. Fortunately for us he had just split up with Balance Of Power, and after he had heard our material he agreed to do the vocals. He liked the stuff very much right from the start, and after hearing the first ďtest runsĒ he did with the material, I was convinced that heís the one.

He didn't want to sign you for his own label Nightmare Records?
Not to begin with, because he likes to keep his band and his business separate. But we were not able to get a deal with another label in the USA, because all the labels that gave us an offer, also wanted the European market, and that was not possible because we had already signed with NTS for Europe. So since we saw no other solution, we agreed to put it out on Nightmare records in the USA anyways. So we are out on Toshiba-EMI in Japan, NTS Records in Europe, Russia and Canada, and Nightmare records in USA.

What is the song writing process like in the band?
I write all the music and the lyrics - then in the rehearsal room we arrange the stuff together - Lance is co writing the vocal melodies and Jonah has a keyboard interlude on the album which is his own doing.

You are from Aabenraa in Denmark, what is the metal scene like in your city today? Is there an old tradition of bands?
There are bands like Aurora and Contempt who have been around ďforeverĒ in Aabenraa, and are well known in the local scene, but other than that we donít have a real steady metal scene (not that I know of that is) :-) By the way, I donít live in Aabenraa anymore. My fiancťe and me have bought a house 12 km from Aabenraa, in a small town on the country. The metal scene is somewhat poor in Aabenraa and in Denmark in general, although some people make a great effort to make stuff happen and create some concerts - itís pretty much underground.

Your bass player and drummer are also in the progressive band Aurora who have already released three full-length albums, any news concerning that band?
I donít really know whatís happening with Aurora right now. I consider them good friends, and they have made some great music, but itís really not my genre. Itís a mixture of melodic black and death metal, with very aggressive vocals - so itís pretty far from the Pyramaze material.

What are the future plans for Pyramaze at the moment? Any shows lined up? Have you started writing new material already?
We just got back from two shows in Minneapolis, which went really well. We have just been offered to go back to USA again in august to play a show with W*A*S*P and then tour a few major cities, and we are currently working on making that happen. NTS and Intromental are working on some gigs in Europe, but there are no news there yet. I will commence the writing for our new album late summer early fall, so we should have a release sometime next year.

Anything that I have forgotten to mention or some final words for our readers that you wish to add?
I just want to thank people for reading this interview. Please feel free to visit our homepage at www.pyramaze.com - and check out our album when it is released in Europe on May 31'Th, Iím sure it can be bought in a store close by :-))

Thanks a lot for this interview and best of luck for the future!
Thank you for the opportunity of answering these questions, itís highly appreciated.


Links of interest:

Pyramaze
Intromental
Nightmare Records
Toshiba-EMI Records