Audio restoration and mastering by Patrick W. Engel at TEMPLE OF DISHARMONY in March 2020.
Faithful Breath’s first album »Fading Beauty« was issued in 1974. At this point in time your music was influenced by krautrock, progressive rock and psychedelic music, would it be fitting to put it like this?
Heimi: “Yeah, that’s about right. After we had played Top 40 covers in dance clubs for what felt like eternity, we decided to pen our own songs. That’s how it all started.”
It took six long years for »Back On My Hill« to be released in 1980, why did it take so long?
Heimi: “We would have never had the money to release »Fading Beauty« in the first place. The record was financed by our friend and manager Boggi Kopec. After that we concentrated on playing live. Then the material for »Back On My Hill« was written. It was clear to us that we needed a vocalist for the new material. And Jürgen Renfordt was the guy. When the recordings for »Back On My Hill« were completed, the album was supposed to come out on new label called Aladin Records. They got the master tapes but nothing happened. We had to sue them to get back the tapes, but this took about a year. Finally the record was released on Sky Records and soon after this line-up collapsed.”
Was »Back On My Hill« the transitional album between your krautrock period and your later hard rock and metal phase?
Heimi: “No, I wouldn’t say so. ‘Keep Me Away’ was a transitional song but that was about it. The rest had nothing to do with our later material.”
How did your Viking image evolve? Who had the idea for it?
Heimi: “We thought that at the time all bands looked the same. Boggi and me invented our Viking image. We had great opportunities for the stage show with this kind of image. At first we designed the outfits, then we had the fur jackets, horns, helmets and what have you. It all evolved around 1983/84.”
I saw you quite regularly at the Quartier Latin club in Berlin at the time. Can you remember this club? These were legendary gigs...
Heimi: “Of course I can remember our shows at the Quartier Latin. We played there quite often and always had a blast. We were friends with the owner of the club. A lot of our friends had moved to Berlin to escape from national service, so we always met up at our gigs at the Quartier Latin. For some reason we only used to play Berlin in winter time. It was very cold. The run-down buildings, the Berlin Wall and the Brandenburg Gate looked even more depressing than usual. That’s why I have a special connection to Berlin.”
When you recorded »Gold ‘N’ Glory« in 1984, what kind of feeling did you have?
Heimi: “We were ready to go. We had inked a deal with Belgian label Mausoleum Records and were ready to take on the world. Very motivated.”
»Gold ‘N’ Glory« followed »Hard Breath« (1983), what were the main differences between the two records?
Heimi: “We had progressed with »Gold ‘N’ Glory«. We had learned a lot since »Hard Breath«, regarding playing and songwriting as well. Ah, well, and we got a new singer for »Gold ‘N’ Glory«. The old one just didn’t fit our style.”
How was the atmosphere in the studio? Was it an easy album to make?
Heimi: “»Gold ‘N’ Glory« was recorded by Michael Wagener and Udo Dirkschneider. It was great fun. It was very relaxed in the studio, a really nice atmosphere. Wagener did push me vocal wise but I did survive. I am still satisfied with the record today.”
The title track “Gold ‘N’ Glory” went down a storm live back in the days, same as “King Of The Rock”, these were tunes especially written for the live situation, right?
Heimi: “»Gold ‘N’ Glory« was selling really well and when the fans sing along with us, playing live is even more fun. ‘Gold ‘N’ Glory’ and ‘King Of The Rock’ were written for the stage, that’s right, expecting the fans to sign along with us.”
“A Million Hearts” was your attempt at a ballad, wasn’t t? If I remember correctly, it was also issued as a 7” single.
Heimi: “Not a lot of commercial radio stations were playing heavy metal back then. Unless you had a ballad. And when you were played on the radio, your name was getting more popular and you sold more records as a direct result.”
The album was issued by Mausoleum Records. How did the label treat you? Any problems?
Heimi: “We had a good relationship with Mausoleum. Our manager Boggi Kopec got along well with Alfi Falkenbach and Stonne Holmgren. They had financed the recordings and after we had paid for the studio costs, we were earning money from record sales. Mausoleum did not rip us off, they stuck to the contract, we did not have any problems with them whatsoever.”