On 18th May, the new solo album of Peter Heppner (ex-WOLFSHEIM) appeared. This long awaited release is called ‘My Heart of Stone’. There is a wide diversity of themes on the album from children’s song to the song of a drug dealer. Shortly before the release, Peter Heppner gave us an interview and shared all the details about the new album.
Reflections of Darkness (RoD): What are you personal impressions of the new album? Do you like it?
Peter Heppner (Peter): I release something just what I 100% like. I am absolutely glad about my new record.
RoD: Were there any mistakes you’ve made working on your debut album, which you corrected on this one?
Peter: Yes. As I my debut recorded my familiars and friends gave me lot advices, and then I took the best ideas and afterwards I made the whole compositions, wrote texts and made arrangements as I found it right to do. This time I did it differently. I met two friends of mine, and we wrote music together. I found it better to be closer to it, to be there from the very beginning. And I think this is what I did better.
RoD: Why is the album called ‘My Heart of Stone’?
Peter: When the title showed up first, I found it weird; I thought it would a strange title, but still somehow interesting. By producing I noticed, that it plays a great role for me, I wanted to see if my heart became a stone, if it became harder meanwhile. My whole life I deal with very serious and sad themes. Somebody says because of this people become colder and harder in their hearts. But I came to conclusion that thank God, I didn’t change in my heart. I mean nothing changed in me, even after I became a father. And I’m glad I’m still able to feel that strong feelings, as earlier.
RoD: Who is the singer in the duo for the song ‘Deserve to be Alone’?
Peter: The singer on ‘Deserve to be Alone’ is Kim Sanders, she also worked a lot with SCHILLER, and in the beginning of this year she took part in a German Song Contest “Voice of Germany”. She is a good friend of mine - we know each other quite a long time - and it was kind of my dream to sing together with her. And I suggested it to Kim, because it would be stupid just to sit there and waiting for a good luck, if you have a dream, you should try to realize it. And this is exactly what I did, I wrote a song for her. She liked the song and we sang it together. And it was fun.
RoD: Tell about the kids edition of the song ‘Meine Welt’?
Peter: ‘Meine Welt’ sounds so as if it was a children-song. And I think it’s quite interesting, to make a song which is seem to be a children-song, but has serious content. And it was very cool that children of my familiars liked the song. And both girls asked me if they can sing along this song with me. I already thought about this too, and found it would be possible. We decided to give it a try. If the result wouldn’t be good, we would still have fun by doing it. And so it happened, and everybody was happy.
RoD: Recently it became popular to use children’s voices in songs, unfortunately sometimes the songs aren’t really for kids. What do you think about it?
Peter: I had to change the song text a bit, because I though the line “For love I’ll take the red color, and the hatred will be black as death” wouldn’t fit, because kids would never say something like this. The rest is ok, but this one is just not for children. And so the Kids Edition is perfect. But unfortunately I have to confess, that the original version isn’t really for children. I changed the text, because I didn’t want kids to sing something like this, more over they wouldn’t understand what they sing about. I find it very bad, when musician make children sing something they have no idea about, what the child will never sing itself. I did it my way, and I like the result I think as well as girls.
RoD: How come you wrote a song which sounds as a child’s song?
Peter: Children are always direct, you know. They always ask why, they have their own image of the good and they don’t lose some important things. The grown ups lose their dreams and goals. And if I am honest, that pisses me off. And I think it shouldn’t be so. I don’t mind that we should await of the paradise on the Earth tomorrow, but we should work on our dreams, so they come true one day and never give them up. Maybe somebody would call it naïve, like wishing a peace in the whole world, but it doesn’t stop me to wish it! And that was the reason to write a song like a child, who doesn’t get, why it doesn’t work.
RoD: Is it important for you to keep some childish part in your character?
Peter: Yes, it is quite important to keep some childish and playful things in your character. I don’t say, children do everything right, it’s silly. But it is important to be that way, so your heart is not going to be of stone. And I am happy, that I’m not that lost.
RoD: How did the idea of the song ‘God Smoked’ came?
Peter: ‘God Smoked’ was written for a biographical film of Howard Marks. He was a drug dealer, had something to do with marihuana. After he got in jail, he came somehow back to England, where he studied philosophy. He is a cult-figure in England. He has a radio-program, as well as he reads some lectures at music festivals. Besides the biography the director tells how he got to know Howard Marks and there are also a couple of videos in the film. The speech is not mine as well the song-title. It’s the documentary that’s called ‘God Smoked’. Unfortunately, the picture won’t be shown in cinemas.
RoD: There are some small instrumental pieces on the album. What for did you need them?
Peter: Together with Dirk and Lothar Mannteufel I wrote like 30 songs. It is much more, than there are on the album, and we wanted to show some more compositions, we’ve done. And so they came in between. But it doesn’t mean we can never complete them, we can use them all the time, so they won’t be small pieces but the whole songs.
RoD: Do your albums have concept?
Peter: If I have a good concept-idea, I would do it, but normally there’s no concept. I am open for everything. On this album, there is everything, what moved me through all of the past years.
RoD: Even some happy songs of yours sound quite melancholic. Is there any special reason for this?
Peter: I’m no party-singer, but I also won’t say I’m melancholic. I like to think, and my songs are full of thinking mood.
RoD: Don’t you feel sometimes, that you are a prisoner of your own reputation?
Peter: I am responsible for my reputation. But I wouldn’t call it reputation. There are some basic rules, which define my work, but it is what I think is right. I have some good music and good songs behind me and you call this a reputation, it doesn’t disturb me, but makes me happy.
RoD: You’ve created a lot of hits. Do you always think about creating a hit?
Peter: If I write a hit, I will be happy. But I never think of it, like I have to write a hit. More over, thinking about it would mean think about the past, how I did that hit in past. And so I would have to write new songs, based on the old idea. This is totally uninteresting for me. I’d like to look forward, what a great new song I could compose, what a meaningful lyrics I could write, how I could develop my music.
RoD: Do you want to communicate with people through your music?
Peter: For me it is important, that as much people get my music as possible. I don’t want to make complicated music or lyrics, so just some academics would understand them after they think about it for three weeks. I’d like everyone could understand my songs, but also think about it after they hear it.
RoD: Thanks a lot for your time and this interview.