Mikhall Myers - Slik Helvetika

July 19, 2005


Photo Credit: www.thegauntlet.com

You were in a band before Slik Helvetika called Destroyer. How long did that last?

Most of the late '80s and early '90s that was going on.

What kind of music did you guys play?

Hard rock/metal. Same type of genre.

When did you form Slik Helvetika?

About two years ago.

You kept one guy from your old band and two guys who were in a couple of other bands. Why did Destroyer break up and why did you decide to start Slik Helvetika?

Yeah, what happened with Destroyer is that we were getting looked at by some major labels right about the time that pretty much that whole genre of music got thrown in the trash can and all of a sudden the media started pumping everybody full of Nirvana and Pearl Jam. There were no more guitar solos and stuff like that. No record companies were interested in putting out records that were our style of music so we really couldn't do it for a career for a while. I didn't really want to be in a cover band. I really didn't want to start writing music just to follow a trend. I just went away, worked on writing songs, and worked in a little different career for a while. Couldn't continue doing it and not doing music eventually. I spent a lot of time writing and went in the studio and got session players and recorded all my songs. Then put the live band together after that.

You basically wrote all of the songs on here. How long did it take you to do the CD?

It took about two years. It did. I had to go in on evenings and weekends because I was working a full time job. Not able to be a full time musician. I had to go in evenings and weekends and just keep working on writing and going in. I knew it was going to take a while but I was patient with it and just wanted to make sure it was right and it was cool and it was the best thing I could possibly put out.

When you were writing the songs what was going through your mind?

I wanted to write music that I would like to hear.

That's always the best kind.

The kind of music that I would want to get up on a stage and play. Not like "gee, check out what's on the radio this week. Let's try to sound like that or them." In my mind I like stuff that has a decent amount of melody but also has a drive to it that motivates you. It's gotta do something to you. If it's just in the background, it's not making you tap your foot or not making you be aggressive or not making you really feel something, it's not worth doing. There are some different things that are in different directions on that disc. "September" is kind of a little cheesy ballad in a way but the words and the message in it are actually kind of cool.

I've noticed that you've got different feels on it and the songs are about different things. I got a kick out of "She Kills". Nobody writes songs about fucking anymore. I always appreciate a good song about fucking.

People don't anymore. They don't. In the late '80s and early '90s everybody was trying to be the same because that was the popular genre of music. Everyone wanted the same look and this and that because it was popular. It's not the most popular thing right now but it's the music that I like. I think to write a song about that, that is cool. The music is kind of sexy to start with. Why not write about that?

People write songs these days about being so pissed off and wanting to kill people and do weird shit. If people would fuck more, they wouldn't feel such anger.

You're right about that. It's one of the best things to do in the world so why not have songs about it?

I think that's a good idea. I was really pleased to find a song on here about fucking.

Yeah, good for you. I think even sometimes people who don't appreciate it laugh at it at least. It's so in your face and the lyrics are kind of funny. Some of the things that are said in there.

Most defintely. But it's most definitely about fucking and it even mentions it in the song.

It does. It's funny. Sometimes reviews in magazines and on the Internet actually quote some of the words from that song so I guess it's making an impression on people which is cool.

Yes, it is. It's probably the "fuck me, 69 me" lyric that they like the best.

Yeah.

I think that's healthy. What's "War Machine" about?

Well, "War Machine" is about war but it's more or less about the mental aspect of war. There are a lot of things about war that obviously aren't good. Anytime people are dying, it's not a good thing. It's not really about any particular person but it is in a way. It's about a particular leader who basically was so strong with the way he mentally approached everything. He took anybody that was weak and he took all these people and created an image of being one and of being powerful and all of a sudden everybody belonged. He could get them to go anywhere he wanted and do anything he wanted to do which in a way is a good thing but got out of control. It talks about how this person had the power. How the person had lifted all these people up but in the end, you got to question all of this. He might just kill you too. Basically he expended a lot of people's lives to go after his personal goals. I really haven't talked in any interviews about who it was about. I just danced around the subject.

I think when it comes to war, there are a lot of things you should question about it. I was in the military myself and I know that most of the people who get killed in these wars are innocents. I think we have to find a different way to deal with things.

Yeah and it's hard because basically we've been killing each other since the beginning of time. The human race.

Unfortunately. Another song I liked on here was "High On You". It's such an upbeat song. I think ballads are cool. People don't like to do those anymore.

Yeah, it's pretty interesting I think. What surprised me is some younger people are hearing it for the first time. 14, 15, 16 year old kids. A lot of them I ask what song is their favorite and I figured it would be something really heavy and tearing you apart. A lot of the young kids said "September" and I was really surprised. The other thing too is I guess the reaction that we would get by playing that song live was way stronger. I mean sometimes we'd play it. We'd go "I don't know if I want to play that and slow the set down by playing that" but we'd look down and everybody is singing along with it and everybody was really into it.

You have to have one cigarette lighter song.

I guess you do.

So everyone can pull out their cigarette lighters and be all cool and shit. I always love that when I go to see Poison or Motley Crue or somebody. There's always one cigarette lighter song. I think that's the good part. Let the sweat dry up a bit and then you can go rocking again.

There you go.

I also like "Swine". Anything about pigs is cool. What are some of your favorite songs on here since you've heard mine.

That's really hard to say. I think one of the nicest things about it was since I had time to write and I had written all the old Destroyer material so I owned all the rights to that and it never got really put out into the mainstream, so I had a lot of stuff in my back pockets and my front pockets. I had new songs and I had old songs. When I picked that CD, those are 13 or 14 songs out of about 40 songs so to narrow it down to those 15 and then go "oh, which ones are your favorites?" It's so hard to say. I absolutely love every song on there.

When you were in Destroyer, you guys didn't put out any CDs?

When we first came out and became fairly popular, we did an EP on vinyl that was released in Europe on Important Records distributed by Universal back in the day. It was on our own label. We were going to continue on and do a second one. We were starting to get looked at by some record companies and we were playing the Philadelphia area and a few bands were getting signed out of the area. Cinderella got signed, Britny Fox got signed, and basically we wanted to be in that mainstream shuffle but we were a little bit younger. Kind of coming up through and by the time we really got to where we needed to be, have the companies looking at us, was about the time that heavy metal just had saturated everybody for so long that the bottom fell out of the market. We never really got to go for broke and really put out the full blown album.

This is a combination of stuff that you wrote and stuff that you had.

Yeah, out of those songs, there are probably the demos. We recorded almost 30 songs for the CD. We figured out which ones we were going to put on this one and some of them were songs that were written a couple of years ago and some of them were songs that were written a month ago.

Have you guys been doing any gigs and if so, where at?

The interesting thing about it was, we were going to put the disc out. It was basically on our own label. It was going to be distributed and at that time, as soon as it came out, we were going to go out and really start hammering the clubs and get on whatever tour we could. We wound up going a little different route and the CD got pushed back. Right now it's going to come out on The Screaming Ferret label and it's going to be distributed by Navarre. Then it's going to be October so we did a few dates. We did the Louder, Harder, And Faster Festival in Allentown with I think there were 20 something national bands the whole weekend. We did that and then really we curtailed our playing until the CD is going to come back out actually for real.

It's not going to be out until October?

Yeah, we made a few changes. We changed the cover based on a little bit of feedback and I think we're going to start playing in September. I know we have a few local dates before anything else then we might hit the road. I don't know. The tour plans are kind of up in the air but I know we're playing with Krokus. Krokus is coming into our neck of the woods in September. We're doing a date with them. We're doing a local WNMR radio station sponsor tonight at The Grape Street. We're doing that in September and then October and November, we may actually do a full blown tour. I've got to see if the CD does well enough that it can support us doing that.

Are you back to doing music full time again?

We're in the crossover I hope. It cost a lot of money to do the disc which we did on our own. Was just me. I've got to hammer a job 9 to 5 every day to pay back the money for that CD.

You did a really good job on it.

Thanks.

Any other thoughts or comments?

We're really excited about this. This is what we keep coming back to because this is what we really want to do. The members that we have put together for this live band are really awesome too. Steve is the drummer and he played on all the studio stuff. The bass player was the bass player from Destroyer. The guitar player was in a band called Naughty/Naughty. He's awesome. He fits perfectly with us.

That's very cool and I'm glad to see songs about fucking.

I know. Me too. It really gets some great reactions. It's funny. Every once in a while parents get on me about it. "I don't know about that song." I said "well, if you're hating it, that means your kids are probably loving it."

I don't think people appreciate fucking enough anymore.

They don't.

Slik Helvetika