German rockers Shylock released one of the "surprise hits" of 2007 and impressed us quite a bit with their updated sound. We asked about that and other things, and Hannes, the band's guitarist, took the time to answer!

Congratulations on the new album, it's a solid piece of work!
How was the writing and recording process compared to your previous albums?

Hannes: The writing process for “Devotion” was nothing special at all. It was the same procedure like the years before and so our leadsinger Matthias Schenk wrote all the songs by himself. After that we got the songs to the rehersal room and prepared some of them for the live shows. But about 50% were arranged at home by myself.

For the recordings we tried to figure out a new and effective way, because the last two albums cost a lot of money and we couldn’t afford to invest further thousands of Euros.

Finally we got in contact with Majo, a close friend of our booking agency, and we recorded the whole album under his guidance. So this was the reason, why “Devotion” took so long to be finished. We learned a lot about recordings and we are sure that this is the only way to keep our business alive.

I thought that some modern influences were pretty evident on the album.
Did you try to update your sound and style, or was it all "accidental"?

Hannes: We can’t deny some modern influences on the new album and I know that everybody in the band is happy about this development. First of all, the whole album depends on the songwriting. If the songs need a modernized sound, they should get what they deserve. We never wanted to write a “Pyronized” or “Welcome To Illusion” part two. I’m sure, that SHYLOCK has always been a band who can grow with every new album. But we never want to leave our trademarks behind. So, for me “Devotion” is a perfect mix between modern and traditional Hard Rock à la SHYLOCK….definitely not “accidental” ;-)

What kind of music do you listen to these days?

Hannes: These days I listen to all kinds of music. I’m a big fan of the new Scorpions album “Humanity Hour 1” or even the new Megadeth CD. But on the other hand I also listen to bands like Sunrise Avenue, At Vance or even The Corrs. Just a coloured mix of different styles. Steven (our bassist) is an absolute music junkie…he’s always totally up to date with all kinds of new releases. From Rock to Modern Rock, Heavy Metal or even Thrash…

You've announced that there will be no gigs this year. Now with the new
album out, it might be the ideal time tour right now. Are you sure that
you are not going to lose momentum by not supporting the album with live dates?

Hannes: Due to my current job obligations I had to cancel all our live dates for 2007. It was a very hard decision for me but I just don’t have the time to manage my job and Shylock till next year.

After the release of “Welcome To Illusion” we just had a quite similar situation. No tour, just some few gigs. And then, from 2005 till 2006, we catched up on everything, played in front of 20.000 people in Cologne, toured with Bonfire in Germany and Spain, etc... You see, sometimes you just have to wait and be patient ;-) And so I don’t think that we’re going to lose momentum.

Once you start playing live again, do you have something in the pipeline -
tours, support slots etc?

Hannes: Right at the moment we don’t have any special plans for a big tour or even a support slot. The only thing we know is, that we’ll be back on stage 2008. In the last few weeks, we got in contact with some festivals and bookers and I guess situation looks pretty good. More to come soon ;-)


Who'd be your ideal touring partner, if you were the support act?

Hannes: Uff, there would be many ideal touring partners: e.g. Bon Jovi, Scorpions, Gotthard, Axel Rudi Pell, etc… and I know we could fit on many tours musically. But that’s always a question of money and support. If you can’t invest thousands of Euros you just won’t get the chance to tour a lot. Sad but true!


You seem to have played a lot of shows with Bonfire. Why is that, do you
have a special connection to the band?

Hannes: Yes, we have some kind of special connections to the band. Back in 2002 we toured with Bonfire for the first time and the whole thing worked very well. After the success of our song “Farewell” (written for German soccer star Thomas “Icke” Hässler), Hans Ziller got in contact with our booking agency and he asked us if we were interested to tour with them again. Bonfire always treated us in a very, very good way and we have great respect for what they reached in music business. Really kind and awesome people and we are happy that we met.

I thought that some of your songs had serious hit potential. Unfortunately, it'd take a miracle for a band on an indie hard rock label to get a radio hit... so, that in mind, as a songwriter, have you ever considered offering your songs to some other artist, possibly on a major label?

Hannes: No, we never thought about that possibility. Although we have dozens of song ideas I guess we’ll never contact a major label only to offer our songs to other artists. If we might ever get a radio hit, then with the whole band called “Shylock”…and nothing else ;-) By the way, nowadays it’s quite impossible to get in contact with the major labels…they just want to increase sales and not to support a newcomer Hard Rock Band ;-(

A "classic question" as the last one: Shylock - where does that name come
from? The Shakespeare play?

Hannes: Yes, you got it. The name Shylock comes from Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice. So, I just want to thank you for your support and the interview. If anyone out there is interested in our sound and the songs please visit:

Interview by Kimmo Toivonen
(c) 2008 RockUnited.Com, 05 Feb 08