Interview with bass player Heiko Spaarmann, Poverty's No Crime (September 25th 2007)


How has the response been on your new album “Save My Soul” and what kind of expectations do you have for it?

Poverty’s No Crime – The reactions have been overwhelming so far. We even received personal mails from journalists who have been following the band over the last few years writing how much they like the album. Especially from the US we received very positive reviews and statements. It is interesting though that we are constantly compared to Dream Theater in the States. However, maybe that is because there are not so many progressive bands known to many people besides Dream Theater. We do not try to sound like them and I personally don’t think we sound like them at all but it does make you smile if people write that they think “the new one from Poverty’s no Crime is better than the new one from Dream Theater”. This is pretty much the last thing you think about when you write songs or record an album.

Most important for us is that the fans like the new material. People who have been into our music already before this album will find all the typical Poverty’s No Crime elements also in "Save My Soul", especially the atmosphere, the melodies and riffs. Others might become interested as well as we added a little bit more metal to our sound. 

Four years has passed since your last album 'The Chemical Chaos', why did it take so long for you to get this new one out, and don’t you consider it a risk to take such a long break?

Poverty’s No Crime – First of all it was not really intended to have such a long break since the last album "The Chemical Chaos". There were several reasons why it took us so long with the new album. The main reason was due to health issues within the band. Right after the release of the last album, Volker had to pause from the band for more than a year. Plus, there were some positive changes. Marco, Andreas and Volker got married and became fathers in the meantime. Those things are obviously time consuming and that made the creation process for "Save My Soul" a bit longer than it should have taken.

Considering the circumstances there was never really a chance to act differently. Of course after four years you start thinking if anyone out there in the world might still remember the band and still like the music as there are so many new bands and styles coming up all the time. Considering the very positive reactions for the new album now, luckily, that break doesn’t seem to have caused huge problems for us.

If you should choose one song on the new album, which represents the essence of Poverty’s No Crime, which one would that be…

Poverty’s No Crime – I would pick the song ‘In the Wait Loop’ as an example for what Poverty’s No Crime stands for. That song has all the elements that are typical for our music: First of all a strong melody, a progressive approach, hard riffing and a slightly complex structure. 

If you had to describe your music to a complete musical ignorant – what would you tell him? I have used the term progressive metal, a very used term, which to some extend is fitting, but I still feel there is much more to it than just that…

Poverty’s No Crime – We also used to refer to our music as ‘melodic concept rock’ or ‘melodic concept metal’ which might be as blurry for some people as the term ‘progressive metal’. However, this points out that there is not so much the progressive attitude to our music that implies for some people the use of complexity for the sake of it. We are writing songs which should not be complex as most important aspect. The most important thing to the music is the flow and the melody, the expressions of emotions. Complexity and progressiveness is something that comes along automatically. 

How important is the lyrically side of Poverty’s No Crime – and what has inspired you on this album?

Poverty’s No Crime – The lyrics make a song ‘complete’. They are adding the last bit of emotion to a song and are an extra bit of intensity in the melody lines of the vocals. However, for us the lyrics are always the last thing to be written before recording an album. The lyrical theme of Save My Soul drives mostly from the hard times the band has been going through after the Chemical Chaos album. It was mostly due to the health problems in the band and the problems that caused – not only for the band. However, finally we made it again and released an album. So, for every hard time you are going through, there are always better times to come and that is pretty much the message on this album in a nutshell. 

Tell us a bit about the album art work; was the idea to keep it simple?

Poverty’s No Crime – The cover artwork plus the booklet layout was made by Volker. The cover looks more like a metal cover than like a progressive rock cover. It was more to make a statement and to attract attention with a striking theme: ‘Poverty’s No Crime is back as a band, still alive and still making metal music’.

The artwork itself is a collage from the picture of a stone figure’s head, Volker’s eyes and some water and fire effects. Not so much more. 

The production is very good, who produced and mixed the album? I really like the production of the bass guitar on the album, a thing many bands seem to neglect…

Poverty’s No Crime – Thanks for that! Good to hear that, especially for me being the bass player *smile*.

The album was produced together with Tommy Newton, the guitarist of Victory who has been working as a producer for bands like Angra, Ark, Redemption, Helloween, U.F.O. or Gamma Ray. We think a did a great job especially on his recent productions so we just asked him if he wanted to work together with us and he did. He managed to conserve a great deal of the ‘fresh’ sound we have when playing live onto the CD. We enjoyed working with him very much! 

How did you get the name Poverty’s No Crime, and is there a story behind it?

Poverty’s No Crime – The story behind the name is quite simple. When starting the band there was the obvious need for a name. The name was supposed to be timeless, not being connected to a certain kind of music. After discussing several possibilities someone came up with an English phrasebook. That’s where the name ‘Poverty’s No Crime’ is taken from. It is not just a name but also a statement, even though the name might sound a bit odd. 

What do you consider to be the biggest accomplishment for you and Poverty’s No Crime, not necessarily sales wise?

Poverty’s No Crime – The fact that we can play music together for such a long time without major conflicts in the band is one of the biggest accomplishments to my opinion. We are still not tired of each other and not tired of the music we play. There are always new things to discover personally and music wise. That holds the band together. 

What are the strengths and where can Poverty’s No Crime improve?

Poverty’s No Crime – The cooperation within the band is one of the biggest strength I would say. We all get along very well. There is an unspoken ‘job-sharing’ for all activities besides the music. As we have no manager or booker and take care of everything on our own it is very important that this is running smoothly.

When it comes to things that could be improved, I would name the marketing of the band. As I just said, we are taking care of everything ourselves and that is working out quite good. With professional assistance this could be further improved. Especially regarding the limited amount of time we have to spend on band activities besides jobs and families. What we can do ourselves is working out good, however someone dedicated to the management would do better I guess.

What immediately tasks lay ahead of you, any touring plans?

Poverty’s No Crime – There was actually a tour planned with Vanden Plas and Serenity. However, that one was cancelled on short notice. So we are trying to put some dates together for spring 2008. Without any details fixed yet.

Name an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your life … and why?

Poverty’s No Crime – Talking about music and the band I guess the event that made me starting to play bass guitar is one of the most important thing here. My decision to become interested in Rock music and Metal started when I was quite young and stayed at a friends place. He was a couple of years older than me and had a huge Dio - Holy Diver poster above his bed. That was impressing to me at that time. We listened to some Dio records and I was ‘infected’. Actually the first album I bought some years later was "The Last In Line" by Dio and that incredible heavy sound made me wanting to play that kind of music myself so I started to play bass guitar. 

Give me your shot at some albums you’d rip for your iPod if you were to be sent to the MIR space station tonight…

Poverty’s No Crime - Unfortunately I don’t own an iPod *smile*. However, I would take some CDs with me which I have in my CD changer in the car right now. These are Pink Cream 69 – In10sity, Redemption – The Origins of Time, Heed – The Call, Lost Horizon – A Flame to the Ground Beneath, Threat Signal – Under Reprisal, Katatonia – The Great Cold Distance.

Which album(s) have put a big smile on your face and has made you bang your head in the past year?

Poverty’s No Crime – The album Under Reprisal by Threat Signal is one of my big faves from the last few months!

I thank you very much for participating in this interview and sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last lines are entirely for you. Any final words you would like to round off with?

Poverty’s No Crime – Thanks for your interest in the band and your support! For everybody who is interested in our music I just want to point out that the only way of supporting us as a band is physically buying our CD or getting it via legal download (iTunes etc.). Ripping, filesharing or fileswapping is definitely NOT helping us. So if you like the music – buy it! That’s highly appreciated.

Interviewed by Kenn Jensen.


Poverty's No Crime - Save My Soul

Album available on InsideOut Music.

For more info on Poverty's No Crime - click on the album cover.