Interview with Guitar Great Michael Denner (Denner's Inferno, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate)

By Mick Michaels

COSMICK VIEW: Hello, Michael! Welcome to The Cosmick View. Thank you for taking some time out of your day to chat with me, it's greatly appreciated.

CV: Is guitar for you more than just a vehicle to create music?  Like the ancient samurai of feudal Japan, where the sword was considered part of the warrior's soul, is the guitar similar in respects to how you see the instrument and what it means to you?
Michael Denner: interesting perspective...there's a few Guitars in my collection which gives me the feeling of dealing with an extended part of my body and soul. And at the same time to bring it inside my music as an extra tool for special locations on selected pieces.

CV: Michael, as a songwriter, does the guitar provide an outlet to create and access ideas that you feel you normally would not achieve in its absence or with another instrument?
MD: Oh yes, the bulk of the work I've done well over the last 40 years is written solely on the guitar, but sometimes singing the idea, and even building a song or riff out of a drum rhythm can do the trick for me.

CV: Both the guitar and guitar playing have evolved over that the last 75 years. Evolution and change is a necessary component for anything to grow and sustain itself. Today, seven, eight and nine string electric guitars exist. Are such evolutions as these needed for the instrument to stay relevant or are they more of a gimmick approach to playing in your opinion? Do they really give the artist more in terms of songwriting ability and creativity?
MD: In a math music situation, it makes sense to add a 7th string for the players who think music compared to those who feel it...I consider myself very much in the ladder department.

CV: What do you feel is the allure of Heavy Metal music? Why do you think fans are drawn to it and remain so loyal more so than other genres?
MD: Metal is also a lifestyle, this matter can easily be the reason why fans stay loyal to this genre. The only comparison is the Hip Hop movement...also very much a much that the music itself plays a minor part as I see it...but I'm not into that genre so how do I know.

CV: What are your thoughts on veteran bands using pre-recorded material such as vocal and backing tracks in their live performances? Does it diminish the band's credibility while misleading the audience in any way as many critics have contended?
MD: The thing is that you use the tools you need to make the best you can do with your recordings. I mean, the most official live album you hear these days are overdubbed... but why release a live album if it's not authentic...for the money maybe?

CV: Artists are always looking for inspiration. Michael, in your experience, can inspiration be a contrived sort of thing, something artists can manufacture or conjure up when needed? Or is it truly a spontaneous, organic thing that happens when least expected it? How are you inspired?
MD: Inspiration comes naturally, and often when you're least expecting it. I'm very careful not to go deep into what other guitarists I admire do, I don't want their color in my own style. But it was not the case the first ten years of my that point I couldn't get enough of what the maestros did, and took all I could figure out from their style and placed it in my own.

CV: Denner's Inferno is a modern Hard and Heavy Rock band which seems to have transformed in sound from the prior progressive vibe heard in your previous project, Trickbag. Do you see changing musical writing styles as growth or more so as gravitating towards personal interests and tastes? Do writing styles come and go in cycles for an artist?
MD: The style of a band is always depending on who are there to play with you... this formation invites to do a more Heavy Rock orientated style compared to the Trickbag album, which I did with old friends not into Metal at all. This is a path I will follow on the next Inferno album...with even more original songs in a more Heavy Metal fashion...the new material on my working board points in that direction.

CV: Vocalist Chandler Mogel's voice brings a deep and haunting element to the music of Denner's Inferno. Did you know Chandler was the one when you first heard him sing?
MD: Chandler was suggested by my record company, and in a spit second I could hear his potential. He was easy to work it was a relief and a big barrier was overcome with having the right one to do the job on the vocalist side.

CV: Has Chandler's vocal abilities and style offered you more in the way of songwriting? Are you open to experimentation when it comes to songwriting...pushing your own boundaries?
MD: There will always be boundaries to cross if you are dedicated to music and curious as I am...but it's important that you somehow can feel in your heart what you are doing, compared to think and calculate what's best for your career...but this is just how I feel it should be.

CV: Michael, does songwriting define the artist or does the artist define the songwriting in your opinion?
MD: That's a hard question to differs from song to song, from time to time, and what's the purpose with the work you're up to at the present time.

CV: What can fans expect to see from Denner's Inferno in 2020?
MD: We will do some gigs...hopefully take a tour in Europe, and finally start the recordings of the next album after summer.

CV: Thank you again Michael for spending some time talking and sharing with our readers. It was a pleasure. I wish you all the best and continued success.
MD: My pleasure. All the best!

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My name is Mick Michaels...I'm an artist, music fan, songwriter, producer, dreamer and guitarist for the traditional Heavy Metal band Corners of Sanctuary. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me; what I couldn't say in speech, I was able to do with the written word.  Writing has given me a voice and a way for me to create on a multitude of platforms including music and song, articles, independent screenplays, books and now, artist interviews. The Cosmick View is an opportunity to raise the bar and showcase artists in a positive and inspirational light. For me, it's another out-of-this-world adventure.

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