ANDY LA ROCQUE On New KING DIAMOND Music: 'As Soon As We're Done With A Couple Of Songs, We'll Probably Release Those'

January 13, 2024

In a new interview with Friday 13th Metal, KING DIAMOND guitarist Andy La Rocque offered an update on the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's long-awaited new album. Titled "The Institute", KING DIAMOND's first studio LP in 17 years is tentatively due before the end of the year via Metal Blade. It will be made available as a two-LP horror concept story, with the second part arriving at a later date. Andy said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "We have songs. I sent [KING DIAMOND's namesake frontman] like a bunch of songs a long time ago, actually. And we started working on that, with arrangements and such. And then the MERCYFUL FATE tour came in between, and they've been busy with that. And I think they're gonna be recording one or two singles with MERCYFUL FATE. But I talked to King just like a week ago, and he said that he was gonna be starting yesterday or something like that. So he's starting with setting everything up and he's gonna start to record the vocals for MERCY songs, and soon as he's done with that, we're gonna continue with KING DIAMOND. So we have songs; they just need to be a little bit arranged. And, of course, King has a lot of riffs and ideas in his head. So he needs to get that down to the computer and do some riffing and stuff. So we started it, but it's a long process to have it good and to have it the way we want it."

Asked if the KING DIAMOND album will in fact be a 2024 release, Andy said: "It's impossible to say. That's something you actually have to ask [King]. I really hope so. But as soon as we're done with a couple of songs, we'll probably release those. And that's all I can say."

Last October, KING DIAMOND released a music video for the 2019 single "Masquerade Of Madness". The clip, which was directed by David Brodsky and Allison Woest of MyGoodEye Visuals, can be seen below.

At the time of the video's release, King commented: "'Masquerade Of Madness' was released digitally in 2019 before our North American tour. During rehearsals, we took one full day to film 'Masquerade Of Madness' with David Brodsky and Allison Woest. We spent all day and all night recording while performing the song with our full tour stage show choreography. After the tour, Covid happened.

"The video was all but forgotten as the world came to a standstill — we never saw a single frame from all the footage. Years later, as things began to pick up and writing began for both new MERCYFUL FATE and KING DIAMOND records, we wondered, what happened to that video from four years ago? So we decided to check in with David Brodsky and a couple of weeks later, we had the first cut of the video.

"I was speechless! I had nothing to criticize and after just a few notes from Andy La Rocque, the video for 'Masquerade Of Madness' was finished! There's so much mood and black and white is used in a perfect way with Jodi's performances. The visuals fit the music flawlessly and this is now among my favorite KING DIAMOND videos along with 'Sleepless Nights' and 'Welcome Home' — and not to forget of course, our double live DVD."

A month after KING DIAMOND released "Masquerade Of Madness" in November 2019, La Rocque told The Metal Voice that he came up with the music for the track first before passing it off to King, who "needed to arrange a few things and change just a small few things for making it work with his vocals. And then, of course, he wrote the lyrics for it," the guitarist revealed. "So we [went] a little back and forth until he felt like, 'Okay, this is cool, man. This is the right key to sing in,' and all that."

Earlier in October, La Rocque spoke to "The Metal Podcast" about the progress of the songwriting sessions for the band's long-awaited new album. Titled "The Institute", KING DIAMOND's first studio LP in 17 years is tentatively due in 2024 via Metal Blade. It will be made available as a two-LP horror concept story, with the second part arriving at a later date. Andy said: "The last tour we did was in the U.S. And we jumped off that tour in December 2019. And that was right before the pandemic broke out. So since then we haven't been on the road — I mean, not a single show. We've been composing some songs and I've been trying to survive with bands in the studio, because that's what I do. When I'm not out with KING DIAMOND, touring and writing music for KING DIAMOND, I'm a music producer — mostly metal, of course, as you can imagine… I'm constantly working with things, you know, I mean, I'm writing riffs for KING DIAMOND all the time, and what does not fit for a KING DIAMOND song, it ends up like something else in my library of songs."

At the 2022 Bloodstock Open Air festival at Catton Park, Walton-on-Trent, United Kingdom, King spoke to Bloodstock TV's Oran O'Beirne about his plans for "The Institute". "Something with KING DIAMOND, we have a very special thing [planned] for that album," King said. "It's gonna be a two-album story. But KING DIAMOND, we are building something that you will never have seen on a stage before — not that way. And with the light guy, he's never done it that way either. … It's very different, very sick. You will not have seen musicians standing on stage in that type of light. It's gonna be very dark. They have to learn to play in dark areas. It's crazy. I know that our light guy, he can't wait for us to do it. I showed him some pictures that have the kind of feelings I want, the kind of backdrops I want, stuff like that. … This is gonna blow people's minds when they see it, I am a hundred percent sure."

La Rocque, whose real name is Anders Allhage, discussed his vision for the new KING DIAMOND album with The Metal Voice, saying that it will be filled with great "melodies, of course. Super important. Without melodies, there is no music," he explained. "I'm also envisioning a more organic sound of the album. If you look back to the older albums, when Mikkey [Dee] played [drums for the band], for example, it's, like, a little bit up and down in tempo, and that makes it dynamic and also organic. So that's one thing that I would like to hear on the next album, for sure. But building up a dynamic, kind of organic feel, the drummer is a really important thing here, of course. And I know that Matt Thompson [current KING DIAMOND drummer] is the right guy to do this, for sure."

In March 2019, King told Full Metal Jackie's nationally syndicated radio show that the next album from his namesake band will be "absolutely gruesome" with a story set in a 1920s mental institution. "I chose that because I think it's a very creepy scenario," he explained. "And some of the things that go on that we're gonna show onstage is also things that certainly was going on back then, when medicine was beginning to take a beneficial turn in history and actually being able to help human beings live longer. But there was some experimentation going on, too, that was absolutely gruesome. Some of that is involved in the story, but it's something totally different. Once you get to the second part of the story, you will begin to suddenly understand that, 'What the hell is going on here? What is this really about?' 'Cause there's a whole different story that will not come to you till second part. But in the first part, you're gonna get to know a lot people at a certain place… Some of it takes place here, this world, and some of it takes place in a parallel world. And there's a correlation between what happened to me and what happens to some people in this place and where they suddenly appear. And you will find out why they are there, how they appear there and the places down the road. I won't say too much right now, but it's gonna be very creepy."

KING DIAMOND received a Grammy nomination in the "Best Metal Performance" category for the track "Never Ending Hill" off the band's last album, 2007's "Give Me Your Soul … Please".

"Give Me Your Soul ... Please" sold 4,500 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 174 on The Billboard 200 chart.

KING DIAMOND released a DVD/Blu-ray, "Songs For The Dead Live", in January 2019 via Metal Blade Records. The set captures 1987's seminal "Abigail" album in its entirety, twice, and in very different locales: Belgium's Graspop Metal Meeting in June 2016 and Philadelphia's Fillmore in November 2015. The performances feature KING DIAMOND's current band, comprising of guitarists La Rocque and Mike Wead, bassist Pontus Egberg and Thompson.

Photo courtesy of Andy La Rocque's Instagram

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