Interview with Hansi Kursch and Jon Schaffer about Demons & Wizards
Taken from Rock Hard Magazine
(translated poorly from german by neil)

Hansi: The idea for the project came to us during one of Jon's stays in Europe. When he's here, he always visits us, so we sat one evening in my house and played guitar. Suddenly the idea spontaneously came to us to go to the practice room and write a song. Two hours later the track was done.
Jon: There was magic in the air. The chemistry was right immediately, and it was clear to us there that we'd have to be stupid to not use this enormous creative potential.
Hansi: Jon wrote the songs, while I took care of the melody lines and arranged the lyrical ideas. Afterwards we worked on the lyrics together. At the beginning I was already a little skeptical of whether this mode of operation would function over a distance of umpteen-thousand kilometers, but in the long run everything ran extremely relaxed - quite different than with Blind Guardian, haha.
Jon: Mark Prator, who drummed on the last two Iced Earth albums, played the drum parts, while I took care of bass, rhythm guitar, and some leads. The remaining leads and all the solos were done by Jim Morris (owner of the famous Morrisound Studios in Florida). He's not only an excellent producer, but also a fantastic guitarist with a lot of feeling. Unfortunately hardly anyone knows that.
Hansi: In the few weeks that I was over there I naturally got huge again. This time it was a full eight kilos.
Jon: I call that "Studio-Ass", haha. When you sit in the studio and listen to your recordings over and over again, it's not easy to lose any calories.

Thus the Wizard of both of you has had a little bit added...

Jon: So to say, haha. By the way, I find that the project name describes us rather well. We've toured Europe twice with Blind Guardian, and naturally we were constantly pulling each other's leg. It has something to do with the classic good vs. evil pattern. Blind Guardian is always grinning in their promo photos, while we usually look a little pissed-off. Then sometime my wife said "Demons & Angels", and I broke in there immediately with "Demons & Wizards", an old Uriah Heep album.
Hansi: In any case I'd much rather be a wizard than an angel. If it had stayed as "Demons & Angels", then I would have much rather been the Demon.
Jon: Hey, angels can also kick ass quite nicely.

Not only in the musical style do you combine the qualities of your two main bands.

Hansi: Right. They lyrics contain both our fantasy touch and the dark aspect of Iced Earth. "The Whistler", for example, tells the history of the Pied Piper of Hamlin from a rather different angle, and "Blood on My Hands" concerns itself with the Nibelungensage - a topic that I actually wanted to put on the last Guardian disc.
Jon: The cover of the disk is somewhat clearer compared to an Iced Earth painting. It looks somewhat comic-like, and is even made by the same people who did the artwork of our "Alive in Athens" boxed set.

What do your band members say about your side project?

Jon: Nothing, because this project will bring both bands additional publicity.
Hansi: The boys are always glad when they don't have to see me for a while, haha. During the Demons & Wizards production they already wrote songs for the next Guardian album. If I was there I would only be in the way.

Has your hearing problem been completely cured?

Hansi: Yes, I'm in top shape again. The illness also had nothing to do with amps being turned up to loud, but was caused only by stressful conditions. I try now to see many things more calmly.

What can we expect in the coming months from your main bands?

Jon: First I need to take a break, since I haven't had a vaction since my honeymoon five years ago. In February we will probably go into the studio to record the next Iced Earth disc. It will be a concept album which takes up the "Something Wicked..." storyline. Parallel to it I want to try to publish a comic book, which will be based on the album.
Hansi: Five songs for the next Guardian album are ready. If everything goes as planned we will begin with the recordings at the beginning of 2000. Possibly the album will then be out before the end of the year, but with us one never knows that so exactly, haha. Beyond that we already have seven or eight pieces for our orchestra project figured out, which we will sometimes record occasionally.