Chimp Spanner – By: Gordy Flannigan

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Gordy – Greetings Jim, I wanted to start off by saying that I’m a huge Chimp Spanner fan and would like to thank you for agreeing to take the time out of your busy schedule to conduct this interview with me.
Jim – No worries, Gordy,  happy to do it!
G –  For those who have never heard Chimp Spanner’s music, how would you describe it and what have been your main influences as a guitarist; both in the beginning of your development on the instrument and your influences currently?
J – I’d describe Chimp Spanner as eclectic, but tastefully done. There’s tons of influences swimming about, from almost unidentifiable, subtle jazzy licks to big, aggressive polyrhythms with time signatures that can sometimes seem like they have been picked out of a hat at random! Before Chimp Spanner was even on my radar I was big into tech metal and prog – stuff like The Human Abstract and Protest The Hero to stuff I picked up from my Dad – Pink Floyd, Roger Waters etc, so I feel like I was of the right mind to tackle this kind of music!
G – How long has the band been around  and how did you come to be a member? Pretty good gig I would imagine!
J – Chimp Spanner as an entity has been around since about 2004 when the first album, Imperium Vorago was self released by Paul [Ortiz, writer and founder of Chimp Spanner]. Paul and I actually started working together on a project named Blessed Inertia, with the idea that we’d be able to take it live, as back then Chimp Spanner was just a guy writing albums in his home studio. Little did we know how the band would evolve!
G –  I just became aware of your endorsement with Strictly 7 Guitars and saw that they have designed and created ( with your input ) the JMH7 Signature Series, made with your exact specifications! How did that opportunity come about and what was the process like? And are you pleased with the finished product?
J – The deal with Strictly 7 Guitars came about through my good friend Ola Englund.  He put my name forward to Paul De Maio over at S7G and made him aware that I was shopping around for a new company to work with. De Maio saw working with me as a great opportunity for both Chimp Spanner and S7G, and I definitely agree! The design, or should I say, spec-building process consisted of tons of emails spanning a few months between me and Paul De Maio. To be honest I knew what I wanted in a guitar before I realized that what I wanted just so happened to be pretty much what everyone else wanted too! As of writing this, I actually don’t have MY guitar with me yet, but it’s well underway at the moment and I plan to have it from 2013 onward.
G – A lot of bands are playing 7 string, even 8 string guitars these days and I was wondering what your thoughts are on the advantages of going with a 7 string guitar verses a 6 string and was there a learning curve there in making that transition?
J – There was definitely a learning curve – anyone will tell you the same thing. And then even more so, I’d say, from 7 to 8 strings. 8 string guitars are different, as I think that’s where you’ve really got to start thinking about the rest of your rig above and beyond just longer scales, wider necks and thicker strings. You need to be aiming for as much definition and clarity as possible in your tone – that kind of comes naturally when you’re playing ‘ordinary’ guitars, so people don’t give much thought to why their 8 string guitars sound like mush with their old settings (or in our case, patches). It really takes a lot of consideration to get everything right.

G –  How is life on the road and what do you do on your downtime and for entertainment when you are touring?
J – Touring is fantastic, I love it. I basically quit life as I knew it (steady job, comfortable income) to tour last December with Cynic, and I don’t regret it at all. Prior to that tour I’d gotten used to van tours – sleeping wherever I could physically fit my body, being thankful whenever we hit a venue with a shower and taking on a strict diet of ‘drive-thru’ cheeseburgers – but it was still my favorite thing to do. Downtime on tour is a LOT of waiting around! But it gives us a good chance to hang out with the bands we tour with. As a band we still have got a lot to learn, so hanging out is very important!

G –  I understand you are currently busy writing and rehearsing the material for the new album! How is that progressing along and what can fans expect to hear from the band this time around?
J – The new album’s going great! Over the past 6 months we have revisited a lot of material that’s been put aside from previous recording sessions, picked the strongest stuff and blended it as much as possible with new stuff. Not to say the older stuff is not strong material, but we don’t want to be released 3-disc, 4 hour albums! We feel blending the old with the new gives the sound a nice anchor point – it almost gives things a ‘vintage Chimp’ vibe, you could say!
G –  Are you involved in the writing process or is that primarily Paul Ortiz’s responsibility?
J – The writing process is entirely Paul, but the material is constantly being run past us so when songs are finalized,we can simply piece together the bits we already know. That saved a lot of time during the rehearsing of the recent EP All Roads Lead Here, which we now routinely play live in it’s entirety. The idea to have us involved in the writing process was floated when we first formed as a live band, but I am such a big fan of what Paul does and he’s tons better at writing music than I am, so I personally really didn’t want that to change. I’m involved in my own ways – I’ve been booking us a few shows here and there and I’m currently transitioning to being in control of the social networking side of the band, so, I’m sorry to say, you guys on Facebook are normally talking to me these days!

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G – When can we expect to see the completion of the album and when and where will it be available?
J – The album’s release is aimed at the first quarter of 2013, and it will be available EVERYWHERE! Online on iTunes and Amazon, physical copies also from Amazon, and it will be distributed in the United States by our label Prosthetic and the rest of the world by Basick Records. Keep your eyes locked on the Basick Records Facebook page as I’m sure there’ll be some songs streaming for free.
G – How was the name Chimp Spanner chosen and does it have anything to do with the movie the Lawn Mower Man?
J – Lawn Mower Man? That’s the first I’ve ever heard of that being a reference! I believe the band name came from Paul needing a name in double quick time for either a college project or something similar, and just chucked a few words together after listening to some Foo Fighters.
G – Have you ever watched the movie the Lawn Mower Man?  If not, you should as it is awesome!
J – I’ll add that to the list!

G – Do you have any immediate plans for touring once the album is released? If so, where do you plan to tour and who with?
J – We have plans, options, details of people to get in touch with – all sorts. We’re intending to hit Europe, for sure, and the response from the recent Intrinsic 2012 tour with The Contortionist was so incredible that we feel we need to hit North America again as soon as we can. We really need a nice, long tour, as we have done a fair few one-off shows this year, and I miss being able to get into that pocket of being 3 or 4 shows into a tour.
 G –  You guys are very heavy, very technical, yet you have a beautiful melodic sound to your music that puts you head and shoulders above anyone else out there on the scene today! What are some of the metal bands that you enjoy listening to and if you could put your dream list together of bands you would like to tour with, who would be on your list?
J – I absolutely fell in love with Cynic when we toured with them last year – we all get post-tour blues, that’s usual, but I massively miss listening to that band being absolutely incredible every single night, non-stop for 3 weeks. As I mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of tech metal music, so THA and PTH will make an appearance again on this list alongside my good friends in No Consequence, who are without a doubt one hell of a monstrous group of musicians. I grew up listening to the likes of Metallica, Fear Factory, Chimaira, Strapping Young Lad, Machine Head.. all that good stuff that pretty much defines the foundation of Heavy Metal music. Ideal bands to tour with? It’d have to be Devin Townsend for me. That man is undoubtedly a genius. Then, of course, there’s Meshuggah. They’re just so tight live that I can’t even begin to imagine the things they could teach us about being a live band and putting on a hell of a show.
G –  Given the degree of technical proficiency that are present in your songs, are there any songs that are so difficult to play that you almost dread performing them, due to the degree of skill and concentration it takes in pulling it off live?
J – There’s actually two songs off the second album, At The Dream’s Edge that we don’t yet perform live: ” Terminus” and “Far From Home”. “Terminus” has recently been reworked and tweaked a little bit, so we’re really hoping that will happen at some point soon. One of the hardest songs we play live used to be “Under One Sky”, but now that’s a song that doesn’t even  phase us. The groove in “Dark Age of Technology” means that you’ve really got to stay on top of it, as soon as you lose it there’s no coming back! Then there’s ‘that’ middle section in “Cloud City”.  I’ve never learnt anything like that before, so I’m not ashamed to say that it took me an age to get it tight!

G – Paul is one of the best guitar soloists on the planet! How does it feel to be part of a band with such skilled musicians and how the hell did Paul get that good? It almost seems to be beyond human ability, the level of playing that is present in your music! And you are pretty damn accomplished yourself Jim!
J – Paul’s definitely next level. Working with him in the past was always a completely different experience.  I’d occasionally jam with people and come to see that they’re just not getting up to speed with what I’m trying to accomplish. In my first writing experience with Paul, we wrote a pretty fast, technical metal song. I’d come up with most of the riffs in my own time, and seemingly played them to Paul once before he’d began double-tracking guitars into Cubase. That level of complete understanding of what’s going on, and that ability to absorb what someone else is telling him is what sets him apart. Then he wrote a mean shred solo off the cuff.. And double tracked that, too. I think Paul started at an early age as a pianist, and took up guitar later. All I can think of is that he maybe had a head-start in the dexterity department.. But there’s no denying he’s an amazing musician and instrumentalist. Being a pianist is where his natural ability to trigger a full drum set from a keyboard comes from. What will really make you sick is that he can play actual drums, too. In fact, he plans on tracking the drums himself on the next album! The trickiest part of joining the band for me was learning Paul’s nuances as a composer. 50% of ‘doing it right’ was getting my head around how he does things. I’ve always had a natural head for timing and groove, so that helps a lot with all this complex music!
G –  Do you listen to artists such as Greg Howe, Guthrie Govan, Frederik Thordendale, Frank Gambale, Shawn Lane, etc…? If so what is your feelings on these types of artists, as they are similar to what you guys are doing in Chimp Spanner?
J – Guthrie Govan is actually from the same town I am. Before he joined Dizzee Rascal’s touring band, he performed every Thursday night at a small bar in Chelmsford, Essex. Of course, my luck being as it is, I found out he’d done that AFTER he joined Dizzee! So I never saw him, unfortunately. It’s hard to say that guys like Greg Howe and Shawn Lane are doing similar to what we’re doing as we hold those guys in such high regard that we’re too humble to even mention them in the same sentence as us. If our fans want to make that connection then that’s great.

G –  Any chance you guys may team up with Jeff Loomis or Intervals and come to Ohio (my home state) for a show sometime in the near future?
J – We’d love to! I’ve only recently discovered Intervals, as Aaron Marshall and I are both endorsing Strictly 7 Guitars. Those guys are fantastic! I also finally met Jeff Loomis in person at this year’s Euroblast Festival in Cologne, Germany (this past October). He’s an amazing guy, we bonded over German Burger King breakfast! I’d been a fan for years, so it’s great that meeting him wasn’t disappointing!
G – And this question is a little off topic ( ok… alot off topic ) but what are your thoughts on the current state of affairs and world events, both in your own country which is the U.K and here in the U.S.A?
J – If I’m completely honest, I stopped taking an active interest in current affairs a few years back. It’s not that I avoid major tabloid news (I actually treat it more like a soap opera), but I see no point in using up any more of my precious time on this planet to pay any attention to an institution that I believe to be inherently corrupt and biased. But we’ll save that for another interview, maybe!
G – Any final thoughts or anything you would like to say to your fans or to anyone who has not heard your music who are metal fans and fans of shred instrumental music? I feel they would love it and for the record, you guys are currently my favorite band on the planet! And that is saying something as I have over 2,000 CD’s in my personal collection ranging from Jazz, Funk, Fusion, metal and 70’s era top 40!
J – That’s very humbling to hear, man! I’d just like to ask people who haven’t heard us yet to check the band out! It’s fairly different from most other bands that we’re associated with – maybe you’ll like us more!
G – Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule and making yourself available for this interview, Jim! Best of luck to you and I can’t wait to hear the new album!
J – Thanks a lot, Gordy!

www.chimpspanner.com/
http://www.facebook.com/chimpspanner

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qz53Y0LaNus

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Leaves’ Eyes (By: Lisa R. Rosner)

 

Hi Liv! I want to tell you that I am really looking forward to hearing the new album! Also, a couple friends of mine had a few questions they wanted me to ask you, so I will start off with those. (These are from my friend, Chad Boyd) :
1.) When will the U.S. tour start? Will you be headlining?
Liv: I hope this Autumn. Check out our homepage for news concerning shows in your near surroundings! A North-American, a South-American and an Asian tour are being planned right now.

2.)  Are you looking forward to touring with your sister’s band, Midnattsol? Any chance of the two bands bringing that tour to the U.S.?
Liv: I just arrived from our European tour, and I am now looking forward to further shows and tours. In April we toured with my sister Carmen’s band Midnattsol, and then in May we joined Tarja Turunen. Wow! Both tours were full of magic moments when “the ladies” get together! I am so proud, having my sister next to me on stage. I really wish we could do so in the U.S. as well!

3.) Does your son always come with you and Alexander on tours?
Liv: Sometimes my family joins me on tour.

4.) What was it like to duet with Dani Filth of Cradle of Filth on their album Nymphetamine? Would you do it again?
Liv: Of course! We were even nominated for the Grammy. Dani and I get along very well. I just knew what he was searching for in my voice instantly. I really love our duet.

5.) Are you planning on any other duets with anyone in the near future? Who would you most like to sing a duet with, if you could?
Liv:  I would like to sing with Tarja Turunen, with my sister Carmen/Midnattsol, and with Maite/Elfenthal! I am still dreaming about singing with Ozzy some day; my hero!

6.) (These next two are from my friend, Catherine Swanson) Are you really into Asatru as your music suggests, or do you sing it out of a cultural drive?
Liv: Hi Catherine! I just let the music itself inspire me. I’ve been interested in Nordic and Celtic history and mythology since I boarded school. You’ll find Froeya, three-headed trolls, vampires, ghosts, witches, Viking traveling on sea, Viking ladies mourning, and of course many images from the Norwegian harsh weather and wild nature landscapes. I guess there is some homesickness towards Norway in my lyrics. Actually, it’s more than obvious that I miss my home country.

7.) Who makes all of your amazing dresses?
Liv: I had different designers, however, I always have a clear mind about what I would like to wear. I pick up different influences or pieces of clothes on the internet as well, like the woman’s armor I am wearing on my Celtic dress on this tour. If I have the time, I sit down and sew myself.

8.) (The rest of the questions now are mine.) What are some of your expectations with the new album and what was the most challenging part of putting together Meredead?

Liv: For the production of  Meredead it was highly important to us that each song had its own ‘face’, individuality and perfect, crystal clear sound to strengthen the emotional effect. We just let the music inspire us to add new and interesting ‘spices’ to our music, like pipes, nyckelharpa (Swedish folk instrument), the fiddle, cello, classical orchestra or the flute. That’s what makes the album that diverse and exciting as you discover a different story, different instrumental combinations, different ways of singing even in various languages in each song. The critics have been absolutely amazing so far. The live appearances we just did were very energetic with a fantastic audience! It feels like something wonderful is happening. If I am able to touch the hearts of my fans and friends with our art, I am incredibly happy!

9.) There is a bonus track on Meredead entitled “Sorhleod”, which version(s) of the CD will that be available on?
Liv: That’s for the special edition. That track is actually one of my favorites.  It’s really worth listening to.

10.) The topics of Viking and Norwegian history/literature has been a mainstay with Leaves’ Eyes. But what inspired the Irish songs on the new album? And what about the ones that will be written in the Old English style?

Liv: Concerning my lyrics, if I chose a theme from Nordic mythology, I would include Norwegian lyrics. It was very intimate to sing in my mother tongue Norwegian, it makes the lyrics even more emotional and personal. Singing in Old-English meant digging my nose in my Old-English grammar books once again. However, I am very interested in historical languages,which I also studied. I think that Old-English has a very special ‘sound’ phonetically. However, the Irish-inspired songs on the album are also sung in modern English, so the Old-English style is ‘independent’from the theme(s) in my lyrics, actually.

11.) Tell about the DVD that comes along with the limited edition CD. And what was it like being a part of  The Metal Female Voices Fest?
Liv: MFVF is always something special for us, as we’ve been present almost every year. We are the headliners this year as well, and I am really looking forward to it!

12.) Any particular song(s) that stand out as having any extra special meaning to you personally? What are they and why do they stand out?
Liv: I’d rather pick some from each production: I would suggest “Norwegian Lovesong” and “For Amelie” from the Lovelorn album, the ballad “Leaves’ Eyes” from Vinland Saga, the epic track “Fröya’s Theme” from the Njord album, “Meredead”, “Sigrlinn”, “Sorhleod”, “Empty Horizon”  and “Tell-Tale Eyes” from Meredead. It’s just a feeling I have which I cannot explain.

13.) Lyrically, you seem to be a very adept story teller. Have you ever considered writing any novels and/or short-stories on the side?
Liv: Well, I actually did this already in secondary school. Some were printed in the local paper. I’ve kept some of them, though not everything. I would love to write and publish a book of stories and poems for children. Some day I will have the time. My son gives me the biggest inspiration! Being a mum is the greatest gift in my life and the best thing that happened to me.

14.) You said you created the word. “Meredead” and that it means something on the order of  ‘dead by/in the sea,’ or ‘the mortal or killing sea.’ The CD cover depicts a beguiling woman rising from the water. Is the theme behind all that akin to or inspired by the Sirens of Greek mythology?
Liv: We are very pleased with the cover and the booklet’s artwork! Many people already asked me why I’m not on the album cover of Meredead. I think  I look too ‘sweet’ and ‘angel-like’ for the album. The title means ‘dead by the sea’, or ‘the deadly sea’, as you pointed out. She represents both the beauty of the sea and at the same time the dangerous ocean! I think the girl on the cover is really beautiful, and I absolutely love the artwork of Stefan Heilemann! I am going to ask Stefan if I can meet her some day, hehe! To be honest, I did not have Greek mythology in my mind, however, it could make sense, you are right!

15.) What can you tell fans about your album, Melusine? (What does the title mean and what are some of the songs about, etc?)
Liv: Melusine  is an EP of Leaves’ Eyes following Meredead. You will find the title track “Melusine”, “Battle of Maldon” from the Njord-Era, “Legend Land” in acoustic version, all fresh recorded, and another version of “Tell-Tale Eyes”, featuring my friend Anette Gulbrandsen. “Melusine”, the brand new track, has more of the dialogue of the beauty and the beast, and it is incredibly heavy and straight into your face! “Melusine” is based on a female character found  in Celtic mythology. The theme is a mermaid’s passions for the sea, although being married to a “normal” human being. One day a week she takes a bath, secretly; the other six days a week she his wife. One day he discovers her secret,  that she is a mermaid, and bans her forever.

16.) Do you do anything special to take care of your voice, especially while you are on the road? (You sing so beautifully.)
Liv: Aw, thank you very much. I have been singing since I was a little girl, even before I was able to talk. It just comes natural to me, moreover, I have gathered a lot of experience during my 17 years of recording albums and singing on different stages all over the world. What I do before a show is simple: Put on lipstick, put on my dress, sing a few tones for two minutes, do 25 push-ups, drink some ginger tea. That’s all. It takes about 12 minutes.

17.) I know this is kind of old, but you were a part of Daniele Liverani’s Genius Rock Opera: Episode 2 album. Did you get to meet and personally work with Liverani or any of the other guest musicians on that CD? Also, what did you think of the storyline and of your character role on that CD? Did you have fun doing that? How did your invitation for participating on that come to be?
Liv: We didn’t meet for that project, unfortunately, but I really love the result and I appreciate him asking me to sing on that album! It was a great experience!

18.) I understand that you are a vegetarian. I have recently become one myself,  after all the research I have done on  factory farming. I was wondering if you always have been a vegetarian and what are your reasons for being so? Are they for health reasons or for animal rights reasons?
Liv: That just came naturally. When I was little I even avoided meat. I just don’t feel comfortable eating meat. My whole digestive system goes on strike and I feel very tired and mentally ‘weak’. I can’t explain it, though. However, you should do what your inner voice tells you. I even avoid dairy products because I get terribly sick from milk. Believe me, you don’t miss anything if you stay away from meat or dairy products. I run marathons and push more iron at the gym than many guys.

19.) You seem like you are very busy and continuously involved with music.  During your rare free moments, what do you like to do for fun and to relax?

Liv: True, I guess I was born with a hyper-active artistic mind. I can’t stop thinking music. However, I always dreamed of having my own family, moreover, becoming a singer. Both dreams have come true! I consider myself to be very lucky. I have a very strict plan: When I work: I work very, very hard and non stop! When it is family time, I am ONLY there for my family. In between I do a lot of sports, especially running, yoga and fitness. Sometimes, on stage, I keep singing my lyrics at the same time as I am thinking about my dear ones at home. That’s multi-tasking!

20.) What would you like people to know the most about Leaves’ Eyes and the new CD, Meredead? Any other closing comments about anything you would like to add? (Thank you so much, Liv! I saw you when Leaves’ Eyes opened for Blind Guardian quite awhile back in Cleveland, Ohio. It was a great show. I definitely hope to see you again on your next tour. Best wishes to you!)
Liv: All the best for you, your family and your friends! I hope to see you all in the autumn in the US! Thank you for always being there for me and my band!

Wykked Wytch – By: The Kibitzer

Interview with The Ultimate Wytch Ipek

By The Kibitzer

1.     Thank you, Ipek, for joining us and giving us some of your time to talk about Wykked Wytch and your latest release The Ultimate Deception! You have a lot of things going on,    especially with the new CD and Wykked Wytch will be supporting the Soulfly 15th Anniversary Tour: MAXIMUM CAVALERA with SOULFLY, INCITE, LODY KONG. How’s everything going with both the new release and the tour?

Ipek – Yes, we have so many things going on, right after our new album was released 2 months ago, we landed a month long tour with Soulfly. As you are reading this, we just completed the tour. It was awesome! We had a great time and made many new fans and met up with the old loyal fans around the country.

2.     Wykked Wytch has been around for a long time now and you’ve come a long way since your first release, Something Wykked This Way Comes. In the beginning, how did you envision Wykked Wytch?

Ipek – I always had a vision where we would be real extreme and theatrical. Not just a band that play great heavy music but the same time visually very exciting and interesting to watch, almost like a heavier version of Rammstein. We never had a budget for a show, but always imagined that.

3.     What do you think is the secret to your longevity?

Ipek – Determination, passion, & love of music.

4.     I know that you don’t want to be tied down to being labeled as Black Metal and that you consider yourselves more Extreme Metal than anything, but was this exactly where you wanted to be now with your musical direction with Wykked Wytch?

Ipek – We never labeled ourselves as this and that’s because we are not a one dimensional band. We possess many different talents and styles in our music, which is hard to describe our music. The reason we say extreme metal is because all the stuff like black, death, thrash metal elements can be found in our music. We also have catchy riffs, solos, & melodies.

5.     Would you say that Wykked Wytch definitely has a signature sound or would you rather say that you develop a new sound with every CD that you release?

Ipek – When I originally started the band I just wanted to play hard and heavy music with no limitations or boundaries. Where we can demonstrate classical, opera,thrash, death and black metal influences. I would say the same idea is there from the beginning but music and sound evolves with the musicians I’m working with at the time and how I’m feeling as well. On several of the early albums we did some experimenting and in time you feel what works or not. Every CD has it’s own sound but you can still identify it as Wykked Wytch. I would say with our last album Memories of a Dying Whore we finally developed our own sound and with the new album The Ultimate Deception is a big step up from Memories of a Dying Whore album. I’m really confident where Wykked Wytch is today, still evolving but have our own sound.

6.     Since I am still new to Wykked Wytch’s music, The first CD that I had purchased from your catalog was Angelic Vengeance. With each release that you have made, you’ve actually turned it up a notch. Where does most of your inspiration come from when it comes to constructing the music and lyrics of Wykked Wytch?

Ipek – Well you need to hear our very first album Something Wykked This Way Comes to appreciate the progress in the band. Every album, I work with the current guitarist on composing the music. The sound of the music will be influenced by the guitarist’s writing style, but at the same time I make sure that whatever is written goes with the WW style. If I don’t think a song or riffs fit then it won’t make the album. Also I always maintained my vocals in extreme harsh and melodic way, which is WW trademark.  As far as lyrics go many things inspire me to write lyrics: child abuse, war against women and children, lies and deception I received from friends and family and the tragedies I have lived through in my life. In the past some fantasy style lyrics, but the last couple of albums’ lyrics were more true crime based and personal.

7.     Let’s talk about your current release, The Ultimate Deception. When did you start writing for the new CD?

Ipek – The writing began after I found our new lead guitarist/songwriter Nate Poulson, which was Spring of 2010. It was a couple of months after we came home from our European headlining tour.

8.     How did you approach the making of the new CD?

Ipek – I had some  song ideas previously and after our last guitar player quit, but I buried those songs with him. When I met Nate I knew what the subjects and concepts were going to be for the new album, which was anger and rage. So everything came together easily. Nate would email me over song ideas and riffs and we would go from there back and forth until a song was done.

9.     On The Ultimate Deception, how different is the new release from the previous releases?

Ipek – The Ultimate Deception is modern, new, and a breath of fresh air. Our guitarist Nate was not opposed to new modern melodic, yet very heavy ideas, so he kind of took me out of my comfort zone and we crossed our boundaries to create a very mixed metal style album. We didn’t want to lose the sound from previous albums, but at the same time wanted to create a whole new beast. So this album works great as a follow-up to Memories of a Dying Whore but is just 10 times better and with much more shit going on.

10.  What kind of influence lead to the inception of  The Ultimate Deception?

Ipek – There wasn’t one direct influence. As from a musical standpoint, you have our new guitarist Nate, who is bringing his influences, but at the same time is respecting what was created before with WW. So we want to create something off the wall but still what WW fans will recognize and love. Vocally and lyrically this was going to be a very angry album because of the subjects covered.

11.  Do you think that you’ve stretched out the limitations on your vocal capabilities or do you think that you have a lot more ground that you would like to cover?

Ipek – There are no limitations when it comes to my vocal ability. I’m sure there will be some songs I may be doing some cock rock vocals if the song or the riff calls for it.

12.  In regards to the music on The Ultimate Deception, I can also hear elements of other styles of not just Metal but other forms of music, if I’m not mistaken. Was that something that was planned or was that something that progressed during the making of the CD?

Ipek – Everything that appeared on the album was planned and rehearsed. The only element on the album that was completely came up in the studio was the Metallica “Fade To Black” song. That was a last minute addition.

13.  You also did a cover of Metallica’s “Fade to Black” on the new CD. What made you want to cover that song and how does it tie in with the other new songs on the CD?

Ipek – On the last album we included a cover song and everyone loved it. So we thought why not butcher another classic song on this album. We just couldn’t agree on what song. We decided in the studio that we would do a Metallica song. Then we finally agreed on “Fade To Black”. We thought that it tied in well with the whole theme of the album and was a great song and of course we had to make our own version.

14.  The last track on the CD, “Eyes of A Vulture”, is one of my favorite tracks off the new CD. Can you tell me what that is about?

Ipek – It is one of my favorite tracks as well, a very technical and direct heavy song. It is about how people are like vultures, waiting for you to go down or die so they can rape you and kick you some more or they can’t wait to get a piece of you…everyone is all about money and that’s all they care ..

15.  The production for The Ultimate Deception is very strong and compelling. Who helped you produce the new CD this time around and is this the first time you’ve worked with them?

Ipek – We recorded at the Lambesis Studios (San Diego,CA) owned by singer Tim Lambesis from As I Lay Dying and engineered by Daniel Castelman, whom we enjoyed working with very much for the very first time. The album was mastered in New York by Alan Douches who we used on our last album.

16.  Given that you have worked with many musicians both in the studio and live up on stage, who will be up on stage with you this time around?

Ipek – New lead guitarist: Nate Poulson, Pat O’Malley (Rhythm Guitar), Matt Florio (bass), Weston Stone on drums , Salvatore on keys , again same line up I had since 2009 with exception of new guitarist Nate.

17.  Like your music, you have an extreme live show as well. How do you prepare for something like that and keep things strong up on stage every time you go up there?

Ipek – We did not have enough time to prepare for this tour at all. It was a last minute notice, so Nate flew down to Ft Lauderdale from Illinois and we rehearsed like a week before our first show. But everyone was so pumped and extremely happy to be on the tour, it was a natural everyone gave their 100% live and the result was obvious everyone loved us. At each venue we gained many new fans. Especially when all of us got sick with a cold and did not even care once we were on stage. Towards the end of the tour, I got really sick with coughs and I had a  hard time breathing between songs. But luckily the cold did not effect my singing.

18.  I know that you have your own opinion about women who front other Metal bands and you’ve stayed true to those words. Do you think that the Metal scene today has changed a little and has learned to accept female vocalists more for their talents rather than their looks? Do you still think that a woman, especially yourself, has to work twice as hard for men to accept you as a musician and not just for your looks?

Ipek – As you may know, metal is a very much male dominated music scene where close minded, sexist pigs still would not want to credit females for their hard work. It’s  a turn off for them thinking ooh.. another tits and ass type. This attitude will never go away and because some of the females are exposing them selves showing off their breasts and  causing the male audience to disrespect female musicians. Yes, in that aspect we, as honest talented females have to work harder for the opposite gender to accept us. There are still many of them that claim females can not deliver brutal music or can sing as males, which is  bullshit because your vocal ability has nothing to do with your gender but more with skills and training.  Just like any other musicians,  you have to know your instrument well to deliver the goods.

19.  You also have a radio show called Ipek’s Wytching Hour that you host weekly. How did you get started in the radio industry and how long has the show been running now?

Ipek – I was a guest one time on Metal Messiah Radio and was offered a spot hosting my own show. I guess they felt I was being interesting and knowledgeable about the metal. It’s been almost 2 years now and has gained some respect from musicians around the world. I don’t consider myself as a pro DJ, more like a radio personality as a Ms. Howard Stern. I like to mix metal with humor.

20.  You’ve had a lot of guests on the show. Who would you say would be your favorite guest on the show if you have any?

Ipek – Phil Anselmo was definitely my favorite guest. He is a legend and also very funny.  I usually like the artists that don’t take themselves too seriously and are having fun. Some other favorite guests that were colorful and fun with plenty of humor were: Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Johnny Plague (Winds of Plague), & Mike S. (Darkest Hour).

21.  You’ve got a lot of things going on right now and you even have your own hot sauce! Can you tell us all about that, please?

Ipek – I love hot  and spicy food. What I mean by that is, I literally eat fresh jalapenos like peanuts, so I decided to come up with my own hot sauce with my secret ingredients. Everyone can visit wykkedwytch.com and order themselves a bottle.

22.  Well Ipek, I want to thank you again for giving us this opportunity to talk to you. Do you have any parting words that you want to say to the fans out there?

Ipek – Thank you for the great questions. (It’s not very often I get asked intelligent ones; rather all generic questions. I enjoyed answering them.) For fans: please buy music  rather than free downloading. Help the scene to survive especially non mainstream ones. Go to shows when you can, to support your favorite bands! Until then, metal UP yours!

EKTOMORF (By: Lisa R. Rosner)

Interview with Zoltan Farkas (vocalist & guitarist)

By: Lisa R. Rosner

   Hailing from Hungary is a very aggressive band known as Ektomorf. Their newest CD entitled Instinct features cave drawings of lions. However, after listening to these 12 tracks of brutal intensity, you may feel like you have just been trampled by a horde of mighty miffed mammoth! (Try saying that five times fast!) This is definitely a CD that can come in handy on particularly stressful days. (Note: if you are offended by that ‘F’ word, stay clear of this one!)
   Vocalist/guitarist, Zoltan Farkas was kind enough to answer a few questions about the band and their latest release….

Lisa – Your new CD is quite impressive. This is the first I have ever heard of Ektomorf and I am interested in hearing more. Any possibilities you might get to do a North American tour with this release?
Zoltan – It would be really great to do a tour in North America! If we get the possibility to get on the road there, we’ll take it immediately! We would love to play there!
L – I found the origin of your band’s name interesting. How did you hear of the term ‘Ektomorf’ and what made you decide to use it?
Z – Yes, Ektomorf is a Latin word. It’s actually a gene-sickness and it means a very, very thin body. I found this word in a fitness magazine ten years ago. The word ‘ektomorf’ sounded good to me and that’s why I used it as my band name.
L – I think it is very innovative the way you use instruments like the sitar in some of your songs. Are you a Ravi Shankar fan by any chance?
Z – I have never heard his music, but maybe I will check it out. I use the gypsy folklore in my music because it’s a part of me and my brother, Csaba being half gypsies ourselves. The gypsies originated from India and I like to use Indian instruments like the sitar. What I use and what you hear on the Instinct album is very old gypsy folk music from our village in our home country.
L – What kind of musical background did you have while growing up? Who and what were some of your influences?
Z – I have no musical school background, if that is what you mean. One day, I started to play guitar and kept playing it since. My influences came from Metallica, Slayer, Sepultura and Machine Head.
L – What bands do you enjoy listening to the most these days?
Z – I listen to Machine Head, Soulfly, Metallica, Pro Pain, Iron Maiden, Asian Dub Foundation, music from Divan Gasparian; he wrote the music for The Gladiator movie (our intro when we play live), and my own music.
L – Since this is your sixth release, do you feel confident in the sound of Ektomorf’s music or are you always striving for new ideas in which to expand?
Z – I’m very happy with the results! But like any musician, I always get new inspiration and ideas that I want to use when it’s the right moment.
L – How would you personally describe the musical style of Ektomorf?
Z – It’s a musical mixture of powerful thrash metal, hardcore, punk and gypsy folklore (resulting from the Roma roots from me and my brother Csaba). It shows aggressiveness, energy, plus a lot of social critics. At the live shows, we get a lot of brutal moshpits and jump arounds!
L – What is the heavy metal scene like in Hungary? Are there many metal bands in your country besides Ektomorf? (Any worth mentioning?)
Z – In Hungary, the metal scene is not that big, also the population is not that big. Anyway, the metal bands over there play any style you can think of. Nowadays, it’s growing. Hungary has a few very cool metal bands like Replika; the singer is a good friend of mine, Cadaveres de Tortugas and Tankcsapda. They are all doing very well in Hungary, but I think mainly because of the language, they decide to stay there because they have more success.


L – I don’t have any lyrics with the promo, but I was wondering if the songs “Fuck You All” and “Burn” were about anyone or anything in particular?
Z – The song “Fuck You All” is based on a few personal experiences in my life. It’s a clear message from us for those people that think they stand above us all because of their money and power they have. They have no respect for people that have less and work really hard every day to make a living. Or people that look down on you when you look different and follow a different lifestyle. They think they know everything better, but actually they get more blind day-by-day, with their attitude. So the song “Fuck You All’ is for them! In this way, you can not repeat it enough I think! The song “Burn” is related to my ex-manager. It’s my rage that comes out. It’s like I’m burning him with my fire of rage, but it’s not meant literally, of course.
L – What other things inspire your songwriting? What is daily life there in Hungary like for you?
Z – I don’t live in Hungary now, but in Amsterdam (Holland) together with my girlfriend. The things that inspire me in the daily life are things how I look at my life and the world. I put it into music to tell people how I feel about it, but also to open the people’s eyes and act.
L – What are some of your future plans and goals for Ektomorf?
Z – We will do a headliner tour in October through the whole Europe and Eastern Europe and let’s see what comes from it. Hopefully a lot of new tours and opportunities for the band as well in your country as in other new countries. For the rest, I am working on the new album and we hope it comes out at the beginning of next year, so check it out guys!
L – What are some of your other hobbies and interests besides music?
Z – I like running!
L – What is a live Ektomorf show usually like? Do you get some pretty wild pits going? (It seems to me like you probably would.) Do you make it a point to greet your fans before and after the shows?
Z – Like I said, at the live shows, we get a lot of brutal pits and jump around. “It’s an energy boost that comes over you” I hear the people say. Well, when I’m on the stage, I talk to the people/fans always and when we do signing sessions, I also take the time listening to them. Before the show I don’t talk to fans, maybe sometimes outside the backstage.
L – What is your personal favorite track off of Instinct?
Z – That’s “Show Your Fist!”
L – What were the most challenging and/or gratifying parts of putting this new CD together?
Z – The outcome of it after recording it in the Antfarm Studio from Tue Madsen in Denmark. The sound that we got is mainly the result of Tue, his own way of producing our album. But it also has to do with the instruments we use in the studio. We are planning to record our next album also in Antfarm Studio. Also, to think about the artwork for the cover is always nice to do. The artwork with the lions is originated from real Stone Age cave paintings. We thought it would be perfect for the booklet because in that age, everything in life depended on your instinct! It was the only way to survive.
L – Is there anything else you would like people to know about Ektomorf, or any closing comments in general?
Z – Thanks a lot for your support! Please check out Ektomorf, our album and website. We will see you guys hopefully on tour soon! Take care.

Midnattsol – (By: Chad Boyd)

 

  I first heard of this band when I was looking stuff up for Leaves’ Eyes and read that Liv Kristine Espenæs Krull had a younger sister, Carmen Elise Espenæs who was in a band called Midnattsol. Since I am also a big fan of Liv Kristine, I wanted to check out her sister’s band as well. At that time Midnattsol only had their first album out.  I got my hands on it, listened, and I was very impressed. I liked what I heard a lot. It was like a folk meets metal sound. When their 2nd album came out, I got my hands on that one too. And wow, it was even better! I was afraid I wasn’t going to get to talk with Carmen. The first time we were scheduled, there were phone problems, which do happen from time to time. But Carmen called me the very next day and re-scheduled a time to talk. I am very grateful she was able to do that. I’m also very glad I got the chance to speak with Carmen about Midnattsol’s new album and tour. She was great and a lot of fun to talk with!
Chad –  Hey Carmen how are you?
Carmen –  I am fine and you?
Chad – Yeah, I’m doing petty good today because I get to talk to you.
Carmen – (laughs) Oh that is nice Chad! I was looking forward to it all day.
Chad –  Me too!  I’m so glad we got a chance to reschedule and everything. I guess my first question here is: How did Midnattsol come about? How did all of you get together?
Carmen – I moved to Germany in 2002 from Norway. My sister lives there. And I wanted to study. So I went there and I started to think I would love to have my own band. Make music by my own and sing by my own. And after a couple of weeks that I lived in Germany, I got an e-mail from Christian Hector, our ex-guitarist. He asked me if we may talk about forming a band together. And I was like wow what a coincidence. And we met at a local metal disco and we found the tone immediately. We found out we had the same goals and wanted to do the same kind of music. He had played in a band called Penetralia before with the other guys of Midnattsol back then. So we called them and they came in our old rehearsal room. Chris also had a friend named  Birgit Öllbrunner, our bassist, and so she came as well. So we met together and back then it was Christian and Me, Birgit and Chris (Merzinsky) our drummer and Daniel our keyboard player. Immediately we played so great together. We since found out we had the same kind of music taste. Yeah we started to make songs quite early. A couple of songs were finished after a short while. And then we made the demo. Soon after that we got the record deal. But a couple of things changed now. It’s been 9 years since then. I think it’s quite funny because you know, the time goes really so fast. So now we have a new guitarist Alex (Kautz). Christian and Daniel (Droste) they are playing in Ahab. They are focusing on their band Ahab now. So they are not in Midnattsol anymore.
Chad – Oh ok. Yeah I was going to ask because I did read about your new guitar player. How is he fitting in with the line up in Midnattsol?
Carmen – Oh he is fitting so well that it was as if he was always a part of us from the beginning. I think it is so amazing that he has been in the band now for a year and a half. I think it’s really fascinating that he has these great Midnattsol ideas and his personality is just so fitting to ours. So, you know, it’s not only the musical thing that has to fit in a band. He is such a cool guy and we all just love him! Now with time, he really has become a close friend. Yes, we are very close friends in the band. Nine years working hard and close together and he is exactly as good a friend as the other ones. We couldn’t be more happy with him. And when he came to the band, he had so many ideas. So, he was like a fresh shower for us, you can say; a new beginning for us. We where feeling a bit down after Christian left the band. We needed something new. It was such a shock for us after being together for six years. And we had  told every interview ‘yeah, you know no one has left Midnattsol, we’re so close’. And suddenly it happens to us too. So we were very down and thought ‘where is the next road to follow‘? And then Alex came and we got the new motivation. And the end of it was The Metamorphosis Melody ( the title to Midnattsol’s new album).
Chad – That’s great. I’m glad all of you are still around. I know line up changes happen all the time. I know that’s got to be difficult to deal with sometimes to readjust. Some bands don’t make it, meaning they disband and everything, but I’m glad people keep trying.  I really like Midnattsol’s music. I hope all of you continue for a long time. What can we expect from The Metamorphosis Melody? Any major changes to the music other than your new guitar player?
Carmen – Yeah. I think you can hear the changes on the new album. And like the tilte says, ‘Metamorphosis‘. I think we have gone through metamorphosis our selves actually. I can’t describe it actually or why, but during the song writing process we noticed step by step that something has happened. Musically, the songs and ideas were just more mature. And we played in a totally new way together. The band was also getting so much better. It was good before but it was even better now. And I think that reflects on the music as well. We are feeling so great together as a group and that we grew more together. I think the harmony between the vocals and each of the instruments are so much better on this record. And I think that the songs have so much more to offer to the listener. There are more songs that have the great melodies that you just want to sing along with. The atmospheric beautiful melodies; lots of that. But still there are more of the classical heavy metal elements, cool rocking parts and also mid tempo songs. You can say it’s more variation and mix of different kinds of songs. So, I think you won’t get bored of the record.
Chad-  I’m sure its going to be a great album. I did read there will be a limited edition. What can fans expect on that version of the new album?
Carmen – There is a bonus track sung by Daniel Droste, our former guitarist. So I think it’s kind of special. He left the band and now you still have a chance to hear him sing. And another part is that for the first time ever in Midnattsol history, we have a live DVD. So this is a great part of the limited edition. It was recorded in Belgium in 2009 at the Metal Female Voices Festival. And the thing is we didn’t plan it that way. It came out to be a very special event because shortly before the concert we talked about asking the audience if they want Alex as our new guitarist officially. And when we asked the audience about Alex they were like YEAH! So he was totally shocked on stage. And there was just this great atmosphere where the gig was. Afterward, when we wanted to go off the stage, the crew came with an award for us called “The Best Hope”.  So, it was one of the best and most unforgettable evenings for Midnattsol. You can kind of relive this moment on the DVD. It’s our first one and I think it’s kind of special.
Chad – Wow, I totally would like to see that! The only clips I get to see are the ones on Youtube and they’re pretty good too. Is there any particular theme for the new album?
Carmen –  There are quite different themes. Because the lyrics have a lot of different inspiration sources, you can say. On this album, I have taken more inspiration from books or stories. Like the Norwegian fairy tale Kvitebjörn kong valemon (in English also known as The White Bear King Valemon or The Polar Bear King.) It’s about a prince that became an ice bear because of a spell that was caused by a troll. And also the book The Metamorphosis. The German book by Franz Kafka on the song “Forvandlingen”. There are also these Nordic elements or Nordic folk themes inspired by the old sagas like in the song “Motets Makt” or also in the song “Spellbound” where you can,..well at least in my head, I see these elves leading you on your way. But more than before, each band member’s experiences through the last few years has also inspired the record. So many things have happened to each one of us. I write about these concrete happenings in text as well. For example the song “The Tide” has a very special place in life for one of the band members. Also “A Poet’s Prayer” reflects on the actual situation of the world today. I get so frustrated when I see what happens. ou want to do something, you feel this anger inside, so this comes out in this song. But still being about different themes it’s like a red line for all of the songs. And as reflected through the title, the metamorphosis, so every song is about some kind of transformation or change or development: personal development or global development. And so that is the main topic theme, you can say. So yeah the whole record is inspired by change but what kind of change is up to the listeners.
Chad –What are your musical and writing inspirations in general, like bands you’re into and stuff that maybe helped influence you.
Carmen – There are so many different factors and I think not all of them I can describe. It’s my consciousness . But other bands’ music, of course, is one thing. For example, we all love Amorphis. All of us have a special different musical background as well. So each of the band members bring their influences and experiences into the music, and that make it so interesting. It’s a good mix and it’s also the personal experiences. It could be a magical moment in the rehearsal room when we are jamming together. And like I said, on the lyrics, there is also everything from books, personal experiences, nordic folk sagas, history…and nature itself is a very great inspiration. I just noticed today when I was running through the woods, how some melodies are coming to my head. This happens a lot of times when I go into nature. Its sounds cliche but yeah, it’s like that. So different factors.


Chad –  Here’s what I’d like to know, are all of you going to plan to play in America anytime this tour?
Carmen –  Oh we so want to! We talked about in the band a couple a weeks ago in the rehearsal room. Oh, we just want to go to the USA, that would be so special. We really want it but, unfortunately, there is nothing planned concrete yet. Sorry! But it’s sorry for us as well because we really want to! So let’s hope that they will organize something soon.
Chad –  Well that is a bummer, but I think it will be worth the wait when all of you do come here. That will be great. Are you looking forward to be on tour with your sister’s band Leaves’ Eyes?
Carmen –  Oh yes! That’s a dream come true for both of us. We wanted it for so long, and the two bands wanted it as well. But it was difficult to find the perfect match of time that everyone is able to, because we are all working, you know? But this time it was just a good match, so this time it could happen. It’s so special to go on tourwith your family, and of course the others are all close friends as well. So it can only mean great parties, a lot of fun, and joking. Also of course sharing the stage. So, we talked about it and we knew that we wanted to give a special gift to the fans. So yeah, we are going to sing together!
Chad – I know you and your sister are both busy with your bands but have you and your Liv ever thought of or talked about doing a project together? You know, like a side project band or something?
Carmen – We have not talked about doing a big project or band together because we are both so busy,  it would be difficult to find the time. But what we have discussed is, when we find time for it, singing one song together or a couple of songs. We would really love to. We are sisters and also so close friends like soul mates. Singing together and doing something together is so special. I think we would be stupid if we can’t make it once in our lives doing this together. So we are hoping to find time for it.
Chad –  Yeah, that would be cool. I would go buy it.
Carmen – Oh yeah. I sing on the Leaves’ Eyes song “Irish Rain,” the acoustic version. I have done some other guest vocals there. For me it’s like I’m here in Norway and I’m listening to these songs. When I hear, I get so emotional, because they lead her closer to me when I listen to them. She is so far away and I just want to be with her. It’s special
Chad – What has the overall response to the new Midnattsol album been?

Carmen – We are kind of in the beginning stage. We have not gotten that many reviews yet. But the feedback that we have gotten now is just so overwhelming. We are so surprised. We gave our best for this album. There is no doubt. We like our other albums but this is the best one! And of course you have high expectations for the feedback.  I’m sure there will be some negative response. There always has to be. So, of course we have to live with that. But for now it has been great.
Chad –  That’s cool! What do your parents think about both their daughters being in metal bands?
Carmen – Oh, they think it’s so cool! My father, he was the biggest Ozzy Osbourne fan in our home town. Perhaps in Norway too! (Laughs) We grew up with Ozzy Osbourne and other metal bands when we were children. So yeah, when I was little kid, my dad was speaking to my friends asking if they knew these bands on his black metal t shirts. You know, it’s not the typical clothes that parents dress. And my mother as well, she is very open minded and likes different kinds of music. She is very into folk music and dance, folk dance herself. She thinks it’s very cool we have these influences as well in the music.
Chad –  That’s really neat. My parents were big into music as well.  It’s really great when your parents are supportive on what you’re doing. Yeah, that’s’ one thing I like about Midnattsol. For me, you were one of the first bands I heard that kind of bring in folk metal. I know there are other bands that do different kinds of things, but folk music into metal, I think is a great mix. When I first heard it, I said to myself now that is a neat concept and I’m going to be watching this band for a while. So yeah, the first album, I was like wow, that’s some good stuff when I first heard it. Then the second album comes out, wow that is even better! So now I know the third album is going to blow me away.

Carmen – Yeah, that’s great. You know, the first album has a lot of folk influences and folk touches. It’s more quiet, I guess. And the second one is having more complex song structures and stuff. The third one, I think you can hear kind of like a mix of these two. We brought both elements on the third record and of course new elements as well.


Chad – Is there anyone out there you like to duet or some project with, besides your sister?
Carmen – Yeah. Vincent (Cavanagh) of Anathema, the singer. I have something for him. He just has this beautiful voice. When he sings, he means every single word of it. I have loved Anathema ever since the first time I heard them. So, that would be a dream to sing together with him. And of course Amorphis. Like I said, everyone in the band adores Amorphis.  I think it would be so amazing to go on tour with them. I think they are so cool! They are so professional and they have these great melodies. So, that would be a dream come true to go on tour with them. One of the band members there, he shares his opinion about The Metamorphosis Melody. He gave a little statement about our album. And you know, when you have been a great fan for years, and you get something like that..we were smiling for the rest of the day. It was fantastic. I’m sure he is so busy and using his important time for this. So yeah, it’s just amazing. He is a really cool guy.
Chad – Yeah, that is really cool. Maybe these bands and the guys you talked about will see this interview and give you a call.
Carmen – (Laughs) Yeah that would great! Then we’d bring you too, as a special gift.
Chad – That’s cool. What do you like to do when you have some spare time to yourself?
Carmen – Oh, that’s very rare at the moment, for everyone in the band because we are doing so much with things and working besides Midnattsol. But when I think about what I like to do, I like running, like Liv. I love running through the nature. Being in the nature, training and I love languages. I’m a language teacher. I love doing this and it’s also my job. I just started teaching it. I also love to, ok this is a very strange hobby, but I love to relax and take  baths listening to relaxing music and drinking green tea. (Laughs) Also just hanging out with friends, going out for a beer or two. This kind of stuff.
Chad – Is there anything you like to add about Midnattsol? I’m really looking forward to the album, I can’t wait to hear it! Once again Carmen, thanks for re-scheduling. I’m glad we had this interview and I got to talk with you.
Carmen – Oh, thanks a lot! I read something on your magazine that you are doing this on your spare time?
Chad – Yes. We love metal music and this are way of trying to be a part of it.
Carmen – That’s great! I think it is so cool, we are doing the same thing. We are working and we don’t live from the music, but we still want to do it. It takes a lot of time. We have very little spare time, but we just love being a part of it.
Chad – I’m going to keep an eye on the Facebook updates on your tour. I also keep up with your sister’s updates there too. I’ve been a fan of your sister since she was in Theatre Of Tragedy. That’s how I found out about your band. I was doing some reading  and saw her younger sister has a band and knew I had to check that out too.
Carmen – That is cool. People often ask me if I think it’s annoying being compared to Liv. One thing that comes out of it is more people get to know about Midnattsol. So this is of course super positive for us!
Chad – Yeah, I would never say that is a negative thing at all. It’s a great thing. Both of you have beautiful voices. I wish both of you all the luck in your projects and your tour to come.
Carmen – Thanks a lot and I wish you all the good luck for your work further on and for the magazine. Yeah, fun stuff for you to do this on your spare time and for putting a lot of effort sharing it with metalheads.

Hammerfall (By: Chad Boyd)

  I had a chance to talk with Oscar Dronjak, guitarist for the Swedish Heavy Metal band, Hammerfall. We talked about Hammerfall’s new album Infected, as well as his influences. We also talked about one of his and my favorite metal bands, Judas Priest, along with many other things. I had a great time talking with him.

Chad – Hey Oscar, how’re you doing?!
Oscar – Pretty good. How are you?
C –  I’m doing fantastic. I am so excited I get to talk with you. For one, I want to point out I love the new album. It’s great. I have been listening to it over and over.
O –  Oh cool thank you very much I’m happy!
C –  Do you think Hammerfall has achieved the success that you all dreamed about? Have your hopes, dreams, and wishes been fulfilled so far?
O – I think we didn’t have any expectations like this whatsoever when we started this. I don’t know what the hell we were thinking. That was not our current way of thinking, of traveling around the world several times doing tours and whatever. We were only doing this because we love the music we were playing. No one else was doing that type of music at the moment. So we decided to take it upon our selves to do it, and that was basically the dream that we had. And as soon as things started rolling and expanding we also expanded our groups and dreams and put the bar higher. We have been very fortunate that through all the years we have been able to achieve a lot of the goals that we had. And we made more that we didn’t have as well. I feel very fortunate we were able to do this. We turn our passion; our hobby into our life’s work. Not every body can say that. I feel very blessed about that.
C – I guess that leads me into my next question. When Hammerfall first came out, it sounded like you made music like victorious battle cries. Did your music evolve into that or was that how you had it planned? Did Hammerfall just evolve into a more positive power metal band?
O – The term ‘power metal,’ as you use it, did not exist when we started the band. There was U.S. Power Metal bands like Jag Panzer and those types of bands. But here in Europe the ‘power metal’ did not exist back then. So, it was just ‘heavy metal’ or nothing at all. It’s not because of  the fact that heavy metal was basically spat upon as a genre. It was looked upon as something you maybe did when you were a child, but certainly not when you were old enough to know what you were doing.  We embrace the heavy metal. The name heavy metal because that’s what we always were, in our on own minds. It was never a question that Hammerfall was anything other than a heavy metal band, even from day one. We just had our way of doing things. I guess we influence the genre of power metal a lot. But like I said, when we started out there was no such thing as power metal. So I’ve never seen us other than heavy metal band.
C –  I would consider you all definitely heavy metal as well. It’s just a lot of people like to use the term power metal, I guess to separate between the different metal styles. I think the list gets too long. I say ‘hey, it’s metal and it’s cool.’
O – Yeah I totally agree with you
C – Ok cool. Were there any embarrassing moments with Hammerfall, on or off stage?
O – (Laughs) Plenty. I guess on stage it is always embarrassing to fall or trip or something like that. That happens to everybody except for Anders (Johansson) because he is the drummer. But it happens to everybody. It didn’t happen to me until the last tour we did with Stefan (Elmgren) which must have been in 2007,I guess. We had a lot of pyro on stage then. And they were placed right before the drum riser. It was on the final show and the final song. I was going up to it and I did this sort of tae kwon do like kick into the flames or the sparks that shoot up. And Stefan was always on the drum riser at this point. So he was like one meter from me so he was like in my face and I did this kick. I sort of over-kicked a little bit. So my right leg I was doing the kick with was fine but my left leg sort of goes along with the right one. So I fell flat on my ass, on my back actually, right in front of him. And he couldn’t continue playing. He had to stop playing because he was laughing so hard he almost pissed himself. And that was very embarrassing. So I laid there for a little while, pretending I did it on purpose. I got up and finished the show and that was it. I was really embarrassed about that.
C –  I hear ya. Yeah all you can do is just go on with the show. I understand stuff happens. Even Rob Halford had a little incident hitting his head trying to do a motorcycle stunt.
O – (Laughs) Yeah, yeah


C –  So is your personal life as up-beat and victorious as it is with Hammerfall?
O – I would say so. I am that type of person, you know, the ‘half full’ rather than ‘half empty’ kind of guy. I like to have fun. I like to enjoy myself. And if my life is not good or if there is something wrong with it and I’m not having fun, I try to change it so that there will be fun. So I really basically enjoy my life. A lot of the songs that we write are about this. Where you can enjoy life for your own sake. Basically, if you live your life for your own wishes, then you’re going to be satisfied in the end. If not, then you’re going to regret yourself. And regretting things is the worse thing you can do.
C –  Yeah, I totally agree to what you just said man, that’s great. Where does Hammerfall’s song and album ideas come from? Like, the new album Infected, was that influenced by the show The Walking Dead or other zombie themes?
O –  Absolutely! We are big zombie fans here. Especially Fredrik (Larsson). He’s been collecting stuff. He is getting his hands on DVDs; ordering them from around the world. Just to have all the movies that there are. I really like to borrow stuff from him, but I don’t collect it. I collect enough shit anyway, as it is. So, I don’t need to collect that as well. The zombie stuff is something I loved. The Walking Dead has some potential to be one of the best television series ever!

C –  I totally agree with you right there! I love it!
O –  So yeah, I guess it is a little influenced by that. It’s not something new. We always loved the zombie stuff. I like the post- apocalyptic stuff. You know, where the world ends basically and  where a few people live on. I like the premise of that. I think it make for a very compelling story, it being a book, a television series, or movie.
C – I was curious if any of you have heard of this movie. It’s a classic old Spanish horror movie called Tomb of the Blind Dead?
O – Never heard of it.
C –  Oh you all might want to check that out. Granted, it was made in the 70’s, so you got to give it that. The blind dead in the movie are Templar knights coming back to life. Since a lot of your songs are about Templar  and now you got the zombie thing going on, you should check it out. There is actually 4 movies of those. The First one is probably the best one out of all them. It’s called Tomb Of The Blind Dead.
O –  Yeah, I better give that to Fredrik. He probably has to hunt it down somewhere.
C –  You can find it in English dub or with English subtitles. Yeah all of you should definitely check it out!
O – Cool thanks for the tip!
C – Oh no problem man! A friend was actually the one who thought of this question and introduced me to the movies as well. Do the personal lives of the members of Hammerfall mirror your musical personae? I mean do you champion causes and reach out to the underprivileged in real life or is Hammerfall’s music a kind of alter ego in which to inspire people?
O –  It’s the second one. What I want with our music and lyrics of Hammerfall is for people to feel the way I felt when I listened to the bands when I was growing up. Judas Priest or Accept or bands like that who gave you the energy to basically change your life around. That’s what I want everyone to feel. I want to inspire people to make it better for themselves because in the end, ultimately nobody is going to help you do anything. You have to want to go out and get it, and the victory will be all that sweeter after that. And that’s what we want to tell people.

C – Ok, I’m going to backtrack here to your album, Masterpieces. It has a lot of very cool covers of classic songs by great metal bands. Was there a song or band that Hammerfall didn’t want to touch because of fear of messing it up?
O – Not really. But the reason we chose bands like Stormwitch or Warlord is because those bands are fairly unknown to the larger population, even in metal. A lot of people don’t know about them. We found it very cool because these are our heroes. These are the very bands who had a hand in shaping the sound of Hammerfall. So for us, this is more of a way of giving something back. We put the spotlight on them for a little while and make people aware of them. Of course we would not do that with a song that we didn’t like or a song we thought not very suitable for Hammerfall. We obviously chose the songs carefully. There are a million different songs out there that we could have done. So there’s never been a shortage of cover songs, for sure.
C – That’s true. I like when bands do that. It really does help me get into the other bands. So yeah, I’ll go listen to the original band and song and I would be like ‘yeah, I see why they made a cover of that!’
O – Exactly.
C – Somebody pitched this question to me, so I will give it a shot. Which Hammerfall album would you like to re-record and do you have any regrets on missed tours or anything like that? I guess that is a 2 part question.
O – The first part is no. There is nothing I would ever want to re-record. There would be no point in doing it really, for me. We did the best albums we possibly could have done under the circumstances in that point of time. And I’d like to keep it that way, like as a testament of where we were at that time. When we record stuff, we look forward and do new stuff. As to the second part, what I really regret when it comes to touring is that we never followed out. It took us 4 years to do the Death tour we did in ‘98, then it took us another 3 years to follow up that tour and then another 5 years, I think, to follow that tour. We toured way too little in North America. We should have been more active there. I think that would have helped us a lot in the long run.
C – That brings me to my next question. When is Hammerfall coming back to the USA?
O – Well, hopefully at the end of the year. But that’s a matter of if we can get everything together. People are working on it as we speak. But nothing is finalized yet.
C –  I have not seen Hammerfall live yet. And I’m going to fix that when Hammerfall does come here, definitely! I can’t wait!
O –  Where are you at there?
C –  Well I’m in an area where bands don’t usually come which is in Alabama. But Atlanta, Georgia is right next to me and I go there all the time for shows. Is there any band you would love to really tour with?
O – Well from a personal point of view, like a fan point of view, there are many bands of course. We mentioned Judas Priest before. I would love to do a tour with them. It would be awesome because they are one of my favorite bands. I have been into them heavily since I was 10 years old or something like that. Oh, another band I think that we would make a good package with is Manowar. I think Hammerfall and Manowar would be awesome together for the fans. I don’t even know if that is a realistic possibility to do a tour like that, but it would be fun. And besides, I’m a huge Manowar fan, so I would love to do that as well.
C –  Oh yeah, Manowar is great. I would agree that would be a kick ass show! And I’m a huge Judas Priest fan. I would be so there for that one! That would be awesome! Hammerfall then Judas Priest, that would be sweet!
O – It’s sort of like a dream tour.
C – Well you never know, it may happen. They (Judas Priest) said this might be their last world tour, but friends of mine are saying that’s probably not the last time they’re going to play shows though.
O –  I heard first there was the last tour they were ever going to do. Then KK Downing left the band and they start recording a new album. Now there’s not going to be another tour but they might do shows, like you said. I don’t know. Things are changing. Well Halford quit once. And nobody ever thought he was going to be back. I thought he was coming back. I even had plans to make a T- shirt of him saying ‘the Priest will be back.’ This was back in ‘94 or maybe around ‘93, I can’t remember. Something like that.
C –  Yeah, something like that. Fight came out around ‘93 so yeah, it was a little before that.
O –  Probably ‘92 then. Well anyway, I always knew he was going to be back. I love the “Ripper” stuff, especially Demolition. I think Demolition is one of the better Judas Priest albums, to be honest. There is something special or magical of course with Halford and the other guys together, but that’s just the way it is. No disrespect to him (Tim “Ripper“ Owens). You know, Demolition really is well done and  nobody ever gives him any credit for carrying Judas Priest over those years. Well, he was in the band for quite a lot of years and he did some really good stuff. I really enjoy the band with “Ripper“. But you know the kid in you that grew up with Rob Halford as the singer of Judas Priest.. it just was that to me. That’s the real Judas Priest. When Rob came back to the band it was talked about for a while. I felt bad for “Ripper” for the way it happened. It’s like he sort of got out  phased and nobody really cared about him anymore, when he is a really good singer; he’s got a really great voice. He is really nice guy too.
C –  Yeah, I have to admit I am one of the people that has been a skeptic about the “Ripper.” But after hearing you, I might actually listen to those Priest albums he‘s on. I am a HUGE Rob Halford fan!
O –  You should check Demolition out then. Jugulator is not as good.
C –  I think I will. Yeah, every body has been trying to get me to do it but some part of me just feels like it would be like cheating on my wife or something.
O – (laughs) Yeah, when the albums came out, nobody knew what the future would be for anybody. As a fan of Priest I just wanted to see what they were doing. For me Judas Priest was never just a voice. It’s the guitar work combined with the voice and the song writing obviously. That is Judas Priest to me. So when Halford came out with his solo stuff, I thought the Resurrection album was really good, but if you listen to the guitars on the album… After Resurrection was released, people were saying ‘Yeah, Judas Priest are back,’ and I said ‘no, they’re fucking not back. It’s nothing at all like Judas Priest’s guitar work.  Halford’s voice was back to the Judas Priest sound for sure, which is probably what they meant. But I took offense to that because Judas Priest is so much more than just a voice.
C – That is true. I will give you that. I don’t know, I have just been behind on a lot of things. Actually, I just got into Hammerfall almost a year ago. So, I am just now catching up. I apologize for that. I wish I got to you all sooner because Hammerfall is so worth it!
O – Oh, no problem. It about what you are listening to not when. That’s the most important thing for anybody. So, if somebody says they just got into the band and they like it, that’s fine enough for me. That’s all I ask is that you listen to the music and you don’t like it, then you don’t like it. What can I do, you know? I’m not going to tailor make music for anybody. We make music for ourselves mostly. But if you listen to the music and you actually like it, it gives me huge satisfaction.
C –  I have been through all the albums lately, and the last one No Sacrifice No Victory, is probably my most favorite. But don’t get me wrong, the new one is great! I am very proud to own it. I pre-ordered it. And like I said, I have been listening to the new album over and over again. But No Sacrifice No Victory: That album right there, I just love it to death!
O – That’s very cool. Thank you, I’m happy.  Plus, you are in a position to judge from 7 albums later, that you heard for the first time and at the same time not being there when the albums were first released. That’s usually the album people favor; the album they first heard that got them into the band. And that’s actually true for you as well.
C – Don’t get me wrong, I love the old stuff and I love the new stuff. They’re great. That song, “No Sacrifice No Victory,” is probably my number one favorite Hammerfall song.
O –  Cool! I’m so happy to hear this! Usually people always go for the older stuff when they say what favorite songs or albums they have. So that makes me very very happy. Thank you!
C –  I also really like “Redemption” on the new album, Infected. Well, the whole album is just great and I’m a huge zombie fan myself. I really like the concept. Some people I talk with are like ‘why are they doing that?’  Then I’m like ‘no, let them do it, I think it’s very cool!’ (Oscar laughs.) But yeah, it looks like you all had a lot of fun making the video for “One More Time.” I took a look at the short behind-the-scenes video you all did. I enjoyed the video. Can you tell us if Hammerfall is really going to continue the story in the video? Because I did see where it said “to be continued” at the end. I know a lot of bands have done that and I don’t see them ever follow up on that.
O – Yeah we haven’t decided how to handle that yet.  We knew the idea to do it, we just never really thought about it; putting “to be continued” on there because we never really planned to do another zombie video. I guess we have to now. But I would be surprised if we do it for the next video. I think maybe it will be on the next album in that case. We have no plans right now. So I don’t know what to say.
C – Would you use the same director on the next video?  I think he did a good job.
O – Yeah. I’m very happy with the way the video turned out. What we did was basically say we wanted to do a video with zombies. We sent the opening credits to Zombieland to this guy (Patrick is his name). We sort of made the video around this idea that we are Hammerfall and we are doing a proper video to a heavy metal recording. And then in the middle of the song, all hell breaks loose in various areas of the set. Basically that was the idea. And I just love the slow motion stuff, it’s just so funny. It’s very good. You’ve seen Zombieland right?
C – Oh Yeah!  I just watched it again the other night!
O – Then you know what I’m talking about with the slow motion stuff. I’m very happy with how it turned out. For me its the best video we’ve ever done.
C –  I think its great! Its a great tribute to zombies. You all did it great. Yeah, even that girl that goes after your other guitar player, Pontus (Norgren). I think the make up work on her was great.
O – Yeah, she’s kind of like the main zombie girl. She’s the organizer of everything. And obviously she’s the one that best knows how to make up her self.
C –  That’s cool. And I love your famous part, your dive there.
O –  (Laughs) Yeah I love diving, so it was really fun that I got to do that sort of thing.
C –  All the reactions of the band members were great. The drummer looks like he barely got away.
O – Yeah I think he thought it was fun. He likes wrecking stuff and that sort of thing. And basically going right through his drum kit.. I think he really liked that.
C –  I love the shot of Joacim (Cans) where you can see the OJ or milk or whatever splash on him in the slow motion.
O – Yeah that was more or less an accident. It wasn’t intentional. He was going to drop it. I think it sort of bounced up in the air and he hit it when he was running forward or something like that. It makes for a really good shot.


C –  What is your favorite song off the new album?
O – I don’t know. That’s a really tricky question. Especially with this album. We managed to make all the songs very unique, very individual. So it’s very hard for me to say, also because sometimes I dig a song because I’m very happy with the solo I do. I am biased in that way. I can’t look at the songs objectively. One song that is really close to me that I am proud of is “Lets Get It On.” On every album, I write one song myself. Normally me and Joacim do all the songs together as a collaboration. On every album there is one song I do all the lyrics, the melodies and the music myself. Just because. I don’t know why. It just started out that way and it has been like that ever since. “Lets Get It On” was that song on this album. And it has to do with the similarities of being a martial arts fighter, going in the cage and performing in front of millions and similarities of us going on stage performing for our audiences basically.
C – I have to a admit the “Bang Your Head” song reminds me of Quiet Riot’s Metal Heath a little bit.
O – (Laughs) That was the idea. Shoot, that song came about as a tribute to the huge German metal festival called Bang Your Head. We played there many times. First time was back in ‘97. This is the only festival in Europe that allows new bands to headline and I’m talking about when Hammerfall was a new band. So, this is our tribute to that festival, for taking a chance with us and other bands. And the chance they took paid off, of course. It was a brilliant festival and I think everybody was very happy with it. So, this our thank you to them.
C – That’s awesome! I know Europe has the best festivals it sounds like. I wish could make one, One of these days. I got to save up some money. (Laughs)
O –  Yeah yeah you definitely should if you ever get a chance to. Start with Wacken, if you can. That is a really good place to start because it’s got so many bands. And they are very used to people coming from everywhere, from all corners of the world almost.
C –  What is your favorite song to play live?
O – I don’t know. It really depends on the audiences reaction to it.  “Patient Zero” is really fun live because it’s got a grinding beat that’s really easy to move to when you’re playing or head bang or whatever. But it really varies. A song like “Legion” is really fun to play because it has the speed and it has the backing vocals, so we sing a lot. And it also has a lot of solos, which is fun. So I guess I would say “Legion”.
C –  Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years, in the music business?
O – I hope we are basically in the same position or a better position. We’ve been around for so many years now. I would be surprised if we sort of went down hill. Especially with the two new band members (Pontus and Fredrik) that came in the band a couple of years ago. That really helped spark a fire with everybody else that was in the band. Everything just got a lot easier and a lot more fun with those two in the band. And so for that, I see myself doing this for easily another 10 years without problems.
C – Well that’s great because I want Hammerfall to stay around definitely!
O – Yeah, I can promise you we will be around for a while.
C –  That’s awesome. What got you into wanting to play the guitar in the first place?
O – It was listening to metal music basically. I was playing the Trombone for four years, when I was younger. When I stopped doing that, I favored the guitar because I realized that the music I was listening to never had any trombones in it. So I figured I was better off playing the guitar. It didn’t look that hard to begin with. Of course it was much harder than it looked but it was much more fun than I thought it would be also. I got into it because I wanted to play songs that my heroes were playing.
C –  What advice would you give to new guitar players just starting out maybe if they get signed or something?
O – First advice: practice. There is no substitution for practice and experience. The 2nd advice I would give them is play the music  that they like to play. Bottom line: If you’re going in this business thinking you are going to make it, you probably won’t. Just go in there with a good attitude and enjoy yourself. I think that is the most important thing. If you are enjoying yourself and having fun and getting good at it, then things will fall into place as you go, I think. That is the best advice I can give.
C – Yeah, I always tell people the music should come first before anything else.
O – Absolutely. It has to. Otherwise if you are not going to do that, in metal, you are in the wrong genre I think.
C – Exactly. Is there a particular guitar you like to use the most?
O – Yeah. I’ve been playing Jackson for a lot of years with one exception in 1989, actually. Right now doing ESG. I got a custom made guitar from them. You know the HF symbol we have? The guitar has that in the fret board  and that  is  probably  my favorite guitar right now.
C –  Cool. Ok, here is a fun question. I know this is one of the first albums that your mascot, Hector, is not on the cover. Is he ‘Patient Zero‘?
O –  (Laughs) Well, if you look in the booklet, there is a picture of Hector. A picture not like a painted one. Its says “Patient Zero or hero?”
C – Yeah, I see that. I’m looking at that right now.
O –  Yeah, I didn’t know if you knew that or not. I guess, we’ll find out in the future. I don’t know myself. So we will have to come up with something clever, I guess.
C – Yeah, Hector is a cool character. The only Hammerfall shirt I have right now is a long sleeved one and it says “Hammerfall Wants you!”
O – Oh yeah, right. Those are pretty cool ones. They did well, as far as I remembered.
C –  Oh yeah, I love that shirt. I get some people asking me ‘what is that, a video game?’ And I’m like ‘no, it’s a really kick-ass metal band!
O – (laughs) Excellent!
C – Yeah, I wear it with pride. My girlfriend actually bought it for me. It’s great. She got me into you guys!
O –  Alright, cool. You have a good girlfriend.
C –  I think that’s about all I got now. I really appreciate you giving me a call and letting me interview you, man.
O – You did a really good job.
C –  Thanks, I really appreciate that. Good luck to all of you and I hope the album continues to sell and that when you start touring, it will be a kick-ass tour. I will definitely be trying to see all of you when Hammerfall comes over here.
O – That’s very cool  It was really nice talking with you. Have a Good day.
C – You too, thanks!

(Note from Chad – Also I will add here, if anyone wanted to know if I checked out that Judas Priest album Demolition with Tim “Ripper” Owens that Oscar told me I should. I did. And I have agree with Oscar, it’s actually a pretty cool Judas Priest album, just like he said. Thanks to Oscar for that and for the interview.
Hammerfall kick ass!

Nightrage – By: Chad Boyd

 

   Back in October,  I had the chance to go to a Firewind show in Atlanta, Georgia. One of the opening bands happened to be Nightrage. This was my first time hearing them and seeing them. I was very impressed. They put on a great show. I got a chance  to talk with the lead vocalist, Antony Hämäläinen; a super nice and very cool guy.
     As we were talking, Witch Wolf zine came up and he expressed that he was very interested in doing a interview. He gave me his e-mail address and I was able to send him a few questions. It was very cool of him to take the time and answer the following questions.
Chad – How was the tour?
Antony – The tour was really good. Lot’s of new people checking the band out every night.
C – The new Nightrage album, Insidious is now out. How are the reviews so far?
A – They have been really positive! At least all the ones I’ve seen. So that’s cool. We got even better reviews on this album than on Wearing A Martyr’s Crown, which means we are headed in the right direction.
C –  Any interesting things happen on this tour or any tour you’ve been on with Nightrage?
A – There are so many memories from all the tours, it’s hard to name “the best one.” But on this last North American tour we had our bus crash into a tree. We were about five minutes away from the venue. Thankfully it was the last show of the tour. We actually have the tour documentary up on YouTube now where you can see the bus all tore up.
C – I understand you live in Arizona. How long have you been there and how do you like it?
A – I’ve been in Arizona for about ten years now. I like it a lot, actually, I live in a good community, good friends, good weather. I used to hate it but it has grown on me. The only hard part are the summers and then I’m wishing I were somewhere else. Good part is that this only lasts three months and then it’s amazing again.
C –  What got you into music? Any major influences?
A – My uncle and father got me into music by playing the classics like W.A.S.P., Metallica, Testament, etc. Then I found death and black metal in the very early 90’s and things really took off for me there.
C – What band would you love to tour with that you have not toured with yet?
A –  Hypocrisy. That would be a major thrill for me. I would watch their set every night from front to back.
C –  How do you feel about the new album?
A –  I think it’s good. It’s a good album with a lot of twists and turns for the listener. With all the guests on the album they come in and kind of surprise a first time listener. Which I think makes the album a good one for people to listen to again and again. The fans will not just give it one spin and then never listen to it again. There are lots of parts I even catch after listening to it again for a few months.
C –  Anything Nightrage does to help start writing an album?
A – Nothing special. Marios (Iliopoulos) gets his riffs together with Olof (Mörck), they compose the music for a song. Then they send it to me for the vocals and lyrics. Pretty simple process.
C –  Do you think Nightrage has grown more as a band; making this new album and in the years you have been with the band?
A – I would say so, yes. We have been playing together for five years now. It’s the longest lasting line up in the band’s history. We all know each other very well and really know how to play live together. I have never known any other line up than this one. So I am pretty biased to it.
C – So how do you and Nightrage get together? It looks like all of you live in different places in the world.
A –  We get on planes and meet at the target destination. Mostly for new songs everything is done in our home studios. For live shows, we all rehearse on our own and then have a short jam before the first show. Again, like I said before, we have been doing this together for a long time. It just falls into place very easy for us.
C –  When you are not with the band, any interesting hobbies you have?
A –  Sure, I love football (American and European). I love watching sports, playing Call Of Duty, listening to Howard Stern, drinking with my wife and friends on the weekends. Pretty normal stuff.
C –  So what do you think of today’s metal music?
A – I have no idea, dude. My wife always tells me I am stuck in some death/black metal haze. I will hear a few new bands in passing but it’s nothing like the older bands. I mean, I am not just sitting there listening to old albums, I still dig the older bands that put out new material. Those bands are still on top for me.
C –  Whats next for Nightrage? Another tour? Any plans for a live DVD?
A – Yes, touring for the new album, Insidious. We have plans for a European tour in February, with kind of the same routing idea as our last North American tour. Seventeen shows in a row or something. Keep checking our sites for the details to come. As for the DVD, we have talked about this for years. They are just very expensive to make. We would need a production company that was interested in making one, first off. Then we would need the money, which is the hard part. But maybe one day, you never know.
C –  What’s your favorite CD that you’ve been listening to lately?
A –  Lock Up – Necropolis Transparent
C –  Thanks for taking the time for this interview for Witch Wolf. Is there anything else you wish to add?
A – Thanks for the cool interview. See you guys on tour!