Powerwolf (VO)

interview PowerwolfA name which sounds like a “cliché” for a music which is surely not, here are the teutons Powerwolf. A great first album is now out on Metal Blade, it's high time to know more about these proud protectors of heavy metal, noble and immortal. Far from the power metal which reigns beyond the Rhine, these guys have more in common with W.A.S.P, Ozzy Osbourne or Savatage than with Primal Fear and Brainstorm. The organist Falk Maria Schegel accepted to tell me what it's all about in April 2005.

Can we begin this interview with an introduction to the world of Powerwolf ? Can you tell us a kind of band history ?
The band was founded by Charles and Matthew Greywolf. They ´ve been playing metal together since a lot of years. Three years ago me (Falk Maria Schlegel) and our drummer Stefane Funebre joined the brothers, and then we spent a long long time looking for a very special singer for the band, as we didn´t want to have one of these typical german heavy-metal singers. There are hundreds around and they all sound the same. We wanted someone special, but as you can imagine you don´t meet such a special guy right around the next corner in the moment you want to. So we spent a long time just writing music and waiting for that special singer to cross our path, which finally happened when the Greywolf brothers met Attila Dorn during holidays in Romania.

So Attila Dorn, your singer, is romanian. Can you tell us more about this meeting ?
That we met Attila is destiny, ha ha… Matthew and Charles spent a few days in Romania. Just visiting the country and relaxing. One evening they met that strange guy in a pub. They started talking about music and about their plans to complete their own band and he seemed very interested in that. Finally he asked the brothers for their phone number, just in case he´d come to Germany. When they came back home Matthew had a message on his answering machine. It was Attila Dorn who told him that he´d come next week to Germany to visit some relatives who live there and he´d come around to make some music together. We all thought it was a joke, but a few days later Mr. Dorn was there. Well, and the rest is pure magic : we started playing music together and it was exactly that special thing we were looking for such a long time.

I read Attila has a classical opera formation. How did you convince him to join Powerwolf ?
Attila studied classical opera vocals at the academy in Bucharesti in Romania. After that he made some money singing in different musicals and operas. He still likes that but it was only a job, not really passion. He got in touch with metal music only a few years ago. He accidently got an Iron Maiden tape and from the first time on he listened to it he dreamt of singing in a metal band one day ! So Powerwolf is something like a dream coming true for him. Powerwolf is pure passion for him.

>\"Return In Bloodred\" is your first album. Musically it's so different from all these actual german power-metal bands. It's old-school heavy-metal with a huge doom feeling. How would you
interview Powerwolf describe your music ?
It is normally your job to describe the music, ha,ha… No, you are right, I also think, that it is different to many german power metal bands. Especially that we use an organ and a quite not typical metal shouter… “Old school heavy metal with a huge doom feeling”, yeah, that sounds good, it does fit…

Personnaly i really love your music. When i listen to Powerwolf, i hear some Savatage, Manowar, Mercyful Fate & Candlemass influences. Are they the kind of bands you appreciate ?
Yeah, definetly. Black Sabbath and Mercyful fate. Both are essential. But I also like Savatage, but more the older ones and Megadeth…

It seems very important for Attila to sing about his cultural heritage, about ancient romanian stories. What do your texts deal with exactly ?
Attila spends a lot of time reading books about ancient romanian history and legends and for him this is something very serious and essential. For him wolves, were wolves and vampires are not just horror creatures. We, west european people, know these creatures and stories from the typical horror movies, but being romanian Attila sees these things from a different point of view. He hates all these movies because as he says they don´t tell the truth, they make cheap horror sensations out of traditional stories that mean a lot to romanian people. So Attila sees his lyrics as a channel to deliver a romanian point of view on these things.

This first album has been recorded in Fredman studios with famous Fredrik Nordstrom. Was it a good experience to work with such a talented technician ? One disadvantage to work with such a great producer would be to get a too common sound. Are you satisfied with the production he gave you ?
Yeah, of course. Fredrik is much, much more than a talented technician. He listened to the songs “Kiss of the Cobra King” or “We Came To Take Your Souls” and he directly knew, how this stuff has to sound! I don't think, that Fredrik ever made only one typical sound. Listen to the Soilwork stuff and compare that with the Spiritual Beggars “Ad Astra” cd. He is always able to gave a band that sound, what the band deserves. The cooperation was just perfect and we´re absolutely happy with the production.

How is the composition process in Powerwolf ? Who does usually bring the basis of a new song ? Do you work a long time on a new one before it's ready to be recorded ?
We write everything together. We don´t work like most bands obviously do. We don´t plan our music, we don´t sit down and elaborate our riffs and vocal lines. In Powerwolf, songs must “happen” – which means we write our songs quite spontaneously. Someone has a basic idea and then we start playing. Often it happens that we write a song in not more than half an hour. It needs a certain magic, which you can´t invoke or plan, it just has to happen. “We Came To Take Your Souls” for example is a song we´ve written in the very first rehearsal we did together with Attila. We had that riff and Attila came up with the chorus line, someo
interview Powerwolfne added the song title and half an hour later the song was ready – that´s how we work and that´s what makes Powerwolf something almost spiritual and magical for me. Or “Lucifer in Starlight”, I have only played this riff with the organ, it has sounded so doomy… and then the song arised very quickly…

Personally it's been a long time i didn't hear such a fresh heavy-metal music. What are your secrets for keeping old-school heavy-metal still interesting ? Are you conscious to be different ?
I' m sorry, it' s a secret… ha,ha. No, we always want to write good songs with a big diversity in it. You can't plan that. Then we aren't able to keep this freshness to our music, we have to stop it…

There are also a few gothik touches à la Type O Negative in your music, i think it comes from the way you play keyboards. It may also sound like Jon Lord's hammond (Deep Purple). Do you take inspiration from some movies soundtrack or 70's rock to create these atmospheres ?
No, not directly. I have a big passion for Deep Purple. I have been touring with a lot of different metal bands for years playing these typical heavy-metal keyboards. Strings and pads, the usual thing… but I got sick and tired of that. Then I tried this that huge organ sound which adds a lot of spirituality and deepness to our music. In my opinion a great organ sounds much more heavy and powerful than a guitar… Just listen to old Deep Purple albums and you know what I mean.

Your drummer Stéphane Funèbre (great nickname) seems to be french. Did he play in some other bands before Powerwolf ? How did you meet him ?
Stefane's father is french, his mother german. Stefane played in a lot of thrash and power-metal bands in Essen and we heard a lot of him. So the Greywolfs invited him for a rehearsal. Stéphane Funèbre is his official name. He played in german speed-metal band under the nickname “Udo Lamprecht”, ha,ha.

Will you play live soon ? Any european tour or festival appearances planned ?
First of all we´ll present ourselves on some summer festivals, such as the Summer breeze in Germany. For autumn our booking agency Dragon productions (a division of A.S.S.) plan to play a full tour, but there´s nothing confirmed yet. We don´t want to jump on the first tour we might get offered, as we want to make sure the conditions are good enough to deliver a good show. We will rather not play any tour at all than ending up on an eight band package tour, where each band gets kicked on stage for some 20 minutes without any stage show and concept. For us the visual presentation is very important and we want our fans to get a good show, and we want to make sure to be able to deliver what our fans deserve – but I´m quite confident that around autumn the call of the Powerwolf will be heard on many stages across Europe !

Well thank you very much for your answers, last words are yours.
Watch out for the Powerwolfs, listen to our music and howl with the wolves at www.powerwolf.net and wel will come to take your souls….

Interview done by DJ In Extremis

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