StormWarrior guitarist Firebolt was so kind to answer some questions about the bands latest album and future plans.
Please tell us about the beginning of the band? And why did you chose the name StormWarrior?
Hi there! StormWarrior was founded by Lars back in 1998 in Hamburg, Germany. Genuine heavy metal wasn't very popular here at that time, so he thought about bringing back that power and rawness the bands had back in the Eighties. Lars was quite of an extremist at that time, and many laughed at him and the band at the beginning. I'm really glad that we proved those detractors wrong and built up a metal band which is a factor to be reckoned with in the metal scene. I can only guess why Lars chose the name StormWarrior, I never asked him to be honest. However, it's a name which bears strong images like fighting against everyone and having an iron will to go on, just like what Lars did when he started the band. It's the perfect fit to the music we are doing!
When did you start writing songs for the album Heathen Warrior?
Songwriting started last summer, I think. We had a bit of a precarious situation because we just had switched record companies in spring 2010, and all of the sudden the new company confronted us with the release date of a new StormWarrior album and we had no songs ready at all, haha. Lars wrote like mad the next weeks. Maybe he should always work under such high pressure as he delivered some killer songs for this record. Although I understand that his point of view may be a different one here. ;)
Do you write songs as a band? Or is there a main songwriter?
Normally everyone is writing for himself, and then sharing it with the band. We normally prepare everything at home, we are not much of a jamming band. Lars is writing most of the stuff right now, he is our Mr. Music so to speak, haha. :) It's obvious because he founded the band, so he knows best how a StormWarrior-song should sound like.
What inspires you to write music / lyrics?
Well, writing music is a form of self expression. It can either be a certain feeling you want to convey or maybe an experience you want to craft into notes and beats. To me it's a very personal process which cannot be generalized, and I'm sure it is the same with the other band members.
By the way, what bands/artists made you start playing? And which bands/artists are you listening to these days?
That's a difficult question to answer, as we all have very different tastes and therefore different influences. I'd say we are all very much into the classic stuff like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and the stuff from our hometown like the old Helloween or Running Wild. Personally I'm listening to everything that is interesting to me, no matter which label it has. I grew up listening to death metal stuff, and that's how I started playing guitar actually. My preferences shifted more and more towards more melodic stuff over the years. I'm still the extremist in the band when it comes to personal play lists. As a guitar player, I am obviously fond of all those guitar shredding ego stuff, haha. :) Music has to be demanding and technically proficient to catch my intention, as I'm always looking for something I could learn musically. Right now, I'm enjoying the last Keep Of Kalessin record Reptilian. It's a total different direction of metal. Still, I like the intense playing and the epic atmosphere they build up on this record, which in its deepest sense reminds me of what we're doing. The guitarist they have is an absolute bad-ass, one of the fastest and most original players I've seen in a long time!
How long time did the recordings take? Where did you record Heathen Warrior? Who produced the album?
The album was produced by us and Tommy Hansen. We recorded in our own studio here in Hamburg, and then went to Denmark to mix the effort at Tommy's Jailhouse Studios. The whole process of creating the album took from October 2010 to March 2011, if I count correctly. There had been many obstacles, with the most severe one being the back injury of Hendrik. It was very painful to play drums for him at that time, so he had to take breaks to rest in the studio before continue playing again. This corrupted our schedule from the beginning, although it wasn't his fault of course. There were very intense six months completing Heathen Warrior, but when I hear the result I know all the blood, sweat and tears were worth investing.
Who did the artwork? And how is it tied to the album title?
The album artwork was done by Uwe Karzewski, who did all the stuff for our albums up to now. The painting shows Odin riding on his eight-legged horse Sleipnir. Odin as the father of gods in Scandinavian mythology is the perfect representation of the Nordic way of living and believing, an integral part of the world of thought of a heathen warrior!
Which songs do you think represent Heathen Warrior best? And why?
I'd say it's the title track, although this might not be a very witty answer to your question, haha. :) The song Heathen Warrior represents the vibe of the whole album perfectly, it has the directness, dynamics, and the epic component which you will find throughout the new songs. It's the perfect appetizer, and that's why we chose to open the new album with it.
Will you do a video? Which song(s) would you like to visualize?
So far there are no plans for doing a video, but never say never. I think it would be cool to do a video either for the title track or Ravenhearte. For visualization, I could think of us playing among a huge battle scene straight out of the Braveheart movie, this would fit the power of the music as well as the lyrics. We all love this film, so this would be a nice combination.
I guess you already got some feedback.. Are you satisfied so far?
Up until now, the feedback was very positive. Some people got up to us and said "you know, I needed some time to get into your new record, but then it stuck in my ear even more than the last album did." That's a very positive comment in my opinion, as it shows that we didn't do the same as on Heading Northe, but developed in a positive way which is also honored by the fans. What more could you ask for as a musician? :)
What about playing live? Anything on the way?
We just did a couple of shows here in Germany, and festivals as Bang Your Head and Headbangers Open Air. Right now, we are working with the booking company and promoters on putting together a tour for late 2011 and of course more shows and festival appearances. Check back on www.stormwarrior.de for upcoming events, everything will be posted there!
Do you plan to record some live footage - not talking about Pro shots - for You Tube or similar platforms?
There is much stuff from our shows filmed by fans which you will find on YouTube, from old to recent shows. We don't have to do it ourselves you know, haha. Seriously, it's cool to me to find videos or photos of us online, and a way to recap a show. The last one I found was from the headlining show at the Headbangers Open Air three weeks ago. Those videos let you see how the fans witnessed the show in front of stage. As a musician on stage, you will have quite a different perception of how the show went, so it's a great thing to watch the show with the eyes of our fans and see what was good or bad about it.
Talking about the internet.... Social network is both a blessing and a curse, what's your opinion about it?
On one hand it's a blessing, as you can stay in touch with friends and colleagues on a very convenient way. On the other hand, those networks juggle a wrong view of friendship. I mean it's cool when fans want to add you on Facebook for example, but being a friend on a social networking platform doesn't necessarily mean that we are friends in real life, you know? When using social media, it's important to gauge the situation and separate your real life from the virtual one.
What's next on your schedule?
Right now we are finally putting the finishing touches to our live DVD. Furthermore, we have to look for a new drummer as Hendrik decided to leave StormWarrior at the end of the year due to scheduling conflicts. If you are a professional drummer and think you are the man for the job, don't hesitate dropping a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Don't worry though, we have shows coming up in October and they will go as planned.
Anything you want to add?
Thanks to everyone who continued to support StormWarrior throughout the years! We hope you will dig Heathen Warrior, and expect your shores to be raided very soon when Stormwarrior hits the road again this year!