STORMWARRIOR The Warrior Conquers All!
German Vikings? Never heard of? Well, think again, because the latest and most successful Viking pillage tour hails from our Teutonic neighbors. Band leader Lars Ramcke and then drummer Andre Schumann raised the banner the first time back in 1998, inspired by the metal scene of the 1980´s, not least German bands like RUNNING WILD and HELLOWEEN. And who better to tell of the current battle status within the Viking camp than Lars himself, hail battle swordsman, what news bring ye?
FP: Please describe the new album; the process, the studio sessions, the concept (?), and your favorite moments
-“Heathen Warrior” is definitely the most “grown-up-sounding” album STORMWARIOR have done so far. After having released an album like “Heading Northe”, which was pretty well embraced by everyone, of course everybody who loved the last album had developed his own expectations concerning our next output.
But since STORMWARRIOR never wrote their music and lyrics for any other people than for themselves there had not been any sort of discussion or thinking like “what would the people like to hear from us right now…?”. STORMWARRIOR never thought about something like that before and they never will be thinking of that. Because this would be the point where everything would become to be based on commercial purposes…
- Don’t get me wrong, it is not that we don’t take care about our followers, but concerning songwriting this is completely up to the band, so in the end it is always the same, like with every other band (that is not stagnating), the band, the songs and the sound are developing and going forward - the only question that is left in the end is whether the fans and followers are willing to follow the band and if they accept the development of the band.
I don’t think that we really changed somehow since the last album, it is just that we concentrated on featuring different aspects of our sound than before to let the band and the sound develop and to open the sound-spectrum once in a while.
- The process itself had been extremely weird this time (this is also why the album release date had been rescheduled sometimes…). Our drummer Hendrik had a severe back-issue last year and when the drum-session had to be done trying to keep the first time schedule; he was actually still not fit enough again for recording a whole album, so the whole drum-session turned out to take way longer than expected. We had to take a break every 30 minutes, to let Hendrik “rearrange” his bones again to be able to play for another 30 minutes…
After the drum-session we recorded at different places at the same time before everything was put together in our own studio then to see if everything really fits together…haha!
- Well, somehow it did fit and we could finally go to Tommy Hansen to get the final sound for the album.
Since Tommy already did the mastering work for the last album and we were really impressed by his collection old vintage equipment which goes partly even back to the 60ies.
It was very clear for us back then already that we wanted the whole mix & mastering be done by Tommy this time to get a real great warm analogue sound onto our new album. It seems that today most people got their ears used to the new sound of digital recording equipment with all these digital plug in versions that try to imitate the originals, but for us there is always something missing, and that is this “certain something” that one can only receive from the old original gear.
- So we are very happy with the result and with Tommy’s work and we love this “80-ies sound”, even if it’s still up-to-date somehow.
My favorite time during the production has been of course the moment when everything was finally on tape and we started to mix with Tommy to discover some of his old treasures in his gear-collection and we could finally concentrate on the sound instead of recording and arrangements etc.
It has been definitely the hardest production so far, because we recorded again everything on our own but this time we have been under time pressure from day one on. So actually sometimes it felt like fighting against windmills and after having worked on the album for almost a ¾ year including songwriting etc. you are really glad somehow that it is done…haha!
But after listening to the final album of course every single second of work became worth it again!
FP: What has happened since your last album “Heading Northe”?
- Two main things happened which actually held us back from working for quite a long time.
First of all Falko, our drummer back then started a family and decided to leave the band after almost 6 years and of course it is always a heavy thing for a band if one of the main pillars breaks away. But gladly we found a good replacement soon with Hendrik, who played in Kingdom Come before and was actually yelling to get the chance to play some faster music.
The second thing was, that our last record company Dockyard got into trouble caused by some personal mistakes and misbehaviors of some single label-holders which also lead to the end of the label. That really threw us back financially but also working-wise, because we suddenly had to get a new deal very soon but didn’t have the time before to get some new material together for a new album to be released very soon after signing a new deal.
So with Massacre we finally got onto our feet again and could continue with “normal” work and the result we’re holding in our hands right now.
FP: How would you describe the band members (don´t hold back)?
- Oohhh…haha! Guess I must be glad that it is me doing this interview…;-)
Well, I am not talking about their musical skills or about the way we can work together. This is all fitting together perfectly.
Alex (Guth, guitars) is a very down-earthed guy with a lack of beard-growing on his cheeks…;-)
I guess I never saw him really aggressive or losing his countenance. But it is really funny watching him getting and being drunk though. He has always been something like the perfect counterpart if someone tends to overreact or to follow irregular thoughts or visions. Maybe somehow he keeps the balance in the band.
While being on tour Hendrik (Thiesbrummel, drums) seems to be one of those guys who is always sitting there waiting for the flight, never ever leaving his fingers off of his notebook or Iphone (or whatever that is) and while talking with you, you can actually read his thoughts like “could you please speed up talking, there is another message waiting to be answered by me…” or “…yeah, yeah, just continue blahblahblah, you are drunk and in five minutes you won’t remember what I just said anyway…”…haha!
Another strange head but completing the team perfectly, even if he positions his drum set in a very strange way that is sometimes very difficult to record in stereo;-)
And Yenz (Leonardt, bass)… well, Yenz… I guess Yenz is simply out of this world…haha!
He is probably the most smoking man I have ever met. He is the last guy who enters the aircraft and the first one who leaves it and sometimes he is very hard to find at the airports, because every second you spend in a non-smoking area in a non-smoking status seems to be a wasted one…haha!
Besides that, he is a guy who carries all spirits from his past lives with him, hard to describe though. If you watch him you realize very soon that it seems to be nearly impossible to shock him with anything, because he has conquered the whole world and times anyway (and not only once…;-) )…
I definitely won’t describe myself right now…;-)
FP: What is the core of STORMRIDER?
- I’m sorry but how could I know what is the core of StormRIDER? Is this a band as well?
Or a PC-Game? (I don’t play PC-games though…).
I sadly don’t understand this question…
FP blushing: What a cock-up on my behalf…don´t write interviews too late at night…
FP: Where are your biggest fan bases? Who is your average fan?
- So far (based on the sales of the last album) we still have the biggest fan-base in Germany and Japan. Great-Britain and the States are also growing very well at the moment.
Speaking of Scandinavia, then Sweden would be the biggest market, while Finland is growing as well.
I don’t know what our “average fan” would look exactly like, but I am well aware of that at least in Germany, most of our loyal fans still wear denim jackets (as those are called “Kutte” in Germany), leather, spiked-belts, etc. and that they still have a favor for 80ies style of Heavy Metal music and lifestyle and that I am proud of being able to say that those guys are listening to our music…
FP: What happens next, PR, touring, festivals etc? Any chance of gigs etc. in Scandinavia?
-Yeah, right now every day is completely filled with Interviews and Promo-work before we start with rehearsals for the festivals. We are also collecting some dates for autumn / winter and hopefully we can as well come back to Scandinavia with the new album. Of course it would be a bit late right now to jump on anything for this summer, but I am pretty sure that we will have some further possibilities for autumn or winter though.
Cheers for your time/Miggo, festivalphoto
-Thanks go out to you for this interview, my friend!