– Thank you so much for doing this interview and to start, explain us how has been the recording for your new album.
Snoppi: Oh, since about one year we are now doing rehearsals in a new house and this house is a studio. So we are very lucky that we are able to record stuff whenever we want. So we had no time-problems because we did not have to pay for the studio. Everything was very easy and we had plenty of time. The mastering and mixing in the end was done by Achim Köhler, and he made a fantastic job. He makes a sound that fits very good to our songs. I like his work very much.
– I’ve been listening to the release and it actually follows the trail your previous records left but with a plus in terms of production, as it’s more powerful but without leaving behind your characteristic melody. Has the album ended up they way you wanted?
Snoppi: Achim Köhler also did the last album, so this should be the reason why they sound a little bit the same. But on the last album the guitars were more heavy, I think. On the new album the drums are much louder and have a better sound. So I am pleased very much J Sven (vocals) likes melodic metal so he always tries to sing at least a melodic refrain. I like thrash more so I would prefer more hard stuff. So the mixing between all our metal-faves is what you can hear when listening to Wizard.
– What does the title and the cover artwork represent? Tell us a bit about it’s content.
Snoppi: Volker (bass) read a fantasy book, The chronicles of Hagen von Stein. This is a trilogy and Volker found it very great. So he contacted the author Andre Wiesler (also from germany) and together they made the concept. A short discription by Andre Wiesler:
André Wiesler, born and raised in Wuppertal, Germany, was known as fantasy and science fiction author before presenting his well received mystery series. The Chronicles of Hagen von Stein take the reader on a three part journey into the dark worlds of werewolves, vampires and witches. He’s presenting us two main characters with a multitude of sides. There is Hagen von Stein whom the reader meets first as a werewolf and Christian knight of god in the late dark ages (Hexenmacher – Witchforger). A stream of bad luck carries him to his undoing so the book ends with him becoming a vampire and slave to his former comrades.
At the same time the inquisitor Georg von Vitzthum is introduced – he is battling evil forces in our day and age.
The second book (Teufelshatz – Devil’s hunt) takes place in the Thirty Years War. Hagen has lasted through centuries of slavery and wants to end all of that. In midst of plague, battle grounds and degenerated werewolves he starts a rising of the vampires and collaborates with evil witches to make it happen. HE is successful in producing his own sort of vampires and ends the reign of the werewolves.
Today Georg von Vitzthum has to realise you need to fight fire with fire and gives away a big part of his soul to become able to fight the mighty lord of the vampires – Hagen von Stein!
The third volume (Wolfsfluch – curse of the wolf) takes part today. Hagen von Stein is the vampire ruler of Germany and has an agenda that Georg needs to prevent from coming through. A prophecy from the middle ages fulfils itself and an unfledged witch gets between the two men. All comes together in a big finale with a lot of action.
Because it is a story, the album title starts with this three point “… of wariwulfs and bluotvarwes”. The cover should show a book with a wariwulf on it, but you can’t see that it is a book. But Steve Argyle made a very good job, I like this cover very much. The last one was too boring from my point of view. Only a thor hammer, that’s nothing what interests me. But this new one is really great.
– Since 1995 you’re one of the most active Metal bands. What differences can we see between your debut work, «Son of Darkness», and this last one?
Snoppi: In 1991 whe recorded our first demo cassette “Legion of doom”. The difference from the early days to know is, that we have improved a little bit on our instruments. Sven sings very much better. He can sing high pitched but also deep and he can growl very good (listen to Taste of fear, where you can hear that). But beside of that there were no real great changes. We do the same music, the same style, we work the same way, we are the same guys, nearly everything is the same. And that’s very good!
– How has life treated you, music-wise, during all these years?
Snoppi: Hm, what do you mean with that? I think that we recorded very good metal stuff and I also know that we are still very unkown. I guess the music is not the problem, but to know the right persons in music buiseness and to be at the right time at the right point is very important. I hate this all, so I am glad I found a great job and can do my hobby beside it. We don’t have to care how much albums we will sell, it’s not important to us. Of course it is very nice to hear that people are fans from us, but we don’t have to earn our money with that, so we can stay true to ourselfes. I hope you know what I mean.
– And you have always had the same line-up, there was only one change on it, Michael Maass, who later came back and since then you have two guitars. I guess this makes the band stronger, as you have never had mishaps about recording each two years…
Snoppi: For us it was clear that Maassi would come back. Living to long without Wizard is impossible, hahaha. It was a very good decission that we asked Dano to play guitar in Wizard. We know Dano for a very long time and He, Volker and me we played in a Band together before Wizard (it was calles Project X). So Dano is also a very old friend of us and he was integrated in the band very good. Now we are happy to have two guitar players what makes the sound life on concerts much heavier. That’s great! And also Dano is a very very good guitarplayer as you can hear on the new album. Listen to the solo of Messenger of death, I love this solo. It’s coming from his heart.
– Is not easy to release an album each two years, I think you’re a band who always really know what you want to do and, indeed, it works perfectly for you. Have you thought about ever doing something different without loosing your style?
Snoppi: Within our style we try to vary as much as we can. We have slow songs (Messenger of death), evil slow psycho songs (heart eater), thrash-like songs (Taste of fear), typical true-metal (… of wariwulfs and bluotvarwes) and also a little bit prog like songs (fair maiden mine). I would say that it is not possible for us to compose more different songs than on this album. Of course we cannot play blues or grindcore from one to the next moment, we are only able to play our normal heavy metal. I think this will never change. But that’s ok, which band changes his style? I don’t know any band who is successfull and than changes his style (ok, perhaps Gary Moore).
– Are obvious in your latest piece and during your whole career, the classic Metal influences with that epic touch from mid 90’s. Which were your influences when you were still starting into this?
Snoppi: I listened very much to all the thrash stuff, Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Testament, Kreator, Sodom, Metal church, Sepultura … Volker only listened to Manowar, Sven liked Mötley Crüe, Kiss and Wasp, Maassi listened to van Halen, Joey Satriani, Pretty Maids etc. So Wizard is a mixture between all t
his. In the beginning Volker wrote very much songs (he still does) and so we sounded a little bit like Manowar, his great heroes.
– As I said before, you’re one of the most active bands since the mid 90’s. What’s left from all those bands whom played again the most classic style of Metal during that period and how do you now see the scene?
Snoppi: Oh, I don’t know exactly, what’s going on in the metal scene. It’s very rare that I buy a new cd. I have a lot of old cds I am listening to. That’s ok for me. So I don’t really know what all the bands do which were there together with us in the 90s. From Edguy, Hammerfall or Brainstorm I know that they are very successfull. We are not. But as I said before, we enjoy everything very much, each concert, each good review, each fan contact.
– Coming back to the present, how do you expect the new album to work out and how’s the touring situation?
Snoppi: It seems like the people like the album very much. On our homepage you can read all the good reviews we got. That’s great! We are just back from a few ireland gigs. Ireland was fantastic, the fans are very kind and ethusiastically. Next week we will play a show in germany and one in the netherlands. Later on than we will play with Mr. Big in czech republic and with Destruction/Entombed in slovenia. We never could play in spain but we would love to come. I hope that one day a promoter will book us for your country. That would be absolutely great!
– I see you haven’t included word «metal» in any song title, something typical in some of your works, didn’t you have the intention or there was nothing planned this time?
Snoppi: Hahaha, you are joking. It’s a long time ago when we had “metal” in a songtitle. The last albums were about Odin, about Thor, about a fantasy-witch called Goochan and now about werewolfs and vampires. So there was no place for the word “metal” in this stories. That’s all.
– I think the album’s quite compact and, in general, really well-cared, but there’s a track that I like a lot named «Hagen von Stein», it has a really poweful structure but with a lot of melody and good taste, it’s name has also intrigues me. What’s this track about?
Snoppi: Hagen von Stein is one of the main actors in the story. At the moment I cannot tell you exactly what it is about, because I don’t know the texts without cheeking, hahaha. I am drummer, I only have to hit the right place to the right time, hahaha. When we composed this song I liked it very very much. When we finnished recordings I was a little bit disappointed. For me it seems that we could not express the same feelings on the cd which I had when playing it live. Don’t understand me wrong, it is a good song, but live it is much better. So I decided to put that track at the very end of the album. If you like it, it’s a very good sign for me.
– What’s next after this latest album? Can we expect WIZARD for a while? What your future plans? When are you going to release a live album?
Snoppi: Just invite us to a big spain festival and we will make a live album there, hahaha. That would be great. The next actions will be the concerts. And of course we have to start writing songs for the next, our 10th album which perhaps comes out in 2013. Beside that I don’t know what happens. I hope a lot, let’s wait and see!
– And that’s all, thanks a lot from our side and hope to see you in Spain. Our best wishes.
Snoppi: I also thank you very much for your time and your questions. If you want more infos about us, please also visit us under www.legion-of-doom.de