RAVEN (Eng.)

– First off thank you so much for answering to our questions. How is the band currently doing?
we are all doing fine thanks!!!

 

– You have just releasing your new album, entitled «ExtermiNation». Tell us a little bit about this release. First off, for how long did you work on it and where did you record it?
We knew following our last album “walk through fire” would be tough…as it was a good album. We just had to raise our game so to speak…better songs, better playing/better sound.  We took  a lot longer in the preproduction phase…writing/re-writing/arranging..re-arranging..making sure that we had the right songs and had them arranged just right before we went into the studio !

 

– What does RAVEN talk about in this record? Is there any concept behind most of the album or were these compositions that just came out along the way?
no real concept…the lyrics cover a varied amount of topics..a tribute to Bon Scott…a view into the mind of a serial killer…a humorous  revisting of our past in Newcastle…all sorts of topics!

 

– And about the cover artwork, how did the design born? What does it represent to you and to the album in general?

raven
the album name came from the song “destroy all monsters”..I’d wrote the “exterminate..exterminate” bit..and Mark came up with “extermiNation” as a title..which is a bit of a play on words…and I came up with the crazy scientist destroying the world cover concept…which came out great!

 

– The album is a delight, you are doing what you do the best, as in every album. Is a classic album. Did you have clear how did you want this record to be? Are you pleased with the outcome?
yes, we wanted an album sort of like “all for one” meets “architect of fear” in a bar fight!!! And we got that,,but much, much more..the songs are great…the RIFFS are great and the playing is great – Mark’s solos are amazing…Joe’s drumming is phenomenal…and Kevin 131 did an incredible job recording & mixing the album – it sounds so good! The reason why the album has that live feel…is because all 3 of us played together in the studio…no click track…no tricks..just play!!!! Nobody does this anymore and that is just crazy.

 

– You are still keeping that vibe of really British tracks with the NWOBHM’s sound; fast Speed Metal songs and those melodic doses and harmonies in the choruses. You are loyal to your own style. Haven’t you ever thought about doing something different?
such as? Lounge music? Ska? Reggae? I don’t think so….in a world where most metal bands sound like they are all ripping each other off…we don’t. we have a strong identity and are very happy to be the best RAVEN sounding band in the land!

 

– The opus conains 15 tracks, you could have even put out two good albums. Have you put here everyting you had or still had some other tracks that didn’t make it into the album?
Oh we started with around 40 song ideas…some were fully formed, others just sketches..but we narrowed it down to around 20 or so and worked on those before choosing the 15 we finally recorded….we have no trouble writing songs!!!!

 

– Since the CD exists, and in line with the previous questions, sometimes including so many songs make certain albums get tedious, which isn’t your case at all, but did you think about this possibility, that maybe there were too many songs?
No, because they flow well from song to song, they are varied but are cohesive – they all kick your ass!!! Besides, its been over 5 years…we owe our fans a real album not just 10 songs/30 mins of music.

 

– Tell us if there wil be any special editions in vinyl or digipack.
the CD will be in digipak..and the vinyl is a 2 album set..green vinyl!!!

 

– You are a classic into 80’s British Metal and all that movement called NWOBHM. As I have the chance of interviewing you raven johnfor first time, I would like you to talk about your early days. How did RAVEN born?
Mark & I went to Spain on holiday around 1972 and he got a classical guitar…once we got home we were both playing it..I was tuning it down and learning bass licks…finally Mark and the kid down the street Paul Bowden..came up to me & said –“we are starting a band and you can play bass” and that was it! After a zillion drummers we started to play the local pubs & clubs in  Newcastle and learned our trade so to speak…we changed to a3 piece band in 1980 and got signed to Neat records soon after this….

 

– In your early days you recorded an album per year. You released «Rock Until you Drop», «Wiped Out» and «All for One». How were those years like? And how were the recordings and shows for them like?
crazy!! As soon as we did our first single thing started to take off. We played with Ozzy, Maiden, Whitesnake, Motorhead…and completed our 1st album. Rock until yu drop & wiped out were done at Neats studios..very bare bones & straight forward..we recorded live basically…added vocals..a few guitars and that was it! All For One was with a real producer  – Michael Wagener- and in a real studio outside of London.

 

– Before the 90’s you released 3 more albums, «Stay Hard», «The Pack is Back» and «Life’s a Bitch». It is said in those albums you got a bit more commercial, something I don’t agree with, maybe some touch, but it is still RAVEN. How was that period like or what are your feelings on those albums?
“stay hard” is a good album…”the pack is back” is when the record company tried to make us commercial…its ok but only a few good songs..”lifes a bitch is a GREAT album – heavy!!!” that’s when we told the record company we’d be playing by our rules from then onwards. We made mistakes..but learnded from them and moved on….

 

– Then with «Nothing Exceeds like Excess» you end the decade. How did you see your future in those moments?
this was a great period for us…Joe’s 1st album and he played amazing on it..we also toured with Kreator and played Spain for the 1st time!!! We thought the future looked good…

 
– During that period you visited in Spain, I can recall 3 times. One was at a festival in Zaragoza along with bands such as RUNNING WILD or RAGE. Do you remember that fest?
I don’t think we ever played with Rage…Running Wild ..later on..we did a festival with Kreator in Madrid – crazy!!!

 

– Later you supported RUNNING WILD and KREATOR, I personally saw you in Barcelona. How were those tours are supporters like being an older band and being more reknowned?
no..the 1st time in Spain was with Kreator…Madrid & Barcelona..then we came with Running Wild . We have no problem being the support act if the main act has a big following..its a new audience for us that way! Often the main band has the problem…going on after us!

 

– You also toured with METALLICA, that always supported British Metal. How was this experience like?
Metallica’s 1st tour was opening for us in the USA in 1983…. That was an amazing tour..I think they learned a lot from us as we’d been doing this a lot longer…it was great to play with them again.(.this time we opened!) In Sao Paulo Brazil in front of 70,000 people!

 

– Already in the 90’s, and even though it was a decade where trends and shits were tried to be imposed, you still kept releasing albums. How was that decade for you and what were your thoughts on the albums you did, as «Architect of Fear», «Glow», «Everything Louder» or «One for All»?  
it was a tougher decade…we concentrated on placed other than the USA as it was having its grunge “love affair” and hating everything else…so we did a lot of work in Europe..in Japan… and did some great albums like the ones you mention!!! Eventually ..as it always does, good music comes back into style…not that I hated grunge – most of it was great..its just in the USA it was everywhere – there was no interest in any other music for a time.

 

– And well, during these last years up to the date how has everything been? Did you see thanks to modern technology people had easier access to your music and supposed a revival for bands as yours?
well, we never really went away other than 4 years or so after Marks horrible accident in 2001…once he was back on his feet we started playing festivals in 2005/2006…and then started work on “walk through fire”!   So modern technology did not revive us..we revived ourselves! The internet is a great thing – we have real time communication with our fans…we can record studio quality demos in our bedrooms…its all good!

 

– During these last years you have played at Metalcova festival in Barcelona and at Pounding Metal Fest in Madrid. What were your feelings on these shows?
both were excellent..we love the passion of the Spanish fans and we are looking forward to retuning In September this year!raven 2

 

– And all this being said, how do you see the career of the band? And what does the future have in store?
we are just getting started – so many places to play…tours to set up..and a lot more music to follow!

 

– About tours and supporting the album, is there anything already confirmed?  
we go to Japan in July, then theres a short USA tour,m then a full European tour in September/October..including Spain!

 

– That’s all from our side, our best wishes and hope to see you soon again in Spain.
thanks & thanks to the fans!!!

 

Paco Gómez
paco@queensofsteel.com

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