- Hi there,thanks for your time. As this is our first interview with you, could you please make some history of the band?
Hi Tania! Stormwarrior was founded by Lars back in 1998, with the intention to continue where many of the established classic Heavy Metal bands from Hamburg left of. The first album “Stormwarrior” was released almost ten years ago in 2002. The second one “Northen Rage” came out in 2004, and we did quite a lot shows for that one and even toured Japan. Our most successful album so far was “Heading Northe”, which saw the light of day in 2008. We had played many of the big festivals for that one as well as a European tour together with Firewind and a special show in the USA. After several line-up changes over the years, right now we feel to have the strongest line-up there is with Lars on vocals and guitar, Yenz on bass and backup vocals, Hendrik on drums, and me, Alex, on guitar. We just released our fourth full-length studio album “Heathen Warrior” in late May of 2011 and are very happy with the way the album turned out.
- And to all those who haven’t heard the band yet, how could you describe your sound in just a few words?
Proficient. Demanding. Genuine. Metal. That is Stormwarrior to me!
- Soon after releasing your new “Heathen Warrior”; what’s the band currently up to?
Right now we are preparing ourselves for the live shows, rehearsing the new material and doing a bunch of interviews. Our first show this year will be at the Bang Your Head festival here in Germany. It is quite prestigious and we will play alongside bands like Accept and Slayer. Therefore, we are practising our asses off to get sure that our live set is tight and we will deliver a killer show!!!
- And what are your expectations for the record? Or how’s going its feedback so far?
The feedback until now has been very acceptive. People are recognizing that we evolved as a band and as songwriters. We did not do “Heading Northe Part 2”, and I take it as compliment when someone comes up and says “the new record is somehow different”. Though you will recognize our style, you will also see that we grew as musicians. It is cool with me if someone says that the music differs a bit from what we did on the last record, because no one says that it is worse from what we did in the past, hahaha. This is something we wanted to achieve – showing a more mature version of the band – and I think it worked out pretty well.
- This is your first album with Massacre Records, what prompted that move?
The record company which released “Heading Northe”, Dockyard 1, went out of business because of internal problems, simple as that. So we had to find a new partner quickly, as we also needed financial support to do the next album. We had contact with quite a lot labels who showed their interest in us, but it was Massacre who had the most promising offer in the end. We got along very well from the beginning, and we felt that they really believed in us and wanted us on their label. For us, it is a real step forward because Massacre is one of the bigger metal labels, so we can rely on them financially and promotional-wise. We are happy that it turned out the way it did after all!
- And are you satisfied with the work done with them so far? As your previous works were released by less-known record labels, do you think this new deal will help you succeed more or reach more countries?
I think that the collaboration will give an extra boost to Stormwarrior for sure. Massacre has more share in the market than the labels we worked with before, and they have good business partners worldwide. It is still a fresh relationship, but we already feel that we have reached a higher level concerning the operating range. Let us see how things will develop!
- There is an European version and a Japanese version for “Heathen Warrior”, which contains some bonus track. Will these songs ever be available for your European fans? And how was the selection of these tracks?
The digipack version in Europe will contain one bonus track, which is a cover version of “City Light”, originally done by Pretty Maids. We made it a bit more pushing and added some aggressivness to the sound, and I am very happy with the way it turned out. I have to be honest that I do not know who came up with the idea of doing that song. Maybe it was even suggested by our management or one of the merchandisers, but I am not sure. For the japanese version, it will contain “City Light” as well as a special live version of “Metal Legacy” we did at the Masters of Rock Festival in the Czech Republic a few years back. The atmosphere was great when we played there, and the live recording captures that mood pretty well. Maybe this live version will come out in Europe at a later point of time, but as far as I know this one is exclusively to Japan right now.
- Due to this, I wonder if you have some other songs already wirtten that could be found in any upcoming release?
Actually there is some stuff left that we did not use on “Heathen Warrior”. These are mostly pretty crude ideas which did not get ready in time for the studio. Let us see if some of those sketches will be completed and see the light of day with our next record. It is far to early to tell though if some of the leftovers will make it, but I will not rule it out.
- The CD Has been recorded by Tommy Hansen (PRETTY MAIDS, HELLOWEEN, etc.) at the Jailhouse Studio, in Denmark, how hs this experience been?
Actually the album was recorded in our own studios here nearby Hamburg. Tommy did the mixing and mastering in Denmark. Of course it is great to work with a legend like Tommy Hansen. We had a good feeling when he did the mastering for “Heading Northe”, so it was the next logical step to deepen the work with him for “Heathen Warrior”. He is a cool guy, and has lots of nice vintage equipment combined with the newest Pro Tools machinery. He is very danish and looks a bit like a hobbit I have to admit, a cool and relaxed sound-hobbit, hahaha J
- “Heading Northe” was recorded at your own studios, so what are the main differences between both situations?
As I said above, we did both recordings at our own studio. Piet Sielck did the mixing for “Heading Northe” though, so obviously it was different working with him as he has a totally different mindset when it comes to sound engineering. Although I still like the punch that Piet added to our last record, I think that “Heathen Warrior” is warmer and more organic sounding. It is almost like an 80s record, but with a contemporary packaging.
- Norse mythology, I’d dare say, is your main lyrical influence; how did everything start? And how do you document about this matter? As we’re not used to see German Heavy Metal bands covering such topics…
Well, STORMWARRIOR actually cannot be considered as a typical German Heavy Metal Band since we come partly from Denmark and partly from the most northern part of Germany, which once had been part of Denmark. Even in northern Germany the mentality and history (especially the pre-christian history) is closer to Denmark than to the rest of Germany. So even if the rehearsal rooms are based in Hamburg due to logistical situations in these days, in the end we feel more like a “south-scandinavian” band than a real German one.
And here you also find the reason for our special connection to the “northern theme”. It is just simply part of our culture.
Besides that our lyrics are not dealing with Norse Mythology exclusively. Furthermore we take a closer view on our pre-christian times, culture, history, rituals and the pagan views. Norse Mythology is just part of the background in our pagan world.
- Your previous record was release in 2008, and this same year you will release a DVD/live album as well (beside your new “Heathen Warrior). Is there any concrete reason for this? And what have you guys been up during these 3 years?
We played quite a lot of shows in support of “Heading Northe”, many festivals especially. Then, we were working on the DVD as well as on the new album. We had severe problems with our record company which had to be solved in order to continue working (see my comment above). It took a lot of time negotiating with labels and getting a new, and furthermore, GOOD contract. You see, we have not been lazy at all in the last three years!
- Talking about this DVD/live album, its release date has been delayed several times. Do you already know the final date when it’ll come out?
Not yet unfortunately, because still there are some problems with the bonus material we wanted to include. We are waiting for a film company giving us the tapes from shows we did last year with the current line-up. Those guys seem to be a pretty lazy bunch, and to us it is senseless putting out a DVD with just the Wacken show we did in 2007. There has to be some added value so it will be interesting for the fans. This whole DVD project seems to be cursed, as we had so many drawbacks with it (technical problems with the files from the Wacken show, robbed studios of the video editing company etc. etc.). Still I sincerely hope that we will have a release of the DVD in 2011!
- I saw you have some festivals confirmed but, aren’t there any touring plans?
We have started booking shows right now. The album has just been released, so the promoters are starting to get interested in us right now. I hope we will hook up on some tours for “Heathen Warrior”, as the album deserves a proper support and we want to bring Stormwarrior to the next level and play every stage there is! So keep checking back at www.stormwarrior.de for the latest updates on shows and tours, there will be a lot I promise you that!
- And finally, what’s next for STORMWARRIOR? What can we expect from you?
As I said, next for us is the Bang Your Head festival in Germany, where we will premiere some new material on stage! We are working our asses off at rehearsal right now, so expect a killer show!
- That’s all, thanks once more for your time. If you want to add some final words; last lines are yours.
Thank you for supporting Stormwarrior all those years! We hope you will dig our new album “Heathen Warrior”! See you guys on tour!