Fireworks

Fireworks Magazine Online 60 - Interview with Wolfpakk

WOLFPAKK


Wolf Gant discusses new Wolfpakk album ‘Cry Wolf’ with vocalist Mark Sweeney.


This is actually the second time we have spoken to vocalist Mark Sweeney about a package of songs released, with producer and long-time friend Michael Voss, as the band Wolfpakk. Ian Johnson was asking the questions last time, two years ago in regards to the debut of the same name, but today we’re sat down talking about a second album that basically fits the criteria of the first; two great songwriters coming up with a collection of songs, then having guest musicians add to those.

“Yes, that’s right,” says the vocalist on my assertion that this is more of the same, just better….
“This was and always will be the idea! We both already have a long and intensive career and we have a lot of good contacts all over the world….. So we love to write songs and then ask our friends if they want to join in. In every case though, Michael and I always jump in first with every song and the guests; they have just a little part in it…. Sometimes more, sometimes less.”
“If it’s better or not, I guess other people will decide that. But yes, we just follow our own concept and I hope all the fans out there like it as much as ‘Wolfpakk’. I also hope though that these are another, different set of great songs and not just ‘copies’ from the first record. It’s really important that we continue to push forward.”

Some of the guests seem more obvious than before; Ralf Scheepers and Roland Grapow, for example (both German musicians signed to home-grown labels). But one that does stand out is Amanda Sommerville, who’s also on new video “Cold Winter”?

“Well, in my opinion all the guests are a coup for us really! But I agree that Amanda was a particular hit, and much more so as she is also on the video you mentioned! She is not only a great singer, but also a very kind and professional person! For example, she stayed until the very last shoot, even when we were a bit delayed! That was very nice and courteous.”

That’s the second video from the album. The first, “Dark Revelation” seemed more of a band effort. It proved that a line-up of Wolfpakk can exist in the live arena though, no?

“Actually yes, but if we would do gigs, we’d also have to commit some guest stars to that and that’s the very difficult (and expensive) part of this. But, as you say, already on the first video, I had Martin Rauber (guitar) and Mike Winkler (bass), so you could say that that’s our band (at least for videos)? Unfortunately, drummer Ramy Ali couldn’t join in, because he was on tour with Freedom Call, but Roland Johoda did a good job!”

What were the different challenges of producing two videos quite so different?

“Actually no challenge really. Michael and I like both ballads and hard songs, and they both fit video perfectly. The exciting thing was working with the wolves in “Cold Winter”. Now, THAT is quite a big challenge (… to shoot with animals), I tell you!”

Back to ‘Cry Wolf’….. Where did the influences come from this time?

“Well.... For me, Wolfpakk should tell stories about animals, nature or stories from far away, “myths” if you like? Of course we have some songs that are not necessarily in this mould, but whenever it’s possible, I love to dive into this world and then all the ideas like “Cry Wolf”, “Moonlight” or “Cold Winter” come into being.”

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One song that particularly stands out for me is the cover of “Run With The Wolf”. Why that particular song?


“Is there seriously any better song title for Wolfpakk, Wolf?! And when Tony Carey said, yes, he wanted to join Wolfpakk because he liked our version of “Run With The Wolf”.... And then write such an outstanding keyboard intro for this song... Do you really need more reason!? I don’t think so, LOL!!”
“We are talking about a living legend. Tony was in the original line-up of Rainbow back in 1976, together with Dio and Blackmore! Not to forget Cozy Powell (drums) and Jimmy Bain (bass), of course!”

Is it a challenge to cover a song like that well?

“Of course. And as always with a cover version, you polarize people. Some like it, some hate it! But with Tony on board, I guess, we did the best job we could.”

After two of these albums, have you still got loads more material in the ‘cupboard’? If so, who’s the ultimate ‘Guest’ you’d love to use, but haven’t asked yet?

“Yes, we do. I just got back from Germany, where Michael Voss and I have already recorded 10 further songs for an upcoming Wolfpakk album. It’s not finished, but we always have to react if the signs are good.”
“The timing was perfect for it. We again have a bunch of outstanding guests for Wolfpakk III, but you’ll all have to wait for further details on that. Of course, I have ultimate guests I would like to have on any new record. But it’s very, very hard to get in contact. And sometimes, they simply don’t wanna join in. We have to accept this. Wolf, if you have good connections to Michael Sweet, James Hetfield, Paul Stanley or Bon Jovi, do let me know… ;-)”

And that beggars that question, as you say. ….. Does anyone ever say no? Ian made reference to the challenge Tony Martin gave you on ‘Wolfpakk’, for example?

“Yes, of course there are musicians that don’t wanna join in, and as I said, you have to just accept that. With Tony Martin (on the last record) it was another story entirely. He said yes first, so we sent him the song to record (”Let Me Die”). Then he called up and told us that he didn’t like the lyrics, so we wrote another song with better lyrics (“Ride The Bullets”).... and he said yes to that. In the end, Jeff Scott Soto joined in on “Let Me Die”, Tony Martin on “Ride The Bullets”, and everybody was happy.”

I wish you all the luck with this new album Mark, and I hope one day to see a live Wolfpakk show. It’s a mouth-watering prospect!

“Thank you so much. I do hope that will happen and that promoters are up for asking us to perform live! I feel much better on stage than in the studio. And if we could perform with a bunch of great guest wolves, that would be awesome! Thanx again to you guys and a big “cheers” to the UK!”

‘Cry Wolf’ is available through AFM Records now.

Wolfpakk-Interview

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