Fireworks

Fireworks Magazine Online 65 - Interview with Wolf

WOLF


If a band says their new album is “Heavy Metal to 11”, you wonder if they didn’t overdose watching ‘This Is Spinal Tap’ – but if it’s Wolf that says so, you have to believe them. The Swedish metal-heads have just released ‘Devil Seed’, the album Niklas Stålvind talks in detail about to Alexandra Mrozowska.

How was the recording process of ‘Devil Seed’? Was it any different in comparison with when you recorded your debut album back in 1999?

We recorded the drums in a huge studio with great acoustics and a massive mixer and everything top of the line. We tracked the guitars and bass in SolnaSound Studio, which is Simon Johansson’s studio and Viper Studio, which is my studio. We recorded the vocals in the same studio as the album was mixed, which is one of the Fascination Street studios. This gave us lots of freedom to take our time and work when it suited us best, without sacrificing the quality of the recording. So it was a huge difference from 1999, when we had three weeks of intense recording and then went home.

Did the Metal scene change throughout these fifteen years?

It has changed and for us to the better. When we started the band people said we were stupid to play this kind of Metal. We took a lot of shit for it. It was unthinkable for most people in 1995, at least in Sweden. Ten years later it’s cool again. Good for us. We play the music we like - take it or leave it. But more fun for us if people take it.

Back to the topic of ‘Devil Seed’, what are your personal highlights? 

For me, I would say the whole album is the highlight. I am so pleased with this album and I think our song-writing has reached a new level. Also, I feel great after a couple of hard years, and the band also is in a great place after going through rough times, so it feels like we have a fresh new start with this album. This album represents a new era, at least for me.

Is there any concept the songs from ‘Devil Seed’ revolve around?

I write lyrics mostly about real people; the darker side of our psychology has always been interesting to me and ‘Skeleton Woman’, ‘The Dark Passenger’ and ‘River Everlost’ are examples of that. ‘Surgeons of Lobotomy’ and ‘Killing Floor’ are more about the human race killing the planet and ourselves with our way of life. ‘I Am Pain’, ‘Back From the Grave’ and ‘Frozen’ are very personal and deal with my own journey the last couple of years. So I guess there are several concepts in this album. If you wonder about ‘Shark Attack, I got the idea for that song when the former Pope abdicated and how there are great political interests that fight over the power within the Catholic Church. We can only imagine what went on behind closed doors until the new pope was elected. I see the cardinals like sharks in my mind’s eye (laughs).

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Your lyrics are pretty dark, even ominous at times. Where do you get your lyrical inspirations from?

Things that happens in my life, people I meet, struggles we have as human beings. Also things from the news like the ‘Skeleton Woman’. It was all over the news in Sweden for a period of time. It’s interesting to me what drives people’s different behaviours.

In terms of music, ‘Devil Seed’ is still traditional Heavy Metal. While in the studio, aren’t you tempted to experiment with the sound, to explore some new territories?

In the first self-titled Wolf album I played the sitar. On this album I played a xylophone. Simon played an acoustic flamenco solo. I like to fool around with old analogue effects. There is a choir of drunk (we gave them Wolf Absinthe) Vikings on one song. We really have no rules about what we can’t use in Wolf. If it suits the song and makes it better, we use it. Well, that’s the rule really - if it’s right for the song. Having said that, I really doubt there would be any females pretending to sing opera on a Wolf album. We will probably never employ a “screamer” or have some dude rapping on a song. I can’t see how that could make a Wolf song better, but the future will tell.

Why have you decided to have Jens Bogren (Opeth, Katatonia) as your producer? 

Simply because we like his productions so much. He has so much depth and detail in his sound and still it rocks. He doesn’t sound retro nor modern. It’s very natural and organic sounding, I think. And he doesn’t try to win the loudness war - everything is very dynamic. I think his reputation as a “modern” producer comes from working a lot with modern bands. He knows when to use old analogue technology and when to use modern digital technology. He gets the best out of the two worlds, which is how I like to work. He has two magic devices helping him to decide how the sound should be. They are located on each side of his skull and we call them - ears. If you connect them to your heart you can’t go wrong, really.

Do you prefer to work in the studio or play the material live?

I know a lot of musicians who don’t like the studio but I love it. I also love performing live and I really like writing music. I can’t choose which one I like the best but I can’t stop writing because I need it. But it would suck just to write and never record and present it for an audience, right? The songs want to come full circle. When fans are singing along to the songs with the band, that’s full circle.

What are the band’s current plans?

Support it in any way we can. Tour as much as we can, meet the fans and spread the ‘Devil Seed’ onto the world. The album really deserves it. I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the fans worldwide who spread our music via social media and to their friends. It means a lot to us. That’s our best promotion. We want to thank our UK fans, you mean a lot to us! We have our roots in British Heavy Metal and we have never pretended otherwise. We salute you and hope to see you live soon!

Towards the end, a bit of a tongue-in-cheek question – why should we drink Wolf absinthe instead of the rockers’ beloved Jack Daniel’s?

Watch our music video ‘Absinthe’ and see for yourselves! See how happy we are, ha-ha! 66.6% of pure joy in a bottle! If you find it too much, then you can always go back to drinking Jack Daniel’s.


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