Wolf – Burnin’ For MetalFriday, 29th March 2013
Blistering.com: You mentioned Roy Z. How did you land him? He’s quite the high-profile guy nowadays.
Axeman: He was a delight. He came in and it instantly clicked. The funny thing was, I was just sitting on Myspace on a Saturday night, doing nothing, really. All of the sudden it went “ding!” and I had an email from Roy Z. I opened it and it said, “hey, who’s doing your next album because I’d like to be involved.” And it said, “PS: Halford is rocking out to your sounds as we speak.” And I was like, “who’s joking with me?” I had to go out to the kitchen and grab a beer and take a smoke.
We made it work and he’s been a fan since Evil Star. He came to Sweden for a week when we were rehearsing the album and that gave us an outside view to listen to the album while playing it, which took it a step further. We were very prepared when we recorded and we made some changes for the songs in the rehearsal space and we spent four weeks recording it. We were finished on a Friday morning and then we flew to Italy the same day to play a show, so it was an intense period.
Roy’s that kind of person that captures the band, instead of making the band sound like him. We spent a week rehearsing the songs every fucking day and that gives him a feel for the band and since he’s been a fan…I don’t think there’s any production he’s done that sounds the same. He captures the heart, the feel, the groove and puts it down on tape.
Blistering.com: Any good lessons learned from Roy?
Axeman: “Think big.” That’s one thing. Don’t make it about the smaller things…think in a big picture. Just working with him made me realize, “hey, I’m a real musician. I’m in a real band, making real music, releasing real albums.” He was there throughout the whole process and showed us that by sheer will and joy of the music, you can actually create stuff you thought you couldn’t. I did some leads on Ravenous that I never thought I had in me. He has a strange ability to get that out of you. I wouldn’t mind doing that again – if we record another album in a year’s time, I might find more things I never thought I had in me. We’ve been doing this for so long and we thought we knew everything about recording and writing, but we didn’t. We’re very happy that Roy that told us the “Great Lesson In Metal.”
Blistering.com: How is that Wolf has been probably the most widely-accepted throwback metal bands? How are you able to succeed where others fail? Most bands that try this style get slagged from the onset, yet you don’t. Thoughts?
Axeman: [pauses] This is who we are. It’s just what comes out, comes out. We’re honest. It doesn’t matter if sell 20 albums or 200 or 2,000 or 200,000 albums, we would still write these songs. We’re just happy that people out there actually take money from their own earnings to buy music from for bums from Sweden [laughs]. If you think like that, it gets more honest. We write the music and record the music we like to hear. We don’t mind sitting at home and listening to our own stuff. We wouldn’t’ play something we don’t like. When musicians say, “I don’t listen to my own stuff,” it’s usually bullshit or they don’t like what they’re doing. We love what we’re doing. We’re 666% behind what we do.
Another thing, you got into music at a very young age because you want to have fun and music is fun. For us, Wolf’s music, the name, and the songs are really dead-serious, but at the same time, we don’t take ourselves too serious. We like to have fun along the way and if you forget about that, the honesty won’t shine through. If we rehearse or play a gig, that’s what we want to do. It’s not like [in a complaining tone], “we have to rehearse for four hours; we have to fly there.” We cannot function without heavy metal music. Having the opportunity to write and record music and have people buy it…is amazing. I’m 34 and I’ve been doing this for so long and I’m still amazed. I get the same feeling every time I go on stage. Every time I see an album I’ve done in a record shop, or every time I get an email or a comment about our music, it’s the same feeling from when you’re 8, 10, 12, 15 years old wanting to do this. Now we do it and we have the same hunger and feel for it and I think that shines through. Our hearts are set on this. We cannot live without heavy metal.
Blistering.com: I caught the band in 2003 and it looked like you were having the time of your life on stage. The stage moves, the smiles, everything.
Axeman: Yeah! That’s the thing, people say, “oh they do that move or this move.” It’s not like we stand in our rehearsal space and go, “when this comes up, we’ll do this!” It comes naturally for us. Playing so many shows, stuff is going to get to you, but it all comes natural for us. The point is to not think about it…as soon as we go on stage, we’re like, we’re 100% dead-serious. Something takes over our bodies and it’s like we sold our souls to the devil and we’re liking it! As soon as we write and record music, we want to play live. We’re overwhelmed by the energy of it. We can have as much fun live as we do in our rehearsal room because it’s electrifying. It’s a curse; heavy metal cocaine [laughs].
Blistering.com: Any bands currently on your radar in which you’re dying to open for?
Axeman: [laughs] If we could pick a band to play with, all of the obvious: Maiden, Priest. That’s not because our music goes hand-in-hand with those guys, it’s because we can go up on stage and rock out for 40-50 minutes and go offstage, have a beer and go back again. To do that every night, would be awesome. If I personally, could pick a band to open for, it would be Testament. They’re so god-damn great and they’ve been great. As for now, we’re going to England to play with Hammerfall and doing the Hammerfest. We’re going to headline a festival in Spain and we have a lot of gigs in Sweden, but there’s not actual tour plan at the moment. If you speak to Testament, tell them bring them us along [laughs].
Blistering.com: Finally, any talks of coming back to America?
Axeman: We get the question every month and we’ve been offered tours, but it’s very expensive. It’s risky in a way because you’re so far away. If it was up to us, we’d tour there in a second; we wouldn’t think twice about it. Having labels, booking agents and financial backdrops, it’s got to be worse for them. If there’s a festival that wants to bring us over, we’ll be there in an instant. As you can imagine, on our own, we cannot put up the finances to do that. At the moment, there are no plans, but you never know. We do know we have a lot of American fans who we’d love to see in the front row banging their heads. We’d even give 667% when we’re over there.
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