Wolf – Swedish Shark Attack Part IIMonday, 18th August 2014
Dead Rhetoric: At this point in your career which do you prefer more: the creation and recording of new Wolf material or the energy and excitement of performing live on stage? Or do they both have their own merits?
Ståvlind: I really love both, but for me it has always been something… if you can only choose one, I would have to choose the songwriting. It is a product of who I am, and I really can’t live without writing music. I have to be creative or else it feels like I am choking. It is my way of dealing with life is to write songs, draw, paint, I need to do things that are creative and songwriting is like oxygen, the way I deal with stuff and it is very close to my heart. The things I get out of a piece of music when it is realized, you can’t beat it, it is amazing. The song is not complete of course until you’ve played it live, and see the rush of energy when the audience sings it back to you. If I were only to write but nobody would get something out of it, it would all be wasted. The songs need an audience, I like to inspire others, I like to get feedback on social media and find out what the fans think of songs and how they got through life because of it.
Dead Rhetoric: Out of all the covers you’ve done through the years between Moonspell, Mercyful Fate, Slayer, and Blue Öyster Cult, which one is your favorite, and which act do you think you would most like to parallel your career to that was a major influence on your musically?
Ståvlind: Iron Maiden is one of my all-time favorites. You can’t beat that kind of career, I guess in the 90’s I don’t really have any of their records. After Seventh Son of a Seventh Son, the first 7 records are Iron Maiden for me. I think they are bigger now than they ever were, with Rod Smallwood he took the band to their full potential, and that’s a career that any metal band would want. The Blue Öyster Cult cover is my favorite, it’s the last thing we did on Evil Star. All the songs are dealing with death as a theme on that album, and this song just summarizes in a beautiful way that death is inevitable. Just accept it and embrace it, it’s a magical song. The producer didn’t like it, he thought it was a love song. I love when you have a contrast, the darkness and the beauty and that makes the darkness interesting. If everything is at 11 all the time, darkness and evil, it gets boring you know. You can have beauty in there as well, and that’s when the darkness gets really dark. I think that song is a fantastic song, a lot of people say it’s their favorite as well. Not every song we have done a cover of… you do them because the record label sometimes needs extra material and when you listen back to them it’s like, ‘em… this wasn’t that good’. The original version and this one I really like.
Dead Rhetoric: In mainland Europe, festivals small and large seem to be carrying the summer season, as I just heard Wacken in Germany for next year sold out over 70,000+ tickets in a record 12 hours. Where do you see the state of the metal scene worldwide, and what areas do you think Wolf could improve their stature/following?
Ståvlind: In India, we just went there and the metal scene is very open. It’s growing really fast and the Indian fans are so enthusiastic. We were one of the first bands to go there and headline a festival, everything was excellent, big stage production, everything that was supposed to be there was great. You have to take care of yourself, the electricity was just… pure madness. That’s a market where things will grow for metal. When I grew up, even mainstream metal was underground. But now if you go see a concert with Judas Priest you’ll see three generations there from the grandfather to the grandson, all wearing Judas Priest shirts. It’s the kind of music that is well accepted through the generations. Metal is going to always be underground, because it doesn’t appeal to every person, the normal person wants normal music. It is good music, attracts a lot of people, but I could see it grow many years from now.
Dead Rhetoric: I’ve heard you mention in previous interviews that you are as much a heavy metal fan as you are a musician. What are some of the classic records you believe every heavy metal follower needs to own, and what is your favorite concert memory through the years?
Ståvlind: I can take the concert memory first. When I was 13… or 12 I don’t remember, I went to my first concert which was Iron Maiden and W.A.S.P., my two favorite bands in the whole world at the time. It was at a large concert arena in Stockholm. This was huge for me, I went with my friends and one of my friends’ father who was with us. It was an adventure to go to the big city and see these bands. I remember with W.A.S.P. opening up, they were all there and it was like a bomb going off. The drum rolls, Blackie running out on stage, I remember I almost pissed my pants (laughs), my knees were shaking, I thought I was witnessing God. I was so taken by that experience, I can never forget that, and after that Iron Maiden was amazing. It was the Somewhere in Time tour, and something that I will never forget, as they were in their prime.
Now that I am older I have had the good opportunity to meet a lot of rock stars in person and on tour. I’ve met Iron Maiden, they are people like you and me. We toured with W.A.S.P. a couple of years ago. In Finland I walked in the corridor and I met Blackie Lawless. He was not a very social guy, he didn’t speak to anyone during most of the tour. None of the American tour team was there, just him and I. So I shook his hand and I explained to him that my first big show was W.A.S.P. as a kid when they supported Iron Maiden, and he remembered it was 1986. I am transformed to my 13 year old self who is idolizing this rock star, and describing things he saw in my face that the circle was complete. It’s the only time I’ve been star struck in my adult life.
I would say as far as records every metal follower needs to own, Mercyful Fate Don’t Break the Oath. Whether you like the classic Judas Priest or (you are) into black metal, death metal. That record is just pure magic, a display of riffs, the riffing goes from a great metal riff, and the next songs has an even better heavy metal riff, the songwriting with King Diamond sounds so different from everything else. The Number of the Beast is a brilliant record, I would also say Accept – Breaker, most people like Restless and Wild because it has a lot of the most famous Accept songs but Breaker to me is so solid. There isn’t a filler song on that album. Classic Judas Priest albums, Killing Machine and British Steel. The old Judas Priest, they were the fathers of heavy metal. When I met my wife, she actually played Sad Wings of Destiny for me. For an American band, the first W.A.S.P. album, every song is a hit song, I couldn’t listen to that enough. I can’t really think of anything after I turned 16 that changed my life musically, the music you grow up with has a special place in your heart. I love the classic British metal era, for that it is always going to be number one for me.
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