Falconer has their own way of blending
power metal and folk music but they strayed some from their path when
they changed their vocalist and not everyone was pleased with their decision.
However, in time for their fifth album, Northwind, the original vocalist
has returned to the delight of many and the sound also marks a change
back to their early days. We took the opportunity to ask the main man
in the band, songwriter and guitarist Stefan Weinerhall,
what lied behind the recent changes and how he feel about their new release.
Thomas: Northwind is your fifth album, and
everything I have read so far has been positive, it must be a satisfying
feeling for you so far?
Thomas: Northwind is about to be released and you have said that
it is your most thought through album, how will that reflect in the music?
Stefan: I think that you can hear that in the
arrangements and all keyboard orchestrations. Not that there's a lot
of keyboards but the ones we have are not just the usual boring layers
but they actually do something. There are also more details in the
music, more things to discover as you listen to it over time.
Thomas: The return of vocalist Mathias Blad
is obviously the hottest topic concerning Northwind, what made you bring
him back again in favour of Kristoffer Göbel? And is he back on long-term
conditions or just for Northwind and then you will se how things work
Thomas: And Mathias is not the only thing
that sees a return, you also return to include more of the folk inspired
tunes. By the time of Grime Vs Grandeur you seemed very pleased by the
musical direction you went in then but now it is back to the roots again.
Was it that you missed this kind of metal or was it giving in to the pressure
of critics since many fans was not so pleased with your then new direction?
Stefan: Well of course you listen to what the
fans say, but just to do as they want mean that someone else is ruling
over your hobby. So we didn't do it until we wanted it ourselves,
of course we knew that it wouldn't be a dangerous step to make though.
I still think that "Grime
" was a very good album but
after a while I started to feel that it didn't feel as close to heart
as the other albums. Folk inspired metal has always been my style
even back in Mithotyn.
Thomas: Firing Kristoffer Göbel, was
that a decision of professional matters rather then a personal one considering
that you musically changed back to the old direction?
Stefan: We had tried to adapt the music to
the voice of Kristoffer for G.vs.G and I think we succeeded, but that
didn't feel right musically and on top of that we knew that if we
were to bring the folk music back no one did it better than Mathias.
To get the best possible result of doing the old style again we had
to have Mathias back.
Thomas: Since I can imagine many are curious
about Northwind, can you compare Northwind to any other Falconer album?
Is there any of your earlier albums that you think lies closer to Northwind,
lyrically as well as musically then the others?
Stefan: I would say that to describe it easily
it sounds like "Chapters From A Vale Forlorn" but more thought
through, professional and richer in layers. We have grown in all kind
of ways and all that we have used for this album. We couldn't have
done this album 4 years ago. The lyrics are pretty much the same style
as before I would think.
Thomas: The cover of the album has a grim and cool look to it,
who did it and did you have any conceptual plans on how it should look
Thomas: When I interviewed you prior to
the release of Grime VS. Grandeur, you said that you had considered another
producer than Andy La Rocque but that he managed to win you over again.
Where did you record Northwind and who produced the album? What lied behind
the decisions this time?
Stefan: I looked at the possible pros and cons
to change studio and came to the conclusion that Andy is the right
guy to work with. He know our music and love it, we love his skills,
we know the studio so well that we can actually work there ourselves
from time to time so I would say that Los Angered is the only studio
Thomas: Home Of The Knave - anti-American?
Seems there has been some turbulence in the Falconer forum considering
this one? How do you feel about stirring up emotions with your songs and
what is the song really about?
Stefan: Ha ha. Yes, that was actually part
of the reason I did that song. I wanted to cause some turmoil and
see how they would react. The song is about George Bush, a hillbilly
that has too much power and manage to fool a part of the American
population in believing that they have to invade Iraq in the name
of freedom when the actual reason is more financial.
You made a new song that sounds very much like a traditional,
Himmel Så Trind, and you had me fooled until I found out it were
actually written by you. And there is also a certain text-line that gives
the song away from not actually being old, what was the thought behind
- Stefan: I came
up with the music for it first as usual and I thought it sounded so
traditional that it really needed a Swedish lyric to do it fair. That's
a bit harder than writing in English but when I started it became very
traditional to just to fit the music. That line you mention was just
there to wreck all feelings of the traditional style and show everyone
that we don't take ourselves that seriously.
Thomas: Since you are responsible for most
of the songs in Falconer, if not all, how much do the others have to say?
How much input do they have in the songs concerning vocal lines, guitar
parts and etc.
- Stefan: They don't
oppose that much. I have everything done when I present it and then
there might be some small changes to the drum patterns, solo rhythm
parts etc. There are always some adapting to the songs but not really
much. I can't say that it because of me but just that maybe the songs
don't need any change.
Thomas: Where do you begin when you write
songs? Do you start with a theme or direction of the songs, and does the
lyric or music comes first?
Stefan: I just do the music, something that
sounds good is fine by me. When that's done I start to write a lyric
to it. I'm not trying to fit any special concept to each song like:
the music need this or that lyric. Of course a ballad or a folk song
need to fit to the music/lyric. Usually I don't do a complete songs
but just parts and when I have a bunch I try to fit them together
or do things to make them glue together in a good way.
Thomas: The past of Falconer live shows
has not exactly been that frequent, how are the touring plans for the
future right now - any plans made so far?
Thomas: Since Mathias is back, will you
exclude the two previous albums from your live set? Or are there any songs
from those that you feel could be even better with Mathias behind the
- Stefan: Child
Of The Wild is one of those songs I think we can have in the set. When
you have 5 albums and know which are the favourite tacks it could be
hard to included songs from all albums. 1 or 2 songs we'll try to represent.
Some of the songs, especially from G.vs.G doesn't really fit us nor
Mathias voice. A good example of that is The Return for example.
Thomas: You guys in the band live in different
places, I guess that rules out regular rehearsals? And how long before
recording do you get together to start getting things together?
- Stefan: Mostly
it's me, Magnus and Karsten who rehearse regularly. Jimmy comes up now
and then and Mathias might join in on a couple of rehearsals before
we record. He's got his things on paper and Jimmy really just have to
rehearse his solos since I put down the majority of all guitars excluding
the solos. We use to rehearse once a week and the weeks just before
entering the studio it get 2 times a week maybe 3 the week closest.
Thomas: And to round this off I would only
like to say a big thank you for taking the time to share this with us,
and if there is anything more you would like to add or share with the
readers of Metal Covenant, feel free to use this last space as you like