» Stefan Weinerhall - Falconer
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Interview conducted December 02 2012
Interview published December 09 2012

As most fans know, Folk/power metal outfit Falconer has been a studio band from the beginning and extensive touring has never been their game. It's record release and then a pair or a couple of years of dormancy. Metal Covenant approached Falconer mastermind, songwriter and guitarist Stefan Weinerhall with some questions to check the band's status, future, history, etcetera.

Tobbe: What's the status of the band at this point? Is the line-up from the latest release, Armod (English: Penury), intact and are all willing to continue with the band as it is now run, with a record release approximately every other year and inactivity in between?

  • Stefan: The line-up is still intact and although the urge for gigs varies, everyone has accepted what applies in this band. I don't rule out future live activities though.

Tobbe: Armod had Swedish lyrics, apart from the bonus tracks. How was that received when you now look back at it, both from your native Swedish fans and from fans from all over the world?

  • Stefan: Well, the outcome was pretty good, I think. Most negativity probably came from the Americans, but on the other hand, they believe that the entire world should rotate around them. I was a bit caught by surprise, that there were so many positive reactions from around the world at precisely the Swedish language. Perhaps it has something to do with the melody in the language itself?

Tobbe: Are there also any thoughts of continuing with Swedish lyrics, or will you go back to English again?

  • Stefan: No, now it's back to English. It's feels like I've had enough of stable boy/maid-romance (Swedish: fäbodsromantik. Free translation), gnomes and medieval folklore. During the two latest albums, all lyrics have been very historical and based on facts. The new lyrics I've written are more varied and more similar to what they were in the beginning, where the major part of them really weren't historical at all.

Tobbe: So when can we look forward to the next release from Falconer and are you still cooperating with Metal Blade, who has released all your albums thus far?

  • Stefan: We're still on Metal Blade. I'm aiming for a release in spring 2014. Four songs are already done and there are also some bits and pieces of material in addition to that. After a long break, it feels like starting over again, since I almost didn't play any guitar for a year. The new material sounds tougher and hungrier. I, myself, sense earlier Falconer and also parts of Mithotyn, mixed with a tough approach. This sounds undeniably like sales tricks, but in all honesty, it feels like some stuff might as well could have come from 2000-2003.

Tobbe: The obvious question. What about live activities? Fans from all over the world dying to see you live, although most of them do understand that the economics and touring for you are hard cases to beat.

  • Stefan: Tours or full schedules are out of the question, due to Mathias' activities, so the few gigs we may approach must be interesting, in order for us to rehearse a set. We'll see what eventually may come out, but Falconer was in the early days in fact meant to be a studio band, so if we stand without gigs, it's no wonder. During 2013, I want to focus on the new material and for best possible outcome, there will be no shows.

Tobbe: Your attempt to be more of a touring band, with the two album long singer swap to Kristoffer almost ten years ago, because Mathias often is busy with other obligations, didn't turn out as well as you wished. Many fans deserted you and many didn't care for the new sound. Is this something you regret trying?

  • Stefan: Actually no. No one can tell what our current situation would be, if we had done things differently. With Mathias, we couldn't play more shows or expand our promotion, to feed a much greater career. With the singer change we got to experience trips to foreign countries, gigs and other stuff we couldn't have done else. I'm thankful for the things we experienced and I personally think that it was worth it, although our success decreased. The albums we released during this period weren't state of the art, but that's a different story.

Tobbe: The music also became more power metal oriented. Did you know even before your second release with Kristoffer, Grime vs. Grandeur, that you had to try to get Mathias back again and go back to a sound more similar to what the first two albums showed, and thus try to win back the fans' trust?

  • Stefan: No, but we noticed that Kristoffer's voice didn't really fit The Sceptre Of Deception, so we had to make some adjustments to fit his voice for Grime vs. Grandeur. I thought it was awesome at times, but a major part of our identity was lost, which after a while the fans made us realize. The chemistry within the band was good, but the music we created wasn't what we were comfortable with, so the idea to get closer back to our earlier days came around about a month before we asked Mathias to rejoin. I knew that it would turn out half-assed if we didn't have the whole concept; music, lyrics and singer.

Tobbe: You compose the major part of the music yourself. How does it work when you are recording? Do you tell everyone else exactly what to play, and by that the rest of the band are limited to some extent, or do you even play most parts to have it your way, as the bandleader you are?

  • Stefan: Oh, that sounds dictatorial. I create demo recordings with rhythm guitars, vocal melodies and drum structure at my place. The bassist can't actually do much, besides playing something that fits and since so much stuff is going on with the guitars, it turns out to be a simpler version of the rhythm guitar. Poor opportunities for Magnus. Karsten tends to basically copy what I've created in the drum machine, even though I give him free hands, because it's really boring to play to a standard beat. Most of the time, for simplicity, I play all guitars, except solos, in the studio, but on some songs I play nothing, because Jimmy is indeed a much better guitarist than I am. It would probably be a major difference, if we wrote the songs during rehearsals, but then it feels like there would be less possibilities to rule stuff out.

Tobbe: You also write most of the lyrics as well. That you are familiar with and have an interest in history can't be mistaken and the lyrics are often rather cruel and brutal too, without happy endings. Is that something you strive for or is it just random?

  • Stefan: The two latest albums were deliberately written as gloomy and negative, but when I write now on a wider level, the outcome will be more varied.

Tobbe: Two quick questions to end this. Which albums are Falconer's best respectively worst, and why is that?

  • Stefan: The best album is Northwind, because some songs are so damn catchy and there's not even one single bad song on it. The hunger and the joy of being back where we belonged made it all so easy and flowing. The sound however is perhaps a bit too polished. The worst is The Sceptre Of Deception. Three new members, including a singer, and then we write a concept album on top of that. Bad choice. The lyrical concept turned out well, but many songs were written too quickly and were not that good, except the title track and Hear Me Pray, that I really dig. The vocalist didn't fit the music and the sound is lame, flat and dead.

Tobbe: Which is the worst Falconer song you have recorded and officially released?

  • Stefan: Power off Grime vs. Grandeur, or the bonus track on the Japanese edition for The Sceptre Of Deception, called The Gate.

Tobbe: Okay Stefan. Thanks for taking your time.

  • Stefan: You're welcome Tobbe. Thanks for having me.

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