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Interview conducted February 28 2009
Interview published March 03 2009

I was about to catch up with the guys in Stomwarrior directly after their gig at House Of Metal in Umeå, Sweden. Some misunderstandings caused it to be delayed for a bit over half an hour, but when we finally were ushered to their dressing room, Lars, Yenz, Alex and Falko were calmly waiting and I got a nice chat with them about what is happening with Stormwarrior at the moment and their future plans and releases.

Tommy: Greetings, guys. I first want to say thanks for a great gig. Yenz, you have been here at the House Of Metal before, right? With Savage Circus?

  • Lars: Yes, I have played here earlier together with Jens Carlsson, one of the organizers of this festival. I believe it was two years ago, and it was with the band Savage Circus. I think that was the first year of House Of Metal, in 2007.

Heading Northe has now been out for a little over one year. Recently, I personally crowned it album of the year for 2008. It was really that good, and I still think it is. What do you think about the album yourselves now after a year, when you look back and listen to it?

  • Lars: It's still the best we have made so far. Of course, I always know what things could have been made better, but still a great album. (Yenz): I'm totally proud of it. What is it, one year ago since we released it? It was my first with the band, and I was also proud of the fact that I got so much space as I did as a bass player and also as a backing vocalist. It's very rare in a life as long as mine (laughs) that you get the feeling that you can really express yourself on an album. The guys really gave me room for that. I'm very proud.

Tommy: You have not been touring a lot in promotion for the album. I assume it's not because you don't want to, but it has mostly to do with finances and money, unfortunately. How hard is it for a band of your size to be able to perform a full, let's say, European tour? Would it be possible for you?

  • Lars: No, not yet. I don't know why, but we have had some offers, and we still get offers also for some tours like for example with Iced Earth and Saxon for February and March. But we will be in the studio then, and the offer came in a bit too late. If we would have got it a little earlier then we could have done it.

Tommy: This would have been a good package to join.

  • Yenz: It would indeed, yes. We also did the Firewind tour last year. It was not that long, but it was a good thing for us. (Lars): And apart from that we are doing a lot of festivals.

Tommy: You have been performing with Kai Hansen a lot lately, bringing him on stage for the last 5-6 songs. I have noticed myself that the intensity and response from the audience increases quite a bit at the point, understandably. How does that feel for you in the band when that happens? The fact that he gets so much more attention than you, who are the main act.

  • Lars: Well, on stage we really don't see it or feel that way, that everybody goes "Ohhh, Kai…!" We really don't perceive it that way. The times we do have him along on the stage it's like we are playing two different acts as two different bands, and he is just a member of the second band for that half hour or so. (Yenz): This is a thing most noticeable when we are playing new territories. When we play in Germany it's does not really have a big effect anymore. And yeah, people cheer and go a little bit extra crazy when this happens, but - we are just enjoying it! It's a lot of fun playing those songs.

Tommy: I assume you were well aware of it when you started doing it, and that you were counting on that kind of reaction?

  • Lars: Yes, of course. It all started a while ago with some of the Sweden Rock festival guys, with one of the metal boat tours. They had the idea to do something special. Then we got the same offer for the Manowar festival, Earthshaker, and that was a real blast. But that was never recorded, so we decided to do it again on Wacken and film everything. That will end up on a live dvd, which will be released… ehrr…soon… (laughs)

Tommy: I take it that you have a new album going on? Can you tell us a bit about the process behind it?

  • Lars: At the moment we are busy with still mixing the live dvd. Everybody is writing new song material at home and probably around the end of March we will gather and listen to every idea and see how to arrange everything and where it will take us.

I think it's safe to say that the lyrical concept will be the same this time around?

  • Lars: Well, yes, but it's not really clear right now. (Yenz): We are discussing some ideas, and we have some themes and concepts but at the end of the day they are all somehow rooted in Scandinavia. (Lars): Maybe something about the kings, the northern kings, at the time of the change from pagan to become christian. (Yenz): And for me, being from Denmark, it is totally interesting for me to talk about the past of our people. That our king sold his soul to christianity just for a little bit more gold, a bit more power. I would like to write something related to those themes. And then we have to see if it fits with Lars' ideas. But we still don't know if would be a whole concept album or just in parts.

Tommy: Do you get any kind of inspiration being up here, almost in Lapland?

  • Band: (laughs) Well…not yet.

Tommy: Have you been this far up playing before? Well, you have, Yenz, but the rest of you guys?

  • Band: No, this is the first time. (Yenz): I would actually like to go even further up, to see more of everything and to get the feeling of the huge woods and the wild landscape.

Tommy: If you keep travelling approximately 400 kilometers further up north, outside the town of Kiruna, they have some sort of ice hotel. You can perhaps book a gig there sometime?

  • Yenz: Yes, I saw that one on tv. Incredible! Everything made of ice. You can actually live, walk and sleep there like a normal hotel. Ok, igloos, those work too but this is amazing. (Alex): Wow! Playing there would be cool…. (band laughs)

Tommy: Any indications on how your albums are selling in other countries, for example in the rest of Europe? And Asia, if you are even released there?

  • Lars: Yeah, in Japan we are released at least. I do not really know any sales figures at this point, since the record company only sends statistics once a year. (Yenz): Last September I was at the Prog Power in the US when I was playing with another band, Iron Savior, that does not do that many gigs, and I was basically asked about and talking about Stormwarrior the whole evening, so people were really into it all over there. We might go over there one of the next two years. I definitely see a lot of possibilities for this band in other territories than just Europe. But we want to stay close to the ground and take one small step after the other and not two big steps. (Lars): Because then you might fall… (Yenz): Yeah, and you might even break a leg. (laughs)

Tommy: What is the biggest difference between german fans and fans from other parts of the world, for example when it comes to their responses during gigs and the intensity? If there even is a difference in your eyes?

  • Lars: I don't think there is a big difference between the swedish audience and the german one. In Europe, the greek people stand out a bit, they're extremely crazy. (Yenz): When you are walking there, it's like being back in 1987. You see everybody in red and black tights, you know, that kind of old school metal. A lot of young people, also. But it's nice to see that there is a new power metal generation coming up. 16-17 year old kids, in England, in America. (Lars): Yeah, when we played the Gates Of Metal festival here in Sweden 2002, we were surprised that there was so many young people in the audience.

(short break caused by a festival worker sticking her head in, sniffing and saying that the band can not smoke in here. "But if you do…open the window…")

Tommy: You are soon to release your first dvd, entitled "If It's Not In Your Bloode… You Will Never Understande!". I don't believe there is a release date yet, so could you tell us something about the current status? You mentioned earlier that you are in the process of mixing it?

  • Lars: Yes, we are putting the final touch on the mix at the moment. It is the last release to fulfill the contract with our old record company Remedy Records. That's a part of the change to Dockyard 1. It has really been a lot of work because the crew, the company that recorded everything at Wacken, they totally fucked it up. The bass drums tracks have a lot of cracks and distortion and we have really had to enhance all the tracks and it takes a lot of work to get it clear. (Falko): Some parts of the drums were not even recorded, for example some cymbals. (Lars): I only had the five tom tracks, so I had to mix them together first and fool around with everything so I at least had some cymbals... it was very difficult. But it sounds good now in the end.

Tommy: Do you have an approximate date for the release?

  • Lars: As soon as possible. It should definitely be out sometime during this spring.

Tommy: Your long term plans for Stormwarrior, how do they look? What is the next big thing, and how will you take it to the next level, so to speak?

  • Lars: (silence.…) (laughs) Well, first of all fulfilling the contract with Remedy Records by getting the dvd out, and then directly continuing with writing new songs and producing the next album. (Yenz): We want to show that we are hard working guys. We keep being active, and we also want to progress on the new album. Even if we think that we progressed a lot on the last album, we know exactly where we want to go on the next one.

Tommy: You have a clear vision on exactly how you want it?

  • Yenz: At least we have some images and some visions in our heads. Ok, individual visions, but we will have an interesting time getting those visions together and doing something really great. (Lars): Yes, and the good thing is that we are recording in our own studio, so we are not depending on time schedules of anybody else, and we can try out different things.

That's pretty much all I had for now, guys, and I want to thank you very much for taking the time with us. Now is the chance for you to speak a few final words for your Swedish and world wide fans.

  • Falko: We just want to thank Sweden very, very much, because Sweden is the place, after Germany, where we have played the most in our career. So thank you very much Sweden for supporting Stormwarrior! (Yenz): Yes, and it's also a place where especially the lyrical content fits very well, and is received well by people so the Swedish audience is very important to us. (Lars): And I hope the swedish version was not too bad pronounced tonight… (he is referring to the song Odinn's Warriors that this night was sung completely in Swedish and under the name Odens Krigare)

Tommy: Absolutely not! It was remarkably good, actually. How about Finland and Norway, by the way? Do you get to hear from fans from those countries and what is your status there?

  • Lars: We have never been to any of those countries but we will actually play in Finland in August, at Jalometalli Festival. (Yenz): Even Denmark we will play in. We have to save Denmark again. (laughs)

Tommy: You are originally from Denmark, Yenz, is that correct?

  • Yenz: I am from Denmark, yes. Born and raised there. I left about ten years ago. I was on tour with another band and a girl asked me for a cigarette lighter at Markthalle in Hamburg and I ended up marrying her. I later divorced her and I really wanted to leave for home again but I was having so much fun so I have just stayed ever since. (Lars): But actually we are all from Denmark… the northern part of Germany, you know...

Tommy: Yes, I remember you telling me about that in an earlier interview. Ok, guys - go on with your beers and thanks for a great chat. Will I see you at Opeth or Guillotine later tonight?

  • Lars: I would think at least Guillotine would be nice to see.

See also: review of the gig the same night

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