Interview With Thomas Wolf
"Sweden has always delivered some quality and excellent musicianship throughout the years, with the likes of Yngwie Malmsteen, Europe, Tad Morose, Candlemess, At The Gates, just to name a few and now Stormwind, a band who have released several albums of excellent musicianship which is melodic but at the same time delivers power and plenty of energy. I managed to speak to guitar wizard Thomas Wolf about the bands formation and their new album released shortly. Here is what Thomas had to say, thanx Thomas for the interview."
OK Thomas, when did the band form and was the line-up the same up until the debut album?
"I worked with different female singers in 1994 as I wanted to create a new metal concept with a female voice & heavy guitars. I remember that I even worked with a Opera singer, however the line-up for the debut album 'Straight From The Heart' which was released in 1996 included the female singer Tina Leijonberg which then was a famous TV host. The album was more into AOR and the second solo release was the `Stargate´ album 1998 with 14 different guest musicians so after a Tour in France was I convinced to have a stable line-up which took me 6 months of auditions and included the male singer from Candlemass Thomas Vikström."
What other bands were you in before Stormwind?
"Non, I had different band in the early 80´s but after competing in Karate for 10 years I suddenly find myself in the metal business again 1995."
So why the name and did you have any other names for the band? If so what were they called?
"In 1995 a stormy night at the shore cliffs in the south of France I thought ...that the name 'Stormwind' included all the powerful elements as Rainbow.. since then ..the child was born."
When did you learn to play guitar and who influenced you as a guitar player? What is your opinion on Yngwie? Does he know you? What Swedish guitar players to you rate? I love Andy La Roque’s playing he is god!
"I was just loved classical music and learned to play the guitar 11 years old. Yngwie made some impact on all guitarists in the 80 ´s but I consider myself more as a composer. My drummer Patrik Johansson is playing with Yngwie now. I don't really listen to other guitarists as Brian May, Blackmore and Vai in the beginning of my career. I never heard Andy´s playing...sorry!!
As a band who are your influences? Also how do they reflect in your music?
"I think Stormwind now had it's own identity as a band after 6 albums. My inspiration is although, from bands as Queen, Rainbow and Queensryche. You can say that we are more a traditional Hard Rock band than a Power Metal band!?"
How would you describe your music, Neon Classic Metal? If so what does that word mean to you?
"No, Stormwind is as the say in Japan.... A melodic Metal Band!"
Do you feel that Sweden still has a lot to offer in the way of traditional Swedish metal or do you think its dead? What about other styles like Death Metal?? Do you like any of it?
"We have great musicians here in Sweden and even 'Europe' is making a new album now! I'm not into Death metal but I understand that it's a way of a more brutal metal which is a natural development especially in this music scene."
So how many demos did the band record before you released your debut album? How many songs were on them and how many did you sell?
"I just made one demo with 8 songs and 6 of them was included on the debut album. Stormwind got signed world-wide during Mid 1999 with the album `Heaven Can Wait'."
So was your debut album an instrumental? If so why? How well did it sell? If it was an instrumental album why did you not have a singer on it?
"No, It was a AOR oriented album but I never felt content with the production on the first 3 releases ..and that's the idea. You have to put a higher level on every production your going to compose or produce!, otherwise can you forget to release a album!"
I noticed that your 2nd album featured a female singer, did she sing on the demos and where did you find her? Where you happy with her performance on your second album? Also why could you not find a male singer? What is she doing now also why did she leave?
"No, I heard her on a show her in Stockholm and thought she had a great rock voice, although, the world was not ready for that then (he,he)...today are bands as Nightwish, Edenbridge very popular which is great! I don't know what she is doing today However, I put a stable- line up 1998 and that was the turning point for the band."
This album I believe featured Europe member Ian, how did you hook up with him and who else played on that record?
"Yes, I met Ian and invited him to play on the 'Stargate' album and he made a great impact on me...since then I promised myself to just work with professional musicians. Was it hard to find the right replacements after that album and how did you hook up with Thomas the next singer? What did you think of the Candlemass album he sang on? I heard Thomas Vikström on the Talk of the town album and the Candlemass album and thought...he is the man! I found Sweden's best drummer `Patrik Johansson and took the keyboard maestro `Kaspar Dahlqvist from Treasure Land (He,he) and Andreas Olsson on Bass..so this was surely the best line-up I could get with Swedish musicians."
Are you happy with the line-up you have now ?
"Yes, patrik is touring with Yngwie Malmsteen so David Wallin (Ex.Blacksmith) stepped in and We will now after one years of preparation release the first Stormwind Live album LEGACY included with a documentary and bonus tracks.The release will be the 29th of March 2004."
Out of all the albums you have recorded which is your fav and why, also least fav and why?
"Rising Symphony released 2003! This album contains the best production and songs which made the Massacre crew shout....What the hell have you done Thomas..! It sounds 200% better and Mr.Vikström. have you doped him!??"
Which album sold the most?
"Rising Symphony ! We have so far in total sold over 50,000 Stormwind album so we are very pleased."
How do you see each album as a progression from one another?
"Every album inspired me to do something different so I think for an example that it was good to go on a more `rougher sound´ on 'Rising´ instead of going more progressive as we did on Reflections! The production is also better and better for every release. As a composer the Inspiration is ..life and TRAVEL! I had never found the `Epic´ ideas if I had just stayed home ( he,he)."
How many labels have you dealt with so far with your band and why did you leave them?
"The first 3 labels , never payed.. went bankruptcy.. etc. so I could give it up in early days but, since 2000 is Stormwind signed to great labels as massacre Europe, Avalon Japan /Asia and Rock Brigade Records in Brazil and since then have everything been working great!"
Are you happy with Massacre and how long is the deal? What other labels are you signed too and are you happy with them as well?
"Massacre are great and I have the rights here in Sweden with Sound Pollution. Marquee in Japan have my old manager in their company so that it´s great. Brazils biggest company was signed at Midem and have been my partner to my Publishing company since then."
Tell me about the last studio album where was it recorded and did you produce it yourself? Are you happy with the way it turned out? What songs did you like the most and why? Any least favs and why? Did the album also feature any special guests? Would you like to have the voice of rock on your album Glenn Hughes, he’s fucking great and a friend on mine!!
"I have produced all my albums and the last was recorded here at Airplay studios in Stockholm. I was very fuzzy with the drum sound and just trigged the snare drum to keep a live atmosphere on the album. Rising Symphony have also a Queen cover `White Man from 1976 , so I send a copy to Brian May as the song went on the Japanese air charts. Glen Hughes is great give him my warmest regards!"
So you are about to release an live album and DVD, how did that come about and do you feel the timing is right for you to release this album, DVD? What songs will be on it and where was it recorded?
"The LEGACY album will have a Live disc with 8 titles as..Samurai, Touch the flames, Iron Mask...etc. recorded at the Sweden Rock Festival 2003 (Whitesnake, Queensryche..etc.) and a Interactive Documentary called `The Legacy of a storm´. Disc 2 will include 9 Bonus tracks with songs you never heard in Europe. This release is really for the metal fans! Total playing time 84 minutes!!!!"
I understand you have doen a couple of tribute albums how did they come about and are you happy with the way turned out? Are you planning on doing any more, if so for which band?
"Yes, I participate on the Yngwie Malmsteen tribute `A guitar Odyssey-98´with the song `To drunk to live.. Alcatraz. However , the David Le Roth/Jason Becker song `A little ain´t enough´(also released on `LEGACY´)is on the great tribute album À tribute to Jason Becker´ which marked 20,000 used to him as he is suffering of a serious disease."
How many tours & gigs have you done? Who would you like to tour with within reason? Whats the best band you’ve toured with?
"We have marked 4 tours with some support, I think it would be great to do a tour with some Scandinavian metal bands as Hammerfall..Stratovarius."
Any plans to tour the UK and Europe or Japan soon?
"We are not doing any tour in 2004 as we toured Japan and Sweden during 2003 but we will see in 2005!"
Well Thomas, thanx for the interview. Do you have anything to say?
"Keep the storm Burning."
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