"Firewind Interview 6/20/02" by Powermetal Magazine
1) Hello... As I think most people won't know FIREWIND so far. Can you tell me a few words about the band, how it was formed and who the other ones are?
GUS G: I first started the Firewind idea in 1998 back then I was living in the USA. I was doing a lot of demo recordings with some friends helping me out and I used to send my demos to David Chastain from Leviathan Records. David always liked the material I sent him and one day told me that he wanted to produce my music and help me put the band together, as it was obvious that I couldn't find a great singer. He hooked me up with x-Kenziner vocalist, Stephen Fredrick who is absolutely one of my favorite singers!! He also hooked me up with drummer Brian Harris. I brought in the band my good friend and bass player, Konstantine from Greece.
2) "Between Heaven And Hell" is your first album, and I think that it is pretty good. - How has the press and fan response been to that album?
GUS G: Glad to hear you like our album! To be honest I haven't heard any press feedback yet other than a really great review in Japan's Burrn! Magazine. I hope it will be good though......
3) And how are you satisfied about the result of the album? Are you really satisfied or would you change anything as the case may be?
GUS G: Right now I'm very happy with the way the album turned out. The performances are great from every musician, Chastain did a great job in producing and directing the whole thing, Fredrik Nordstrom has done an excellent mix, so I can't really say that I have any complaints.
4) How would you describe the work in the studio and especially the mood during the recordings?
GUS G: Well, it took quite a while to complete the recordings as half the band is located in the US, Konstantine is in Greece and I live in Sweden. As far as I'm concerned, it was very relaxing for me to record my guitars as I had plenty of studio time. All of us worked very hard for almost 6 months to complete the recordings!!!
5) What can you tell me about the album, especially the music and the lyrics?
GUS G: I wrote all the music of this album and it took me many months. I wrote many many songs before we chose the 12 best. So, I don't think that there are any weak spots on this album. I also wrote most of the lyrics, but when Stephen same in the picture, he rewrote most of it and did a great job!! After all, he's a much better lyric writer than I am!! Some of the topics are war, love, relationships between people, mind freedom, etc.
6) How can I imagine the songwriting process of a FIREWIND song in general?
GUS G: I write all the music in my home studio. I will usually come up with some riff or some cool chord progression or some line for a strong chorus and I'll start building from there. Once I have most of the riffs/themes figured out, I start arranging the song. I believe arranging is a very important factor in making A good song idea turn into a great song!! I spend a lot of time with the arranging depending on my inspiration too of course. Then I will program the drums on my drum machine and start demoing up the song little by little. I try to keep a clear mind when I'm writing and make sure that everything comes from my heart.
7) Do you have any certain musical influences? And are there any other influences as well?
GUS G: I personally am into The Scorpions and MSG a lot. I also like Europe and Yngwie Malmsteen. But I also listen to other styles as well. I really like death and black metal. And of course I'm into Black Sabbath, and Metallica. I like many bands and in different styles, so it's hard to say from whom I'm influenced mostly. In any case, I try to keep an open mind and listen to what sounds good to my ears.
8) There's a cover song on your album "Between Heaven And Hell", namely "Pictured Life" of the SCORPIONS. What was the reason to choose that song? And will you record more cover songs in the future?
GUS G: The reason to do the Scorpions cover is simply because the Scorpions are so damn great and we are huge fans of theirs!!! Their 70's albums are my favorites, back when Uli Jon Roth was in the band. Roth has also influenced me as a guitarist so, you can say that it's a tribute to both Uli and the Scorps. I don't know if we're gonna do any more covers in the future. I have many favorite songs that I would like to record some day, but we'll see what happens.
9) How would you describe the current power metal scene in the USA? And how important are other countries, especially Germany, for you?
GUS G: I don't live in the USA anymore, so I don't really know what's going on over there. I believe though that Power metal and heavy metal in general must be very underground still, as people are more interested in Limp Bizkit. We are mostly aiming for the European and Japanese audiences. Germany is definitely one of the most important countries in Europe for heavy metal!! I hope our album will do good in Germany.
10) Are there any touring plans after the release of "Between Heaven And Hell"? And can we see FIREWIND also live on stage in Germany in the foreseeable future?
GUS G: So far, there has been some discussions for a Japanese tour if the CD goes well over there. We really want and hope to tour in Europe if things go as planned. It would be great to play in Germany or do some Open air festivals over there. Actually, I will perform at Wacken Open Air this year, but not with Firewind.
11) Do you have an idea about the bands you would like to tour with - are there any favorite bands?
GUS G: I don't know about the other guys, but my dream would be to go on tour with the Scorpions or Dio!!!
12) Do you know what you will be doing for the rest of the year 2002?
GUS G: Yes, I will be doing summer festivals and touring with my other band, Dream Evil. In the autumn sometime I hope to go to Japan with Firewind. Later on we will start writing and recording the next album.
13) How will it move on with FIREWIND in the next few years - do you have any certain plans yet?
GUS G: We plan to make Firewind one of the greatest metal bands in the world!!!! I have high hopes for this band and I will do whatever it takes to get to the top! We will record more albums and tour as much as possible. This is my vision.
14) As you know, this is an interview for an online mag. What do you think about online magazines in comparison to common print magazines?
GUS G: I really like the idea of online magazines because the Internet is one of the best ways of communication and of course you reach a lot of people thru the Internet. I think promoting an album thru the Internet is very important as some of the online magazines get hundreds of thousands of hits! So, it's obvious that the artist gets exposed to a LOT of people and that's a good thing.
15) What is your opinion about internet in general and mp3 in particular?
GUS G: Like I mentioned before, Internet is very important for communication today. I personally do most of my business thru the Internet. In regards to the mp3s, I think it's also very good promotion to give out a track to the public to check out your music. But I hate it when those idiots give out whole CDs for free downloading!! That destroys the artist, the company and the album release! Those guys have to understand that the musicians live off from their music, and those who don't are trying to live from their music, so this piracy has to stop eventually!!! However, there's the other side to this story that says a lot of people that didn't know your band, now have been exposed to it, listened to the whole album and decided to buy it. I don't know, maybe that's true as well, but in any case it's not cool to give out the whole CD for free!!!!
16) That's all from me... Do you have any final words for the fans out there?
GUS G: Thanx for the interview and I hope that people will like our album. We also hope to see you all soon on tour and beware cause...........FIREWIND IS RAGING!!!!!