Firewind interview (01/2005)
|With:||Gus G. [Guitars]|
- Now I think almost everyone know who you are, after the successful time in Dream Evil, but there are always some that missed even that, so could you introduce yourself and all your bands (projects) for us?
Sure! My name is Gus G. and I'm a guitarist/composer. I've released 3 succesfull albums with Swedish Metal band Dream Evil and 3 albums with my own band FIREWIND. I recently quit Dream Evil to concentrate on my Firewind activities, as we're releasing the new 3rd album "Forged By Fire". The past 3 years I've also been involved as a guitarist and songwriter with a couple of other bands. The first is Nightrage, a melodic death metal band featuring ex At The Gates frontman, Tomas Lindberg. The other band is called Mystic Prophecy and they're a German-based power metal act.
Anyway, I've been doing many things, even a lot of guest solos for other bands. I've toured Europe and Japan a few times and I'm currently launching my own signature guitars through ESP.
- You're involved in a lot of different bands and projects, it was four until you left Dream Evil, so I guess it became too much even for you!? But why so many bands, are you getting restless if you're not working on anything?
You could say I'm a workaholic hehe! Actually, before I was signed to any label, I was working with all these songwriters and bands and I was curious to see which project would take off. To my surprise, all of my bands have had decent success and worldwide released albums. I enjoy playing with all my bands, however Firewind is my main priority.
The reason I quit Dream Evil was to concentrate on my own band since the guys in DE have other priorities in their lives, like their families, jobs, etc. My main priority is music.
- As mentioned, you decided to leave Dream Evil behind now when you needed more time for Firewind, but why did you chose to leave Dream Evil and not Mystic Prophecy or Nightrage?
Well, Dream Evil was becoming bigger and bigger and I wanted the band to follow more of a touring lifestyle and be more active. The guys simply couldn't do it, as they have families, kids, and good jobs. So, I decided to focus my time on my own band, which is more of a long-term thing for my career. The deal with Mystic Prophecy and Nightrage is that I play with them, whenever I have time left outside Firewind. There is mutual respect between me and the other members of those bands and we always work our schedules out so I can be able to tour with both of them.
- Firewind's new album is named "Forged by Fire", can you tell us about it? Background, concept, etc.
Firewind went through a difficult year last year. We decided to change singer because the previous guy couldn't tour with the band. At the same time we had a Japanese tour booked, so you can imagine the stress. Luckily, we found Chitty. We also had many problems with our previous European label, Massacre Records. We didn't have a chance to tour in Europe due to lack of tour support. The meaning behind the new album title is that we are "Forged by Fire" and we're still standing here with a brand new line-up, great new album and great new label.
Cover Artwork of the New Album, "Forged by Fire"
- How would you describe the music? Just pure Power Metal, Heavy Metal or Heavy Hard Rock? Or what do you think Firewind plays?
Heavy Metal with modern elements is how I would describe it. Maybe it's how traditional Heavy Metal should sound in 2005. That would be the best description I think.
- How has the feedback been, before the release of "Forged by Fire"? I think I heard that it has been much great words coming from Japan, is that correct?
Yeah, it did great in Japan, as we entered the Top 100 charts on position 90 the first week.
We're also getting rave reviews in Europe and that's really encouraging, as I was a bit anxious to see how the press would accept the new singer.
- Somapala (Vocals) is new since the last album, in fact the whole band is new, but what do you think Somapala has provide Firewind? That wasn't there during the time with Fredrick.
Actually, the rhythm section is the same as on Burning Earth our previous album. We have a new member, Bob Katsionis, he's the keyboard virtuoso from hell haha!
In regards to Chitty, I think he brought more melodic elements in Firewind. Stephen Fredrick was more of a shouter, therefore he was kind of one-dimensional. Chitty added more colours to our music and his voice is not as harsh as Stephen's. So, I think that we even more easier to listen to now, than we were before.
- Personally I think Somapala, in the calmer parts, sounds much like Klaus Meine, from Scorpions, do you hear that too?
Yes! I think Chitty is a mix of Dio, Klaus Meine and Tony Martin! That's what I love about him - his influences.
- And what do you think of the new Firewind line-up compare to the old? Is it better, if yes, what's it better?
Yes, it is much better now because it's a REAL band. Before it felt like I was in a studio project, as I never met our previous singer. We would only work with tape trading through our then label, Leviathan Records. Now we are a team, 5 good friends, 5 musicians. We have a great chemistry in the band and even though we come from different cultures, our mentality's the same!
- You quite recently released an album with Mystic Prophecy too; can you tell us something about that album and everything around it? How was the feedback, did it sell well, etc
The new Mystic Prophecy album is called "Never Ending" and it's out on Nuclear Blast.
I don't know much about its course, but we got good reviews in Europe. I heard the sales are higher than the last album and actually next month "Never Ending" will be released in Japan through King Records.
- And you're about to release yet another album in about a month from now, with your third band, Nightrage, that makes three albums in less than 6 months. But how much can you reveal about that album?
I can say that it's a masterpiece in melodic death metal! The album is called "Descent Into Chaos" and we also have a new steady line-up there. However, the main members of the band (Marios/guitar, Tomas/vocals and me) remain, but with a new killer rhythm section.
- What do you think, separate your "projects"(bands) apart? If you shall include Dream Evil too.
Firewind - Contemporary Heavy Metal band with a lot of cool guitar and great vocals.
Nightrage - Swedish Melodic death metal played by the Greeks! Incredibly heavy riffing.
Mystic Prophecy - Thrash/Power Metal with great melodies.
Dream Evil - Beer drinking, farmer Rock band!! With great songs though.
- Who has inspired you throughout the years? Any favourites that's more important than others?
In no particular order: Scorpions, Black Sabbath, Michael Schenker, Manowar, Megadeth, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Yngwie Malmsteen, John Norum, Paul Gilbert, Zakk Wylde, Dimebag Darell (R.I.P.), and of course The Beatles.
- Finally I thought I should handle over the word to you, to give you a chance to tell us about things you might think I have forgotten to ask!?
I think we covered most of all things.
- And then I thank you for taken some of your precious time to answer my simple questions, thanks and good luck with "Forged by Fire" and good luck in the future!
Thanx a lot for ur support and I hope we see u in Sverige soon!
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