Hi there. Congratulations to your great new album. I love it. Please describe the reactions to the CD so far.
Hallo to you too… Thanx for the nice comments on the album..Up to now the reactions we get from the fans the press and generally the people in metal tells us that we are in the right way.. I mean the fans love the album they turn up in the gigs singing all the lyrics and stuff and it really feels great.
Do you care for the opinion of your fans, the press and people in general? Or is it just you and your music?
Of course we do care about everything. We try to be objective and see what we do from a fans point of view also , coz after all we are all metal fans…We hear what people have to say and try to keep the best , and make this band better as time goes by.
Some of our readers may never have heard about you. Please give us a short briefing in the band's biography.
Well we started back in 1994 as “Ragnarok” and after changing the name in
“Airged L’amh” we released our demo “A Vertigo Edda Arised” which made quite an impression to the underground scene globally.. After that the band was inactive for some time trying to find the right members to complete the line-up..We managed to sign a contract with Metal-Reunion Records and re-released the demo in vinyl with 2 extra tracks…After that we entered the studio to compose and record the concept album “The Silver Arm” as it was finally called , which was released from Black Lotus Recs. October 2004.The current line up of the band is : Steve Venardo-Vocals ,
Alexander Vasilopoulos-Guitars , George Sofikitis-Guitars , John Luna Tsimas-Bass ,
The band name is rather strange. How did you come up with it?
Haha…Typical question…I agree it’s rather strange…But as I told you before ,the name was “Ragnarok” , and we changed it because of the existence of two other bands with the same name…The name is in Gaelic and in plain English it means
“The Silver Arm”.. So one can say that it’s fully connected with the story of the album..
What does the album "The silver arm" mean to you?
Really a lot of things..Since for the five of us was the first time we undertook such a big task as a band , putting a lot of inspiration , effort , money and emotion ,we really think that after that album we have become more experienced…It’s also really important for us in the band to hold our first full record in our hands , it’s like a dream you know?...
My favourite is the last track "End domain". Can you tell us something about this song and it's history?
The curious thing about this song is that the chorus has been wandering as an idea around for almost 8 years now…But it never fitted that perfectly as in “Endomain”…This song takes us to the final battle between the tribes and describes how the Tuatha De Dannan beat the Fomorians…It was one of the last tracks we composed for the album and it went down pretty well.
And what about "„Balor of the evil eye“"?
Balor of the evil eye was the first thing we came up with when we were writing stuff for the album , except for the keyboard part in the end , which was really composed in the studio , when we recorded the track . I like this song because it’s neck wrecking and fast..The lyrics talk about the help that Balor provided to the Fomorians..
The promotion material of your label tells us that you play Barbaric Epic Folk Metal. In general I would agree. But for example the opening track and "Fate of the king" reminds me of bands like Satan and Onslaught. What do you think of that?
It might sound a bit of cliché but we don’t really believe in tags…Whatever sounds good to our ears , we put it in the songs.. I can say that listening to Airged L’amh can remind you a lot of things, but in the end it’s unique..
How would you describe your own music?
Difficult to say…A combination of various things…Certainly there can’t be one word to characterise our music..We really play what we like…When someone comes up with an idea it doesn’t really matter what it is…If it sounds right it’s there no matter what…
Which one is YOUR favorite song from the album and why?
I’d agree with you in “Endomain”…It combines all the things that I like in a song..Slow epic and heavy in the first part , a killer bridge , and then the shift in the tempo as well as the end really makes this song for me the best of the album.
How and why did you choose the album cover?
The album cover is a drawing that Alexander (Guitars) made and it was developed while the album was recorded…It depicts the Silver Arm of King Nuada…
I must say here that Alexander is responsible for another album cover for our fellow band “Battleroar”.
Are there some lyrics that are special to you? Tell us something about them.
The lyrics of the album are based on a celtic legend and if read carefully they can be translated into our era too… The respect for Mother Earth , people’s fight for life and all that… My favourite one is on “Mourning Grief” and says “In a delirium a farewell to my grief..”
What about the recording process of your new album? Any stories or curiosities to report?
The funniest thing about the recordings was that we did it in a studio where all the Greek artists record their songs for the big Greek labels , and anyone coming into the studio was left astonished by the way we where playing ,and left with pain in their ears! It was so funny to watch them…They were asking the sound engineer how he can do that…
How do you create your sound? Which equipment do you use?
A lot of stuff…We try to test various things (different guitars, foot pedals, pre-amps etc) … Currently we are using the Boss GT-6 guitar sound processor and a POD XT through a pre amp..And it sounds pretty good.
Please tell us something about your process of songwriting.
That process is my favourite one…We basically gather up and talk about our ideas, record the basic guitars as a draft for the song, then everyone gets a copy of that and enriches the base…Until it finally gets to the point where we can rehearse the song and put the final touches to it…It’s really exciting, and for us it also shows how this band is first of all friends and then band mates ..
What are your musical influences in your opinion?
When we go out with the rest of the guys or when we meet e.g. in my place we listen to several different things…From thrash, speed, death, heavy, power, epic etc….
If you want certain names I’d say Judas Priest , Manowar , Cruachan , Slayer , Blind Guardian etc…Tooooo many to mention!!
And Where do you get your inspiration from?
Life! Things that happen to us and we try to put them in our music..
We'd like to know something about your background in making music. How did you learn to play, what are your experiences and which musicians are your main technical influence?
I began classical guitar lessons when I was 13…Very soon metal got all over me and I turned into electric guitars…I got lessons for almost 6 years and then took it by myself. Main technical influences: Paco DeLucia , Alex Scolnick , Dave Murray ,
Jeff Waters , Joe Satriani , James Hetfield , Randy Rhoads.
What do you think: How will Airged L'ahm sound like in let's say five years? Is there a masterplan?
No..There is no masterplan . We will try to make as many live appearances as possible to support “The Silver Arm” , and our purpose is to record our new album in 2005…As for how we will sound in 5 years , I don’t know..I think more heavy than ever!!!
Please name some lately released CDs that you like to listen to at home.
Nocturnal Rites “New World Messiah” , Angra “Temple of Shadows”
Do you still watch other bands play? Have there been some shows lately that impressed you?
Yes!! I’ve been in the last visit of Obituary here in Athens and it was awesome!!! I never expected that it would be so good…Cracker!!!
What makes the difference between Airged L'ahm and other Barbaric Epic Folk Metal bands?
In my opinion the many different elements and instruments we use , as well as the structure of the songs…
We'd like to know something about the underground in your hometown. Are you still in touch? And if so: Where do you hang out? Are there some yet unknown bands that you like?
Of course we are in touch with the underground …That’s where we all came from after all.”An” club is the place where we go to see underground bands playing.
And “Sharpness” is one band that I’ve seen and really liked a lot.
What about the Greece Metal Scene in general? Do you know some bands, and if so, is there friendship, rivalry or more or less nothing special?
We’ve been around for quite a while , so we know a lot of bands that we usually play together in shows etc..We even hang out together with some of the guys from bands like Innerwish and Battleroar..As for the Greek metal scene I think it’s very strong but there are other factors beyond music that can’t let it grow further.
Please tell us something about further Live activities.
We recently supported “HELSTAR” in their mini tour in Greece and there are plans to play some other shows at the start of the new year..
Is there something that you have never been asked but always have been eager to say?
Strange question..Though I’d like to say GO OUT AND BUY OUR ALBUM!!!!
We are looking forward seeing you in Germany. E.g. at the Headbangers Open Air? It would suit you perfectly.
As I said above we are trying to play as many shows as possible and we would like to play outside Greece if we can..This band has always been a live act so in cooperation with our label we will try to come in Germany as well as perform in other countries too.
Best whishes to you all. Any last words?
Thank you very much for this interview.. STAY METAL!