Hi there. Congratulations to your great new album. Please describe the reactions to the CD so far.
So far, the reactions are great! We've been getting rave reviews all over Europe and Japan. The major press has really embraced the album as well as the online press. So, only good things so far. :-)
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 I care of what they think, that's why I listen to everyone's comments and read as many reviews as possible. But it doesn't affect me to the point where I change my musical direction. If that was the case, I'd be playing another music style right now.
Some of our readers may never have heard about you. Please give us a short briefing in the band's biography.
Well, the story is quite long and for those who are interested in the band's background or have never heard of us, I would suggest they take a look at our website: www.firewind.gr . It's very updated with a detailed biography.
What are the differences between "Forged by fire" and "Burning earth" in your opinion?
I believe that "Burning Earth" is a great album, but with more darker sound. The new album has more variety and new elements, especially 70s hard rock elements. Of course it's well combined with contemporary sound and production. I think there's a nice blend of 70s, 80s and modern heavy metal sounds.
What are the reasons for these differences?
I was always listening to different styles, from classic rock to black metal. However, around the time I was composing this album I was listening a lot to Black Sabbath's albums "Tyr" and "Headless Cross", so maybe I was influenced a bit from that sound. Plus, Chity is into the same stuff as me. When I was composing "Burning Earth" album perhaps I was more into Manowar and Conan movies haha!
My favourite is "The forgotten memory". Can you tell us something about this song and it's history?
Thanx! This song's lyrics are simply about peace, cause it seems to be a forgotten memory nowadays. Excellent lyrics by Chity there. The music definitely represents what Firewind is all about in 2005 and sums up our past. It has edgy speed metal riffs, but the chorus and solos are really melodic.
And what about "Escape from tomorrow"?
I think this song is one of the best on the album. While it's very catchy and very power metal, the chords on the verses are so unusual for a song like that. So, they give it a special feeling and atmosphere.
Which one is YOUR favorite song from the album and why?
Hard to say, I love every song on the album for different reasons.
How and why did you choose the album cover?
Our Japanese label EMI suggested that we work with this artist again. His name is Kazuo Hakamada and he did the cover for "Burning Earth" album. Century Media also liked his cover, so we went for it.
Are there some lyrics that are special to you? Tell us something about them.
The lyrics of Hateworld Hero are special to me, cause they are so realistic and give me the will to carry on when something bad happens.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
Different things like, favourite artists and albums, movies, people that I love, nature, landscapes, incidents of everyday life, etc.
Any plans for some further stuff of "Forged by fire" (like singles,video, DVD etc.)?
On the European version we're already including the video clip of "Tyranny" and a 14 minute documentary with the life of Firewind on the road and in studio. It's very entertaining for the fans and it's definitely value for money.
What about the recording process of your new album? Any stories or curiosities to report?
Oh yeah! We actually missed 2 whole working days while mixing the album, because the DVD with the files that were sent to us for mixing, completely ruined 2 computers in Studio Fredman (where we mixed the album). So, Fredrik (Nordstrom) lost both his hard disk AND backup disk (with all the recordings he made!). I don't know, maybe that DVD was cursed haha!! After this happened, instead of the files, they sent us the whole hard disk (with all recordings) from Germany to Sweden. We missed 2 days of work and I almost had a heart attack from the stress, but we made it after all.
Tell us a bit about your guest musicians James Murphy and Marty Friedman and your collaboration.
I met Marty while touring in Japan with Firewind in 2004 and we became friends since then. I was very happy when he accepted my invitation to play the solos on the instrumental song "Feast of the savages". In regards to James Murphy, I didnt know him personally, but I decided to email him cause I wanted him to do the first solo on the "Forgotten Memory" song. He gladly accepted. I'm honoured that 2 of my favourite guitar heroes are on my album! It's a dream that came true.
How would you describe your own music?
Modern Heavy Metal.
How do you create your sound? Which equipment do you use?
I usually record through whatever sounds best. I've recorded most of my albums with ENGL and Randall amps, but the last 2 Firewind albums were done with a POD 2 box. I know it sounds crazy, but that thing sounds really good! Regarding the live shows, I usually play with ENGL or Peavey 5150 II amps and I use a Boss OD-2 pedal and wah wah.
Please tell us something about your process of songwriting.
I usually come up with a main riff and develop form there, or will come up with the chorus (chords and vocal melody). After I compose the whole song, I make a pre production demo of it, which I send to Chity. He adds his vocal lines and lyrics and there you have a Firewind song! :-)
What are your musical influences in your opinion?
Michael Schenker, Scorpions, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Manowar, Death, The Beatles, Pink Floyd and so many others.
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 started playing guitar at age 10. However, I picked up the electric guitar and started practicing seriously when I was 14. I had a very good teacher at the conservatory I was going in Thessaloniki. When I was 16, I started playing with cover bands in my hometown. After that I went to the US to study @ Berklee college of music. While I had a scholarship, I only attended the school for 2 weeks and eventually dropped out in order to start my own band (Firewind) and record my own music. I guess the rest is history....... ;-)
Regarding my guitar influences I would say Michael Schenker, Yngwie Malmsteen, Gary Moore, Uli Roth, John Norum, Joe Satriani, Carlos Santana, David Gilmour, etc.
Please name some lately released CDs that you like to listen to at home.
The latest release I really liked was Megadeth's new CD. I think it has some great songs in it.
Do you still watch other bands play? Have there been some shows lately that impressed you?
I don't go to shows that often, but sometimes I do. For example, I watched Rotting Christ and Mayhem in my hometown last weekend. Great show! I also recently went to a Nick Cave concert for the first time and I was very impressed!!
What makes the difference between Firewind and other Melodic Power Metal bands?
I think we have our own songwriting style with combining speedy and and heavy riffs with nice guitar melodies and memorable choruses. Maybe it also has to do with me coming from a Meditteranean country, we have another tamperament here and maybe this affects my songwriting.
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?
I don't really keep in touch with the underground bands of my town, although there have been 2 great bands from Thessaloniki that unfortunately don't exist anymore: Exhumation and Breaking Silence. I'm happy to play with some of those bands' members now in Firewind and Nightrage. Regarding new unsigned bands, my ear hasn't caught up anything interesting lately.
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?
The Greek scene is very small and almost nothing, with the exception of Rotting Christ, Firewind, and guys like Marios Iliopoulos (Nightrage) and Dimitris Liapakis (singer of Mystic Prophecy - German based band including me on guitars). I'm good friends with the guys from Rotting Christ and Septic Flesh, but noting really special aside than that.
How important is it for you to play live on stage?
It's the 2nd most important thing for me, aside from creating music. I'm the kind of guy that wants to play everywhere possible haha! But that's the only way to build a fanbase and strong following and make our music known. By touring a lot.
Please tell us something about further Live activities.
We already have made plans for a European tour which will soon be announced on our website www.firewind.gr .
Is there something that you have never been asked but always have been eager to say?
Not really, but thanx for asking haha!! :-)
We are looking forward seeing you in Germany. Best whishes to you all. Any last words?
Thanx for the interview and your support. Most likely we will be on tour in Germany this April, so see u all soon! And check out "Forged by Fire"! Cheers!