The 2nd release of the Danish metal heads is in the stores and so I took the chance to question Iron Fire by email... Here is what Kristian returned to me!
Hi there! Sorry for the delay – I've had a lot to do, as I'm recording some homemade pop-songs in Danish with one of my friends. (Not kidding)
Kristian H. Martinsen. Iron Fire
Why do you named the band Iron Fire?
Well, it's no exciting story, we just needed a name for the band and one of us came up with Iron Fire – first we all laughed at it because we thought that nothing would be more silly and a bigger cliché, but at the end of the day we decided to keep it.
How do you got in touch with Noise / Modern Music?
We recorded a demo-CD in the late autumn of 1998 and sent it to about 30 records companies all over Europe, and soon we got contacted by 5 or 6 interested companies. After one year of negotiating we choose the contact from Noise Rec.
Why did you name your album Thunderstorm
We decided to let the title of one of the tracks become the title of the album, and we meant that Thunderstorm was one of the strongest songs, with catchy chorus and everything else a good power metal song should have.
Why do you choose this cover artwork? Did you have the idea?
Noise chose the cover design before the album was ever recorded. I think Martin Steene had a conversation with the painter once, telling him about the ideas of ours. If you see the cover of our first demo-CD you will meet an early and very primitive version of the Thunderstorm cover, designed by Martin's ex-girlfriend Lis.
Thunderstorm has a typical artwork for the so called true metal scene. With On The Edge you changed your musical direction. Do you see yourself still as a part of the true metal genre?
No, I would not call Iron Fire a typical true metal band, cos I think that we are a lot more than all of the Hammerfall copies out there.
Which bands influenced you? Obviously you got influenced by Helloween (early years). There are also similarities to Hammerfall... What do you think reminds people of Hammerfall when they listened to Thunderstorm?
We are influenced by a lot of bands, and a lot of those bands aren't even metal bands. Of course some of the influence comes from Helloween and Hammerfall as you mention, but in his songwriting, Martin Steene is just as much influenced by Bon Jovi, Whitesnake, and even bands like Testament and Fear Factory. One of my biggest personal inspirations is Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead. He's created a whole new way of creating strange sounds with a guitar. I'm also a big fan of 'The Edge', U2's legendary string master. He's a genius! (And no!!! His name has got NOTHING to do with the title of the new album!!!).
Your lyrics on Thunderstorm reminds me of Manowar. Do you like the New Yorkers?
We all like Manowar in the band, but I think they are starting becoming a bit silly, after all these years with exactly the same chords and the same lyrics in every single song? Am I speaking with a kind of blasphemous voice right now? (No, I agree with you! - editor)
How do you got in touch with Tommy Hansen? And how was working with him?
We asked Noise if we could work with Tommy Hansen on our first album and they said no, cos he isn't cheap at all! But we kept on asking a lot of times, and at last they said: "Allright, allright" and we have a great experience working with him both times. I don't know if we'll use him the next time.
Tommy Hansen worked with Helloween, a band who influenced you. Do you think working with Tommy Hansen let you sound a little more like Helloween?
Yes, of course. We used exactly the same keyboard programming and exactly the same guitar effects as Helloween used on Keeper Of The 7 Keys pt. I and II on our first album, so it was almost impossible not to sound like Helloween.
How you came up with the idea to do Under Jolly Roger as a cover version? Is running wild also a main influence?
Our former drummer Gunnar had already left the studio when Noise asked us to do one exclusive track, so we had to find a track on which I could play the drums! We rehearsed Under Jolly Roger a few times with me doing the drums and then we recorded it. Martin Steene likes running wild a lot, but I think they are kind of boring. Blasphemy again, you might say, but that's my point of view. (No, I agree.... - editor)
Many see Iron Fire as a copy cat of Hammerfall. Did that influence you while you worked on the new material? Obviously there is a change musically...
Yes, it influenced us, but many of the songs from On The Edge were written before recording Thunderstorm, so that's not the main reason for the musical change. We were just a bit tired of playing exactly the same kind of music as a lot of German bands have played since the early 80's. We wanted to try something new, instead of locking ourselves up in one style, like Hammerfall, for instance. Many German people are angry about us changing our style a bit, but how angry do you think they'd be if Hammerfall changed their style. They have made 3 exactly similar records now. I think it would be very cool if they varied their music more than they do, and I really hope that their next album will be different than the previous ones. Maybe I would go buy it then... (ha ha)
What is for you the difference between Thunderstorm and On The Edge?
The new album has got a lot of really heavy riffing and a more Rock'n'Roll-kind-a feeling. It's got a lot of variation.
You worked again with Tommy Hansen. Did Tommy Hansen help you to realize the musical change? Or was the line-up change part of it?
Tommy was not responsible for the musical change, if he had been in charge the new album would have sounded exactly like Thunderstorm. He loves creating happy moods with a lot of keyboards and giant chorus sounds, but we wanted to sound a bit more angry this time, so we forced him not to play too much keyboards on the record.
Do you felt being under pressure during the production?
No, actually we had a very pleasant and relaxed time in the studio this time, with a great feeling in the band. When recording Thunderstorm we were all very nervous and under tension, but this time we worked things out fine!
Please tell a little bit about the idea for On The Edge. Lyrically you changed as well...
Well, I'm not the right person to ask about the lyrics, cos Martin Steene is responsible for them, but as you have discovered, they are no longer about dragons and knights. I guess they are about "the real world" or something like that. All of the lyrics are about being "On The Edge" in some kind of way. Whether it is because of war, love or the end of the world...
The cover artwork is very different to Thunderstorm's. This time Andreas Marschall did the artwork. How was it to work with such a legendary artist?
Actually we didn't work with him. I think Martin had a conversation with him over the phone once, and told him that we wanted it to be more like the cover he once did for Obituary than all of the "true metal" covers he's done during the past couple of years.
You are a very young band. Do you think that's time for youngsters like you to follow the established bands? Actually the old heroes like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest can't go on for the next 20 years...
Mmm, that's a hard one! A really hope that some youngsters soon will be ready to cover the throne after the old heroes. But the new ones to become legendary heroes has to represent a whole new kind metal, cos you won't make a revolution by playing the same old shit as Judas Priest did 25 years ago. Just take a look at Death metal bands like Cannibal Corpse and Deicide. In my opinion they are the second generation of legendaries, and maybe you can say that some Norwegian Black metal bands and American Industrial bands has a big place in the book of heavy metal history too, but the whole new generation of heroes has to create something brand and new. Not just blend the old ones like we do, ha ha...
Is it an advantage for you to come from a country which is not known for a huge metal scene? But on the other hand the Danish bands who are successful are all at a very high level.
Some people think it's very exciting with a metal band from Denmark, cos that is definitely not something you meet everyday, but others think: "Oh, the Danes can't play metal, bla, bla, bla..." Just as you, I think the most successful Danish bands are very good. Pretty Maids and Mercyful Fate speaks for themselves!
Most bands which are known from Scandinavia are part of the death and black metal scene... why do you think this kind of music is so popular in the Scandinavian metal scene?
I really don't know, but I think it's sad. I like some of the bands, like In Flames, Emperor, Dissection, etc. But all of those primitive death metal bands can really make me sick!
Are any concerts planned or a tour? Festivals?
No concerts has been planned yet, but we are trying right now to arrange some gigs in Denmark, Sweden and maybe Germany. We are dying to get on the road and meet the heavy metal fans out in the Great Big Wide World...
What can the fans expect live from Iron Fire?
Well, nothing special, sorry. Just a normal rock concert the way it should be, with a lot of energy, head-banging and maybe a bomb or two.
If you should choose a band to tour with, which one would you choose?
I would definitely choose Radiohead, so I could have a little chat with Jonny Greenwood about guitar effects! Of course it would be great to travel around the world with all of the bands that you have adored since growing up, but I don't know which to choose.
Do you think that internet is a chance for young bands?
Do you like to keep in touch with the fans by email? Or talking with the fans after the shows?
Yes, it's always great to hear different people's different opinions about the job, you just did. Each member of the bands has an email address on our official homepage: www.ironfire.com, and we try to answer all of the mails, we receive, but it is not always possible. I love hanging around with the fans after the shows, so don't be afraid to join the Iron Fire party next time!
What’s your opinion about mp3?
I think it's really great way of exchanging sound files. I use it a lot, cos I make music with a lot of different people around Denmark, and every time one of us has come up with something, everybody receives a mail with the idea in mp3 format.
Do you support the copy protection for CDs?
In a way, cos every time anyone makes a copy of an Iron Fire record I loose some money. But I must confess that I also have a lot of copied CDs at home (but don't tell anyone!!!)
Well, thanx for your questions, hope to see you soon!