How many bands from New Zealand you can name? Drawing a blank? Well, not such a big surprise as it seems only a very few come from that part of the Southern hemisphere. Razorwyre is one of them, the band from Wellington is based in 80's heavy metal and thrash and with Coming Out they made the first step into the spotlight. To learn more about the guys I sent over some questions which were answered by guitarist Chris Calavrias and singer Z.
You started as Gaywyre, then renamed to Razorwyre - that's it in a nutshell. But would you please tell us a bit more about how Gaywyre / Razorwyre started! And how long did it take til the line-up was completed?
Chris: Sure thing! The idea behind the band started a while ago before anything even happened. We would always be partying and me and James are good friends and both play guitar and both love heavy metal of the traditional kind and thought fuck it! Let's just start a band that we would want to listen to. There is lack of 'classic' metal bands in our home town / New Zealand. After talking about it for ages, we decided to start jamming at the start of 2008. By mid 2008 we had Coming Out mostly written then put it on hold for a while, while I went overseas. When I got back months later, we recruited our friends Nick on the drums, Simon on bass and finally to top it off, Z-Chylde on vocals. Our first few gigs went very well, and the music was very well received. We recorded Coming Out soon after and then had some time off again in the middle of '08 with me being overseas again. When I got back it was back to playing live and the releasing of Coming Out in Dec '09. From then on things picked up and the shows were getting bigger and bigger which was great to see!
Why did you first called the band Gaywyre?
Chris: At the time I wanted to call the band Haywire. But, that was already taken by quite a few bands. As we were just starting out, it was more of a fun / joke thing, someone mentioned Gaywire instead (laughs) and the name kind of stuck. When drawing a logo, we changed it to Gaywyre (axis of symmetry haha) The more we played and the bigger we got, we started to run into, ah, let's say, 'problems' with the name as you can imagine! It was time to re-brand this beast as the now Razorwyre.
Musically you are based in the 1980's. Which bands are your main influences from that era?
Z: The idea of the band when we started was certainly to do a band with a heavy metal character true to the style of the '80s - and for some of us - it was a dream we had wanted to fulfil for years, but it hadn't quite come to fruition yet. The influences of the band are varied and pretty numerous, personally, I'm heavily influenced by the US power metal movement, and the British NWoBHM movement, while I think the main influences that seem to be apparent in the sound include Iron Maiden, Saxon, Judas Priest and Savatage, among others. Others in the band are more influenced by the US thrash metal and crossover bands of the period. While all of the members of the band have an affinity for classic metal music of the 80s, we all have somewhat different favorite bands and influences.
What (newer) bands are you listening to nowadays?
Z: As far as newer bands, I'm mostly listening to stuff like Striker, Skull Fist and 3 Inches Of Blood (all from Canada), which all have a lot of traditional influences. In addition to that, some modern power metal like Icewind, and outside of that, good side helpings of black metal and the like, but mostly the newer albums coming out from the older bands: Accept, Heaven & Hell, etc.
Tell us about the EP Coming Out! Where did you record it? How long did the recording take?
Chris: We recorded the EP at our practice space with Tim 'Diamond' Shann (who is now playing bass for us) Tim is incredible. So sweet to work with and totally was into it. He even preformed the bas duties on the EP at the time. The EP at the time was meant to be only a demo, but decided to release it. It took 4 days to record.
Who had the idea for the artwork? And who did the cover?
Chris: A good friend of mine gave me the idea for the idea for cover and to call it Coming Out. I thought it was a great idea! When I was overseas the first time I met a good friend of mine in Berlin who was a great artist. I gave him the idea and he came back with what you see today. He has also recently just done the cover for the 2nd Sodom DVD.
As you played live already, I guess you have quite a few songs... How many songs did you have to choose from for Coming Out?
Chris: For when we recorded Coming Out, they were the only songs we had. We wanted to get a demo / EP out as soon as possible for people to have / listen to.
What's the story behind Operation Market Garden?
Z: As the name suggests, it's simply a song which is somewhat of my own take on the infamous campaign in WWII. I've always had a strong affinity for military history, and have been fascinated by books, films and documentaries about the Second World War since I was very young. I've always loved a good metal track about WWII, and this was the first time I'd penned lyrics on the subject for Razorwyre. Market Garden in particular is special as it was a major, crushing defeat for the allies, right when they seem assured of their drive into the Nazi-held German heartland. While writing it I pondered the classic war film A Bridge Too Far, which showcases the doomed-ness of the campaign, and the despair of the Polish, British and American airborne troops involved. The first verse of the track reflects on the optimism and gleaming pride of the united Allied force, while the second showcases the changing tide of the battle, and the well equipped and ferocious counter attack by the German armored units.
Talking about playing live... You supported Paul DiAnno, CKY in your home country and will play with Exodus, if my information is right. Is it easy to get shows in New Zealand? And how was it to play with DiAnno and CKY?
Chris: We don't get 'a lot' of bigger bands that come to NZ. Usually a lot of them go to Australia and skip NZ out, due to its size I'm assuming. But even Australia don't get anywhere near as many bands as say Europe or the states. We are finding more and more bands coming back to NZ or coming to NZ for the first time which is great!
Playing with DiAnno was great! This was a tour that was right up our alley. Most of the crowd were old school heavy metal maniac's and we got a lot of good feedback from them. They were happy to see a young band playing their sort of music (laughs)
CKY was a bit of a weird one. But then again, they are a bit of a weird band! They draw fans from all sorts of genre's, so really, any band would of been ok to open for them.
As you are seem to be influenced by 80's thrash bands... Are you looking forward to play with Exodus?
Z: All of us are really keen on the old thrash metal bands of the 80s, and it certainly seems to carry through into the music - well that's certainly what some our listeners tell us anyway. It's great to be in a position to be able to book with any big international bands, for which we're pretty thankful for, but hearing that we had booked the slot with Exodus was probably the best news we'd heard since forming the band. There were a lot of bands vying for the spot, some of which we were familiar with, and some not, but in the end we were awarded the spot, by the promoter which we were happy with. It was a great experience for us, and the feedback from the crowds was great to hear - seems a lot of the fans of bands like Exodus and especially Paul DiAnno were pretty stoked with our performance, which is great. We can't wait to play with more bands like this.
We barely hear anything about bands from New Zealand... Is there a metal scene in New Zealand?
Z: That's a tough question to answer. Comparative to Europe; Germany, Britain, wherever, really - I'd say no, there isn't. There are bands, and there are metalheads, but in my opinion - there's not much of a scene. We live in Wellington which is the third largest city in the country - and there isn't really a cohesive scene around here. There are some extreme metal bands, and a number of metalcore bands, and we know some of them - but there isn't really any metal bars, or a popular scene where everyone gets together and catches a lot of big, local bands, like they do over there, and overseas acts are fairly few and far between. NZ has its metalheads, and I think things are picking up over here for sure - with the internet and everything - people are exposed to a lot more metal music, but we just don't have that ingrained, ferverous metal heritage and culture that is so awesome about Europe. The good thing about the band's reputation growing is that the shows are getting a lot bigger, and we get a lot more metalheads that barely come out to shows, coming to see the band, and a lot of people who really don't really get into metal normally, that come along and enjoy the night, which is cool.
Do you think being located in New Zealand is making it more difficult to get attention? It's not really known as a hotspot...
Chris: Defiantly hard to get attention! We are so far out of the way of any other countries. But with the internet, the music is just as accessible as anyone else is really. Only problem really is being so far away from Europe! Would love to be closer. And your right, NZ is not known as a hot spot for Heavy Metal (laughs). I am assuming you meant metal right? Its not really a hot spot for anything really, unless your into the out doors. :)
If it would be necessary, would consider to move to Europe or the USA?
Z: Personally, I'd love to move over to Europe, it's been a dream of mine since I can remember, but I don't think any of us have seriously entertained the notion of moving over there for the sake of Razorwyre. I'd imagine the experienced European audiences, and the presence of seriously talented and numerous competitors over there would make it pretty hard for us to make much of a dent in the scene. Having said that though, I can think of nothing I'd rather do with my life than living in Europe, making and playing music.
Back to your music... Are you already working on new songs? An album?
Z: At the time of writing we have basically a whole album worth of material in terms of new tracks - and are coming up with new tracks all the time. We just plan on rehearsing the material and cleaning it up a bit so it's fit for public consumption, then plan on hitting the recording phase in the next two months or so. We aim to have a full length album out on the streets by February next year. We would have liked to have something out this year, but with the tours and out of town gigs, it certainly impedes progress on both writing and rehearsing new material. Having said that, we're glad we haven't rushed anything and we're pretty happy with the direction of the new material.
What are your plans for the rest of 2010? Already any plans for 2011?
Z: Basically, our plans for the rest of the year include getting a bit more time off playing live shows, and really getting the new material for the album sorted. While some of the songs have been ready for a long time, Chris and I keep getting together over a few beers and coming up with new stuff, sometimes a new track every time, or more! So we constantly have new songs to refine and have the rest of the band learn. The year has really raced by, but hopefully we can get recording by the time the year's out, and get the new stuff out there for the fans, and ourselves.
Looks like Razorwyre will try to draw some attention to their homeland with Coming Out and the full-length debut which is on the way. And perhaps they make it over to Europe and the US in 2011... Meanwhile don't forget to check their virtual homes to keep in the loop.