Wolves are often in the spirits of metal music, and this German band is called Wolfen, so we couldn't wait to hear more from them, and especially about their new record, Chapter IV.
Your fourth album is released now, but we never had the pleasure of getting some comments from you, so please tell us a bit about how you started the band? And why you choose the name Wolfen?
In 1994 Andreas and I decided to relaunch the name Wolfen for a new band. We used the name with a band at the end of the 1980s for a few years. The name is just cool, like the movie and it is catchy. We started as a trio with Karsten Drexler on drums. After a while Björn joined us and we had several drummers until Holger became the one and only. Meanwhile Andreas was just singing and Gernot Thiel was our bass player. But after he had to leave us, he moved to Osnabrück near to his job, and we had try out other musicians we returned to the actual line-up. And this line-up fits as good as possible. There will be no others in this band anymore, except Gernot would like to return.
When did you start writing songs for Chapter IV?
We started writing songs after we reunited with Holger on drums. It was like there has been no break. We know each other so good, that it was easy to work together. After some gigs in 2009 we wrote many songs and in the beginning of last year we did choose the best twelve and entered the studio. We are writing songs all the time, but before the returning of Holger we had so many problems and difficulties to manage that the songwriting process was not possible for us.
Do you write songs as a band? Or is there a main songwriter?
All songs are written by Wolfen. Each member has his input to every song. As I said, it is very important for us to have the right atmosphere in the band. In the actual line-up and in the time with Gernot we never had problems to write good songs. Of course there is the first idea, but the whole band is included into the process of creating a song. So, yes we are writing songs as a band.
What inspires you most to write music/lyrics?
We get our inspiration from the news or books or whatever we like or hear. The music is often based on emotions while playing an instrument or during the rehearsals. You won't write a happy song when you are in a bad mood and vice versa. The lyrics are often inspired by something actual or a theme you prefer. We don't have a red line about what themes we will write the lyrics nor the music. It comes from the heart, your soul. You have to feel your music. That's the only way you can create emotions the listener perhaps will have.
By the way: What bands/artists made you start playing? And which bands/artists are you listening to these days?
There are many bands, especially the bands from the 1980s, for example Iron Maiden, Slayer, Testament, Metallica, Judas Priest, Anthrax, Megadeth, Accept, Motörhead....... They influenced us all a lot. Everybody tries to play like his favorites and creates after a while hopefully his own style, so did we, too. When you hear a song, it doesn't matter if it is a new or an old one, and you like it, then you will assimilate it and it will become a part of your style. That's the way in art. You copy your favorites to make it to your own and create something new. Later on you won't be aware in copying but it is still in process.
I think we are still listening to our old favorites, but there are a lot of new bands we are listening to.
How long did the recordings take? Where did you record Chapter IV? Who produced the album?
The recordings did take about two weeks in the Gernhart Studios in Siegburg, now Troisdorf. Martin Buchwalter, our producer, did work about four weeks on our material, but we were still in contact with him in that time. There were questions to answer like what sound do we prefer, which song comes first, and so on. The pre-production took about two months in our rehearsal room, where we tried to figure out how the songs will work.
Who did the artwork? And how is it tied to the album title?
The artwork was created by A. M. Karanitant, www.darkmouth.com, and it is just cool and METAL. And for us it means: No prisoners, we are back!!!
We tried to find a cool, but catchy artwork. It should look great on a shirt as well as on the cover. So we did get in contact with them and after a while the artwork becomes the one we wanted to have.
I'm curious about the great song Birmingham 6. Please tell us of the background for writing a song with a theme like the bombings of the pubs in Birmingham. And also please let us know who the woman is, who do part of the singing?
Andreas, our singer, often was in Irish pubs in our hometown Cologne. There was a guy who was singing / shouting "Free the Birmingham six" later in the night. So, he decided to get more information about those people and then wrote the lyrics to this song. It is a typical story which you can find in the history books, but this happens in our time. I think it is a great song with great lyrics that shows that we still have injustice all over the world. Like in the Roman empire, Panem et Circensis. Just to keep the folk quiet you have to find a delinquent. That's something what makes us sick.
The female voice is a friend of us called Verena Alexandra Große-Kathöfer. Andreas had the idea to make a duet in this song and we think she did a great job.
Which songs do you think represent Chapter IV best? And why?
That is a difficult question, because each song has got it's own vibe. Birmingham 6 represents the album as good as Whitechapel or Unbroken. So, I really can't say. We tried not to reduce our music. The songs you hear on Chapter IV are all kind of metal we prefer, listening and playing. If you listen to bands like Pretty Maids or Judas Priest you will find a variety of styles on their albums. And that's our point of view. No limitations.
Will you do a video? Which songs would you like to visualize?
Perhaps we will make a video, but at the moment there are no concrete plans for it. A lot of songs of the new album could be realized in a video, but as I said no plans for the moment, sorry.
Have you plans to make more songs in the style of I Am I? In order to get the attention of radio listeners?
The most important thing for us was to write and record all styles we like to play. Each song is a Wolfen song, the ballad and the thrasher. So, we will try to continue writing songs we prefer. There is no plan to get the attention of somebody special. I don't think that we will reach the attention of the radio listeners, because in Germany metal still is underground and we aren't beautiful enough to get radio airplay. ;-)
I guess you already got some feedback. Are you satisfied so far?
Yes, of course we are satisfied. From all over the world we got great reviews and feedback, it's awesome. Hopefully it will give us the chance to make the next step forward. We have got a great record company, Pure Legend Records, and we would like to work further on with them. But we can't say what future will brings.
What about playing live? Anything new on the way?
A few days ago, we had our release party in Cologne and it was a great success. There are several gigs and festivals in the summer and autumn this year. Perhaps we can travel to other countries, but we have got jobs and families and that's a heavy responsibility for us. We will see.
Do you plan to record some live footage - not talking about Pro Shots - for YouTube or similar platforms?
Perhaps, but it has to fit, the stage, the lights, everything is important and we don't want to have crap with our name on it. If you are trying to get the attention of the web community you will have to get something good or even special. There is enough redundant material on the net.
Talking about the internet..... Social network is both a blessing and a curse. What's your opinion about it?
I think it makes it a lot easier to get and stay in contact with the fans. You don't have to copy tapes and send them around the world. So, yes, I really think it is a blessing. The old-fashioned fans will buy the CD, because they like to have something in their hands and read the liner notes, watch the pictures and all that stuff. But there are many young kids growing up with this modern kind of media and they appreciate just to download your songs, legal of course. So, you have to give them both the chance to get your songs and the possibility to become a fan.
What's next on your schedule? Anything you want to add to the interview?
Hopefully we will get the chance to go our way further on and write songs for us and the fans, playing live and celebrate our kind of METAL. We are still hungry and love to play metal in front of the people, writing songs and all those things.
In this way
We thank Wolfen for this great a informative interview, see you at the concert halls.