11th May 2018
Interview by Hayduke X
German thrashing power metal overlords have been around for two plus decades. With new full length Rise of the Lycans due out soon, this seemed like an auspicious time to ask them a few questions. The band willingly obliged and the email interview commenced. Read on to discover the results of the endeavour.
Congratulations on the upcoming release of Rise of the Lycans. What can we expect from this album?
Hi and thank you very much. We are very proud of our new album. Rise of the Lycans is the best Wolfen album since The Truth Behind. It is full of power and melodies, lead guitar battles and screaming vocals, with the bass and drums hitting you right in the stomach. Just 100% pure Metal, as you can always expect from WOLFEN.
Have you been getting any feedback yet? How is it being received?
The first feedback is awesome. The critics are overwhelmingly positive and we are very happy that the listeners are so excited about our new songs.
Prior to this album, the band had significant line-up changes. Walk us through what happened with that. How is the new line-up working out? Have you really come together as a band?
It has been a long journey with our old band mates Holger and especially Björn. Holger told us after our tour with Grave Digger that he would leave the band. He needed more time for his family and his job, so this wasn’t too big of a surprise for us. Siggi joined the band again (he’s already been drumming for us in the past) and he is doing a great job, both on the new album, as well as on stage.
When Björn told us that he would leave the band, that really was a shock – not only for the band, but especially for me personally. Björn and I have been friends since our time at our school band and we’ve been playing together for over 20 years. Well, after some searching, we eventually found Andi. He is a great guitarist and, since we now have two lead guitar players in the band, we have some absolutely awesome guitar battles on the new album. It is really amazing.
Every change is a chance.
What was the process for writing and recording Rise of the Lycans? Was the entire current line-up fully involved?
It is of course different to the old line up, but we are working very well and now we have new possibilities. As I said, Andi is an amazing guitar player and now we have the possibility to do those cool lead guitar battles, which I’m really excited about. In addition to that, he is a songwriter, as well.
So now we have three songwriters in the band instead of just the two of us, Andreas and me.
Siggi is a very powerful drummer and together with Nico on bass it is just awesome how heavy the songs sound. And on stage it fits very well, too. We are a unit live, just as we have ever been.
Andreas von Lipinski and I have been the main songwriters in the past. One of us had an idea and then we’ve been working in the rehearsal room for as long as necessary. The main difference now is that Andi also had some great ideas that he added to some of the new songs, with one song being completely written by him.
It doesn’t matter who is in the band, though – it will always sound like WOLFEN as long Andreas and I will be in the band. So, there are some songs written by only one of us and others written together by two or three of us and we’ve all been working together on the songs until they were finished.
Tell us about the album art. Who was the artist? How does it relate to this album?
The cover artwork was created by a Spanish artist, Ricardo Fernandes. We’ve been searching for something very ‘WOLFEN’-like and metal-looking, representing our band the best. Andreas and Ricardo wrote a lot of emails, going through a lot of different designs and ideas, until the artwork was finished and everyone was happy about the cover. We always tried to have a wolf on the cover, but it is actually very difficult to find the right one. And this time it turned out just perfect. We love it and it looks just awesome.
Is there an overarching theme to the album, or does each track stand alone?
There is a story over four songs. A story about aliens being the leaders of the world coming back to install the new world order. The other songs are standing each for themselves.
Who writes the lyrics? What are some of your favorite lyrics on the album?
All lyrics are written by Andreas, our singer. I really like stories like the alien ones, but usually my favorite lyrics are those that deal with actual topics, like those of Xenophobia or Forgotten Dreams.
Wolfen has been around for a long time, dating as far back 1994 from what I could find. Tell me about the formation of the band. What brought you together?
After just being some friends playing songs of our favorite bands and trying to write our first own songs, Andreas and I formed the band with our first drummer Karsten in 1994. From this time we, Andreas and I, formed WOLFEN with constantly changing members, but we always kept marching forward to find our own style of metal. There have been a lot of changes and difficulties, but at the end we always kept going our way against all odds.
Björn eventually joined us a few years later – and since then he has been a constant in this band for 20 years.
Now we’ve opened a new chapter, though, and we will be stronger and heavier than before.
It took until 2000 before you had a full length release. Why such a long time after formation before this happened?
As always in life, you must be in the right place at the right time. We tried to get a record deal for many years, but in 2000, well, actually in 1999, the right time came and we finally got our deal. You can’t force it anyways, so until that happened, we stayed patient, worked on our songs and kept playing live to be prepared for everything that might have happened.
Why do you play this music? What does it give you?
Why do I play this kind of music? Good question. I’ve been a metal fan since I was 12 years old and nothing about this changed until today. I love this kind of music and so it is just normal for me to play this kind of music, too. It is both powerful and melodic. I just love playing metal. There has never been a doubt about it – metal is just everything I want to play.
Creating my/our own kind of metal is amazing and gives me the power for each day, for my life.
What I really dislike is this artificial “plastic” music, regardless if it’s in metal or in any other genre. Music has to evoke emotions – and that’s one of the strengths of metal to me. Metal just touches my soul. The heart pounding beat of the drums, thunder growling bass, screaming guitars and thrilling vocals, that’s all I need.
What are your tour plans in support of Rise of the Lycans? Do you have any Fest appearances in the works?
We will start promoting the new album in June this year, playing different festivals and single concerts throughout the summer and autumn. You will find our touring dates on Facebook, www.facebook.com/wolfenmetal, or on our homepage, www.wolfen-metal.de.
What us would you like to tell us? Any final thoughts?
Come to our shows, 100% Pure Metal, no fake, no playback, only sweat and tears. We will blow your mind away and have a drink together afterwards. Buy our CDs and/or vinyl and don’t stream. Believe or not, but art needs money to live, too. And remember, the WOLFEN is always gonna get ya!
Thanks so much for your time.