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FIREWIND Interview by Rock Brigade Magazine/Brazil

PLEASE COMPARE YOUR NEW ALBUM, "BURNING EARTH", WITH FIREWIND'S DEBUT, "BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL".

I believe that it's a more mature effort than our debut. The songwriting and arranging has got better, as well as our performances were better.

ONE OF THE MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF "BURNING EARTH", IN MY OPINION, IS THAT IT'S A VERY MATURE ALBUM. DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT?

Yes!! I just mentioned that without looking at this question haha!! I've definitely matured as a aongwriter tha past couple of years and that has a lot to do with my involvement with other bands and songwriters/producers, etc.

BESIDE THAT, YOU GUITAR SOUNDS TO ME MUCH MORE HEAVY ON THE NEW ALBUM. IS IT CORRECT?

Yes, you're right. I wasn't satisfied with the guitar sound I had on the debut album. Although the sound was raw and powerful, there was missing a lot of "body". I think on Burning Earth my guitar tone is far better.

"BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL" SEEMED TO ME A MELODIC METAL ORIENTED ALBUM AND "BURNING EARTH" SEEMS TO BE A POWER METAL ALBUM. DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT?

Not really. I think that "BHAH" was a total power metal oriented album, while "Burning Earth" is much darker and heavier.

DAVID T. CHASTAIN PRODUCED "BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL". ON THE NEW ALBUM, HE PRODUCED AND WROTE THREE SONGS WITH YOU. WHAT DID HE WRITE: LYRICS, SONGS OR MELODIES? HOW WAS TO SHARE A SONG WITH HIM?

He wrote lyrics for 3 songs and worked closely with singer Stephen Fredrick on his vocal lines, as well as engineered and produced all vocals.

"BURNING EARTH" AND ALL ON DIFFERENT COUNTRIES! WHY DID IT HAPPEN?

Well, Leviathan has been licencing the album to different labels in different territories. For example, Massacre Records releases the album in Europe, while EMI releases it in Japan.

"BURNING EARTH" WAS RECORDED ON THREE DIFFERENT STUDIOS, MIXED IN ANOTHER ONE AND MASTERED ON ANOTHER ONE. AND ALL OF THEM IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES! WHY DID YOU DO THAT? WEREN'T YOU AFRAID THAT IT COULD HAVE SOME INFLUENCES ON THE FINAL RESULT?

Not really. We just wanted to work with people like Fredrik Nordstrom and Eroc. We trusted them that they would do a great job and so they did!

THERE WAS A SONG ON "BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL", CALLED "WORLD OF CONFLICT", BASED ON THE ATTACKS OF SEPTEMBER 11TH . ON THE NEW ALBUM THERE IS A SONG, "THE LONGEST DAY", BASED ON THE WAR. IS IT CORRECT TO SAY THAT THOSE EVENTS and THE ATTACKS AND THE WAR AFFECTED YOU A LOT?

Well, I can say that it definitely afftected David and Stephen much more than me, cause they are Americans. Of course I was very sad about that, as I'm also devastated with the war in Iraq.

BY THE WAY, AS A GREEK ARE YOU AFRAID ABOUT SOME TERRORISM ON THE OLYMPIC GAMES IN ATHENS, NEXT AUGUST?

There have been rumours about it, but I think everything will be OK in the end. Our country has taken all measures possible and are ready for everything.

DO YOU THINK THAT HEAVY METAL COMPOSER MUST WRITE LYRICS MORE CONNECTED ON REAL FACTS, LIKE THESE?

I don't think that someone "MUST" write about anything. Everyone should write whatever they feel like. Firewind's lyrics always dealt with more realistic things and subjects instead about fighting dragons and I find that more interesting.

WILL FIREWIND PLAY ON ANY SUMMER FESTIVALS THIS YEAR?

Yes, we will play @ Rockwave festival in Greece in June along with bands like WASP, Judas Priest, Queensryche, Soulfly and Running Wild. It will be fun!

YOU DID A JAPANESE TOUR ON JANUARY. HOW IT WAS?

It was an amazing experience. Although the shows weren't sold out, we had a great time and we met many of our fans there. Rob Rock's band was supporting us and everyone treated us really nice. We're currently planning to return to Japan early next year.

AS FAR AS WE KNOW, MARTY FRIEDMAN WAS ON ONE OF THESE SHOWS. WHAT DID IT MEAN TO YOU? IS MARTY FRIEDMAN ONE OF YOUR INFLUENCES?

Hell yeah! Marty is one of my all time favourite guitarists! I'm a big Megadeth fan as well as fan of all of Marty's solo works and with Cacophony. It was an honour to have him visit one of out shows. I really didn't expect it. The guy was really polite and cool and I later heard that he enjoyed our show.

WE KNOW THAT YOU ARE WORKING ON A NEW ALBUM. WHAT CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT IT?

The new album is currently being recorded and it's coming out very strong. We have a brand new singer in the band and he's Chity Somapala (x-Avalon). Chity brings new life to the band and it's really great to work with him. He did the japan tour with us and we had a great chemistry. Expect a really powerful release from us hopefully by the end of the year.

WHY DID STEPHEN FREDERICK LEAVE THE BAND? WAS IT HARD TO FIND A NEW SINGER TO REPLACE HIM?

Stephen couldn't tour with the band, plus he lives so far away. We auditioned different singers, but Chity was the one that I felt has the special voice we want and the "star quality". He's a very good frontman and a great singer. He has his own style. It's a bit more melodic than Stephen's who was more of a shouter. I believe that with Chity's voice we can reach a larger audience too, as he has a more clear voice. In the beginning I must say that I was very disappointed, as we went through a lot of shit last year. At some point I felt that I wouldn't be able to find a great singer that will be dedicated as I am. But I'm grateful that I met Chity. So far everything looks good.

STEPHEN CO-WROTE A LOT OF SONGS WITH YOU (LYRICS AND MELODIES). WHO WILL DO THIS ON THE NEW SONGS, YOU OR THE NEW SINGER, CHITY SOMAPALA?

I'm doing all the music and Chity all lyrics.

ON THE NEXT ALBUM FIREWIND WILL HAVE A KEYBOARDER ON THE LINE UP. WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO INCLUDE A KEYBOARDER ON THE BAND? ARE YOU CHANGING SOMETHING ON FIREWIND'S STYLE?

Not really. We already started using more keyboards on "Burning Earth". So I felt that we needed a keyboard player for the live shows. Originally Bob Katsionis joined us as a session live player for the tours. However, he's so talented and such a great guy that we felt that we need a guy like that in the band. He too wanted to join us full time, so we welcome the 5th member!! Our sound will not change much. It will still be the same heavy riffs and melodies that we're known for as well as some cool atmospheric keyboards. I think the main difference will be the new vocalist.

YOU WERE VOTED 3rd 2003 BEST GUITARIST IN BURRN! AND THE 8th IN YOUNG GUITAR. HOW IMPORTANT ARE THOSE AWARDS TO YOU? THE MUSICIANS REALLY SEE IMPORTANCE ON THOSE KIND OF MAGAZINES POLL?

Well, it definitely makes your day to see that you're voted one of the Best Guitarists in the world in some of the most important rock mags. It also makes a good selling point for ur career, but it's not about the competition. Music is not a competition. It's art. So, I don't see myself as the 3rd best guitarist of the world or anything like that. It's just a good thing for my career that gives me more popularity. It also shows that people love you and vote for you.

ARE YOU STILL WORKING WITH YOU OTHER BANDS, SUCH NIGHTRAGE, MYSTIC PROPHECY E DREAM EVIL?

Sure!! Dream Evil is currently releasing their 3rd CD, The Book Of Heavy Metal! Expect new albums from Mystic Prophecy and Nightrage early next year!

Stay METAL my friends!!
Gus G.

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