Iron Fire – Vocalist Martin Steene
Interview by Theis Rytoft
All promo photos courtesy of www.ironfire.dk
The Danish band Iron Fire has been around for many years and experienced a lot of changes in their line-up. Being the founder of the band, Martin Steene knows all about the upturns and downturns as well as other key aspects. With a new album in the works and optimism for the future maybe the time of Iron Fire will come in the 2010s.
Hey Martin! How are you feeling at the moment?
Well I get by I guess, a bit frustrated that somehow the world has agreed that everything just has to be shitty at the moment, but beside from that I’m alright.
You had a 10 year anniversary concert of your Thunderstorm album in the beginning of March. What are your thoughts on that show?
Can’t believe that 10 years go by so fast, I’m just glad that we are still here making metal.
We had a great evening where we played the first album from start to finish with the original line up. Some of the songs have never been played live before so it was fun to bring back the old songs again and experience that they stand the test of time. There where a lot of memories and emotions involved in the rehearsals preparing for the show, and great to be back with the old boys for a short while.
Its was a night we all enjoyed a lot and the fans loved it, and I’m happy that everything went as planed.
Iron Fire goes a long way back. Are there any special moments you remember being the founder of the band?
There are tons of moments doing the almost 15 years I have done this shit now.
From being signed to one of the biggest independent record companies Noise Records following our first demo, to getting fired a couple of years later. Friend/members have come and gone over the years, you know life goes up and down like everything else does in this world.
There have been moments that almost drove me to insanity and I was so close to just dropping this hole Iron Fire thing once and for all. But I’m glad it did not come that far, and that we have a great band today and I have a more healthy approach to running a band.
Obviously, Iron Fire has experienced a long roller coaster ride and at several points been predicted a break-through. What has influenced this kind of ride?
Well like I said before there have been ups and downs for sure. We have been close to a bigger breakthrough more than once and it has been painful to see it not happening but then again, we do what we always do, work hard and take things as they come. In the end this is my life and my dream and I’m damn lucky that i have 3 other persons/friends who is a part of that dream today.
So we will continue until this world goes down in flames.
How has it been running Iron Fire with so many changes in the line-up?
It’s easy to have a good band when things are going great, but when the shit starts to roll people lose their faith. We run Iron Fire as a professional business but the money don’t follow in any way. Over the years we have become older and people start to get children and angry wife’s who disapprove of them not being home and stuff.
I must say that its been a long learning experience to handle a band and I’m still learning.
At the moment we are missing a guitarist, and will be using session stand-ins if we have to go out live this summer. Then we start looking for a new member when the next album is recorded so the line up changes are far from over.
Have you been on the edge of abandoning Iron Fire during its course of 10 years? What made you stick and not call it a quit?
I love Music and I live for Heavy Metal, that’s why! I think I covered most of that in one of the above questions.
Your last album “To The Grave” (2009) was received very mixed in the press. What did you try to accomplish with the album? Did you embrace any certain aspects?
First of all we have always received mixed reviews. I think with “To The Grave” we completed what we have done on the last 2 albums before; straight-ahead-power-in-your-face-no-bullshit-metal and made it better. We did a lot of rewriting and experimented even more in the studio to get all songs up and running on max every second, and I think we came pretty close. We tried to make it all a little bit darker in the approach and show that hero-metal don’t have to be happy-go-lucky-Kai-Hansen (Gamma Ray) all the time. Don’t get me wrong I love all that classic power metal stuff but it was time for us to make a little twist and that’s a path we will continue on in the future.
How do your see the evolving of your sound throughout the past 5 albums?
Well I think with every album we learn what we are good at and what we are not so good at. Then we try to make the good things even better. We have been so deep into the core of what power metal is and practiced that for years and tried to reach perfection within that. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. That’s how it is, but we always try to push it all to a higher level that’s for sure. And trust me, it’s not always easy.
You have announced a new album being recorded this year. What can a fan of Iron Fire expect from that?
That’s right. We start recording in mid April. The new album will be a 10 yeas Anniversary thing where there will be some old non-released songs that we think are so great that we want to share it with the rest of the world, and there will be some new songs which will show the direction of future albums. And as a bonus I have gathered all ex-members of previous albums to play on it so it will be one hell of a Iron Fire Metal part! With this album I close a chapter and start a new one.
The three last albums had the same graphical style on their covers. What are your plans for the next cover?
I got a lot of plans for the new cover and we will also use Erick Phillipe on this one, and Tommy Hansen will also be mixing the album. I want this to have a greatest hits album feeling and as the hard working band we are, we give you 13 new greatest hits.
You have not had much live activity since the release of the last album but you are going to play at the new Copenhagen Metal Festival in a few months. How important is the show for you?
We never got to tour on “To The Grave” and that was a big mistake if you ask me, but the record company did not really support it with the needful money so we stayed home and started writing songs for the next album and the next one after that. We locked ourselves in the rehearsal room for about a year and used all the bad energy on writing new songs instead. We could have played more live shows but we decided that we needed the time to figure out where we wanted to go both musically and as a band in general.
As for Copenhagen Metal Festival we had been looking forward doing that show before entering the studio and supporting a new Metal festival in Copenhagen, but as you might already know the festival got cancelled due to bad pre sale of tickets. I know a lot of people have been working their asses of making that festival a reality and I think it is sad that it all went shitty in the end.
But I know that the people behind the festival will do all they can to make it happen next year, and Iron Fire will be there doing what we do best, bring metal to the people!