Powerwolf – Charles Greywolf Interview
by Si Smith
Powerwolf are for me one of those bands that are heard/seen and never forgotten: from the first strains of a youtube clip to the final release of "Blood of the Saints" they have been a band willing to stand up for themselves and what they believe in!
Willing to laugh at themselves yet deadly serious with their music, these wolves have run rampant across the stages of the world with their werewolf-themed madness. Metal-Rules.com caught up with Charles Greywolf in a post-feeding frenzy….
Well, "Blood of the saints" is finally out! And what a symphony it is, this being your fourth full-length album. Have you been pleased with the reaction among press and fans?
Charles Greywolf: The reactions are overwhelming. Press and fans seem to love it. We made it to the “Album of the Month” in German Magazine, entered the charts in Germany at 23 and in Swiss at 75, so were really happy with the reactions. We can’t wait to play the new songs on stage! SO we’re really happy with the reactions.
Powerwolf have always had a very recognizable sound. How do you think the music has changed since the first days of "Return in Bloodred" back in 2005?
Hmm, I can’t say what changed, we still write our songs like back in 2004. Perhaps we take more care about how we can play these songs live, but all in all we still write these songs for us. We try to brings as much change as possible, but that’s something that also happens by itself… The Songs today are a bit faster than the songs from “Return in bloodred”, we just discovered that it’s more fun playing fast songs.
The album retains some familiar themes from earlier albums. Religion has always been a big theme for the band, and it is no surprise that the names of both Satan and Christ appear on this opus amid the hallelujahs. What would you say is the religious viewpoint of the band? And do you all agree?
We don’t wanna say to anyone what is the right point of view. We are not Christ, we’re not Satan, we are only some metalheads! Everyone could read our lyrics and find his own meaning in it. We all are religious in some way, but we don’t need to tell the people whats right or wrong.
The wolf has been your most prevailing image, What does the wolf symbolize for Powerwolf?
And how do you manage to harnas both the positive strengthening and the negative destructive side of the wolf?
The Wolf is a strong and mighty animal, that’s why we choose him. The Wolf fits perfect to our music. Everything got it’s good and bad sides… So the wolf got also his good and bad sides.
Our first encounter with any song from the album was the recording of the "We drink your blood" video in a chapel of all places! How was the atmosphere there and how did you get them to agree to it!?
It was really something special to film that video in this old chapel. It was hard to find a chapel where we could do that, but we found this deecrated one. The owner was a really cool guy, how shared our sight of view what we wanna do, and so we could do the video there. During the filming process we had more than one time goose bumps. The old altar, the old church organ and all these little specials on the walls… just awesome, and as we saw the final video we were simple blown away, how good the music fits to the location.
Then out came the album teaser with to a soundtrack of "Sanctified with Dynamite". This track obviously has its comic elements yet you pull it off with such conviction. When you write and perform a song like this one, how do you hope audiences will react?
As I said before; We write this songs for us, we don’t think about how will the audiences react.
If we love the song, it’s worth to be on an album.
"Murder at midnight" is another raucous belter of a song, with is lyrics of convents and constables, was this themed around a specific murder?
No. Matthew was writing this one, but I know that it’s not about a specific one. It’s just a metaphor for something evil, so he choose the story about the murder. If you wanna know why, you have to ask himself (Laughs) Don’t know what his twisted mind did think as he choose the murder.
The album doesn’t really let up all the way to the end, and is a triumph of over-the-top power metal. The final hymn "Ira Sancti" ends the album majestically, as did "Wolves against the world" on your last album. The chorus is clear, but what does all the Latin signify in this song?
This was an Idea of Attila, as we presented this Song to Attila, he got the idea to change some parts from english to latin, in this way it sounds more majestic . It brings another dimension to this song and makes it more alive, it has nothing to do with the story. It’s just about how it sounds, and how it pushes the atmosphere to the next level! We’re were doing that on almost every album so far.
It looks from your studio diaries like the church choir recordings in Saarbrücken were quite amazing! What on earth did the church choir people think of Powerwolf?
They loved it, they all felt the magic of the wolf! This choir was conducted by Francesco Cottone, he is also Attilas Vocal coach. Francesco was the one who put this choir together and he did a real great job. Some of the singers were sceptical because of the lyrics, but as we started to sing these song they all we’re fascinated how deep this goes. For us as Band it was so amazing to see this choir doing our songs. When I think back to thecomplete recording session, this was the best part of it!
The special edition comes with a bonus CD of "The Sacrilege Symphony", a collaboration with classical composer Dominic G. Joutsen. Was it difficult to choose the five songs that make up this piece?
Yes, it was. We tried a lot of songs, sometimes Dominic said that a song don’t work, on other songs we said no, but in the end the best songs did it on this CD. These 5 songs are really going back to the core, the magic of an orchestra with Attilas classical singing, it’s really amazing!
During the mixing of the album there were tales of kötbullar massacres and visiting a systembolaget to get some "real beer". What constitutes "real beer" for wolves?
(Laughs) Go to Sweden and find it out! They have 2 kinds of beer; A light beer you can get almost everywhere and “normal” beer, and to get this normal beer you have to look for the right stores, that was sometimes hard! Really beer must have at least 5% alc and a good strong taste!
We are now well into Festival season, and as usual is seems that Powerwolf have been there with the best of them! What has been the best festival and why? Have you any festival tales from this year’s frolics to share with us?
Best Festival was Bloodstock 2010 or Wacken 2008. Masters of Rock Festival in CZ this year was amazing, we had to play really early at 13.45h and while our crew build up our stuff there were 1000 people or so. After doing our pre show rituals we started our Intro, going out at stage and the venue was packed, with 12,000 fans singing our songs! This was quiet amazing, we never expected that at this time.
You are about to embark on a tour of Germany and surrounding countries. Any chance you will spread the gospel even further abroad on future tours? The UK maybe? We are starving for the wolves here!
First we’re going on the road with Sabaton and Grave Digger. There are some plans for the future, but there’s nothing confirmed yet. But for sure, we will be around a lot in the next time. We love the stage and we want to play as much as possible, We also hope to come to the UK again. We were playing Bloodstock Festival last year and it was a blast! The UK crowd knows to party!
Powerwolf is a very tight musical entity when performing. Are you one of those bands that spend a lot of time together? or do you all have other friends and family commitments? What is "ordinary life" like for the wolves?
Of course we spend a lot of time with each other, this band is my second family and I really love them all. Sometimes when we don’t have any shows, we don’t see each other, but that’s how it must be.
When we come together after a longer break the fire is more burning than before. We all have families, but they are all a part of the wolfpack! Without the support of our familes and friends we could not do it like this.
As you become more and more played across the world, what are your next steps towards world domination for the wolves?
(Laughs) We continue playing wherever we can, and than World Domination comes by itself!
Now we’re going to support Sabaton on their crusade and after that we’re going to do a lot of headliner Shows. There’s a lot to come! Our partners are doing an unbelievable job and believe me:, World Domination is Near.
Finally, thanks so much for this interview! Have you any last words for the readers at Metal Rules?
Metal is religion! We hope to see you all soon around on our shows! Until then: Stay METAL!