Singer/guitarist Rimmy Hunter – Syron Vanes
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Promo pictures taken by: William Gunnari
Thanks to Mighty Music for the promo pictures of the band
Additional live pictures taken from the archives of: Anders Sandvall
From the southern parts of Sweden comes Syron Vanes who are one of the first Swedish NWOBHM acts, formed in 1980. Singer / guitarist Rimmy Hunter (aka Rimbert Vahlström) sat down to discuss issues like the band’s new album, CHAOS FROM A DISTANCE, released at the end of January 2017, the band’s new label, former and current members, and what’s up with them for the near future….enjoy!
Hi, thanks for taking the time for this interview. Let’s begin with talking about the brand new Syron Vanes album CHAOS FROM A DISTANCE. According to the bio it’s taken the band two years to get the album done; what took you so long and when did you start to work on material to the album?
Hi Anders. The album contains 13 songs. If you do these songs in a few months, I think there is a risk that they will sound very similar. We have deliberately taken plenty of time to get the variation in the songs. Anders Hahne has also produced the album himself, which takes quite a long time. He is very careful and processes everything in detail.
How much have you written and how much has guitarist Anders Hahne (aka Andy Seymore) contributed? Have the rest of the guys anything to say when it comes the the material you put on the album?
Anders H is a bit more creative than I am. I have made four of the songs on the new album, Anders did the rest. Currently we are the only two who write the music. Mats and Anders S complement the music with their ideas and influences and makes it all sound like heavy metal should sound.
Which part do you begin with when writing songs, the music or the lyrics?
Both Anders and I always start with the music. It suits us best as our music is very much based on guitar riffs. It is easier for us to do the singing afterwards.
What inspires you to write music?
I personally can get inspired by a lot of things. For example, a movie or a dream,or something happening in real life. I am also inspired by other artists and bands.
The previous album, EVIL REDUX, went pretty well; because of that did you feel any pressure from the label or fans to create something extra ordinary this time?
Naturally, we wanted to do an even better album than the previous one. We have put a lot of heart and soul into this album and we hope it shows. We hope that our fans can hear this and appreciate it.
I do not think we’re better musicians now than we were on the previous album. However, we are learning new things constantly and seeing music in different ways at different times. This can certainly influence the outcome of the new album.
The single “Chaos From a Distance” was released at the end of November 2016, what did fans think of it?
We are very happy for the response to the single and video. We thank all of you metal maniacs out there. Great response!
Why has it taken you so long to follow up EVIL REDUX, released in 2013?
Time flies by sometimes. Besides making new songs, we went on a few tours. All these things take time, but good things are worth waiting for. Don’t you think?
The band also released a video to the song to date has 8,000 hits on the Internet. Are you happy with the video and was it fun to shoot?
It’s always fun to hang out with the guys and shoot new videos. These guys are crazy and you just laugh at all the crazy stuff that happens. It’s great that so many people have already seen it. Thanks
How come you chose to name the album CHAOS FROM A DISTANCE? What’s the story behind the name?
With this song, we want to send out a message. If you have a problem, solve it. Do not put your head in the sand. If you need to take a fight, then do it. Do not be a coward and hide behind someone else. Do not look at the chaos from a distance. Join the battle and show courage
The artwork is made by Javier Lonco. (www.siddius.deviantart.com)
We are very pleased with it.
Do you agree with the bio that say the album contains 13 new songs of powerful old school heavy metal with all the Syron Vanes trademarks? What trademarks your music?
Some of the songs are probably more modern and may not be classified as old school.We believe we have found a good mix of both old school and more modern metal.
Our trademark is probably our guitar riffs in the songs. All bands have something special. It can be difficult to know exactly what it is sometimes.
With 13 songs and about 60 minutes of minutes the album is quite long, was it your intention to make a long album?
The idea was not to have that many songs on the album but once we were in the studio we recorded 3-4 extra songs. Since the songs were pretty good, we decided to include them all.
Were there any songs that didn’t land on the final edition of the album?
We have lots of songs that will probably never end up on a disc. But when it comes to this album we all agree on what songs we should include.
I think we need to go deep into Anders H’s brain to find out the true meaning of “Trial Of Spirit”. But “I Don’t Wanna See You Die” is all about young people, my son included, who need to take it easy sometimes. To be a daredevil can be fun but also very dangerous.
Are you happy with the outcome of the album?
We are very happy with the new album. So far we have received good grades and hopes that both new and old metal fans will like what we are doing now.
Do you think that old hardcore fans of Syron Vanes are going to like the CHAOS FROM A DISTANCE?
I really believe that. We have received lots of mail etc. from fans all over the world that give us the thumbs up. Maybe there are some people who think it is too modern and is stuck in the NWOBHM but so far we have not heard anything like that.
Congrats on the positive reviews the album’s got so far, do you and the band care about what critics and media say about your work?
Thanks and of course we do. To get credit for something you have been working on for years feels good. But one must not forget that sometimes it’s the bad reviews that could echo throughout the world. A bad review is not necessarily a bad thing.
Are there any differences in how the band is treated by foreign and native media?
As for this disc there is no difference. Otherwise, the Swedes can be quite difficult to impress. But that’s just my opinion.
Studio and production
In which studio was the album recorded?
Anders Hahne has his own studio where we recorded the guitars, bass and vocals. The drums we recorded at the Vintage Recordings.
When did the band begin to record the album and how look did the entire process take?
With the song writing, we worked on the album for about 3 years. The actual recording didn’t take such a long time. The mixing process requires a lot of time. We have not worked on the album every day for 3 years,of course, sometimes we needed a break.
Do you guys record everything together as a band in the studio or do you record each parts on your own?
Nowadays you almost always record one instrument at a time. That’s what we have done anyway.
Who produced the album and who mixed and mastered it?
Anders Hahne has produced and mixed the album. Cutting Room have mastered it.
Label and management
The previous album was released by Denomination Records, why did you end your co-operation with them?
The idea was to release just one album with Denomination Records. We had an open deal that meant we signed a contract only for EVIL REDUX. If they had worked extremely well with the marketing of this album they would have got the next album too. Now we have finally found a company that knows what they’re doing. Feels good to be working with Mighty Music.
When the new album began to take shape, we sent some songs to Mikael at Mighty Music. After a meeting with him, we decided to work together. A very good decision I think. So far we can’t ask for anything more.
Are you happy with the work the label have put into the band and the album so far?
Definitely. We are very satisfied. Since the deal is new, we have not yet been able to evaluate what is going to happen but we have a lot of exciting news to reveal shortly. Stay tuned folks!
MM is the fifth label the band have been linked to, what makes them different from the past 4 labels you worked with?
MM has a very large network worldwide. The album will be available in many countries. It is important to have a serious company working for, and believing in the band
MM releases the album worldwide but what about Asia, is the album being released over there too?
Japan releases its own edition of the album. Its quite hard to read their letters. Haha. We got a very good review from Japan’s rock magazine BURRN. 83 / 100. We are very grateful for that. Thanks BURRN and thanks Mikael.
Is it correct that the album is going to be released on vinyl? If so when?
As for now, it will not be released on vinyl.
When is the disc being released in the US and Canada?
It was released 27/1 in all countries. I know that it is released in the US. We received the award “Best Album of the Week” on a radio station in Texas. Big thanks Rock Radio Rage Texas.
Is it possible to listen to CHAOS FROM A DISTANCE on Spotify, iTunes etc.?
Yes. We are on Spotify.
Target Promotion goes hand in hand with Mighty Music. It is too early to say what this collaboration will result in, but I am convinced that we will end up on a lot of great events this year.
Are you currently linked to any booking agency?
Metal Music Bookings. Right now we have many interesting tour suggestions going on. We have not accepted anything yet. Tarja Turunen’s European tour or Yngwie Malmsteen’s US tour have been proposed, among outhers. We’ll see what the future holds.
What’s your opinion regarding downloading and streaming music?
We are living in a digital world. I think it’s quite OK, but I prefer the days when there was only vinyl records.
Is it possible to purchase the old Syron Vanes albums today?
If you want to try to find them on vinyl, you have to check on eBay. There are no newly produced albums.
They were released by the Italian company Steelheart Records.
The band was formed back in 1980 by Andy Seymore and Staffan Lindstedt; it was one of the first Swedish NWOBHM bands around. What was it like to be a part of the heavy metal scene back then?
The term NWOBHM we first got after the first album was released and I was already in the band then. Syron Vanes’ career took off after the album release. You must keep in mind that in 1980 we were 15-16 years old. Our first international tour (Germany), we were only 16-17 year olds.
You joined forces with the band the year after, who did you replace and were there a lot of member changes in the beginning?
I replaced Ola Pettersson. For some reason we had a hard time finding a bass player that fit in with the rest of us. I, Anders and Staffan, the (drummer), otherwise played together for a very long time.
We were obviously very happy about it but we probably did not understand what was about to happen. We were young and crazy you know. Getting a record deal at the time was very big. We were actually the first Swedish hard rock band who got a record deal outside Sweden. One year before Europe actually, if I remember correctly.
Did you tour alot world wide in the ’80’s or did you focus on touring through Sweden/Scandinavia?
Mostly in Scandinavia. We didn’t tour that much.
If you take a look in the line-up we find guys like Peter Espinoza (Nasty Idols), Dick Qwarfort (Nasty Idols) and drummer Mårten Hedener (Silver Mountain). Has the band been through many line-up changes and for how long did these ones stay in the band?
Dick played with us a few years. Peter and Marten was not with us for so long. Both Mr. Espinoza and Mr. Hedner are extremely talented musicians. It’s important that all the members in a band get along and have the same goal when it comes to the music.
The third album INSANE came out in 2003; it’s was long gap between the second and third album, what happened?
We took a long break. Anders and I did however do lots of songs and recorded material that is today unreleased. We have many recorded songs from the ’90’s in our vault.
Sweden Rock is one of the biggest festivals and it felt good to mingle with the other bands in the backstage bar. It’s a great festival where everyone in the audience are looking for the same thing. HEAVY METAL, ROCK N’ ROLL and having a good time.
Do you have any fun memories to share from the ’80’s?
Hahaha. You wouldn’t believe it anyway =)
In 2004 Seymore left the band, was his departure expected?
Anders decided to invest in his studio career for a while. There’s not always time for everything you want to do in life. Sometimes you have to prioritize what you want to do at that particular time. I, on the other hand, wanted to continue, because music has always been my salvation and I did not want to let go.
You chose to continue on as a trio, why didn’t you take in a replacement for Seymore?
I tried several guitarists, but after playing with Anders for so many years, it became very difficult to find a replacement for him. That’s why I decided to continue with Syron Vanes as a trio.
I did the same thing as I do today: sing and play guitar. There is not much difference to me. Instead of two guitars, I played one guitar louder. Lemmy did the same, didn’t he? I mean…HE WAS LOUD.
Seymore re-joined forces with the band in 2009, how come he returned?
I met Anders just before we were to do a gig in Denmark. I always wanted him to start playing with us again so I asked if he wanted to join us at this gig. I was very happy when he accepted the offer. Since then, we have done two really good albums and I predict a bright future for us.
In 2011 original drummer Staffan Lindstedt announced his departure, was it expected and was it hard to lose him?
Staffan had a stroke and could no longer play with us. We are still very sorry for that as I think he is one of the most rhythmic drummers in the world. After a long rehabilitation Staffan is now back behind the drums again, but not for Syron Vanes.
Syron Vanes achieved legendary status in the southern parts of Sweden but what about the rest of Sweden? You’re not that known further up in the country?
I do not remember if we were popular in northern Sweden or not. The most important thing for me now is the present. Since we had a British record deal back in the ’80s, I actually think we were more famous in all other countries except Sweden.
End of the world Official music video
What can you tell us about the two videos “Race Me to Hell” and “End of the World” from EVIL REDUX, was it fun to shoot them?
It was really fun. “End of the World” was recorded using green screen technology. “Race Me to Hell” is recorded on different race tracks around Europe. I myself am the driver of the yellow Dart 69 in the movie as I compete in drag racing. In 2016 I became European champion with my new car. Check out Team Bankrobber if you are into speed.
Race Me To Hell video
Present and future
Why have you and Seymore chosen to take on stage names and the rest of the band not?
Back in the ’80s all the bands had stage name. Nowadays, we have our Swedish name. Why our old name has appeared again, I do not know.
How was it to be the special guest on Jake E. Lee’s Red Dragon Cartel in the UK back in 2014?
That was pure rock n’ roll. We had a lot of fun with those guys. The London gig was absolutely fantastic. To play at the O2 Academy was awesome.
Backstage there were pictures on the walls of the bands that had played there before; pretty cool to have been on the same stage as KISS. We had a lot of fun with the guys in Jupiter Falls too. These guys did a good job of getting the audience in a good mood for us.
What did his fans think of your music?
They welcomed us with open arms. It was packed when we played and that’s a good sign. I am sure that the audience liked Syron Vanes’ music back there. After all, our career started in England. The first two discs are recorded in Hull and we are probably one of the few Swedish bands that are classified as NWOBHM.
The same year Syron Vanes also were support to Sebastian Bach; how was that and where was it?
We played with him in Malmo, Sweden. He’s a fun guy; love to party with him sometime. We only did one gig we with him, so we did not get to know him that well but we might run into him somewhere in the world again. What a great singer he is.
Are there any plans on heading out on tour now that the album is out? And do you have any festival shows booked so far for the summer?
2017’s tour will be booked in March. So far we have Nordic Noise festival on May 13 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Later this year we’ll play at Hard Rock Hell in Wales along with Dee Snider, Airbourne Y & T, to name a few. We look forward to 2017 and to meet our fans again.
Maby not this year. Let’s wait and see. After 2017, and with the new album in the trunk, I think it is quite possible to headline next year, perhaps as early as later this year.
Would you like to tour more than you have done so far?
We will tour much more to come. We want to give our fans the opportunity to see us, not only in Sweden, but worldwide. I am very proud and grateful to hear that people, for example in the US or Japan, like our music. Of course, to play live in these countries is a must. The fans are absolutely the most important thing for us.
You’re going to perform in Copenhagen at Nordic Noise Festival in May, are you excited?
Looking forward to perform there. It will also be great to meet the guys in Tygers of Pan Tang. Their first album (SPELLBOUND) has been a great source of inspiration for me. Now we have the same record company. How cool is that? It’s a small world.
God Of War (Official Lyric Video)
The official lyric video to “God of War” was released at the beginning of January, how has the response from the fans been?
The first video “Chaos From a Distance” was first released in November last year. It has around 10,000 views. “God of War” has only been out for 3 weeks and has around 4,000 viewers. If it’s good or bad, I do not know, but the music is liked by the fans, that’s a fact.
“Chaos From A Distance” (Official Music Video)
Is the band active on Facebook, Twitter and all the other social forums available?
Syron Vanes has a Facebook page. Like us and you will get all the latest information about what is happening with the band. This information can also get on our web site. You can find us on Twitter too.
Shape Of God (Official Music Video)
Is the current line-up a solid one?
The best SV ever had, I must say. Mats Bergentz is a world-class drummer, you cannot ask for more. Along with the incredibly talented Anders Hellborn on bass, Syron Vanes have the most stable rythm section you can possibly wish for. To have these guys in the band is a delight. Together with Anders Hahne and myself, I personally think that this set of Syron Vanes is the best ever.
What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t heard the music of Syron Vanes before? Give them three reasons why they should buy CHAOS FROM A DISTANCE.
If you’re into Swedish heavy metal at its best, you just have to check us out. If you like heavy metal with influences from the ’70-’80s, then you need to own a copy of the album.
My personal favorite band is Judas Priest. If you like high pitch vocals and classic metal riffs, then this album is a must.
Well, that was all for me and Metal-Rules.com this time. Again, thanks a lot for taking the time to talk with us. I wish you and the band all the best in the future! Do you have any final words of wisdom to share with fans and readers?
ME??? WISDOM?? Haha. Don’t think so. Just keep on rockin’ and you`ll be fine. I want to wish you all a great 2017 metal year and hope to see you out there somewhere.
Big thanks to you all. Rimbert