Heart of Steel: Interviews

FIREWINDS's Stephen Fredrick

Interviewed by Rick

As I was pondering questions to write for my interview with Firewind guitarist Gus G. I got word from David Chastain of Leviathan Records that I could also send some questions along for vocalist Stephen Fredrick. A couple of questions turned into a respectable interview in itself. Stephen answered questions which covered a fair bit of ground and gave me some insight into the career of one of the great under-rated vocalists on the metal scene. 


Some of the lyrics, especially World of Conflict, seem to be based on the events of 9/11. Is this the case and if so what made you create those lyrics? Have your feelings changed now that we have reached the 1 year anniversary of that tragedy? 

 Everyone was obviously devastated originally when it happened. However as time goes by it falls more into perspective. While it is a horrible event end it was not the end of the world. You still get up everyday and fight the same battles we call life. There is plenty of blame to go around. I am very against the war being suggested by bush against Iraq. It is all just a ploy to get his repubs elected in the fall elections. He is spilling other's blood for his personal ambition. Shameful!



What is the process that you use when it comes time to write lyrics? Do you already have the music in front of you and you find words to fit the music or do you already have ideas to use and try to incorporate them into whatever music that the band creates?

I am given the music and then lyrical and melodic ideas come to me. Usually the tone of the music lends itself to the lyrical direction.



Are you still a member of Kenziner? Can you fill us in on what is going on with that band?  

No. Presently there is no Kenziner as far as I am concerned. Jarno kind of went of the deep end I believe. He thinks everyone is trying to steal money out of his pockets or some other sort of nonsense. He is just new to the business and thought he should be driving around in limos or something. His English is pretty bad so I think he just misinterprets things the wrong way. He is a great talent, I hope he gets his head on right someday. I wish Jarno the best. Working with Gus is a much more professional atmosphere. Everyone in FIREWIND is positive all of the time. That really moves things forward when everyone is concentrating on the right things.


How did you get involved with Gus G. and Firewind?  

Leviathan Records owner/producer David T. Chastain turned me on to the music. He sends me about 4 or 5 projects a year to consider and Gus' material immediately clicked with me. It has a lot of room for melodic vocals. Yet it is still heavy as hell.



How do you handle the songwriting in the band? Is it a collaborative effort or does everyone come into the studio with relatively finished ideas for the other band members?

Pretty much Gus writes the music and I do the lyrics and melodies..



"I Will Fight Alone" is a favourite song of mine from the CD. What are some of your favourite tracks from the CD and why? 

I like all of the tracks but Warrior is pretty intense. Of course the last track Who Am I lends itself to a little more emotive vocals. However I really like every song on the CD!



Are you involved with any other projects at the moment? Gus is involved with Dream Evil so does that give you time to work on any other projects? 

Yes I have just released a CD under the name Ruud Cooty. The CD title is "Aftermath." It is available in Europe and to some degree in the US. Chastain produced and played guitar. It is much more heavy blues rock type of stuff. Kind of like if Van Halen had grown up in Atlanta with southern influences. This type of stuff I love.



All your projects seem to have been on Leviathan Records. How did you get involved with David and Leviathan?

David and I played in a band a long time ago called Spike that is pretty similar to Ruud Cooty's music. We just kept in touch over the years. He moved back to Atlanta in the mid-90s so we were close by and it was much easier to get back and do some music together. He is a great guy to work with and we respect each other's abilities.



The cover of BETWEEN HEAVEN AND HELL is different for both the European and North American releases. Why is this so and which cover do you prefer?

We are signed to Toshiba-EMI in Japan and they chose the cover that is on the Japanese and US versions of the CD. The label in Europe, Massacre, commissioned their own artists to come up with their artwork. I like both for different reasons. The US version is a little more classy and the Euro a little more heavy.



Are you a self-taught vocalist or have you taken lessons? And how do you keep your voice in tip top shape both in the studio and on the road? 

I have been singing in bands it seems all my life so I learned in the clubs over time. I still sing in clubs around Atlanta and the Southeastern United States just for fun and to keep in shape.



Firewind is a 50% Greek and 50% American band. Do you feel that impacts in anyway on the music that the band creates?

Well it does in that the music is European and lyrics/melodies are more American. I think that makes FIREWIND a unique blend. We are very heavy but very melodic. The response worldwide to this CD has been very, very positive!!


Is there anything else you would like to say to the readers of Metal-Rules.com?

Spread the word on FIREWIND. It really kicks but still has some great melodic content. Thanks for the time and I hope we can tour for our fans soon.


Thanks Stephen! 



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