TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE
This interview with guitarist Gus G. of the power metal band Firewind was done by our Mexican friend and guest writer I. Ishtar in December 2004.
Hello Gus, how are you?
Hi, I’m fine thanx!!
Please tell people that don’t know anything about Firewind, where you are from, when you started to play together…. Give us some kind of quite short band history…
I started the band in 1998 and recorded several demos until 2001. That’s when we signed our first contract with Leviathan Records. We released 2 albums with them, “Between Heaven and Hell” and Burning Earth”. Leviathan released them in the USA, Massacre in Europe and EMI in Japan. I thin kour first album came out in Mexico thrgouh Scarecrow.
Anyway, we’ve had several line-up changes but we’ve been stable for over a year now. We just released our new album in Japan and it’s coming out in Europe in January trough Century Media.
Gus, are you the main songwriter in Firewind?
Yes. I write all music and most vocal lines. Chity, the new singer writes all lyrics.
How do you guys work writing the music?
I usually make demos in my home studio and then send it to the other guys. Then Chity writes the lyrics and then we meet and make a proper pre-production.
Why did you guys use 3 different studios for the recording of this new album, instead of using only one studio, the Fredman Studio for example?
It was a bit easier to work that way, since we live in different countries. I recorded all guitars, bass and keyboards in my home studio, vocals were done in Germany where Chity lives and drums in Norway where Stian lives. However, I think we will go in one studio next time.
Tell me about the guesting of James Murphy and Marty Friedman on this new album…
I know Marty from Japan. We’ve been friends for a year or so. I just asked him to do it and he gladly accepted. I’ve never met James, but when I emailed him, he seemed to know who I am and had heard some of my works. So, he thought it was really cool to play together.
What bands you listen for inspiration in terms of Firewind?
We get inspiration from Sabbath (Tony Martin era), Annihilator, Saxon, Priest, Scorpions, etc.
I saw the video for "I am the Anger" and it is really cool! What can you tell me about the experience of the recording of your new video?
Thanx! The new video is really cool actually. It’s more minimalistic in comparison with “I Am the Anger”. So, it’s basically showing the band play in white background and there’s some cool 3D effects. It was all shot indoors in one of Greece’s most expensive studios. We used the “green screen” technique for it.
Firewind has some new members. Can you tell me a little bit about them and why the old members are not in the band anymore?
Well, Stian (drums) and Petros (bass) have been stable members since our 2nd album (Burning Earth). In late 2003, we started looking for a new singer, as Stephen couldn’t follow the band on the Japanese tour. So, we decided that it was time to get a vocalist that would be full time member and tour with us. Chity was the right guy. In regards to Bob Katsionis (keys) he came with us to Japan as a session guy, but we had the right chemistry and asked him to join full time after the tour.
What is the difference between "Burning Earth" and "Forged by Fire"?
FBF is a more mature album with more variety on the songwriting and I think it contains some great choruses and hooks. Maybe it also has a more hard rock “touch” as opposed to BE, which was a darker album.
Who did the artwork for the new album?
Same guy that did the previous album, Kazuo Hakamada.
Who chose the name of the album "Forged with Fire" and what is the meaning behind it?
I chose that name because we went through many changes and a lot of difficult times as a band, last year. So, with this new album we are showing that we are made by fire and we are still standing here with a great new album, despite all the shit we went thru!
Maybe you don’t know but is hard to find the Firewind albums here in Mexico, what do you think that is the reason of that?
I am aware that we don’t have good distribution in Mexico. I don’t know what Scarecrow did on the first album, but the sales were a bit disappointing. And I don’t think that our 2nd album was ever released in Mexico! Now, we are with Century Media, so hopefully we’ll have better distribution in Mexico.
I know that you have a solo album...
Not really. If you’re talking about the “Guitar Master” series, it was just a CD with me jamming over some backing tracks that was released thru the internet only.
Are there any plans for a tour? It would be great to see Firewind and Nightrage together...
Perhaps it could happen in Mexico, let’s hope that the promoters in your country will offer us a tour there. We’ll be there tomorrow hahaha!! So far Firewind is scheduled to headline a Christmas show in Norway and then we are supporting Nevermore in London, UK in March 2005. We are also working on a Japanese tour and a full on European tour.
In which countries would you like to play in the future?
Everywhere!! I wanna play out as much as possible!
Do you get feedback from your fans from over the world?
Of course! I get emails from them everyday and I thank them so much for keeping the Firewind flame alive.
I know that you have a lot of fans in Japan, especially girls....
Haha!! Well, maybe u don’t know but most hard rock/metal fans in Japan, are female. This is obviously great for us!! I think it also helps that I have a guitar hero status over there.
“The Book of Heavy Metal” is a very good album, do you agree with Niklas in all that he says in that special song?
Of course! That song is made and represents people like me 100%!
What do you think about people like, Malmsteen, Vai, Petrucci, Larocque?
They’re all legends of the guitar and I’ve studied their techniques when I was younger.
Thank you very much for your time Gus, any last word...
Thanx a lot for the interview and support! I hope we make it to Mexico someday……..until then, Stay Metal!!
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