marks the return of original vocalist Mathias Blad. And the result
is a very good Falconer album, in my opinion their best effort
since their debut album. We have put a few questions together for
guitarist and main composer Stefan Weinerhall to learn a bit
“Northwind” is album number five from Falconer, and once
more I think you’ve delivered a great album, but what kind of
expectations do you have for this album?
Stefan - My
expectations are low I would say, I don’t dream about a
breakthrough. I expect most old fans will return and understand
that the music is good. The album will sell between 12 000
– 18 000 copies and we will get slightly more interesting
live gig offers. What I hope is that some fans will let go of the
holiness of the first album and think this one is actually better,
but that’s just a hope not an expectation.
What do you consider to be biggest different between
“Northwind” and “Grime vs. Grandeur”? I think you have
gone more back to basics on this one, mostly due to the return of
Mathias. Kept things a bit more simple…
Stefan - Well Mathias is back due to the
musical return. Those are the only differences I think. This one
lies so much closer to my heart since it’s the music I do
naturally and always have. Honestly, this is the style I am great
at writing, other styles have better suited writers. Sounded a bit
Speaking of the return of Mathis Blad, why did you part ways
in the first place, and why the return now?
Stefan - In 2002 we had a lot of
offers for tours and live gigs and it was irritating that we often
had to decline those offers since one of us couldn’t do it. We
wanted to forge while the iron was hot so to speak. We got a new
singer who could play live. Later on after 2 albums I felt that I
didn’t want to adapt my writing to fit a vocalist with the
result that I made music that was forced and far from what I do
natural and best. Kristoffer was a great metal singer but not of
the kind of style that I wanted to write. As I started writing for
the new album I instantly got Mathias voice in my head and knew
that he would do this material like no other. So I checked with
the other guys what they thought and they felt the same way. I
knew before asking him about his schedule but to me the music
product was priority 1. Live gigs were a bonus and not more than
that. I will never do something that hurts the album quality.
If you should choose one song, which represents the essence
of Falconer on the new album, which one would that be and why? I
would pick “Perjury and Sanctity”, which I think captures your
style in one song pretty good – fast and powerful guitars, a
great chorus and cool harmonies.
Stefan - I think you’re right; “Home of
the Knave” comes to mind to. They both have all elements of our
music weaved into the song. My favourites on the album though are:
“Tower of the Queen” and “Catch the Shadows”.
You have always incorporated traditional Swedish folklore
influences into your songs – most notable on “Himmel så
Trind” on this album, which is a metal song with Swedish lyrics.
But you have also recorded 4 additional songs in Swedish, which
are available on the limited edition. How important is your
Stefan - Well, they have become more
important. From the beginning of the band folk music has
influenced my song writing by it self for some reason. Honestly I
don’t like to waste my own material on a bonus track so then we
did a cover of a traditional folk song. It ended up to be one of
the favourites by fans. After a while it felt natural to
incorporate these songs on albums. I don’t think they differ
that much musically from our own sound. I don’t listen to folk
music my self but it has haunted my writing all since I played in
The 4 bonus songs in Swedish are they original songs or
rearranged Swedish folk song, and why are they only available as
bonus songs – I like the outcome quite a lot? (Maybe it’s only
the Scandinavians that’ll find them interesting…).
Stefan - The bonus songs are
rearranged folk songs while “Himmel så Trind” is our product.
I agree that I’d love to have all bonus songs on the “real”
CD but then Metal Blade wouldn’t have got the bonuses they asked
for as a first edition. I consider all songs to be the album. The
first CD is just a part of the entire CD. I love the sound to of
those songs. The biggest fans of the Swedish songs are the Germans
and south Europeans I think although they don’t understand the
Five albums, limited success – where is Falconer in 3 years?
I mean you could end up having released 5 very strong albums that
outside of power and progressive metal circles have gone almost
unnoticed. Must be very frustrating to get outstanding reviews and
nothing seems to happen for the band… I know record labels
around the globe do their best to push the band…
Stefan - What can I say. You don’t get
bigger if you don’t do promotion outside the metal media. A pop
guy doesn’t buy Metal Hammer so one can’t expect him to get in
contact with our music. He might come across a music video on the
TV but then someone has to promote the album with a video that is
good and that’s not for free either. Of course things would be
easier if we toured but then again we have a dilemma. Tour with
average albums. Or don’t tour with great albums…………..in
the end I have to stand up for my songs and then I’d like them
to be as good as possible.
The cooperation between you and Andy La Rocque has once more
resulted in an excellent sound on the album; he seems to be
capable to bring your ideas to life. Was there ever any doubt that
he would be producing the album?
Stefan - No.
He is our producer and that’s it.
What do you consider to be the biggest accomplishment for you
and Falconer, not necessarily sales wise? What are the strengths
and where can Falconer improve?
Stefan - The biggest accomplishment for us must be Wacken
2002 and that we played in the
in 2003. I think our strengths are: an original vocalist, an own
style of metal where melody rules and not the attitude or hardness.
Where can we improve…that depends on who you ask? A lot of fans
say: play faster songs. Accessibility says: shorter and simpler
songs. I say: less fast songs and more orchestrations and other
kind of instruments. It’s hard to decide which leg to stand on.
Tell us a bit about the album art work. It seems very dark and
gloomy, is it a reflection of the lyrics?
Stefan - It’s
just an expression of the title track. I had no idea this time of
how the cover should look like so I sent the title track to the
cove artist. What he managed besides describing that track is also
to visually show that we’re back with both music style and
vocalist since it reminds a bit of the first albums cover.
Sadly I missed you performance at
Wacken 2002, must have been a career highlight for Falconer?
What kind of memories do you have from that event?
- It was hard to understand that all those people in the
crowd wanted to see us play. A big part of playing there was to be
able to meet all people in the business and bands.
Speaking of live events, do you
have any touring plans for 2006 and beyond?
- No, we’ll see what will be offered.
I was wondering – could you name
an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your
life - and why?
- My music life: Jethro Tull.
My private life: My wife.
Which album(s) have put a big smile on you face and has made
you bang your head in 2006?
- Hmmmmmmmmmmmm heard the new
Manowar single the other day and that’s the album that even
manages to come close to that reaction of the albums from this
year and also the new Saracen album.
I thank you very much for participating in this interview and
sharing this information and your thoughts with us - these last
lines are entirely for you. Any final words you would like to
round off with?
by Kenn Jensen