Interview with Erik Ravn, Wuthering Heights - May 2010

Hi Erik, first of I just want to congratulate you on another fine album.

Wuthering Heights - Thanks. We're very happy with it. And it seems that also this time around the fans really like it, and a few reviewers are very confused or even slightly annoyed - so that's great...ha-ha!

What kind of hopes and expectations do you have for 'Salt'?

Wuthering Heights - None other than actually being able to release it and provide the music community with some strong, honest stuff in this day of artificial culture. I guess it's long since most musicians had to realise that the prospect of an actual "career" in music is rarely an option anymore. So basically, we just hope people like it, that's all.

How does the final result compare to the idea you had going into the studio?

Wuthering Heights - Well, once we get to actually go into the real studio, everything is pretty much mapped out in detail. You cannot have any open questions or loose ends when you're paying for the whole thing yourself. So all the really hard work - writing and arranging - goes on before we go into the studio. I make a complete demo of the whole album at my home studio, and in the real studio it's basically a matter of doing it "properly". The hard thing is, of course, to be able to deliver that extra great performance for posterity at a specific, scheduled time. But we've done it a few times by now, so we kind of know how to go about it.

You have produced the album like the ones before, why did you choose to do so? Did the thought of using a new producer ever occur?

Wuthering Heights - Actually, we didn't do it quite like before, because we've mixed it ourselves this time. Our bass player, Teddy, has been working on creating his own studio, which is by now wholly professional. And it would be kind of stupid not to use the guy within the band who knows how to do this stuff. So we recorded some of the stuff with Tommy Hansen as usual, but much of the recording and the whole assembling of the album we did ourselves at Teddy's place. And it worked out really great. I'm really happy with the way it turned out. Everything just fits into place and the album has gotten the atmosphere that I was striving for.

Can you give us a brief introduction on the lyrical concept behind 'Salt'? The themes seem to be inspired by the sea and its people.

Wuthering Heights - Well, this thing has been terribly overstressed already, which is maybe my own fault. It's not a concept album and it's not "about" the sea. It's a collection of songs about my concerns for the world and how to live in it. And some of these songs take their images or metaphors from the sea, because the sea provides great emotion and power to the poetry. I guess in many aspects it is about the end of the world - that we are truly "lost at sea" and that we're going down soon. Of course this works on two levels, the world as such, but also the world of the individual. I guess we all sometimes wish that someone would throw us a rope and pull us in. But since that's unlikely to happen, my songs tend to deal with learning to live with that. I don't have the solutions of course - sometimes the feelings manifest themselves as utter sorrow, like in the song "Lost At Sea". There can be glimmers of hope - salvation through love, like in "Weather the Storm" or defiance as in "The Mad Sailor", who goes down singing. So, while I like an album to have a certain overall feeling to it - in this case a slightly maritime one - it's really just songs. But songs that hopefully may mean something to someone.

Tell us a bit about the artwork.. an old shipwreck, any deeper meaning behind it?

Wuthering Heights - Not really, other than I feel it really captures the mood of the album, although I'm not quite sure why. I just stumbled upon this picture and immediately knew it was the right one. And for the first time everybody agreed. We usually have a few fights about artwork, but not this time. Of course, in true Spinal Tap fashion, once we had decided on the picture, the photographer had disappeared. So there were a few practical issues that had to be solved, but I'm very happy with it. Also because it's a rather "un-metal" cover - I like that.

You are releasing this album on the Italian Scarlet Records label - how did you hook up with them and why did you choose them?

Wuthering Heights - Simply through our management, who deals with all that stuff - and because they wanted us. Simple as that. It's not like there was a bidding war... ha-ha" "Oh, those crazy Scandinavians, why don't they just make four-minute songs about dragons and get on with it?"... hahaha! Anyway, I hope they work out well; it's tough times for the record business.

2010 has just begun, but which albums impressed you in 2009?

Wuthering Heights - Hmmm... well, actually the re-release of the Beatles albums sort of overshadowed everything else last year, right? Besides that, I don't think 2009 was a particularly interesting year musically - at least not for me. Most of the bands I follow didn't release anything new, and when they did, it wasn't that amazing. Most of the new stuff I enjoyed was in the hard rock category - the Poodles album was good and the new Gotthard was amazing. My favourite 2009 albums I guess must be Tyr - I mean, are these guys on top of their game or what?  - and Transatlantic, which is quite a mouthful, but a good one. To me, it seems 2010 is better already - both the new Gamma Ray and the new Meat Loaf are surprisingly good.

What tasks lay immediately ahead of you - any plans taking the album our on the road, single shows or...?

Wuthering Heights - Well, actually my only task right now is to get well. I've had back surgery and am not really able to do much. It's been like that since December, but I hope it will slowly get better and I'll be able to play again. So it's hard to really plan anything. Hopefully the people won't have all forgotten us once we get out there again. I sure would like to play some of these new songs live.

Thank you very much for answering my questions. Do you have any last rants for our readers?

Wuthering Heights - Thanks for the opportunity. I just hope you'll all check out the new album and our website , and by all means join our forum and meet other "WHeads". Cheers!


Interviewed by Kenn Jensen

Wuthering Heights - Salt

Album available on Scarlet Records.