Interview with WARDRUM

Wardrum (GR) 2012 line up

The newest second album by Thessaloniki's Wardrum is a big proof that Greek Metal scene has some real jewels to present. Of course the talent is not enough, there is a lot of hard work and dedication needed in order for a band to reach each and every goal, this is made clear through our friendly conversation with the the band' s founder, drummer Stergios Kourou. He talks about everything and we are carefully listening what he has to share with us about Wardrum.

Hello and welcome to another boring interview..

Hello, well to tell you the truth I never get bored to talk about Wardrum and I want to thank you Chris for giving me the opportunity to talk about them, one more time!

Not even a full year have passed since the release of your debut and you have managed not only to get through some serious line up changes (change your singer) but you have managed to compose, record and produce a second full length. Well are you some kind of workaholic people or what? 

Well the truth is that there has been a lot of work done during the last two years, beside this fact there is still a lot of energy that we still want to put arround the band the best possible way. We are not stoping here! Here I must point that it was not an easy task to release two albums in such a little period of time, but we believe that the hard work of each one of us and together as a team brought us to the final desired result. If you work this way you can make miracles, believe me!

The entrance of Papadopoulos on the vocal spot can be described as the winning goal on the final second of the match (laugh). How did you find him? What really happened with Leporale, I mean how did you handle the whole replacement / change procedure? 

With Piero we did not have any problem. We were pretty satisfied with our co operation and we had great times all together! However there were some practical problems about the whole thing due to the distance. It was clear that we needed a singer from our hometown Thessaloniki in order to be able to complete our plans and move to our next steps quickly enough. With John Papadopoulos we were already in touch but the idea of a co operation with him was given by Kostas Athanasoglou of our Steel Gallery label. John worked really hard and fast and he completed the album in no time at all! He is a perfect musician and a hard working man! It is great to have him on our team!

“Desolation” came almost one year after “Spadework”. Apart from the clear difference in vocals, what other differences can you point between the two albums? Was there any kind of evolution on the band’s sound? 

There was an evolution in our sound I would say… “Spadework” was the first step. We did this album and through it we learn our strong points, our weak points, we discovered our working methods plus a lot of other stuff that really helped us to clear what there was stored inside our heads about Wardrum. Here I would like to add that “Spadework” carried a very specific musical background mainly because it was consisted only of my own compositions. In the second album Kostas Vretos has composed many of the songs included. There was also the addition of John in vocals and it is clear that his vocal approaching brought fresh air of inspiration in the band. Finally there is the production of Kostas Scandalis that did justice to the final compositions. Each and everyone of us brought something new and by working together we completed the puzzle.

The new album has many tracks. Are all these tracks originally composed for Wardrum or were there some any tracks that were composed during the past, perhaps some compositions from the Horizons End era or from some other old projects. Many people say that if an album contains more than ten tracks this may make the listener to get tired after some hearings. Do you agree? 

With the exception of two or three tracks that were stored, all the songs of the new album were composed after the “Spadework” release. There are not any tracks from the Horizons End era. We worked really hard but without putting ourselves into some kind of pressure, we simply continued from the point of our debut “Spadework”. As far as your question about the album length, well I think that the main point is the quality and not the quantity of the songs.

As far as I know the band’s spiritual father is you Stergios. Well I always wanted to know how a drummer composes a song? It would be cool if you can describe the composition procedure of a new Wardrum song… 

For sure a drummer is not always composing behind his drum kit. In my case I must point that I also play the guitar and this helps me to arrange the melodies that are coming inside my mind. There is a standard method as far as the composing procedure of a Wardrum song: the most of the times there is a standard basic idea brought by someone of us, the next step is that the rest would arrange this basic idea using their instruments and expanding it with their own ideas. However there is a standard musical direction inside the band and the ideas of each and every one of us got to be inside this musical direction: Heavy Metal forever!

Are you also responsible for the lyrics and the band name or there is a team-work behind this stuff? Really how did the name came up? 

I am responsible both for the name and the lyrics of Wardrum because I had the main idea of the band and I got to present it to the rest of the members the best possible way. It was a new start, from this point whoever is in a creative mode can bring his ideas and his songs. There is a lot of team-work anyway. The composing and the lyrics of the songs is only the half part of the work. There is also a big “to do” list with tasks that got to be shared and if this is not done properly then the whole band-thing would be a bubble soon to explode!

Which of the two releases you would select in order to introduce the band to someone that never heard of Wardrum. If you would use words how would you describe your music?

For sure we would choose something from the “Desolation” album. This is our musical present and there would be no point to select something older. I would describe our music as Heavy Metal with some Power and Prog elements. Our music’s main ingredient is always the melody and we present it through hard guitars and technical rhythm section.

I would describe the new album as more aggressive compared to the debut. What happened?

I would describe it as stronger and not as more aggressive, I think this is due to the energy and the chemistry arround the band members. Each and everyone of us gave the maximum of his capabilities and if you put in mind the whole background and the conditions plus the available budget I think that the final result is a real miracle!

The production is a real example to follow. At the end of the day I think the theory that says “only abroad you can achieve good productions” is a real myth. Where and under what conditions did you recorded the album? How long did it take you to complete it?

The production is always an esthetic matter, a point of view about the sound. Whoever produces an album has to know what the band wants and what to do in order to make it happen. Equipment is of course an important part of the story but I guess nowadays every descent studio has a good piece equipment. What is really missing is the point of view and the know how. Kostas Scandalis knows what we want and he got his way to make it happen. We are lucky about it. Everything except the drums -who were recorded in Studio Mix- and the vocals which were recorded in John’s home studio- were recorded in Kosta’s studio. We started on December 2011, finishing on  March 2012 with the mixing and mastering process.

Can we point Wardrum as a live band? How your material is re presented on stage? Where have you played so far and are there any future plans as far as live shows? Really I want to ask if the fact that your first singer was not from your hometown, was a problem as far as the live shows?

As a new band and with the ex singer living abroad there was not even possible to promote our debut with a tour or even some individual live shows. This was a fact. We managed to play only once opening for Crimson Glory on Thessaloniki and that was it. The initial plan was to go on a small Greek tour after the Crimson Glory show but finally it did not happen and this was not only due to our ex singer, I have to clear it up. So we ended up entering studio tor record the “Desolation” album. As far as the re presentation of our material on stage, I can say that we sound even heavier! About our live plans I can add that with the new singer being in our hometown everything would roll much easier,  we are already planning a Greek tour this autumn and I can not really wait!

Wardrum are actually Horizons End without Topalides and Batis. New band, new material, different musical approaching, so I guess we can mark the Horizons End chapter as finalized or maybe not? You have spread a fantastic sampler of new material with this video clip you released but the long awaited third album never came out. Why? 

Horizons End has nothing to do with Wardrum’s creation. It is another, different band, they deliver different music -as you correctly pointed- and all this under a different point of view compared to Wardrum. It is just happening that there are three common members in both bands. The fact that Horizons End are actually put on ice has to do with some obligations of some members but we never said that the band broke up, we simply believe that there is no reason to release an album without being capable to support it. There is a complete album which has been recorded some years ago and I believe that when the suitable circumstances are set, it will be out and everything will come alive again! I just hope that things would go the correct way because Horizons End are a super-group and the unreleased “Intensification” is a fantastic album!

You signed with Steel Gallery Records remaining in the “family”. Have you been reached by other labels with specific proposals? Did you make a research abroad to find a suitable record deal or you prefered to stay on the safety of a label you know very well (from the Horizons End years)? There are many bands believing that if they manage to sign a deal with a record label from abroad this is something very important. What is your opinion?

We really aware of the record label’s background both abroad and in Greece and we know the professionalism of Steel Gallery very well. Steel gallery is the oldest metal record label on the Greek market and the fact that it is still alive and productive is not a matter of luck. Speaking of foreign labels of the same level as Steel Gallery, we simply believe that they offer you a great choice if you want to loose the control of your work, on the other hand if you want to reach bigger labels, you got to carry a heavy load under your name, otherwise it is a big waste to time, with the CD sales going lower and lower if you want tor reach a big label you got to prove many things.

Have you already lightly discussed your next steps or is it still too early for future plans? 

There is no “early”, there is no “light discussion”, there is no “luck”. You set a goal and you do not miss it from your eyes for any reason. Plain and simple. You are focused on what you doing in order to remain in the current way that will guide you to your goal. There is no “luck” in anything in life and what you achieve or not achieve is simply happening because you did it. You are working hard, grabbing every single chance. You keep your eyes open. This is our way.

Well it is over, sorry for the chatterbox but we love Wardrum and we got many things to ask. 

Thank you Chris for the interview, it would be my pleasure to get in touch with you again, I hope Wardrum to create a chance for this to happen very soon! I wish you all the best for the future!