Wolfcry? Thumbs up! Warfair? Take it and don't leave it! The procedure is simple: You create an album where classic Heavy Metal interacts with Power Metal (the European way), also adding a hint of Prog/Symphonic Metal elements. You surely noticed all ingredients carry the 'Metal' tag. I found myself eager enough to ask the band a few things; Andreas (drums) convinced me why we should all take Wolfcry's musical suggestions seriously. Your turn now!
By Grigoris Chronis
December 8, 2005
Andreas (Wolfcry) interview
Greetings from! Congratulations on your new album. You must be really proud of the final result.

Thanks for your nice words. It is always good to see that your work is well accepted, but I can't use the word proud for my feelings about our CD. I think that there are many more serious facts in life to be proud of. We just play the music that we like and comes from our hearts. You don't have to be proud for following your heart, it is simply the way that you have to think and act, but of course we are very satisfied of our new album.

Since many of our readers - especially those not that familiar with the Greek Metal scene - may not be aware of the Wolfcry 'deeds', a brief bio would be welcome. Starting up from the Vanguard days, what do you think?

Well, it all began back in 1990 when we began with the name Vanguard. Soon we had to change it because, back then, there was also another band with the same name. By that time we had a track that was called When You Hear The Wolf Cry, so I decided to rename the band to Wolfcry which is a word that cannot be found in any dictionary, so it would be very hard for another band to have this one too. In 1992 we recorded our first track Angelsign. After a few years (in 1997) because of some problems, that if I try to mention here it will take much time and space, we recorded and released our first Demo The Ivory Tower.

After this release, the band went into another very hard period until 2001, when we released via Black Lotus Records our first album Power Within. In 2003 with the same lineup we released - again with Black Lotus Records - our second album Nightbreed. Finally in 2005 - with the same lineup but also with two new members - we released our third and latest album Warfair. The lineup as it is now is the following: Simos Kaggelaris (guitar), John B. (guitar), Spiros Triantafillou (bass), Costas Hatzigeorgiou (vocals), Nick Peper Zanninello (keyboards) and Andreas The Wizard Kourtidis (drums).

Speakin' 'bout your releases, there's certain progress from the Nightbreed album! What was the motive for Warfair? What was the scope and how did you find yourself evolving at this time gap between the two albums?

As I mentioned above, we just play from our hearts. This means that we don't decide from before how we are going to work, or what we will write. We just play music as it comes. So, there is nothing special to mention about motive except maybe the fact that we wanted to create music that we'd enjoy. If this way of acting creates a progress, of course it is something very nice but our first purpose is to cover our own demands. Maybe in our next work we'll make a few steps back if this is the way that music will come to us, or maybe we'll make great progress in more than one level forward. We can never know. And of course this is the real point in music, to create it just the way you like and enjoy, and not only for progress or improvement purposes.

During the period of our songwriting, we worked in the same way as always, everyone who had an idea brought it to the others and if we all liked it we started working on it until it would take the final and the best form. Maybe the difference between our CDs happened because we all listen to different styles of music so through the years everyone creates a whole different point of viewing in music than the others.

Warfair music - I assume - will please both straightforward Metal fans and more 'prog-thinking' followers. Certainly, there is profound influence from various Hard/Heavy bands. Would you like to describe your personal likes as a band?

I would say the whole music scene from the 80's until now! You see, I believe that every time someone listens to a song, automatically he gets influenced from it and keeps in mind all those things that he liked in this track, even though he doesn't understand that he does so. In the end, especially if you are a big fan of music and you listen to it very often, you create in your mind a style that contains all the positive things that you've received until then and it is a mixture of every band that you like to hear.

As I mentioned above, in our band we all listen to different music styles so it comes normal to us to have a sound that tries to include as more things as we can, from our beloved music. You can pick every name of a Metal band you want and you'll probably find our name under it. We are not trying to hide our influences like so many others do. We are not even trying to say that we are playing a unique kind of music or something like that. We just play all our influences through a personal way, and just because they are so many, our music can cover the demands of fans from many music genres. But in the end when you hear us, you can say that this is a Wolfcry work.

Is it easy to filter all these influences while composing a song? I had this curiosity while listening to e.g. Hesitant Gathering, Semper Casta or On The Edge. Classic Metal, 'pomp' Metal, melodic Metal, speed Metal... Who's in charge of gathering all these elements into one human mind?

We are all in charge together. Whoever has an idea, he brings it to the others and if we all like it then we work on it together. As a result of this teamwork you find all those different elements because each one of us has a different approach to the music. I think that this is the fact that makes our music interesting, because although it includes influences from many styles that have already been played before so many times, the result manages to combine them all together in harmony like one solid style. It is something that comes normally during the songwriting because this is just the way that we like to work.

And the lyrical themes? Would you like to chat a little bit about them?

Almost all the lyrics are always written by Costas and me. We are the ones who enjoy this side of songwriting, but if someone has any other ideas we of course use them too. For example the lyrics of Semper Casta were written by Simos. Most of the lyrics get involved with personal thoughts and feelings and they mostly have an epic touch. I prefer to hide the meaning of most of my lyrics behind little stories or something, because I don't like creating opinions or thoughts to anyone. If someone reads my lyrics and sees them as a simple story, it is ok with me, but if someone finds the meaning behind them it is ok too. I would never try to write something that would have any effect on anyone's personal way of thinking or on his ideology. Also there are some other lyrical themes that are inspired from history or from some movies and books, as for example Honored Expedition which was inspired from Alexander The Great or 6 Must Die which was inspired by the 80's movie The Fog; also The Mirror Mask was inspired by the movie Vidocq. These of course are straight ones without any hidden meanings or anything.

The Warfair cover is really sharp! Who did you cooperate with for the making of it?

It was done by Ariadni Zervou. She is a good friend and a very good professional. The idea was to create something that would catch the eye with no usual colors, so the result with the white-red colors was great. You can also see that it is a Wolfcry album just from the big logo and the wolf head 'trademark' (Naso) images that we have in all our releases, so I believe that it works excellent for the purpose we wanted.

Do you think that the average Metal fan would easily recognize what kind of music Wolfcry present, only by the album's cover? It's true that we've all done this - or still keep on doing it - in order to save time and/or money with unknown (to us) bands. Does the cover provide sufficient info for the 'inner' product?

Well, no, I think that it is a neutral cover but in our days with all this global information, I think that there are not so many people who buy CDs only because of the cover, especially when we have so many releases every month which means that you have to choose where you are going to spend your money on. In the older days we all didn't get as much information as we wanted from the press so it was many times that we had to choose an album only by its cover, but now this is history. Even if you don't know a band you, can easily find everything about it by one click in the Internet. It is also our third release, so I think that we have a little recognition now and we are not just trying to make our name known as we did with the first two ones. After all I think that even the cover doesn't show exactly the musical style that is included; it has the strength needed to show that it is a powerful but also a melodic release.

Enola Gay was a unique approach. Taking a non-Hard/Heavy song and converting it into your own 'field', I think this is the meaning of a cover version. You?

Yes, in my opinion this is the only meaning of a cover version. If you take a song from your own genre, you don't make anything more than just re-playing it. Maybe if it is from your music but from another genre it also has a point (for example if you take a Death Metal song and you make it a Power Metal one, or the other way around) but the basic idea is to take a song and change the whole approach to it.

Do you have any plans for live gigs, in support of the Warfair album? I guess you must be eager to get out on the road!

We are eager but I don't think that we'll be able to cover our appetite soon! Unfortunately we are all working different hours every day, so our common free time is not enough. We manage to gather all together only once a week and this is something that doesn't happen all the time. We are the first ones who want to give some live performances but it seems very hard at the moment. You see we are not young anymore so our first priority is our jobs, our lives and our families. Music is a very important thing for us but it cannot be our first priority at the moment as long as we can't live from it. But believe me this is a problem that we are trying to solve and we are working on finding a solution about it as soon as possible.

Which are the bands you endlessly dream of having the chance to share the same stage with for just one time?

Some of them are not active anymore, like Helloween of the Walls Of Jericho period for example, or Warlord and Savatage. From the bands of our times it would be great if we could play with names like Blind Guardian, Rhapsody, Gamma Ray, W.A.S.P., Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, Edguy and... (the list goes on!).

Black Lotus is a premier Metal label, with lots of respected bands/artists in its ranks. Is the cooperation proper enough for Wolfcry?

Yes, everything is really cool in our cooperation. The distribution is great around the whole world, the promotion is nice and everything works out just in the way it should be. The best of all is that there we cooperate with people who first of all are fans of Metal music and then owners of the label. A great advantage also is that we are from the same city, so I can easily pick up the phone or just drop a visit and discuss anything I may want, than making a conversation through e-mails and phones with someone from another country that I would maybe never see or talk with face to face. And believe me, this is very important in order to make something really serious and right.

You seem - as a band - to put up lots of effort into your official website. In the era of the World Wide Web, audio/video downloads and endless information transfer, what's Wolfcry's opinion (advantages & disadvantages) - not only as a band but also as individuals?

I think that this is a way that really helps the bands way more than anytime in the past. It is a very faster and easier way to contact anyone from all around the world and this is very good for a band because it creates one united market in the entire world. For example through official websites you can easily find every information you may need for a band or a label and through the E-zines you can search for many things in the world of music at any time of the day by just pushing a few buttons. I believe that this whole situation is the biggest opportunity that any band could ever imagine in order to be known to the edge of the world. The disadvantages are very few and in my opinion they are worthless of mention. Many talk about mp3 downloading for example that costs the bands money, but in my opinion it is just a more modern way to just record something that you wouldn't buy anyway . He who would download an album, if there was no Internet, would never buy the album anyway. He would probably write it on a cassette or a writeable CD from a friend. I mean that if someone wants to buy something, he will do it no matter what. The Internet is only helping the music industry and although the labels are yelling about this situation on illegal downloading, in the end they make a great free advertisement of their own products.

Anyway, I think mp3 samples are a great way for a Metal band - unless you are Judas Priest or Slayer - to put teasers so as to present your work and help fans decide in prior if they would like to fully purchase what they hear.

Yes, they work in the websites like the 'compilation' tracks that we had in the past or the 'radio hits'. Back then every band chose a track that was catchier than the rest and they put it in some compilations or gave it to the radio stations in order to promote their material. Nowadays this is happening through the official websites of the bands or the labels but it is in a different form, like the mp3s for example. There is not much difference between these two situations.

How seriously do you take the feedback received for your works. I mean, from both the fans and the Media. Some artists tend to focus 100% on their personal aspect when creating musical pieces. Others do keep an eye on what other people say. What about Wolfcry?

Honestly, we don't care much about what they say about our music in order to create something. We just play what we like. If you want to create something good you have first of all to be the biggest fan of your own band. If we were looking at what others prefer or say, we would probably play something more trendy or catchy. First priority for us is to enjoy ourselves in the best way, because I believe that this is something that can be seen when you listen to a song. If a composition is the result of natural way of thinking, it sounds fresh and right in the listener's ears. If it is something that you do with a purpose, it sounds a little 'pressed' in the result. Of course when you get good feedback you feel better but in the end this is just music being created and not an exercise, where you need to see what rating you will get in order to continue working!

Do you think that the European market - especially Metal music (all forms) is somehow trapped in the web of the mostly known record labels? In the older days independent record labels achieved quite good sales for their bands, while now there's a suspicion that 5-10 bands take the biggest slice of the pie and at the same time numerous excellent bands can't 'break through' due to financial limitations. What can you predict for the future?

'Worthy' bands will always survive even if they are in a big label or not. If something deserves to be on top, it will be at least in the fans' conscience. In the past, Metal music was underground and worked in different ways, but nowadays it is just another music style with its own trends and industry. So, the situation is much different in all the levels and the big labels are only looking for money, just like it is done in every other music style, and of course we can't blame them about it. I think that this was the normal way for the Metal industry to go, from the moment that some bands made huge sale numbers in the past. It would be very nice to keep an underground condition and feeling in our music but this was impossible. It is 2005 and it would be more than a dream to talk about an industry that wouldn't care for money above everything.

If given the chance, would Wolfcry 'escape' abroad to chase the dream?

I don't think so; as I mentioned above we are not children anymore. We all have our lives and it would be very difficult to leave everything behind only to be chasing a dream. After all we like our lives as it is now. We are just common people who gather together anytime they can and share their love about music by having a band, just like some others gather every Sunday to play basketball. It is just a way for us to escape from every day's pressure and I think this is the way it is going to be in the future. If we were younger I think that I would answer 'yes' to your question immediately and without even thinking about it more than just a second...

Thanks a lot for your spare time; it was an honor to do this interview. A question you'd like to place for everyone reading this interview?

First of all I'd like to thank you for your support and for the opportunity that you offer us to be heard through the pages of your Webzine. I wish you all the best for the future, for you personally and for your E-zine and all your activities. As a question I would ask: have you ever tried to look behind the curtains for something really 'worthy'? Look in the underground scene and you'll find many hidden treasures there. And don't forget: The Metal fire will always burn!!!

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