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..: Interview April, 2002 Loukas V. and Harry "Shadowcaster" :..

It seems that Manowar have decided to give their fans what they've been wanting for a long time and that is a great epic metal album. "Warriors Of The World" is the best thing the band has recorded since "Kings Of Metal" and this can only bring joy to all of us. All four of them were here in Athens to promote their new work and we managed to have a great talk with Karl Logan (guitar). I hope we have covered many of your questions as well.

Q. Congratulations for your new album, it's absolutely fantastic.

A. "Thank you, thank you very much.."

Q. Let's begin by telling us everything about the recordings and the production in general...
A. "Well the recording was done when we came off the road in 1999. In December 1999 we put together a new digital studio and it took a while to get the whole thing to work together because of all the digital interfaces and connections and all that shit, but it's a state of the art digital recording. So the album was recorded there and it was mixed at Galaxy studios in Belgium by Donald Patt (Rammstein etc.) and he has definitely contributed a lot to the production, which is tremendous. Basically it took about a year and a half to write and record the album."

Q. When did you start composing new songs?
A. "Ah, February to March 2000."

Q. It has been about six years since your last album. Why did it take you that much time to release your new one?
A. "Because every time you release an album you have to tour and when you are touring you don't have time to write any new songs and even when you have an idea, you can't recorded immediately, so you forget it afterwards. And we did a massive tour after our previous album. In the meantime we also released two double live albums and three DVDs and all these recordings were taken care of every single night. All this footage had to be edited, looked at, put together, you know... We also re-mastered three of the earlier CDs and we put together special packages with more album material, you know special booklets with old photos etc. So all these had to be looked at and the amount of work was just tremendous. On the other hand the fans asked for all these. They asked for the live albums, the DVDs, the live footage, so we did what the fans wanted to. So when you combine the tour and the work we did in these releases, you see that we didn't actually just sit around, doing nothing all these years."

Q. So you think that these continuous live releases and DVDs were more important for the fans than a new studio album after all these years?
A. "Well at the time yes, because, you know, the band already had seven - eight studio albums and the fans were asking after all these albums, when would we make a live recording? All they had till then were these terrible sounding bootlegs, so we said o.k. it's time to do this now. So we planed a huge tour with many dates and we did it. If we had just put out another studio album then we would just have to tour again, like we will do now, so when were we going to do it? "

Q. I'm not going to ask you if this your best album so far, cause it's a silly question (both laugh), but I do want to ask you if it's, in your opinion, of equal quality with your early releases.
A. "I think this album... How do I say it? I'm far more satisfied with the guitar work in this album than I was with "Louder Than Hell", which was my first album with Manowar, where the guitar could sound better, my playing could be better, I just wasn't really part of the band yet. Now I really am a part of the band and I am more satisfied with my contribution to it. As for the album, as a whole, the fans asked us to do another epic album and we did it. We wanted to do something that is very broad, very deep with a lot of dynamics in it."

Q. So did you work collectively on the songs?
A. "Yeah, mainly Joey and I wrote most of the songs and then we brought them to the others who contributed their ideas."

Q. Do you think that the new album will be a good answer to all those saying that Manowar have lost their touch and they can't produce quality music any more?
A. "Who is saying that?"

Q. Well there are some people here in Greece that say it...
A. "Fuck them! I really don't care about that at all... I really don't..."

Q. There are people here saying that the first four albums were great, but the rest were not so good.
A. "Well, let me tell you what happens. It's like falling in love... The first time you fall in love is great. You know why? It's new, it's something you never had before. But every time you fall in love after that is like planting the same crop in the field. It's not the crop that's not good, but the ground gets worse each time. And so when you release a new album, when someone hears it for the first time he says wow, that's a great album, and they are usually young. But as you get older, you become more cynical and you listen to the records differently because you have many years of hearing shit music to compare it to. It's not the music any more but the person's viewpoint that changes. So these people really mean nothing to me. You don't like the record, fuck you, go buy Metallica or something... I don't care. I believe that this album speaks for itself and I am proud of it because we've done a great job on it."

Q. This epic feeling that your songs produce, does it come after hard work on them or just naturally from inside of you?
A. "It's part of being a musician. You learn the value of dynamics, you know? There are a lot of bands out there that their music is nothing but an endless noise from start to finish. And when it's finished you are almost happy it did, because you can't take any more. For every light there is dark, for every man there is a woman. There must be a balance, you know? So in this record there are crushing metal songs, but there are also beautiful, sensitive sides. It's very balanced. So as a musician, I think that it's a matter of dynamics, darkness - light, color - gray, etc. and this is exactly what we tried to do here. Because if the songs are always this high, sharp and intense, then they become flat. But if they go down as well, becoming more sensitive, then... You know, you only know how high you are when you stand at the bottom looking up. So that is what the album does. When the album goes down in some parts then there are harder parts in it to go up again. But if the album was just heavy, heavy, heavy, it would be just like standing at the top of a hill never looking down."

Q. The song "Nessun Dorma" is sang in Italian. Why did you decide to do that and what is it about? A. "Well, it is an opera piece. I believe it is a love song. I don't speak Italian so I am not sure." Q. Does Eric speak Italian? A. "He speaks a little bit, you know, we all speak a little bit of different languages because we travel so much."

Q. Any Greek?
A. "No, actually no."

Q. Not even the most popular word?
A. "What's that?"

Q. Malakas...
A. "Malakas (he said it in funny accent)? I don't know that, what is that? (laughs) "

Q. Well, it's a swearword so don't tell it to any Greek person!
A. "Oh, O.K. (laughs). So Eric studied with some piano players and opera singers so he knows some of that stuff. Basically this song is a tribute to our Italian fans because we haven't played in Italy for a long time. Last time we played it was like crazy, you know, people were crying, holding up their cell phones to their mothers to listen the music. We also wanted to do something different. It was a challenge for us. Because today there are a lot of bands out there that try to copy Manowar and we want to show them that you can try, but... Who has a singer like Eric, you know?"
Q. Another song in the album, "The March", has a very soundtrack-like approach to it. Was there a movie that inspired you to write a song like that?
A. "No, again it's just something different. It has a lot of passion as well. We call it cinematic metal, because it makes you think of a movie and again it is part of our vision to take Heavy Metal one step further. A lot of Heavy Metal music is based on classical music. This is the earliest Heavy Metal. We wanted to play something that is powerful and strong but without any guitars. It is still a metal song, it is just in a different form."

Q. I imagine the lyrics of the rest of the songs follow the usual Manowar mentality. Can you tell us some things about them?
A. "Well, Joey writes all the lyrics. I can't get into his head and see what he is thinking when he writes them. We always have a song or two that pay tribute to our fans. Our message is pretty much positive. We say that you are your own God, what you make of your life is your own choice. That is really what we believe in. At the same time of course there are the usual Heavy Metal themes like kill, destroy... (laughs). They are not meant to be taken literally of course."

Q. Why did you choose "Warriors Of The World United" for the CD-single. Do you think it is the best song of the album?
A. "I think it sums up our thoughts. I mean the album cover is the Man-o-warrior coming out of Hell and all the fans behind him carry the flags of all the countries we have played. We pay tribute to the fans. During our last tour we played in countries we had never played before. So that song is the perfect anthem and it makes sense really."

Q. Will the track listing of the CD be the same as the promo cassette we have?
A. "Yes, it will be the same"

Q. I am asking you that because I noticed that the songs in the first side were calmer whereas in the second side they were faster and more intense. Is there a certain mood you are trying to set here?
A. "Well, yes. It's like a movie. It starts out calm and it gets really strong in the end. We didn't want to make the same album that we did in the past where the track list was maybe a little predictable. We wanted to do something totally different. And it is funny because every single journalist remarks on this (laughs). Why we did it this way. Because it is different."

Q. What kind of music did you listened to when you were writing the new songs?
A. "I never do that. I never listen to other people's music when I am writing something, because I don't want to come out sounding like someone else. When I am writing a metal record the last thing I am going to do is listen to metal. I don't want to drag that into my writing. I listen to soundtracks, classical music, cotemporary music, music with a lot of melody, because I like melody. I like to draw my inspiration from different styles of music and then make my own."

Q. But are there any bands you enjoy listening to at all? Metal bands I mean.
A. "There is a lot of music I like out there. Many different styles. Probably it would surprise people, you know? But a good song is a good song. A good song lives for ever. When there is a song that you can't get it out of your head for a long time, and you lay down at night and you can't sleep because it is in your head, well that's a good song. Unfortunately there are too many bands out there that don't know how to write a good song. Sometimes I can't stand a band but I give the credit when they write a good song. I give credit to anyone that has a good sense of melody, who is skillful on their instruments and writes a song that you will remember."

Q. In other words it is not about bands it's about songs, right?
A. "Yeah, it's about songs basically."

Q. How come you chose Nuclear Blast to be your new label? There must have been other labels interested in you as well.
A. "That's a matter of business. If you go to a large label you could get lost, there are so many things happening, you know? A smaller label has less people to deal with and you can work better with them."

Q. Didn't you ever think of experimenting with something different outside Manowar?

A. "I really don't have the time for it. Manowar is a full time job and I don't have much free time to do it."

Q. Eric's voice is still sounding top notch after despite all these years. What's his secret anyway? A. "That's because he knows how to sing. He knows the mechanics of singing. Technology has helped the music a lot but it has also harmed it. It's so easy now to go and record an album than in the past. In the earlier days in order to go in the studio you had to be good enough for someone to invest money on you, because studios cost 200$-300$ an hour. Nowadays you can buy your own studio for that money and make your own CD and burn it on your computer so it is very easy to record an album. An album that sounds like shit. I mean where are the bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and Motorhead, where are these bands that you will remember for years and years? People don't take the time to learn how to sing or how to play the guitar. Eric was instructed and trained and he doesn't abuse his voice."

Q. Yeah, but it's still difficult to do something that hasn't been done or heard before, isn't it? No matter how good a player you are, someone will still say you sound like somebody else...
A. "Well the idea is that it's not necessary to do something that hasn't been done before or never heard before. The idea is to be the best you can be so what you do, you do it well. Like in the new record there is the song "The American Trilogy" that was originally done by Elvis but we took the whole thing and did it our way and turned out a magnificent recording. That was recorded before but we did our own version of it and that is the idea, not to be completely different. Songwriting is something you learn, you are not born with it, it's not a gift from above, you know? It's something you learn like cooking... When you go into a restaurant there is always soup, hamburger or salad, right? And these dishes you can find in every restaurant. And there is a reason for that. It's because people like them. So when you write songs you don't have to find ideas that are so "out there", you know, people won't recognize it. People still want to hear "soup" and they want to hear "hamburger" or "salad". They want to hear things that they are familiar with that they've heard before, but they want to hear your interpretation of them. Everyone can make a cheeseburger but you will make it differently that I will. However people will still say 'oh, that's cheeseburger, I'll try that'. But if I go and put completely different ingredients in it, they will say 'what's that, that's not a hamburger, I won't eat it". So it's not about trying to be different, it's about learning and understanding music. That is what the members of this band are doing, learning and studying what they have to do."

Q. I imagine there will be a massive tour following the release of the album, uh?

A. "Yeah, we are going straight on the tour in September, October."

Q. Will it go through the whole world?
A. "Pretty much, yeah. There is talk for us right now about playing in a festival here in Greece in September, October or something like that. It's not definite yet. But we will be playing in a couple of festivals during the summer Gods Of Metal in Milan and in Spain as well but basically the tour will start in September - October."

Q. And what about the next album, will we have to wait for another five - six years to see it?
A. "No, because now we have our own studio, so we will try to get the next album out within two years from now."

Q. O.K. we don't have anything else to ask you, so is there anything else you would like to add?
A. "Well I just want to say that I hope the fans will like the record. It's an epic Heavy Metal album that they have been asking for and we hope that we will be in Greece soon sometime this fall because you people are fucking crazy, you really are and this time I will be standing in two feet, because last time I was injured in my foot and I had to be sitting down to play."

Q. Alright, thank you very much. Best of luck with the album.
A. "Thanks, I hope I'll see you soon. Bye!"

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