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Interview with Wardress
Hello guys, nice to have you on Volatile Weekly! What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music, what would you be doing today?
Erich: Hi there, thanks for giving us the chance to be on Volatile Weekly! I got into music with listening to „Long Live Rock’n’Roll“ from Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, which had been played on a school party in the late 1970s. I was immediately blown away by this mix of Energy, Melodies and musical mastery… Since we never lived from an income as musicians, every band member in fact has a “normal 9 to 5” jobs. But guitarist Kimon is an orchestral stagehand and drummer Andy is the guitar technician of Swedish band Sabaton, so actually you could say: they live for and from music.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music, and how does that influence your creativity?
Erich: We are still Heavy Metal fans ourselves and listen to other bands whenever possible, be it on albums or in concerts. In the past half year, I’ve visited concerts of Anvil, Sacred Reich, Sacred Steel, Whiplash, Accept, Kreator, Manowar and also the Keep It True Rising Festival with Saxon, Riot City, Cloven Hoof any many others. I feel inspired also by classic music, mainly of Wagner and Puccini, as well as of literature and movies. But Wardress never adopted the topic of a specific book or movie, yet. Generally, we love great movies such as the first parts of Highlander, Mad Max, or Matrix. By the way, my secret tip for fans of science fiction is the two-pieced, almost clairvoyant movie “World On A Wire” of 1973.
How long has your band been around?
Erich: Originally, Wardress had been founded in 1983, but split up after less than four years, back then. The “new” Wardress exist since 2018, with guitarist Gor and myself as the only “survivors” of the original line-up, and with new members Mirco on bass and Andy on drums. Guitarist Kimon completed the current line-up in 2019.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Erich: Most of us live in or near Frankfurt / Main in Germany. There are no influences on our music coming from any specific German tradition. But from the very beginning, Germany has been a stronghold of Heavy Metal music, thus I guess, this influenced us a lot.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Erich: I remember that in first line we have been searching for a name that “somehow sounds like Heavy Metal”. As someone came up with “Wardress”, we liked the idea of its double meaning: it can be a female guardian or a dress for war. Tell me about your most memorable shows. I shall never forget that one concert of our first line-up in, maybe, 1984. It was at the annual meeting of a motorcycle club, in a large beer tent on a forest clearing at the feet of the Swabian Alb. Everyone there drank a lot, and I really mean A LOT. Unexpectedly, we had to interrupt our performance for a “Titties Contest”, as they called it, in the middle of the show. After the girls had left the stage, we were allowed to continue playing. Then, some of the guys there had the idea to drive their bikes into the tent and ride in circles directly in front of the stage. Soon, others followed their example and finally the entire tent was full of roaring motorbikes, even louder than us, the band playing. All was a mess of dirt and grass, which the wheels had milled out of the soil and spit up onto the stage… As I learned after the show from the bikers’ president, none of those actions was meant unfriendly, in contradiction, they liked our music very much, and this had simply been their own kind of showing their appreciation.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Erich: I like most those typical, dedicated rock pubs or clubs with that steamy, smoky atmosphere and all the posters of past events on the walls. This is where I feel home and where I always find like minded people. Concerts at such a place are most fun for both, band and audience. In Germany, good examples are the “7er Club” in Mannheim or “Lemmy’s Bar” in Bad Friedrichshall or “Colos-Saal” near Frankfurt. We’d love to play at any of those, and also at classic Metal festivals such as “Keep It True” or “Bang Your Head”.
If you could play any show with any line-up, who would be on the ticket?
Erich: There are so much great Heavy Metal bands, that I can’t make a decision. I beg your pardon. Anyhow, the line-up should consist of bands dedicated to old school Metal, like ourselves, but no matter if they were old or young bands.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Erich: Before you join a band, be sure that besides making music, you would also like to have some drinks with the other members. When you found the right guys, stick together and don’t give up in case of disappointments, which will come as sure as taxes do. Time always rewarded those bands who just carried on and on, ideally in the same line-up.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Erich: Stay calm, boy, stay calm.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Erich: For me, it is “Metal ‘til the End”. I have dedicated the lyrics of this song to a close friend, who died over a year ago now. Besides that, the words describe my own lifelong dedication to Metal music and possibly also the motivation of the other band members, in the best way possible.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Erich: I guess, it will not surprise you, that we love all of our songs. Fan reactions showed us that people seem to like most: “Wardress”, “Metal Melodies”, “Berserk” and “Metal ‘til the End”.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Gor: This time, due to the pandemic the writing was really different than before. Of course, we had always used digital data exchange before professionally recording, but not to that extent we had to in 2020/2021. Meeting the boys was only possible to a limited extent due to that special situation surrounding the years 2020/2021. The solution was to work on some parts in small groups of 2 people. But a lot was exchanged digitally and put together in my home studio for a pre-production to check how things will sound when everything is worked out. "Motorlust" e.g. was basically a draft (Riffs, Groove) written by Kimon and Andy. They sent me a somehow demo of the parts and I then finalized the piece with Kimon and wrote the vocal melody based on Erich's cool lyrics - so it was like a finished demo for later recording. It was similar with the pieces I have written, but in different constellations.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Erich: We simply want to create pure Heavy Metal music. And the lyrics should fit to that, in first line. The combination of music and lyrics is it, as we believe, what makes a song intensive. Often, our lyrics deal with the fun of playing and hearing Metal music and of partying, or with medieval warrior stories. But, when we get more serious, some songs are also about freedom and the dangers of losing it. When you look at the world, you will find a lot of frankly cynical people with power in politics and society, and sometimes ironic lyrics are our answer on such cynicism.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Erich: I really can’t remember any main issues…
Gor: We know each other either from almost childhood or from other bands for a long time. Even when we looked for a 2nd guitarist the choice was a friend of Andy, Kimon, and not someone casted for the job. This project simply is fun and intended to keep classic Metal alive. Everyone knew what he will be dealing with. There is also no pressure for success, but we take this band very serious as we want to write great classic Metal that people love.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Erich: End of 2019 we started our „Eternal War Tour“, but in this case “eternity” reached out only onto February 2020, when the upcoming pandemic measures knocked us out. Now, with the new album in our back, we are heading for live performances, again. On 1 st of May, this year, we shall play in the legendary club „Nachtleben“ in Frankfurt / Main. More venues are to be announced soon, we promise!
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
Erich: They might check our presentations and announcements on YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, and as well have a look on the website of our label MDD/Black Sunset.