Hailing from Wrocław, Polish heavy metal band Wölfrider drew outside attention to match that at home with the release earlier this year of their self-titled debut EP via Goetic Records. Packed with four tracks which charge ears with tsunami like strength and sonic voracity, the release was a sign post to the broader emergence of the band. Grabbing the chance to find out more about the band we had the pleasure to chat with vocalist Rafał ‘Rambo’ Gębicki and drummer Bartek Dolewski.
Hi guys and thank you for talking with us.
Can you tell us about the beginnings of the band?
Rambo: The core of the band came out from previous project called Clairvoyant. Guys wanted to play something new under new name. This was the beginning of 2012 when I joined them. After a month of rehearsals we played the first show. A few months later with ready material we entered the studio to record our Wölfrider EP. Everything has happened in leaps and bounds.
You sculpt your songs with an energy and passion which recalls traditional heavy metal at its purest. What are the major inspirations to band and its members?
Rambo: Most of our influences come from Western Europe, Heavy Metal Gods like Running Wild, Grave Digger, Accept, Judas Priest, but you can hear also some of the ‘epic’ ones – Bathory, Manilla Road. Each of us draws from other sources, for example, it may be Iron Maiden, Exodus, Iced Earth and even Death.
What are the backgrounds and experiences Wölfrider members brings to the band?
Bartek: We’ve got quite big experience during our activity as Clairvoyant…lots of gigs, developing songwriting, improving process of managing a band, and so on. As we progress we started the new band with a blank card so to speak yet locked and loaded. Rambo comes from Deversor and he had lots of work to do, because his singing style and technique had to be changed to the new material. Since only vocalist changed we all knew each other very well and there were no surprises – just going further in music.
There is a great metal scene in Poland it seems from the outside but hard to find that wider recognition for bands there. How have you found it?
Bartek: Well you have to remember that most of metal musicians in Poland have normal regular jobs and it’s hard to focus on your job, paying attention to your musicianship, and any promotional actions at once. So you have to have really organised way of doing your things. The second important factor is of course money. And currency exchange. If someone wants to be recognised outside his/hers country most probably has to pay for publishers – in Euro, USD or GBP. That could be very expensive due to rate of exchange and that money could be spent on something else for band, like a good audio equipment to practice better etc.
Tell us about your debut EP which recently came out via Goetic Records.
Rambo: Okay, so long story short. We recorded, mixed and mastered our EP in DIY style. Later on some kind of distribution was needed and we mailed to couple of indie record labels (major ones didn’t give a fuck about us). Goetic Records from Canada owned and ruled with pride by awesome guy – Kosta Bayss – he helped us with promotion and digital distribution. I guess we are the only one non-black metal band over there but it’s not a big deal for us – it’s more like an underground family. Back in the day – yeah, a couple of months ago, fucking ancient times – Goetic Records had nothing to do with releasing physical CDs due to some limitations. Now Kosta can sell his bands like a boss over the Internet on classic CD packs, you have to check it out.
Though all track stand out Hearts of Iron steals its extra share of the glory for us. Give us some background to the song.
Rambo: Our music mastermind – Kamil – is a huge fan of strategy PC games so guess where the name comes from. You can Google it. This one particular song was written by him, we just got music sheet, changed almost nothing at all – somehow it started to have its drive and vibe. Most of our stuff is done after many trials and errors on rehearsal room. Not this one. Maybe we shoot jackpot with Hearts of Iron.
Does the EP sum up your sound or are there already new surprises waiting to be unleashed in your next release?
Rambo: EP is just an introduction to Wölfrider’s realm. In the next album we’ll include a couple of licks for fans, not exactly new material – you can hear it already at gigs. First of all – we got our sound tuned way lower than typical Heavy Metal band…mostly due to Deceiver Of The Gods by Amon Amarth. So that’s quite unique for our type of music – tuning in B-Standard is common among extreme metal bands. On the other hand my singing style has changed – it’s much more modulated. Some ideas have to be re-visited and full album release needs more brainstorming but don’t worry, it’s gonna be shitting thunders and blasting metal – pure heavy as Polish vodka. You know, we are trying to be as honest in our music as possible. We have nothing to lose anyway.
What is the live scene like for you and metal in general in Poland?
Bartek: I think it’s about the other countries. There are really few people from seriously pro bands signed to major record labels that are making living from the metal music. Average, casual guys like us have to be as much accountants as musicians to make everything works. About metal scene in Poland? I may be wrong and controversial but I think that extreme metal bands and thrash metal guys have way more attention. Lots of independent indie record labels are interested in death/black metal bands and looks like there are more shows for that kind of metal. And thrash metal has its own renaissance – but it’s just mine opinion based on my observations. Hopefully most of metal heads aren’t strictly bounded to one kind of metal and you can see Cannibal Corpse fans at some classic heavy metal gig.
There is roar and power to the EP which suggests the songs live are real wall shakers. On stage is where the real magic happens for the band?
Bartek: First of all thank you for really cool opinion about our music. It’s always pleasure to have that kind of description about the EP, this is what we intended you and other fans to feel.
We try to do our best on stage and work on our presence as much as on technical and musician skills. We play for quite a time and definitely can hear and feel band mates playing, correct something messed up – you know – and just have great time showing people that we love to play metal and have fun on stage. We work really hard to not just be another boring band with bunch of dudes that’s stay the entire show in one spot and not even look at the audience. Metal used to be – and still is – about aggression and playing loud. Most of all about raw energy, this is the root, the foundation of rock ’n’ roll music. If there is no Ultimate Power Armageddon on stage (in positive way) then you’re doing it wrong, son.
What is coming up for Wölfrider in 2015 and from you for fans?
Rambo: We plan to play as many shows as possible. Your band cannot be real and serious without gigging for real fans – world is not limited to Internet. We have booked a couple of events related to “tribute to Bathory” since we are huge Quorthon fans. More details should be soon. That’s about performing live. We would love to present just a little sneak-peak of our upcoming full album by releasing a single – maybe along with video clip. That would be a real killin’ teaser that will show just a little the way that we’re heading with our music.
Once again thanks for the interview, anything you would like to add?
Bartek: Yeah, whoring for views, subscriptions and likes on social media websites. Check us out on:
Goetic Records: http://www.goeticrecords.com/
I want to add that we know that there are bunch of our fans outside Poland, even outside Europe. For those people and many others we have an idea to live stream our gigs on YouTube or other platform – so please, wait for news!
The RingMaster Review 15/12/2014
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