Hot on the heels of their darkly stunning debut Hyperion, Headwarmer puts a call into Finland to talk to Woland vocalist ‘W’ about black metal, russian folk stories and to say sorry…
by STRINGFELLOWE HAWKE
30 April 2014
Hi W, this is Stringfellowe from Headwarmer; I’ve got a few questions for you if you can spare a few moments?
Sure, that’s fine!
Firstly, I really liked your new album, Hyperion, from the first listen, even though I’m more of a traditional Metal fan – you guys did a great job there! It must have been frustrating to form Woland in 2010 and having to wait until 2014 to put the album out?
We started in 2010 but it took a while to find our sound….as we got the tracks together things got more and more serious, the last year was really frustrating waiting for the album to come out!!
You recorded Hyperion at your own studio – was it good to have this available to you or did it become a curse as you could keep changing things?
It was a blessing and a curse!! We could change things – like the last track, Elevated Existence – it was originally 16 minutes long – by the time we’d changed it then only the last part remained!! Overall our own studio allowed us to make the album better…..plus by using our own studio we could “keep it in the family” and also save studio fees!!
Black Metal can be a little clichéd at times – clown paint, the occult and other things seem to be themes but Woland seem to have avoided that – the CD packaging, which again was done by the band, for example is very clean – was it a conscious decision to avoid what most Black Metal fans would probably be expecting?
We see ourselves as the flip side of the Black Metal coin which is why we refer to our style as “Post Black Metal”. The way the album turned out was both a conscious and unconscious decision – the way Hyperion came together, the look, feel and philosophy was completely natural.
Why does so much extreme music seem to come from the Nordic countries these days?
It’s so often dark outside – maybe it’s the atmosphere. I do think that Finland differs from other countries, like Sweden for example – Metal is in our blood!
I understand that “Woland” is a Demon-like character from a famous story?
Yes, Woland is the main character from The Master and Margarita by the Russian author Mikhail Bulgakov.
When I was listening to Hyperion at times it reminded me of Tool, instrumentally, who are often seen as more of a “thinking fans” band – the album as a whole was very unpredictable with breaks where you wouldn’t expect them and tempo changes that really came out of nowhere. It’s a great debut and when I originally reviewed it I gave it 8/10 but having listened to it more, I’d say it’s really a 9/10 album. With such a great debut do you think that you’ve put pressure on yourselves for the second album?
Firstly you should go back and change that score!! We know that you’ll be hearing a lot from Woland in the future and they’ll be a few albums. With Hyperion we needed to get acquainted and find our sound. It’s a great start point but with future albums we can expand the concepts further – it’s very liberating as a writer!
Yeh, sorry about that score. So an obvious question would be who are your influences – but maybe you could expand further by letting Headwarmer know what your guilty pleasures are?
People who know me aren’t surprised anymore – there’s so many from Rap to The Prodigy…..even Lady Gaga!
I hear Gaga is a metal fan, perhaps you could tour together?
Maybe! Our influences are what you’d expect – Emperor, Mayhem, bands like these, mostly Black Metal.
I’ve seen some of your videos on YouTube and your live performances look very energy filled and something not to be missed – when will we be seeing see you in the UK?
We’re speaking with people at the moment and hoping to get some great bands together and then head over. We’re aiming for the autumn but if not it’ll be early 2015.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us W, we’re looking forward to hearing a lot more from you and Woland soon.
Thanks! Keep in touch!
‘Hyperion’ is out now on Indie Recordings