"All About The Album - 15 Questions" - a brand new section at the RockUnited site where any recording artist with an recently released CD is confronted with standard questions (15 of them, duh!). If you'd like to have your material up here, email: urban "at" rockunited.com (simply replace "at" with your standard @ )
ICEWIND: "Again Came The Storm"
ICEWIND and their sophomore release "Again Came The Storm". It's flashy symphonic "power metal" from the land of ice and hockey (Canada) and in the grand(e) old(e) tradition of Blind Guardian, Nightwish, and Kamelot. The band has an edgy approach most of the time and the result is a nice little album with quite a lot of memorable riffs and sing along moments. Here they are to answer all the "All About The Album" questions, Icewind...
How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
Very good!! We believe it takes a few listens to really get into it, but from the feedbacks we got so far, it then becomes the most addictive!
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
After a year of writing or so, it took from July 2008 to April 2009, nights and weekends, to record it. But then it took a while for the mix and master, hence the long awaited late 2010 release when we compare to the beginning of the project back in 2007.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
After "All Is Dust", we definitely wanted the guitars to be more prominent and improve the overall quality of the recording. That's why we decided to go to a professional studio. We listened to a lot of albums we like to define the tone we were looking for production-wise and we noted the plus/minus of these recordings. We can't say we based our sound on this or that record, but let's say Edguy, Nightwish, Nocturnal Rites and those types of bands inspired us in different ways.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
Luc Boivin focused on rigor. "Let's make another take" was his favorite quote. He really helped us achieve a level of quality we were looking for, and even higher that what we aimed for in the first place. Though we can't say he had a huge "artistic" input on the project since the songs were already completed beforehand but he helped us refining our tone and get our playing "tight" and on pitch..
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
Yes, totally! It is a great leap forward compared to "All Is Dust" and we think the sound quality reached the songwriting quality this time. Nothing's yet perfect, but we learned a lot, hopefully a third album will be another step forward!
Did the producer (you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
Not really, handling the mouse with one hand, and a Subway cookie in the other at hand at 1 am was pretty much the riskiest thing we did! Ahahah!
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound' in the studio, or perhaps you didn't
We used live sound only for guitar feedbacks and all the classical and acoustic guitar parts. We haven't recorded band live sessions. We were pretty tight on resources.
Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?
Damn, we hate to choose among our songs! And we don't even ever agree! But it is worth mentioning the very icewindesque "The Last March (We'll Meet Again)"which is a 7-minute song filled with drama and topics a 2-hour movie would have. Dealing with degenerative illness, assisted suicide, death sentence, compassion, love and after-death, it has a daring scope and a large span of emotions. Everything shines on this track, Gab's voice and melodies, a grandiose chorus, Jay's guitar solo, the blend of guitar, piano and drums, the lyric's depth. We don't think one can remain insensible listening to this dense musical journey.
Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
Not especially, songs have been written in very different situations and timeframes, but we try to keep ourselves to the same level of quality and rigor, music and lyric-wise. We think the album reflects this reality, it travels a lot from song to song but without being uneven (well, that's what we hope people will conclude too...)
Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
From primitive music sketches to complete songs, we take roughly between 30 and a hundred hours to compose the music and orchestrations. Things may slide sometimes due to tiredness and divergent opinions on where a song should go. We came to a dangerous dead-end with "Hymn For A Brighter Dawn" which we almost deleted out of solutions. We kept it without being very excited about it, we headed to the studio thinking it would be a filler, but then when the guitars were recorded and the lyrics were coming up, we were all blown away by the results and it became one of our favorite! (you gotta love the intense build-up from the clean guitar up to the shredding guitar solo!)
Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?
We had no record company behind us when we composed and recorded "Again Came The Storm", so we were pretty much free to write and do what we wanted, including our own mistakes! Ahahah
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
Ahahah! Too much to tell really! We have hours of studio on tape, Lols after Lols, spending long hours in a very isolated world so that only the band, the producer and the helper could get the "inside jokes". Who knows if it'll appear as a bonus material on a DVD one day..
How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?
Deep and powerful, a roller-coaster of emotions that anyone overcomes his doubts or fears to ride it will discover an enthralling and addictive experience!
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
We are really into over-the-top live performers that emerged in the 80s. X Japan, Yngwie Malmsteen, Ratt, Doro, Poison, Cinderella etc. We can be watching the best moves for hours on the internet shouting "Oh shit! this is fucking crazy!!" But that’s more for the live part : ) On a composition level, each member brings its own personality... we all listen to different things and we are still evolving as music enthusiasts and that's probably why Icewind sounds special and different to us.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
This interview was a lot of fun! thanks! We're looking forward to read your feedbacks on myspace or facebook!
Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,