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Wuthering Heights Interview

Here is my email interview with the progressive power metal band, Wuthering Heights, care of the lovely folks from Earsplit. A couple of months ago, they released their latest album entitled Salt, and it was well-received on this site. The band’s founding member, Erik Ravn, was kind enough to take the time to give some friendly answers to my questions.

Erik Ravn

The Interview:

Which artists and/or genres have had the greatest influence on your own music? How so?

  • Well, I guess my early inspiration falls in two categories. One is the early rock´n´roll, like Elvis, Little Richard and those guys – because as a kid I really loved the amazing raw energy in this music. Then a little later I started listening to the kind of pomp rock from the seventies – stuff like Styx, Sweet, Alan Parsons and all that – because these guys just had great musical skill and because I´m such a sucker for vocal harmonies. And then – when I discovered metal it was just like the perfect match of these styles. It had the high musical level of the pomp/prog rock together with the adrenaline rush of the early rockers. Later I of course also got into folk music, which is sort of the extra element in the WH sound. To name just a few influential artists won´t make too much sense, because I have drawn inspiration from such a broad range of music. But stuff like Meat Loaf, Helloween, Thin Lizzy, Riot and Skyclad have been very important to me as ingredients in my own style.

How does working with Wuthering Heights compare to other bands you have participated in (Pyramaze, Space Odyssey, etc.)?

  • Hmm… I (Erik) haven´t really done anything else, so I can´t really answer that. My only other endeavour is more like a gentleman´s club/beer tasting society than a real band…haha! But anyway, I guess from the other guys perspective WH gives them a chance to use their craft in something quite challenging without the obligations of their usual bands. I mean, I don´t expect them to write stuff or run the business – their job is to bring the songs to life with their amazing skills. And I think that´s a good thing for a musician sometimes, you know, to be able to concentrate on just playing.

How did your musical approach in Salt differ from that in previous albums?

  • Not too much, it more or less always works the same way. I write the lyrics, then build the songs around them and basically go wherever the songs take me. If this album is different, then it´s probably because there was no real agenda this time. I mean, we´ve had things we maybe wanted to prove, in terms of style or whatever, on the previous albums, where this time we just got down to playing the songs.

Where did the inspiration behind the album’s theme come from?

  • Well, there´s not really any overall theme as such. I don´t plan ahead like that when I write lyrics. On the other hand, I like an album to have a kind of unifying feel to it. And since some of the songs had taken a somewhat maritime twist, I kind of went along with this imagery, which I thought fitted well with the rather dark tales that the songs contain. I guess I´ve shot a little amiss, though, since many people seem to think that this is an album “about” the sea or even worse “a pirate album”. Which is ridiculous of course – it´s just metaphors, you know. But I guess people are used to taking things a bit too literally in metal. Anyway, the inspiration for my songs always comes from the world around me and how I try to deal with it. You could say that a lot of the songs deal with the end civilization in one way or the other. The conflict between man and Nature has always been the main theme in my work, only this time the prospects may look a little less cheerful. Still, I managed to stick a tune about whisky in there, so it can´t be all bad, can it? Haha!

In what ways has working with Sensory affected your music?

  • I guess it´s tough times for the record business in general. Still, I think for this kind of music Sensory is quite a good label, especially in the U.S. If nothing else, then I owe them that they believed in us back in the day, they got us out of our first, unsuccessful deal with another label, and all that. But most importantly they don´t meddle with the music – something I could never allow. I guess that´s why we´ve worked together for quite some time now.

Do you have any plans for the near future (tours, releases, side projects, etc.)?

  • Not really. Everything has been on sort of stand by for a long time, because I´ve had some serious problems with my back. It´s still not too good, so we´re not really planning anything right now. Too bad, when you have a new album out, but that´s how it is.

And finally, are there any bands that you would personally recommend to your fanbase?

  • Hmm… don´t know really. The thing is, I don´t listen very much to music that would be considered part of my own “genre”. It´s rare these days that I find a new album of the so-called “prog” or “power” kind of music interesting. I´ve been going more and more back to the roots of metal to find that energy of those early, inventive albums – you know, old obscure NWOBHM bands or some of the old early 80´s German bands or whatever. Plus I listen to a lot of “poser” stuff – I love what is now called “hair metal”, and I´m thrilled that this long-mocked genre is experiencing something of a revival, at least here in this part of the world. But anyway, I guess the fans by now will know what kind of crazy stuff I´m into – just go to our online forum at www.wuthering-heights.dk , there are some funny debates about stuff like that. But you know, sometimes I think that all you really need is Jethro Tull – they cover all the genres and usually better than everyone else…haha!

Thanks again to Mr. Erik Ravn for participating in the interview. And thanks to Wuthering Heights for putting out a stellar album. The album is Salt. Check it out if you haven’t yet, I made some bold statements on my album review – click here.

Hmm… don´t know really. The thing is, I don´t listen very much to music that would be considered part of my own “genre”. It´s rare these days that I find a new album of the socalled “prog” or “power” kind of music interesting. I´ve been going more and more back to the roots of metal to find that energy of those early, inventive albums – you know, old obscure NWOBHM bands or some of the old early 80´s German bands or whatever. Plus I listen to a lot of “poser” stuff – I love what is now called “hair metal”, and I´m thrilled that this long-mocked genre is experiencing something of a revival, at least here in this part of the world. But anyway, I guess the fans by now will know what kind of crazy stuff I´m into – just go to our online forum at www.wuthering-heights.dk , there are some funny debates about stuff like that. But you know, sometimes I think that all you really need is Jethro Tull – they cover all the genres and usually better than everyone else…haha!

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