Falconer - Stefan Weinerhall talks to UM


Heat in 7
Apr 17, 2001
Southern California
I had the opportunity to chat with Stefan Weinerhall, on a very early morning for me and evening for Stefan (who had just gotten in from work) the creator and driving force of the excellent new band Falconer. We talked about the formation of Falconer and the new album, his old band Mithotyn and his progress on the next album (which hopefully I will get credit for a change in a song title).

As it is always my custom, I would like to thank Stefan for his time and Metal Blade for setting up the interview.

Ultimate Metal: Congratulations Stefan on the excellent release, how do you feel about it?

Stefan Weinerhall: I haven't been this satisfied with any of my previous albums so I really can't complain. I am very happy with this new album

UM: Could you tell me how Falconer got started?

SW: My old band Mithotyn split up in May 1999 and that was the starting point for Falconer, a new project. You could say that I started to write songs for Falconer the day after Mithotyn split up. It's a continuity of the old band especially since the old Mithotyn drummer joined me, Karsten.

UM: How did you find the singer Mathias Blad?

SW: We have one music store in my town and I asked the owner if he knew of any good singers in my little town, since I knew there were no heavy metal singers to be found here. He mentioned that Mathias could sing very well but that he wasn't a heavy metal singer. It turned into a very promising thing once we heard Mathias sing and so we offered the position to him. He loved my music, since I had already recorded the demo. He said that he would love to sing in Falconer. Prior to this, he had no previous heavy metal experience, he sang in musicals and theatres.

UM: Right away when I first listened to your album I could tell he wasn't a traditional heavy metal singer.

SW: I agree, he doesn't have the typical metal style but he is very dramatic. He sings the words really clear. His style is just perfect for the band.

UM: How does Falconer compare to your older band Mithotyn?

SW: Pretty much the same music from the beginning except that the presentation differs, especially with the vocals since Mithotyn has screaming vocals. I thought that was the aspect that destroyed Mithotyn. You could just say that Falconer is Mithotyn music with clear vocals and with a bit more heavy metal appearance.

UM: I actually have never heard Mithotyn.

SW: Just think of it as Falconer with black metal vocals and a bit more brutal.

UM: Why did Mithotyn break up?

SW: We played together for six years. I had, in some way, outgrown that kind of music since I didn't listen to death metal. So of course I wanted to play music that I liked listening to but no one wanted to play heavy metal in my town. I just started doing it myself. It was just the fact that I wanted to do something else and I was really the "main guy" in the band. When I left the others did not have the energy to keep the band going. I think all the members were growing tired of Mithotyn. Plus, our label, Invasion, disappeared in 1999 for some reason that I don't know. You could say that the label took the decision for us since we weren't calling it quits because it is always fun to have something to do, even if it wasn't the thing I wanted to do. But I am glad that the label disappeared because I might have done one more album with Mithotyn.

UM: And then we never would have heard Falconer?

SW: Yes, exactly and I don't think a fourth Mithotyn album would have been as good as the Falconer CD.

UM: Is there a meaning to the name of the band, do you like falcons a lot?

SW: No, the name doesn't reflect any personal interests. It is just a name that suits the band very well. It reflects different kind of lyrical topics that we deal with, history and nature. Plus, it's a very good catchy name and it turned out perfect for the album cover.

UM: Who drew the cover?

SW: Its Jan Meininghaus, a German who has done some covers for Eidolon and Sacred Steel. I am very satisfied with his work.

UM: How was it that you signed with Metal Blade and how do you like being with them?

SW: Actually they wanted to sign Mithotyn a few years back. I told them that the band had split up but that I had a new project and they really sounded interested about it. We got the contract very smoothly because when I sent them the demo the deal was done. I think since Falconer resembles Mithotyn a lot (and Metal Blade liked Mithotyn) it was just very simple to work things out. So far I am very satisfied with Metal Blade. Everything happens within a reasonable time and so far I have gotten my money, especially from the European label. I haven't heard anything from the US label yet but I can't complain about anything.

UM: How did it happen that Andy LaRocque help with the production of the album?

SW: The second Mithotyn album was recorded at Andy's studio. He is the best guy to work with and he is the one we needed. He is the right person because he is at the same level, in some way, as us. He also listens to the older metal music that I do, I don't listen too much to the music of the 90's. He and I just understand each other really well. We will definitely return there in the future for the next albums.

UM: Are you a fan of King Diamond?

SW: No I am not and neither of Mercyful Fate. I can't stand his voice at all. It is nothing personal, he screams to much and I just don't like it. The Eye is the only album that I really like by him.

UM: You mentioned that your lyrics deal with history and nature. I find that so refreshing because they aren't typical power metal lyrics about dragons, swords, etc.

SW: Thank you, I am very interested in history in general, so they are based on my historical interests. I think that I have managed to keep away from my former lyrics about Viking and swords and all that crap. I did three albums about Vikings so that is enough. There is so much more history to be told but not all the lyrics are related to history. For example, "Substitutional World" is more like a Green Peace hymn. The first song "Upon the Grave of Guilt" is about emotions that old people have at some point in their life.

UM: What inspires you when you write the music?

SW: Nothing that I can really pinpoint to. When I sit down with my guitar I have inspiration, like I know that some days will be really good to write. I do have plenty of favorite songs and bands but I try not to draw parallels to those bands. It can be hard to not sound similar to the bands I like, like Jethro Tull. I like all kinds of music as long as there is a good melody, it could be anything with keyboards, acoustic or electric guitars. It doesn't really matter what instruments are used as long as great melody is present.

UM: You also have a lot of folk music elements in your music

SW: That is really a strange thing. My music has always been affected by folk music but I don't listen to it myself. I only have a couple of albums but nothing that I really listen to regularly. Of course I know how it sounds and in some way it just finds its way into the music and I think it creates a very good mix between the metal and the folk music.

UM: Exactly, the mix you are talking about has given such a breath of fresh air for the genre. One of my favorite songs is "A Quest for the Crown" a song people would not expect from a power metal band.

SW: That is my favorite song from the album. I don't want to be bound by the boundaries and rules that exist in the metal world. I just write what I think is good. Hopefully, people like it and I so far most people who have heard the album have enjoyed it.

UM: Another great thing about your album is that many of the songs just grab you with excellent opening riffs like in "Entering Eternity" and "Upon the Grave of Guilt".

SW: I would say that those two riffs and the one in "MindTraveller" are very Mithotyn like riffs. But I mixed it up with harmonic vocals in the verses and choruses. Those kinds of riffs could have appeared in Mithotyn instead in those days.

UM: Could you tell me a little about the bonus track "Per Tyrssons Döttar I Vänge".

SW: Do you have it on the American version?

UM: Actually I got the European version and I am really not sure if the American version has it.

SW: That bonus track is a traditional song from the town that the song is set in. We basically wanted one more song to put in the Japanese version but we didn't have any others so Mathias came up with this song. We thought it was a very soothing song and it sounds like Falconer, it is very much in the same style as some of the songs in the album. I guess I can describe the lyrics of the song as a murder-ballad. It is about three daughters being killed by three bad guys. The father finds this out and he kills two of the bad guys and later finds out that they are his three lost sons from a previous relationship. He hasn't seen them for about thirty years. He kills his own sons and he wants to repent his soul.

UM: I thought it was going to be a more happy song than that.

SW: (Laughs) Well Metal Blade has the translation in their homepage at www.metalblade.de. I think we will do more of those traditional songs in the future, especially as bonus tracks. We have a really good song in mind right now for the next album, actually I think that it is an excellent song.

UM: Are there are any plans to tour for the album?

SW: There are no plans at all. I didn't form the band to play live, I formed it to just record albums. That is enough for me but it seems that it is not enough for the fans. But we have no plans at the moment, maybe in the future. I haven't thought about it at all so I don't want to start any rumors about it.

UM: Are you then working on the second studio album?

SW: Yeah, I have written four songs already. We should enter the studio sometime this fall in October or November hopefully for a release this time next year. That is the schedule I want to hold, one album a year. Not like a band like Manowar who came out with one album in the last six years. I think their last album came out in 1996 and that is quite a long time.

UM: Do you mind sharing the song titles of the songs you have written so far?

SW: One song that is not really power metal is called "Basten to the Floor", it's a very catchy song. "Lament of the Minstrel" and "Enter the Glade" are two other songs. Actually, I am not sure if you can say "Basten to the Floor". Can you say the word basten in that sentence?

UM: No but you could say "Beaten to the Floor"

SW: Ok, that does sound better but it doesn't sound as good as "Basten to the Floor". It's not a problem, I will call the song "Beaten to the Floor".

UM: Can I get the credit for the name change?

SW: Sure! Why not! (We both have a good laugh)

UM: How long have you been playing for?

SW: Let's see. I started to play guitar in 1991 or 1992 so I guess that makes it 10 years now! (Surprised tone) Wow! That much? Ten years and I am not that better. Actually, I am not the kind of guy that sits and plays his guitar four or five hours a day. That bores me and I just want to play and write songs and you can't do that by just practicing chords. But I am trying my best and I think that so far it has turned out pretty good.

UM: Which do you like playing better, guitar or bass?

SW: Without a doubt the guitar. I have always played the guitar and the reason I played the bass in the Falconer album was because we didn't have a bass player.

UM: Will you have a full-time bass player for the next album?

SW: We have no plans for that right now. I don't know but it would be an improvement for the band. But then again the demand for a tour might be a lot bigger, we would be a complete band. I don't know of anyone right now that could fit in the band. So I will just leave it at that.

UM: You did mention that you don't listen to many of the 90's bands but are there any bands out there that you do like?

SW: Some bands I do like are Gamma Ray, Edguy and Helloween, but not their 90's stuff. But I do like their album Chameleon a lot.

UM: I also like that album a lot and we are definitely in the minority there.

SW: Yeah, most people just throw it away but it is a very good album. It's not a typical Helloween album. Otherwise the bands I like are Jethro Tull, who are my favorite band, and I also like Rainbow and Black Sabbath during the Dio-era. Others I do like are Iced Earth and Iron Maiden.

UM: Did you like Iron Maiden's last album Brave New World?

SW: It's pretty good but it lacks some tempo I think. There aren't any songs like "The Trooper". Most of the songs are too long and slow. I think they wimped out a bit. (Rodrigo's note-While it is not the Iron Maiden of old, I think that it is an excellent album. and this is the only thing I disagree with Stefan.)

UM: Is there anything else you would like to talk about?

SW: I want to mention our homepage, www.falconer-metal.com. It might not be much too look at right now but hopefully in the future it will grow.

UM: I already had taken a look at it and we have a link for it in the review for your album.

SW: Well thanks a lot. I should take a look at your review.

UM: Well you got a very good review

SW: Cool! Finally the last thing that I want to mention is that I would force every Mithotyn fan to buy the Falconer album, you will not be disappointed by it because I think that this album is the best thing I have done so far.