Interview with Tann (Guitars/vocals)
Interview conducted by Sargon the Terrible
Date online: May 4, 2004
For those who missed it: Ironsword fucking rule. These guys from Portugal are one of the most obscure True Heavy Metal bands on earth, and they are also one of the best. Drawing inspiration from classic bands like Manilla Road, Omen and Iron Maiden, Tann and company forged a killer disc of Epic Heavy Metal with their debut CD in 2002. It was not an easy album to find, but it was worth every effort and every penny for those (like me) who love this kind of music. With a new album on the way and a stellar showing at the Keep It True festival, Ironsword are finally poised to take the metal scene by the throat. Even as busy as he is, band founder, guitarist and vocalist Tann took time to answer some questions about the band. Ironsword are a great band, and are destined to be even greater. This is an interview that I am proud to present, and a band I am proud to support. Read on.
Sargon: How long have you wanted to play True Metal? When did you first get into metal?
Tann: I started listening to Metal in 1983 and I do remember well. It was a big change in my life. My older sister used to listen to BLACK SABBATH, URIAH HEEP, KISS and DEEP PURPLE but back then I never cared too much about it. But It all started in 1983, when a neighbor of mine bought the IRON MAIDEN "Piece of mind" album and we listened to it together for the first time. The music, the heavy sound was incredible, then the front cover and the photo inside with band eating the brains etc I was very young but all this affected me. Then I slowly started tape trading and listening to radioshows, discovering other bands like SAXON, PRIEST, WARLOCK, OZZY, DIO, MANOWAR, QUEENSRYCHE and later I found other brilliant underground bands. Then I started buying vinyl when I had the money (in fact I'm still a poor Metal freak!). Obviously when you're a kid you have your own idols and you want to form your own Metal band, buy a guitar etc. However, this old dream of mine only became true in early 1995 when I formed IRONSWORD.
Sargon: How did Ironsword begin? Did it take a long time to get a band together and record?
Tann: I've always played in Heavy Metal bands since 1988-1989 that never passed the demo phase, and there were always some particular reasons that I disliked. So, I had to form my own band, to be the boss and be in control of everything if you know what I mean. Now, to put a band together of true Metal in Portugal was a very hard matter, it was simply too difficult to find decent dedicated musicians into traditional Heavy Metal, so in early 1995 I decided to form IRONSWORD as a one-man-band and record later a 3 song promo tape in a time when Heavy Metal was considered dead, out dated and totally scorned. Fortunately, this promo caught everyone by the throat and received a good feedback from the media. I never gave up in spite of all difficulties. Only in 1999 IRONSWORD started working as a power trio, got a record deal with British label THE MISKATONIC FOUNDATION and in 2002 release their first album.
Sargon: I understand the recording sessions for the debut were difficult, can you tell us some more about that? How are the sessions going for the new album?
Tann: Difficult is not the right word, I would say that the recording sessions of our debut were like a race against time. We had a very low studio budget and we entered the studio like a bunch of brainless barbarians. Almost everything was recorded on the first take using analogic system only. However, as soon as we started recording we faced several specific technical problems, especially on the drums. The studio had an acoustic kit available for us but the sound was too shitty, so the drummer played on a small kit connected to a computer. The drums sound indeed too synthetic for our taste! Also, we had planned to re-record 3 songs from our promo 1998, but we ended up using the original versions from the promo. To sum up, I wish we had more money and time to improve a few things, but the album turned out that way and I guess nowadays I wouldn't change a bit! We had an incredible atmosphere at the studio and while we were recording we all thought to ourselves we were the best epic metal band in the universe...
Sargon: Tell us about the new album! When will it be finished and released? How has your sound changed since the first album?
Tann: We are still in the studio recording the new album. We decided this time not to rush things and record the whole thing in a very slow process. The new album will be entitled "Return of the Warrior" and it will have 12 new killer songs of Epic Metal in the good IRONSWORD tradition, very heavy and catchy songs. I guess there aren't too much differences between our new album and our debut, I consider it more a continuation of our debut. I am very pleased with the new line up, and the production of this new album, totally 80's sounding if you know what I mean. I guess the album will be released in the summer 2004, hopefully. We plan as well to have some guest musicians from other bands doing some backing vocals.
Sargon: How about the vocals? On the newer songs off the debut you used a gruffer voice than on the older tracks. What style of vocals will we hear on the new album?
Tann: Gruffer vocals mainly...like I used on our debut. That's the kind of vocals I feel more comfortable with and in fact suits perfectly our sound! Thanks to Marlboro and Southern Comfort...
Sargon: You use Robert E Howard for inspiration a lot. (Which is great for big Howard fans like me!) Are you a fan of some other bands that do the same? Such as Bal-Sagoth, Cauldron Born, and Battleroar?
Tann: Yes, I am a big fan of Robert Howard and our bassist player Rick Thor as well. He's been my favourite writer for a long time, especially with the Conan stories, but also Bran mcmorn, cormac mcart, king kull. To tell you the truth I don't know too much bands that have Howard has inspiration, but I like very much Cauldron Born and Battleroar. Bal-Sagoth has also some good ideas.
Sargon: How was playing at the Keep It True Festival on April 10th? That looked like an awesome show!
Tann: Oh we had such a fantastic unforgettable weekend at the Keep It True II Fest! We really have to thank Oli and Tarek for inviting us to play there, it was an honour! We were treated like kings and everyone was very professional! Besides, just to see more than 1000 metalheads from different countries like a big metal family and even the bands mingled with the audience, that was brilliant! I am still very excited I still cannot believe all this was true. Just the fact of seeing all these bands live and share the stage together is something out of this world. To see and meet the members of CLOVEN HOOF, ATTACKER, BLITZKRIEG, ELIXIR, MANILLA ROAD (for the 3rd time!). This is for sure the best Metal fest of all times since the 80's... Our show turned out pretty well and the sound was very good also. This was our first show ever in almost 10 years of existence!
Sargon: Did you manage to play live at all for the first CD? I know Miskatonic are a tiny label, and can't provide much support that way, but you surely must have played some shows!
Tann: No, like I said on the previous question, our first show ever in almost 10 years of existence was at the Keep It True II. Of course we had some offers before, we were supposed to play in Athens but never made it because the old line up left the band at that time etc. This was a very sad situation! Our label, Miskatonic is a small label indeed, but they are very professional and supports us more than 100%, they treat us like a real Metal band and not just another outfit in the trash basket! We are very pleased with their work and cannot complain! Miskatonic is trying to arrange a small German tour in the summer with SLOUGH FEG, maybe some dates as well in Belgium, Holland, Italy and Greece. Let's wait and see...
Sargon: The first CD was really hard to find in the US, will the distro for the new one be any better?
Tann: I really hope so! I guess it was Century Media (US) that was distributing our debut, I can't remember well, but I know from a lot of people that it was hard to find there, all of them had to order it from European distributors and mailorders.
Sargon: Ironsword are very underground, but true fans (like me) are fanatical about the band. Is it gratifying to see such excitement about your music from so many different places? And do fans ever send you weird gifts?
Tann: Of course it is very gratifying, especially when fans etc help you to build an underground cult status all over the years. We never planned nothing like this you know, we just love to play and create good quality Metal. We never saw music as a competition with other bands or to make music for profit. We are really impressed about the way our music have affected people from Germany, Greece, France, Italy, Finland, Belgium, Japan, Mexico and even US that feel quite identified with our own style. We are indeed more than grateful to all those who've been supporting us since the beginning and always believed in us! They have touched our hearts deeply! So far I haven't received weird gifts, just photos, tapes and CD-ROM's of new bands asking for my humble opinion.
Sargon: Were you excited to play with Manilla Road at the KIT show? I love them and I know they are a big influence on Ironsword.
Tann: Of course we were very excited to play with MANILLA ROAD, after all they are my fave band and the biggest influence and inspiration in IRONSWORD at all levels! They are a unique band! I already had the chance to meet them personally and see them live in Greece a couple of years ago, but this time was different and I do hope we will play together more often! Mark Shelton is one of the most talented, crazy and nicest people in the Metal history and also I love Hellroadie, he's literally the Tasmanian devil ah ah
Sargon: You have had a lot of lineup changes in the past, do you have confidence that the new lineup will last, and that Ironsword will continue?
Tann: Well, IRONSWORD is my life more or less, this is more like a life style than actually just another band playing Metal. IRONSWORD will continue, no matter what, even if I have 80 years old on a wheelchair or something. I hope this line up last for many years, if not I'll just have to find other musicians like I did in the past. Last year we had 3 drummers in a year which is crazy, you know. But I believe this new line up will last for many years! We are not only musicians that play in the same band, but also we have a very strong friendship...
Sargon: I just have to say I love the last album, and I am so excited about the new one I can hardly wait. Thanks for the interview, and please, if there is anything else you want to say, say it now!
Tann: Thank you very much for you kind words and all your support! It is me who has to thank for the interview, really. I simply had a nice time answering it, honestly. I can only say to our fans to watch out for our upcoming new CD "Return of the Warrior" and keep supporting real Metal for there are some bands that do not follow the trend! Visit our official website at: www.ironsword.net
|Other information about Ironsword on this site|
|Review: Overlords of Chaos|
|Review: Return of the Warrior|
|Review: Overlords of Chaos|
|Review: None But the Brave|
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