Steelwing are responsible for a hard-rocking, crazed debut album in the form of ‘Lord of the wasteland’ (not heard it? Well damn well check it out!!!) which received a great review from SA here. We were able to track them down and pose a few questions for the band who look set to take the metal world by storm with their eighties-infused, powerful rock sound. Appearing at Bloodstock in August the band have yet to undertake a full UK tour, but on the strength of their debut you can expect a tight, enthusiastic performance.
SA: Steelwing are something of a throwback to the hair metal days of the eighties – what made you decide upon this style of music?
Robby: There is something about good old Heavy Metal, and 80s metal in particular, that just speaks to all of us. Great musicians wrote great music, they had cool instruments and stage shows, and the music from that time will last forever. Our favourite bands made their best albums during that period, and the music had a timeless quality.
SA: You’re all very proficient musicians – is this your first venture or have you been in previous bands before?
Robby: We’ve all been in various demo bands in the past.
Riley: Yeah, but this time all the pieces fit together and we immediately got a very good response on what we were doing.
SA: One of the things that make your album so enjoyable is the enthusiasm that you exude – you just seem to be playing form the heart as it were – is that a fair assessment?
Robby: That’s absolutely right. Our music comes straight from the heart, and Heavy Metal is our passion.
SA: You seem to be particularly influenced by the NWOBHM – what are your influences and which bands do you love?
Riley: Iron Maiden and Judas Priest obviously, as well as Accept, Dio, King Diamond, Megadeth, Saxon, Savatage, Manowar, Crimson Glory, Queensrÿche, Vicious Rumors… We could go on forever!
SA:…and what about lyrical themes?
Riley: Aside from the obvious Mad Max-inspired post-apocalyptic theme of the album, our lyrics are mostly based on and inspired by movies, books, sci-fi and horror.
SA: What would your dream line up be for a festival?
Riley: Hehe you could always take all the bands we cited as influences and let Iron Maiden headline one day and Judas Priest the other… Do you feel that music such as this is relevant in today’s musical climate and in what way? Robby: It certainly feels relevant, since there is a lot of interest in it. Classic Heavy Metal has had a big resurgence over the last few years, with many great releases from great bands.
SA: Who’s the chief songwriter in the band or would you say it is a collaborative effort?Robby: Alex Vega is the mastermind behind the arrangements, although he and I write most of the music together. Riley does all the melodies and lyrics, and occasionally he’ll throw in a riff here and there, since he’s also a guitar player.
SA: When can we expect a full Steelwing tour of the UK?
Robby: Hopefully it won’t take us too long to do a proper tour down there. Britain is home to so many of our heroes and it’s where it all started. It’s mostly up to the fans, but I could definitely see it happening in a few years.
SA: Tell us about the competition that led to your signing a record deal
Robby: It was called the Rock The Nation Award, and we competed against 1200 bands through MySpace. We didn’t really think much of it at the time, we just entered, did a bit of promotion to get some votes and so on. But we never thought we could win it, and it was a really bizarre experience to have the record company tell us that we had a record deal and all that.
SA: Sweden’s more known for its death and extreme metal – would you say there are many bands doing what you do over there?
Robby: There are some Swedish bands playing old school metal right now, although I think our approach is a bit different to all of them. We’re doing two tours this year with Enforcer, they’re great at what they do. RAM is another cool Swedish band which we all enjoy. My personal favourite, though, is Wolf, they kick major ASS!
Robby: We want to thank our UK fans for their support! We’ll see you guys at Bloodstock this summer, and at Shepherds Bush Empire with Blind Guardian in September!
Questions by Phil Stiles for SonicAbuse
Interview done by Riley (lead vocals) and Robby Rockbag (guitars)