Boston folk metallers Wilderun recently played at Cook’s Cafe in Naugatuck along with Aether Realm as part of the “WildeRealm” regional tour, and the band was kind enough to sit down and have a talk with us about their history, American folk metal, writing pieces for an orchestra, and what the future may hold.
Interviewd by: Brian Cross
How did Wilderun get started?
(everyone points at Evan Berry, vocalist and guitarist)
EVAN – (laughs) Wilderun was my personal solo project for a few years; I was just writing tunes. I didn’t really have any direction for it. I started writing songs in 2008 and early 2009, and just wrote random stuff, probably for about two years on my own. In November 2011, I met up with Wayne (Ingram, lead guitars) as I’d been talking to him about working on the music. And Jon (Teachey, drums), as I needed a drummer.
WAYNE – I contacted you during my first semester at school because you put up a post saying “I’m starting a folk metal band!” I pulled off a tab and called you, and you said “Actually, I’ve already got everybody I need.” All right, cool, whatever. And then three years later, you said “Hey Wayne, remember how you were the only one who contacted me about the band? Why don’t we do that?” (everyone laughs)
EVAN – Exactly! It all came full circle after about three years. Wayne became the lead guitarist and orchestrator, because he’s a film scoring major. So I figured Wilderun needed some elaborate orchestration as opposed to the crappy keyboards I was using. We teamed up, and Jon was the drummer on deck for a while before it even got started! I knew he’d be the drummer, as he also played in one of my other bands. As soon as me and Wayne really started orchestrating and getting serious about it, we decided to make a full band out of it, and Jon suggesting getting Dan (Müller, bass). In about early 2012, we had all four members and a complete lineup. We originally got together just to make a demo, but then as we were in the middle of working, it just made more sense to go all out and do a full-length as I had enough material to do it. We decided while rehearsing for the album that we wanted to do a show, so we played the Paganfest show with Turisas and Alestorm. At that point, we only played the songs live that we actually knew, and after the Paganfest show was over, then we worked on the rest of the album. In May 2012 we recorded the album (Olden Tales and Deathly Trails) at More Sound Studio in Syracuse.
Where did the band name come from?
EVAN – It came from a fantasy book, The Elfstones of Shannara. “Wilderun” was just the area of the land that was kind of like the Wild West of the fantasy world.
WAYNE – The secret’s out!
JON – Now everyone’s going to know! (laughs)
EVAN – I just thought “Wilderun” was a cool word, and since it was like the Wild West, it kind of fits with American folk metal.
Wilderun stands apart from most of its folk metal brethren by focusing on American folk tales rather than the more common European ones. How did this come about, and did you incorporate any folk tales from New England?
EVAN – Basically, with Wilderun the music came first. I had been writing a lot of songs, and over the course of orchestrating and writing lyrics we tried to find a more unique identity for the band. I thought it would be more interesting to pull some influence from folk tales and songs from our side of the ocean. The Scandinavian thing’s been overdone, and we’re not from there, so why would we do it? (laughs) The only song that’s directly related to something out of New England is “Storm Along,” an old tall tale about a giant sea captain.
Take us through a typical songwriting session.
WAYNE – Evan’s in school and writes all the stuff, then he contacts us. (everyone laughs)
EVAN – Songwriting is just me sitting in my room drinking coffee. That’s it.
JON – Lots and lots of coffee. The man has a problem. (everyone laughs)
EVAN – Just sitting there and wasting away with my guitar and keyboard, and being late for stuff. That’s pretty much it…but the orchestral sessions are a completely different story, which Wayne can tell you about.
WAYNE – Evan had written all of the music already, as far as the riffs and most of the lyrics and melodies. He had been writing the songs for a long time before he had met me, so it was more or less fleshing out those ideas. I had been studying orchestration and that’s what I love to do in addition to playing guitar. Evan would come over and I learned all the songs; using the melodies and what orchestral knowledge I had, I picked instruments to fill the melodies and harmonies, creating arrangements to evoke certain moods for whatever the song needed at the time. It took us about four to five months to orchestrate the whole album.
What challenges did you face while recording the album?
DAN – Time! (everyone laughs)
JON – Yeah, not enough rehearsal time.
DAN – Luckily, we were able to rehearse during school.
JON – It still wasn’t enough! (laughs)
DAN – There was still a bit of learning going on inside the studio. We had a little under two weeks to record the entire album, including folk instruments, vocal harmonies, and all that. It took time to get the foundation; the rock instruments like the guitar, bass, and drums. Then it was a matter of figuring out where the folk instruments would go, where the gang vocals would go, all of the harmonies. Trying to cram that all into two weeks was probably the most difficult thing about it.
WAYNE – There were also a lot of elements we recorded in the studio that weren’t necessarily rehearsed beforehand. We had practiced as a band getting the metal part tight, but when it came time to do the mandolin? There are only four of us; it’s like not we had a dedicated mandolin guy. We had to figure it all out in the studio, and make sure we played it well. But it was fun! It was a good time.
JON – Yes!
DAN – Absolutely! (everyone laughs)
WAYNE – Unanimous decision.
EVAN – We’ll have a dobro on there, and maybe a banjo. I think that’s about it. Well, maybe some spoons.
JON – Dude! I will be all over that! (everyone laughs)
EVAN – Typically, we’d like to get a slightly more concrete, solidified folk instrument sound on the next album. I think the first album worked out really well, but we want to be a little more focused. It was kind of on-the-spot experimentation for the first album, which worked.
JON – Grabbing random instruments from Dan’s house?
EVAN – Yeah! (laughs)
WAYNE – When I was orchestrating and arranging the thing, I said it would be really rad if we could get an autoharp. And Dan’s like, (lower voice) “Uh, I have my Grandpa’s.” Dan had all of this cool stuff, but he never said anything until it came up! (laughs) “I’ve got a hundred-year-old dulcimer, I guess we could bring that.” (everyone laughs) That’s my Dan impression. It sounds nothing like him.
There’s some diverse musical influences present on Olden Tales and Deathly Trails, but what really inspired you to play folk metal in the first place?
JON – Good question.
EVAN – That’s a tough question.
DAN – Babes! (laughs)
WAYNE – Sex, drugs, and rock and roll, man!
JON – We’re obviously in the right musical genre to get the babes.
EVAN – Yeah, we’re in it for the money. (everyone laughs) That’s why were started playing folk metal! The money and the fame! That’s pretty much all I can say. (keeps laughing)
JON – Really, it’s for the music’s sake. For the love of that music, and that’s what we are. It sounds like such a clichéd answer!
EVAN – Honestly, I’d really have to think about that question. It’s hard to explain!
DAN – It’s a great escape. The whole folk metal vibe, with fantasy and tall tales, it’s a way to step out of your own head and enjoy the moment.
EVAN – Especially working with some of the old folk tunes and stuff. Learning those songs and reading about their history and where they came from, and then creating our own lyrics around them. It was interesting to learn about old stories and tales and reinterpret them ourselves. That’s not necessarily musical, that’s just kind of old tales and history, which is fascinating.
Wayne, you mentioned you’re studying film scoring. What composers inspired your work on the orchestral parts?
WAYNE – Alan Silvestri, number one. He’s my favorite. The orchestral side of the album is really cool; obviously metal is just awesome, but when you add the whole other element of what an orchestra can do? Think about it: when you write something orchestral, it can take anywhere from a small quartet to a hundred people to play what you wrote. There’s a bunch of things that inspire me when writing orchestral music; there’s an incredible amount of teamwork towards a collective goal. The orchestral stuff I came up with for the album, especially on “Suncatcher” and “Storm Along,” if they were to be played by a real orchestra, it would be upwards of a sixty- or seventy-piece orchestra. To think that it would take that many people to do it? To be a part of something that’s so much bigger than yourself really entices me. It’s a big step outside of what you’re capable of, and relying on other people to pull together their talents and resources to make it happen. That’s really inspiring. You don’t become “the guy that made the thing,” you’re part of this whole group of people that made the thing.
What do you see as the most important aspect of your music?
WAYNE – Babes. (everyone laughs)
EVAN – Man, this is another tough question. It makes me think…
WAYNE – The next question is how many babes. (everyone laughs)
JON – I would say…making the most mediocre drum parts possible. (everyone laughs)
EVAN – Okay, I’ll try to give a real answer to this. I think the most important thing with this band is that we wanted to play epic, symphonic music from the get-go, but our main goal is to try to take that style of music and progress it in different ways than haven’t been done before. Especially with the new songs that haven’t been released yet. We’re just trying to take as much of a progressive approach to folk metal and symphonic metal as we can. That sounds a little pretentious, but it’s just basically about experimenting with different styles and genres and melding it into one cohesive unit. That’s the most fun, and I think that’s the most interesting music: the stuff that tries to add new things to a sound. That’s what we’re trying to do.
WAYNE – Also, something that I feel is exciting about the album is that it’s not relying on themes from Scandinavian cultures. It’s relying on themes from American culture. I think it’s progressive to have this style of music talk about things from other places; there’s a whole western hemisphere that can do this, too, and has interesting tales.
EVAN – We definitely can’t deny our influence from all of the previous folk metal bands and black metal bands that existed, because we love all of that music. But we knew that we wanted to try our best to take a new approach to it. Not to deny our influences, but to try to put a new spin on it whenever we can. That’s the most interesting thing for us.
Beyond the current tour, what does the immediate future have in store for Wilderun?
EVAN – We want to keep playing shows, and we have more material for another record, but I don’t know exactly when that’s going to be out. Definitely within a few years, hopefully sooner rather than later. Whenever we can put it together, there’s going to be more music, and we’ll keep playing when we can.
JON – More tours!
WAYNE – And hopefully a West Coast tour sometime!
Ryan Montbleau Band
March 26, 2011
Bear Mountain Lodge – Killington, VT
Photos by: Dave Barnum
Mike Portnoy has announced four upcoming in-store appearances at New England Daddy’s Junky Music locations. Check out the dates/locations below:
Tuesday, Feb. 8, 6:30pm – Daddy’s Portsmouth, NH
Wednesday, Feb. 9, 6:30pm – Daddy’s Manchester, NH
Thursday, Feb. 10, 6:30pm – Daddy’s Boston, MA
Friday, Feb. 11, 6:30pm – Daddy’s Dedham, MA
Want to go? Reserve your spot here.
By: Roger Scales
Mayday Parade will be rolling into the Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA with Warped Tour on July 13th and we have a very special contest for you! Not only do we have a pair of tickets to give away to the show but we’ll also hook you up with passes to meet the band and Mayday Parade t-shirts to get your swag on! (We also have some autographed posters for a few lucky runners-up!)
Mayday Parade’s latest album “Anywhere But Here” is out now and you’ve probably heard the single “Kids In Love” on WPRO in Providence, RI right? Here’s your chance to hear the song live and personally tell the band what you think about it! Warped Tour has truly become a summer staple for music fans in New England so don’t miss out.
So how do you enter?
There are two easy ways to enter – you can either follow us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter and then send us an email to be entered to win the grand prize. If you follow us on both social networks you’ll be entered into the drawing twice. Send your email to us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject header “Mayday Parade“. In the email please include your name, phone number, email address and mailing address along with the text “I followed you on Facebook/Twitter”.
We will select and notify a grand prize winner on July 8th as well as two runners up (who will receive autographed Mayday Parade posters!)
Please note: Grand prize winner is responsible for their own transportation to and from the event.
For more information on Mayday Parade visit their official Website
For all the details on Warped Tour Visit their official Website
For information on The Comcast Center in Mansfield, MA visit their website
On March 9th, Worcester’s own Four Year Strong, purveyors of pop infused hardcore, delivered their latest album “Enemy Of The World” to music fans everywhere. Some fans feared that with their first album on Universal Motown/Decaydance Records, Four Year Strong may become a victim of the machine and lose their edge but the only “Machine” the band fell prey to was the producer of the same name who guided them seamlessly through the recording process and helped them deliver the perfect follow up to “Rise Or Die Trying”.
While “Enemy Of The World” does have a more polished feel, it’s fueled whole-heartedly by the Four Year Strong spirit. Kicking off the album with “It Must Really Suck To Be Four Year Strong Right Now” the lyrics speak volumes “..don’t fix it if it isn’t broken..” and while the band diplomatically declined to comment on the specific meaning of this lyric we can all draw enough from it to know that Four Year Strong is committed to bringing their loyal following the music that that made us all fans from the beginning.
While their music blends the boundaries between hardcore and power pop/punk, this band has never been one to slap a label on their sound. Going into the writing process for “Enemy Of The World” all they knew was that they wanted to capture the essence of their live performance as much as possible and try some new things with the end goal of writing a great record from start to finish without forcing anything. “Enemy Of The World” delivers just that, picking up right where “Rise Or Die Trying” left off and even offering up a few surprises along the way.
We caught up with proud New England native and Four Year Strong keyboardist/vocalist Josh Lyford to talk about the making of the new album, their allegiance to New England and all things Four Year Strong.