Exclusive interview – hellfest.fr: POWERWOLF [Matthew Greywolf (guitar)]
“When you meet people at Hellfest, you can immediately see the stars in their eyes!”
Matthew Greywolf – Le Zénith, Paris – February 4th,2017
You will play at Hellfest for the second-time next June. What kind of memory do you have about your very first time, in 2014 ?
If there was one word I should have to pick about Hellfest, it’s “dreamland!” (laughter). For a heavy metal fan, I mean. We were totally excited about all the things inside the festival, all the statues, the place for the merch. We had a long walk around the festival, we also have been to the city outside, I’m not talking about Clisson but the Hell City Square. If I remember correctly, we have been there the day before our show, so we had a full evening at the festival. I was totally amazed by the whole feeling of the festival… I think it is totally outstanding. There is no other festival you can compare to Hellfest. What I enjoyed the most is all these stuff on top of the stages, all the details, so… Totally amazing. When you meet people at Hellfest, you can immediately see the stars in their eyes!
The last time we met for an interview, it was in September 2013, in a venue of 400 people. Tonight, you are playing in a 6,000 people venue, and it is sold out! What happened to Powerwolf in 3 years?
Quite a lot I would say (laughter)! Definitely, we have been touring a lot, we have also released another album since 2013. So yes, I think we have grown, and the shows have become bigger, and everything is more elaborated now. I mean, we are travelling with a very big crew, we have a big stage production. What we always try to do from the beginning is to deliver a good show. I remember our show at Le Divan Du Monde and, even if the venue was small, we tried to bring the maximum production on stage. And that’s what we are still doing today in a venue of 6,000 capacity. But, what is very important for me, and for us, is our fans. And the bigger the band is growing, the attitude of the band members does not change at all! Our attitude is still like: “Guys, let’s go on stage, have fun together playing the music we love, and make people see that we have fun!”. The bigger the venue is, the more important is you can still deliver the personal fun you have. Today, we have a barrier of five meters between us and all the people, and it is even more important that people can see in between songs we can smile because we have fun!
Today is the last show of the tour. How was the atmosphere during this tour with Epica and Beyond The Black?
Amazing, definitely! Everybody was very smooth, it has been a very friendly tour, I would say. Everybody was very happy to be on this tour, and the line-up was very interesting and worked very well! I personally like to tour with a line-up where three or four bands on the tour are not only power metal bands in a row. There was some diversity, and each of the 3 bands fought on their own, but it has worked for the audience. It was not a package where people can pick just one band and dislike the others, no. The three bands have fitted very well!
What are your tour plans for next months? As Powerwolf is very regular in releasing records (every 2 years), does that mean we will have a new one this year?
We have already toured more than ever (laughter)! But this year, there won’t be any new record. The plan is to release our album next year. This also means that for the rest of the year, from tomorrow, we will be very focused on writing our next album. But of course we will play some very selected festivals over the summer time, as for example Hellfest this summer. It will be a highlight for us definitely! So we will back with a new album in 2018.
Back to Hellfest topics: would you please comment this year’s bill?
Oh yeah! I don’t know it yet. Let me have a look on it…. wow! This is probably the line-up every European festival would dream to have! It’s really amazing. And if I would have time to, I would like to watch all bands playing at Hellfest (laughter)! But if I had to choose, I would definitely select Devin the Townsend Project because I am sure I will have fun and enjoy the show.
And do you know this legendary French band called Trust?
Of course! I even have their LP with the song “Antisocial”. Is it a reunion?
Yes it is, indeed. They will celebrate their 40th anniversary at Hellfest, you know.
Wow! That’s amazing! Maybe I will be there, somewhere in the crowd! That’s what I like at Hellfest, there is always not so obvious bands playing. You know, all festivals have a lot of bands in common and are proposing the same bill in a way, but Hellfest is so unique! For instance, Autopsy on this bill is totally amazing again! I did not see this name on any other festival bill!
What can we expect from Powerwolf at Hellfest? Any special show?
You can definitely expect the maximum heavy metal mess we can deliver! Regarding special shows, I would say that each show is special. It means that no matter where you are, we play the best we can. And of course a festival such as Hellfest is very special for us and we will try to have a maximum stage production with us, and to use the maximum of special effects. Of course, it will depend on the time we will play. It will be different if we will play during the day or during the night. But definitely, there will be amazing stuff with us on stage at Hellfest. So you can expect the very best of Powerwolf, and the maximum entertainment, I hope!
Powerwolf is now active for 13 years. What kind of advice would you like to give to a young band which would like to start its career based on the metal theatre atmosphere such as you do with Powerwolf?
Don’t care about what anybody says. Just do what you want to do. And don’t let anybody tell you to change things. As an example, the first year we came with Powerwolf on stage with that make up on our faces and played that melodic power metal, everybody told us: “Guys, this is not going to work”. “What the fuck is this? You should really change”. And we said “No. This is the vision we have and we will do it!”. I think it was 4 years ago at least… Everybody tried to push us to change what we visually did. A lot of people asked us if it helped, I mean, this outstanding visual thing. I would even say no. It did not help, it was even harder because we looked like all those black metal bands. So, it was very hard to establish what we did. And, today, when I look back to these past years, I am really happy that we have stated what we did. We just said to everybody: “Fuck off! If nobody likes it, it is going to happen, nobody likes it! But this is what we do, this our vision, and we will continue”. This is the best advice I can give to any band. No matter if it is visually or musically, just do what comes from your heart. Another thing we are very happy with is that we are a band with no major line-up changes from the beginning. It means: don’t choose musicians, choose friends! So, if you start a band, don’t look for the best musicians, look for your best friends with whom can imagine yourself sharing a bus for few months and have a great time, that’s it.
Your make-up and costumes are fully integrated in your musical style. Do you think your character can change in the future? A kind of evolution?
Of course! We don’t want to limit ourselves with a visual concept. We do have a visual concept, for sure, and we will probably not change it completely. But, we want to keep us as open as being able to adapt things and develop them. It you take a look at our costumes or our make up over the years, you will notice some kind of development in it, and we are always keeping things changing, and developing fresh ideas. It’s a challenge for ourselves.
Ok, many thanks. Now to finish, do you have one last word for Hellfest fans?
First of all, congratulations to those who have grabbed a ticket! (laughter). You will go to a wonderful festival! And second of all, I hope to meet all of you in front of the stage to celebrate the fucking great heavy metal mess together!
Interview and live pic : Keuf
Many thanks to Mona (Napalm Records)