In a new interview with Shawn Ratches of Laughingmonkeymusic, FIREWIND guitarist Gus G. spoke about the progress of the recording sessions for the band’s upcoming tenth studio LP. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “The new album is finished, actually. We’ve mixed it, mastered it, we delivered it. We’re just in the process of picking out the singles and getting the artwork done. I think we should be ready by sometime end of September with everything.”
Gus went on to say that FIREWIND won’t do any touring in support of its upcoming concert album/Blu-ray, “Still Raging”, which will arrive on September 1 via AFM Records. “This is more like kind of like a special commemorative thing and it’s kind of like an in-between thing, in-between release before the next album comes,” he explained. “So we’re just gonna put that out. We have a couple of festivals left until the end of September, and I think probably sometime this fall or winter we’re gonna start rolling with new music, new singles.”
As for a possible release date for the new FIREWIND album, Gus said: “I think we’re aiming for early ’24 for the new album. It’s not confirmed a hundred percent yet, but the discussion is, like, early 24. I don’t know which month yet, or which date exactly.”
Regarding FIREWIND‘s touring plans for the upcoming LP, Gus said: “Right now we’re putting together the tours for next year that are going to be the new album tours. So it’s good. I’m excited about all these things. I’m hoping all the plans can come together nicely. It’s not as easy anymore. But we’re working hard.”
Gus went on to say that he and his management team are “trying” to organize a U.S. tour for next year. “That’s the thing now. We’re trying to get on a nice package to come back to the States,” he said. “Because prior to that tour with DRAGONFORCE (in the spring of 2022), FIREWIND hadn’t toured America in nine years. The last tour was 2013. And I definitely don’t wanna stay away from the American audiences that long again. So we wanna come back soon. So I think within 2024, we are definitely gonna plan on doing this.”
This past April, Gus was asked by Neil Jones of TotalRock if FIREWIND‘s latest single, “Destiny Is Calling”, which was released in February, is a good representation of what fans can expect to hear on the upcoming LP. The guitarist said: “Yeah. I think it’s definitely a good taste of what’s to come. All the songs, I think, have that type of anthemic vibe to them. So, yeah, I thought it was a really good, strong track to kick things off.”
In January, Gus told The Metal Voice that FIREWIND was taking a different approach with the release of the band’s new music.
“The thing is I was talking to (our record label) AFM Records, to the owner, actually,” Gus said. “We met over Christmas and talked about it. And now there’s a new approach, it seems — we’re just gonna be releasing singles. It was an interesting topic they brought on, because they just wanna keep on releasing singles, and then eventually those singles will be part of an album. I mean, we still worked on the album — we did it old school. I already wrote the songs; I wrote 10 songs and all that. But they were, like, ‘We’ll just drop singles as we go and see how much traction you get, see if we get playlist placement.’ Because Spotify playlists are like the new radio; that’s the new medium right now. And that’s what makes money for labels and artists, I guess. You get ‘X’ amount million streams and then that’s revenue and that keeps it going. And you move on to the next song and the next song, and then eventually you take those five or six singles over a period of a year and you package them with another four or five songs.”
He added: “I know it sounds very boring now — it doesn’t sound artistic at all — but that’s how labels think nowadays.”
Regarding the musical direction of the new FIREWIND material, Gus said: “I think it still sounds like FIREWIND. My goal was to make a little bit more anthemic type of tracks this time around. Because of the whole direction that was, ‘Okay, let’s work singles,’ I thought every song should be a single. So I didn’t write any kind of obscure type of tracks or didn’t experiment in that type of area. I kind of focused on writing three- (or) four-minute songs that are very high energy, something that you can play in an arena in a festival in front of a large crowd. That was my philosophy behind this one this time. Which is good. It’s not easy to write that type of songs. People think it’s easy, ‘Oh, it’s so simple’ and stuff. But it’s not so easy to make that and resonate with a bigger crowd. So let’s see how it does.”
FIREWIND‘s ninth, self-titled studio album was made available in May 2020.
In early 2020, FIREWIND officially parted ways with guitarist/keyboardist Bob Katsionis and singer Henning Basse. The group’s current vocalist is Herbie Langhans, who has previously played with AVANTASIA and SINBREED.
Gus and Langhans got to know each other back in the autumn of 2019, when the FIREWIND leader was looking for a suitable replacement for Henning Basse after the tour with QUEENSRŸCHE. Just a few weeks later, the recordings for “Firewind” were a done deal, ready for Swedish sound engineer Tobias Lindell (EUROPE, AVATAR, H.E.A.T.) to mix them in Lindell Audio Studios.
Gus spoke about the evolution of FIREWIND‘s sound in a 2020 interview with Audio Ink Radio. He said: “Like every band, we go through our different phases. Especially for us, having quite a few different singers in the lineup in the past, each guy brought a different vibe and different things to the band. I think on this record, you’ll hear elements from all our past records, especially with our new singer, Herbie, because he reminds me a lot of Stephen Fredrick, our first singer. But this album also has a lot of variety, and that might remind fans of albums like (2006’s) ‘Allegiance’ and (2008’s) ‘The Premonition’. But then again, we’re not trying to be retro or nostalgic or copy those albums. We’re moving towards the future. The way I see it, there’s always a new song to write. Every album, I try to make better songs, play better guitar, try different tempos, write in different keys. There’s always things you can experiment with in the studio.”
FIREWIND 2023 is:
Gus G. (guitar)
Herbie Langhans (vocals)
Petros Christo (bass)
Jo Nunez (drums)
Photo: Tim Tronckoe