Tales of misery, poverty and hard times in medieval Sweden abound in the lyrics of Falconer’s newest release, Among Beggars and Thieves, due in stores September 2nd on Metal Blade Records. Falconer has been around since the late nineties and true to their roots this record is loaded with great melodies and intricate guitar work. Progressive with a bite, this record is sure to be a hit with metal fans everywhere. Stefan Weinerhall, guitarist and keyboardist with the band was more than happy to talk about the band and Among Beggars and Thieves.
The name of the band Falconer is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?
Stefan: There is not really any story behind it. Many bands have these hard, long, delicate names that make them seem deep and intellectual, others have corny and silly names like Bloody Sword or something. Falconer sings about medieval days in a very realistic way and not the knights and maidens of fictional medieval England. Falconer is an easy and short name that makes you think of history in a not too grand and glorified way. There’s nothing more to it.
Your brand new CD titled Among Beggars and Thieves is set for release on Sept 2nd. Now that it is complete how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Stefan: Oh yes I am. I fulfilled my goal not to make “Northwind pt. II”. It is a faster album with more attitude. I think you can hear traces of all the albums in the new one. Some of the songs are the most progressive ones we’ve done; some are even something like musical metal. I’m not a big fan of Progressive metal but on the other hand I don’t want to do the same song structures over and over again. The melody is always first priority.
What was the writing process like for this CD? Did you guys all write together? How long did it take?
Stefan: I wrote about 95% of the material as usual. I would say the writing this time was quite laid back because of many other things happening in life like change of job and having a baby. It might have made me not dig in into the material but I had the chance to take a step back and melt the impression before I carried on. I think the writing process was something like 10 months.
The band keeps things interesting thematically. Can you talk about some of the subjects you tackle on this record?
Stefan: I think most of our lyrics in the past have dealt with the hardship of the common man instead of the knights in shining armour or fair maidens. This time we draw it a bit further. Some songs are based upon true events and others are just describing the era. Some topics are the situation of the slaves in the 11th century, the life of a beggar roaming the roads. Freedom fighters in the 15th century or the witch burnings in Sweden. History is my second interest and I’d like to keep the lyrics as realistic as possible and not to fall into the usual topics of other metal bands.
It is good to see a number of bands breaking away from the usual gore/horror, misogynist and anti religious themes. What prompted you to pursue this specific course in lyrical concept?
Stefan: My own personal interest in history. I think it’s more interesting to read about the life of a carpenter in 15th century Prague dying in the plague than about King Arthur. There are two very different views upon history. Some might say that the lyrics are too grey, melancholic or pessimistic but I think that’s the atmosphere the music paints.
You guys have been in the business for over a decade now. Can you offer any advice to any of the younger readers who may be reading this out there and are trying to etch out a career in the music business?
Stefan: Do it your own way. To do what others do musically makes you followers. I can’t say that we have made it very far but still I’m satisfied.
When you compare the early days of Metal to the scene today what do you feel has changed for the better? What do you feel has become worse?
Stefan: The early days of metal are not something I can speak about since I was too young then. What I think has become worse is of course the downloading. Shoplifting in my eyes; but since I can’t do much about it I just hope that enough people buy the album that we still have the chance to carry on making more albums. As I said my goal is not to get rich but still I want to be able to make a product for the record label.
When you are on the road for a while I am sure you see and experience many different things you might not even have known existed. Are there any stories that stand out in your mind as being exceptionally strange or odd?
Stefan: I can’t say that we’ve been on the road much, but there are some things you reflect over as being different from the life at home. For example it seems like Germans only eat schnitzels.
When you are out on the road anything can happen and often does. Can you think of any disastrous events that happened while out on tour? How did you solve the problem?
Stefan: We had a German bus driver for a tour that we called “Schnitzel Fritz” who always looked down and didn’t speak any English of course why have a bus driver driving three bands without being able to communicate. After some days we got another driver who could take over and share the job. On night the new one was piss drunk and fell down the stairs in the bus and stood up and pied in the seat. Violence arose and he was dropped off at the nearest airport. Poor Schnitzel Fritz had to keep on driving more than he was allowed to by law. Luckily he didn’t fell asleep on his post.
What is next for Falconer?
Stefan: Absolutely nothing but bragging about the music video for the song “Carnival of Disgust” available on www.metalblade.de and on the first edition of the album that also carries 2 bonus tracks. Not to sure if those are released in the United States though. [ END ]