STORMZONE

726517_logoWhen was the band first formed and how were those first formative years.

Hi Alejandro. Original Stormzone drummer Davy Bates and I started playing together after Vivian Campbell left Sweet Savage to join Dio around 1982. We continued through various line-up changes with Emerald and Den Of Thieves, basically variations on the Sweet Savage theme. With Den Of Thieves we released two albums, ‘Honour Amongst Thieves’ and ‘Conspiracy’ for a Japanese label called Zero Corporation. They went out of business around 1998 but because of contractual obligations Davy and I were not able to start recording new material with a new band, so for a few years we put together a Whitesnake tribute band called ‘Snakebite’ which was very successful. In 2004 we finally got released from our Zero Corporation contract and we were asked to support Danger Danger.

We realized that we couldn’t do this as a Whitesnake tribute band so we quickly created a live set containing our Emerald and Den Of Thieves songs. We realized the potential of playing original material again, and the Whitesnake tribute became Stormzone. After several more supports around 2005 with Jeff Scott Soto and Tyketto we decided to re-record some of our older material. At this stage we had no intention of releasing anything, it was really just to get us back into a studio groove again, but Escape Music got their hands on the finished recordings and released it as the first Stormzone album, ‘Caught in the Act’. The rest, as they say, is history and during our first years we signed to SPV for two albums and went on to tour with some fantastic bands such as Y&T, Stryper, Cinderella and Tesla as well as performing at some of Europe’s largest festivals such as Wacken Open Air, Sweden Rock and Headbangers Open Air.

What is the line-up of Stormzone at the moment and which line-up do you think has been the best?

I think our strongest line up so far was just after the release of our Three Kings album which consited of myself on vocals, Graham McNulty on bass, Steve Moore on guitars, David Shields on guitars and Davy Bates on drums. David Shields and Davy Bates left the band a few years ago but David Shields has returned to the band and as you probably know by now our new drummer is from Spain, ‘El Nino’ Joaquin Arellano Valderas who has played in many great Spanish bands such as Saratoga, Muro and Mago De Oz. He has always secretly loved Stormzone and when we asked him to play with us on our Spanish tour he jumped at the opportunity and has now committed himself to being long term in Stormzone. he will also continue to play with his other bands Universa and Amigoz. We are delighted to have El Nino as our drummer because not only is he a fantastic drummer who suits the Stormzone style so well, but he is also an awesome guy, very warm and friendly and his personality also suits our band, we are honoured to have him in Stormzone. Iit has been much too long since we did any extensive touring, it’s really where we are at our best and most exciting! It’s great taking time off to record an album and it’s thrilling witnessing it’s release and then gauging reaction to that afterwards, but we love the idea of having a whole new set of songs to add to our live performances and trying them all out in the rehearsal studio to see what works and what doesn’t. We have been maintaining a live profile, but not across the water and most of our shows have been here in Ireland, which is ok because we don’t really get to play here that often when we’re preparing for tours abroad and festivals and it has been nice introducing our new material to our Irish Stormzone fans, especially as all of the songs are based on stories, myths and legends of our homeland. Doing shows in your own country doesn’t get the same exposure as tours with big bands in mainland Europe and festivals, but over the last 6 months we’ve managed to do shows here with, amongst others, Y&T, Ingorious, Warrior Soul and Anvil. It’s good that we have been active but under the radar because when it comes to what we have lined up we’ll be fully match fit and ready for action. Already confirmed is a Stormzone appearance at the Icerock festival in Switzerland and a tour of Spain in October which will take us through until the end of November, and before that we’ll be playing a series of dates in the UK, something we haven’t done for a while. All the up-coming shows will be headline appearances, something we haven’t been able to do before now, we’ve always been support to much bigger bands, but we’re really looking forward to expanding our performances to much longer than support length sets and putting on shows that fully represent the band’s live abilities which are now better than ever! With El Nino in Stormzone we will be the best we have ever been live!!

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How many albums has Stormzone released to date and how can fans in Argentina get their hands on them?

We have released six albums in 12 years Alejandro, ‘Caught In The Act’ (2007), ‘Death Dealer (2009), ‘Zero To Rage’ (2011), ‘Three Kings’ (2013), ‘Seven Sins’ (2015) and ‘Lucifer’s Factory (2018). We also re-released ‘Zero To Rage’ as an exclusive digital download version completely remixed and remastered with three brand new songs included. But at the moment we are completely focusing on the promotion of ‘Lucifer’s Factory’. The release of a new album is always an exciting time for a band and with each album we are always really curious to see if reviews describe a development in the band. We’re not expecting all the reviews to be great but we always look forward to discovering if those with previous knowledge of the band have noticed a development or progression. Fortunately for us we have always had a majority of good reviews for each of our albums and with ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ the common theme amongst reviewers is that it’s our best release so far, and that means a lot to us because we really do strive to improve as we go along and to not be seen as just constantly releasing albums which are completely similar in style or concept to each other. certainly we have developed what I think is regarded as a unique Stormzone sound, and that is hugely important for us to be noted as having such, but also we like to experiment a little with our approach to song-writing from one album to the next without abandoning that Stormzone sound or varying too far from classic heavy metal and with ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ in particular I think we have reached a stage where we have really found our niche in the heavy metal genre, and we’re very very happy about that. The reviews for ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ are telling us that as well, they have been brilliant so far and that definitely improves the mood in the camp also! As well as that we have gathered together the best team who, behind the scenes, are guiding our path towards what’s happening next and that means we’ll be touring more than ever before and the prospect of doing much more live appearances has us excited too. Like most bands now our albums are available on Amazon, Ebay, Discogs and quite a few other mail order websites. The very best way however would be if we get to play in Argentina, because then we would have our albums available at the shows along with t-shirts and other great merchandise.

Let’s talk now about the latest Stormzone album ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ which was released this year. Where was this recorded and how was the recording process for you all?

With our previous album, ‘Seven Sins’, I think that we really discovered that our method of songwriting was working and we were determined to see if we could maintain that process even with some changes in the line-up. ‘Seven Sins’ was taking us definitely in a direction that we wanted to develop and expand. There were still lots of similarities to previous Stormzone albums but it hinted at what was to come at times, certainly from a drumming point of view and how songs can be written by the same band but sound completely different with a little experimentation. In the past we have written songs that have had just plain straight drumming all the way through and others that featured double bass pedals from start to finish. With ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ we wanted to blend both styles together into most of the songs so that they had straightforward sections to keep your attention, but then crazier sections to make listener’s ears jump to attention. With vocal melodies I try to bring out the other side of myself as a painter when creating what I’ll sing. When I am creating artwork I’m very aware of what makes a painting good on the eyes, a variety of colours and drawing people’s attention to focal points within the frame, and I guess that’s why the melodies on ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ in particular are all based on interesting verses leading towards a huge chorus. All the guys in Stormzone are avid concert-goers and between our experience as musicians and knowledge of what gets an audience excited we always strive to create songs that make people feel the way we feel when we’re hearing great songs. It can’t always work with every song but that’s not for lack of effort, and none of it is contrived in any way, our influences always shine through but with now having 6 albums out we’re very much aware that we have found the formula we enjoy for making Stormzone songs and for them to sound like Stormzone songs with a hint of influences rather than the other way around. The process is always the same though, each individual member develops a great musical idea on his own, it’s brought to the other musicians in the band who form a circle and develop the idea into what generally becomes the music part of the song, intro, verse, bridge, chorus, middle section, ending and once that has been established then that’s put together by Steve Moore in his studio and sent to me. I generally won’t have heard any of the musical ideas until I receive them from Steve, and I then get down to writing the vocal melodies and lyrics. That is usually a fairly fast process, with most vocal additions to the song being laid down in my own studio the day after receiving the music. Steve then gets that all returned to him to mix it into a good demo and that’s a song for a new album’s filing cabinet. We’ll repeat that process over and over until we have 14 or 15 songs to choose 12 or so from for a finished album choice and that’s when we’ll re-record everything in earnest having worked out what’s great about a song, changing what’s not and doing any necessary editing. Some of our previous albums have been dominated by fairly long songs and a feature of more recent Stormzone releases has been a real attention to editing, getting to verses and choruses quicker without the necessity for over-long intros, shorter solo sections etc. Everyone is told not to be affected by reviews, they are subjective and generally the views of one person, but we do actually listen to constructive criticism and actually value it, and I think that’s why our reviews have gradually become better and better because hopefully those reviewers who follow Stormzone closely can see that they have been a part of our development.

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Tell me about the writing process for ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ and the other Stormzone albums. How is the music developed and who writes the lyrics for the songs

Well the main thing is we really never stop writing, it’s never a case of having time away from writing songs and then saying right, it’s time to create what’s necessary for a new album. So the songs on ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ would have been the continuation of writing immediately after we finished recording ‘Seven Sins’ and really there is never any real plan to change direction or become more progressive. So technically from the moment ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ was recorded and now released we’ve begun working on what will be the next Stormzone album!  The songs on ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ just managed to capture a song-writing period that happened to produce a consistency that maybe sounded like we had deliberately tried to have an album with a slightly different direction than those before it, but that honestly wasn’t the case. The song writing process is always the same, it starts with an individual member of the band having an initial musical idea and that idea is brought to the rest of us in bassist Graham’s studio. The guys then sit down and work on the music, developing a riff further into a structure that becomes intro, verse, chorus. Then the following night they’ll go to guitarist Steve’s Firemachine Studio (where all our albums are finally recorded and produced) and they’ll record what has been worked on at the previous night’s writing session with the end product being a finished track without vocals. Steve will email me the song that night and next day in my own studio I’ll write and record the vocals, add backing vocals and email the song to the guys afterwards, usually same day. That part of our writing and recording process usually takes around 3 days to complete. The next thing is obviously to live with the song for a while and suggest changes, maybe to verse lengths, maybe a bridge needs added or something. That all gets noted (generally these days via Facebook messenger) and the following night the whole process starts all over again. It might be that we have shows that we have to rehearse for, and writing will stop for a week or two as we concentrate on a set for concerts, but no matter how long the gap is between writing sessions the next song starts off being created in exactly the same way as the previous one and a consistency is hopefully maintained. There may have been a slightly longer gap than usual between the writing of ‘Seven Sins’ and ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ as we had the personnel change with David Bates leaving the drum stool and Jonathan Millar’s arrival, and that may have contributed to a slightly different overall feel to many of the songs on ‘Lucifer’s Factory’, but our objective is always to try to maintain a unique Stormzone sound even if there are a few twists and turns in direction. It would probably be too predictable for us to just create a ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ Part II right away, it will happen at some point but whether or not the next album is going to be a continuation of us studying our Northern Ireland mythology and folklore, which all the songs on the new album are based on, we’ll just have to wait and see!

What message are you trying to deliver with the lyrics and in general what are the songs on ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ mainly about?

The topics and lyrics actually came about as a combination of thinking about themes for the songs that would make their way onto the ‘Lucifer’s factory cd and also contemplating how the cover artwork would develop. It actually transpired that one would help the other and I was able to dip into work that I had done a few years ago as inspiration for both. I have always been interested in the myths and legends of Northern Ireland, not really the established ones but the hidden folklore which is really only talked about in regions and not tremendously famous. A Spanish author was writing a book on the subject as part of a ‘guide for Spanish tourists’ who she wanted to ensure would go off the beaten tracks in an effort to find hidden gems. So her research and the things that she discovered really intrigued me and it astonished me that we here in Northern Ireland have so many superb tales to tell of things that, to many, would seem very surprising and enlightening. You will find these tales on the new Stormzone album, amongst them being the legend of ‘Albhartach’, a vampire who lived in the North West of Northern Ireland and terrorised villages during his lifetime. This was well before Dracula became the famous face of vampirism and Bram Stoker, author of Dracula, has gone on record as having been originally influenced by the story of Albhartach. ‘Hallows Eve’ is the origin of Halloween, right here in Northern Ireland where in medieval times people would scatter ashes on the slate floor of their living room in front of the fire place. While the families were sleeping Jack O’Lantern would visit, and in the morning if the footprints he left in the ashes pointed towards the door then all was going to be well for this family, but if they pointed towards the fire, they were going to experience death in a short time! That’s the origin of Halloween right there, not some trick or treat party that was hijacked by the USA!! Other tales on the album include ‘Cushy Glen’, the tale of the highwayman who ambushed men on their way home from the pub and attacking the drunk men he would cut their throats, rob them and bury them in an opened grave in the local graveyard. next day when the funeral of the grave owner was taking place he would be amongst the mourners watch as the coffin was laid down on top of the soil covered body of his previous night’s victim! So I was able to gain lots of inspiration for the songs on the new album and that was helped by the fact that I had, by then, great experience of the tales because I had read them and done the artwork which accompanied each story in the Spanish book! It was natural then that the album cover would develop from the same source, and although the album is called ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ the painting is inspired by a ‘gateway to Hell’ described in the song ‘The Heaven You Despise’ in which Lucifer is exiled from Heaven and seeks sanctuary on earth by creating an entrance to his new domain, and it really exists as a place called Dundermot Mound just outside the city of Ballymena in Northern Ireland. Considering Northern Ireland is a small country with just a total population of 1.6 (yes just one point six) million and we are surrounded by such an intense wealth of myth, mystery and legend it really is a place to be fully inspired and influenced, plus we have Guiness and Bushmills Whisky, and we know they’re legendary and REALLY exist!!

Exactly why was the decision made to call the new album ‘Lucifer’s Factory’?

The album could really have been called by any of the song titles  but we decided on ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ because the legend behind that song is based in Belfast, our home city, and we all felt closely associated with that particular story. ‘Lucifer’s Factory’, the song, is based on one of the more recent Northern Ireland legends and is about a building which actually existed in the late nineteenth century here in Belfast which was used for making matches to light cigarettes! If you google ‘Lucifer’s Match Factory’ you’ll find it. It’s existence isn’t what surrounds the myth, but it burned down in the early 20th Century with a foreman and several teenage workers and for years after this tragedy locals would hear painful screams coming from the derelict building which only stopped around 50 years ago when the building was blessed by a clergyman and then demolished!

 

The beginning of ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ was all down to our guitarist and producer Steve Moore who recorded his daughters screaming at the top of their voices. He then created some industrial ‘factory machinery’ noises and combined his daughter’s screams with the turning of the steel cogs and grinding machines to reflect the horror that would have been experienced with the poor children and their supervisor when they discovered that Lucifer’s Factory was on fire and that they were trapped inside with no chance of escape. The screams were very significant because the horrific story of ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ did not end with the tragedy that led to the factory burning down. With the factory making matches in the late 19th century there was obviously a lot of dry wood and sulpher in the building, and because of the period during which the manufacturing took place there were obviously very few rules and regulations with regards to health and safety, very young children were employed and older factory workers would have been smoking while working. On one fateful night some young children were working after usual working hours and one of the supervisers carelessly discarded a cigarette, throwing it onto some dry wood which quickly caught fire and once this fire had spread to the sulpher barrels the who factory became a living hell. Some escaped the flames but several young boys and girls were trapped along with the factory owner’s daughter and a superviser. They all died in the what had quickly become a furnace and their terrible screams were heard by the helpless people outside. The same screams were heard for years by people who lived close to the building long after it had been condemned and closed off. The local people even posted guards at night to see if the screams were the result of young pranksters getting into the disused building and screaming to trick the locals, but the screams persisted and the guards would often run off frightened because they heard the horrific noises and knew that no one had gone past them! Eventually the residents demanded that the building be torn down, it was blessed by a church clergyman and then demolished and that was the only way the screams could be stopped! So it was important to reflect their distress at the beginning of the song to set the tone for ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ and Steve’s daughter’s did a really great job of making those frightening calls for help!

The cover artwork for Stormzone albums is always great. How do the concepts for the paintings transpire and who is the artist responsible for creating the graphics.

Our album artwork are all paintings by an artist that we know very well. We actually found the artist responsible for our album covers in an institute for the insane crouched in the corner of a padded cell mumbling something about how Stormzone had destroyed his mind and ruined his life!! Well, ok, the ruining of his life might be a lie but driving him insane is absolutely true, and I should know because I am that artist and also the singer in Stormzone, lol! All the songs on ‘Lucifer’s factory’ are individually based on a myth or legend unique to Northern Ireland. There are already a lot of well-known Irish characters who have gone down in legend and folklore, the Banshee, Leprechauns and Giants etc, but with this new album I wanted to discover and tell the world about less well known Northern Ireland legends which, when uncovered, are absolutely amazing, and right on our own doorstep! The song ‘Dark Hedges’ isn’t about the place made famous by Game of Thrones, it’s real legendary status existed long before the television series invaded our shores. Lucifer’s Factory, a real building which existed in Belfast and made matches, it burned down and several young children working there were killed in the blaze and until the building was recently demolished people in the neighbouring houses were terrified over the years by the sound of screaming children coming from behind it’s shuttered doors and windows. Cushy Glen was a renowned highwayman who specialised in waiting for drunken men to leave the pub and he would ambush them, cut their throats, rob them and then bury them in the local graveyard. There are many more on the album, and each one could have inspired me to create album artwork, but I was particularly intrigued by the legend of Dundermot Mound, a landmark just outside Ballymena in Northern Ireland which was reputedly a ‘Gateway to Hell’ and the area in which Lucifer fell to when he was exiled from Heaven. The song on the album ‘The Heaven you despise’ describes all this in greater detail, and for me I just had to imagine what the ‘gateway’ would look like when it opens, a raging furnace encased within a vertical tunnel, an almost mechanical ancient method of the gateway opening and closing and revealing the worst thing imaginable, that falling to your death in the fire below would be the quickest option, but on your way down you are going to suffer pain and agony by being whipped by chains and sliced by circular daggers, perhaps for eternity! I incorporated letters from the Stormzone logo into the artwork and maybe bands would like to distance themselves from such torturous imagery, but I like to think of it more as a salvation, and if a poor soul can combine the letters in the correct way the portal will close and they’ll be saved!

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I see that you are about to embark on a tour of Spain. Are there any other European countries in which Stormzone will be performing in the near future?

The concerts in Spain are going to be fantastic and apart from the inclusion of Jess Cox and Silver being part of the shows it is also a real pleasure for us doing shows in Spain with a very well loved Spanish drummer and Joaquin ‘El Nino’ Arellano Valderas will be particularly on fire because we are playing in his native country. We are also working on more surprises so we haven’t finished with our efforts to make this an amazing and unique tour. One thing I can absolutely guarantee is that the fans attending the concerts will get a lot for their money because each show will feature a Stormzone set of at least two hours with songs from right across our 6 albums as well as the Tygers of Pan Tang songs and some great covers at the end of each show which is where we will hopefully bring several more surprises. We are truly looking forward to a fantastic tour and our mission is to impress people enough so that our first headline tour of Spain is not our last and that heavy metal fans will want to see us again in bigger venues. The rest of the year after that is becoming even more productive and after touring Spain in we have been confirmed for the Icerock Festival in Switzerland in January and FullMetal festival in germany next March. The increase in live action coincides with our involvement with Eddy ‘Rocks’ Freiberger, he is responsible for everything we are now doing with regards to tours and festivals and I know we will be doing much more on the road in 2019 for sure.

I think it’s fair to say that as you have been together since 2006 Stormzone is regarded as a very experienced band in Northern Ireland. How do the bands in your home country co-exist with each other and what is the rock scene like there?

The problem with my personal opinion on the rock and metal scene in Belfast is that I’ve lived in Madrid in Spain for the last six years and there is still a passion and interest in metal there that has never diminished. There are so many rock clubs and bars that they really have to compete with each other to attract the Spanish rock fans and the amount of fantastic shows by massive bands there each year is incredible. Therefore returning frequently to Northern Ireland I tend to miss the metal lifestyle of Madrid because there really isn’t the same degree of enthusiasm here for our type of music. I mean it is a small country so population has to be taken into consideration, and there are some really good venues such as the Diamond Rock Club and The Limelight, but it’s a sad fact that whilst these places are really well attended when an international band makes an appearance, local bands tend to struggle to attract people to their shows. Our best chances, and we’re fortunate enough to have had many of them through the years, is to get a support slot when one of the bigger acts come to Belfast. That’s a much easier way for us to get to play our music to people who may not have heard of us before and lately having played in the last few months with Y&T, Diamond Head, Inglorious and Anvil on different occasions we have built up a really good local following and many of the albums sold by Metal Nation online seem to be directed towards our own country, and that is a very promising fact.  There have been some great bands from Ireland with Thin Lizzy probably being the most recognizable rock band, but I think most metal bands which were being formed in the 80’s were looking more across the Irish sea to what was happening in the UK mainland during the period known as the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal). It was fantastic to experience the emergence of bands such as Saxon, Iron Maiden and Diamond Head etc, the original power and atmosphere of that era was hard to ignore when putting a band together, especially when it was combined with what was coming out of the USA with the likes of Queensryche etc. To be honest I think being from Northern Ireland had more of an influence in becoming a fan of heavy metal rather than a direct influence on bands. We had some terrible times here during the period between 1969 and 1997 which was known as ‘The Troubles’. It was perceived by the media etc that it was all about one religion trying to defeat the other, but most of the conflict was being orchestrated by politicians and terrorists and ordinary people living here were caught in the crossfire. So discovering heavy metal as a young teen allowed people to have an escape from these troubles and when heavy metal bands came to play in Belfast, our capital city, everyone had one religion and one religion only, and that was heavy metal.

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What can audiences expect from the Stormzone live experience and how has the reaction been to the band’s development as a live force?

Unbelievable!! Once we actually get people to our shows we are always guaranteed that by the end of a Stormzone show everyone will go home happy, and that’s because we are a genuinely happy bunch of guys with only one thing on our minds and that is to give everyone the best that we have got and also to the best of our abilities. Our recent tour of Spain saw us performing to different sizes of audiences but to us it doesn’t matter if thetere are 20 people watching us or 20,000, our delivery is always the same and when a show is over we just know that there is nothing more to give!! We have had little tastes of what it’s like to reach degrees of success in our genre because we’ve been fortunate enough to have played some massive festivals and toured as support to some famous bands, and we then obviously would love to get to a level whereby we could get recognised positively for having done those things and, as you say, for so far releasing six very well received albums. There is still a chance that we could make a big impact given a good break, and we’re well equipped to embrace a higher level of success because we do have a great live record and almost 100 songs to choose from our back catalogue, we’ll be ready for action if that opportunity comes our way but also level headed enough to keep on grinding things out if we don’t. That level-headedness comes with the experience of being together as a band for so long. Stormzone has been here since 2006 and it quickly became obvious after the first few years that success wasn’t guaranteed no matter what quality of releases you put out or level of live performances, so a realism comes into effect, a grounding of us all which makes getting great opportunities being given a lot of gratitude, but at the same time when things don’t seem to be progressing just as much as we like or hope then we don’t get too down about it and instead we become more determined to get better and make Stormzone more tempting for promoters and agents to take a chance on, and for us, the dream very much lives on!!

What always grabs the attention of the public is the name that a band chooses to call itself. It’s always great to hear the reason or story behind that choice! Why did you choose the name Stormzone and what was the background to this decision?

I think a band grows into it’s name and there is probably too much of an emphasis now put the necessity to call your band something cool and current rather than properly re[resenting the music that you play. With Stormzone I don’t think anyone is under any different illusion as to what they can expect when we play live or release a new CD. I think that it’s a great name but I cannot claim to have discovered it, nor did anyone in the band. Our debut album, ‘Caught In The Act’ was actually supposed to be my own solo album. All the songs on the first album were recorded by session musicians because Stormzone didn’t exist during the writing and recording of the songs. I had saved up some money on my own and I believed that at that time, 2006, that melodic rock and metal was being pushed down to an all time low and I wanted to do something small to try to keep the flag flaying for the genre of music that I adored. At the time I was playing in a Whitesnake tribute band and a local promoter asked me if I could support Danger Danger. I told him that of course I would do it, but not with the Whitesnake tribute and I set about putting a band together to play a set of original songs that I had written over the years. The Danger Danger show was fantastic, we just went on under the name of HARV, and I was then encouraged to record the songs, which I did a few months later when I had enough money to self-finance the recordings. My idea was to follow in the footsteps of Jorn Lande, who I am a big fan of, and, like him, just call the albums HARV. After several weeks I had an album of great songs fantastically produced by Irish producer Mudd Wallace. I sent some of the preview copies of the album to various people and Khalil Turk, the head of UK melodic rock label Escape Music, got to hear it and he immediately contacted me offering me a deal to release the album world-wide. His only stipulation was that I change my mind about releasing it as a solo album because he coulod promote a band better than a solo artist. He then suggested the name Stormzone, I didn’t dislike it, we went for that and I then had an album, a singer, a band name, and no band, hahaha! Maybe this is the first case of this happening to a musician? But The guys in the Whitesnake tribute came on board, we shelved the tribute because we knew we needed to devote all our energies to Stormzone and here we are with 6 albums released by Stormzone and I still haven’t had the opportunity to release a solo album, hahaha!!

I always love to see photos on a band’s social media or website of people around the world holding their new album. How has the world reacted to the release of ‘Lucifer’s Factory’?

We’re really pleased and very proud of the reaction all over Europe and beyond to what we have achieved  with the release of ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ . The reviews so far have been great and it’s fantastic to see and hear people’s reactions to what we set out to achieve with our sixth album. We always take heed of reviews and develop our songs around the majority of comments which prove to be the most constructive. With past releases we have maybe been guilty of believing that we know best, and as a result we have left ourselves open to a degree of criticism, maybe about the length of songs or  having too many of them on an album. As a result of this constructive criticism we’ve developed our approach to song writing and editing and certainly with our last two albums I think we have hit on what we would now definitely consider to be the definitive Stormzone formula for creating songs. That’s hopefully reflected in the reactions to ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ as all the reviews have been exceptionally positive and that gives us real confidence in ourselves and that feeling that we’re doing something right. We’ll always write songs that we believe in and that come from our hearts first and foremost and it’s a wonderful feeling knowing that after six albums the reviews are telling us that at last we’ve got it right!

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Have you actually ever thought about embarking on a world tour. And if so which countries or continents would you particularly look forward to performing live in the most?

Our sole ambition in life is to try to play to as many people all over the world as we can. A world tour would definitely be something that would give us our best opportunity to fulfil that ambition but we are also realistic enough to know how difficult that would be to achieve. There needs to be a demand everywhere for Stormzone but the great thing is that we don’t mind at all playing in places around the world where we may, at first, only attract small numbers to our shows because we are really confident that once people get a glimpse of what we do then they will ask us back again and then that would hopefully lead to more people becoming aware of Stormzone and the demand will increase. As for which countries I think would be the best ones for us to perform in, definitely all countries in South and central America, USA, canada, Japan, Russia and Europe. We would also love to go to places not usually visited by heavy metalk bands such as China, Africa and India. The whole world is opening their doors to modern life and heavy metal music has not yet seen the full potential of it’s ability to be heard in all parts of our earth. And when we’ve finished introducing Stormzone to all the people on this earth we’ll set our sights on the South Pole and begin introducing heavy metal to the penguins there, hahaha!!

What future plans do you have for the band and indeed for yourself personally?

Our ultimate goal is to keep Stormzone producing new songs and great performances for as long as we can and to keep the band together and our heads down and moving forward towards any obstacles that get in our way. We’ve managed to keep Stormzone alive and well over the last 12 years because the band has always had a strong foundation and although some different members have come and gone over the years the basic line-up of myself, Graham McNulty (bass) and Steve Moore (guitar) have been there from the beginning. It’s difficult maybe to keep a consistent line-up when some of the band have to have day jobs and cannot always commit to touring and long recording sessions, but when anyone feels that they cannot give Stormzone everything it deserves then we talk about it and we always come to a mutual decision best for everyone and remain friends with a departing member. That way if the occasion arise in the future that we need their services again then they will always be happy to help out. Davy Bates was our drummer for over 9 years and although he departed two years ago he has helped us out with shows lately until we were able to secure the services of El Nino. Davy and I have known each other for over 30 years and we actually began playing together back in the days of the NWOBHM when he was in Sweet Savage. Davy was, and still is, a brilliant rock drummer but our progression style-wise wasn’t to his liking, he’s more of a straightforward metal drummer not inclined to enjoy double bass drum patterns, no one hits the drums harder than Davy and he is ideal for NWOBHM style metal, but the song-writing for ‘Lucifer’s Factory’ took him to areas where he felt less comfortable and he also despaired a little at the type of music he was having to listen to at festivals, he saw Death Metal and Grindcore bands being worshipped and he just didn’t understand why people were into that sort of deviation from the music he originally got involved with when the heaviest band on the planet were Motorhead. So his departure was sad but mutual. So then the challenge commenced again to find someone who could fulfil the void left by Davy and Joaquin ‘El Nino’ was introduced to us through my Spanish wife Beatriz who knew him from her times in Spain in the heavy metal circuit there. We are so glad that Bea did this because El Nino has adapted to our style fantastically well and it seems at this stage that we have found the right guy to take us through our next phase of Stormzone and importantly to make it look as if he has been in the band for years and people seeing us in up-coming tours will witness a band as solid as we have always been!

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And a goodbye message?

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you Alejandro for giving us the opportunity to give you an insight into everything that has been happening in the world of Stormzone lately and all the visitors to your excellent website for taking the time to read this interview. Most of what I have written about revolves around the band, but believe me there would be nothing to write if it wasn’t for the fans of rock and metal around the world who unite to form a huge family that bands and fans alike should all be proud to be a part of. We want to tour so that we can prove ourselves capable on stages everywhere where people would like to see us, but at the same time a lot of our desire is to meet the people personally around Europe and beyond who we speak to regularly by means of social media, they are the people without whom it wouldn’t make sense to persevere in this business and they are the people who support us in incredible ways, buying our albums and t shirts as well as demanding promoters to give us a break. It all adds up to being hugely important to us, without it we cannot function and we will endeavour to write and play metal for as long as there are great people out there asking us to do so. Thank you Alejandro, thank you Argentina, we hope to see you all soon!

 

Alejandro Allo 01/09/18

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