Thank you for your time to answer the interview. How did the idea of forming the band arise, and it should be noted that they are already a veteran band in London for the years they have been on the metal scene?
Chop and I were in a Band called EL- 34 before Airforce.
Keeping a regular vocalist onboard has always been something that has plagued us, EL- 34 & Airforce, back then and now, for a variety of reasons, a lot of it caused by wives and girlfriends.
This happened again around 1985/86 when our EL- 34 vocalist, Paul Clarke, decided to leave EL-34, so we disbanded.
Sometime in 1986 Steve Harris of Iron Maiden (who was a long-term friend of Chop) introduced Doug Sampson to Chop.
Doug had been Iron Maidens Drummer from 1977 – 1979 and had quit Maiden due to health reasons, but Doug was now ready to return to the music scene.
Chop knew Doug only vaguely until then.
Steve, Doug and Chop had a Jam together and Chop and Doug joined forces.
I was called up and the 3 of us formed Airforce back in 1986.
In 1990 our then Airforce vocalist Rolf Prommel decided to leave Airforce due to Girlfriend pressure.
Doug’s brother Sam Sampson had been Airforce vocalist before Rolf, and when Sam quit Airforce, the long process of looking for a reputable replacement and rehearsing began, leading to Rolf.
I couldn’t go through this whole process again of finding yet another vocalist so I quit Airforce & serious music involvement.
Doug quit Airforce at this time too.
I wanted to concentrate on a growing business career only toying with the music business occasionally.
Chop kept Airforce going intermittently with various Line Up changes between 1986 & 2015.
Fate and fan pressure brought Chop, Doug and me together again in 2016 to reunite the 3 original members of Airforce.
Which discs have edited and how can they be achieved?
Airforce have the Judgement Day Album that is a History of the Band from the 1980’s up to 2016.
We have the Black Box Recordings EP’s Available, Volume 1 (2017) & Volume 2 (2018).
The Band of Brothers / Sniper single (2019).
These are all available in CD format and as Downloads from the Airforce Facebook page Shop @chop.airforce or airforce.limitedrun.com
These recordings are also available from most digital platforms.
Official videos for Sniper & Finest Hour can be found on my Tony Hatton YouTube Channel.
Airforce are now signed to a Record Company.
There is new Airforce Studio Album titled “Strike Hard” that is now scheduled for release in early September 2020.
A new official Airforce video for the track “Die for You” will be available on YouTube From Saturday June 13th 2020.
Who are the current members of the band?
Flavio Lino – Vocals, Chop Pitman – Guitars, Tony Hatton – Bass, Doug Sampson – Drums
Guest artists on the new Airforce Studio Album “Strike Hard” are;
Paul Dianno, Ivan Gianini & Zal Cleminson.
Why do they decide to baptize the band under this name and how does the idea of the band’s mascot, if it can be named, appear on the covers of their albums?
Chop Doug and I agreed on the band name Airforce, no one quite remembers how we came up with the name Airforce, it was 34 years ago in 1986.
Let’s talk about your first record work entitled Judgment Day. What expectations did they have when they recorded their debut album and why did they take so long to make their first musical record?
We did some recording in the early Airforce days but never got around to having anything released.
Around 2015/15, Diehard fans of Iron Maiden had tracked Airforce down via Doug and Chops Maiden connections.
This led to the early Airforce track “Wargames”, with Sam Sampson being released on the Maiden themed compilation Album “Origins of Iron”.
This track was very well received, so Chop and Doug along with Andy Holloway and Erwin Lucas conceived, compiled and released the “Judgement Day” Album.
This is where I came back in.
I received a phone call from Chop about the upcoming release of “Judgement Day” and the launch party, which up until then I was unaware of.
Chop, Doug and I met up again and decided to reunite again as Airforce with the 3 original members 26 years after we disbanded in 1990.
There was a little-known earlier Airforce Album, titled “Never Look Back”, with only local distribution.
It was self-released after the band split up in 1990.
Most of the material on “Never Look Back” was included on “Judgement Day”.
How was composing this album and what do you want to express in your lyrics?
Andy Holloway and Erwin Lucas conceived the idea of the “Judgement Day” Album, and along with Chop and Doug compiled and released the Album which is retrospective and covers a long time period.
In those early days the band mostly wrote the music and the vocalist at the time would mostly write the Lyrics and melody.
Different vocalists wrote in different styles, the last Airforce vocalist before we split in 1990 was Rolf Prommel wrote about relationships.
Our earlier Airforce vocalist Sam Sampson (Doug’s Brother) wrote about political issues.
Its only now since Airforce reunited in 2016 that Chop and I have taken up a lot more involvement of the Melody and Lyric side of writing.
Chop and I write lyrics mostly based on mystic and military themes.
In this album they decide to add one more instrument with a guest musician. Whose idea is it to incorporate a keyboard player?
The 3 tracks on the “Judgement Day” Album that feature vocalist Sam Sampson were recorded at the home Studio of Jez Code.
Jez was a friend of Sam’s was producing these 3 tracks and a keyboard player himself.
Jez had worked with a lot of good bands including Simple Minds, so we just let Jez add keyboards in the mixing stage, after we had recorded our parts.
We only heard these songs with Jez’s keyboards once the songs were finished.
We all liked the final sound.
It is very reassuring to know that bands like you and many more keep the flame alive of the great exponents of your country. What can you tell me about the current scene in the United Kingdom and what musical exponents do you recommend to listen to?
The current metal scene in the UK isn’t great but it’s OK, or was until the Virus Pandemic, the same as all over the world I guess.
There is a bit of a NWOBHM revival going on in the UK so that’s encouraging.
Airforce stem from the NWOBHM era.
Between the release of their debut album in 2016 and 2018 they publish two episodes entitled The Black Box Recordings: Volume 1 and 2. Why do they decide to do two ep’s and not a complete album?
We just wanted to get some new Airforce music out and the quickest way to do this was to complete and release some tracks as soon as we had some ready.
We don’t like to rush the song writing process as we are quite stringent to have songs as perfect to us as possible before we record them.
Had we waited until we had a complete Album ready, our first new music for a long time, would not have been ready to release until probably early 2019.
Who was responsible for composing the instrumental part and who wrote the lyrics?
The Black Box recordings were a completely collaborative band effort, both musically and lyrically.
Some members had more of a hand in writing some songs than others, but everyone contributed something to all the songs.
What do you express this time in your lyrics?
The song themes vary quite a lot for the Black Box recordings, from military (Heroes, Sniper, Finest Hour) to uplifting (Fight) and emotional (Lost Forever).
In volume 2 they have a fancy guest in one of their songs. Tell the readers who it is and why they decide to invite you to sing a song, and I take this opportunity to tell you that my heart almost stops when I hear this song of how beautiful it is and with that combination of incredible voices?
Paul Dianno was our Airforce guest vocalist on the track Sniper.
Chop knew and has been friends with Paul since before Paul joined Iron Maiden.
Doug and Paul were in Iron Maiden together.
As Paul has been confined to his home and a Wheelchair for some time, due to the health problems affecting his legs, Chop thought to ask him if he would like to guest on an Airforce track.
We offered Paul several songs and Paul chose Sniper.
What is the audience in an Airforce show?
Many and varied, much like an Iron Maiden audience.
In 2019 they publish a single titled Band of Brothers / Sniper, could it be said that the theme in the lyrics is the one that would follow for their new record work?
Band of Brothers was to be then, and still is a track included on the New Airforce Studio Album.
In January 2019 “Paul Mario Day” the very first official Iron Maiden vocalist was making a special trip over to the UK from Australia, where Paul now lives, to have a reunion with all the first original Iron Maiden members including Steve Harris.
Paul hadn’t been back to the UK for over 20 years, so to mark this special occasion, a musical event was organized by former Iron Maiden roadie “Steve Loopy Newhouse” to commemorate Paul’s visit.
This was to be a show at the legendary “Cart & Horses” Pub, where Iron Maiden began their career.
Airforce were asked to play at this show with Paul Mario Day as our vocalist.
Airforce were also asked if we would record something with Paul while he was in the UK.
We had the Song “Band of Brothers” ready so we decided to record this unique single with Paul Mario Day.
We decided to Pair “Band of Brothers” with Sniper an Airforce song featuring another former Maiden vocalist in Paul Dianno.
The Paul Mario Day vocals for Band of Brothers were recorded at the Steve Harris Barnyard Studios.
Future plans of the band.
The release and promotion of our new Studio Album is first and foremost, including new Airforce Videos.
We have a Live Album recorded in Poland in 2018 that is ready and will be released mid-2021.
As you are well aware, until the Virus Pandemic is under control, most plans are on Hold.
Airforce are hopeful that a planned festival in Malta will go ahead in September 2020.
Maybe our postponed April 2020 US tour will be happening in October 2020, but more than likely this will be pushed back to 2021.
We are working on new Airforce songs while in lockdown here in the UK.
Any message you wish to leave to the Cazador Nocturno readers.
Airforce would like to ask all the readers to stay safe, stay well, and above all, stay metal.
Alejandro Allo 03/02/20