Metal band Wuthering Heights have released many cool albums during their career. They are a very likable band that incorporate different styles, and 2010's release, titled Salt is no exception. Founding member Eric Ravn has given some interesting feedback regarding this new release and the band to Sea Of Tranquility staff writer Scott Jessup.
SoT: Hi Eric, congratulations on a great new CD! Do you think Salt is Wuthering Height's best release yet?
Eric: Thanks. Yes I do. I think itīs an album very focused on the songs and not out to make any other sorts of musical statements. Plus I think it sums up the WH sound pretty well. It has the melancholy of To Travel For Evermore but without the over-technicality. Plus it brings back the folk-rock element. So I guess itīs really like Far From The Madding Crowd with a darker edge, and I really like that.
SoT: Did Salt turn out how you envisaged it would?
Eric: Yep, pretty much. It was a bit of a gamble to mix it ourselves, but I really think it worked out. Itīs definitely the clearest, most transparent mix weīve had. And with complex, layered stuff like this, itīs nice to be able to hear everything. I guess some people might think itīs not as heavy sounding. But really, weīve just moved away from this kind of modern, highly compressed sound. So that is totally deliberate I wanted to achieve more of a "classic" rock sound. But I know the young people out there arenīt used to hearing that
haha. But you must remember how old we are
hahaha! So yeah, I think it turned out great.
SoT: Can you tell us about the album's theme and why it was chosen?
Eric: Thereīs not really a theme to the album as such. Itīs a collection of individual songs. However, I always like an album to have a unifying feel to it. And since the imagery of the sea turned up in several of the lyrics, I used that to tie the album together. But itīs not a concept album at all, and of course, itīs not actually "about" the sea and all that stuff. Itīs poetry, you know. I guess itīs actually mostly about the end of civilization a reoccurring them in my work, it seems. You know, the conflict between man and Nature has always been the main focus of my songs whether on a personal or a global scale, or often both at the same time and it still is. But the sea provided some strong poetic images for these gloomy tales, thatīs why I used it and to do things a bit differently, so itīs not always about trees
SoT: What would you like to achieve with Salt? The reviews have been very favorable, and it's a rewarding listen.
Eric: Basically I just wanted to achieve an album that Iīd like to listen to myself, and that the fans will find exciting. As always, really. To keep the fans happy while still challenging them is really my criteria for success, I guess.
SoT: Who writes most of band's the material?
Eric: Well, I write all of the material, actually. I write the lyrics, then build the song structures and melodies around them. I then make a demo of the complete album. Then itīs basically just a question of executing that properly in a real studio. This of course is where the guys have their big input, through their instrumental or vocal brilliance. I always try to challenge the guys, to push them further than what they might think they were capable of. So thatīs whatīs really exciting for me, as a composer, to watch the songs come to life in the hands of great players.
SoT: What countries would you like to tour and increase the exposure in for Wuthering Heights?
Eric: Iīd like to go anywhere of course, but itīs kind of hard for us to put on concerts. Both because of obligations with other bands and day jobs and so on. But mostly because of the financial aspect of it, sadly. Itīs tough times, you know.
SoT: Wuthering Height's music takes many turns... are there any other musical influences the band would like to incorporate?
Eric: I think Iīve pretty much established the style I set out to play. So I donīt have a lot of unfulfilled musical ambitions in that respect. On the other hand, I never quite know where the songs will take me. Iīll always do whatever works best for the song, you know, and therefore I never really know precisely what sounds the future will bring. The key thing about WH I think, is that weīve never really set any boundaries for ourselves. Of course, that makes it confusing for some people especially reviewers, hehe.
SoT: So far in 2010 which are your favorite releases?
Eric: The new Gamma Ray is surprisingly good. I had kind of lost faith in them, but apparently they are still able to surprise. It reminds me of the classic "Sigh No More" album, you know, it sounds like they enjoy it again. Also the new Meat Loaf is cool after a few listens. Of course, being such a huge Jim Steinman freak, it always feels a little strange when heīs not singing Jimīs songs, but itīs still a cool album an great production. I havenīt got a hold of the new Tarot yet, but Iīm looking forward to it always great to hear the voice of "evil" Mr. Hietala!
SoT: What styles of music do Wuthering Height's members like to listen to?
Eric: I guess weīre pretty wide spread in that direction, which makes it interesting of course. I mean, Iīm mostly into stuff from the seventies, Patrik is all old school metal - Sabbath, Accept and so on, Teddy is an old thrasher, Andreas is a real pop guy
etc. So, you see, any hope of creating straightforward music is long lost for us
haha! I think what do unite us eventually, is that weīre not afraid to be a bit silly. You know, weīll do stuff that may be considered old fashioned or weird if we think itīs cool. I usually say that only good things become cliché
And really, I think thereīs still a lot you can do within the classic heavy metal framework, and still sound kind of fresh. We like the trademarks of real, classic, melodic metal and weīre not gonna lose that just to sound "new" or progressive. I donīt think we have to.
SoT: Do you have any thoughts as to what direction the next CD may go in?
Eric: No. I never even know whether there will be a next CD. Iīm not the kind of guy who can produce something just because itīs time to do it. I need to feel inspired. And you never know when, or if, inspiration will strike. The future is always uncertain when you want to do stuff that is genuine, I guess.
SoT: If you could have anyone you want appear on a Wuthering Heights release, who would you pick?
Eric: I think that would have to be Mr. Martin Walkyier. That would probably be the greatest thing for me, as he has of course been a huge inspiration for me. His lyrics are still the standard that everybody else must strive to reach. There are so many great artists that it would probably be fun to work with, but actually I think I already work with some of the best, so guest appearances are not something I really think about.
SoT: Thanks a lot for the feedback Eric.
Eric: Thank you Scott!