Volker Leson - Wizard

September 25, 2001

Give us a little background on the band and it's members.

This year, ten years ago, we met. We were all friends. We said we'd make a metal band. So we started and we had Michael Maass on guitar, Snoppi on the drums, our singer Sven D'Anna, and me on the bass. In '94 or '95 we made our first full length album and we performed a hundred times in the local area. Then with our own money, we made the first album, Son Of Darkness, in '95 or '96. We made it per mail order and it was very good I think. We sold 2,000 albums. We made the second album, Battle Of Metal, again with our own money and it sold very good. Then we had our first label, B.O.-Records, and with that we released Battle Of Metal and I don't know how many albums we sold because we have nothing more to do with B.O.-Records because they are a very shit company and now we are at LMP Records and it's a very, very good company. All I really want is for people to buy our album and I think it'll be okay.

Are your previous albums still available for sale?

I think Battle Of Metal will be re-released with our next album we've finished for LMP. The first and second albums will be re-released by LMP in two or three years. We'll re-release them too. We only have, I think, 100 copies of every album that we've recorded and I think there's nothing more. I think there's no chance you can buy it mail order anymore.

Can you tell us about the current music scene in Germany?

The metal scene in Germany at this time is very good. We have good underground acts like Paragon and I think we have very good main acts like Helloween, Gamma Ray, and so on. We have a lot of contact with other bands. We have a lot of friendships with other bands and I think the scene is very good. There's no, you know, some bands saying "we're better than Wizard". Bands like that. I think here in Germany it's okay. The bands are all together.

I understand on your latest effort, Head Of The Deceiver, you had friends from other bands singing on it.

Yes, we had on our last album, Battle Of Metal, we had a friend from Sacred Steel and from Paragon and from other bands. We phoned them and said we want to have a short choir and they said "yeah, it's okay, we'll come". I think that's normal. That bands help each other to make something like that. A short choir

What are some of your favorite tracks on the new album?

I think "Head Of The Deceiver", "Defenders Of Metal". These are my two favorite tracks. I think the whole album is a good album. Those are my two favorite songs.

Where did "Evitum Okol" come from? Did you write that or did it come from elsewhere?

On the last album we had an intro in Latin. Now we wanted an intro that's a wizard's ancient words in Latin again. We didn't like it. It wasn't good in Greek. So we made our own language. We wrote German words and wrote them backwards. Something like marmalade bread. Something like that and you read it backwards. I think it sounds good. Mighty ancient wizard's book and so on. Blah, blah, blah.

Are you touring the States or staying in Europe?

That's a big problem because we all work and we never get vacations at the same time. I think it's impossible to make a tour. We can't live off of selling albums and I think it's impossible to tour. We do a lot of weekend gigs in Germany and I think The Netherlands or Belgium for the next time. I don't think we'll tour.

What bands influenced you?

Metal Wolf, Virgin Steel, these are some of my favorite bands. I like Pantera, thrash metal. I like any band that has a good singer. I listen so much. Our guitar player likes Eddie Van Halen, Vinnie Moore, and all these guitarists.

Pantera is from my home town of Dallas and most of them live here. Who does most of the songwriting?

We practice twice a week for three hours each session. The guitarist or myself will have a riff and our singer sings a melody to it. If we like it we use it. Everytime we compose a song, it's finished in an hour and a half. We are not a band who takes a song and says "you can make something like that" and "you can sing there". We don't do that. An hour and a half to two hours and the song is finished. We don't do anything else to the song.

I understand your band had it's own record label?

Our first albums, Son Of Darkness and Battle Of Metal, our drummer made our own record label called Gima. In Germany when you sell records you get money from them and for that reason you must have a record label. It has nothing to do with a real record company. We only make it that we have a record company band on our album.

You seem to be a huge hit in Germany. Are you gaining a fanbase from all over the world?

Yeah, we sold more than 10,000 in the first two weeks only in Germany. In Japan we're in fourth place in the import shops. People buy from all over the world on our homepage. We have a guestbook and everyone can write. They do write, all these fans, that we are a great band. I think that's great for us.

I understand you have a huge stage production.

Our stage production, yeah. Much pyro and fire and bloodspitting. All that you want.

Like a KISS show.

Yeah, but not as huge as a KISS show. 10 meter flames of kerosene and something like that. We don't have enough money for that but we can make a lot of pyro and flames on the stage. That's okay. There isn't a better show I think.

When you write songs, do they reflect your feelings about society as a whole?

We're a very unpolitical band and we don't want to tell people what is bad in the world and with the society because I think everyone knows what is bad and what is not good. We only write fantasy lyrics. For us, for ourselves, we are not unpolitical. We are very political. We often talk with each other about society, political thoughts, and of course now the war against Afghanistan and so on. We don't want that in our music.

What was the inspiration behind Head Of The Deceiver?

I composed the lyrics and the song. The inspiration behind it was, we've learned so much about people in our way and they're often very good people. But they're often very, very bad people who only want our money and then they kick our asses. I think these are the deceivers. That was my inspiration and I think don't trust in anyone. If there is one who says to us "hey you're a great band" and so on, we say "yeah, that's okay" and we wait until we have trust in these people. I think there are many assholes in our way but we kick them all.

Any other thoughts or comments?

How is the metal scene in the USA?

We have a lot of new bands here like Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, and stuff like that. Marilyn Manson. Bands the younger kids are getting into. Of course those of us from the old school don't particularly care for these bands. A lot of us feel they aren't very talented but there are some new bands coming out that are okay. I'm pretty much stuck in the 80's.

I think when Metal War plays in Germany there's 5 and 6 and 10,000 people who see them and when Metal War plays America there are sometimes only 500.

The music scene has really changed here and it brightens my day that there are bands around the world that play the kind of music I like. You guys just blew me away.

Yeah I'm not impressed with the new metal shit. Those who like true heavy metal and fight for it, I think one day it will come back. Ten years ago in Germany a lot of people wanted something like that and then in the last four years there was a revival of heavy metal. It was impossible but it happened. I think America must fight. I think if the heavy metal people fight for it, it will come back.