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Dragonlore's Joe Lawson: "The future will be dictated by the Metal community. If they continue to support us and build us up then that is what will happen"

Interview with Joe Lawson from Dragonlore
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 13 December 2019, 12:09 AM

It was time to bring in the cavalry, to set things as they should a long time ago. The wait was worth it and it is finally over. With their debut record, “Lucifer’s Decent”, the Dragonlore clan, founded back in 2001, found themselves mature and ready enough to come up with an offering. Whether it is Fantasy or pure Metal devotion, it is all there. Steinmetal had a talk with the band's ultimate vocalist, Joe Lawson, about the new album, promotion, support, philosophy, music and more.

Hello there Joe, I am pleased to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir? I trust that there are busy days ahead of you, when the music is concerned

I am well, thank-you for asking. Yes very busy preparing for shows, doing promo for the new record and working on story lines for a video shoot.

With the debut album, “Lucifer’s Descent”, I got to know Dragonlore, which is rather unknown as far as I could gather. Before we start carving into the guts of your debut album, what can you share about the band’s foundation, a little history lesson if you would be so kind? What inspired you to start this endeavor to begin with? Was it only due to your passion for old school Heavy Metal?

The band originally was formed in 2001, 7 of the songs on the record were written in that time with 3 of the tracks being brand new. What inspired me to do this was the unique writing chemistry that I have with guitarist Bernard Stinski, I truly love the songs and I am very passionate about the band and songs.

There is a wide selection of Metalheads out there that share an opinion regarding the nature of the theme of Dungeons & Dragons, as being a cliche. However, I always thought that there is a payload of criticism on what is going on around us through these Fantasy oriented motifs. What is your take on that? Especially with Dragonlore being one of those kinds of bands that celebrate this phenomena

Actually I see no difference in watching a movie and being entertained in another world or realm and music that touches on those topics. Dragonlore is a very versatile band that has the ability to write about whatever inspires us. So I guess my take on that is there will always be critics and people who will make negative comments but I don’t have time for them because I am too busy enjoying my life and interacting with our fans, friends and family.

When it comes to these Fantasy stories, which aspects of these written majestic creations appeal to you the most that it inspired you to write music about it?

You  know it really comes down to the individual story, how I feel the music inspires me, it points my spirit in the right direction, so in a manner of speaking the song will write itself.

Signing with Iron Shield Records was a good choice, in particular because it could serve you well as a door opener for Europe in the future. I wonder, was Iron Shield Records your first choice to begin with? Were you aiming perhaps for a different home in Germany? How did this relationship start?

Honestly we had sent out several submissions to different labels and Iron Shield gave us the best offer and they really honestly believe in the band and the music and try to do everything they can to help us become a successful band. We are excited for the future and happy to be working with them.

Promotion is a crucial process nowadays, even though the vast possibilities for a band to stick out its head out there, within the seas of bands. How do you perceive the promotional process of “Lucifer’s Decent”? Do you feel that you are reaching nearly everywhere in the world, putting the word out of the debut?

Well, we are doing the best that we can, and we are pleased that Iron Shield Records is doing what they can including working with two other labels Pure Steel Records for the promotion and Metaleros Records teaming up to make the record available as a vinyl gatefold. We greatly appreciate all the promotion they give us and to the Metal press for helping us get it out there.

Though the record has yet to be released, how has it been received by the press? Moreover, did you have a chance to play some of the new songs live, as a sort of an initial presentation of the upcoming album?

So far the response has been very very good. Our first show live is Feb. 7Th 2020 @ The Music Factory in Battle Creek, Michigan USA.

Listening to the old school driven pattern of the music, I notice that you are quite the purists, I might even say conservative in your approach towards Heavy Metal. Your influences are all over the place, from the melodic to the darker edges of the 80s. Although you are veteran musicians, what makes it tick for you guys when it comes to old school music? How would you describe the electrical charges going through this group while playing?

I guess the combination of melody, drive and passion that comes with Classic Heavy Metal. For me as a vocalist listening to Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson, King Diamond, Helstar, Dio, John Arch and other vocalists in that vein have been very inspiring to me as a singer. The songs really inspire us and drive us to do this. Of course we feed on the audience and the love they give us.

With that said, Dragonlore is a part of a vast market, especially since it is part of a flourishing underground. In your opinion, what makes “Lucifer’s Decent” a standout in comparison to the albums currently being released? Which elements of your music were provided with much attention in order to emphasise your advantage?

One thing we for sure have is our own identifiable sound. As a band we truly have our own thumb print so to speak. The combination of Bernards songwriting and playing with my unique vocal style makes Dragonlore unique and sets us apart from other similar bands. We just write from our hearts and don’t really put too much emphasise on that as a conscious type of thing, it just happens naturally when we write together.

How would you describe the songwriting process of “Lucifer’s Decent”? Would you say that it was a joint effort to reach for a better result or it is either a work of a few songwriters that tend to the tunes, spreading their word afterwards to the band?

Bernard and myself wrote the entire album. So the songwriting process is him and I working together. He writes the music and I usually write the lyrics and vocal melodies.

Let’s talk in general for a bit, it has been known that technical merits in Metal music nowadays, have been taking quite a lot of attention. Now, since you guys are recreating the past, you indulge yourselves on the glories of previous eras, where the song was dominant. Is there a conflict between contemporary technical music in Metal and an actual classic styled songwriting? Are the songs losing their souls if there is such a conflict?

I think if a songwriter worries about these such things he or she has already lost the soul of the song. If there is any conflict it is between the listener and what they like or decide.

If there is one thing that is undeniable is your ability to go over the top with your high pitched vocals. At first it reminded me of David Wayne (R.I.P.) of Metal Church, yet also King Diamond took a few gazes. How has it been working out for you? Isn’t it very tiring to go up like that? Which vocalists have been your inspiration?

I have a higher range voice, always have. Thank-you for the compliments. I try to take care of voice, eat right, stay hydrated, physically active and those things make a huge difference for a singer.It is tiring to go out and give it everything you have, but anything less would be cheating the Metal fans!

Back to “Lucifer’s Decent”, one of the album’s interesting songs, whether musically and lyrically is “Hand Of The Gypsy”. Its length might indicate an epic, yet it flowed quite nicely, making it a strong number and one of the album’s finest. What is your appreciation of this song? How was it created?

Thank-you again, we are very happy with how it turned out. The magic of Dragonlore really comes to life in this song. The courage, power, and heart to follow your dreams is the message in the song.

Now I am about to let you squirm a bit. What is your most impactful song out of the tracklist? and please don’t savor any detail on why did you pick it

Well thats a tough question to answer since the record has not been released yet. Depends I guess on what your definition of “impactful” would be? To us every one of the songs are impactful in different ways for different reasons. For me I would say “Saved by Love” is one of my favorites because it is the first love song I ever wrote and I think that a lot of people will relate to it and share that feeling of loving someone unconditionally.

What are the challenges of a band such as Dragonlore nowadays in your view? What does the future hold for the band as you see it?

The biggest challenge is today we live in a world of smoke and mirrors and the bands with the most money behind them are the bands you hear the most about. At least back before modern times like in the 80’s and even the 90’s if a band was really talented a label would invest significant money into building them up with videos, tour support, etc… all of that is now gone.

The future will be dictated by the Metal community. If they continue to support us and build us up then that is what will happen. We hope one day to be able to come to Europe and play festivals and release more Epic True Heavy Metal!

How about the support for the new album? Any plans to head for a local tour or perhaps lunging on festivals in Europe in 2020?

We are currently booking shows for a tour starting in Feb. 2020 and we would be honored to come to Europe and play, but as a newer band most promoters won’t take a risk like that, however if the Metal world demands it it could happen sooner than later!

Joe, your efforts on this interview are highly appreciated, and I can’t thank you enough for doing it. I wish you and the guys all the best of luck. Cheers

Thank-you very much, it is an honor and privilege.


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