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Falconer's Stefan Weinerhall: "I asked myself if I was really done with this music and I decided to make one last album and then put Falconer to rest"

Interview with Stefan Weinerhall from Falconer
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 11 June 2020, 9:37 PM

It is sad to see something amazing end, yet not all good things last. It was hard to believe at first, but after a little than 20 years, here comes the end of the Swedish Falconer. A band that had the formula to connect intense Power Metal and Folk, created with passion and delivered with devotion. At least they left a final token, titled “From A Dying Ember”, released via Metal Blade Records. Steinmetal had the honors to speak to the creator of Falconer, Stefan Weinerhall, about the end of the band's days, the new album, looking forward and more…

Hello Stefan, it is a great honor for me to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing sir? I trust that there is a light in the tunnel with the Covid-19 pandemic?

I hope so. It´s been dragging on for too long now. Thanks for having me once again in the interrogation chair.

How do you perceive this pandemic anyway? I have been hearing various versions of its nature, along with several conspiracy theories accompanying it regarding the truth behind it. Is this the real thing or yet a means for a country to control its citizens?

I´m not much for all conspiracy theories, what I might wonder if it started out as some sort of experiment in China, but then a lot of the diseases and plauges originate from China anyway.

Prior to the upcoming of our chat, concerning Falconer’s resurface with “From A Dying Ember”, I wanted to know if what I heard was right. Apparently, you decided that Falconer will no longer be a live band, but rather come back to being a studio project. Won’t you miss the live scene, displaying the band’s material to your fans on stage?

No I won´t the stage, and the reason is that I have never felt like a performer. I am a musical creator and that´s something different. I´d rather sit home and write and record new songs instead of standing on a  stage and playing old songs but with mistakes and trying to be a performer or showman. Frankly I am not a showman at all. Falconer have never really been a live act. We were more of a studio band that happened to play occasional live shows. We never had the possibility to play live that often which resulted in that we were beginners each time we never got any routine. With family life and advancement at work just taking more time we just chose to not think about the live gigs at all in the future.

The coming of “From A Dying Ember” took more than expected, which as you explained it to be a no rush songwriting process. I think that the question that arises is why exactly? Did you feel that you were under pressure to finish “Black Moon Rising” back in the day? What made you take it step by step?

I have never felt any outside pressure. The first 2-3 years after BMR I didn't even touch the guitar. I was very satisfied with BMR I told myself not to force myself into writing anything just for the sake of it. I only want to write if I have the feel for it. Some ideas slowly came to me, meanwhile I asked myself if I was really done with this music and I decided to make one last album and then put Falconer to rest. I didn´t want the last album filled with so-so material so I let it take it´s time in order to make this one as good as possible. The writing process was longer for this one both because I scrapped some material and re-wrote some + the fact that I didn´t push or stress myself to write this album. In hindsight I think it´s the perfect ending, it has all the dimensions of Falconer.

How do you think that the slow songwriting process of “From A Dying Ember” affected the band? Were all the members in favor of taking it slow? As a seasoned songwriter, what did you learn from this experience?

The band were actually just going on with the every day lives until I called them and said that we now have material to rehearse. For me personally I feel that the decision to make this the last album sparked a new flame. I knew that it would not just be another album but the final album so I feel I had more devotion this time.

Other than being a strong title, “From A Dying Ember”, feels quite a philosophical journey as well. Truth be told, I tried to understand and come up with an interpretation, yet I felt a little blocked. Can you shed some light regarding the meaning of the title and scenery that inspired it?

Well, I guess that after what I have just told you everything will fall in place. These were the final songs from the dying embers of Falconer. We even set fire to the grave of the falconer on the front cover.

How do you find the themes displayed on “From A Dying Ember” related to real life events, or perhaps a connection to you on a personal note?

Most of the songs are based upon my own thought or experiences from life although everything is clad in a more medieval texture. For example “Redeem and repent” is about the 2 retards Kim Jong Un and Trump. “Desert dreams” are about that you can´t escape your own thought, worries and anxiety they haunt you down how fast you ever try to run. “Rejoice the adorned” is about the passing of my grandmother last year. Actually most songs in our career has been about ordinary or modern things rather than actual historical things but I mean, if you write for Falconer it has to sound medieval at least. Hahaha.

My condolences sir for your grandmother's passing

It is hard to argue that “From A Dying Ember” is a rather different Falconer album. Not as “Grime Vs. Grandeur” or the pedal to the metal “Black Moon Rising”, yet it actually has even stronger ties to the Folk end of the band, which has always been integral in its lyricism. What is your take on the road taken by the band on this album? Do you feel a sort of a multifaceted package of the band’s past and present with this record?

Exactly, I wanted everything that is Falconer to be represented and really having it´s own focus. The ballad should be as soft and beautiful as possible, the folk song should be as folky as it could be. No bland or even line but really make each element walk it´s own road even if it don´t rhyme with the rest of the songs. Style wise I think this one is the perfect album to showcase what Falconer is about. I couldn´t have written a better swansong for us.

Did you feel that Falconer lost its Folk elements, within its music, on the last record that you felt that it was imperative to include a fiercer approach on “From A Dying Ember”?

It was a planned move to make BMR less folky since the album before that was ARMOD which was the most folky album we had and it was completely in Swedish. The plan was to have a contra reaction on BMR, that way we got some difference between the albums. The new one though is just a mix of all that Falconer stands for.

The sharp edged “Kings And Queens” reminded me quickly how I missed to hear fresh material out of you guys within your metallic edge. Certainly, a well reserved opening tune. What is your take on this track and its magnitude?

It was the first song I wrote for the album and I got some Mithotyn vibes from the intense riff. Although the song is not really that fast the guitars are really energetic and there are a bunch of bass drums and on top of it all is a great cheesy sing-a-longy chorus. A chorus is for me something you can go whistle on for the rest of the day, not just a short phrase shouted out. Catchy melodic and just something that is a bit too much schlager for metal hahaha!!

Without a doubt, the balladry, “Rejoice The Adorned”, was a mostly welcomed surprise of the band’s far reaching talents. Furthermore, it is quite emotive. Mathias Blad proved once again that he was more than a mere storyteller, yet a singer forged in divinity. Now that is quite a change in comparison to the heaviness that has been integral within Falconer. How did you come up with this piece of beauty? Is this partial path to be expected in the next Falconer adventures?

It is one of my proudest moment and then I don´t mean the lyrics since they are very personal but the music and the melody. It´s just so beautiful, and Mathias really shines on that kind of track. His voice really takes center stage and don´t have to fight of imposing guitars and bothering bassdrums. It´s all about the feeling and melodies. Sometimes you are allowed to brag, this is one of those moments.

Like it or not, which I am sure that you do, it is hard to escape your past, in particular Mithotyn, which I was a fan of back in your glory days. The closing epic track, “Rapture”, delivers a fair measure of extreme Folk Metal as it was back in the late 90s. Was it pure longing for the past or is there something more to it with this song?

Well you are closer to the truth than you think. The last song on the album "Rapture" started out as a attempted new MITHOTYN song meant to appear on a re-release of all the MITHOTYN demos. NOT in any way a return of Mithotyn, just a way to bring some flare and excitement to the re-release of the demos on a CD. Anyway, as Karl Beckman (also in King of Asgard) and I had written the song we ended up realising that none of us really wanted to put down the time it took to rehearse and record the new song. I asked Karl if I could take it and add a new lyric instead to use it for Falconer, I also did some small changes in the arrangement and replaced some guitar melodies with vocals instead. Putting it as the last song really feel like I´m closing the circle.

Were there thoughts to reactive Mithotyn on a rather long term basis, especially since Falconer won’t be taking the stage any time soon?

No, not any plans. There were just a plan to give the compilation CD an extra treat for the fans but as I said, the devotion wasn´t really there and everything just died out. Mithotyn is a thing of the past……well and now Falconer is to. May they rest in peace.

With the pandemic still relevant, have you started coming up with new ideas for perhaps a next record or it will be a fairly long time until the next Falconer record?

I personally have no real plan on what I will do. I will just try and make something that I´m not that familiar with just to break free from the usual paths and boundaries. Where I will end up in a few year we will see. I know how to make metal that is the most obvious and simple solution but to make it with a fresh motivation and new eyes and ears I will just play around without and goal for a while. It will be a interesting journey, if it´ll end in the ditch or on a new road I will let the future decide.

Stefan, I wish to warmly thank you for your time for this interview. “From A Dying Ember” is surely a prospect of the band, which I hope to hear more in the future. If this will be the end of Falconer, you guys were amazing and your legacy will live on. All the best to you and the guys.

Thank you and thanks to our fans out there. We really hope that you will cherish this album and think that is a fitting and great swansong for the band. We´ve had a great 20 years doing great music and making some memories that we will bear with us for the rest of our lives and now we´ll turn the page and see what future brings. Take care out there!!


 



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