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Running Wild's Rolf Kasparek: "…there are two things which lead to these situations.... money and religion. You can go through history and it's always these two things which led to wars…"

Interview with Rolf Kasparek from Running Wild
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 07 October 2021, 11:55 PM

The German Heavy / Power / Speed Metal band, Running Wild, reached its prime back in the late 80s, while also extending its vast musical influence of the supposed Pirate Metal in the 90s. Several years ago, it appeared that they are slow, and easy, returning to that same grandeur that always sounded reach, powerful and undeniable. The band is set to release their new album, "Blood On Blood", via Steamhammer Records, and it seems that the richness of both material and sound of the heydays are back to kick someone's ass. Steinmetal had once again the pleasure to shortly talk with Rolf Kasparek about the new venture and more…

Hello Rolf, it is once again a true pleasure of having you for an interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how are things going on your end sir?

All good here in Hannover Germany. Busy to do all the interviews and preparing the setlist for the festivals next year…let's hope that they will happen.

Last time we had a short chat it was prior to the pandemic, in the meantime, the world experienced several waves of the pandemic. Gladly, now we have vaccinations, which I hope will sort things out. How have you been personally coping in this rather strange era of mankind?

It was a strange time indeed…but to be honest I had more time to write and finish the album. I changed one song completely, I wrote new lines for one song, I mixed one song differently and so on. There was no boredom at all.

After much anticipation, “Blood On Blood” is about to see the light of day. I have to admit, it felt to me as if I was shot back to the band’s early to mid 90s era, whether sound and musical direction. Nonetheless, as it turned out, it appears that you aimed for much more than old times. What is your view on that? How was your vision of 2021’s Running Wild fulfilled through the record?

After releasing "Rapid Foray" in 2016 and the success of the festival shows I did in 2017 I knew exactly which way I should go. The new album is a mixture of what Running Wild stands for nowadays and the classic stuff from the 80s and 90s. There is one album which comes very close to the new album and that's "Black Hand Inn" where I wrote the prequel "The Shellback" for the new album.

Talking about being diverse, including such loose tracks as “Wild, Wild Night” and “Wild & Free”, changes the general perception of the band’s music other than being a mere historical or Pirate styled Heavy Metal. I felt to me as if you were talking through the songs of your longing for some creative freedom that is trouble free so to speak. How do you relate to these songs? What is the importance of these tracks as part of the record?

These are the "party songs" which I call them. Yes it's artistic freedom and these songs work best in live shows….believe it or not. They are easy to follow and sing with and it's always fun to play them.

One of the many things that I enjoyed of the later Running Wild records are the epics, mostly coming in as the final clinchers of each album. This time around it came down to the 30 year war “The Iron Times (1618-1648)”. First, how would you say that this song in particular took the band’s music forward in terms of song arrangement and a measure of complexity?

I worked on this song for nearly 2 years…the whole topic is so complex and I want to do it right. Personally I think this is my best epic song that I wrote and I'm curious to know what the fans will say.

In regards to the song’s moral, other than stating one of mankind’s most brutal periods, in your view, is there a lesson learned here? It appears that we, the people, didn’t really learn anything from the carnage between states / kingdoms back in those dark times of history.

That's true. But there are two things which lead to these situations….money and religion. You can go through history and it's always these two things which led to wars. And if you have a look where we stand today… happened again.

When it comes to a sort of try-out, or obscurity, I was puzzled at first with the semi-balladry, “One Night, One Day”. With my understanding that there was probably an inner wish to experiment and see how it will go through, what was your key inspiration for this track?

This song is the most interesting song on the album because I never did this kind before. I had the chorus first and thought how it would sound when I do this as a kind of ballad. My musicians thought that I was crazy but when they heard the song they said wow.

You wrote a prologue for the favorable tune, and concept, of “Black Hand Inn”, with “The Shellback”, what can you tell about the story behind it? Musically, would you say that it maintained the connection to the earlier “Black Hand Inn” song itself?

Yes it is connected to "Black Hand Inn". "The Shellback" is the prequel of the song and it tells the story of the owner of the "Black Hand Inn".  Musically it could have also been on the album in 1994.

The sound of the album, which I mentioned briefly earlier, reminded me of the time I got to know “Pile Of Skulls” and “Black Hand Inn”, both bombastic in their flavor of crunchy sounding Metal. No doubt that “Blood On Blood”, matches, and at times surpasses the earlier albums. What is your appreciation of the album’s sound and its contribution to channelling the essence of the new material?

The reason is that I have a new studio where this album is the first one which was recorded and mixed. And it's such a difference to the albums before. Now I can really have the sound I want and I think "Blood On Blood" has the best sound to date

I saw that you have various festival appearances for 2022, what are your expectations from the upcoming year?

I hope that I can play the four festivals and perhaps 2 or 3 will be added. It's been too long since I played live and I know that the fans will get a little bit impatient. So let's hope that the pandemic is nearly over next year and that the people get vaccinated sooner than later.

Rolf, thanks again for this conversation, I wish you the best of health and continuance on making such amazing music. Cheers for you sir

Thanks for the interview and I wish you also a great time and stay healthy. Rolf



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