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Wolfpakk’s Michael Voss: “It seems we are dancing on the edge of the blade. Mankind will probably erase itself from this planet in a time that is not too far away…”

Interview with Michael Voss from Wolfpakk
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 13 January 2020, 11:19 PM

As if it came naturally, simply produce a hefty project, filled with musicians of nearly every single role in a basic band, mash them up together. Outside looking in, it is quite the effort, needless to say the surmounting pressure. However, experience may as well be the cure. For Michael Voss and Mark Sweeney, it is as if they have been doing it for decades, and this time around, with their new album, “Nature Strikes Back”, it seems they almost went overboard with the number of guest musicians, yet from what it looks like, it didn’t bother. Steinmetal talked about this whole arrangement with grandmaster Michael Voss along with chit-chat about the new release.

Hello Michael, it is a tremendous honor to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine. How has life been treating you sir? I can only assume that you had quite an action these past few months concerning Wolfpakk?

Yes, it was a lot of work but we took out time getting the best results as always.Writing tunes, finding the right voices and checking who would be available and willing to join us.

Wolfpakk’s upcoming album, “Nature Strikes Back”, may as well be considered as a new chapter for the band. First, you left AFM Records, which released your last four albums, and signed with Massacre Records. Second, you went ambitious with this new offering. About AFM Records, what really happened under the curtain? Did you feel that it was the right time to pack your things and move Wolfpakk elsewhere?

Well you know, my partner Mark is dealing with all the biz and finally we got a wonderful offer from the Massacre Records label to join their roster. They promised us great support and promotion, so we decided to give it a chance…and…here we are!

Signing with yet another local label, Massacre Records, should maintain the status of Wolfpakk. What is your take about the change of environment? What did you find in Massacre Records promotional wise that triggered you to take the deal?

To be honest, you never know what comes next in the business. Sometime you have to follow your intuition and make a stand. We think that the new label will give us positive vibes along with our wish to reach out to a lot of Metalheads out there and spread the word.

Checking out both the artwork and the title of the new album, made me think of the grim situation that we are in regarding the environment and one day, could be out of nowhere, we are going to get it, a natural uprising against us, the oppressors. That it is not widely covered on the album, were you implying to send a message? Are you an environmentalist or simply a person that doesn’t turn a blind eye to what is happening around him?

It seems we are dancing on the edge of the blade. Mankind will probably erase itself from this planet in a time that is not too far away. Climate change, water pollution, heat waves rising, and still there is no end in sight. It is only money and power that counts… our planet is so old and eventually will start from scratch again

Since your self-titled debut, I found how easy it was to approach your material, and it has been in the same nature ever since. When it comes to “Nature Strikes Back”, the differences weren’t that overwhelming, yet the fine line between Heavy Metal and Hard Rock was redrawn in favor of Heavy Metal. How would you say that Wolfpakk’s music has been developing, especially in light of “Nature Strikes Back”?

It is difficult to say, every album is different, written in a different time. Also, there are different mood swings. We try to give our best in every single note and growing more and more as a team together.

Due to the heavy music’s market’s demands for technical showoffs, down tuned riffing and vocals that are in your face, some of the brutish kind, there isn’t too much attention to the classics, that same mixture between 80s driven heavier Metal and Rock. I can also argue that the perception of a song nowadays changed. What is your opinion about that? What still motivates to cling to the same old patterns that made it happen for you decades ago?

Well, I don't know it any better. Every generation has its heroes…mine are Judas Priest and Iron Maiden, therefore, I keep it in the same vain. I will not try to write tunes that I don't feel… I just let it come out of my fingers…it should rrrawwwkkk, that's all.

In comparison to the previous Wolfpakk albums, other than the guest performances that will be discussed shortly, which musical elements were provided with a fair amount of attention than others to make the effort special?

It always depends on the individual tracks.every song gets what he deserves.sometimes piano or even a string section… We celebrate music.

How would you describe the laying down of the songs for “Nature Strikes Back”? Would you say that your mutual efforts with Mark gotten even better and better as the two main songwriters or there was outside help?

We write as a team together…Mark is writing vocal melodies and lyrics, and I am in charge of the riffs, that’s an easy one.

Which track out of the new album do you find yourself connected to more than the others? I am talking about a song that you find its mean closer to your heart. Please elaborate on your pick.

I like all the songs, so I really can't pick one out. I see the album as in its completeness, that makes me proud and delighted.

One of the major prospects of “Nature Strikes Back” is the huge number of guests, you really gone wild here didn’t you? I think that the first question is what drove you to come up with the decision for a sort of an all-star lineup? Isn’t it a sort of a headache to manage so many people?

We have been doing this right from the very beginning, it is exciting to make music with different musicians in order to get a unique flavor and outstanding performance.

How were the artists chosen? Did you have a shortlist of candidates that you visioned performing the songs and just went on from there?

Some artists are friends, others asked to join and we still have our heroes to ask if they want to rock and join us

How did this process work? Were you simply sending out the tracks to the artist and they would record their pieces or most of them simply came to the studio and recorded while you were there?

That depends, some are pretty close by and we have a great studio session, others have their own home studios and the rest simply book a studio, goes in and perform the track

How did you know which song to designate to which artist? And we aren’t talking about mainly on singers, but for guitarists, bass players, drummers, keyboardists. I guess several Excel sheets right? And I can only assume the dilemmas of who will do what

Sometimes you hit, and sometimes you don’t. A lot of times we had to switch singers for a song or even delete vocals because those just didn't fit… It is a big thrill every time when we start producing

Going back a bit to the writing sessions of the music, did you lay down all the riffs and lead guitar parts and sent it to the guest guitarists or did you also let the guitarists improvise a bit and come up with something of their own?

No, the riffs and overall frame of the song are written, each guitarist can do his own solo performance as he sees fit, meaning writes his own thing.

What were the main challenges in the “Nature Strikes Back” prospect? Were there tougher moments when you wanted to let it all just fade away and simply go on and do it yourself with two more session musicians?

No, everything went smooth and easy: Phase one: Writing sessions, Phase Two: Recording / Mixing / Mastering. Everything came together very naturally.

Will part of this lineup will ever perform these songs live? Has this thought ever crossed your mind?

We are working on the idea…we will never give up on it

Going general for a few. With your loads of experience, whether in Mad Max, Casanova, and other musical projects and band that you were featured in, is Metal music still a way of life? Still a supposed religion, beyond being a music genre?

Of course…it was ..it will always be a big part of my life

After “Nature Strikes Back”, are there thoughts to go through with this endeavor once again, with lots of guests and such?

Good question… I don't know what the future brings… Let’s see

Michael, I wish to thank you for this interview. You made an impeccable effort and from where I am sitting, you surged as victorious. All the best sir.

All the best and thanks as well… Keep rrrawwwkkkinn


 



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