Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Interview with IRONSWORD in Issue#2, 1997

Back when power Metal was not actually the ‘thing’ in the general underground extreme Metal scene, there’s Ironsword from Portugal brandishing some serious Lusitanian Power Metal Thunder with their debut promo- tape in ’95. Evolving into a full line-up band nowadays, and have released three albums so far, the quest of Tann is continuing, not to forget that he’s a seasoned person in the Portugal underground scene, having played in bands like Moonspell, Alastor, Filii Nigrantium Infernalium, and the great Decayed. Impressive resume nevertheless.
Your opening summon to all the readers, Tann…
A big Hail and Kill to all the readers of RANDOM fanzine! Thanks Shah for this opportunity and all your shown support…
Introduce a bit of Ironsword’s history for those who don’t know it yet.
I hope it will clear up everyone in just a few lines, oh well, let’s try… Ironsword is a power Metal band formed more or less in late ’94, and it’s completely inspired by old Metal 80’s bands like Manilla Road, Manowar, Saxon, Maiden, Priest, Running Wild, etc. It was supposed to start in early’89 under a different name, with line-up etc., but it took me all this time to recover, and put myself on the right track again. In between I have played in other bands, which helped to delay the real beginning of Ironsword. I am the only member, I released in late ’95 a 3 song promo tape that received good feedback… that’s basically the history of Ironsword so far, so there is not much to tell!
So, Ironsword is a one-man band. Don’t you find that it’s quite difficult to be the one who handles all the instruments? Why do Ironsword is a one-man band? Do you try to make it that way or planning to get some new members soon? I think chances of playing live are rather slim too for a one-man band.
Not only I’m the one who handles all the instruments, but the mail, interviews, photos, designs, etc as well, and it’s pretty hard sometimes when you get overloaded and quite often there’s no spare time left. But anyway, I love what I’m doing, it’s a very old dream of mine that came true, there is no one interfering my ideas, projects, slowing me down or whatever, everything is under control, you know. It may sound a bit selfish of me but I don’t feel it’s necessary at the very moment adding more musicians to Ironsword because since the beginning it was made to retain as a one-man band. Sure it would be great to have a stable line-up to do some gigs or maybe a tour but if it will ever happen, everything must develop naturally, and besides it would have to be a big event with lots of cool pyrotechnical effects etc. and for that you need money and to be at least well known. Sometimes I think of that possibility, and it’s a question I always have to face during interviews, with friends, family etc. Maybe one day my stubbornness will have no basis…
In this era of the ‘awakening of black Metal’, it’s quite refreshing to hear a band that plays a different concept. So Tann, why did you choose to play power Metal?
Ironsword means power, means Metal! I chose to play power Metal because I only like 80’s Metal in general. May it be hard rock, speed, thrash or black Metal. It’s in my vein, my spirit! Obviously if I would form a thrash or black Metal band myself it would sound totally different from you are used to hear from new bands. I can only play in the old style. You know I come from a very old-school Metal and these new bands I don’t find them exciting at all. I even don’t know what is black Metal nowadays because all bands seem to label as one, so…
You’ve started Ironsword for about 6 years before you finally unleashed the promotape to the public. Why did you take such a long time before you start promoting Ironsword?
As I’ve told you previously, Ironsword was supposed to start in ’89, but meanwhile I joined other bands for reasons I felt it were right back then. Only in late ’94 I decided to move forward, and a year later I released the promo, and begin with the promotion etc. but since I’m alone taking care of the band, it’s always difficult to follow a certain timing, you know. A lot of things get delayed, sometimes you have to choose between an interview or a song you’re composing and I simply cannot do both things at the same time. Well, afterall it is my quest, I will not give up no matter what…
You claimed that Ironsword plays Lusitanian Metal, what is it, really?
“Lusitanian” literally means the inhabitants, tribes of pre-Celtic origin which lived in Portugal, formerly known as Lusitania, in the Iron Age period. They were known as the Lusitanians. Some people still use this word to describe something mythological, immemorial, epic… so it makes sense to label my music as pagan power Metal or just Lusitanian Metal, since I come from Portugal, I was the first as well to come up with this label even when I was playing in other bands and everything in Ironsword is connected with this side of Portuguese historical background.
What about your lyrics then?
As I was telling you in the previous question, everything in the band, may it be image, lyrics, music etc. is connected with Lusitania and its people. My lyrics deal with its mythology, legends, heroic deeds, battles, swords and magic, ancient rites etc., basically it deals with Paganism, but I guess viewpointed in another direction than most band usually do. My lyrics contain a lot of forgotten honourable values and principles from the elder times. I personally think that the lyrics are a complement of the song itself and vice-versa. Hmm… I don’t need any special occasions to write lyrics or music, usually it happens naturally, it flows when I’m inspired, no matter how and when, but sometimes I can be completely blocked as well!This is an excerpt from your promo booklet, “I behold from the mountains the thousand hoisted banners from countless pagan hordes, prepared to fight and die against the world, spouting their ‘true’ words of death, evil and destruction… ironically, these mortals have been clouding each other only…”. Hmmm…
When I wrote that, I wanted that people would have their own opinion after reading that sentence, to judge for themselves. I know the truth behind, I know what it means for me, and I can assure you that it has a lot of meaning, you can apply for example for music, for people’s mentality and behavior etc. It was just opening my heart…
I think you take your national culture seriously, Tann. What is the connection between your eternal belief and your songs?
I’ve been studying for quite a while the past of my national culture, and it makes me very proud to know the glorious history of my pagan forefathers, it’s something of high interest I consider very important because I do feel personally linked with that period of history, I’m still Lusitanian though blood and soil. It’s like if I belonged to that period. The band is just a way to express the knowledge, to put me closer to this matter. Unfortunately, nowadays people don’t care for old values, for their own history etc. They care more for materialism than knowing more about their lives, their history.
Your influences comprise of old Metal bands like Manowar, Bathory, etc. Don’t you have any new ones which you liked the music? What do you think about the extreme Metal scene of today compared to the early days?
I just like what I feel that is good music, so that’s why I only like 80’s Metal bands mostly! Besides, I like classical music, especially Wagner. Of course I like as well some new bands, those which I’m in contact with, friends of mine, like Cruachan, In The Woods…, etc. Well, they know who they are, so I don’t need to tell the interviews. Hail and Kill to all of you in case you read this! As for the other questions you made, I guess you can compare the musical evolution and progress with other expressions of art. Since we are heading to a position that soon there will be nothing left to invent, while some bands follow the trends, others have to search for new things to sound original for how strange it may seem for your ears, so that’s why the whole thing is becoming so senseless. There’s no Rock n’ Roll spirit anymore! Just pure materialism, music for profit etc.!
“Ironsword music is full of strong feelings and atmosphere.” What are the feelings you’re talking about?
Longing for my homeland, for a noble life with honour, glory and pride, battles fought for freedom, to be one with nature etc. Those are the feelings I’m talking about.
Some people confine to the thought that says by singing in their own language will give some extra plus points. So why don’t you sing in your own mother tongue, Tann? Do you agree with such opinion like above?
To tell you the truth, I’ve thought of that previously, but I realized that people would not understand the lyrics and what I was singing, except maybe for Portuguese people that are familiar with. I agree it may give more atmosphere if you sing in your mother tongue, making it more mysterious, mystical, ancient etc. but on the other hand there’s always the problem that only a few could understand and it can cause lack of interest before others. I think anyone can do whatever he wants! Perhaps I will do in the future a couple of lyrics in Portuguese or Latin, but nothing’s sure yet. We shall see if it works!
Any upcoming releases from Ironsword soon? Is the demo “Power Metal Thunder” had been released?
The demo “Power Metal Thunder” will hopefully be released in a couple of months, as well as a new promotape “Get What You Deserve!” filled with covers from Saxon, Judas Priest, Manowar, Anvil and a lot more heavy Metal bands. Besides that, I’m still negotiating with the German label N.E.P for the release of the first album, hopefully still this year, so I’ll be pretty busy as you can see…
What about some poetic words a s a closing for this interview?
Well, I’m listening to Virgin Steele, honestly I don’t feel too inspired to write poetry, but I can write something like “Hard n’ Heavy on Metal, Raise the fist of the Metal child, Iron, leather and Metal is the law, Under the sign of Metal we fight!”. Hail and Kill!

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