WARDRUM is the newborn art child of the Greek drummer Stergios Kourou (Horizon’s End), who is willing to serve in the best possible way the music he grew up with and still loves deep, Heavy Metal. The line-up completes vocalist Piero Leporale (Uli Jon Roth), guitar virtuoso Kosta Vreto (Horizon’s End, x-Vavel), and the bass master Kostas Scandalis (Horizon’s end). Their debut album “Spadework” was released on April 2011. MSFinland had a chance to interview the drummer and the founder, Stergios (enriched with some comments of the vocalist Piero), please join to our conversation.
Hi Stergios, I’m Tarja. Welcome to Metal Shock Finland! Let’s start by taking about WARDRUM’s first crucial steps… You formed the band in june 2010, so it’s your newborn art child. Tell me about how it all started…
Hi Tarja! First of all I would like to thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to present Wardrum in Metal Shock Finland.
Wardrum started when I, together with guitarist Kosta Vreto, and bassist Kostas Scandalis, decided to start an old school heavy metal band, fulfilling a common childhood dream. That was complete when we shared the idea with vocalist Piero Leporale and he agreed to work together with us. The result was “Spadework”, our debut album. It’s been one and a half year since we started and the fire is getting bigger and bigger.
And when you personally noticed that you and the drums are doing a perfect couple?
That’s when I was 18 years old. I went to an open rock concert and I don’t remember how, but I was found watching the bands from the right side of the stage. It was the first time I was able to see what a drummer was doing for the songs. Some months later, when I first touched the instrument, the power really blew me away right from the first hit. Since then we have a close relationship, we respect each other’s needs and move forward slowly but steadily.
Please present us the WARDRUM members… names, roles and 1 adjective which describes the best each of you…
Well, I feel so much privileged to work with these great musicians/persons… Let’s start with our singer, Piero Leporale “The Convenient”. He is a great person and he is incredible because no matter what, he always keeps his spirit high, he is a really hardworking guy, a high productivity machine and he can sing anything. Next, we got our guitar player Kosta Vreto “The Motivated”. This guy is a great friend, a cooperative band mate and an unbelievable musician. He is unique, not only because of what he unbelievably plays, but also for the way he plays his guitar, with no pick at all, just stroking with his nails. Heavy Metal Nail-picking! That’s maybe unique in the whole world! And then, we got our bass player Kostas Scandalis “The Capable”. This guy is a great bass player, a great producer, a great friend, he is solution oriented, a responsible hard worker and can come up with a solution for any problem that may appear.
The fact that your vocalist Piero lives in Italy and the rest of the band in Greece, how does it affect on your activities?
Yeah, Piero lives in Torino Italy and that’s far enough to keep us apart for most of the time. It surely affects the work but we learned to collaborate with the current circumstances. Things would surely be a lot better if we had the opportunity to rehearse more. We could add more confidence during the pre-production process and also gain lots of time. I guess we learned to do everything according to the alternatives given.
I think every living creature is a warrior. Nothing is easy in this life and most of the times (if not all the time) we have to fight to get, to achieve, to avoid, to fulfill something we need, even to drink or eat in some cases.
Our wardrum beats for these exact types of war. And these wars of course are not always defensive. There are many times that we are forced to attack, no matter how peaceful our feelings and/or our attitude is, in general. More or less, that’s what our wardrum is about.
You play Heavy Metal… but what is Wardrum’s touch that makes it different to the others?
Wardrum sounds like a Heavy/Power metal band. That’s the instrumental core of our sound, but due to the wide range of the music we listen to, or occasionally play, we got a lot of different styles blended in that, from 80’s thrash up to jazz music. One more thing that differs obviously from that core sound is the vocals attitude which is not what you name “pure Heavy/Power”. This confuses most of the people who try to put the “Power Metal” tag on our music because it doesn’t sound as it “should”, according to the power metal stereotype. Well, it’s not exactly heavy/power metal… it’s Wardrum!
What bands are your musical inspirations?
This should be a long list but we’ll just name a few. “Judas priest, Dio, Iron Maiden, Warlord, Crimson Glory, Savatage, Riot, Accept, King Diamond, Candlemass, Fates Warning, Rush, Styx, Deep Purple, Rainbow, a.m.m….”
Piero: Beatles, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Dio, Rainbow, Whitesnake, Queen, Queensryche, Faith no More, System of a Down. These are bands that, since I was a kid until to this day, continue to influence my way of making music.
Before we’ll go to your debut album, what can you tell me about the metal scenes today in Greece? And how have them changed in these past years?
The Greek metal scene is getting better and better every day. We have many extreme metal bands, but also a lot of power and prog acts. I believe that we have a strong underground scene, great players and a lot of potential to present big bands in the future. In the past we suffered from lack of needed information and of course from anti-professional attitude, but now I think that seems to be getting short of limited these days. I hope the future proves me right.
Your debut album “Spadework” came out on April 2011, including 10 songs, full of metal and energy. Among the first things that catch the ears are the rich melodies+fast riffs and lyrical poetry. Tell me about Spadework’s writing process and the song topics.
Spadework cannot exactly describe the band’s current writing process. These songs where written by me before we got together, when I was preparing the idea to start the band and the final arrangements where done by all of us when we got together. But all the four of us write music and you’ll see that we’ll surely take advantage of that, in the following albums. The “Spadework” songs talk about feelings, about time, hope, love, acceptance, denial, setting of goals in life, generally thoughts that come to our mind daily.
Any particular details you’d like to tell us about your studio sessions?
If I had to mention only one thing about the Spadework recording, that would be… “Wow! We are really fast!!!”. We’re playing together with Vreto and Scandalis for many years now, but still I’m impressed each and every time I see how fast we all record our parts. The exact same thing happened also with Piero. This man is also fast and accurate!
Some weeks ago I saw your vocalist Piero on stage with his 60/70 Rock Band, and I couldn’t do else that just listen to his amazing vocal lines. In fact, he should reply to this question… but what is behind of this natural facility, hard training or some special power-milk he got when newborn? Lol
Hahaha.. Yes! Piero is amazing! I remember when I first saw him with Uli Jon Roth and Kosta Vreto in my hometown Thessaloniki, I was really shocked with the power of his voice, his range and versatility. I’m sure he fell inside the Power-milk pan when he was small…hahaha
Piero: Ahahahahh … it’s definitely for the Milk! …to be honest, surely it’s natural gift but also accompanied by a lot of studying, without it I could not sustain a whole concert maintaining the good vocal lines from the start to the end. … and going back to the breast milk I got, I think it helped, since my mother’s voice is even better than mine! 🙂
MSFinland has recently reviewed “Spadework”, saying e.g. “This glorious land where was born the best of the Human Spirit, the battered cradle by severe storms, a child has become a man who’s never relinquished and his pride will be his sword. As long as a human is capable to produce such music, hope will not die.” …would you like to comment somehow this statement?
Sure I can…. Firstly… Look… in simple words… well I could say… I mean… Pffff… You know there are some times that we read something about our work and right after that, we gain a great amount of energy that we only want to release in even more work to prove each word right. This review was really a big push of positive energy to all of us. Thank you very much Mel!!!!!
On the album’s cover art there is a lonely warrior looking towards the outlines of the distant mountains… what does he thinking of? and what else you’d want to tell about the cover?
This “warrior” is any person who finally realizes that the inner powers he possesses are strong enough to move mountains. We all have these powers inside and we just need to know it. If we have the will to stay focused on what we want, we don’t need luck, only persistence and method. That’s the “Spadework” we need, to make our dreams come true. This cover is a work of Michal Karcz and I believe it fits very well to the album title.
Now after 7 months from the release, what has been the reaction of your audience and critics?
The feedback was quite positive since the first month of the release. We received good reviews from the music press, a lot of people embraced our work, follow our activities since then and I think that’s a good start.
We already got a respectful number of people who signed up for our newsletter and support us by spreading the word via internet articles and social media activities. We are more than pleased with the response so far.
When and where we can see Wardrum on stage? Shows, tours in arrival?
Right now we are in the studio finishing with the recordings of our new album. We will try to set up a tour and push our new album in Greece and then we’ll do our best to perform live abroad. We love to play live and we can’t wait to support our work in that way!
What are your next plans? And where would you like to be in 5 years from now?
Right now we try our best to deliver another good album and push it with a tour. The band is full of energy and I think we will manage to achieve even more within the new year. We are a new band and we need to spread the word in any available way. Hopefully, in 5 years from now, I would like to be in the studio recording our 5th album right after a successful world tour. Do I ask too much?
Stergios, thanks a million for this chat … I leave you to close this interview, the word is yours…
Thank you very much Tarja, you and all your team! Please carry on and keep on doing this entirely great job you do for the music we all love. It’s obvious that you love doing it, because you do it great. I hope we’ll soon have the chance to chat again, maybe for our upcoming album. Cheers!!!
Interview by Tarja Virmakari
For more information, please visit: http://www.wardrum.gr