Tann: Always busy, you know, but everything’s fine, thank you! We’re trying to book some more live dates for 2016, especially in countries we’ve never played before, working on new songs for the new album. 2015 has been a great year for the band, so we’re really looking forward for the next year.
2. You guys formed in the mid 1990’s was there a lot of bands playing your style back then? How did you meet the other members?
Tann: Not really, at least that I can think off, back in 1995 most of the new bands in this genre were simply ripping off HELLOWEEN and BLIND GUARDIAN. I remember listening to the demos of TWISTED TOWER DIRE, IRON RAINBOW, DOOMSWORD, LONEWOLF and they sounded great and different from the rest of the trend, you know, but not too many bands. In the very beginning IRONSWORD was a one-man-band. It was hard for me to find other people to play in the band, because all of my friends had their own bands and had no interest in taking part. It took more or less 4 years for IRONSWORD to have the first line up with me on vocals and guitars, Victor on bass guitar and Ricardo on drums. Both were old friends of mine that decided to help me out basically.
3. Musically you guys are more in the traditional metal area of things. Do you think that traditional metal was kind of overlooked for a while because everyone was paying attention to the black and death metal scenes?
Tann: I remember the media in general were paying much more attention to the so called Power Metal movement in the mid 90s than actually Black or Death Metal. Prior to that Traditional Heavy Metal was considered, you know, outdated. Really, you would not be taken serious if you said you were into old SAXON or ACCEPT back then. The media had problems trying to label us since we never followed the trend, we always had a more 80s underground and obscure approach to our music, it was only when we released our first album that we became more noticeable, so to speak!
4. Your new album has been getting a lot of good reception from people all over the world. What are some of your favorite tracks? Also, who did the artwork for the album? What gear did you use on this new record?
Tann: Yes, the new album is getting excellent reviews worldwide and to tell you the truth surpassed all our expectations. It’s really overwhelming the feedback we’ve got so far and I’m really pleased about the way the new album turned out sound wise. My favorite songs are “Forging the Sword”, “The Shadow Kingdom”, “Cursed And Damned”, I mean, I like all the songs on the album, to me there are no fillers. As for the artwork, it was my long time friend Victor, and bass player of IRONSWORD on our debut album! Let’s see if I remember all the gear….I used my old BCRich guitar for rhythm and lead guitar, I used a Gibson Explorer as second guitar track. Marshall JCM, Boss pedalboards. We used Fender bass guitar and Fender Amps. Pearl drums, Zildjian and Sabian Cymbals. The rest was Heavy Metal & Magic…
5. It was a while between albums. What was the main reason behind that? I feel that sometimes bands should take a while between albums because they usually put out great albums. In this case for you guys this is very true.
Tann: Well, in our case the main reason for taking 7 years to put the new album out, was due to health problems, which knocked me down for more time than I wished for. The band never officially split up or was on hiatus or something like that. I’ve kept composing new material and answering interviews during my illness. Then finding a studio with the right budget, finding new members, record, mix and master the album, create the album artwork and lay out etc took its time and we didn’t wanted to rush things. I believe the wait was worth it….
Tann: Hmm…to tell you the truth, I really don’t know, I never thought about it. I guess I might have evolved as a guitar player but the songwriting process remains the same since our debut album. First of all, I am a die hard Heavy Metal fan, so I may listen to Holocaust – Heavy Metal Mania or Griffin – Heavy Metal Attack for example and immediately get ideas for new songs. There is no formula…inspiration comes naturally in many ways and as long as it sounds great, it’s all that matters to me in the end. I know we’re more or less clinged on to our own typical Epic Metal style, I like to try new different things but that doesn’t mean we go Folk or Prog. I prefer to include some Doom metal parts like Candlemass or Saint Vitus or some stuff with more Speed like Exciter or old Slayer. My goal is always to write powerful good quality Heavy Metal music.
7. Portugal isn’t seen as a metal “hot spot” even though you guys have a lot of great bands! Could you give us some insight on the heavy metal scene from the 80’s to present time?
Tann: You’re right! There was never this hype thing about Portugal if you compare it with other North European countries for example, but the truth is that we always had great bands in the 80s like Alkateya, Xeque Mate, Sts Paranoid, V12, although you can count with your fingers the bands that released LP’s during that time. Nowadays we have a lot more bands, a lot more releases and some of my faves are Dawnrider and The Unholy! Also more people supporting local bands and going to gigs, so things are evolving in a slow but good way…
8. You guys are obviously inspired the old school headbanging fist banging heavy metal. What are some of your biggest influences musically? How do you feel they have impacted on your songwriting style?
Tann: Well, the list is huge….Dio, Ozzy, Saxon, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Accept, Omen, Manowar, Running Wild, Cirith Ungol, Tank, Exciter, Tyrant, Brocas Helm, Angel Witch, Candlemass, Savage Grace, Motorhead, Saint Vitus. The biggest influence is Manilla Road as you probably guessed, but the main foundations for the sound of IRONSWORD, the powerful memorable chorus, the sing a long verses, fists in the air, headbanging, power chords etc I owe to bands like Dio, Judas Priest, Saxon and Iron Maiden, because it’ was the stuff I grew up with. They have a strong impact on my songwriting style.
9. What are some of your favorite bands from the United States? Also, have you guys ever played the United States? If you haven’t I hope one day you can! (Play LA!!)
Tann: No, we have never played in United States. We got some proposals but it was not possible for us because we were already booked or there was not enough budget for traveling costs. But I believe sooner or later, it’s just a question of time, we will end up playing in United States, no matter if it’s in LA, Brooklyn or Wichita! We really hope so and that would be awesome! As for some of my favorite bands….I mentioned them before but I’m also into old Virgin Steele, Warlord, Heathen’s Rage, Coven, Medieval Steel, Heir Apparent…the list goes on….I like a lot of rare and obscure Us Power and Epic Metal bands that never passed the demo phase, as a matter of fact I’m listening to right now to Chalice demo 1985…
10. I would like to thank you Tann for your time. Do you have any last words for the fans?
Tann: Well, thank you so much for your support! We hope to record and release a new album in 2016 or 2017. Long live underground Heavy Metal!