Steelwing: Intrigued by Artificial Intelligence
Steelwing, founded 2009 in Nyköping, Sweden, back then still named Scavenger, began as a cover band, but soon they worshipped ”True Heavy Metal” with their own songs. 2010 the debut Lord of the Wasteland was released, mastered by Achim Köhler ( Brainstorm, Primal Fear ), tours with eg. Blind Guardian, Sabaton and Alestorm followed, before the Swedes took some time off. Now their third album Reset, Reboot, Redeem is out, which they will present on a European club tour. So we caught up with guitarist Alex Vega to give us some more details …
You have quite a colorful and long band history, could you please fill in all those who have not heard about you yet – how did you meet and develop your style?
We met many years ago. Two of us have known each other the entire life. We had a mutual interest in heavy metal and music. Decided to start the best heavy metal around inspired by our heroes and newer bands.
As you have been channeling the 80s in terms of sound and outfits, presentation etc – what is it that you find fascinating about this era? Do you wish you had been there?
The 80’s music has always been there for us. It has one of the best bands and releases up to date. But only because our music sounds much retro, it doesn’t mean we don’t love other music released in the 60, 70, 90 and 2000. There is so many good bands out there to listen to and still to discover. If we could have chosen to experience and live in the dawn of heavy metal as we know it today, we would. Imagine being part of something new and innovating. But the harsh reality is that we aren’t and we have just to accept it.
How come you, a Swedish band, ended up with an Austrian label (NoiseArt Records)? For me as Austrian this seems a bit strange, as I have always thought that the Swedish Metal scene (and infrastructure, like clubs, festivals, labels, media etc) is much more established and “bigger” or much more “mainstream” than Metal in Austria …
We got contacted by Nuclear Blast which is a German label. And they had contacts with RTN who are the founders of Noiseart. There isn’t any big Swedish labels, so most of the bands from Sweden are on foreign labels.
You will soon be playing in Finland too (with Freedomination and other special guests, 5.5. Varjobaari Tampere, 6.5. TVO Turku, 7.5. Kuudes Linja Helsinki), presenting your latest album Reset, Reboot, Redeem – are you excited about it?
Sure we are very excited to play the songs. That is what we have been waiting for since we wrote them, even thou we have played three of them last year, but never in Finland. Also been 5 years since we were there, so that is a big excitement too.
How do you create your music and lyrics, is it teamwork? What is the inspiration for your lyrics / the theme on the latest album?
Songwriting usually starts with me composing riffs and structure to a song. Then Riley puts the lyrics and song melodies to it. At the end we practice it, refine and rearrange it until we are satisfied. Sometimes it’s a long process, other times much shorter. Most of the influence is sci fi. Nietzsche. The political state in the world. Nuclear wars and the intruiging thought of AI and atomic ages.
What was the first album / the first song you heard as youngster that turned you to this kind of music, inspired you to become a rockstar?
I can’t remember. But I guess it was either Brave New World or the Number of the Beast of Iron Maiden. Along with some Kiss and Metallica. You know the stuff you find at your older brother’s rooms. It is still one of the best bands in the world. Iron Maiden. Still as inspiring as the first time.
What is the most obscure piece of music (album, tape, vinyl) you own?
Haha. Obscure. The most valuable among collectors or the most obscure record that I believe I have? A have a lot of rarities but I don’t only collect vinyl in the metal genre. I consume music and I am mostly after new stuff and not owning the most obscure singles for example. Some forgotten but yet so good Swedish bands. Not all of them are hard to find: Parasite – s/t EP Mercy – s/t LP Madison – diamond mistress LP Mindless sinner – master of evil EP
Sweden is known as a (Melodic Death) Metal nation – what is it like for your genre, how difficult is it for your band to get gigs etc? Do you have more fans abroad than at home? How difficult is it to get abroad?
Sweden is known for that, yes, but it also has a good music scene in general. It’s not that hard to get a show for your band, whatever type of music you play. There is always an audience for your style. We have probably more fans abroad since we played much more outside of Sweden. Especially in Germany. We are playing three shows in Sweden now in May, so we’ll see how the fanbase is here now after a couple of years in silence.
We have a booking agency that helps us with tours and shows abroad. And there is a great community of people helping out bands to make their shows happen around Europe. So there is not a big problem now, thanks to social media.
Are you also playing in other projects?
We don’t have any serious projects besides Steelwing. But we’ll see what the future tells.
What are your future plans?
For now we do these shows in May and for the autumn we will play some more around Europe. Squeeze the last out of the record. Cheers!
Riley – Vocals
Robby Rockbag – Guitars
Alex Vega – Guitars
Nic Savage – Bass
Oskar Åstedt – Drums