INNERWISH – Rising To Another Level
March 19, 2016, 2 years ago
Six-headed Greek power metal machine, InnerWish, has returned after a six-year hiatus with its exceptional fifth full-length self-titled release. The sextet might not be a household name in North America yet, but the Greece metal scene is thriving in all sub-genres of metal at the moment and InnerWish is right in the thick of it, as drummer Fragiskos Samoilis explains.
BraveWords: Greece is such a great metal country. There’s just a variety of quality metal bands in many different genres. What was the scene like while you were growing up?
Fragiskos Samoilis: “The scene nowadays has quite a big variety, but above all, a lot of quality in many subgenres of metal music. Our metal scene, in general, is still growing and I think that today is at its best point so far. We used to have a lot of difficulties back in the ‘90s (I can’t talk about the ‘80s because I was born in 1981) with the biggest problem being the lack of knowledge in matters of promo, production, etc. When some bands began to establish a name outside of Greece, making productions in famous studios, playing live shows in Europe, etc., things began to flow. And now the stream is turned into a vast sea with many bands you need to discover. As with every scene, we had and have our differences, difficulties, problems, you name it. But what I strongly believe is that the quality of the Greek metal bands in 2016 is similar to some of the top European metal countries.”
BraveWords: The cover artwork by Felipe Machado Franco is exceptional. Did you have to give him any direction on the concept and how does the artwork, title and theme of the album all tie together?
Fragiskos Samoilis: “I’m a big fan of Felipe’s work. And I’m a huge Blind Guardian fan as well! We all wanted to try something different for our cover, so we all agreed in having Felipe making it. We sent him our thoughts about the concept and he transformed our words into this beautiful piece of art. The album is simply called ‘InnerWish’ because it represents us, as a band, with the current lineup, in the most specific way. InnerWish could also be the hidden desire, or the ‘burning desire’ (to use one of our songs) to rise to another level from where each and every one of us stands now. The lyrics of the album also are about changes. Changing the way we stand as a whole, the humanity, changing the way we see life as individuals, changes in many and different forms. They are a bit dark, but every song has hope also. It might for example describe something negative or bad, but at the same time it gives you the ‘solution’ let’s say. So imagine the monsters being something like your personal demons and you, your soul, in the middle, holding your burning heart, ready to finally escape from them, without fear, but full of grace and optimism. Taking things in your own hands.”
BraveWords: The album was mixed by Fredrik Nordström and Henrik Udd. What were you going for sound wise? Did you relay anything to them about how you wanted it to sound?
Fragiskos Samoilis: “The duo of Fredrik Nordstrom and Henrik Udd is simply one of the most successful in the European (especially) metal scene. Their portfolio is simply astonishing and since we have already worked with them in the past for our No Turning Back album, we didn’t give it much thought and decided to work together again for this new record. In our minds, the production should have been bombastic, fresh and dynamic at the same time. We knew that from our side everything would be even better recorded, so we were confident about the final result from these guys. And I believe what we all hear in this record, sound wise at least, vindicates our choice. There were some changes during the process, but that’s something usual. It’s the way things go. We gave them our view in some parts and they delivered. Both sides are happy.”
BraveWords: What was your mind set while writing the songs and how did you go about constructing them?
Fragiskos Samoilis: “We just wanted to create. To compose music that we would enjoy playing and feel proud of. And this time was different than it was in the previous albums. I was involved, George E., our new singer, so the variety of influences and opinions was way bigger. We could say also that we were more deliberate, and we tried even more things that we believe that worked out in the end. One thing I love in this album, is its variety. I believe it’s our most diverse so far and all the influences blended in really cool. About the construction, usually Manolis (Tsigos, guitar) or Thimios (Krikos, guitar) had a melody (sometimes they had the whole song, especially Thimios), the rest of us listen to it, made proposals, tried stuff and then had its final form. And believe me, many songs have nothing to do with how they sounded in the beginning.”
BraveWords: This might be a difficult question, but if there was one track on the new album that sums up InnerWish the best, in your honest opinion, which one would it be?
Fragiskos Samoilis: “This IS a difficult one! Well, I believe ‘Rain Of A Thousand Years’ could be that song. I don’t know if it’s the best song we’ve ever created — after all everything is a matter of taste in music — but I surely know that is the most challenging one and we all love it. It combines many stuff. The symphonic elements, choirs, a heavier riff part, an epic feeling, a lyrical chorus, it’s powerful and melodic at the same time... It has its bonds with the past of the band, but it also shows the present. I can’t tell about the future though.”
BraveWords: What do you bring to the InnerWish sound drum wise and who are some of your biggest influences?
Fragiskos Samoilis: “I like to believe that I brought some fresh ideas and some different views of particular parts. I listen to a lot of bands from almost all types of metal music, loving a bit more of the Scandinavian metal sound. I tried to adjust things I like into InnerWish’s music and I’m happy that I managed to do that. I really like drummers such as Gene Hoglan, Marco Minnemann, Thomen Stauch, Mike Bordin and Jason Rullo, to name a few. Even icons of rock drumming, like John Bonham and Cozy Powell.”
BraveWords: There are some huge symphonic elements and epic vocal choirs to some of the tracks. Are these some newer elements that you might not have tried before on previous releases?
Fragiskos Samoilis: “We had choirs and symphonic elements on No Turning Back album also. Though this time it’s even better and grandiose I believe. We also have the chorus of ‘Tame The Seven Seas’ song that is mainly sang by the choirs, something we have never done before. Beside the choirs and the symphonic elements, the newer stuff we brought to our music is mainly the approach. Some more aggressive riffs, some quite darker ones, some grooves that weren’t very common in InnerWish music, some modern metal parts in songs… stuff like that actually. The different way of drumming and singing for example, also changed the sound. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, with the artistic freedom above all, created the sound of the InnerWish album. Which I believe is our best so far.”
BraveWords: Were you a little concerned in this short attention span day and age that 13 tracks at over an hour would be too long? In all fairness though, the interest level remains high from start to finish.
Fragiskos Samoilis: “To be honest, yes, we were a bit afraid of the length of the album. 13 songs and 67 minutes of playtime are quite enough for an album these days, because the amount of music we receive each day is so huge, that none of us has the time to check out everything he might wanted to. We weren’t afraid of the quality of the songs and that’s one of the reasons we included 13 of them in the album, just about the length. And we tried to make it easier for the listener with the track listing; to keep the album floating. And hearing from you that the interest level remains high from start to finish is a relief actually! We believe in this album, we believe in these songs, we wanted our fans to have as much music as they could get from us. It’s been six years since the release of No Turning Back and that’s why we didn’t hesitate releasing an album that big. It’s our child, we love it the way it is and expect from people to do so too.”
BraveWords: What’s next for InnerWish including touring plans and what do you hope to achieve or accomplish in the future?
Fragiskos Samoilis: “For sure we want to make as many live shows as possible. And we are working on it. There’s nothing certain for now, except two live shows in the Netherlands on the 23rd and 24th of April and some live shows in Greece. We hope that people will embrace the InnerWish album. They will listen to it, feel the love in which it was created and enjoy it as much as we do. The sky is always the limit in every aspect of life for all of us and dreams keep us strong. So there is no particular “achievement” lets say, but in general, having our name established as a really good and respectful heavy metal band is something that keeps us going on!”