Woods Of Ypres Interview

1) Hello guys. I think you’re quite an unknown band in Romania, so please tell me your history, line-up etc…

Hello Metalheads of Romania! Woods of Ypres is a melodic black & doom metal band from Toronto, Ontario Canada. Woods of Ypres originally started as a three piece band in Windsor, Ontario, in 2002, but is now a full five piece band.

2) How was your demo “Against the Seasons” received by the public and mass-media? Speak a little bit about the demo.

The demo was recorded in the last few days of August in 2002. On it are 5 songs, totalling 31 minutes of cold black metal and emotional doom passages. It has been very well received by the metal world, getting good reviews everywhere! Most importantly, people really seem to like what were doing and that has helped us earn a lot of supporters.

3) Are you satisfied with it? If you could change something to it, what would it be?

I am very satisfied with how it came out, considering that it is of such high quality for a completely independent band. It presents our ideas well and people find it enjoyable to listen to. I’ve considered what I would change about it but really, I like the overall atmosphere of it and how it captured that moment in time so I’d like to leave it as it is and put my efforts into writing new material.

4) Have you had a tour to support the demo? Do you enjoy live activity, life on tour?

I love to perform live! I wish we could have already done more of it, but we really haven’t played live that much. Less than 20 shows in almost 2 years. That’s not a lot at all compared to how much I would like to play live and based on how many people want to have us come visit their city. Finally though, the current lineup is excited to tour and we have big plans for 2004. We are already booking shows for Canada and the USA. We are especially excited about the Northern Lights Festival 2004 here in Toronto, June 26th. See http://www.unrestrainedmag.com/nlf for the lineup and info.

5) Do you agree or disagree with the term Viking Metal placed upon your music? Why?

Though I do enjoy Viking metal myself, I wouldn’t say that Woods of Ypres is Viking metal. There are traces here and there in the riffs maybe, and the overall feeling sometimes does have that vking-esque feel of epicness, but our music has little to do with Vikings or history. Just like, I myself am of Scandinavian descent, but I am Canadian.

6) You came from Canada, the last place I would think a Viking band could came. Why have you decided to play Viking Metal?

Yes, there are very few bands playing styles similar to ours here in Canada. We never meant to be a Viking metal band.

7) This question is for all of you. What can you tell me about your musical background? How come you’ve ended playing such music?

None of us have any formal music training. What we do comes from our own practising, creativity, our hearts and our minds. We all listened to Metallica, Pantera and Slayer and all of that when we were young, and we used those influences to seek out and craft our own creative voices. We are as natural as heavy metal can be.

8) Why have choose this name for the band? It means something special for you?

“The Woods of Ypres” was originally a song title of the band “Fact of Death” from Windsor, Ontario. It was named after the park on Ypres Rd in Windsor. We told them about our band idea and asked if we could use it because we thought it would be perfect. They said okay, and it became ours. It worked out so well because so many underlying meanings can be found in it. Woods can be seen as being representative of traditional black metal themes of nature and purity of the forest, etc…, and Ypres having significance to us as Canadians, with the battle of Ypres of WWI (from which the park was named) having Canadian involvement. It was everything that we wanted in a name: reference to traditional black metal and also a representation of our citizenship as Canadians, and not as some Canadian kids being Norway rip-offs. We are Canada’s answer to the influence of European black metal, and not Canada’s version of it.

9) The title “Against the Seasons” sounds like you’re trying to fight with the unavoidable change of the seasons. Why have you choose this name? What does it mean for you?

We titled the CD “Against the Seasons” because we were writing cold winter themed black metal during the scorching hot summer of 2004, meaning we were writing metal “Against the Seasons”, trying to imagine cold ideas in hot whether.

10) Who wrote the lyrics for the demo? What is the story behind the lyrics?

I wrote the song lyrics. They are all about specific personal experiences of mine which I felt were worthy of writing songs about. Each song would have to be explained in detail to understand. They are basically about the joys and sorrows of modern life, but done in a timeless manner. Just as life is, my songs are about both hopelessness and the hope afterwards. If you are ever curious about the meanings, I’d encourage you to write me at woodsofypres@hotmail.com

11) What bands influenced your music style?

As a drummer, I always write drums to fit the mood of the songs, so I guess you can say that it is my own riffs that make up my style. As a songwriter though, my favorites are Kirk Windstein (guitar/vocals) from Crowbar, Miika Tenkula (guitar) of Sentenced and the team of Jonas Renkse (guitar/vocals) and Anders Nystrom (guitar) of Katatonia. Riff-wise and lyrically, I think those guys are great for writing real, serious metal songs about life that can be taken seriously. I would be honored to eventually meet any of them someday!

12) I’ll not ask you anything about Viking mythology, but I’ll ike to find out more on Canadian mythology. So, please tell me a few words on it or even a short myth.

You might find it interesting to know that Canada has a relatively short history compared to any of Europes countries. We really don’t have any mythology at all. Isn’t that sad?

13) I see that your local music scene is growing. What can you say about it? Are there any interesting bands, events etc. that are worthy to be mentioned?

We will be playing a number of live dates this spring with the female fronted death metal band from Toronto, Ontario called Wetwork (http://www.wetwork.org) and a dark metal band from London, Ontario called Blood of Christ (http://www.thebloodofchrist.com) who has a brand new CD out! Both bands are worthy of your time to check out! Also, as I mentioned earlier, Unrestrained Magazine hosts North Americas best annual metal festival right here in our hometown of Toronto, Ontario called the “Northern Lights Festival”. This year it will take place on Saturday January 26th.

14) Have you listened to some new interesting act lately? How do you see the present situation in the BM scene?

I’ve been listening to a lot of old favorites lately but not too much new music. As for black metal, as usual there is both a lot of quality and a lot of rushed, undedeveloped ideas out there. It’s easy to decipher the true-ness from the pretenders. If anything, I’d like to see all artists putting more time into the music and arrangements than they currently do. The overal product is always so much better if you just push a little bit harder.

15) What are your plans for the future? Are you confident that this new year 2004 will be better for Woods of Ypress?

Absolutely! I am counting on this being a breakthrough year for us! The new CD which will be available by July, will be a summer themed concept album entitled “Pursuit of the Sun and Allure of the Earth”. It will be a mix of black metal and bright acoustic passages with black and clean vocals, a touch of death metal and (maybe) even a few heavy breakdowns. Expect something really special!

16) Thats all for the moment! Thanks very much for the trouble! I wish you good luck in this new year! If you have anything more to ad…

Yes, thank you! We are living very modestly at the moment while saving money for our recording and touring plans. If you like what we do, now is the time to show your support by spreading the word about Woods of Ypres any way you can! Also, our “Against the Seasons” CD is still available through mailorder for $10 CND/10 Euros shipping included, (check, money order or hidden cash) sent to: David Gold 1573 Mount Pleasant Rd. Mount Pleasant Rd. #3 Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4N 2V4  If you haven’t heard us yet, go to www.woodsofypres.ca and download the song “A Meeting Place and Time” for the audio section. + Look for our new CD, Woods of Ypres “Pursuit of the Sun & Allure of the Earth” this summer! We will not disappoint! \w/

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