Musicscan: Hi Karl, how d´you doin? First of all congrats for your new killer album "Those Once Loyal"!
Bolt Thrower: Hi there Karl Willetts here, the vocalist from BoltThrower, cheers for the interview Janick, your support and interest in BoltThrower is appreciated! I am glad you like the new album, I'm very pleased with it, and I hope all our other fans/supporters will be too!
Musicscan: How were the reactions on "Those Once Loyal" so far?
Bolt Thrower: We are overwhelmed with the positive response that the album has been receiving, it's probably the most interest that has been given to the band in a long time parallel to the releases of albums such as the 4th Crusade/For Victory. Which is great, we knew we had to make Those Once Loyal a big one, we are pleased that this is being recognised in the responses given.
Musicscan: How long did you work over all on the new material.
Bolt Thrower: The album took sometime to get together, the songs where completed to a point when Dave Ingram left the band back in 2003. It took sometime for the band to approach me and in this time Baz reconstructed the songs several times! When I re-joined in November 2004 the songs where in the final stages of editing, they where recorded through the summer of 2005.
Musicscan: Why you choose "Those Once Loyal" as the title is there story behind it or a deeper meaning?
Bolt Thrower: It's a nod of reference to all those whom have contributed to BoltThrower throughout the 20 year history of the band. This includes members of the band and crew, past and present, individuals such as Bryan Ansell at Games Workshop, john Peel, and just as importantly all the followers and supporters of the band. It's a tribute to their help and commitment.
Musicscan: Where do you get your inspiration for the music as well as for the lyrics?
Bolt Thrower: Baz is the main creator of the music, it is all down to the riffs at the end of the day, our songs are structured around killer riffs, that is the basic formula. Gav and I work together on the lyrics, we bounce ideas around off each other, it worked really well on the new album, and Gav had gathered a lot of ideas together over the years whilst the songs took shape!
Musicscan: Are you totally satisfied with "TOL" or is there still something you could have done better?
Bolt Thrower: We are happy with the final product that is Those Once loyal, the music together with the cover art and imagery has come together fantastically on this release. I am happy with the songs and structure of the album, maybe the overall dynamics can be worked with a little more on our next recording. There is always something that could be done better or different.
Musicscan: With the production of "TOL" I think you made a step forward and Jo Bench is more present in the sound. What's your opinion to the production?
Bolt Thrower: The production on the new album is the best by far on any album we have recorded to date, The Bass is way more audible through the thickness of the wall of guitars which enhances the feel to the songs dramatically. We recorded in a very strict manner taking our time to ensure that the delivery of each part was spot on.
Musicscan: Were the songs already done as you rejoined the band?
Bolt Thrower: When I joined in November 2004, they where nearing completion in the rough stages in demo format, recorded by Baz with home computer Inc drum machine etc... The band had listened and changed bits around and altered the timings several times, when I joined Baz was still making final adjustments, but the basic ideas, riffs and structures where all in place.
Musicscan: After the departure of Dave Ingram were you the first choice for the vacant mic position and did the band also contacted other guys?
Bolt Thrower: I think they auditioned a few prospective vocalists (Gav included!) but none of them fitted vocally, they also had some rather interesting offers from established vocalists, but decided that it was always going to be given to me as first option.
Musicscan: Who made the first step to get in contact again you or the band?
Bolt Thrower: It was Baz that called me back in November 2004, the band had discussed contacting me earlier in the year but as the songs where being structured and where not ready to be recorded there was no real rush to find a vocalist, getting the music together became the main focus. Only when it was near completion in towards the end of 2004 did the band seriously start to consider whom would replace Dave. Baz called me and asked me to rejoin, I did not have to think twice about saying yes!
Musicscan: I recently talked to concert booker and he told me that it was a condition of BOLT THROWER that the price for the show shouldn't get over 13,- € (pre-sale). I think it's the self-conception of Bolt Thrower to have fan friendly ticket and merch prices. What do you think about it and is it really so important to you?
Bolt Thrower: It is something we have retained from the Punk ethics of our roots, we are not in this to make a load of money, we do it because we enjoy it and it is our life. We do not agree with overcharging, we organise our own tours direct with local promoters, which annoys the industry as a whole! We can show how much promoters are making when the charge expensive fees to get into gigs. It is really important to us that both ourselves we owe it to our supporters that they do not get ripped off when coming to our gigs. Keep the prices low, more people, more fun!
Musicscan: What do you think about bands who sold normal t-shirts for 25,- € each?
Bolt Thrower: Very often it is not up to smaller upcoming bands what they charge for shirts, often the record company stipulates a price in order to cover tour expenses. We however sell our shirts at a reasonable rate, we print them ourselves so know how much it costs, it annoys me when I see people getting ripped off, people should just not buy them if they are that expensive.
Musicscan: You have a mighty and very loyal fan base here Germany, right? But I think in your home country it isn't the same. What are the reasons for that and were are the differences between English and German (death) metal fans?
Bolt Thrower: I am not so sure of what the UK metal scene is like these days I did go to see a band in Birmingham the other week and there was a very low attendance. Which have generally been ignored in the English press, which suits us fine really. We will be playing German Dates in January and some English dates in April possibly, so I will be able to tell then. We receive more attention from the German press and our label is based in Germany, so in many ways we have more affinity to these.
Musicscan: After your upcoming euro tour, will you also play a couple of summer open-air festivals this year?
Bolt Thrower: We are scheduled to play at the Rock Hard Festival, this will be Bolt Throwers only out-door festival gig of 2006. We tend to shy away from these events, as they are a lot of hassle, merchandise pricing etc. however we look forward to the one that is planned, because we limit them they become more of a special event, for everyone involved.
Musicscan: Looking forward to the next summer. Are you into football, what's your favourite team and how far does the English team get in the football world championship tournament?
Bolt Thrower: Me and Baz are really into Football, Baz holds a season ticket for Coventry City and I am a season ticket holder at Birmingham City, both teams are not doing so good at the moment. Next year is 2006, I will be 40, 40 years ago England won the world cup against Germany. Next year we will do it again.
Musicscan: Hope not, hehe. Anyway thanx for taking the time to answer my questions and I really can't wait to see you on stage again!
Bolt Thrower: Nice 1 Janick, enjoyed your questions...look forward to getting out on the road.......