In all these years I’ve had the opportunity to seek out numerous long lost bands through the course of Hard n’Heavy history, especially from Italy, but this Northampton’s band, holds a special place in my heart.
Yes guys, those of you who have the first ep of the band, know the start of an NWOBHM scene that had youthful energy, a sense of urgency and a place in the halls of thousands for tape trading or underground maniacs. This interview took place with one of the members of the band, the guitar player Ian Dick, a good musician and a great men…..
Interview done by: Beppe “HM” Diana (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Hi Ian, and thanks a lot for your precious time, first of all let’s make a step behind, “Dogs of war”was released just one year ago, what kind of feedback have you received from fans and magazine?
Hi Beppe , we have been overwhelmed by the response from music journalists and fans alike. Up to yet we haven’t had a negative response but only positive reviews.
Did you have managed to sell a satisfying number of copies calculating that, in practice, was a self financed release? Do you still have copies available? Is Star Heaven your own label?
Yes , we pressed 500 copies and have around 60 copies left. In addition the album was released on vinyl and of course download sales via I Tunes , Amazon etc
When you consider many major band s struggle to shift 1000x copies I don’t think that’s too bad
Starhaven was a song we wrote many years ago and which ended up on the “Sins Of The Warrior” album. When I started my own studio I named it Starhaven and then we started our own label with the same name
It’s is strange to notice that, in a period where many german and greek label have making scorched earth, a band as Soldier publish some self released album, you haven’t received any offers from this label, or we like to be independent for planning your future? It’s is soo difficult to work with Soldier?
Haha , no not at all . We are a very easy going bunch of guys. The plan was that we would release “Dogs…” with Heavy Metal records. At the end of the day, the contract drawn up was something we weren’t able to sign . Today many bands pay for there own recording costs, they self promote through social media and live work. To me this means the label has to come up with something you can’t do yourself . It also offers us more freedom.
For Instance we were able to do a liscencing agreement with High Roller Records for the vinyl release, we can do our own deals with record/web stores around the world etc
We are quite happy to speak to people, but I think we will probably self release from now on our own label with the exception of vinyl
The sound on the album is still old school, but every song have his groove, and, at last Richard Frost is a perfect singer….also“Fireflies” is an amazing song, she make me crazy, what’s your fave on the album?
Thanks. It is a difficult thing for a band such as ourselves, because your fans love the old stuff but as musicians you want to push yourselves. Write fresh material and improve your playing etc.
The mix on the album is deliberately old school as you put it, not heavily compressed etc as you would hear on a modern heavy metal band, but I hope people agree the songs are contemporary
My favourite song is I Am as I think the guitar parts work well although I am very proud of the whole album I have to say
Perfect, the last band’s release is “Chronicles” that, as title says, is an awesome collection from early to present day, when is born in you the idea to this double CD set?
Many years ago we transferred all the recordings we had on dat , cassette , masters etc into digital format. This was purely for own sakes at that point I think in the back of our own minds for decades we thought one day we would like to release the material which in many cases hardly anyone had heard.
Especially as the band never released an album About a year ago Steve Barlow along with Richard Frost, came round to my studio and we spent the day going though all the songs deciding which ones we would use.
When the project got underway, we found rehearsal tapes recorded at Beck Studios in 2007 when Richard first started associating with the band.
It became clear we had so much material we couldn’t get them all on 1 CD, so we decided to bundle a bonus disc and release it as a double CD…
If i’m not wrong only the first demo was missed in the final track list, there’s a reason why? How was difficult to remaster all tracks and find the original master tape?
Yes “Magician” isn’t in “Chronicles” along with a few tracks.
These had already been released on Heavy Metal Force by Hellion in South America, so we didn’t want to duplicate them.
Fortunately in this digital age, there are some amazing software packages for mastering which were able to use.
It’s still very time consuming as these recordings were done over years on many different circumstances so we tried to make then flow as best we could
Fortunately Steve Barlow has always kept everything we did so many thanks to him
What you can say about the new versions of oldest compositions as “Making a stand”, “Lost in time” and the others? It was fun to record them again?
The current band thought these were great songs that were never given justice with proper recordings. The tracks were recorded as demos in our own studio with Richard Frost playing drums and vocals, Steve Barlow on bass, and myself on guitars . They turned out so well we decided to use them.
In answer to your question it was great fun and most importantly Steve Taylor loves them which we’re very pleased about
The cover artwork seems to be very particular, i think that is specular with the one about “Dogs of war” it is true?
Yes, the concept is a time vortex with the dog pulling the Soldier from the past into the future.
Soldier feel this project now concludes all the work that Soldier put in back in the eighties and now are looking to the future.
We are currently well into recording the next studio album and a live album is also in the pipeline
Perfect, so what you can say about “Soldier Live @ The Heathery” that was recorded in 1983?
The Live Forces cassette was an important release for Soldier, and gave them a larger audience in Europe.
Whilst going through the tapes in the session I mentioned earlier we found this stand alone recording of the Heathery concert.
As people seem to love the eighties NWOBHM movement and “Live Forces” was never released in a nice package we thought it would be brilliant to remaster it and put it in a nice package with a booklet and memoirs. We also included all the banter between the band and the audience.
Watching your video on youtube, i think that the band now, is a perfect balance through experience and freshness, do you believe that is really the best line up ever?
I do. There are no egos and everyone plays there part and puts the work in. I am especially pleased with the writing partnership between Richard and myself
Many time your name is correlated with the song “Sheralee” a classic of all time, do you still love this song? You aren’t tired to hear about this comparison?
No not at all , “Sheralee” is still the only thing many people know about Soldier. It has opened many doors for us.
I love the song and its great playing it live with the audience shouting out the chorus
My only regret is I didn’t write it !
In the early, there was a time when the band was about to take the leap? It is true that in 1982 you contracted a deal with Heavy Metal Records for five albums?
Yes its true and in others beside. The mechanical contract offered was totally one sided and Soldier wouldn’t sign it . It is regrettable that Soldier don’t have album releases that so many of our contemporaries have, but we felt we were selling our souls for the deal.
In the last years internet have changed many aspects about music, the chance to promote a band, the direct contact with fans ecc… have you fit yourself with the new technology?
Absolutely. I am very disheartened that in many ways the internet has killed the music industry However I think the major labels only have themselves to blame for taking no risks and churning out the same bland crap that no one with a brain and heart wants to listen to.
For band like ourselves it is an amazing way to get your music to fans across the globe
Why the band of the new era have lost the factor “originality”? Sometimes it seems to listen ever the same album!!!
I don’t know really . Perhaps it’s just safer to sound like everything else.
For me whatever genre of music it is , even heavy metal it still needs melody , a hook , light and shade . These are the things that stir our emotions as human beings
Also I think that, back in the day, the musicians in the bands were exposed to many different influences and that made them all sound very different.
Today many young guitarists learn the same licks etc from you tube
They are technically amazing but sadly do have a tendency to all sound the same
Ok Ian could you do a special greeting to our readers?
Soldier would like to thank readers of Hard N Heavy for supporting Heavy Metal and Rock Music. Hope to see some of you on the road