The following interview is done with Stefan Weinerhall. This interview was originally done for the 'zine Cry of the Wolf (Germany).

*Special thanks to the editor W. Wolf

Circa 2015

A person like Stefan Weinerhall is not an unknown person in the Metal scene and therefore he doesn’t need a big introduction. He began his Metal "career" at the beginning of the 90s with the band CERBERUS, which was formed in 1992 and released that same year their only 4-track demo.
After the end of CERBERUS one year later he formed with Karl Beckmann, Karsten Larsson and Rickard Martinsson the band MITHOTYN and released with them four demos and three full length albums. After their split at the end of the 90s, Stefan and Karsten formed FALCONER. This traditional Heavy/Power Metal band are still active and have released one demo, one split release and eight full length albums.

1. Stefan, first thank you for your interest in this interview and for being a part of the second issue of Cry of the Wolf fanzine. Well, like I wrote in the introduction, you and your band(s) are pretty well-known after your long activity in the Metal scene.
Why did you agree to do an interview with a fanzine like Cry of the Wolf? Because we all know, this kind of publication, doesn't get in touch with the masses like other pro-printed 'zines like Rock Hard, Metal Hammer and others.
Isn’t this a waste of your rare free time to answer my questions or is it still an honor for you to answer this kind of interview? Does it matter to you if they are pro-printed, fanzine-like or from a web-zine. 

I might have other things to do that are more urgent whether it’s a big or a small magazine. An interview in Rock Hard doesn't make me a rock star or even make any real money so it's not that much of a difference apart from that more of our fans read Rock Hard than Cry of the Wolf. Anyway, at the moment I don't have many interviews to do so I can manage to find the time. 

1.1. With FALCONER, like I wrote, you are very well-known and have been since beginning with Metal Blade as your label and having a good team behind you who knows what they have to do in this kind of a business. Every person and band has their ups and downs over such a long time period and we know too how bands lose their deals with labels, don’t get paid, get bad critics and reviews, suffer rumors, band name disputes, etc. …
Can you tell me what were the worst incidents in the past that have happened in your musical activities?

Well a quite unprofessional problem that we had with MITHOTYN back in 1999 was that our record label just vanished into thin air. If we were cheated on money or not I don't know but I don't think it's much anyway. And after all we haven't worked for success too hard so we're not waiting to reap any big profits from it. If we would have really worked for it from the beginning I'm sure we would have sold at least 4 times what we do now but we didn't have the ambition. I am not willing to risk my family, job and mortgages for the slim chance of making some success that you just barely can live off of and then fall back on nothing when the career is gone.

1.2. Of course a lot of people have a very different view of things about certain topics, etc., in my opinion for example a band that sells himself for commercial purposes, whether commercial or not, also sold their own soul, and also their own ideology.
I think it’s a very difficult issue, because the question is, where does commercial success begin and where does it end?
What are your views about it and what line has to be drawn between commercial and non-commercial? How do you see FALCONER in this “business”?

If a band is on the verge of just "making it" and being able to live from the band I guess it's reasonable to sell yourself to make it possible instead of trying to balance a job and a full committed band which is not that easy. It can't be that fulfilling to actually do something because of the money instead of what you want.......well wait....that's what I do every day as I go to my job.....hmmm. I do understand if bands have to think of what will get them a bigger audience and build up the band just as a company does.

1.3. There exists nowadays in our fast and easy ways of communicating a lot of people from magazines, from the internet or anywhere else without any kind of knowledge and throw prejudice around to represent themselves as “important”.
What is your opinion about stereotyped thinking, marketing, political correctness, and trends in the artist or Metal scene?

Political correctness is just a false facade, like a hollow face you have to uphold to not anger the smallest being on the planet. You're oh so goody good. Many so called musical experts are pretty much the same. They know what to say to seem important and smart. Bullshit. I don't really bother about it since I know what I like, whether others do or don't just as when it comes to my thoughts and ideologies regarding anything.

1.4. How do you personify yourself with the music you did in the past and play now with FALCONER?

In the past I think I identified more with the music I played. Now as I'm an old bald man I don't care that much. I just do music sometimes that I like. What it has to do with me or my inner self I don't bother to think about. I think it's more important when you're younger to identify with something. Nowadays I just AM, without thinking too much about it.

2. Let us go back into the past to the end of the 80s/beginning of the 90s, you started as a bass and guitar player, right? How old were you when you picked up your first instrument?

I started playing guitar at the age of 15.

2.1. Still speaking of the past, Metal music was not so welcome in society like it is nowadays. Did you get any kind of support from your family back then for playing an instrument and did they support your decision to be active in a Metal band?

Neither of my parents really cared, not that I noticed anyway. They didn't really push me nor did they advise me to stop. I remember my father telling me not to let myself be cheated by the business with the fine words of "getting the chance" to do this and that while they take the profit. Wise words, if someone will make a dime on me I sure as hell want something out of it. On the other hand we have always had FALCONER more as a hobby band and just doing what we have thought as being fun and fulfilling, so I'm very content with what we have.

2.2. CERBERUS, your first Metal band, formed back in 1992 and existed for only one year and for one demo. Do you have any special memories about the band and the demo “Cursed Flesh”? How hard was it to realize the demo at that time?

CERBERUS evolved or rather, changed its name to MITHOTYN later on. What was hard about making that demo was the playing since we all were quite bad at our instruments. I was 16 I think and took my crappy Aria Pro II flying V on the bus and went to a rehearsal room in a nearby town. The drum set we had borrowed since our drummer didn’t have a drum set of his own. I think it was like a normal first demo experience for many. Low budget, low quality but fun and interesting.

2.3. Since the 90s and since you've been active a lot has happened in the Metal scene and with this kind of music, people could write entire books of it. When I think back to this time I miss above all the kind of magic and special feeling around this music. Nowadays everything is, like I wrote before, all conveniently represented on the Internet with information about bands, people, music and albums etc., just all a few clicks away and without much effort or expense.
Please tell me in your vision and your experience how it was in the early days?

Everything was more special since you had to work more for it. Getting a demo from a band, you often wrote an actual letter and sent some money to buy the demo. Often you also glued or taped the stamps so the receiver could cut it out and send it back to you. Then it was just to rub the postal office marks (or what you call it) off and use it again. Same thing with fanzines, they weren’t something you just stumbled on the internet or nearest shop. Maybe you got a flyer with the last letter telling about a new ‘zine etc.

2.4. Over the years you were active you have showed a lot of diversity, not just in your change of bands, but also your Metal styles. We could say, “the older you get, the more calmer you get”, related here to the music.
How do you see extreme Metal music now? You have been active now with FALCONER for over fifteen years! Has your attitude and opinion changed much over the years? Have you become more demanding about Metal music?

More selective I would say. The music really has to live up to a certain standard and originality if I’m gonna be interested. In the beginning it was often enough if it was cool and looked cool. The image is of no importance anymore. I think I have calmed down musically with the years and know it is a quite normal thing to do since many bands get a bit softer with years. I still like some brutal bands, and still like some early stuff I did, but I’m just a bit more picky.

2.5. How do you judge the Metal scene of today compared to the prior time back ca. 20 - 25 years ago?

I can’t say since I’m not involved with the scene at the same ground level today as I was back then. How the scene works on a demo stage today I have no idea about.

3. After the release of the demo, one year later you changed the name of the band to MITHOTYN. Mithotyn was the name of an evil sorcerer back in Nordic mythology. Between the years 1993 to 1996 you released four demos, “Behold the Shields of Gold” (1993), “Meadow in Silence” (1994), “Nidhogg” (1995) and the “Promo '96”-Demo (1996). I remember ordering the two demos “Nidhogg” and the “Promo´96” back in the end of the 90s from No Colors Rec. here in Germany after I ordered your debut-album. I still have the two demos here and they sound very good for a demo from that time.
Can you remember how the responses and reviews were for the demos?

Hmm, quite good I think. I think the response got better and better with every demo. Coming from a death metal scene and playing the music MITHOTYN did we were always a bit too soft or melodic to be sorted into the black/death likes in the scene, but what we lost in brutality or coolness I think we won in originality.

3.1. Although we cannot change the past or what happens in the future, but despite all that, do you miss the days of "tape trading" and handwritten letters which were an integral part of the Metal scene?

It was sure as hell more personal and devoted. Everything today is easier to get and more easily digested and forgotten. I think you value something more if it costs you something. Whether it is time or money! It’s more shallow today, although I think the material and musicianship is better.

3.2. Christian "Christer" Schütz, who played with you in CERBERUS and was in the line-up of the first demo “Behold the Shields of Gold”, his name sounds like a German person?
What can you say about Christian? Is he still musically active or out of the Metal scene since he left after the demo with MITHOTYN?

Christer is his name, haven’t heard “Christian” before. He is Swedish; I don’t know if he has any German ancestors though. After he quit MITHOTYN he started playing all kinds of music from pop, flower power and punk. During the last 15 years he’s been doing his Bossa nova music under the name J.C. Schütz or “Peacebird”. He’s also been writing some stuff for other people, he’s been playing quite a lot in Japan where he lived for a year or two. I think the metal days are totally forgotten for him. Great songwriter, the best in the band but it clearly wasn’t his cup of tea.

3.3. Heléne Blad, the sister to Mathias Blad played for a short while in the band and did the keyboards and the female vocals on the “Nidhogg” demo. The parts didn’t sound bad and gave the music a more mystic atmosphere on the demo in my opinion.
Why did you choose to leave out this kind of the female singing parts in the future releases? Did you think at that time these parts didn’t fit with the music of MITHOTYN or were there other reasons for that?

Well, mainly because we didn’t have anyone to fill that place and maybe it wasn’t that important after all.

3.4. Another band, GENETIC MUTATION, what can you say about it? In this band you played with Karsten together for one demo “Future Vision”. This band is very unknown to me. So let me please know more about this project!

We also did one more demo called Promo 94 I think. It was strange death/thrash metal with odd ingredients and strange timings. Me singing, not too seriously but at that time in life I had all my time to play music so I actually could take time to do something not serious. Really nothing worth talking about!

4. Back to MITHOTYN, the debut album “In the Sign of the Ravens” brought the band to Black Diamond Productions from Sweden and to Invasion Records from Germany! In this cooperation of labels from 1997 to 1999 you created three full-length albums.
I can remember Invasion Rec. very well from that time in the 90s! The founder and owner "Maja" Majewski did a great job with the label and it had fair prices, fast shipment and great releases in different types like Digi-CDs with bonuses, vinyl LPs, pic-LPs, etc. The label also had bands like EMBRAZING, SCHEITAN, NON SERVIAN / MORTUM, VARGAVINTER, SKYMNING, INFESTDEAD, GATES OF ISHTAR and a few others under contract. How do you remember the contact and working with Invasion Rec.?

Very good! The contract itself and publishing rights etc. weren’t anything we thought about moneywise, we weren’t doing as good as we should, but aah! We had a good time and had a great contact with Maja. Me and Karl visited him one time and lived in his house for a few days. Great times!!

4.1. I also remember he closed Invasion Rec. at end of the 90s for unknown reasons (maybe this had to do with problems with his private life?). Well bands like NINNGHIZHIDDA from Germany, for example, were very shocked after the curious end of their label! But of course it was not the only band that lost their deal and everything with the end of Invasion Rec.
How surprised were you when you heard about the end of Invasion Rec.?

We had released our 3rd album just a week or two before they disappeared. It felt very strange that the friendly label just vanished and all we got was vague and varying answers and rumors. Irritating and restless is a good description.

4.2. Shortly after the end of Invasion the end was coming too for MITHOTYN. In remembrance the band left three equally strong full-length-albums. I really like the music you did with the band, beautiful and powerful melodies, great slow and fast melodic Death/Viking Metal with fantastic riffs, guitar sound and perfectly arranged choirs. The music you created with the band is still unmatched and unique in my opinion. Why did you end MITHOTYN? Did it have something to do with the sudden end of Invasion Rec. or were there other reasons?

I had lost the passion for that music a bit and for the 3rd album the “flame” had faded slightly and I looked more into Power metal bands. The Invasion thing was pretty much a good reason to end the band, it would have happened sooner or later anyway.

4.3. Is the story true that you wanted to change the music and especially the vocal style of the band because you were no longer satisfied with Rickard´s typical Black Metal singing style?

Yes. I didn’t listen to brutal music but had gone back to my childhood music of MAIDEN, KISS and DIO. Also I had just discovered Power metal with GAMMA RAY, HELLOWEEN, NOCTURNAL RITES and EDGUY. JETHRO TULL also attacked me with all their superbness. All those new influences made me drift further and further away from Death and Black metal. I started to use the vocals as an instrument instead of just some barking nonsense.

4.4. Another story, is it true that Century Media wanted to sign MITHOTYN after the end of Invasion Rec.?

Hmmm, I think Metal Blade wanted to sign us without knowing that we had disbanded. I told them I had a new band going and sent them our demo. After that I had discussions with Metal Blade and Century Media about signing FALCONER to them.

4.5. Hammerheart Records/Karmageddon Media re-released a few years later your albums in a new edition and limited to ca. 2000 copies. Hammerheart had in the past a lot of ups and downs too plus some changes with different logos and names etc. … some people and bands talked about good promotion, but some had bad words about the label.
Two years ago in 2013 the newly founded Hammerheart Rec. label released the box set called “Carved in Stone - The Discography” a compilation that contains the three albums in a normal 3-disc jewel case.
Did you have something to do with this or have some kind of influence with the re-releases from the past or with the box set? The box set had the CDs exactly how they were published originally, without any kind of bonus songs from the demos or liner-notes etc. ... it looked like a very poor release.
Did you ever get in contact with Hammerheart about re-releasing your music? Or did they buy the rights from the albums from Invasion Rec.?

I think they bought all rights from Invasion and we got absolutely nothing. Not a word about the re-releases or box set. No free copies, no opinion about the new hideous covers for the re-releases. I just guess they are cheap asses who want to milk some last sorry pennies from a band that had almost become something 15 years ago.

5. I can’t remember if you played live on stage with MITHOTYN, did you? If yes, can you remember a special memory on stage with the band?

We did maybe 4 shows altogether. The last one was in Stockholm; there is actually a video clip of that up on Youtube. We weren’t really a live band. For that last show I remember Karl being really nervous and Rickard had a terrible cold. I felt very out of place on stage I remember, but then again… I always do.

6. Let´s talk about the band INDUNGEON, the band was formed with Mikael Andersson and Jonas Albrektsson, two members of THY PRIMORDIAL and with you and Karl of MITHOTYN.
Surprisingly for me was that the music was totally Thrash Metal influenced, because I had imagined, as the members came from two Black and Death/Viking Metal bands, the band would play more in the same style. Only the hoarse vocal style of Karl reminds one of Black Metal! How did it come about (the idea behind it) to form a band like INDUNGEON?

A true party band! We 4 always partied and hung out during that time and the band was a real “just for fun” band. It was great, and some stuff is really great. When I listen to it, especially the first album, I get happy and in the mood for beer. The second album I think I took more seriously and I can hear some signs of Falconer riffing starting to appear. It became more brain than feeling, and it didn’t fit that band.

6.1. With the band you released a demo and two full length albums “Machinegunnery of Doom” (1997) and “The Misanthropocalypse” (1999). How were the reactions from that time about the band and the two albums?

I can’t remember. It wasn’t like a bomb hitting. But we thought it was better than many other bands.

6.2. The lyrics behind the band were more in the concept of war and destruction. INDUNGEON was not the only band using the concept of war in their lyrics. The question is what is so fascinating about the theme of war?

Childishness I guess. It’s just plain cool in an immature way. Just as MOTORHEAD is cool, you don’t have to think, just a beer and metal horns is enough! After all Thrash metal for me is very much war inspired.

6.3. A song like “Cyborgnetic Supermind” also is inspired by visions of the rise of machines like in the vision of Ernst Toller's “Die Maschinenstürmer”. With George Orwell's “1984” we are already far beyond that. Nowadays with the “useful” technologies and with the age of cyberspace and internet the technical concepts will grow more and more with time.
In your opinion how far will we and should we really go with technologies and how is your vision of the future?

Human beings are too intelligent for their own good. We will destroy the earth if we can make some dollars on it. Everything must expand and sell more and more. We need more people to consume so we can make a profit. And all people should have higher standards for the least possible price. All that is counter productive if we want to take care of the planet we live on.

6.4. The last song on “Machinegunnery of Doom” was a BATHORY "Die in Fire" cover. We all know Quorthon died in 2004 and with him a special part of the Metal scene.
How much was and still is the influence of a band/person like BATHORY and Quorthon for you?

The album “Hammerheart” has been a huge influence on me. I wouldn’t say it is today but it has certainly formed me and the feeling that album gives me I can never re-create. Actually he wasn’t good at neither the guitar nor vocals but he managed to create the perfect feeling and atmosphere for Viking metal.

6.5. After the split of MITHOTYN, the era of INDUNGEON ended too… why?

It got serious and I also spent more energy on what would become FALCONER.

7. After the end you and Karsten had a new beginning with FALCONER. Karl formed INFERNAL VENGEANCE and since 2009 is also active with KING OF ASGARD. But what happened with Rickard? Since the end of MITHOTYN it looks like he left the Metal/music business.

Yes, maybe music wasn’t really his thing. In 2004 or something he also crashed his motocross bike and crushed his legs and got permanent nerve damage in his back. So since then he is in a wheelchair but still he has renovated his house all kinds of ways. So there isn’t any lack of will or determination there, I tell you.

7.1. KING OF ASGARD, Karl's new band, is more in a tradition of MITHOTYN and has released three albums. What do you think about the band and the music?

The first album was quite good, but to me it has become more and more black metal influenced and that’s not really my cup of tea. Karl is a great screamer that’s for sure.

8. Like I wrote in the beginning, since the beginning of FALCONER in 1999 you've released eight full-length albums.
The artist Jan Meininghaus creates all of the artwork for FALCONER. In my opinion the cover artwork has to fit perfectly and in some way fit with the music and to the lyrics of a band, because the artwork is normally the first thing people see of an album. I can remember when I discovered Metal music with IRON MAIDEN´s “A Real Dead One” in 1993 I was totally fascinated by the artwork.
Another important person who you work with is Anders Allhage, better known as Andy LaRocque, who has since the beginning done the producing, mastering, mixing, and engineering of FALCONER music. How is it to work with Andy and how important do you see his works and production for FALCONER?

He is a family member I would say. We are very comfortable with him and feel at home in his arms so to speak. The actual sound is his creation although he might not have produced the musical structures that much. Sound hasn’t been my interest so I basically let him set a guitar sound and then I do the playing.

9. The third album "The Sceptre of Deception" is described as a concept album and based upon a true story. What can you say about the concept behind it and the story about the album?

It is about the rivalry between 3 sons of a king in the early 14th century… or was it 13th century in Sweden. When the king dies they sort of divided the country between them and the back stabbing starts immediately. Somewhat like a Swedish Macbeth or something. Everything ends with all 3 sons being killed and the son of one of them becomes king at the age of 5 or something since “there is no blood in his crown”.

9.1. The album “Armod” was published with only Swedish lyrics. I think it's always more special to create, write and sing in a native language. To sing in English is the way for more marketing and promotion, because English is of course the world language. As “Armod” was the first and only album that you created in your native language, how different is this album from your other releases?

I decided to make that album as folky as possible so I had to keep a lot of material on hold and really listen to folk music to get the right inspiration. Lyrically it was harder, since it’s easier and sounds better when I write in English. It often sounds too corny in Swedish, I really struggled to find that fitting poetical language to use to make it sound good. The end result though is great although I think some parts of the music don’t really hold the right level of quality.

10. “Black Moon Rising” was your last release and different in the sound structure. It was more aggressive than the previous releases and special in the themes of the lyrics. I noticed you used to use more lyrical inspirations from themes like Vikings, the old gods, the middle-ages, nature, and fantasy-stories in your lyrical short-stories, especially with MITHOTYN. But “Black Moon Rising” contains way more lyrical inspiration from other historical events. So can I say, are you possessed in some way with history?

My dream job is to be either a historian or an archeologist. I became a supervisor for a bunch of cemeteries, so I guess I have some sort of historical aspect to my profession anyway. Even as a child I was fascinated by history whether it was watching the “North and South” TV series or reading fantasy books which really are a bit like fake history.

10.1. Which cultural and historical periods from the past interest you most, and why?

The Roman Empire. 2000 years ago and with a strong intellectual ruling and great architecture. A few hundred years later civilization somehow lost it and became stupid again for a while. It’s like we in some ways invented the wheel, lost it in the woods, and 300 years later started building a worse copy of it.

10.2. If you had the opportunity to go for one day in the past, where would you go and what would you do?

Rome in the 1st century. Port Royal in the 17th century or maybe visit the mystery of Teotihuacan. Talk to Sitting Bull, figure out how much of a barbarian King Björn of Sweden was or maybe even search for some carpenter dude in Jerusalem and see what all the fuss is about.

11. Sweden, a country which has not only a big history but also has beautiful nature and attractions, lakes, landscapes and forests etc. … Although there exists many people out there who don’t have any respect for historical places, or of nature or for something people call “home” or their motherland, people without pride and consciousness who show no interest in what they are or where they come from.
Now the question to you, in this sense, what does Sweden or better yet your “homeland”, which is not just a word, mean to you?

I think we have a very good safety net in Sweden so I guess you are quite safe as a citizen here although some west-wing people with blue hair and Palestine scarves never are satisfied and always complain about the country and its shortcomings. We are liberated, free, we have 5 weeks vacation, the high taxes bring us a huge load of free health care etc. etc. Still everything is not perfect but I can’t say I could complain!

11.1. The loss of family structure, the increasingly expectant decline of education, culture and one's own language, the end of statehood and “democracy”, the destruction of our past, identity traditions and nature, etc.!
What is your prognosis and what is your forecast for the future for humanity? What will be left of what we call Europe and the other continents? What about the diversity of different ethnic backgrounds and nations and with what we have found to be called home and fatherland?

I’m not a politician, so I just feel as I’m qualified to answer such questions. Europe of today is becoming more and more a thing of mixing, moving and loosening up boundaries. After all Sweden voted to become part of EU. Of course all this can test the limitation of people's will to adapt, accept and change. A change is not necessarily good, as some people seem to think.

12. Until now, the cover artwork of your band releases (MITHOTYN or FALCONER) are still under the influence of a kind of fantasy. “Black Moon Rising” the cover artwork, for example, fits perfectly with the album. The artwork shows the end of something, like Armageddon or even a new beginning.
What is the meaning or message behind this cover artwork?

The cover simply reenacts the lyrics of the title track. The eagle is mankind flying towards a dead horizon leaving a burning world and yesterday's black moon behind. There you have my poetic view of the future of mankind. Haha!!

12.1. “As once plants and animals lived in harmony with their environment, for several thousand years a disease spreads. This disease destroys the world, animals, plants and at last himself. This disease is called man and the symptoms of man are violence, abuse, torture and murder.”
This quote, from an unknown author, can be easily mentioned and summarize with the words “beast or better - disease called man -”
What do you think about these words and about humanity in these cases?

Spot on!! It’s easy to see and easy to say but if we would do something about it, we would need to change the way we live. When we vote in our elections we vote to get a better, wealthier and easier life. All that is contradicting our wish to treat the planet in a better way. We just don’t want to look that far ahead and see what it takes to save tomorrow.

12.2. In my first COTW issue I asked all kinds of different musicians about life and death with the question: “With birth, death is always already given... Death being a permanent possibility, our lives are questionable. Questionable, in terms of who we could be in our very own abilities. So what is being? What is nothingness? And above all, what is the meaning of being? Quite simply, the question of life and life after death!”
Your answer was:

“The origin of mankind is nowadays really proven by science, but still many blind folded people defy it due to religion. And the fact that "Intelligent design" is actually the only theory allowed at some places, well that's just scary. The meaning of life? Well look what would happen to any living thing if it didn't live on through procreation. The whole thing is about not letting your race die. Boring answer....yes maybe but still that's the only sensible answer out there. Whenever death occurs I'm afraid that all thoughts of soul, heaven and afterlife will die with their creator: the brain. Hello maggot food!!”

Explain to me more about the meaning behind “not letting your race die”! And how do you see a solution about this problem?

The reason the bird lives is to make baby birds, that’s the primary goal for all life on earth, to pass on the gift of life. Solution?? It’s biology.

13. Alright Stefan, that’s the end of the interview … thanks a lot for your time and your answers. All the best to you and your future with your musical activities! The last words are yours!

Thank you for the most time consuming interview I have ever done. All of a sudden I have the urge to put on some crappy old demos and down some beer in utter sad nostalgia!!!

Back to Interviews