A great success is in the making at the beginning of the year. The name of Power Paladin suddenly rises up from unknown to one of the greates. Atli, whenever I hear your songs, I just stare. I can’t decide what happened to me. Honestly this is not my favourite genre, but still Power Paladin made me fall for it. Could you talk us through about how did the band get together?
Wow. First of all thank you very much. I am flattered and I am glad that you liked the album. How did we get together? We’ve known each other a pretty long time. I think we’ve all been friends for 10 years or so. And partly we’ve been in various bands before. Like Ingi and Kristleifur, our guitarist and bassist, they were at another form of this band before, maybe 10 years before, or 15. And me and Ingi and Bjarni, we were in a glam metal cover band. So yeah, we just’ve been friends for a really long time, and then the formation was clear when we decided to make the band.
It’s been said a lot of times that your country is most known from the darker toned music you guys make over there, but your music has this positive energy and happiness to it. How can it be? Do you think Iceland needs to show more of what people are capable of doing over there?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean we have some extreme metal genres here in Iceland, and it’s great. Bands here are doing their own stuff and they are doing it really well, but it’s always nice to have some flavouring things. Because you get so much exposure here to black metal and death metal and it really gave me that fire from going to metal shows and I wanted to make something different. And it’s working out great. I think it’s fun, because heavy metal should always challenge itself in my opinion. By not always being diverse and influencing each other.
What kinds of music did you grow up listening to? How much did other genres influence you? Did you always want to be in a power/heavy metal band?
I grew up listening to Iron Maiden, and for the first 3 or 4 years nothing else was considered music in my mind. Then I slowly started to evolve into different genres, power metal and folk metal, some death metal as well, and a little bit of black metal and stuff like that. I’ve always been a fan of folk music as well. Irish folk music is great I think. Then of course heavy metal classics and glam metal, and classic rock’n’roll as well, like Led Zeppelin. I think it’s great. And definitely I wanted to have a power metal band. Some of these songs that are on this record are songs that I wrote maybe up to 6 years or so. So definitely it has always been on the top of my mind to have this kind of a band, because this is the music that I love the most.
You guys are a band since 2017, but in 2019 you already played huge gigs in your own country, such as Iceland Airwaves. How was that day?
Yeah, that was a great gig. Lot of fun playing there. And I think that year we played at Eistnaflug, wich is the biggest metal festival here in Iceland. And growing up and going to that festival a lot really makes it a dream for you to play there for the first time, and I was so honoured to be able to do that with my band. It was such a great time before covid, and we really enjoyed it.
To mention some big names specifically, I would say Helloween and Iron Maiden from the first wave, then Edguy and Hammerfall in the second what comes to mind to me. All these aside you still bring us something new and fresh in Power Paladin’s music. Dynamic guitars, ascending melodies, great vocals and great songs. What are your thoughts? What do you think about your music?
What do I think about it? I think we are all really proud of the album. I think it came together well. A little chaotic at times maybe, because for us this is very much a first album. We were really shooting in all directions and I just wanted to do a great service for this genre and the music that we love. Yeah, I think we did okay with it, and can’t wait to see what the future holds.
You signed to a new label called Atomic Fire Records. They are a great professional group as they proved it at Nuclear Blast. Their first release is yours, since your new album came out Jan 7. I assume they didn’t need much of a persuasion. What did they say, because you are still rookies in a way, why do they trust you?
Another great question. A friend of ours here in Iceland who is responsible for the Wacken metal battle in Iceland, and he was the one who contacted Marcus about us when we showed him the record and we were kinda wondering if any labels wanted to release it. From there Marcus said that he loved the music and that he’d love to work with us. And of course we were really flattered and it’s just been great working with Atomic Fire.
The songs of the album were recorded at your own home studios. How many songs did you guys make until you settled with the final 9 tracks? How much did you need to select? Who modified the most? How good was working in a team with the others?
Okay. A lot of songs were cut. Fully finished ones and half finished ones as well. I’d say for every song that I wrote, I wrote like 5 starts for other songs and then I end up cancelling. We have cut 2 or 3 songs that we actually rehearsed and was gonna put it on the record. There was a song with the same name as the title of the album, ,,With the Power of Windfyre and Steel”. We ended up cutting that song out, but we loved the title of it so much that we decided to use it for the album. Another song was during the end when we layed down all the guitars for a song that was supposed to be called… I don’t remember. We ended up with a feeling that it didn’t really fit. So we cut that and then I ended up writing ,,Kraven the Hunter” instead. With regards to working with the guys, it’s been fantastic. We’ve been able to do it at our own pace and we had a lot of fun with it and a lot of hanging out and coming up with parts and drinking beer. With regards on who did the most modifications in regards to songwriting probably the most is me and Ingi. We have most of the say about what we should do with the song, but it’s a collaborative effort. We ask everybody’s opinions on the songs and we really like to fit them up together.
We hear stories of brave soldiers and mystic creatures on the album. What is this specifically about? How did this came to be the message of Power Paladin?
I think in terms of the lyrics for most of the songs we are going for a theme instead of like concrete stories. It differs between songs how much substance there is to the story. We sometimes have a definitive story line more than we thought of and has a beginning and an end, the other ones are more about the themes and just powerful lyrics and leaving the subject kind of on for interpretation. We always aim for fantasy-type lyrics. Stuff that we like in our music and stuff that we like and we wanna write about, because it sounds great and it’s so much fun.
If I am not mistaken you always dreamt of having an animation video to one of your songs. Thanks to the RMIT University at Melbourne you can finally check this off of your list of things to do. How did the cooperation came to be? How much did the final product match your expectations?
Well definitely succeeded our expectations and way past that. I think it was through Atomic Fire that the school got a list of songs and they tell them to do a video for on of these songs and I think they really like “Creature of the Night” and really wanted to do a video for that. So they contacted and asked us if we had any ideas for the video, and I came up with the general theme of after the band going to this medieval town and getting hunted by wolves and betraying each other until only one is left. But yeah, the team really only took it from there and layed down this amazing video that I wouldn’t be able to imagine in my dreams. It was so cool and so much fun. Perfectly nailed the spirit of what we wanted to do for the video. And I can now definitely check this off on my list of things to do.
I think you are living your best days right now, because you released a banger and good reviews and interview request are coming your way. How do you rate the band’s progress from the day it was born till today? How hard will it be to continue to deliver at a high level like this?
I have no idea. Our expectations we so low for this album going in. After we finished it the only thing we wanted to do was get a vinyl printed and get a to get it in our own hands. But a lot of people ended up really liking the music and showed so much intrest, so that’s been a lot of fun to be a part of. And yeah, but regards to following up on the hype is all about just not loosing track about what we want to do as a band and how we write songs. So yeah, we probably won’t be banging out an album every year. We will take our time and have fun writing music and doing it out of our hearts. Stuff that we wanna hear, stuff that we like, and just make sure that the songs come out well and it’s something that we are not rushing.
The pandemic made everyones’ life harded, since it made plans harder to make. Do you have any plans for a concert? How much do you think about going on tour to promote this album?
We probably won’t be a huge touring band, like doing long tours and stuff like that in the future. 5 out of 6 of us had children in the last 2 years, so we are kinda stuck at home playing dad right now. But definitely we are open to play some gigs abroad. Maybe playing some festivals, that would be a lot of fun. Playing cruise ships, we always joke about that being the peak, when your band only plays on cruise ships. We have to see where it takes us, but playing abroad would definitely be a lot of fun and hopefully something we can do in the future.
It turned out that you guys like fantasy. I am intrested, if would you be able to live in a world like that, how would you imagine it?
You mean living in a fantasy world? Well, in my case when I am playing role playing games I am always the worst. I am a really bad role player. I always make a character that is close to myself in real life as much as possible. So usually a male knight or something like that. When you have 30 options that’s always what I chose. I pick a human dude who that looks like me. I don’t know why. I guess it would probably depend on what kind of a fantasy world you’d be living in. There can be either very good or very bad, but I think if it’s a good one life wouldn’t be all that bad.
Could you tell us a few things about yourself? What kind of a person are you? How do you live your days?
I myself I work as a softver developer. I have a 6 months old son. Yeah, I’ve mostly been a guitar player all my life, I only really started singing for this band. When we formed the band we had very limited options for singer in power metal in Iceland. So it ended up with just me giving it a shot and just learning it as I went by. Singing is still relatively new to me. Besides that I would say that I am fairly laid back, I never enjoyed being the life of the party or the focal point. So this situation is really intresting, getting a lot of attention, but super fun. We’ve all been enjoying it a lot.
What could be the dream of Power Paladin besides playing abroad? What are your hopes?
That’s a good question. I think moving on, still enjoying what we do and having fun writing music and having fun of hearing what people think about it. For me it’s always been like cementing ourselves as a mid-tier band. Not one of the biggest headliners, but like a solid band that gets a lot of credit and options and is able to go places with their music. Without it being their entire career. I like to think about it more as a hobbie, that we like to do because we love it. And I think music should always be born out of happiness. You should be having fun on stage, it shouldn’t be a chore. You should be happy to play on stage and to record every single song because you enjoy doing it. So that is what I am hoping for the future, for things to stay that way, and we can continue for many years to come.
Atli, I hope you will give a bunch of interviews and you will get more and more fans. You totally made me one. And of there is anything you wish to say to the fans, you are welcome to say it.
Yeah. Thank you so much! If you like our music, than great. If you don’t, then that’s completely fine. Yeah, we grateful and happy to share this with you. Thank you!
The interview was taken with Atli Guðlaugsson on 10.01.2022.