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Interviews: LYCANTHRO


On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Power Metal/Thrash Metal band, 
LYCANTHRO from Canada. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that? 

That is actually a hilarious story! So, to start things off, our old band name when we first started was Death Wish. It was the name of my old band, and when I formed the band that eventually would become Lycanthro, we kept the name Death Wish for a few months. Then one day, I was looking around a local record store in the metal section, and I pull out an album called “At the Edge of Damnation”. It was by a British band that was also called Death Wish and the album was from 1988. When I say that I did 2 things, I immediately bought it, and I called the guys saying “hey, I found this record from an old band called Death Wish in an Ottawa store, we have to change the band name”. In terms of how the name Lycanthro came to be, I have always had an affinity for wolves. I wanted to have a name that had to do with wolves, and no other band in the world had (which was no easy task). I saw that there were a few bands named Lycanthrope, so I took off the “PE” and it came out as Lycanthro, and I thought it had a really cool ring to it so that’s what we went with! 

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

I mainly wanted to play power metal due to its uplifting and optimistic nature. It’s a genre that has helped a lot of people (including myself) through tough times mentally, and the positive nature of the music is infectious. I also really appreciate the virtuosity and theatricality of the genre as well. Hearing the way some of the guitarists in the genre play, or how the vocalists performed such acrobatics with their voice made me want to learn that style of singing/guitar for myself. 

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

In terms of this current lineup, only me and Panos knew each other beforehand. He used to play in a band that frequented the jam space that I own and we quickly bonded over our mutual love of Helloween! Shortly after that, he quit that band around the same time our drummer left the band due to health issues. He joined after that and needless to say his personality and playing style have been invaluable to us as a band. Our 2 newest members, Forest (Guitars) and Stew (Bass), met during our search for new members towards the beginning of when the pandemic began. We met Forest because he responded to a Kijiji ad that I put up looking for a guitarist who likes power metal. We exchanged a few messages and then he sent me a few videos playing Rhapsody and Haken songs like they were nothing! I was really impressed by his playing and I invited him to jam with us and we gelled really well personally so that’s when I knew he would be the perfect fit! Finally, I met Stew because he happened to be the cook at a local bar called The Koven, where most of the Ottawa metal scene hangs out. I was there with a friend one day and I saw him walk in for his shift wearing a Blind Guardian shirt. We started chatting and I asked him if he could play any instruments and we proceeded to list off around 20! I asked if one of those happened to be bass and he said yes, and like with Forest when he came to jam with us, he was a really good player and we got along great personally. 

4. Each member favourite band?

James- Triumph

Panos- Helloween Forest- Iron Maiden

Stew- Ensiferum 

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Inspiration can come from tons of different places. In terms of the songs we have now, it comes from a few places. 1st of all, I’m a huge nerd, so a lot of our songs are based on different video games and anime. Off of our upcoming album, 2 of the songs are based on the game Skyrim and the final track is based on the anime “Neon Genesis Evangelion”. I find those kinds of nerdy subjects are ripe with great writing material for power metal. I also do try to write songs based on personal experience. I never used to because my mentality used to be that I don’t want to flaunt my mental baggage in my music. But during the course of this pandemic, I’ve found it to be a very therapeutic way of exorcising your inner demons in a cathartic way, so I plan on writing more songs in that format in the future. Finally, I’m a storytelling kind of guy, so I really love telling epic and tragic stories through the medium of heavy metal because of how emotionally effective it is. Some of my favourite albums of that nature that I draw from are Queensryche’s “Operation Mindcrime” and Dream Theater’s “Scenes from a Memory”. So, in a nutshell, if I come up with an emotionally investing storyline, it inspires me to write a song or multiple songs around it. 

6. Where was your last gig? 

The last gig we played before the pandemic hit was a local show back in March 2020 here in Ottawa at a venue called the Brass Monkey. We didn’t do purely local often but we had been meaning to play with our friend’s band Lutharo for a long time and we took this show to support them. For the last show before Covid hit, it honestly wasn’t a great one for us namely because I couldn’t sing because I woke that morning with a really bad cold, among a few other things that went wrong. Overall, our last show before covid wasn’t great but we are looking to the future and we can’t wait to perform again! 

7. Where would you like to act? 

I’m assuming this means where we would like to play in the future. My dream place to play is Japan. from what I’ve seen, the Japanese metal fans are some of the most supportive and loyal, and the scale of the shows in Japan are huge and grandiose which I love. I also love Japanese culture so I would love to explore what the country has to offer. Aside from that, one of our big long-term goals is to play the Euro festival circuit. Festivals like Wacken, Hellfest, Sweden Rock, and Grasspop are all dreams of ours that play at. 

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

The person I would love to have on a Lycanthro song more than anyone is Hansi Kursch from Blind Guardian. He’s such a huge inspiration to me as a vocalist and I would love to have him appear on our tracks in the future. Adding to that, Arjen Lucassen from Ayreon would be an amazing person to work with in the future because I personally think he’s a musical genius. Finally, I would love to work with Adrienne Cowan from Seven Spires on a song, she’s a huge inspiration to me as a vocalist, and doing a duet with her would be a dream come true! 

9. Whom not?

In short, anyone who has an arrogant attitude and isn’t open to collaboration. I have had to work with people like that in the past and I don’t want to ever again. 

10. Any of you has ever suffered from stage fright? Any tip for beginners on how to beat that?

Honestly, even from when I was little I loved being on stage, so I never really had to deal with stage fright. But the piece of advice I can think of to help beginners is don’t fear the audience. I know that might seem very obvious but to go deeper into that, the people who came to see you play didn’t come to see you fail, they came to see you succeed and that is something important to keep in mind if you are having any fears of going onstage. 

11. What bands have inspired you the most? 

In terms of me personally, Triumph and Judas Priest are easily my 2 biggest influences. Triumph is a band I listened to religiously in high school and their uplifting and optimistic lyrics got me through some really tough times mentally. I would even argue that they are proto-power metal due to that and their melodic but heavy songs and musical passages. In terms of who inspired the Lycanthro sound, aside from Judas Priest, we would have to say the classic power metal bands like Blind Guardian, Manowar, and Helloween. Those bands are the main inspiration behind our melodic but heavy sound as well as our aesthetic and attitude towards the music we write. 

12. What’s the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

So, in this story, the odd thing wasn’t what he asked for, but the aftermath. We played a show here in Ottawa back when we 1st started and we were on 1st that night. For my guitar soundcheck, I played the riff from “Born for Burning” by Bathory, and I heard someone in the bar yell “hell yeah Bathory!”. So, we played the show and we got to the last song. This same guy yells “play Bathory!” and I said “Sorry I just did sound check with that song”. The dude in the audience proceeded to get really mad and threw a slur at me before getting kicked out of the venue. So, I guess he didn’t ask us for something weird, but the aftermath of it was confusing at the time, but hilarious looking back. But contrary to your question, I guess he wasn’t a fan! 

13. What do you think of your fans?

We absolutely love our fanbase and we are always extremely humbled that they appreciate the music we make. It’s honestly still kind of a shock to me whenever someone at a show or online shows their appreciation of our music mainly because I am not used to it. We are a relatively new band so even if a few people show their gratitude for our art, then we know it was worth it! 

14. What do you think of our site? 

Really love some of the sections you guys have like the track-by-tracks and the behind the album art sections. Those are topics that a music nerd like myself is always interested in and it’s a very interesting and convenient way to explore those aspects of the up-and-coming bands and artists that I like! Overall, you guys have a great site with a cool, unique thing going! 

15. Something to add? 

Thank you so very much for having us and go check out our new single “Crucible” on Spotify and Youtube off of our upcoming album “Mark of the Wolf”. You can pre-order “Mark of the Wolf” at www.lycanthromerch.bigcartel.com.

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