Interviews About Albums: Ravenhymn - I Saw The Wolf (2024)

In this new interview, we sat down with the UK Neo-Medieval/Metal band Ravenhymn to ask questions about their album, "I Saw The Wolf".

1. What can you say about this new EP/CD?

‘I saw the wolf’ is very special to Ravenhymn as it represents the first time we’re properly putting out recorded music to our fans. As a band that has been having heaps of fun bringing our heavy bagpipe & flute-infused medieval music to Britain’s festivals, it was about time we recorded our music! We’re so grateful to be able to take ancient songs and put them up for streaming – something no medieval troubadour could have imagined!

Our aim as a band is to bring the raucous times of the Middle Ages to modern times. Medieval music may have sounded a little rustic at times, but it was played with feeling, and we hope this EP brings a little bit of that to the listener.

2. What is the meaning of the EP/CD name?

The title track of our EP 'I saw the wolf' is inspired by the medieval song 'Ai vis lo lop', which was sang in an ancient language called Occitan (originally spoken in southern France, northern Spain and parts of Italy). The first line of the song “Ai vist lo lop, lo rainard, la lèbre” translates to “I saw the wolf, the fox and the hare”. In the middle ages, this was meant to represent the King, the Lord and the Church, who were taxing the peasants and taking their money. So, this was essentially a protest song!

We think the themes underlying 'I saw the wolf' are as relevant now as in medieval times, and it makes a powerful connection between the Middle Ages and the present day.

3. Which one is the composer of the CD/EP?

In Ravenhymn, we take traditional folk/medieval songs and add our own style and feel, with bagpipes and flutes/whistles often setting the melody. A big part of our sound also comes from the heavy, low notes of Barry Copestake's guitar and Chris Clavo and Kalina Copestake’s drums and, collectively, we work together with the instruments and vocals to add the medieval sound to our music.

4. If you had to pick one song, which one would you pick?

‘Totus floreo’ is very special to us; it has a fabulous flute/whistle intro (Jess Bentley/Chris Clavo) and was our first song in Latin. It’s from a hymn dating to the 11th or 12th century that was discovered in a manuscript called the ‘Carmina Burana’. The lyrics are about burning with virginal love – which is perhaps a little odd given it was written by a bunch of priests…That said, taking in and appreciating the beauty in the world is something that we all feel very strongly about in Ravenhymn. Most of us live in central London, and we love any chance we get to visit the countryside and take in the sights of nature – which is, hopefully, what the original priests meant when they wrote the hymn.

5. Is there a special message in this EP/CD? If there is, what is it?

It’s a very special thing to be able to take inspiration from songs written almost 1,000 years ago, interpret them into a modern, heavier style – combining modern guitars and traditional instruments – and have people listen to them, particularly in the age of digital music. The modern world is very fast-paced and hectic, and we hope our music can take the listener away from the bustle of life and transport them back to a simpler time, partying and dancing to music. What better way to do that than to play songs from long ago – connecting the ages!

6. Are there some lyrics that you'd love to share?

We have shared a little about ‘I saw the wolf’ and ‘Totus floreo’, but our song ‘Wassail’ is based on a traditional Macedonian dance ‘Skudrinka’. In England, a Wassail is an ancient English ceremony usually held in January to toast the cider trees for a good harvest. So, when Barry sings “Wassail! Come now and get your fill”; “more ale, ‘til there’s no more to spill”; “drink hael, we are among good friends” he’s singing about this ancient tradition – which, thankfully, still happens today. And it’s wonderful that the same values of friendship, toasting to a good harvest, and great ale are still around.

7. Which inspirations have been important for this album? Like musically or friends, family, someone you'd love to thank especially?

Each member of Ravenhymn has their own influences but, as a band, we owe a lot to the German Mittelalter scene and bands like In Extremo and Corvus Corax. Some of the traditional songs we play have also been played by them, and it's quite special to add our own interpretation of the music.

In London, a fantastic metal movement has arisen, the London Metal Coalition (, which is a group of over 50 London metal bands working together to help each other and grow the music scene. We’ve definitely learned and benefited from some of these very wise and passionate people, as well as local music initiatives, like the Metal to the Masses competition ( Finally, Ravenhymn is one of the founding members of the UK Folk Metal Alliance, a group designed to link up UK folk metal bands ( Being part of these various tribes has definitely helped us grow as a band.

8. Something to add?

Just a big hello and thank you to the bands we have played with and the many promoters, photographers, and fans we’ve already met and hope to meet in the future. Music is about friendship and family, and we hope to see both of these grow as we continue playing in the future.

To everyone who listens to us and our music, thank you. We can’t wait to see you in the (mosh not plague) pit soon!

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