NEWS from WUTHERING HEIGHTS04 JANUARY 2017
New additions to the WH discography
Some news for the collectors and nerds out there. We have added two hitherto unknown releases to the WH discography: a Taiwan pressing of To Travel For Evermore and a Russian bootleg pressing of Far From The Madding Crowd.
There has been some confusion about the Taiwan releases of Wuthering Heights. Originally the story was that Magnum Entertainment had bought the license rights to TTFE and Sonic Empire had bought the rights to FFTMC, but as far as the band could find out, neither releases ever saw the light of day. However, now - years later - a release of TTFE from a company called Rock Empire Music has showed up on the discography website www.discogs.com. There is a picture of it, and it is definitely different to the Japanese and Korean versions, so it appears to be genuine, whatever the story behind it may be.
The Russian pressing of FFTMC is the first known physical bootleg of WH! Again, there are pictures of it on www.discogs.com. It is a cheaply made copy of the U.S. version. The printing on the disc itself is a copy of the front cover (as opposed to the genuine label print), and doesn’t fit the disc at all. So it’s pretty easy to spot the difference. We’re no fans of bootlegs of course, but it could be argued that it is some sort of seal of approval after all…
Happy new year!
30 MAY 2016
The Brökeback Mountaineers releases featuring Wuthering Heights' Erik Ravn are available now from Nagelfest Music.
29 MAY 2016
Erik's personal discography updated with yesterday's releases from Brökeback Mountaineers.
27 MAY 2016
Surprise release from Erik’s cover band
This just in:
Brökeback Mountaineers will be hosting a special party for friends and fans tomorrow at their local bar to celebrate the release of their album “Dogwater Disco”.
But as if that wasn’t enough, the band will also release a special 3-track CD at the party. Remaining stock will be sold through Nagelfest Music.
The EP was recorded during the same sessions that produced the album, but instead of corny international hits it contains two Danish classics plus one Swedish!
01. Video Video
(originally performed by Brixx as the Danish Eurovision Song Contest contribution for 1982)
02. Når En Sailor Går I Land
(an original movie hit performed by the Danish king of croon’n’cool Otto Brandenburg in 1960)
03. Här Kommer Pippi Långstrump
(from the Swedish children’s TV show, originally released in 1970)
And again, you won’t have heard them played like this before!
10 MAY 2016
Details on Erik’s cover album
Here are some more details on Erik’s forthcoming cover album:
Brökeback Mountaineers: “Dogwater Disco”
01. Danger Zone (originally performed by Kenny Loggins)
02. Fame (originally performed by Irene Cara)
03. Flashdance…What A Feeling (originally performed by Irene Cara)
04. Land Of Confusion (originally performed by Genesis)
05. Tiger (originally performed by ABBA)
06. Hot Stuff (originally performed by Donna Summer)
07. Eye Of The Tiger (originally performed by Survivor)
08. Heaven Is A Place On Earth (originally performed by Belinda Carlisle)
09. It’s A Sin (originally performed by Pet Shop Boys
10. Ghostbusters (originally performed by Ray Parker Jr.)
As you will see, the corny-ness factor is overwhelming. But the guys actually rock pretty hard and of course there’s lots of crazy guitar stuff from Erik.
So make yourself ready for May 28, when the album will be unleashed through Nagelfest Music.
There’s even word of a further single release – so stay tuned!
22 APRIL 2016
Erik to release cover album
Several years in the making the album featuring Erik Ravn and his cover band is due for release.
It’s a rather well kept secret, but for many years WH’s own Erik Ravn has been toying around with a crazy bunch of friends (including former WH drummer Kenneth Saandvig) calling themselves Brökeback Mountaineers (yes, you read it correctly!). Never more than a fun thing on the side, the band nevertheless quickly developed an ambition to turn their favorite pop songs of the 70’s and 80’s into the hard rock anthems they really are.
And now the album featuring some of their best selections is ready to be released through Nagelfest Music. Release date is set for May 28. Stay tuned for details!
06 DECEMBER 2015
Wuthering Heights plan re-releases
Just wanted to share some exciting news with you. Since Wuthering Heights will be free from all old record deals by the end of this year, I have started the planning of a proper re-release of our music.
It’s still very early in the process. I’m searching for masters, checking out prices for pressing CD’s, having thoughts about remastering etc. So I’m not even sure exactly what form these re-releases will take. But I will try to improve where possible and include as much relevant stuff for you as I can.
This may well also include some re-recordings of songs or even new material!!!
I’m really excited about the possibility of doing this – especially as I know how much trouble many fans have trying to get hold of our albums. Hopefully we will be able to put everything right this time.
So stay tuned. I will post all news as soon as I have them.
- Erik Ravn.
13 AUGUST 2015
Wuthering Heights removed from online services
As some of you have already noticed, the music of Wuthering Heights has disappeared from several of the major download/streaming-services. There are reasons for this.
The WH albums that you could find on services like Spotify or iTunes have been uploaded by record companies with whom the band is no longer under contract. So, apart from infringing our copyright this also means that the band receives no royalties from downloads or streaming of their music.
So, although we realize this is not exactly fan-friendly, we have requested various online music services that they remove our music, and several have agreed to this. We naturally want our fans to have access to our music, but we cannot do this for free – and we hope that you, our loyal fans, will understand this.
Furthermore, this is not meant to be a permanent situation. As said before, we are making plans toward re-releasing the music through our new record label partner Nagelfest Music. So there should be official, legal, royalty-earning digital music from WH out there again, hopefully before too long.
Until then, we hope for your continued support. And for those of you who want, but cannot find, physical CD’s out there – throw us an e-mail, and we’ll try to help.
- Wuthering Heights.
23 JULY 2015
As our new record label Nagelfest Music has also taken over the sale of Wuthering Heights merchandise, the webshop has been moved. Merchandise is now available HERE.
04 JUNE 2015
Apparently the Wuthering Heights fan forum (courtesy of Nocturnal Horde) has been taken off-line. We will look into this. But all news will still be posted here, and you can still mail the band directly at:
27 MAY 2015
Article on Wuthering Heights
Pure Metal Magazine from Poland have done a five page article on Wuthering Heights including a lengthy interview with Erik and reviews of all the albums. Unfortunately, it’s in Polish. BUT: We’ve got their permission to post the original English questions and answers here, as we thought you might find them interesting.
PMM: Hello Erik! I am glad that you have agreed to the interview!
PMM: Wuthering Heights has been on hold since March 2011 due to your health problems. How do you feel now?
It´s very much up-and-down. These last few weeks have been terrible, for example. I´ve been through back surgery three times, but there was only so much they could do. It´s not likely to ever be really good again, because I´ve sustained damage to some nerves, which cannot be fixed – at least not with the current techniques. So I basically have to live with the pain. And I tell you, if you haven´t felt chronical pain on your own body, you don´t know what it´s like. Energy, concentration, creative ability – all this changes when you have pains that just don´t go away. It really changes both the mind and the body more than you´d think.
PMM: Do you have the opportunity to play the guitar/keyboards? Do you feel well enough to grab an instrument?
Yeah, I do. And I guess it´s really what has kept me sane (sort of…). It´s amazing how healing and therapeutic a loud Marshall-stack can be! So I try to play, and write and produce music as well, but I can only do it in shorter bursts – I simply cannot sit the whole day at the computer anymore.
PMM: You created the band still in the late 80s. As far as I know the first name of the band was Angelica but there is no demo tapes from that period. But under the name of Minas Tirith and Vergelmir you recorded two demo tapes. Do you remember that time? How would you rate this demo tapes? Is there a chance that you will publish those recordings, maybe on your website? It would be a surprise for the fans to hear the early versions of such songs as “The Road Goes Ever On” or “Sorrow in Memoriam” etc.
Oh yeah, I remember! Actually those early days are a lot clearer to me than, say, the last 15 years or so. The whole feeling of starting a band, the energy and the unwavering belief in yourself that you have when you´re sixteen and haven´t lost all your illusions yet – haha! I mean, there were no question in our minds that we were gonna be international rock stars – it was just a question of exactly when it would happen! Also, the kind of brotherhood that you experience when you start a band with close friends is something you never forget. Later it all became much more clever and professional, and that´s nice too – but I miss that early spirit. I guess it´s the same for a lot of musicians.
The demo tapes were a bit more troublesome. We quickly learned how getting your sound on tape is so much more difficult than you´d think. I don´t think we will ever publish them, although one should never say never, of course. But really, there´s not much to discover there other than terrible versions of the songs people already know. You know, the songs didn´t change much, but our playing and the production was so inferior to what would end up on the albums. So I think it would shatter some illusions for some fans to hear the rough beginnings – they were very rough, indeed.
PMM: Why did you change the name on Wuthering Heights in 1997?
Just the same old story that we found another band with the same name – that has been the reason every time. All the same, I think the name change was for the better, even if WH isn´t the best name either. At least it´s not the kind of name that limits the band to any narrow musical style.
PMM: Your website describes Wuthering Heights music as follows: “The band´s unique brand of heavy metal is a melting pot of musical influences, pulling together the progressive ambition of Seventies´ rock with the high energy and melodic sensibility of Eighties´ speed metal, all tinted with a heavy dose of traditional folk music”. I subscribe to this with both hands! Do you think that this music-mix helped the team in career?
I´m not sure, probably not. We´ve been around for a long time and back when we started such a thing as “folk-metal” didn´t exist. So we were really doing our own unique thing, which was helpful back then. But I think today people – especially record labels and critics, but also fans – are so focused on labeling bands as having one very specific style. My old favorite bands could do many different things within their personal style, but today you have all these strange “concept-bands” – symphonic bands and viking-bands and pirate-bands and pagan-bands and what not. These bands must feel so limited in their music – I mean, how many albums do you want to make in one such defined style?
Anyway, I think our sound is rather unique, which makes it interesting for us and for the dedicated fan. But I also think a lot of people are simply confused by it, because we don´t really fit in anywhere. But hey, we aim to confuse – haha!
PMM: Have you ever thought about playing in slightly different styles?
Often, but it always comes out different than what I plan – so it´s not so much in my hands, really. The songs have a way of dictating how they need to sound. But my musical tastes are very varied, and it´s always refreshing to try out new stylistic ideas.
PMM: With the album "The Shadow Cabinet" your music became heavier and darker. What was the reason of such changes?
Like I said, the songs just came out darker. The subject matter on the album was my darkest yet, so there was really no question that this would be a mean album. The lyrics define the music, you know. And why was it all so dark? – Well, I have never exactly been the most joyful fellow, but it´s getting even worse with age… hahaha! Seriously, I´ve always written from my own personal perspective and there just wasn´t much to laugh about, really. So, like any self-torturing poet would do, instead of running away I delved deeper into the darkness and tried to analyze it. Tried to really examine the dark forces that guide the human behavior – that was the idea behind the album.
PMM: On the website you can also find these words about WH lyrics: “Lyrically the band´s approach is far from the conventional metal offerings. Often mistaken as simple heroic fantasy due to a love of archaic language and the occasional Tolkienian reference, the lyrics are deeply personal, sometimes disturbing studies of the human condition”. Could you develop this though? Would you tell me something about the lyrics of each album?
I could talk a lot about this, but I´ll try to keep it short…
We talked about these concept-bands and it seems to me that today nobody gives a shit about lyrics in metal, which really makes me quite sad. You know, when I started listening to heavy metal, one of the things that attracted me was that the bands were singing “about something” – as opposed to the mainstream music where you basically only sing about love and sex (which are fine subjects, it just gets boring if that´s the only thing…). Bands were singing about all kinds of stuff and about what went on in the world and they were taking a definite stand against the establishment – heavy metal was rebellion! Just as folk music traditionally was the voice of the common people, so metal bands sang out against corrupt leaders and injustice. And you could still have a few pure escapist songs about motorcycles or viking invaders or whatever – there was something for everybody and it wasn´t stupid – it wasn´t pop.
That´s how I remember it. So there are two things that really bother me with lyrics today. One is that purely escapist lyrics seem to have become the only acceptable form. Concept-bands and other bands sing about purely made-up stuff – knights and dragons and fantasy heroes with shining swords – guys, what exactly are you trying to say?! You even hear musicians saying that they won´t comment on some issue because they don´t want to offend or alienate anyone. I think it´s cheap and really ripping the fans off. You pay the same price for an album or a concert ticket whether the songwriter has just made up some pointless tale or whether he has actually invested some of himself in the process and tried to make some kind of useful comment on human life.
My other problem with current metal lyrics is that the music seems to have lost some of its working class roots. I sense that many bands today are speaking out FOR the establishment – either by saying it directly or by deliberately saying nothing at all, which leads to the same. And I know that metal musicians today come from all walks of life – they may be engineers or IT-consultants or whatever and haven´t grown up next to a steel mill like Judas Priest. And that´s OK. But sometimes, at least to my ears, it clashes with the rebellion that heavy metal is supposed to represent.
So anyway!! Needless to say, what I try to do is the opposite. I´ll let the fans decide if I´ve succeeded or not… but my intention has always been to be aware of what I experience living in this crazy world and see if I can make any sense of it. And maybe make people stop and wonder about something or look at something in a different light. I do not presume that I can change the world, but I think it is the obligation of any poet or artist or jester to speak up about what´s going on.
But, since I´m not an actual folk (or punk or thrash) singer I try to add a little poetic flavor to the whole thing. I´ve always loved language and I try to write lyrics that have some sort of poetic value of their own – even if I´m being vague about the precise meaning of a song. I think the best songs have some core of reality, but they should not be so specific that they are useless to people. It´s something I work really hard on, and therefore I´m always sad when people dismiss WH as dealing in “fantasy” (even the great “Encyclopaedia Metallum” says so) – because that shows I haven´t been able to get the message across properly.
So what was the question? Oh yeah, the lyrics on the albums… haha!
Well, to put it very short: the first three albums were written together and so they deal with the same journey of discovery through life. The first one (“Within”) is somewhat impressionistic, it´s a series of emotional experiences – despair, the hunger for knowledge, madness – but also the start of a growing appreciation for the power of nature and a growing realization of how we are connected with nature.
The second album (“To Travel For Evermore”) deals very much with chaos – the chaos of trying to understand the complexity of the world, especially the way we have constructed our human world. There is also a sense of growing darkness, a feeling that the good powers of old have left us and that we´re really fucked if we don´t change our ways.
On the third album (“Far From The Madding Crowd”) I tried to convey a sense of finding some sort of peace of mind. Nature is the main theme on this album. You could say that I truly found my pagan spirit on this one. It´s both a celebration of nature but also a warning that reconciliation with nature is humanity´s only chance of survival.
So, the next album (“The Shadow Cabinet”) really stood on its own – these were new songs with a new spirit of their own. And as we´ve talked about, a rather dark spirit. The term “shadow cabinet” comes from British government, where you have the “cabinet” who is the ruling power, but then the opposition have their own “shadow cabinet” with “shadow ministers” who are to follow and monitor the “real” ministers. Just as, like I said, old folk singers or court jesters would be the voice of sanity and the people, speaking up when things went astray. Anyway, the songs on the album are about the various dark forces and emotions that truly govern the way we live our lives. So to speak, the shadows behind our so-called civilized behavior.
Our latest album (“Salt”) is about… hmm… it´s a bit like the first one, describing certain emotions or rather setting up a kind of emotional “tableaus” – like little mini-movies. If there´s a common theme it must be the demise of humanity and how we are likely to deal with that. Or the demise of a single human being – my lyrics often have this duality in them.
Damn, this all sounds terribly pretentious – it´s just rock´n´roll, man!
PMM: I assume that as the author of music and lyrics you never disregarded any of these elements in Wuthering Heights songs. Music and lyrics are just as important… Am I right?
Exactly, you need both, otherwise you´ve only made half a record. I mainly write the lyrics first and then write the music to get the message or feeling of the lyrics across as best I can. I know most songwriters do it the other way around, but for me this is the natural order of things.
PMM: Wuthering Heights didn’t play many concerts. There were exceptions like ProgPower Festival in Atlanta (2004) or Park Rock Festival in Sweden (2005). Why have you played so few concerts? What was the reason?
It´s a combination of things. Mostly it´s a practical thing – we live far apart plus the other guys all have different bands, so it´s hard to get together. And expensive, so we can only play gigs that offer a certain level of compensation. But it´s not like we get a ton of offers. Actually the most offers have come in during the last few years, where my illness have prevented us from playing – so it´s bad timing as always…haha!
PMM: Don’t you feel a bit disappointed that Wuthering Heights has not gained more popularity? You’ve played perfect music, in my opinion much better than more melodic metal bands that were recording in late 90s and new century…
I won´t hide the fact that I feel a bit disappointed. But I´m not blaming anyone. If you have a “more selective appeal” as they say in Spinal Tap, there´s nothing you can do about it. But as I said, in the early days we were certain we were gonna break through bigtime, so I kind of based all my life around this one goal – so I´m a bit fucked now… hahaha!! Seriously, what really pleases me is the affection of our dedicated fans. We may not have the largest fanbase, but some of these people are really serious, you know. At least for some people the music of WH have been really important, and I can´t be anything but happy about that.
PMM: Erik, you're a great guitar player with his own style of play.. Have you ever received any offer from other bands/projects to playing live and/or recording CDs?
Sadly no, which may be because I don´t think I actually am a great guitar player ..haha! But I guess you´re right I have some sort of personal style. I´d love to do some different stuff, because you always learn from that, so… But I am currently mixing an album with my silly cover-band and I´ve also talked with another band about producing their music. I´d like to do that kind of stuff, also because it´s easier for me at the moment, with my health issues, than live playing. I have some other plans as well, though it´s still hard to find the energy. But I can´t imagine not playing at all, so I gotta do something.
PMM: Do you keep in touch with other musicans (Nils Patrik Johansson and the others)? Are you interested in their musical ventures?
Not so much, I´m afraid. I mostly talk to Martin, because he works at my local guitar shop, so we always talk guitars and stuff. I talked with NPJ about writing some stuff together, but it´s been a long time now. We´re all friends, but we really only get together when we play together, you know. But I sometimes miss the guys, we always have a riot when we´re together – they´re a crazy bunch.
PMM: What’s your favourite music artists and albums?
That is such a huge question…! My musical tastes cover almost every genre. Or actually, genre is not so important to me, some of my favorite bands have very eclectic styles. I rather go by the emotion of the music. If the music speaks to me I like it, regardless of genre. What turns me off is when I feel the artist doesn´t have anything to say, when there´s no “agenda” so to speak. It doesn´t have to be something profound – I mean, I love ABBA, and there agenda was “make the best pop songs in the world”. That’s cool. But if a band is just playing by numbers, because “that´s how we do it in this genre”, then I´m not interested – life´s too short, you know.
But if you really wanna know, my absolute favorites are the biggest Danish rock band from the 70´s called Gasolin´. They´re the best! Then comes Skyclad, Helloween, Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Jethro Tull, Riot, Candlemass, Meat Loaf, Tori Amos, Duran Duran, Elvis… the list goes on, and is a bit in all directions, as you can see. Those are some of the constant favorites. But then I go through periods of listening to different stuff, you know. At the moment it´s a lot of Sweet – what an underrated band. And a lot of NWOBHM bands and thrash – I love the latest Kreator albums. Also a lot of Gary Moore at the moment. His “Wild Frontier” album was one of the key things in shaping the WH sound. The way he could arrange these really commercial, catchy songs that still had hard rock bite – very impressive.
PMM: Is it something that inspires you every day? People, music, books, maybe something else?
Music is a constant inspiration. It sometimes surprises me that I´m still just as interested in anything to do with rock´n´roll as I was when I was fifteen, right? Bands, albums, musicians, collecting records, reading biographies – music is the one constant in my life. If it wasn´t for music I would have been in the nut-house long ago… haha!
PMM: What do you think about contemporaty social networking sites like facebook? Do you use them? And do you think than it can helps musicians?
I don´t use any of that stuff. I use the internet, which is great for collecting information. But it´s a tool – it´s not entertainment or a place where I “hang out”. It´s obviously much easier to spread information about your music, but on the other hand, it has created a generation of music consumers who believe that music is something you get for free. I don´t know how it will end. Possibly the “music business” as such is dead, but the music will survive. Hey, I´ll just grab my mandolin and go and play at the local pub – no problem. Maybe if we go back to a place where music can only be experienced live, then people would start listening again and be more critical of what they hear – I don´t know...
PMM: Thanks for your answers! What you wish for you in the coming year?
I hope that I will find the energy to get some of my musical projects going. I know there are people out there who are still interested in the music, and I would really like to honor that.
PMM: I’m going to write reviews of Wuthering Heights albums (“Within”, “To Travel for Evermore”, “Far From The Madding Crowd”, “The Shadow Cabinet”, “Salt”) for the next issue of Pure Metal Magazine. If you want to describe these albums in few words (in retrospect – your memories; recording process; favourite tracks etc), please put the words below.
"WITHIN" – The one that is the most different from the others. For practical reasons. The album is more or less a recording of how we played in the rehearsal room and on stage. This album is made without the possibilities of computer studio software, and so the songs are very much arranged to be performed live – very few overdubs compared to our later insanity. I guess it´s natural for a first record, but to me there´s maybe not so clear a vision here. The songs go a bit in all directions, the sound is not so well rounded, and the playing is certainly not so sharp. “Hunter In The Dark” is still a good song, though.
"TO TRAVEL FOR EVERMORE" – Very hard record to make. I guess we were trying a bit too hard. Lots of technical playing and insane arrangements. Unfortunately the sound on this album kills off much of the energy, it´s all a bit too nice and soft. I think there are some great songs, but they don´t completely fulfil their potential. I might want to redo some songs one day. Anyway, it still blows my mind to think that Morten only joined the band two weeks before we started recording. When you hear his drumming, that is just insane!
"FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD" – First one with NPJ singing. Good album, nice organic sound that fits very well with the whole nature theme. I think we succeeded in most respects on this one. Also I seem to remember we had quite good time to make this, maybe that´s why it sounds more at ease. Oh yeah, I played the bass on this one – insane, but fun.
"THE SHADOW CABINET" – Probably my favorite. Finally I got the rhythm guitar sound I was hearing in my head – courtesy of the Peavey Joe Satriani amp (although I use the Marshall JVM410 now, but it sounds much the same, maybe even a bit better…). The line-up for this album first got together to play the ProgPower USA show – just temporarily, but we just had so much fun that we decided to keep that line-up. And I think you hear a more confident band playing together here. A very dark album, quite grim yet strangely uplifting at times. And it has my signature song “The Raven”.
"SALT" – Same line-up, same confidence. A quite mature album, I think, although it is deliberately silly at times – we can´t help it. It´s albums like this that confuse people – “you can´t sing about the end of the world while playing the accordion!!!” …hahaha! There are some quite beautiful moments on this one, but maybe there isn´t so much new stuff going on. Still, a strong album, I think. “Lost At Sea”, our longest track to date, was really a mouthful – but I don´t think it sounds overly long, I think the arrangement works. Also I really love “Water Of Life” – there aren´t enough songs about whisky in modern metal!
04 MAY 2015
New deal with independent record label
Some interesting news from WH land: As some of you will know, the relationships between Wuthering Heights and the record labels have not been without problems. But now, as most of the old record deals have either run out or have been terminated for various reasons, we start afresh.
A new deal has been set up between our very own Erik Ravn and the newly started Danish independent company Nagelfest Music. This is no major player, but people we know and trust. Of course we cannot disclose the details, but basically the company has been willing to make a long term investment in securing the musical legacy of Wuthering Heights. And importantly, all artistic control remains with Erik.
For now, the main objective is to sort out the remaining legal hassles that the band is entangled in. What we hope will happen in due time is that we will be able to re-release the music properly. We get a lot of enquiries about where to get hold of the music. We are shamefully aware that this is a problem for the fans, but it has all been out of our control. Our aim is to take this control back and be able to bring the music directly to the people.
This will take time, and we therefore hope for your patience. All news will be posted here as soon as we get them, as usual.
- Wuthering Heights
03 MAY 2015
A few more additions to various members’ discographies.
03 APRIL 2015
Incredibly as it sounds, hardcore fan Mikael from Sweden has had himself tattooed with the logo of his favorite band. Check out the pictures here: FAN SUBMITTED PICTURES.
15 JANUARY 2015
A package has arrived from Finland and a rare record is discussed at Erik's Corner.
02 JANUARY 2015
Happy new year to all!
A few additions today to Teddy’s ever growing discography.