Sven Gali entered the hard rock landscape with their killer self-titled debut in 1992. Despite the changing musical landscape, accolades quickly followed, as they won MuchMusic’s Best Metal Video Award in 1993 for “Under the Influence”, and were nominated for two Juno Awards, handed out to the top Canadian acts each year. In 1995, the band followed up with their sophomore effort Inwire, but a variety of factors led to Sven Gali disbanding in 1996.
Over two decades later, and a handful of reunion shows with original members Dave Wanless (vocals), Andy Frank (guitar), Shawn Minden (bass), and new additions Sean Williamson (guitars) and Dan Fila (drums), Sven Gali has returned with a vengeance. A series of well received live performances was quickly followed with new material, beginning with the single “Kill The Lies” in 2018. Having now signed with RFL Records, Sven Galihas just released a 4 song EP, 3, and is again crushing it in the hard rock world. Hairspray Heaven had the opportunity to speak with singer Dave Wanless about the band’s triumphant return.
HH: After more than 20 years, Sven Gali burst back onto the scene in 2018 with the new single “Kill The Lies”, which was well received, reaching #4 on the CBC top streamed rock tracks in September. Did this success feel almost like vindication after having been out of the spotlight for so long?
DW: It felt like the right thing to do at the right time with the right group of people. We had (and still do) have unfinished business to attend to - this was the first step.
HH: To produce that song, as well as the second single “You Won’t Break Me”, you brought back David Bendeth, the man who originally signed Sven Gali to their record deal with BMG Canada in 1991. How did that come about, and what was different this time around?
DW: David is someone we all deeply admire as a person. He is one of the most talented, and sought after producers on the planet and we unanimously felt he was the guy. Difference this time around was that we were there on our terms and both “Kill the Lies” and “You Won’t Break Me” were truly in the spirit of collaboration as opposed to recording under the pressure (and influence) of a major label.
HH: The video for “Kill The Lies” contains shots of the current band spliced together with footage from the videos for “Under The Influence”, as well as “What You Give” and “Keeps Me Down” from 1995’s Inwire. What was the significance of mixing the old with the new?
DW: That is a great question, and you answered it as well. The idea was that we are honouring our past and are so grateful to everyone that embraced the band in the early years. It also speaks to where we are now as people and musicians. To try and do the same thing as we did with the first record wasn’t even a consideration. That record was written 30 years ago. We are all different people now and have families and careers outside of music. Music is something that we do because we want to, not because we have to.
HH: A couple of months ago Sven Galiannounced they had signed a worldwide record deal with RFL Records, who would then distribute the new EP “3”, released June 12. How did that come about, and how has the relationship been with RFL so far?
DW: It began with a conversation - we have a common friend whose band Phear is on the label. The relationship has been great. The CEO (Jon) and the team at RFL are eager, passionate, and on a mission to grow the label. We believe in them, and they believe in us - that is the foundation of any successful relationship.
HH: The EP contains four new songs, three of which are newly written tracks, and the fourth being the unleased track “Hurt” from the time of the debut record (which can be seen performed live on YouTube from Whistler, BC, in March of 1993). Is this a song that the band had been hoping to see released all this time, maybe as a tribute to original guitarist Dee Cernile who tragically passed away in 2012?
DW: Dee’s passing was tragic and we miss our brother very much. “Kill the Lies” contains a portion of a poem Dee wrote in the later stages of his life. We honour him in continuing the legacy of Sven Gali in the most crushing and authentic way possible.
HH: As you mentioned earlier, in the years since Sven Gali first disbanded, it seems everyone went on to success, from business ventures in China to real estate, the jewelry business, and more. It seems music faded into the background, notwithstanding side projects like The Betty Ford Band and The Forgotten Rebels. I understand new drummer Dan Fila was the catalyst in getting the band back together. With such busy lives, how did everyone make this work into their schedules?
DW: Dan and I (and the other guys) have been friends before we got signed to BMG. We’ve stayed in contact throughout the years and collectively decided to jam. As for our busy lives… family comes first. Our families are our biggest supporters and we could not do this without their love, and encouragement. As far as making time, we just do. In our “normal” lives and in Sven Gali, we get it done, always, all of the time.
HH: Sven Gali has been performing reunion gigs the last couple of years. With well received live shows, new material, a new record contract, and a planned album release party, it seemed the band was poised to regain their status as Canadian metal heavyweights, until the global pandemic shut everything down. While the record release party has been rescheduled for October, are there any plans to follow the trend of a livestreamed performance in the meantime?
DW: We are planning on that for late August… stay tuned.
HH: So with the resurgence of Sven Galigoing well so far, are there any plans to get back into the studio in the near future and work on a full length album?
DW: Full length albums, at this point are just not realistic for many reasons:
-the music industry today has a very short memory and unless you are the Foo Fighters, putting out a full length record is not, in our opinion, something that is pragmatic or relevant.
-you need to have something new for your audience every few weeks, and releasing singles/EP’s are better suited for Sven Gali at this point in time
-not ruling out a full length record, just not in the near future
HH: Moving onto the scene in general, after many years of hard rock drifting away from the mainstream, there are signs of a vibrant new generation trying to bring it back to prominence. Some, like Greta van Fleet and Dirty Honey, are starting to gain mainstream attention, while there are a large number of bands proliferating all around the world, especially in the Scandinavian countries. As industry veterans, do you have any advice or words of wisdom for these young bands looking to leave their mark?
DW: Keep on putting out new material; keep on writing; keep on rehearsing; play anywhere you can for anyone; learn that resilience, optimism, and passion are the key factors in success in music, or really, anything in life.
HH: On a final note, let’s look to the past. On a personal note, my favourite Sven Gali moment happened the night of Saturday, October 24, 1992. Set to headline at the hometown Legends nightclub in Hamilton, ON, Canada, the band delayed their set long enough to see the Toronto Blue Jays from just down the highway win their first World Series. When the band took the stage, the celebratory mood translated into an incredible set that night. What would be the most memorable performance from the perspective of the band itself throughout their career?
DW: Great question - there have been so many, and that being one of them. We have played to 3 people, and we have played to 50 thousand people - we love every minute of every show.
HH: On behalf of Hairspray Heaven, I would like to thank you for taking time out of your schedule to speak with us, Dan Fila for helping to set up the interview, and RFL Records for their assistance with communication.
(Interview conducted by Ian Cowley)
LÖVE RAZËR is an up and coming hard rock band from Windsor, Ontario, Canada, that seem to be on the verge of a major scene breakthrough with their version of good old kickass rock and roll. In four short years, they have released the EP Rock ‘n’ Roll Addiction, and their full length debut album Border City Rebels. They have opened for well-known acts from the ’80s and ’90s and were preparing a new album and tour to support it – including their first time playing in the US. Hairspray Heaven had the opportunity to speak to bassist Metal Mike and singer Sydney Snow about everything from their origins, right through to the band’s future.
HH: Hello, and thank for very much for agreeing to this interview. Can we begin by asking how everyone met? What influences do each of you bring to the sound of LÖVE RAZËR, and do you each collaborate on songwriting duties?
LR: Metal Mike responded to an ad in Kijjji that Bonez had posted about starting a Motley Crüe tribute band. Metal Mike and Bonez then started writing their own music, again utilizing Kijiji to find the other members. We are all unique in our music taste, of course, there is cross over and similar likes, but none of us could complete a “LÖVE RAZËR” song without each of us adding our personal style to it. Bonez almost always writes the riffs/skeleton for the song. It’ll then get recorded at Metal Mike’s, where they work together to complete the “first cut” and send it out to the others to be worked on.
HH: LÖVE RAZËR started off right away with success, winning the Jack Daniels Supporting Act Contest in 2016, which in part enabled the creation of the awesome Rock ‘n’ Roll Addiction EP.
Can you recap what you had to do to win that contest, and what it meant for the band at the time?
LR: It was a huge win for us! The contest was Canada wide. We had to submit a video about who we were, and why we could use the money. We were a brand new band at the time and didn’t have a Facebook page or any social media yet, so we got our pages up and pretty much came out of nowhere to enter this contest. All our fans, friends, and family voting for us got us the win. Jack Daniels will always be stocked in our bars.
HH: In the last couple of years, there has been a resurgence of interest in the rock sound of the ’80s. There has been an explosion of bands around the world, especially in the Scandinavian countries. However, in Canada, there remains a limited number of bands that are managing to break through.
Do you think it’s easier having less homegrown competition, or does it make it harder to get your music out there?
LR: I think this industry is weird and unpredictable, I don’t have an honest answer. I think it just comes down to having everything right and all the motors running, and you need to get lucky. With that being said, a cool saying I’ve heard is “the harder you work, the luckier you get”.
HH: In August of 2017, you performed at the Hogs For Hospice charity event in Leamington, Ontario, to a large crowd. Can you describe a little of what the charity was for, and what the festival experience was like? How does it compare to the regular type of show you perform in?
LR: The HFH family does an incredible job with this festival and all the funds they raise for hospice. We couldn’t be more proud to have been a part of it… the stage felt like home, and the crew treated us good. What the real difference was, is the weather plays a huge factor. On that particular day it was extremely windy. Lake Erie behind us had some pretty gnarly waves some surfers would have enjoyed, lol. It was an awesome show. Festivals have always been hit or miss with the weather for us, we have lucked out with great summer weather and we have also played during a torrential downpour.
HH: It's been two years since the release of your well received debut album Border City Rebels, in that time you have released three music videos for Venom, Stuck Under You (filmed at the aforementioned Hogs For Hospice event), and Too Hot To Handle, had a sold out record release party, toured all across the province of Ontario promoting the album, got the song Turn It Up played on the Canadian national broadcast of Hockey Night In Canada, and even secured a spot at the legendary Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles. It’s been a successful couple of years. Any personal highlights or memories that stick out?
LR: For me (Metal Mike), I’ll never forget packaging ALL the first batch of orders for Border City Rebels. My basement had albums everywhere with shipping labels on them to be shipped ALL over the world… it was a cool feeling.
HH: LÖVE RAZËR has also been fortunate to play on the same stage as some of the legends of the scene, including BulletBoys, E’Nuff Z’Nuff, and Tracii Guns. Did you get the opportunity to speak to these artists, and what advice did they give you?
LR: We got the chance to meet a few of them. I think the best advice I’ve got is something I picked up from watching most of the above mentioned artists… and that is to stay humble, and be cool to your fans.
HH: The band is gaining a reputation for being very fan friendly. At live shows, you can all be seen mingling with fans and taking the time to meet anyone who wishes to say hello. There have been several live Q&A sessions on your official Facebook page, and you let the fans determine the third video release off BCR. Obviously, LÖVE RAZËR thrives off interaction with its fan base. From the band’s point of view how important is fan involvement and feedback to the growth of the LÖVE RAZËR brand?
LR: I think it is extremely important, and we appreciate each and every one of you. Fans sharing our tunes is how we get discovered by more people.
HH: 2020 was shaping up to be a huge year for LÖVE RAZËR. Besides the Whisky-A-Go-Go show opening for Vivian Campbell’s Last In Line, there were plans to do a handful of shows with New York City’s Wildstreet, and plans for new material. Unfortunately, a global pandemic sidelined those plans, at least temporarily. What are the plans moving forward while we wait for this crisis to end?
Will the new single still be released, or delayed until a video can be filmed?
Also, many fans from around the world have expressed a desire to see the band in their home country. Understanding that it isn’t always financially feasible to do so, have there been any discussions on perhaps joining one of the big European rock festivals or any other shows globally?
LR: Yes!!! It is high on the “shit we need to do” list! We were hoping next year, but this virus is really changing plans for everyone. We are definitely disappointed we couldn’t play the Whiskey. It truly was a dream for the 3 of us and we would have done anything to be there. Right now we are deciding our next big steps, and we certainly have many cool ideas. Stay tuned!
HH: Regarding new music, what can we expect in the future? Late last year, we saw a hilarious promotional piece on YouTube touting the spring release of a new single titled “Call Of The Wild”, a song you have played live a couple of times to a positive response. For those lucky enough to have seen the new song live, it seems to be a shift towards a heavier sound, while retaining the core LÖVE RAZËR style. Can you explain how the sound is evolving as you begin to write new material for the sophomore album?
LR: The sound will definitely be evolving into the above mentioned heavier sound. Expect more “technical” riffs, but will still be stuck in your head for days…all while maintaining the big hooks, big choruses, and, you know… that LÖVE RAZËR sound.
HH: Thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview.
We look forward to the future of LÖVE RAZËR, and more new music that’ll kick our asses.
Hi Toney, thanks for popping our website interview cherry.
Pop 💥 Pop 💥 glad I'm able to contribute to the launching of a kick-ass website
☆WIKKID STARR☆ has a new album in the works, tell us about that.
Ah yes, the new album. All I can say is it's going to kick ass on so many levels, we are all excited about it. The name of our new release is SUDDEN IMPACT and it will have 13 original songs. It will be the first release on our new label Hotter Than Hell Records. We have already released "Out in the City" as a single (special version- album version will be different) and a video for "Hot Love". The release date will be July 4, 2020, which will mark the 244th birthday of the good ole’ USA.
☆WIKKID STARR☆ is hoping to make a huge impact with album #2. The plan is to do shows in Germany and hopefully other parts of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South America and Canada. We're aiming high and ready to go for it in a BIG Way!! This is why we appreciate journalists like yourself that cover the Hair Metal genre. We understand how important it is to stay connected to our fans around the globe and you offer the platform for us to reach them. We have already started writing for album #3 but of course, our main focus is to support our new release- SUDDEN IMPACT. The whole creative process on this album has been great. I love every aspect of it- writing, recording, mixing, mastering, producing and learning different tricks of the trade that I wasn't aware of before. There is always something to learn and I try to keep an open mind and welcome new ideas and techniques when it comes to recording. SUDDEN IMPACT is going to ROCK! Can't wait to get it released and let the music do the talking.
How has Covid-19 and associated restrictions affected the band?
Even though the pandemic has affected everyone differently, I am happy and thankful to share that Kyle, Zeus, Zimmo, Esteban & I are holding up well and continue to be creative musically. We have actually released a new single today (April 24th) called "Face The Day". I think it's important to give the fans some new material. July 4th is still a few months away.
The canceling of a headlining show, meet and greet, and out of state show and two other shows that we were negotiating all got canceled. The Kingdom Come / XYZ show was postponed till August 15th. We play with VAIN on August 7th, our next scheduled show is June 26th with Great White @ The Whisky. Are any of these gigs going to happen? I hope so but I seriously don't know at this time. It's been a rocky year since this COVID-19 pandemic forced everyone to adapt to wearing a mask and abide by social distancing policies. Many people have lost their lives and the world economy is in serious jeopardy. It's obvious that change is here but I'm hoping it's not George Orwell 1984 type of change that is dictated by the Dragon from the East? This whole 5G thing, social credit, and cashless society are looming on the horizon. I now understand why the crusades were necessary during the Middle Ages. The world has reached that point once again- God Help US..!!
What's your dream festival or band to play with?
If it was the 80's or 90's I would say I would love to open for KISS but the truth of the matter is that it's 2020. ☆WIKKID STARR☆ has opened up for many National Acts like Y&T, Dokken, Bullet Boys, Autograph, Vixen, Faster Pussycat, Pretty Boy Floyd, Enuff Z' Nuff, L.A. Guns, Jeff Scott Soto, Great White, Bang Tango, etc. Even though I respect the past I feel like I have an obligation to continue to dedicate my career to keep the Hair Metal genre alive for future generations to come. With that said, I embrace and support the New Blood of Hair Metal Bands that are currently out there like Crashdiet, Santa Cruz, Lipz, Wildstreet, Wicked, Heat, Gunner, Reckless Love and so many more. They are the present and the future. ☆WIKKID STARR☆ continues to play the music that we do but we’ve also adapted and embraced the new wave of hair metal bands. WE are part of this movement.
I would love to do a 2-day Festival with Crashdiet Headlining Day 1 and Reckless Love Day 2. Put 8 bands on Saturday night and 8 bands on Sunday night for a total of 16 bands. 2 nights of Hair Metal madness. This is how I envision the line-up for Saturday night- Day 1 Headliner: Crashdiet then the support slots would be: Heat (direct support) then Wicked, Shiraz Lane, Lipz, Gunner, Love Stallion and opening up the festival on Day 1 would be Temple Balls.
Sunday Night- Day 2 Headliner: Reckless Love then the support slots would be- Santa Cruz (direct support) then Wildstreet, ☆WIKKID STARR☆, Love Razer, Midnite City, Crazy Lixx and opening up the festival on Day 2 Catalano. I envision 22 dates Worldwide. 5 Dates in Europe, 5 Dates in the USA, 3 Dates in Canada, 3 Dates in South America, 3 Dates in Australia and 3 Dates in Japan. This sort of tour would help solidify the genre and expand the following of all bands involved. It a win-win-win.!! Promoters are you listening?? Make it happen!!
Gotta say - we LOVE what you envision!
Does the scene still have any of the sexy/ sleazy elements left?
I think the music dictates what the scene is like. I try to be balanced in regards to the subject matter that I write about, but let's not bullshit each other- ever since Elvis, it's always been about sex, drugs & Rock N Roll. Is there still a sexy, sleaze element left- HELL YEAH!!! Every band I mentioned above has that charismatic quality about them that oozes sex appeal. I believe that the crowds that support the Hair Metal genre understand the sleazy aspect of it, but what's more powerful than anything else is the music and the liberating feeling and vibe that is being unleashed. It's contagious and puts you in a good mood. Everyone connects with it differently but the end result is it will move you some way or another. So if the inspiration to act out triggers a sexual urge, then let it be. Whatever happens between two consenting adults is none of my business. I just hope they have a great time. If my music unleashes a fan's sleazy side- then go for it, satisfy your wild side. If you're not hurting yourself or anyone else then it's all good. Have fun..!!
Who has the dirtiest mind in the band?
LMAO, I think it's a tie between Zeus and Kyle. They are horny all the time. Don't let the quiet demeanor fool you, these guys are out of control. LOL..!! It is what it is.
What was the first band shirt you bought?
My first band shirt was a KISS Love Gun shirt, then a week later I bought a Van Halen shirt. Both bands were a huge influence on me growing up in Southern California. My favourite shirt now is a Wikkid Starr Sudden Impact shirt. It reminds me of summer and I love summer.
We wish you all the best with the July 4th release of the new ☆WIKKID STARR☆ album Sudden Impact and the new single Face The Day released today.
It's been an absolute pleasure having you as our first, thank you for taking the time to indulge us, we hope to see you rocking a stage somewhere soon
Wiikid Starr - Sudden Impact:
Rescheduled release date for October 9th