From the beginning, every generation of Hard Rock band from Black Sabbath, Kiss, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Whitesnake AC/DC have always passed the torch to the likes of the Motley Crue’s, Skid Row’s, Ratt’s, Dokken’s; the next generation takes the reigns, secures the foundation and carries the torch for the metal generation to drive on. In a time when there is uncertainty to where hard rock is heading and who will be the future of the genre, in steps a band that can deliver the goods and carry the burning torch of hard rock and hold it high – that band is Wild Souls. Hailing from Greece, this band brings the heavily influenced sound of the 80’s and early 90’s and stirs in a touch of modern flair to create a sound that is powerful, melodic and hook driven.
I had the opportunity to get the inside scoop from one of hard rocks up and coming stronghold’s. Here is my interview with lead vocalist George Nikolaou of Greece’s own – Wild Souls………………………………
How did the band Wild Souls come together?
(George): Hello Jon and thank you for this opportunity to reach our fans through this interview with you! Well in my opinion it was fate that brought Wild Souls together! I wanted to get my driver’s license and somehow I ended up on the driver’s seat with Kostis as my instructor! Soon enough we found out that we share a common interest in music, with the highlight being that we favored the same band, Whitesnake! Kostis told me that he was trying to form Wild Souls and was looking for someone to take up the role of the singer! I told him “Hey! I can sing, perhaps you wanna try me out”… and thus the core of Wild Souls was born! The other guys joined at a later time and we immediately started rehearsals and slowly we begun working on our first album.
The band has released 2 albums “On the Road” and the latest, in 2016 titled “Game Of Love. Both albums are very strong. With “Game Of Love” I hear even stronger songwriting and a band that sounds even more confident. What are the things that made the difference in the songwriting and how has the band grown from one album to the other?
Time! Time was what made the difference in the songwriting part. With time came experience and of course we grew together as a band! We knew each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we were able to balance them out. With every live performance we made our abilities as songwriters were advancing even more. So I would say that experience was the key factor! You can hear the difference between the two albums… when we where composing Game of Love we knew what road we wanted to take, what the final album would sound like and that helped us a lot.
What I love about the band is the fact that both albums bring back everything that was great about the 80’s thru early 90’s. The production is fantastic and the tunes are powerful. I think that you guys kick ass. I know that Wild Souls is influenced by that era of music. What I see in both albums is a band that is making music that it wants to, not music that a producer or record company wants them to make. When you went into the studio for “Game Of Love” what was the finished product that you were looking for and how did you feel about the final product?
The best thing about music is that you can put your heart and soul in your songs and then share them with the world, so we wanted to deliver just that! We sought to give you a glimpse inside our minds… So yes, we make the music we want to make and that’s exactly how we went into the studio. We had a clear vision on how the final product will sound like and we tried to put the 80’s through 90’s into our songs but at the same time to throw a little bit of our generation into the mix and I am happy to say that we are more than pleased by the way our album turned out to be!
Being from Greece, what is the music scene like there and what are some of the things that influence your songwriting?
To speak the truth, it’s a little bit harsh for newcomers like us! It’s a small percentage of people who are actually into that kind of music in our country! However the ones that do love this sound are always there to support bands like us! We see that people love our music and that helps us go even further! As for the things that influence our songwriting I think you already know the answer… Love! Love is such a powerful feeling and it can have all kinds of effects on you. It’s soothing but it also hurts so with “Game of Love” we wanted to put all those things into one album and deliver the perfect homage to love!
How was it working with Doug Aldrich? Doug was in so many great bands and 2 that stand out for me were Lion and Hurricane. I hear a lot of Hurricane in you guys. One I first heard Hurricane in 1985 I was blown away and that is how I felt when I heard you guys.
Thanks for these kind words, we really do appreciate it! We were so honored that Doug, the one guitarist that Kostis and I favor more than anyone else, agreed to work with us! At first we played as the opening act that kicked off the show that Doug and Steamroller did in our hometown. Having Doug standing there, hearing our music and then commenting on it was a huge honor! Then we thought that it would be awesome if Doug played the solo in one of our songs and so we asked him! Next thing you know we were all in the studio sitting around Doug as he unfolded his skill in front of our eyes. He must have recorded around seven different solos for that song, he truly was on fire that afternoon! We had a tough time deciding which one to choose! All around it was an amazing experience that we will always hold dear in our memories.
Who is the main songwriter in the band or is it a group effort?
Kostis and I form the Wild Songwriting Duo! He is usually the one that comes up with the music and then it’s my turn to write lyrics and melodies… sometimes it’s the other way around, I come up with some rough lyrics and the melodies that go with them and he puts the music on top. Of course any suggestions from the other members are welcome but until now that’s how it mostly worked. I share a strange connection with Kostis… somehow we know exactly what each other is thinking and that helps a lot during the songwriting!
The great melodic hard rock albums from the 80’s and early 90’s all had a massive power ballad. “One More Night” is a monster ballad. How has that song done for you guys and is it a song that you do live?
One More Night is a product of massive heartache… Writing the lyrics for that song took a long time cause I wanted to find the perfect words to describe exactly how it feels to lose someone you love and turn that pain into music. And since the sound of the piano is one that goes straight through the heart we decided to start the song with just that… a piano and a voice in a stormy night. As for today we haven’t had that song in our setlist, mainly because we play fast paced songs and no ballads when we perform live. When the time comes to cover a lengthy live we are sure to include ballads and of course this song!
How about any plans for a tour?
Sure! We are already planning a small Balkan tour and we also think about bringing our music to the rest of Europe! We can’t wait to meet all of new-found fans from around the world!
How about favorite songs on either album? Is there a song that stands out to you guys and a song that makes a statement and says “This is what Wild Souls is all about?
That’s a tough question! Let me see… Brokenheart is one of our favorites as it marks the start of the band! It was the first song we ever recorded. On the Road is another one that also has a sentimental value cause of Doug Aldrich playing in it. From the new Album I would say Moonlight and Dirty Mind and if you wanna know what Wild Souls is all about then you’d have to search somewhere in between those two songs! However the one thing we find amazing is that when we asked the fans the exact same question they all said a different song… which means that we have produced an Album with which anyone can find something they relate to!
Are there plans for a 3rd album?
For the time being we are focused on promoting our latest album! I can’t deny however that we already have some ideas for future projects so you’d have to wait and see!
How about any last words. Anything that you would like to get out there to the fans?
I would like to thank you for this amazing interview! The questions where to the point and fun to answer! I would also like to thank our fans for the tremendous support they have showed us so far! Seeing that our music is being heard by so many people around the world is truly incredible. We hope that someday we will be able to meet all of you in a live concert but until the time comes… be safe and stay Wild!!!