Credit: Yann Charles

“If you haven’t heard of us before then give us a spin” – interview with Wings of Steel

Author Päivi Närvänen - 27.6.2024

Wings of Steel is a Los Angeles based hard rock/heavy metal band formed by vocalist Leo Unnermark and guitarist Parker Halub in 2019. In wake of the release of their debut EP “Wings of Steel” in 2022, the band delivers another 10 new tracks on their latest album “Gates of Twilight”. Chaoszine reached them out in the middle of their very first European tour and asked some questions about the band. Check their answers in full below!

Hello and thanks for taking the time to do this interview! At first, who is answering our questions?

The two founding members of Wings of Steel; vocalist Leo Unnermark and lead guitar player Parker Halub.

It’s nice to meet you! I think maybe Wings of Steel is quite unfamiliar to our readers. Could you tell some basic information about you and the Band?

Leo was born and raised in Sweden whilst Parker was born just north of Los Angeles in Thousand Oaks. We met while studying music in Hollywood back in 2019. We were the only two guys at the music school who you could look at and go “Oh yeah these dudes love heavy metal”. It didn’t take long before we started talking and hanging out which is when werealized that we shared a lot of the same inspirations, influences, and vision for the music that we wanted to write and the band we wanted to achieve.

Fast forward to the COVID outbreak; we moved out to Parker´s place in Thousand Oaks where we turned his backyard bomb shelter (which had been discovered during a renovation several years ago, but never used for anything) into a studio and got recording on some of the material we had been writing. In 2022, we put out our self-titled debut EP “Wings of Steel” which received a lot of praise in the underground metal scene.

We followed that one up with a smaller show at the Whisky-A-Go-Go in Hollywood before Leo had to go back to Sweden due to VISA regulations. We got back together for 10 weeks again in the summer of 2022 to write and record our latest full length album “Gates of Twilight” and it wasn´t until it was released in May 2023 that things began taking off on another level. We recently celebrated our 1 year anniversary for the album with a show at Rock Hard festival in Germany and are currently right at the end of our first ever European tour.

Has there been any line-up changes over the years?

First of all, it must be said that we (Parker and Leo) have written all the parts on all instruments for the albums. The only instrument that we didn’t have the expertise to record ourselves were the drums. But yes, in terms of live performances, there have been some changes. We had our friend Mike Mayhem come in and record the drum parts on our releases and he also played some one off shows with us in LA. We also had another friend, Johnny Shankel, come in and play bass with us for our first three US shows.

As we embarked on our European tour, Mike chose not to come with us and we still wanted to test the waters with some new musicians while we´re still at such an early stage. This led to the recruitment of Belgian bassist Mathieu Trobec and German drummer Marcel Binder. The only other member who has been with us since our first show is our good friend and rhythm guitarist Stefan Bailet.

Could you tell me something about your influences in music?

We had different upbringings, Leo was raised in a household with a lot of blues and hard rock music, whilst Parker discovered hard rock and heavy metal on his own as a kid. We listened to different bands growing up, to list but a few, Parker latched on to bands like Journey, Diamond Head, Iron Maiden and Metallica whilst Leo was introduced to bands and artists such as Bad Company, Thin Lizzy, Joe Bonamassa and Walter Trout.

When we met years had passed since then and we had of course discovered a bunch of other excellent bands, such as; Blue Murder, Whitesnake, Y&T, Gary Moore, DIO, Judas Priest, Kingdom Come, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Saxon, Demon, Jorn, The Firm, and many many more. But of course the musical journey is endless both as a musician and a listener.

Your very first full length album “Gates of Twilight” came out last year. Could you tell me something about the album? Was the whole process easy-going or was there any problems?

After Leo´s student visa expired he was only allowed to be in the US for less than 90 days at a time, as mentioned previously we decided to try and write and record an album during one of these time windows and we were successful in doing so. It was quite the deadline to write and record 1 song per week but it was also a great experience which we look back on with some pride.

The writing and recording itself was all in all a pretty smooth process, where some songs took a little longer while others only took us a few days. The album itself is rooted in the style of heavy metal/heavy rock of the 70´s and 80´s but offers a more up to date approach with a wide variety of songs that highlights our creative freedom as musicians and songwriters.

Who is your main song-writer or do you all participate?

The songwriting in terms of structure and the overall instrumentation is a collaborative effort between Parker and Leo. Beside the music, the lyrics are written by Leo.

If you have to recommend only one song from Gates of Twilight” that everyone should listen to, which one it would be?

This is a difficult question to answer seeing as the tracks are in a similar vein yet so different from each other, and really depends on the individual’s taste. To do the experience justice you would have to listen to it in its entirety, but for the sake of the question, “Liar in Love” has proven to be a big fan favorite from our latest album.

You were recently touring in Europe. Was this your first time here?

Yes it was our first time in Europe with Wings of Steel. We´ve had the privilege of playing Germany, Belgium and France, with festivals such as No Playback festival, Keep it True festival, Metalheadz Open Air, and Rock Hard festival. We´ve also had quite the run with packed headline shows where we got to bring some excellent bands with us on the bill.

How was it going? Is there any differences between EU and U.S. Audiences?

It was a great experience, a very successful run for the band, and we are very happy to finally have met some of our European audience. In terms of comparing the two, the way we look at it is; no matter where you´re from, a heavy metal lover is still a heavy metal lover. Our experience so far has shown us that the fans we´ve met in the US and the fans we´ve met in Europe both kick equally as much ass.

However, it seems there tends to be a more concentrated audience for heavy metal and hard rock in central Europe, whilst in the United States it’s not as concentrated, yet very much alive. A lot of this is due to the incredible amount of rock and metal festivals arranged around Europe. It must also be said, we’ve only played three shows as Wings of Steel in the US, all in LA. So we will probably have even more insight into this once we’ve played more shows around the country.

Could we see Wings of Steel someday in Finland too?

We would love to play Finland and we hope to make that happen in the near future. According to our streaming statistics, Finland is actually one of the most Wings of Steel enthusiastic countries in the world! We´re sure it’s gonna be very memorable once we make it out there, we’re hoping to set something up for 2025.

Does Wings of Steel have any future plans you can share yet?

We´re just about to wrap up our European endeavors for 2024. We´re currently doing our best to get on a US tour before the end of the year. Beyond that, we are also planning to write and record the material for our next album, for release in 2025 before returning to Europe for another run. You can keep up to date with band news by following us on our social media (Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp) or by signing up to our newsletter via our website.

Thanks for your time! Would you like to send some greetings to Chaoszine’s readers?

If you haven’t heard of us before then give us a spin, let us know how you like it, and that you came from Chaoszine. We´re just two young guys who love to write and share our heavy metal music with the world in the most authentic way possible. We are 100% independent and we are able to do what we do because you decided to give us a listen, we can´t thank you enough for it.

Peace, Love, & Heavy Metal!

You can listen to “Gates of Twilight” in full below: