Upon Wings are a Detroit rock/metal band with classical influences. Their latest release is the EP Last Love, with guests including Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear/Gamma Ray) and Max Georgiev (Falling Reverse). Vocalist Anne Autumn Erickson gives us the scoop on the new release.
Chad Bowar: What led to the extended time between Afterlife and Lost Love?
Anne Autumn Erickson: That’s a great question. After releasing “Afterlife” and the EP by the same name in 2013, it was such a whirlwind. The song was our first real “single,” and it was so incredible to work with Brett Hestla of Creed and Dark New Day. The single got picked up by radio stations across the country and got so much great press. After the EP came out, it was almost like, where do we go from here? I admit that I was a bit nervous about how to follow up “Afterlife.” Plus, of course, life got in the way, too. With those two things combined, Upon Wings went on a little hiatus. We released some Christmas singles, but our first original single after the Afterlife EP was really “Eternal Way,” which came out in 2021. It felt amazing to get original music out there again.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the EP?
It’s hard to pick out a strongest memory of recording the EP. It’s really a combination of singles released over the past year or so, so each single has its own strong memory. I think working with Ralf Scheepers of Primal Fear and Gamma Ray on “Eternal Way,” though, could be considered the strongest memory. He’s one of the best singers I’ve ever heard, so having him on an Upon Wings song was surreal.
What inspired the title track?
The title track is inspired by a feeling that I think is familiar to many people. When you get out of a relationship, I think it’s common to have thoughts wondering if you’ll ever really find true love. Especially if it’s a bad breakup, it can feel like you missed out on your chance for love- like it was your “Last Love.” But, in the end, there’s always another chance to find true love, I believe.
How was the video shoot for “Lost Love”?
The video shoot for “Last Love” involved trying really hard to shoot during the sunset! It seems like an easy task, but it wasn’t. We kept missing the sunset, and then when we finally got it, it only lasted a few minutes, so we went back a few days to get more footage. I really liked the idea of there being lots of sunset footage in this video, so I’m glad that was able to be a large part of the video.
How important are videos these days?
Videos are very important these days. People often discover bands on YouTube through their music videos. That said, I don’t think anything is more important than having a good song. As you can probably tell, I do a lot of my own music videos and use the funds that would have been spent on videos towards our music. I do think I’ll venture out and get someone else to do our music videos in the future, but I’ve been happy doing them “in house,” and people seem to still enjoy our music videos, so that’s what matters to me.
How did Ralf Scheepers and Max Georgiev’s appearances on “Eternal Way” come about?
Both of those guest appearances on “Eternal Way” were so exciting. With Ralf, I had become a big fan of Primal Fear about a year earlier. When I heard their music, I instantly fell in love with the band and their powerful metal sound. I reached out to Ralf to see if he would be available for a guest vocal on the song, and he said yes. His vocals were such an incredible part of the song.
For Max, it was really cool, because Upon Wings’ producer, Kevin Jardine, was going to lay down the guitar solo, because he does our guitars, too. But he was like, “I have a friend in town. We should get him to do the solo. He’s amazing. And he’s in a cool band.” I asked, “Oh, what band.” And he said, “Something like Falling in Reverse?” Of course, I was surprised, because they’re one of the biggest rock bands of the moment. Max did such a fantastic job on the guitar solo!
How does the tenth anniversary edition of “The Dream” differ from the original?
This 10th anniversary edition of “The Dream” is remastered. It’s crazy to think that the song just turned 10 years old. I recorded it about a year prior and had zero intention of ever releasing it. Then, something happened in my life, and it changed me. I felt that I should release the song, and hopefully someone would like it! It’s amazing, because we have some listeners who discovered us with “The Dream” and are still with us today. It really brings a tear to my eye to think about it that way.
What are your goals and expectations for the EP?
I supposed I should have goals and expectations for the EP, but it’s hard to put an “expectation” on art. I just hope people hear the EP. I hope it has a chance in this world that’s very saturated with music. I hope people hear it, and of course, I hope people get something out of the EP that somehow makes their life a little bit better.
Do you have any plans to play live to support the release?
That’s always a big question. I really hope to do some live shows to support the EP. I’m currently planning to do a charity show around Christmas, where we would perform some songs off the EP acoustic. I actually think doing an acoustic tour would be fantastic. Even though a lot of Upon Wings’ music is very plugged-in, these songs can easily be stripped down to an acoustic setting. I’ll keep you posted!
How did you get started in music?
Well, as the story goes, when I was 4 years old, my parents took me to see “Cats” in Toronto, and I fell in love with music. I would not stop singing “Memory” wherever I went, including at pre-school. My teachers were like, “This girl sings ‘Memory’ for Cats all day!” From there, I got into other musical theater and opera. I took voice lessons from a young age and studied voice in college, even though my undergrad was in engineering. I did end up getting a Master’s in Theatre, too, but that was mostly non-musicals. It wasn’t until I was in high school, by the way, that I heard my first rock song. I couldn’t believe it! I fell in love with rock the second I heard it. The same is true for metal music.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
My very, very early influences would be Colm Wilkinson and Rebecca Caine from the Toronto cast of “Phantom of the Opera.” I sang to that soundtrack every day as a kid. When I got into rock and metal music later in life, some inspirations were AFI (their “Sing the Sorrow” record), A Perfect Circle (“Thirteenth Step”), Tool, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden. A range of metal and rock bands.
What was the first metal concert you attended?
Oh, wow, what a great question! I remember my first rock concert…but very first metal concert. I’m pretty sure it was Killswitch Engage at a small venue in Kalamazoo, Michigan, on their “End of Heartache” tour. I still love that record. It was a great show.
How has being a musician impacted how you approach interviewing other artists or reviewing their music?
I like to think that being a musician myself helps me connect with whomever I’m interviewing. When reviewing music – or having my own music reviewed, for that matter – I realize that opinions on music are subjective. One person could love something, and another could hate that same bit of music. So, I think that reviewing music, me being a musician myself, I look for the passion and positives instead of the subjective likes or dislikes, if that makes sense.
You’re also a longtime radio personality. Describe the first time you heard one of your own songs on the radio.
As a radio host, I have to say it’s still a thrill to be on the radio. It’s something I fell in love with years ago and still am absolutely in love with. That said, hearing my music on the radio is an entirely different experience. It almost feels like an out-of-body experience. Like I’m not really hearing my song, but of course I am. It’s a total thrill and almost spiritual experience!
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
Thank you for asking about this! I used to paint and recently got back into it. I love it. I paint coasters with landscape scenes, such as a lighthouse, sailboat, city skyline, farm, etc. I’ve also been doing some other forms of painting. My nana used to paint and my sito used to crochet, so it makes me feel closer to them. It’s nice to have an artistic outlet that is different from music.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
First of all, I really enjoyed this interview. Thank you for the opportunity. You have a fantastic metal publication that is really one of the most respected for discovering a wide range of metal music. Thank you. As for me, people can subscribe to my podcast wherever they listen to podcasts. It’s called “Anne Erickson on Audio Ink” and features rock and metal talk and discussion. Also, please follow Upon Wings on socials and streaming platforms. You can find all the links at UponWings.com. You can also find out more about me and links to my socials and podcast at ItsMeAnne.com.
(interview published September 23, 2022)
Watch Upon Wings – “Last Love” Video