The initial idea of the band all started back in the late spring of 2011 when Erik parted ways with the tech-death band Sectu (after being a live-session musician) and pretty much figured that it was time to start a new band.
Almost a year earlier Erik, Johannes and Markus had tried to jam out to some material that Erik had written – but due to different reasons (one being the fact that it was hard to find personel for the band…) the project pretty much fell into hiatus. But when Erik found himself without a band he felt that it was time, contacted Markus and Johannes and presented the idea.
Erik had also found a potential drummer for the project in Björn Edlund (RainXeed), who planned on moving to Stockholm from Luleå during the fall.
When autumn came Björn, sadly did not move to Stockholm – and we found ourselves without a drummer again. About this time we started to look at different websites and adds, without any success – since the drummers we found mostly wanted to play pretty straight-forward heavy metal rather than prog. But one day – when Markus and Erik had gone back to the Royal College of Music in Stockholm to study for the semester – Kalle appeared.
When we started to jam together with Kalle the pieces pretty much started to fit right away – we had all the same taste in music and the same view of how to manage a band – but we realized that we needed another guitar player. Enter: Hjalmar! Hjalmar was a friend of Johannes, having gone to the same ”folkhögskola” (RML) – and Hjalmar proved to be a much needed addition to the band!
Once the lineup was complete, no time was spared and the studio was booked just four months after the bands first rehearsal together.
The progressive genre was something that everyone in the band loved and listen to. It is also a genre that is supposed to equal no limitations when it comes to what you can do musically. and how you do it. And that really attracted us.
Evolution of the initial musical and thematic elements:
Erik: The first idea of the concept on the album spawned from a phone call with my fiancé. She is studying to become a psychologist and during the time (spring 2011) she was doing her first hours in therapy at the time (Something that the students had to do to get their exam, basically). I think it was just after the phone call that it struck me: ”Why not make a song or an album that is like a therapy session?”. I figured you could build up the suspense really, really well with that concept – and then all of a sudden end it with a ”Time’s up! See you next week!” (In retrospective I’m glad that we somewhat drifted away from that…)
The initial music was pretty much developed using the amazing power of the internet! We set up a dropbox (Entitled ”Progbox”) that we use to this day to share ideas and sketches for new songs (Sometimes entire songs, complete with lyrics, melodies etc.)
Johannes: The entire album was written with a conceptual storyline in the background. I concluded a version of it early in the summer of 2011; then parts of it were put together as pieces in a jigsaw puzzle as songs evolved and their lyrics were written. The original storyline and chapter divisions was however changed quite a lot during the development, ending up with a story told by the main character alone. but the somewhat fragmentary storytelling mostly adds to the concept if you ask me, on some occasions I deliberately tried to keep the lyrics as open and unprecise as possible; other times they are pretty straight forward.
Ideas about the album:
We think it is a solid, debut album. We could have given certain things less time and other things more time – but it is easy to say such a thing afterwards. We are happy with the album – and we think we will be so in twenty years from now!
At the time the album has only been out for a day (5th of february) – but it seems to be received really well! Let’s hope that it continues this way!
Preference; live or studio:
Erik: Personally, I think they both have their charm – but if I had to choose one, I’d take the road!
Johannes: Road, for sure! Wish that we will experience more of that in the future.
Next step; live or studio:
We have got a couple of gigs coming up here in Sweden – and not just in Stockholm, which feels pretty great. Hopefully these gigs will give us a chance to promote the album – as well as present some of the new material that we have been working on since November last year. It also feels pretty good to be able to focus on writing and rehearing some new material at this point.
Ideas for the next album:
Erik: There will be some more piano-playing for Hjalmar – and the new songs seem to take of where ”The Edge of Sanity” left of. That’s all we will say for now. 🙂
Hopefully this album (The Edge of Sanity) will take us to new places and help us spread our music to new listeners all across the globe; so with that ambition in mind it is looking pretty good!
Composers / Lyricists:
Erik: I think I have something that is pretty much the direct opposite of writers block.. I tend to write almost too much, from time to time. I think I have it from my father, who is an artist – he is pretty much the same when it comes to art. I guess inspiration strikes me pretty hard. When we first started the band I had a couple of songs (Rebirth, The Fallen) already ”wrapped up and good to go” – except for the lyrics and the vocal melodies – and that is where Johannes contributed in a way I could not have expected nor imagined!
Nowadays I try to give everyone a bit more ”space” – since I figure that my way of continuously presenting new material/songs can be pretty demanding and almost suffocating. Plus, I’ve found that writing together with my bandmates gives a great joy to me personally!
On the album Johannes wrote most of the lyrics and the vocal melodies (except for The Longing and the Chokehold, which was written by Erik and on Funeral Bells, which was written by Hjalmar), since Johannes was the one who was the most versed in the concept of the album.
Johannes: Then there are a couple of songs on the album that we wrote together, and some songs that I wrote. Markus has also contributed with some parts. So with Funeral Bells being entirely Hjalmars baby, we are lucky to have a large number of contributors of new material.. And the interaction between our personal styles and the music we end up with when working together might be a reason for our schizophrenic blend. To me these are great conditions; the songs I have written are also quite opposed to Erik’s complex, riff-based stuff; I tend to write more atmospheric and more simply arranged stuff.
Erik: Personally, it’s everything from progressive stuff like Dream Theater, Haken, Opeth and Pain of Salvation to heavier stuff like At the Gates, Meshuggah and Behemoth – to stuff like Jan Johansson, Lars Gullin and classic heavy metal like Iron Maiden.
Johannes: I also love pain of salvation but otherwise mostly drift into softer musical references overall, mainly being the atmospheric stuff by Porcupine Tree or modern Anathema. I also venture into post rock at times.
Preference; cater to the audience or music for its own sake:
Erik: The music. But the music is nothing without the ones who listen to it.
Erik: Rock in Rio and ProgPower USA 2018 🙂