A new Evergrey album is always something to look forward to. “The Glorious Collision” is about to hit the shelves, but things didn’t go without adversity. The band witnessed a series of line-up changes along with several other things. Tom Englund talks candidly to ThisIsNotAScene about Evergrey’s recent ventures, the new album and the lack of any pre show rituals…
I’m quite impressed with Glorious Collision. It sounds really fresh and energetic. How did you experience the making of this record from a band leader and producer point of view?
Well, for me and Rikard it was just a matter of writing to survive at first. We wrote in order to see if we were able to compose at all. So there was no intentions other than that and I guess that sort of gave it all a nerve and a sincerity that made the music benefit from it … Right now we are just relieved. Relieved that ALL journalists around the world unanimously loves the album. THAT is quite refreshing and new to us and of course totally unexpected.
Glorious Collision is rather enigmatic title. Can you explain this in conjunction with the music and the topics handled in the lyrics?
Well, we go through life every day and every week of our lives colliding with people, difference of opinions and worse experiences than that if we are unlucky. At that time of impact, just when the collision happens we feel overwhelmed, sad, angry or whatever feeling you want to chose, These feelings make us not being able to see clearly. Cause what all collisions do in the end is to alter your way, of thinking , of acting or even living. And of course at first it is impossible to see something good come out of someone’s death or demise.
After a year maybe two you realize that the event it self brought something good with it, maybe even great. and thus the collision that at first was devastating now turned glorious.
The lyrics are very diverse but all handle the human psyche and how and why we react the way we do, whether us being wrong or right. The real challenge is to change an already set mind.
The new record’s sound is still heavy and melancholic, but there seems to be some light on the horizon as well, unlike “In Search Of Truth” and “The Inner Circle” for example. The song material is more diverse as well. Was this something you wanted to do from the beginning?
We didn’t really have a plan how we wanted it to sound. We more or less just started to write and then saw what came up. Of course we have a clue what Evergrey is about so its not a jazz record or something but hopefully still sounds a lot like Evergrey. I think the light in this record is the fact that we had to move on with our life and music and that probably shows a bit in the mood of the songs.
The last Evergrey album with the former line-up, “Torn”, is still a solid record, but it in my point of view it somewhat misses the vim and vigour of “Recreation Day” and “The Inner Circle”. Was that in hindsight the writing on the wall that the previous line-up with Henrik Danhage and Jonas Ekdahl had run its course? If not, when did you notice that a shift in the line-up was necessary in order to preserve Evergrey?
At that time I don’t think so. We had a new bass player in Jari and things felt really good. I don’t know what went on in peoples minds but it felt pretty good when we started to work with Torn. Jonas for example had a great input in that album. I think things started to go wrong afterwards. Everyone was a bit disappointed over the silence after the record. We didn’t do a proper tour, the record company were going down so there was a lack of promotion. I think that was a big deal when people started to loose focus on the band. Henrik and Jonas had their side project all along and maybe they started to get some ideas of doing something else.
Both Hendrik Danhage and Jonas Ekdahl contributed a lot to the songwriting within the band. This time around most of the songs were written by you and Rikard Zander. What kind if impact had this on the way the new record came out?
A very big impact I think. It was just the two of us which I think was easier when it came to trying out new ideas etc. Its hard when four people sit together and the one who yells loudest gets his idea to the front. This time we didn’t have any prestige on who was writing what and most. The song always came in the first place. And we noticed that we worked really well together just the two of us. It’s a lot of having trust in the other person if a vision comes up and we didn’t hold each other back.
Can you introduce the new Evergrey members and tell how you met these guys and what they individually bring the to the table in terms of influences and musical experience?
We called Pontus Norgren in Hammerfall and asked him if he knew the perfect guitarist for us and he said “ Yeah… he’s sitting here right next to me. It was Marcus Jidell and after talking to him ten minutes on the phone we hired him. That’s actually true.
Johan Niemann we knew from long time ago when Evergrey toured with Therion. He was also a friend of Marcus so as soon as he said yes (we had to talk him in to it) there was no question about it.
Hannes van Dahl we found through a recommendation from Snowy Shaw. Hannes was a 20 year old drum student of his and he said that this guy is perfect for you… and so he was. So it went really smooth and that’s part reason I think that we choose to continue.
I think the easiest way to describe what these guys mean to us musically is for you to listen to the album and see us live.
As seen on various studio episodes on the official Evergrey site you seem to enjoy being in the producers chair. You’re always closely involved with the recording process of the previous records, so it this something you want to do for other bands as well or something you aim for after you’re done with Evergrey?
I have done it for 7 years already mixing and working on both Evergrey’s albums and other bands albums and DVDs. I for one mixed the In Flames DVD. I have done a lot of eastern European bands too as well as bands like Dragonland from Sweden. This is something I have had to quit now due to the fact that Evergrey takes up too much time and the studio I owned with friends cost too much.
Does Evergrey have any specific band rituals when you’re on the road? Can you share some drop dead funny tour stories?
I’m sorry but not really… Of course stuff happens when you’re on the road so much but its always so hard when you get this question to remember anything specific. I think we should write a book or something after or careers just to sit down for a couple of days remembering and collecting all or memories together. Right now we just look forward though.
Time to wrap up this interview. What does 2011 have in store for you and Evergrey?
Hopefully, some good things. So far it feels really good and the reception of Glorious Collision has been great. We will continue doing our best in terms of promote the album and play live as much as we can and the future will decide what comes out of it.
Have you got any final thoughts or comments for our readers?
The same cliché as usual… but that’s really what were about: Check out the album, come and see us live and keep on progging. 🙂