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EVERGREY: a band with many line-up problems

EVERGREY: a band with many line-up problems
BANDS : Evergrey

Metal Camp, 22nd July. In the morning I find out that Evergrey are not scheduled for any press conference or any interview. Still, I'm not losing my hope so I come back later in backstage to ask if somebody can discuss with the band to do an interview. One of the organizers is kind enough to promise me that she'll ask them when they arrive, because they will probably be late. After another couple of hours, the band arrives in the festival area just in time to get on stage and to avoid another schedule change. These people were amazing. I mean they were on the same van with Soilwork, they were on the road for 15 full hours, they got off the van and after approximately 10 minutes they were on stage, playing! And after a concert in the still burning sun, during a show in which they announced that bassist Michael Hakanson is for the last time on stage with Evergrey, they still agreed to talk to me, when they could have said simply “no, we are too tired”. All my respects! This is how I got to talk for about 15 minutes with Tom Englund and Henrik Danhage. They would have still answered, I would have still had questions for them, but I could see they were really really tired so I figured I should better stop.

 

 

Metalfan: You started the band in 1995 and it was, as you described it, a grey zone, nothing seemed to work. But then, somehow, you managed to get out of it. What happened?
Tom:
Well, we were just amazingly talented (laughs). No, I don't know.. combination of luck and skill, I guess. We are very determined on what to do and we keep on doing it until we get what we want, basically. It's been like this from day one.

Metalfan: You released your second album just one year after your debut. How did you manage to come out with such a strong album in such a short period of time?
Tom:
(laughs) I don't know. The thing is that with the first album we didn't really know what we were doing. We just recorded the songs that we had at that time, but for the second album we immediately started writing since we didn't do any touring or anything for the first one. That gave us a lot more time to write and we basically worked for a whole year for it. Pretty much. And I guess that's why it came out like this.
Henrik: For most of the bands I think the first album is always the easiest one because a lot of the songs can be really old. The trouble starts when you do a lot of tours and you have to find the time to write new songs.

Metalfan: How did you manage to get the contract with Inside Out?
Tom:
We did the worst show we have ever done, in Chicago, and I don't know... They must have been very drunk or something since uhmmm...
Henrik: They probably saw something, you know... even though it was a really terrible show.
Tom: Bullshit!
Henrik: Probably one of the worst we've ever done. But they really saw some quality in there.
Tom: Somehow...

Metalfan: How did you meet Michael Hakanson?
Tom:
I think I went to see one of the shows he did with his old band, Embraced... and Daniel left, so... we had to find another bass player and I had seen Michael before and thought he was one of the coolest looking bass players I've ever seen, so I just pretty much asked him if he was interested to do it and he was.

Metalfan: And what is the problem now? Why is he leaving?
Tom:
I don't think it’s a problem.... I mean, of course it's a problem for Evergrey...
Henrik: It's just sad. I mean we will not be able to hang out with Michael as much as we'd like to. And it's sad for the fans. On the other hand, it would really suck if he would stay and not be satisfied. He wants to do other things now...
Tom: Evergrey demands a lot of time and he doesn't feel he has the fire to do it anymore.
Henrik: I think he feels that he needs to settle down. I mean it's a tough job to be a musician.

Metalfan: Of course, but you have to have some rewards for that. The fans, the music that you do...
Tom:
Oh yeah. Absolutely!
Henrik: It's definitely much more better than go to work in a factory everyday...
Tom: But some days, like today, I would have rather worked in a factory. (laughs) This fucking bus ride... amazing!

Metalfan: So what's wrong with Evergrey? It seems that with every album, you have some line-up changes.
Henrik:
Well, actually now... this is the first time that we've been together for almost three years. We released three albums with the same line-up which is a first thing ever to happen (author note: Only if he's referring to the live album A Night To Remember, because on Recreation Day they had Patrick Carlsson on the drums, not Jonas Ekdahl). I mean, some people got fired and some people just left, just like Michael now. It's better to get somebody that has the same vision as us and has the same passion for Evergrey.

Metalfan: From what you're saying I understand that you're gonna stay.
Tom:
He's gonna stay, fuck yeah.

 


Metalfan: That's great. (To Henrik) So how did you get into the band?
Henrik:
Uhmm... before we started making tones of money (laughs). Tom was working at this music store that I bought a lot of things from and somehow we started to hang out a lot when I was at the store and then the guitar player decided to leave and then I got to play in his place.

Metalfan: Now I want to ask you something about The Inner Circle. It's a concept album. What does exactly happen to the main character? What is his story?
Tom:
You could say it's a diary from someone who's been involved in a religious cult or whatever. Religion has so much impact on people today whereas I think they should think for themselves instead. We have received tones of letters and e-mails from people that have gone through what this person went through on the album and it's about doubts about God or whatever it is and doubts about himself and also the religious cult makes him do things that are really not something that he would do if he was thinking for himself. But he has the cult thinking for him so... It's a dangerous world to be monitored in such a way that you stop thinking for yourself and that was primarily the mission that we had... to make people start think for themselves.

Metalfan: You started singing two weeks before recording the first album and now everybody thinks that your vocals distinguish Evergrey from other bands. What do you think about that?
Tom:
Of course, I think it's great. That was a strange thing... I mean we had a vocalist and he quit two weeks or a month before the recording of the album and our old bass player said that... “why don't you sing?” and I was like “what?”. 'Cause I never sang before, so... But I did all those vocals anyway so... I must have had some sort of talent (laughs). And now yeah, it's one of the trademarks we have. As with any other band, basically.

Metalfan: Do you think the DVD A Night To Remember pictures perfection or some things could have been done in a better way?
Tom:
You can always do things better but I think we had one of the greatest nights we have ever had, recording that, which was very lucky because we only recorded it one night, we never did any re-recordings or anything like that. Yeah, it's a great DVD for the fans to enjoy, I guess, and it's an accomplishment as well. I mean, it's a milestone in our carrier to do a live album and a live DVD and it was really nice to be able to do it in our hometown.

Metalfan: Now some questions about Monday Morning Apocalypse. What's the main lyrical concept of the album?
Tom:
There is no lyrical concept at all. It's uhm... (asks Henrik) how many song there are? Eleven... Twelve?
Henrik: Eleven.
Tom: Yeah. It's eleven or twelve individual songs, but I mean... in the same time it's about everything that Evergrey was ever about... self doubt, sorrow, pain and all these happy subjects. (laughs)

Metalfan: The guitars are so down-tuned. Why is that? Were you trying to portray sorrow?
Tom:
Actually they are not more down-tuned than on The Inner Circle album. It's one song that is... No, it's not, it's the same tunings.
Metalfan: But the keyboards are left behind anyways.
Henrik:
Yeah, but I think it has more to do with the overall mix than with the down-tune because we have been down-tuned for the last three albums.
Tom: It's just a more guitar-oriented album, basically.
Metalfan: So you're not trying to kick Rikard out of the band (laughs)
Tom & Henrik:
(laugh) No, no, he can stay for a while!

 

 

Metalfan: Why didn't you produce the album yourselves, like you already did with Recreation Day and The Inner Circle?
Tom:
We did, I mean we co-produced this. We probably felt that at the same time we were at our sixth album and we needed to do something that was fresh for us as well. We did something that we thought brought some new blood into Evergrey and maybe saw some things a bit more objectively than we do ourselves. It was a great experience and we will probably work with him again on the next album (author note: We're talking about Sanken Sandqvis here).

Metalfan: That was my next question, you already answered it (laughs). So next one: how important is the American market for an European band and how hard is it to get there?
Tom:
As important as the European market, of course.
Metalfan: Is the public more receptive to your music?
Tom:
It's pretty much the same, but I mean... America is a good market for us, we have been there several times and done like five tours there now so... it's a great country to tour. It's easier than to tour Europe for instance but it's not more important, I wouldn't say that... no.

Metalfan: All my questions are done, but I have a quick quiz if you want to answer.
Tom & Henrik:
Sure.
Metalfan: What is the last CD you bought or got from somebody?
Tom:
Mine is... actually I bought a Pink Floyd DVD the other day. It's called Pulse. It's the only live DVD they have done.
Henrik: Van Halen1984, and I bought Thin Lizzy. These are the two things I bought just before we left on tour.
Metalfan: What is the longest time you spent on the road?
Tom & Henrik:
Seven weeks.
Metalfan: Last concert you attended as part of the audience?
Henrik:
Last night, it was Testament (both laugh)
Tom: Yeah, and I watched Soilwork last night.
Metalfan: When was the last time you broke a string of your guitar on stage?
Tom:
I never done that. (To Henrik) You do that.
Henrik: Yeah, it can happen sometimes, but it's very... I think it happened three times and we have the guitars for four or five years.
Tom: Yeah, great guitars!
Metalfan: Do you believe in afterlife?
Henrik:
I don't know. It would be some kind of a waste if it would just end after a life of 60 or 70 years. But I don't know...
Tom: I don't know either (laughs).
Metalfan: Last book you read?
Henrik:
I finished the DaVinci Code today, I liked it, so I'm gonna go for another of the Dan Brown books.
Tom: And I read Robbie Williams' biography.
Metalfan: Would you go to see a UFO movie called “In Search of Truth”?
Tom:
Is there a movie called “In Search of Truth”? I didn't know that.
Henrik: I didn't know that either.
Tom: We should check this out.
Metalfan: When was the last time you entered a church?
Tom:
In Mexico. We had to repent for our sins for a while (laughs)
Metalfan: What song do you like to perform live the most?
Tom:
That really differs for each day. But there are songs that always work really good live and pretty much the last three songs we always play are...
Henrik: With a great crowd I think I'm sorry and Masterplan, as far as getting the audience to sing and take a more active part of the show.

Metalfan: Well, that was it. Thank you very much. And if you have something to say to your Romanian fans, please do.
Tom:
We have fans there? Than tell all our Romanian fans that they have to start nagging the club owners in Romania so we can get there and play.

Autor: Klawz, Nebelhexa
Vezi galeriile trupelor: Evergrey

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