Metal Wani‘s Carl O’Rourke recently conducted an interview with frontman Tom S. Englund of acclaimed Swedish dark melodic metal masters EVERGREY about the band’s upcoming studio album, “The Atlantic”. You can listen to the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether EVERGREY operates without any musical boundaries:
Tom: “Yeah, the thing is, for good or bad, we have been doing it our way forever. It’s not necessarily a good thing either, at least success-wise, but at least we stay true to ourselves and write the music we want to write, primarily, in order to keep ourselves happy. Now, we’re very fortunate to be able to release our 11th album soon and have people around the world that like to listen to our songs. We’re just super-happy with that fact. We take it from there and we do that with each and every album. It’s great to be a musician that people want to listen to.”
On whether the band’s 2016’s “The Storm Within” and “The Atlantic” share common lyrical themes:
Tom: “It goes even further than that. The first album of the trilogy was the ‘Hymns For The Broken’ album, where I was at a point in my life where I had to change something. I wasn’t sure what it was at that time, but I needed it and change was about to come. For ‘The Storm Within’ album, those thoughts were even more evident to me and I would say that unconsciously that I made a decision that it needed to be. For ‘The Atlantic’ album, it’s where I am now, basically. Maybe not stranded on a new shore, but at least on the other side of a huge, dark obstacle that was taking me through the depths of the deep end and frustrations and the fears and thoughts of what I will become next.”
On the ways in which EVERGREY‘s focus on doing things their way ends up hurting the band:
Tom: “The thing is, our persistence, in a way, the way we work, we’ve been in the business for so long. It’s been over 22, 23 years or whatever it is. We are on this sort of second circle of making new deals for our back catalog and for the album and also, we’re selling more for each and every album. For us, it’s a super-great position to be in. You can never have compromised anything we do artistically or songwriting-wise and still be in a position where we can decide what we want to do and be on our own terms.”
On how EVERGREY handled having its studio being broken into during the making of “The Atlantic”:
Tom: “That was the worst fucking time ever. I had written three songs and recorded them with vocals and I was in a good place vibe-wise. I knew what I wanted to do and I was really looking forward to it and I had a very short amount of time to do it in, which I usually like, to have the time pressure. I was going to America to work with the other band I’m in, REDEMPTION. I had the flights booked, so I had to get it done within three weeks or so, the seven coming songs. Then I came to the studio one day, and we had this break-in, they stole the computers and the back-up discs and everything. It was a major setback at the time. Also, the years of experience that we have within this business have taught us that we have to re-focus and sort of try to decide on how we should fix this mess. So, that’s what we did and we decided I should go to L.A. and write in the mornings there. I woke up at seven ‘o clock in the morning, sat in the Californian sun, writing Scandinavian darkness. For the afternoons and the nights, I was Tom in REDEMPTION and in the mornings, I was Tom in EVERGREY. In hindsight, I would say this was extremely beneficial for the album. I had a lot more time to spend on the lyrics and on each phrase. Yeah, it worked out great.”
On whether “The Atlantic” would have sounded different had EVERGREY‘s studio not been broken into:
Tom: “I can’t help to think that it would have been. You hear a lot of aggression and frustration in some of the songs and it also brought me, all of us, basically, to a point where we felt we were extremely vulnerable in the face of other people affecting our work process so badly by just taking a stupid thing like a computer from us. So, we were facing our worst nightmare ever, but we’ve followed through and I think it made the album more intense in a way.”
On whether he feels the current metal scene is stuck in a state of “retro-mania” and bands are too often quick to rely on old ideas and formulas:
Tom: “I don’t view it like that, but maybe I got my head up my ass too much. [Laughs] I think that’s one of the things we try to accomplish on each and every album, that we try to progress and we try to do things differently. Even though we work with the same fucking producers and artwork guys and video people, but there’s something in the process of our creativity that is always evolving. I feel that, yeah, maybe a record label and people like that are slower on trying to be progressive in that aspect of selling music, but we know because we have to. We know we have to create more merchandise and play more shows and do the things we really love. Earning money has changed from selling albums and selling concert tickets and merchandise. In itself, if you think about it, that’s what it’s about. We want people to see us live; I don’t really care that much about people buying our albums. I want to see your face at a concert. That’s what matters. Of course, being a record label, what matters to them is that they sell albums. It’s a double-edged sword in a way. We really just have to be able to make enough money so that we can tour the world and keep making more albums.”
“The Atlantic” will be released on January 25, 2019 via AFM Records. EVERGREY again teamed up with Jacob Hansen, who — just like with the band’s previous releases “The Storm Within” and 2014’s “Hymns For The Broken” — took care of mixing and mastering.