France’s United Rock Nations recently conducted an interview with former AMON AMARTH and OPETH drummer Martin Lopez about his progressive heavy rock group SOEN. You can watch the entire chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether the writing and recording process got any easier for SOEN during the creation of its forthcoming “Lotus” studio album:
Martin: “I don’t think time is the issue. It depends on the team you have and if everyone shares the same vision, pretty much. I don’t think we had that before. This is the album where we actually have everyone really united and following the same path and wanting to have the same sound and choosing the same songs for the album, which made it a lot easier. I think before this album, there’s been a lot of unhealthy discussions within the band, which just drains your energy because it’s such an important thing for all of us. This time, I was prepared for the recording process to be a nightmare. I always suffer through it, but it went really well. We are really positive with the results.”
On what changed within SOEN to make the recording of “Lotus” easier:
Martin: “I think that for the most part, Joel [Ekelöf, vocals] and I have a vision of how the album should be. We write the songs and we feel it should sound this way and we never get that because there’s a lot of people involved and we’re not tyrants. We try to keep it as democratic as possible. Somewhere along the way we start losing our vision and we end up with an album that is not exactly what we wanted. The songs are good, but the sound is not. This one, all in one is the same. We brought in David Castillo, our producer, and all the guys had the same vision. He said, ‘Okay, I think the album should sound like this and we will work to get you there.’ He did and it was rewarding.”
On how SOEN channels their emotions through music:
Martin: “I think it’s pretty much what we do. I think you do it just by expressing yourself. When we’re writing songs and writing lyrics and such, you try to express yourself as who you are, all the different levels of who you are. Obviously, you know with the music you are allowed to go to the extremes, to be extremely aggressive and to be extremely joyful or sad or anything. So, that’s what you put into the songs. There’s no point in providing day-to-day happenings in a song because day-to-day [events] don’t have any value. When you write, you to try find [topics] that are strong enough to put into music.”
On whether he approaches songwriting from a melodic, lyrical or rhythmic point of view:
Martin: “It depends on the song. For the most part, Joel and I just get together and jam a little bit on some vocals, maybe guitars, vocals and bass, something like that. And you quite fast get an idea lyrically somehow that is connected, I don’t know, but you can get that this song should be about this or that. Then, you start building. Just like building a house. You build a foundation with the rhythm, get the base, then start adding guitars, keyboards.”
On what he considers to be “shallow entertainment”:
Martin: “‘Shallow entertainment’, I don’t want to be harsh, but most of what I hear that comes out is shallow entertainment. I think it needs to be complex to the point where it makes you think and you have to focus on the music. It needs to say something. In my case, I don’t know, I don’t walk around talking about old stories that have happened or dragons. I don’t know… It’s not me. That’s entertainment. It needs to be real. Musically, it needs to be real. They have to be more than a song that will make people shake their heads. This will have value. It needs to be good and let people feel stuff, good and bad. It’s okay to relate and if they don’t relate lyrically, at least they feel what they are hearing is an actual happening that has some meaning. I want to say something because in our case, this is when we actually get heard. You need to voice your complaints on what you think is wrong and address the issues that are fucking with your life or the world we live in.”
On having drag queens perform in their new “Martyrs” video:
Martin: “There’s many people that see the video and they are like ‘We don’t listen to you anymore.’ I can’t understand it. I just can’t understand how you can get under the skin so much of some people just by showing men dressed as women. I just don’t understand it. It feels amazingly fun to be this provocative with such a little nothing.”
“Lotus” will be released on February 1 via Silver Lining Music. Produced by Castillo and Iñaki Marconi at Ghostward Studios and Studio 6 between July and October 2018, the album marks the first recorded SOEN work of new Canadian-born guitarist Cody Ford.