EVERGEY // official interview 2019 // AFM Records

A couple of weeks before the New Year we got a chance to talk with Tom Englund, the singer, the guitar player, the mastermind of Evergrey – Swedish progressive metal legend. We were talking about the new Evergrey studio effort, “The Atlantic”, and what was happening around its creation.

Hello, let’s start with your new album "The Atlantic". It took almost 2,5 years to record and release it. I’ve heard it was not an easy story… Could you tell a little bit about it?

 

Yeah, any album is not an easy story for us! It’s always a hard work to record an album. But this time also in the middle of the singing of the album we’ve got a break-in in our recording studio. We’ve got some computers stolen and some stuff that hindered us from getting the album ready in time. So, it was a really stressful time at the end of the recording of the album which was not welcome but I actually think that it benefited from the stress in the end, because it brought out more frustration, some more anger towards the recording of the vocals and I am very, very happy with the result!

How did you solve the problems with the stolen things? Did you have to re-record a lot?

 

Yes. They stole our computer that I was singing on to, and also they stole the back-up hard drives, which was devastating because I’ve just recorded three songs and then everything was gone… I was also going to Los Angeles in 7 or 10 days or something. And so it came to the point when I had to call to the label and say that we’re not gonna make it in time because we had all this stuff stolen, so we need to come up with the new plan. We would have to record Evergrey album right when I was in Los Angeles instead, and then a month later I had to record it within a week, so… Yeah, it was hard but it paid off now, everybody seems to love it.

 

After two really strong albums "Hymns For The Broken" and "The Storm Within" did you feel any pressure to keep that high quality level with the new release?

We always do. But it’s not exactly the pressure from the outside, it’s the pressure from ourselves too, as you said, to maintain quality. And if we don’t do it, we know it immediately that we’re not 100% into it. But there’s so much of money and time into this album, and I’m 100% satisfied with it. We mixed it 20 days more than we usually do, because it wasn’t there 100%. But now I’m super-super happy.

 

Your very first internet single already shows that you've changed your sound a little bit.

That’s something we always work on. The first song on the album is called «A Silent Arc». And it was the first song we wrote. It has a quite heavy intro. So that’s sort of set the tone for the whole album and the songs to come. And when we got down to the mixing part of the album, that is me and Jonas who produced it, we were so set on the sound that we wanted. It was very important for us to be able to convey to Jacob Hansen that sound should be a little bit dirtier, a little bit more, you know… how should I call it? Greenier and dirtier, basically, not high polished, but at the same time, of course, hi-fi sound. So, I agree with you, it’s a different sound and it’s a sound that mostly based on the more aggressive side of the songs.

So, there’ll be more melancholic and dark songs which is your trademark, right?

Our trademark, yes. And it’s a good thing, because we get to write about things that bother us in the daily life. And we get that out in the music.

Is it a concept album?

It’s the same concept as the two latest albums. This is one long story and the stories about the transition of a being, a person, me, discovering that you want to do something different in life. That’s what «Hymns For The Broken» album was about, all those self-doubts and frustration. And then we came to «The Storm Within» album and that album was about the darkness and the realization that I have to make a move, you know? That I have to do something with my life to change where I was. And it’s also about the sorrow of leaving and the fear and the darkness as well. You come to the “Atlantic”. This album is about putting your both feet in the water, pushing the boat out and jumping in and just hoping that, you know, the boat and the wind, the waves will carry you to the shore that will fit you good in the future.

That’s why you used sea view in your first video for this album?

Yes. We didn’t want to make a real video for the first song because we wanted people to be amazed by the music, not by the visual side, you know? Which, I think, was a great move, because now people were only concentrated on listening to the music and could decide what they thought about the music. And at the same time they were also invited into the world where we were when we were writing the music – close to the ocean. And the ocean is close to us. We will have more videos for this album. They will be more traditional metal videos.

Are there any guests on the album this time?

No. Not at all. We thought that this time around we needed to make a statement, making the album on our own.

 

What is on the front cover of this album?

This guy, our new guy, his name is Giannis Nakos, never worked with us before. He is from Greece. He asked me if he could do the album cover and I was totally surprised. He asked me on the internet, on Facebook. And I said: “you have a great timing, because I was right amidst choosing one”. So I said to him: “Yeah, the only thing I see on the front is a broken ship in the sea with big waves. And you can do whatever you want”. And I gave him the titles and he started working. And I think he did a really great job, especially with choosing the color. I really liked it, because everybody else would be imagining blue or black or grey, you know? And you saw what he did and I really liked it.

 

Why did you decide to release remastered editions of your classic albums recently?

We decided to re-issue them because we wanted to have all the albums on the same roof, you know? To do all with the same label and to have control over the packaging and the re-mastering and everything. Then we decided that we would re-master everything and throw in a bunch of bonus material on each album that make it worthy for the fans to buy it. And also get the updated digital copies. But, first and foremost, get the vinyl version of the albums which is extremely popular today!

 

Do you believe in this modern fashion like vinyl on the one hand and digital streaming on the other? I’ve heard that in Sweden most of people don’t buy physical releases but stream music. Do you believe in this format and do you believe in the renaissance of vinyl?

Yeah, in Sweden vinyl is the most selling product. Since Spotify is from Sweden it’s also very popular there. And I like Spotify too, you know for the convenience of having all the music in your telephone – that’s great! But at the same time I really like having a big vinyl in my hands, looking at the cover, feeling it. It’s a good experience, you know. It’s different.

 

But there’s one problem that contemporary releases are not recorded on the analog equipment like before. It’s still digital but released on vinyl.

Well, we do different mastering for the vinyl, different from CD. And we record a lot of Evergrey music in analog today, so we use old equipment. So yeah, we really appreciate the analog world and never let that be taken away from us.

 

What are your plans for 2019? I know that Evergrey is a great live band and you do a lot of tours.

We’re doing some Swedish shows during the week of the release and then we’re doing some cruise to Finland, I think, and after that we play with Kamelot and then we’ll have a full European tour for 4-5 weeks. And then we’ll do the summer festivals. And then we go to USA and then we come back and do Europe once more!


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