Evergrey – Tom S. Englund
It goes without saying that Evergrey are a unique band. Having formed in Sweden in 1996, the band has fascinated listeners with exceptional studio albums and an equally captivating stage show. The band is currently readying themselves for the release of their new album which should be in the hands of fans before Christmas. I had the opportunity to speak to vocalist/guitarist Tom S. Englund and he filled me in on a few things about the band’s songwriting process as well as eagerly awaited new album.
I remember reading somewhere that you said the new album was going to be heavier. Is that correct?
Yeah. It’s a lot more guitar driven than the last album and the album before that. I would compare it guitar-wise to the RECREATION DAY as well.
So is that a reaction to the last album which was more streamlined?
No. It’s just a reaction of us playing live a lot and the last album was extremely live oriented. And this goes for this album as well. But you know…it’s just we have never really thought of what we are supposed to do on an album. We just make music…so you know – it’s not a big plan at all. It’s just whatever comes out, comes out.
So there was no plan to make MONDAY MORNING APOCALYPSE a more concise and focused effort?
I think the only thing that we decided was to make it more effective. We wanted to be able to play like maybe 6 or 7 songs at a 30 minute festival slot instead of 5 songs which for us are 6 or 7 minutes long. We did a lot of festivals over the last couple of years so we sort of adjusted our song writing a bit for that I would say.
I enjoyed the album a lot and “effective” is a very good word to use to describe the album. How do you think the album went overall, especially where your fans are concerned who where perhaps used to a more adventurous Evergrey?
I mean it’s like the same thing for each and every album really. I mean the MONDAY MORNING APOCALYPSE album has sold more than any of the previous albums so in that aspect everything is great. At the same time some fans are always disappointed but we don’t make the albums for our fans first and foremost. We make it for ourselves and then whatever the reaction might be to it, we’ll have to deal with later.
We haven’t decided that yet. We try not to repeat ourselves two times in a row. I don’t think that we will use them for this album but as I said, we haven’t decided yet. We might change our mind in the last week or whatever.
I can imagine that you would have learned a lot from them?
Absolutely. I mean they have an experience and a “know how” that I envy each and every day I sit here and try to produce my own shit.
That’s why I asked, as I know that you have your own studio. That experience is going to follow through with what you do with the next album I assume.
Absolutely. I mean they covered our way of thinking a lot and I only have good things to say about them but, you know, each and every thing has its own time and maybe it’s time for us to do something else.
So how do you as a band try to keep your music and ideas under wraps until the release date is finalised? Especially with what is happening nowadays with the internet?
Oh, you know, we can’t really think about that at all. It would drive me crazy to think about everything that’s surrounding music instead of just writing music. So, you know, we just try to keep focused on what we write and what we do.
Is there a way to protect yourself at all?
Ahh…I don’t know. I haven’t been able to….its happened the last couple of albums so I wouldn’t say so yet. No.
The downside of it all is that the mystery surrounding the release of an album is all but gone. Do you think that kind of excitement has disappeared today?
Absolutely. It’s also a very unfair to judge an album from a download. The band has spent a lot of money making it solidly perfect and then you have a shitty fucking MP3 to listen to and then they judge the sound of that. Sometimes it’s even un-mastered so, you know, it’s really strange how these things work and how people get their hands on it.
But I mean that’s the way the world is today and you just sort of go with the flow and accept what’s happening.
Very true. As your one of the principal song writers in the band, how do you feel your songwriting has progressed over the years?
I think in both a good and bad way. Of course we have matured a lot and I know I have personally as a vocalist, lyricist and songwriter. But at the same time, when you record your first album you have…how shall I put it…You’re very insecure and that sort of reflects in the songwriting as well – in a positive way. That is not something that I experience nowadays. Today I really know what to do and that makes it sort of…well something is lacking for me personally at least.
Does it get difficult to introduce new ideas into the Evergrey sound?
I think we’re very determined about how we want to have it sound and we never compromise at all. Not within the group or within the songs or anything, so it’s usually a big battle when we were in the studio. To get all five of us coming through is difficult and that can of course never happen…laughs…As I said, it’s a big battle each and every time.
Fair enough. One thing that I’ve always noticed with the band is that you’ve been able to keep your feet in both camps. You can appeal to the heavier type of listener and the melodic listener. Do you feel that’s worked in your favor?
Yeah. But at the same time people have….especially journalists, have had a really hard time categorizing us. People sometimes are lazy and want to have everything explained for them – what it is they are listening to and what not. Evergrey is not a band that you can really categorize within a couple of words At the same time we have always maintained our integrity and our own uniqueness and as you said, we have are feet in sort of every genre of the Metal community.
Official Site: www.evergrey.net