Interviewed by Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Jenny Walroth at Century Media Scandinavia setting up this interview
Promo pictures from Century Media of the band
Nocturnal Rites has just released their brand new 8th album called 8th SIN and it’s once again to talk with a member of the band. This time I had the pleasure to talk with guitarist Fredrik Mannberg. We talk about the new album and what is going to happened now with the band. Enjoy this new interview all fans of the band.
Hi Fredrik, nice to talk with you this time, how are you today?
Hi there! I’m fine thanks, just got home. We are preparing for the shows in Sweden so there is a lot of practicing now. We are very exited to hit the road and deliver some genius music to the fans.
Let’s talk about your new fresh album 8th SIN, how long did it take to finish the album and when did you start to work on material for it?
Hm let’s see… I think we started writing last summer for real, and the song were done in November. We always have to get into these writing periods. We never write songs here and there during the whole year. We have to have a goal, a deadline. Otherwise it won’t work. We are very focused at that time which helps since we are perfectionists.
Who has written the material this time? And what are the lyrics about?
The music is done by me and Norberg. Eriksson wrote the lyrics once again and the topic is the same as on the previous CD. A lot of things in this world are totally fucked up. Today we don’t know if mankind will survive another… let’s say 100 years. And people care about how much money they have or if they will make it to the final in Big Brother! That’s sick. So a lot of the lyrics deal with the “modern idiot man” and things that can be related to that.
Which studio have you used and who has produced the album?
We recorded this album by ourselves in our own studio. It turned out to be the best thing we ever could do. No more expensive studios with a lot of stress and shit. If you have a bad day… you can stay at home and just relax without anger. And you progress as a producer as hell. I would strongly recommend bands to record by them self. The mixing part is the most difficult thing. We mixed this one at toontrack again. The reason was simple: It’s located in the same town and they are easy to work with. We produced the album by the way…
You have always had some really fantastic album covers done by Axel Herman, what’s the thought behind the cover artwork and title on 8th SIN?
We just wanted a simple cover with not so dark colors. Axel did the “Grand illusion” cover and he was easy to work with so we decided to work with him again for this one. My thought behind the cover is: The 8 is the number of records we’ve done until now. The 7 flames are the numbers of the old cds… but that’s just my thought. “8th sin” is just a title… it’s nothing special except for being our 8th album.
On your previous album GRAND ILLUSION you brought in more keyboards into the sound picture and they have stayed put also on this album, how come you have brought in more of the keyboard play?
Keyboards bring a lot of harmonies as well as feelings. The production gets bigger at the same time as it makes the sound a bit softer. It’s a thing you have to accept when you use keys. We didn’t sit down and say “This time we must use a lot of keys”. It just happened to turn out this way with “8th sin”. Henke Kjellberg is a guy with a lot of cool ideas and it felt right to use them.
Who’s playing the keyboards on the album?
Rickard Frohm is playing on “ME” and the rest is done by Henke Kjellberg who also played on “New world messiah” and “Grand illusion”. At this point we’re happy with the line up of the band and no live keyboard player will be added.
The bio states that the 8th SIN is offering a slightly more modern sound, what’s your comment on that?
Yes, that’s correct. But don’t be scared now. We have some drum loops on this album. We also had that on other albums too, but this time you can really hear them. It brings more groove to some parts. Also the songs themselves are a bit different. Not much, but it’s more straight forward and catchy basic hard rock than power metal. That’s my opinion and if you think different then… ok.
I think that 8th SIN feels more melodic metal then power/heavy metal than your previous ones, how would you like to describe what kind of music Nocturnal Rites plays to day?
I would say modern hardrock/metal with a unique sound. You can always hear that it’s Nocturnal rites. We have our typical melodies and riffs i guess. I can’t name any other bands that sound like we do.
On the ballad “Me” Johnny sings a duet with a female vocalist? Who is she and how did she end up on your album?
It’s actually Lisa Miskovsky’s (a famous Swedish female artist) sister Carolina who’s singing. We have known her for quite some time now and at the time we mixed the album in Toontrack, she often came by to sing on some other things the guys at Toontrack works with. So i came up with the idea to have her singing on one of our songs. “ME” felt different from what we normally do, so it had to be that song. I’m very pleased with the result.
What do you think older hardcore fans of Nocturnal Rites are going to think of your more melodic approach?
We never sit down and plan the next album. It doesn’t work that way. “The 8th Sin” just happened, just like “Afterlife” or “Sacred Talisman”. We create music we think are good and if people like it, then thanx! Some friends told me that it’s very melodic… and some other friends said that this it the best shit we’ve ever made! So, everyone has their own point of view. We don’t know how our next cd will sound! We don’t even know if we still exist on one year! Any thing can happen. I hope the older NOCTURNAL RITES fans will still support our band and come to the shows. We just can’t make the same album twice I guess…
Were there many songs that didn’t make it on to the album?
We’ve never had this much material before. But somehow we ended up recording the songs that we needed, which were 11 for the European release. 1 bonus for the Japanese and 1 bonus for the online cds. The inspiration was like never before so we had to skip writing new songs and try to concentrate on the ones we had. We’ll see what happens with the songs that we chose to leave behind this time. We might keep them, but normally we start writing from nothing. It makes the album sound more like a compact written product.
The Japanese edition of the album contains two bonus tracks, what can you tell us about those tracks?
It’s only one song actually. “Coming home” is the title for this slower tune. It was written the same way as always… meaning music done by me and Norberg. The lyric is written by Eriksson. Not so much to say to be honest… it’s just more fantastic NOC song:)
The CDS “Never Again” is released exclusively for Sweden and you have also made a video to it, why is it only available on the Swedish market?
It’s a online cds which also has one bonus song on it. The song is called “My self destruction” and is a heavy riffing song. We wanted to make something special for the Swedish fans and since metal is going good here we thought it would be a good idea.
The first edition of the album is also going to contain a bonus DVD, what’s on the DVD this time?
It’s the same idea as on the other releases. Some documentary stuff…live clips… video shoot… touring…Japan… and all that. But it’s fun to watch.
What do you think of the new album? And do you have any favorite song on it?
I like the album very much. It feels “right” in time. Favorite songs are “Call out to the world”…”Tell me”… “Me”…”Strong enough”… well all of the songs are good i think.
You have done a few gigs in Sweden before you released 8th SIN, did you played any new material and how did the audience respond to it in that case?
We preformed the Video and single song “Never again” for the first time ever on the GATES OF METAL ferry. By the reaction of the crowd it was obvious that they had seen/heard the song which we posted on youtube some weeks before. On SWEDEN ROCK FESTIVAL we also added 2 more new songs “Not the only” & “Strong enough”. The crowd? Yes… they went totally crazy.
Have you read any reviews of the album yet? What does the press think of it and do you care about what the press and journalists thinks of your albums?
I have only heard a few reviews now and they are all very good. The metal press seems to like our band which feels great of course. We got no1 in the Soundcheck page in the biggest metal magazine in Sweden, Sweden rock magazine. I hope we will be doing the same for other magazines across the planet!
Are there any differences in between how fans on different continents act on your shows? By that I mean which countries fans are the craziest and who’s most polite etc?
Yes, there is a difference between the fans. I like to play for the Japanese and South European fans the most. They always go crazy and sing along with the songs. That makes yourself go nuts and when the show is over you can be proud over a nice and good evening with happy memories.
The plans on releasing a live DVD began in 2005, what’s the status on that?
The plans are still there. We are concentrating on other things at the moment and I hope we can make that Live DVD in a near future. Just keep reading on our site for news regarding everything that’s important.
You did a few shows in Japan and USA during last year, how was that?
Yes, we went to Japan for the sec. time of our lives. That was of course awesome! The Japanese fans are very happy and crazy fans, which fits us perfect. We are happy and crazy too:)! We had some really nice days over there with karaoke and good strange food hehe. Hopefully we will return some day for a longer tour. USA was a blast too. It was our first visit… but not last I hope. It was some kind of high school dream for all of us to play in the states I think. We lost our video camera over there in some very strange way… but it was worth it.
Why haven’t you toured more in Scandinavia?
That’s a good question. To be frank with you… I don’t know. But almost every time a see a tour plan they always skip Norway! That’s a bit Fucked up I think. So maybe that’s just how the story goes. We would of course love to play in Norway. So all of you… let’s make it happen! Ask your local club to book the best Swedish metal act today!
You are going to do a European tour this fall, are you going to play anything in Scandinavia? And are you going to do more live shows after that tour do you think?
We will try to play as much as possible and we really hope that Scandinavian shows will be booked for us. Also the rest of the world…
How are you going to solve the keyboard play in a live situation?
We have the keys on tape. Owe has always played with klick track in his ear monitors, this is something that makes it possible to use keys on tape. We have had this solution since Matthias got out of the band. It works out just fine.
Where in the world is Nocturnal Rites biggest at the moment?
I would say Japan… at least for now.
Of all the albums you have done which one is your personal favorite?
I never listen to my own CDS. You can always hear things that you wish you had done different… and that sucks. And the latest CD is always the best because you’re not tired of the songs. I can’t give you an answer on this one… sorry.
Give me three reasons why we should buy 8th SIN?
1. We have our own unique sound to show! It’s important to have your own identity.
2. It’s a strong album with high quality metal at it’s best.
3. You will do yourself a favor if you buy it!
Do you think you’re going to continue walking down the more melodic metal path on the next album?
It’s hard to say. If you compare “Sacred talisman” to “Afterlife”, it’s a big difference. And those records were released after each other. We will always have melody in our music but the question is if we will try to use less keys… or harder vocal lines… or riffs. We just don’t know at this point. We have to wait until we’re in writing mood again and see what we feel for.
What are the plans for Nocturnal Rites during the rest of 2007?
We have some shows booked in Sweden together with our friends FREEDOM CALL in September. Also some separate gigs here in Sweden without FREEDOM CALL as opener are booked. Later in Nov. we will hit the European roads for a co-headlining tour together with THUNDER STONE. We’ll also visit Japan for a gig at Loudpark festival, So we have some things to take care of this fall…
Well, that’s all for me, thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions and good luck with everything in the future. Are there anything you’d like to say to the fans and readers?
Just buy the album and come and visit us when we visit your city! Remember to check out our web site at: www.nocturnalrites.com!