Interview by Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Frontiers Records for the promo pictures
Thanks to Stefan at Atenzia records for the help with the interview
Promo pictures taken by Thomas Trane
Evil Masquerade are a Danish act that recently have released their second album THEATRICAL MADNESS, for about a year ago came their debut album so the guys have worked pretty fast in order to get the new album out in the stores. If you?re interested in the band you can check out the interview I did with Henrik Flyman right after the debut album came out. This time it?s once again Henrik Flyman?s turn to answer my questions.
Your debut album from last year, WELCOME TO THE SHOW, got some great reviews world wide, do you have any idea how much the album have sold so far?
Not really. The only thing I have heard is that it has done pretty well. And yeah, you?re right. We got a huge stack of great reviews and good sayings from all around the world. It?s also certain to say that we have picked up a lot of new fans along the way. So the debut gave us the perfect kick off.
Did you think that the album would get so successful in the world wide press and what does it feel like to release such a success?
I try not to expect too much. The only reason for why we chose to release the debut album was that we thought it was a good one. Then we can only hope that others agree. If they do, it?s great. If they don?t, their loss. But I would be a liar if I didn?t say that we are very happy and flattered. ?Welcome to the Show? was the perfect way to start a long career.
I know you have done two shows in Copenhagen, why haven?t you done more shows?
After the first album we didn?t think we had so much to offer in a live situation since we only had that one CD to pick songs from. We didn?t want to fill out the show with songs from our earlier independent careers either. That?s why we chose not to focus on live gigs last year. But now the situation is different. We have just recently released our second album and now we will do something about the live situation. I hope to see Evil Masquerade on stage after the summer. We are all eager to show the fans the live version of the band. The few shows we?ve done so far have been great experiences.
What does your fans think of the debut album? Have you received a lot of fan mail since the debut came out?
Most days, nowadays, when I come to the studio and check my email there are some new fan mails waiting. That?s a really good start of a new day and far more rewarding than good reviews. It?s also a clear sign that we?re doing something right, since so many people bother to write. It can be questions about what a certain song is about, how some instrumental parts in a specific song are played, something about my guitar, guest performances, or just some nice words in general. Totally flattering!
How do you comment the statement that Evil Masquerade are a super group?
Thanks a lot [laughter]. I?ve heard many saying that we are. What can I say? The only problem with it was in the beginning when some people got the impression that we were some kind of a project constellation instead of a real band. But that?s not an issue anymore. Now I?m pretty sure everyone has gotten the idea. You?ll see a lot more of the name Evil Masquerade on both CD?s and on stage in the future to come. I can easily see the band making music in 10 years from now.
For those who don?t know who you are, and discovered you on the second album, would you please tell a bit about the band and how it all began?
The short version is that I isolated myself a couple of years ago to get away from bad experiences in the music industry, only to focus on what really matters. The music itself! I had no plans of starting a new band or anything like that. I just wanted to compose for the joy of doing it. But as everyone understands, one thing led to another and a band was formed. This time I would however be a lot more careful not to repeat old mistakes. Bad contracts should remain unsigned and people involved should be that to 100%, or not be a part of the band at all. Of course we?re all allowed to have other musical commitments. But when the schedule gets tight, the choice has to be Evil Masquerade.
How does the co-operation with your label work? Do you think they do a good job regarding the promotion and stuff?
We actually work with more than one label. The co-operations are OK and they do a decent job. For the first time in many years I?m actually in a band with good distribution channels for our albums. That of course helps a lot when people want to lay their hands on another release from Evil Masquerade.
How many albums are you signed for at your label?
I wont go into details; if we?re both happy it can be quite a few. But that?s something I want to, and can, evaluate after each album.
The bio describes your music as symphonic metal and if you read on further down it also says you are a theatrical metal band, do you agree with that? How would you describe what kind of music you guys play?
I haven?t actually read our bio. I would describe our music as metal. Metal comes in many forms and different descriptions send different signals to different people. For some we are symphonic metal, for others we are progressive metal, some chose to call it fantasy metal and so on. The most common label we?ve gotten is theatrical metal, so I guess that?s the best one. I don?t mind what we?re called as long as it sends the right signals to the listener. The funniest thing I?ve heard anyone call us was some angry German person who claimed Evil Masquerade to be ?gay-ass-metal?. He really made our day! I guess it was a bit too melodic for him to understand.
Why were you so quick with releasing your second album? Are you going to keep the same pace with releasing albums in the future?
I don?t think it was that fast. We?re a working band and because of that I think it?s only reasonable to release one album every year. Since Evil Masquerade gets 100% from people involved, this is the perfect release plan for us. The only deadline we have is our own satisfaction. But we?re willing to work hard for it and therefore we can probably keep up the high pace.
Are there any current plans on when the third album might be out?
I?m in my studio most of the time composing and recording pre productions for Evil Masquerade. As long as everything goes as it usually does, you can expect the next album about the same time next year. I?ve actually written a lot of material already and it?s totally kick ass. But more about that a bit later on.
How long did it take to write your new album THEATRICAL MADNESS? And why the title THEATRICAL MADNESS?
It?s a bit hard to say how long it took since I write constantly. I have a pretty well filled archive nowadays and I work actively to keep it so. This means that some ideas for an album can be a bit older and some are brand new. That?s why I can?t give you a precise answer. But I started actively to work with the new album as soon as the last was mixed and mastered. At that point there?s nothing more to be done in an artistic way for an album and therefore it?s time to move on. The title ?Theatrical Madness? was actually a friend?s idea. I asked him what he thought our second album should be titled and he came up with the name after a few seconds. I thought that had to be a good sign, so I spend the night in the studio and the next morning I?d written the song. At that point I was sure it was the right title for our album.
Who has written the lyrics and are the lyrics about anything special?
I wrote the lyrics. It?s basically about selling your soul to the Devil to achieve what you want. People around you only see the good things with success and are totally unaware of what haunts you late at night.
You have put music to the song ?Witches Chant? which is taken from Macbeth and written by Shakespeare, why have you chosen to feature that song on the album?
When I read that particular part of Macbeth, I was immediately sure that I had to set it to music and make it a part of our album. An album called ?Theatrical Madness? wouldn?t be complete without that song. And in time the album came to have kind of a light Shakespeare theme over it. Just look at the cover [laughter]. The famous Hamlet pose with the skull and everything.
Why have you chosen to produce the album once again?
My counter question would be why not? I?m the one with the best view over what I want to achieve with the songs. It?s not necessarily so that I?m the best producer in the whole wide world, but I?m certainly the most devoted one when it comes to Evil Masquerade, and therefore the best choice for our band.
Steen Mogensen mixed the debut but this album was mixed by Tommy Hansen, why did you switch person this time?
Steen did a fine job but we wanted to try something new this time. I?ve worked indirectly with Tommy before through Wuthering Heights. I?ve been recording guitars, flute, violin, bagpipe and banjo for them in my studio. And Tommy has taken care of the rest in his studio. I thought it would be interesting to let him mix some of my own productions to see how it turned out. And now looking back, I think it was a wise decision.
What?s the difference between those two guys in the mixing department I mean?
They?re both good, but I would say that Steen is more old school than Tommy. Tommy has been doing this for more than 25 years by now and his list of qualifications is longer than most people probably imagine. I?m happy to have been working with both of them and I?m sure our paths will cross again. Very nice and talented people!
In what areas are the album released today? Do you have any dates on when it?s going to come out in Asia and the States?
It is released worldwide. Not with separate labels in every continent, but it?s no problem getting our album anywhere. The release date was April 21st so it?s still pretty fresh.
Just like before you have let a bunch of keyboard player guest appear on this album. They are Richard Andersson, Andr? Andersen and the newcomer Mikkel Jensen, who is Mikkel and when are you going to feature a permanent keyboard player?
Mikkel started out as a special guest on ?Theatrical Madness? but he has now advanced to be a permanent member of the band. He was on stage on our last gig and will continue to be henceforth. He lives in Copenhagen like the rest of us and is a great addition to the band. Both on a musical and personal level.
The bio states ?With THEATRICAL MADNESS Evil Masquerade proves that they are here to stay and has a lot to offer?, how do you comment that?
It?s totally right! I guess their point was that the doubts whether we are some kind of a project or a real band are gone. I also think it refers to that we?ve broaden musically and that it has opened more doors for us in for the future. It?s a good sign that people around us have realized that we are here to stay instead of being just another of those bands coming today and going tomorrow.
Are there any plans on going out on tour now that the album are out in the stores?
If we get the chance of an actual tour we wont doubt one second to do it. But I think what?s most realistic to happen next is that we?re going to do as many separate gigs as possible on this album. Right now we?re in the middle of rehearsals and within soon we?re ready to take the masquerade on stage.
Have you read any reviews of this album? If so what in general does the media think of it?
It?s pretty much like the last time with lots of praise from all around the world. We?re extremely happy for the warm welcoming we receive once again. It also promises a lot for the future because you haven?t seen our limit by far.
Was it a conscious move to narrow down the neo-classical influences and bring in more heavy metal in the music?
Yes. I didn?t want us to be labeled as a neo classical band, because that would restrict us musically in a way that I didn?t want us to be. We still have such elements present but with a little less focus this time. I think this resulted in a more varied album that has now given us a better foundation to continue to build upon in for future albums.
Do you think that you are going to produce your next album as well or are you going to hire another producer?
I?m going to do the next one as well.
Which studio have you used to record the album in this time?
Everything was recorded in my own studio Digital Bitch, with the exception for drums that were recorded in Jailhouse Studios where we also mixed the album.
What do you think are the main difference between being produced by a member and a hired producer?
It all depends on the band, the labels, economy and knowledge. In our case it wouldn?t be such a good idea with a hired producer since no one would spend as much time on the arrangements, expressions and minor details as I do. What we perhaps could gain in a more experienced producer, we would probably lose in not having the time and flexibility. Further more I think I?m the one with the best view over the whole production. Instead of explaining that for someone else I think it?s much more creative just do to it.
Finally, is there anything you would like to say to the readers of metal-rules.com?
If you haven?t got our latest album ?Theatrical Madness?? SHAME ON YOU!!! Go and get it right away. We hope to see you somewhere in the audience within soon.
Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions.
More info about the band: www.evilmasquerade.com