Interviewed by Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Stefan at Zink Music for setting up this interview
Thanks to Frontiers Records for providing the promo pictures of the band
The very well known Swedish melodic hard rock act Talisman has currently released the brilliant new album 7. I got in touch with the bandleader and bass player Marcel Jacob to finally get my long awaited interview. Talisman has been around a really long time but has unfortunately not been too occupied with releasing albums, all that and a lot more did we talk about so read and enjoy…
First of all, when did you decide to start up Talisman again?
Start up again ???? When did we stop ? The only break we’ve really had was 1996-98, because of the label problems we had at the time.
When did the work on 7 began and how long did it take to write and record the album?
Mid October last year I started to write, in December there was demos good enough to track drums…the actual song writing process continued as we went along doing backing tracks. It was finalized, mixed and mastered in July. An excessive amount of time, especially for us, but JSS needed a lot of time because of his work with Boogie Knights.
Who produced the album and who has done the cover art-work?
It basically produced itself, everybody involved knows what to do and contributed beautifully to the whole thing. The artwork was done by Thomas Ewerhard from Germany based on ideas JSS and I discussed.
Why call the album 7? Was it only because it’s your seventh album maybe?
We had no better idea.Yes, it’s because of it being number 7, nothing deeper than that.
What are the lyrics about? Have you written about any special subject or topic?
A couple seems to be about people JSS doesn’t really like all that much…at least at the time of writing. A couple seem to be about his feelings after Soul Sirkus crashed…but in general I advice people to listen and think for themselves what meanings they discern from the stuff, I don’t think it’s really necessary to be explicit in these matters…
Did you experience any pressure from your label on releasing an album at this moment?
Not at all, I was actually asking in the first place to do something else since JSS was doing Soul Sirkus, but as Frontiers and I were discussing, Neal decided to call it a day…
7 has been out in the stores for a little while now, have you read any reviews of it? And have you had any feedback from the fans?
Not from the fans really, not so much, a few reviews, pretty much everyone agrees it’s a good album…that’s fine by me ha,ha !
It was released in Europe at the end of October but when is it due to be released in USA and Asia?
I wouldn’t presume to know…
What do you think of 7? In the bio you describe that it might be your best album ever but don’t you feel that with every album you last laid you hand on?
That statement was pretty much induced by the label…it seems that people usually think that the last effort is “the best”, but I honestly only think of it as another album, another step forward or so…
You were supposed to play at United Forces Of Rock Festival this year in Germany but you cancelled, why?
JSS got the gig with Journey and it conflicted time wise with the tour Talisman had lined up.
Have you played the new songs in a live situation yet? And can we expect to see Talisman out on the roads now that the album is out?
No we have not, and yes, we are looking at doing dates in Spain, Italy, Greece, Belgium, possibly some more places, in April…
Do you have any favorite tracks on the album? If so which ones and why?
I’m particular to “Troubled Water”, it turned out pretty cool…and “the 1 I’m living 4” is ok for a song in a major key…
Do you think that Talisman will get their big break with this new album?
I have noooo expectations, I never had, but I am too jaded to start now…
What’s the best thing with being signed to Frontiers Records?
Dear me what a question ha,ha…I don’t know really…the great Christmas gifts they send me every year ???
I think that through the years you have developed your own Talisman-sound and you can instantly hear that it’s you. How do you think the band has developed through the years and how would like to describe what kind of music you play?
The only development was between the 1st and the second album, when we were turning towards different grooves, different kinds of songs, Genesis to me is kind of in between where you have some fluff but also the funk…I don’t really know how to categorize what we do, to me it’s just rock’n’roll…
It was three years since you last released an studio album, CATS AND DOGS, do we have to wait three more years before we can find a follow up to 7?
Probably…we’ll see how JSS’s Journey adventure progresses…
When you and singer Jeff Scott Soto aren’t involved with Talisman do still keep in touch with each other?
Yes we do, we rap about everything…
Do you see any difficulties with Soto being a foreign singer when the rest of the band is all Swedish?
I never noticed any difficulties…
Soto is out with Journey and have his own solo career, Borger is playing with his old band Treat and Åkesson with Arch Enemy, do you think this is the right time to release a Talisman album when a few of the band members are out on tour with other acts?
It’s not my decision, but I imagine it’s probably better that everybody is busy and generating interest in and promoting mutual projects rather than not…
When you first started Talisman 15 years ago, could ever imagine that the band would still be alive so many years later?
No. I always think of every album as the last. Time could be up any moment…
If you look back on your other six albums, which one are you most satisfied with? And are you happy with what you have achieved with the band so far?
Double questions, I’m always wondering which one to answer 1st…I like Humanimal the best, second is probably Genesis, 3rd Life, 7, Cat’s&dogs, Truth, the 1st. But ranking them like this is very unsatisfying. I am totally happy with what we’ve recorded in so far as it’s all the best we could manage at every given time, and the guys have all been performing excellently over the years. We could have had better luck with getting recognition, with sales, but what the hell; it’s what it is…
Do you know which one of the album that has the best selling points?
Not really, not exactly, I suspect it’s the 1st with Humanimal a close second.
Why have you released only 7 albums in 15 years?
??? Well, there’s also 3 live albums and a DVD…for JSS and me there’s 2 Human Clay albums+ the one Humanimal the project done with Pontus Norgren…not to mention a lot of outside projects we’ve been involved with…believe you me, no one’s sitting still too long !!!
Why did you call the band Talisman in the first place, where does that name comes from?
1989, I was looking for something with positive connotations, that didn’t have anything to do with death, violence, or macho bullshit…a good luck charm seemed to fit… I had read the book by King&Straub some years earlier, but I only thought of it after choosing the name…I can no longer recall exactly how or why it appeared in my head…just like the title Humanimal, it just came to me…some time ago I did a web search on that name and made some startling discoveries, I thought I was original, but it seems it’s not the case …of course WWW wasn’t available back then…
GMR released your back catalogue in 2004, are the first releases of all the albums out of print today?
I would imagine so.
Why did you turn to GMR to release all of your older CD’s and how is it to work with them?
I knew them from before, they did a good job with Candlemass…it works fine.
Talisman have released 2 compilations and 3 live albums, is that motivated when you only have released quite a few studio albums?
Well…the first live album we had to do as part of a package deal with then japanese label Xero which included going to Japan to do live shows – it was not the best of ideas to do it and the circumstances were not optimal, which is why I named I the way I did…the second one from SRF was probably justified, don’t you think? The 3rd is quite doubtful seeing as it is 97% the same stuff as the DVD, except the Ozzy cover…the compilations, those were the labels ideas, I had nothing to do with those…
What are your feelings today towards the debut TALISMAN from 1990?
I don’t like it much, the production is not to my taste. I never listen to it.
Talisman celebrated their 15th birthday last year with releasing a double live CD and DVD, what can you tell us about that?
It was a massive project, to get everything together… I wrote a lot about it on the website…
The rest of the members are busy with other projects, Soto with Soul SirkUS and now Journey, you and Borger with Last Autumns Dream and Åkesson with both Krux and Arch Enemy, how do you find the time to gather and focus on Talisman?
We have a magic time-making machine…I can recommend having one! Obviously we do find the time, I suppose it’s because we enjoy it, we like doing things where we are associated with each other…
How come Talisman is so restricted with touring?
We just haven’t been able to get management, get the business side of things in order really…
A few other members have come and gone in the band, when was this current line-up confirmed as a steady one?
It was JSS and I since the 1st album…couldn’t do it without him, even though I had to try for a while…Jamie’s been “in” since he joined in 1993…our guitar players are a little different, Talisman can survive regardless who plays the guitar, Fredrik or Pontus have been equally fine for the job in my opinion…
When I interviewed Soto a while ago he said “Talisman for Marcel Jacob and me is like Kiss for Gene and Paul, it’ll always be home and we’ll always have this band active in someway”, what do you think of that statement, do you feel the same way?
I like his references…like the one where he calls “Truth” our “Diver Down” ha,ha…yes, I am with him on this…
You are one of the best bass player in Sweden today and have appeared on numerous of different productions, what have been the most enjoyable for you as a musician to participate in?
I don’t record anything I don’t like…I can’t play if I don’t feel enthusiastic about doing it…in general I’m the most comfortable when I record my own stuff though, basically it’s because I have total freedom about sounds etc…
Do you think Talisman is going to be active 15 years from now?
I don’t think about things 15 days from now…
Where in the world do you think Talisman have the biggest fanbase?
I don’t know, I don’t take an interest in train time tables or Guinness World Records either.
When was the last time you did a proper tour with the band?
That would be 2003, of course.
Which album are you going to feature on next?
I suppose that’s LAD 4 which is just now finished.
Give me three reasons why we should buy 7?
It’s good sounding, it’s got great songs, and the picture of me will give you something to dream about!
What are the plans for Talisman during the rest of the year and what is going too happen under 2007? What are the plans for Marcel Jacob during next year?
Nothing, most likely dates in April, and maybe a new Humanimal album.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my questions, is there anything you’d like to say to the fans out there?
Be good to your selves!!!!
Read the CD reviews of the Talismans albums here
Read the CD reviews of Jeff Scott Soto work here
More info about the band