Interviewed by Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Arne at Lifeforce Records for setting up this interview
Thanks to Lifeforce Records for the promo pictures of the new line-up of the band
Thanks to Ulrika Henriksson for the transcription
I hooked up with bandleader and master maniac Marios of the Swedish-Greek act Nightrage who just released their third album. The band has gone through a few member changes as well as label changes and on the new album it’s once again a new line-up.
Hi Marios, it’s good to talk to you again… how are you? The last time we spoke was in 2005 when your second album had just been released…
Hi there yes I remember the chat that we had. Now we have a new album called A NEW DISEASE IS BORN, it’s already released in Europe/Japan and Europe.
Let’s start off with talking about your previous album DESCENT INTO CHAOS which got great reviews, was that expected?
After we released the first album SWEET VENGEANCE we had really positive feedback and of course we were expecting that kind of response For DESCENT INTO CHAOS since we worked so hard to make the best possible songs. I think we are trying every time to write the best possible quality music that we can, and we want to give to our fans the best possible songs. It seems that we have positive feedback on the new album too.
When we last spoke you said that the line up was permanent but that wasn’t the case.Was the departure of Gus G and Tomas Lindberg something you expected to happen?
I’m the last person on earth that wants NR to change lineups but it seems that we are not so lucky on that matter. Of course I would want Tomas and Gus stayed in the band because everything was so cool playing with them in NR. But in a way I knew that their departure was only a matter of time and it would happened because they were committed in other bands. I’m the soul and heart in NR and the one that I wrote the music and the lyrics mostly so NR is definitely my baby.
Fotis later also left the band and now you are the only remaining original member in Nightrage, only Henrik from the second album is left. How did it feel to be left without members?
Yeah that actually feels ok because I know how to handle NR and keep moving on with the band. I spend so much time and work on this band and I always have high expectations from my members and when someone cant fill up those he is not good anymore for the band. NR is my life and I don’t want to see the band destroyed from the actions of an amateur. NR is an idea that I have sacrifice so much about it, so I’m very demanding. NR will carry on matter what.
Did you try on many people before you decided to go with this current line up?
Not so many actually we have a lot of musicians here in Sweden so it’s kind of easy to find good and ready musicians.
What’s the difference between Tomas and Jimmie vocal wise?
I think that Tomas voice is really unique and he had create a style that a lot of people had followed so compared to Jimmie voice I think that Jimmie is younger and he has good quality in his voice. Also the main difference is that Jimmie likes to sing clean and bombastic vocals and Tomas concentrate to make killer screams.
According to the bio you’re two guitarists in you and Constantine, who’s he and why is he not on the new album?
He came in the band after the recording of the new album so there was no time for him to be on the album. He is a killer guitarist and he is willing to give a lot in the band. I’m really happy to find the right replacement of Gus.
You did a tour with Vader and one tour with Bolt Thrower through Europe last year, how was that? And how did it feel to finally get out on the road with Nightrage?
That was really awesome to be on the road with the band, it was one of the things that I have worked mostly and I’m really happy that we managed to make that happened. We gain a lot of new fans and we have done great shows for large amounts of fans especially the Bolt Thrower tour was a complete success with mostly sold out shows and the reaction was overwhelming. The Vader tour was also cool and we had the chance to make shows in Scandinavian territories.
Are your two previous albums still available in stores today?
Yes they still are and they did really well sales wise so far.
Your new album is called A NEW DISEASE IS BORN, what can you tell us about that?
I’m really pleased with the new album I really like the new songs and also the overall sound of the album. I did some compromise and let some of the other guys put their own ideas as well in the music lyrics and that’s because I wanted us to be a real band that everybody contributed in the song-writing. That made some of the songs sound a bit modern but always in the format of the NR sound. I really like Death like Silence, Encircle, Surge of Pity, and Scathing, also the Instrumental track “A new disease is born” is a really cool song that I played with my 12 string acoustic guitar. I wanted to have a really clear and heavy sound that you could listen to all the instruments with clarity, and also I wanted to have really melodic hooks combined with aggressive riffing. I think that we achieved that on the album and we gave all our energy to have the best possible performances.
You have always written the main part of the material, is it so still?
You know I’m the main force and the leader in this band and also I did all the work “music-lyrics” on the previous albums as well, with some help of course from the other guys, It’s a pity that a lot of people don’t know about it and some people they even think that NR is a band of Tomas he he he he. This is a Mario’s band for sure. For me it wasn’t difficult at all to make the album number 3, I just did that album like the previous ones putting all my energy and time into the band. I was sitting for 22 days in the studio with Jacob Hansen making this album a reality while the other guys just came, wrote and left. And I’m always doing that you know I’m a perfectionist and I want things to be perfect that’s why I spend so much time in the studio and I care so much at doing the best album I can. As long as I have good people that love the band and want to do this seriously NR will never ever face any problem. I love this band and I have sacrificed so much to be able to have it alive, that fire will never stop and I’m willing to do everything and make NR a really big band.
What are the lyrics about this time?
My lyrics on the new album are influenced from the darker side of the human soul and I get influenced of how I see the world and sometimes I get inspired to write from my personal experiences in life. I always try to write in this honest way and I don’t want to preach about anything just to be able to say things that otherwise I could not. I write in a poetic way heavily influenced from the master of Macabre Edgar Allan Poe he was so great and only by reading his tales and poems I got so inspired to write. He made me to be a writer because before the Sweet Vengeance album never attempted to write, so it was a first time for me.
What have you been up to in between the new album and the last one as it took you 1.5 years to release this one…
Well we have been touring and also try to write new songs for the new album.
Are you happy with the outcome of the album or is there anything you’d like to have done in a different way?
Yeah I’m Satisfied of how the new album sounds I still think that we didn’t loose any of the previous power that we had it just that we add some new cool things in the music like some clean vocals here and there, it s a good contrast and it gives more variation in the music.
You have also switched studios, now you have used Hansen Studio in Denmark, how come? And how long did it take to record the album?
Jacob he is awesome I had the best of my life working with him, he is so good and also calm and nice guy that is easy to get along with. He is a superb musician and producer and I knew about Jacob even from some years ago and also recently he did some amazing work with bands like Fear my thoughts, Raunchy, Mercenary and Communic. After Fredman was so busy and he didn’t show any real interest at having us in his studio, I started more and more to think about Jacob so that’s how we turned out to work with him, and I can tell you one thing that we are going to make more albums in there, I was so satisfied from the whole thing and I’m looking forward to get back there and record more albums. Jacob helped us on a lot of clean vocals producing and also singing some backing harmonies, he also helped me and our drummer to utilize some really cool ideas on the music, he played some nice keys as well and also produce, mix and mastered the whole album, he even play a nice guitar lead in Reconcile.
It took us 22 days to fix the album together and we worked night and day making the best sound possible.
Jacob Hansen produced the album. How come you chose to work with him and what do you think of his earlier work with other acts?
I knew about Jacob from his previous works with breaking silence and also when he had his own record label Serious Entertainment, recently he has done some really killer albums and I knew that he would be the perfect guy for the job.
What’s the main difference between working with Fredrik Nordström, Patrik J Sten and now Jacob Hansen?
I guess it’s the way they work, I liked to work with Fred and Patrik they are really professional and I’m pleased of the things we have accomplished. On the other hand Jacob is more laidback and he never gives any pressure to the musicians that he is working with.
What did you think of Denmark compared with Gothenburg?
I liked Denmark a lot and it was really cool to go away from Gothenburg, the studio was located in the middle of nowhere so the only thing that we were doing was to be there and work all the time. I had also some time to drive a lot in Denmark and explore some cities recently and I really adore the countryside.
All musicians think that their latest album is the best, are you also of that opinion?
I think that the latest album is really good but I have a sense that the best album will be always the next one for Nightrage. I liked all the albums that we did so far and we are always trying to make the best possible songs every time that we are doing a new album. I think that with the new album we have incorporate some cool stuff in music but we kept the heaviness and the intensity there, so that is a good balance.
I think that A NEW DISEASE IS BORN feels a little more melodic death/ heavy metal than previous ones, what do you think? is it so?
It’s because of the clean vocals that you get that sort of feeling and also the way the albums in general sounds, I think that we have that characteristic NR sound on the album combined with some cool new ideas. I really liked the heavy sound that Jacob gave us on the album and also the way he mixes it and mastered it.
I also think that many of the songs feel similar to how In Flames sounds today with both growling and clean vocals. It feels like Nightrage has walked into a slightly different musical path, what do you think?
I don’t like the sound of inflames at all and we never tried to imitate their sound. I don’t think that they have songs like “death like silence” and “surge of pity”, and I don’t really can see any comparison to them. I think the NR influences is from much older bands like Iron maiden and Metallica.
You have also signed on for a new label in Lifeforce Records, when you and Century Media said goodbye were there many labels in line to sign you?
We had some interest from other labels as well but nothing concrete, Lifeforce they were really serious to sign us after we just got out from Century media.
Do you see any problems in that Lifeforce is a smaller label compared to Century Media?
We are very satisfied with Lifeforce records so far they are promoting the band really well and they believe in Nightrage. We are a first priority on them and we are happy to join the Lifeforce family. I think that Lifeforce is growing all the time and they are going to be leaders in what they are doing in some years the people that working on the label are very passionate and we are fortunate to find such a good team.
Are you going to tour more on this album? I know you’re heading out on the road with Mnemic during May, are you exited?
Yes we are on the road with them and Slow motion apocalypse and we have such a really good time with them. We are playing in Munich tonight and the tour is going better and better every night, all the people on the tour bus are so nice and we have the best of time playing on the tour. We are going also to play in Summer Breeze festival and Metal healing festival in Greece, we are looking forward to make more shows and tours promoting the new album.
With thought of the large amount of Swedes in the band, do you all talk Swedish between you? And do you still live in Sweden?
We are talking English just to avoid misunderstandings, actually I can speak some Swedish and I still live in Gothenburg.
When can the fans expect a fourth Nightrage album out in the stores?
The way I see it we are going to return with the best NR album of all time, I want to make the best songs possible and put NR on the map. I and the new guitarist Constantine we are going to work really hard to make awesome songs. NR is like a having a lot of lives no matter what happens we are always come back with a better album.
Finally, I have to thank you for taking the time to once again answering my questions and do you have any final words of wisdom for the fans and readers?
Thanks a lot for the chance having an interview with your mag; I really hope that your readers will adore our new album.
HAIL TO ALL OUR FANS, GUYS FOLLOW YOUR HEART AND DON’T LET ANYBODY CONTROLLING YOUR LIVES!
// Marios and NR.
Read the cd reviews with the band here