Cloudscape Vocalist Mike Andersson

December 22nd, 2008
by Anders Sandvall

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GLOBAL DRAMA is the title of the brilliant new Cloudscape album. This is the bands third album so far and it is their best. If you are into Cloudscape then here comes an update on what has happened since myself and lead singer Mike Andersson last talked.

 

Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall


Live pics by: Anders Sandvall

Promo pics provided by Cloudscapes website

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Hi Mike, Nice to talk to you again, what’s up?

Hi Anders, nice to meet you again.

Well, the end of 2008 has been quite calm when it comes to live gigs and stuff but, we are working out 2009 so, there will be a few festivals gigs coming up around 2009 to be announced later on + a few club gigs as well. Except for that we are writing new music, drinking Swedish “glögg” (warm wine with herbs that Swedes always drinks around Christmas time) and preparing for Christmas and New Years Eve etc…

I’m eager to start so let’s begin talk about Cloudscape’s new album GLOBAL DRAMA which was released earlier this year. How long did it take to write the album?

Well, I remember I started to write the first song already in early 2006 during the mixing of our second album (Crimson skies) and that song was “Paid In Blood”. From then on we wrote a great deal of songs and the last one we wrote that ended up on the album was “Darkest Legacy” which I think was composed just 2 months before entering the recording studio in September 2007.

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Were there many songs that didn’t make it on to the final album?

I think we wrote about 20 – 22 songs so, 12 songs ended up on the album.

Did you and the guys have a clear vision on what you wanted the music to sound like on the new album?

Yes. We wanted to create a more varied album this time. We wanted to show a more aggressive side of Cloudscape but, also a more atmospheric and progressive side. The music still sounds Cloudscape but, more of everything so to speak and all songs are more thought-out in order to create a certain “feel” for the whole album.

You did the mixing and the mastering in Roastinghouse Recording Studio in Malmoe Sweden, how long did that take and who did the mixing and mastering?

The mixing and mastering process took around 1 month. Our engineer and producer was Pontus Lindmark so, he started mixing the album in early November. GLOBAL DRAMA was completely finished in early December.

Aren’t you curious to record in any other studio beside Roastinghouse Studio?

Hehehe, well, of course that would´ve been fun and interesting but, on the other hand we really like the Roastinghouse studio and the atmosphere there so, as we speak there are no plans changing recording studio. But, we might try a different producer next time just to see what direction our music would take with someone else bossing the final results. Who knows…?

You recorded the album at the end of 2007, why did it take so long to release it?

Well, the contract with our previous record label (Metal Heaven) was done so to speak so, either we could re-new it or change label so, we decided to try a different label instead. We are satisfied with Metal Heaven but, sometimes you need to try different paths so to speak. New papers had to be negotiated and finding a good label so, after a few proposals from different record labels we decided to sign for “Goldencore/Roastinghouse Records”. These things take time so, that’s the reason for the “delay” of releasing Global Drama.

The album title, the song titles and the cover of the album were kept a secret for a long time. Why were you so careful with not revealing anything about the album?

We wanted to keep as much as possible a secret for a few reasons. First of all it was because we wanted to keep our fans curious. Secondly it was basically because of the change of labels. We wanted to create some sort of buzz for GLOBAL DRAMA so, therefore our decision not to reveal too much about Global Drama before the release. 

Who writes the music and the lyrics in the band?

The music is written by me and Bjorn Eliasson. The lyrics are basically written by all of us but, mostly Roger Landin (Drums) I think.

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What are the lyrics about on GLOBAL DRAMA?

The lyrics deals with everything from things people can relate to things in a more science fiction mode etc etc.

Where does the title GLOBAL DRAMA come from?

Well, I came up with a few suggestions but, all of us liked Global Drama most. First of all the album title fitted the songs and lyrics on the album. All songs and lyrics are dramatic in one way or another. The music is varied and dramatic no matter if the song is aggressive or not. And of course we thought about the world today….global warming, children abuse, wars, pollution etc…We wrapped up a lot of things when deciding GLOBAL DRAMA to be the album title but, firstly the facts of the songs which I mentioned.

When I first listened to the album I was struck by that you have tried on a little different musical approach this time. It feels like you have done things a little different from before, what do you think is most different with GLOBAL DRAMA compared to your previous album music-wise?

The dynamics and variations is the biggest difference. Our musical style is still there but, there are more of all directions musically. Some songs are more straight forward in Your Face Metal while others are softer, more atmospheric and progressive. All songs are more thought-out in order to create a good feel to the whole album. On our previous albums we just wrote songs without thinking much of dynamics, tempo changes and stuff but, this time each song is like a piece of the “global drama” puzzle so to speak. Each song on Global Drama was a mental journey for me musically.

You and guitarist Eliasson have your own studios. Where are the studios located and do you do any Cloudscape work in them?

Our home studios are located in our homes. The only things we record for the albums in our home studios are the keyboards and guitar solos. But, we record demos and stuff when we write our songs in our home studios.

Matthias Norén has done the cover art-work, what do you think of the final cover?

A*W*E*S*O*M*E!!!!! He is KING of art, period! Once again he created an artwork completely fitting the music and atmosphere on the album!! He is a genius and true artist.

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Have you read any reviews of GLOBAL DRAMA? What have the critics to say about it?

Most critics I’ve read have been VERY positive about Global Drama and thinks it’s our best album so far and some mags and webzines even predicts the album to be a contender of “best metal album 2008” which is very honorable. But, of course I have found a few more average reviews as well but, well, most of the reviews I’ve read are really awesome and encouraging.

Do you have any special favorite songs on the album? If so which ones?

All songs are like children to me which means I can’t choose one to be better than the other one. But, depending on my mood there are some songs this week I prefer listening to while next week will probably be different songs. This week I’d probably listen to “One silent moment”, “Static” and “Ritual Of The Blade” for instance.

Are you happy with the outcome of the disc?

YES!! Absolutely in all kinds of ways. I really think we achieved our goals with this disc. We’ll see what happens next but, Global Drama turned out to be everything we hoped for.

You held a release party in Helsingborg at the end of August where you performed the new songs on stage, was it fun?

Yes it was. That venue (The Tivoli) is like our home. We had many guests invited (both countrymen and foreign friends). It was a lively party and it was GREAT FUN. I hope you had a great time as well.

You also showed the new video to the song “Cloak And Daggers” at the party. Was it fun to record a video? What can you tell us about the video?

It’s always fun filming videos but, it’s also a bizarre feeling considering you don’t play your instrument “for real”.  The Cloak & Daggers video turned out really cool and beautiful I think but, still with a horrifying touch.

How would you like to describe the music on GLOBAL DRAMA? Do you think that Cloudscape have gone through any musical changes and developments since the last album?

Musically there are lots of differences but, I still claim we play “melodic metal with progressive touches”.

I think you have moved into a more aggressive melodic heavy metal music style this time but still have the progressive parts, you have also used more keyboards and samples, was it a natural choice to incorporate more keyboards and so into the music now?

Well, like I said, we wanted to create a more varied album style wise and dynamically. I don’t think there are more keyboards than on our previous albums but, on the softer songs the keyboards shines through more I guess.  But, on the more aggressive songs there are definitely less keyboards than before.

Do you have any plans on taking in a steady keyboard player into the band?

Nope. We have talked about it from time to time but, we do not use keyboards as a solo instrument. We use it to create a nice atmosphere to our songs in a more mechanical way. The five of us in Cloudscape go years back as friends and I don’t think it would be fair to invite a sixth member in the band. It would take YEARS for him/her to grow in to the mental state of mind in Cloudscape hahahahahaha.

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You have once again worked with producer Pontus Lindmark, what’s it like to work with him and what’s his strongest feature as producer?

He is a great person, engineer and producer. He has so many cool ideas and thoughts when recording us and mixing. He is like an artist himself so, well, he is AWESOME if you ask us. One of a kind maybe…

He really brings out the best of you as a musician and encourages you.

Is GLOBAL DRAMA available in a limited edition as well?

No. It’s released all over Europe, the U.S and Canada. We are waiting for details for the Japanese market and there are interesting things coming up there for Cloudscape but, nothing that I can reveal just yet.

What’s the bonus feature on the Japanese version of the disc?

Global Drama ain’t released in Japan yet but, hopefully soon…

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Label

Your previous albums was released by Metal Heaven but now you are signed to Golden Core Records/ZYX Music. Why did you change labels?

The contract with Metal Heaven went out so, we decided to try another label. Therefore after several proposals from different labels we decided to accept the offer from Goldencore (ZYX)/Roastinghouse records.

What label are you on, because I have also listen Universal Music as well as Roastinghouse Records listen in my bio?

Goldencore / Roastinghouse records handle the European territory and Nightmare Records handles the U.S and Canadian territories. Universal Music distributes us in Scandinavia and ZYX Music distributes us in the rest of Europe.

Is it possible to buy your previous albums today? With the thought that the albums is going fast out of print to day.

I’m very sad to say that our debut album is out of print and can only be found in stores that might have it in stock….or eBay. Crimson Skies is still availably thou….I think. We are in most ways happy with the collaboration with our previous label but, when it comes to long-term planning I think they fail considering they don’t have the ambition to re-print our debut album. But, we’ll see what happens.

Do you have any idea in how many copies all your albums have sold in?

I don’t know the sales for Global Drama yet but, our previous albums have sold around 5000 – 10000 copies worldwide.

Is GLOBAL DRAMA released world wide?

Not in Asia (yet). 

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Now and then

Did you play any new songs before the album was released, you performed at Bloodstock Open Air in England and at the Helsingborgs Festival as well, what did the fans think of the new songs then?

Our new songs have been received well from our audiences. We played Cloak & Daggers at the Helsingborg Festival (1 month before the release). At Bloodstock we opened with Mind Diary and also played Darkest Legacy so, the crowd looked happy when we played them. We actually sold the Global Drama album at Bloodstock which was 4 days before the actual release date. I think we sold all copies we brought with us.

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You are signed to the booking agency Sweden Metal Music Entertainment, what’s it like to work with them?

Well, I don’t wanna complain or bullshit anyone but, they haven’t got any gigs for us yet. The gigs we have done are booked by ourselves or organizers that have contacted us. We’ll see what happens. It’s a new booking agency so, maybe things will start to roll eventually.

And how is the co-operation with Roastinghouse Productions AB Management? Are you happy with the work they have put into the band so far?

Absolutely. They are doing a great job and we are really happy with them.

Why haven’t you played more shows this year only four? Do you think you will play more next year to support this new album?

We did 5 shows in 2008. We hope to tour, we hope to do more festivals but, it ain’t easy nowadays getting good gig opportunities. There are so many good bands out there to compete with. Nonetheless the reputation of Cloudscape being a great live band is growing and there are in fact a few really cool and big festivals the might book us in 2009. We will work hard for this because, Cloudscape wanna rock the world!! Please help us spread the word about Cloudscape in order for organizers to lift their eye-brows for Cloudscape.

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You were booked to the Monsters Of Malmoe which was a one day festival that was gonna be held in Malmoe in September, but everything was cancelled, why?

I really don’t know why actually. It was of course sad to be cancelled but, shit happens. It was a new festival so, maybe the organizer took “water above his head” when he planned the festival….I don’t know….the reasons for the festival cancelling was kind of blurry.

You got a great response on your last disc CRIMSON SKIES. What’s it like to read reviews, do you read every review of the band?

No, I don’t read all of them but, of course a few. Generally I think Global Drama has received the most awesome reviews but, frankly, all our albums have received good and great critics I’m happy to say. It’s always interesting reading reviews. Some of them that might turn out average can be very constructive that you can learn from while some is just written by a person that basically doesn’t listen to the style we play. Other reviews are top notch…

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Cloudscapes albums have also been released in Asia,. What do they think of the albums over there, and are there and plan of go there and tour or do promotion for the band?

There are no plans going to Asia yet. We have actually only released our debut in Asia (Marquee/Avalon). CRIMSON SKIES were never released over there. But, GLOBAL DRAMA might be released there soon…we’ll see. Like I said earlier, there are things going on there for Cloudscape that can’t be revealed just yet.

Do you have any plans on making it over to the States and Canada with this new album?

We really hope so. We get fan mails from U.S fans everyday praising Cloudscape so, demands are definitely there. So, we’ll see what 2009 brings.

Do you think that your big break through is gonna be with GLOBAL DRAMA?

I sure hope so, Hehehe. It is a good album and I hope that our fans and metal fans in general agree and check the album out. 

Where in the world do you have your biggest fanbase?

That’s hard to say. I know that our popularity is growing in the UK and the demands from USA are overwhelming. When it comes to Europe in general I think that our biggest fanbase is in Scandinavia but, I can be wrong.

Are the members active on the web? I know that both the band and the members have their own myspace site..

Yes, we are active, some of us a little more and some from time to time. But, the Cloudscape websites are run by other people. The members in Cloudscape only run their own myspace sites.

You have also got your own fan-site on myspace, what do you think of that and do you co-operate with that fan-site in regards of giving out album and tickets to the show etc?

We do not have much interference with the fansite. It is a good friend from the UK that asked me if it was ok to start that fansite so, of course it was. It’s cool that fans can interact in that site by sending pictures and do other things than what can be viewed and done if the official Cloudscape myspace site.

You have currently released your second promo video to the song “Darkest Legacy” what can you tell us about that video? Have any TV station pick up and play these promo videos yet.

The new video (Darkest Legacy) was filmed during August/September in Helsingborg (Sweden), Malmoe (Sweden) and Lofoten (Norway) and it is about vampires, muuuaaahahaha. Rainer Holmgren filmed it, directed, edited and produced the video. I don’t know if the “Darkest Legacy” video has been broadcasted on TV yet but, from what I know and heard the Cloak & Daggers video have been broadcasted in various TV stations.

Do you think that you will do a live DVD any time soon there was talk about this before?

Well, we really hope to be able filming a live DVD but, it all comes down to gig opportunities, timing and an interested record label to release the DVD so, we’ll see what happens. But, we do film a lot of bonus material in order to be prepared when/if the day comes when a possible live DVD becomes reality.

Are you gonna release this songs that you have make videos for as singles from the album?

I don’t think so.

Rainer Holmgren has always done all your videos, what makes him so special to work with?

His cool and abstract ideas. He has a cool surrealistic feel when he does videos so, that’s the reason for working with him. He is really great and good to work with….even though kind of bohemian, hahahaha.

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Do you think that the fans is gonna have to wait another 2 years before the follow up to GLOBAL DRAMA is gonna come out?

That’s too early to say but, we are already composing new songs so, who knows. But, if I shall take a wild guess I think our fourth album will be out sometime during 2010.

Have you experienced a larger interest for the band with the release of GLOBAL DRAMA?

Absolutely without doubt. There are of course always more to wish for but, we have definitely gained a larger number of fans since the release of GLOBAL DRAMA compared to our previous albums.

What do the members in the band do when they’re not working with Cloudscape?

We have day jobs I’m sad to say. Some of us have families as well.

Do you see any problems with that you all live in a small town like Helsingborg and not in Stockholm?

Not at all, why would there be a problem? Of course Stockholm is a bigger city but, nowadays it doesn’t really matter where you live as long as you have internet and good connections to the “world”. If you asked me this question like 15 years ago…well, then my answer would possibly be different.

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Are the members involved in any other acts besides Cloudscape?

It’s currently only me that is singing in a band besides Cloudscape and that band comes from Switzerland and is called “Silent Memorial”. They released their first album (Cosmic handball) in 1998 with Thomas Vikstrom (ex Therion, Brazen Abbot, and Stormwind), on vocals but, that album was only released in Asia so, it’s VERY RARE. I joined the band in late 2005 and recorded the vox for their second album called “Retrospective” in early 2006. They have been in contact with various labels but, have finally found a label that they feel is right to release “Retrospective” so, expect an early 2009 release of “Retrospective”. Their music is best described as progressive metal in the vein of Dream Theater, Savatage etc but, will probably appeal to fans of Cloudscape as well.

I have another side project coming up as well during 2009 but, it’s too early to reveal any deep dark secrets about that project right now;).

What are the plans for Cloudscape in 2009?

To write new songs, get as many gigs as possible organized and performed. That’s our main focus right now.

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Give the readers three reasons why they should run out and buy GLOBAL DRAMA?

1. Melodic metal with STRONG melodies, good variations and a top quality production!!

2. Lots of different moods which means you can always listen to GLOBAL DRAMA

3. The album cover RULES

I do think that GLOBAL DRAMA finally will take you out to the bigger stages in Europe and the world because I really think that it’s time for Cloudscape to have their big break through now. I think you are one of the top bands in the melodic progressive heavy metal genre, what do you think?

Thanks a lot for you kind words; we really hope you’re right. We’ll see what 2009 brings for Cloudscape but, I do know a few things we can’t announce yet that is going on. I never take anything for granted but, of course we hope that “something” will happen ;).

Finally, do you have any final words to say to the readers and to your fans?

Thanks a MILLION for all support, e-mails and comments at myspace.com. We really hope to meet you on tour in a city near you during 2009. For the metalheads that still haven’t checked out Cloudscape then, please do it…begin with buying the new CD (Global Drama). Don’t hesitate to request Cloudscape for the summer festivals in 2009 and let organizers know that demands for Cloudscape are strong ;).

Thanks a lot for once again taking the time to answer my questions. I wish you all the luck in the future and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the album is gonna sell as many copies as possible so you can do more touring. Looking forward to see you in 2009 Mike.

Thanx a lot Anders. It was indeed nice talking to you again and it’s my pleasure. See ya soon!!

Take care and RAWK ON www.metal-rules.com

 

 

Read the CD reviews of the band’s albums in the database

 

More info about the band

www.cloudscape.se

www.myspace.com/cloudscapemetal

www.myspace.com/anderssonsinger

Label

www.goldencore.de

www.zyxmusic.com

www.roastinghouse.com

www.nightmare-records.com

 

 

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