Mike Andersson singer – Fullforce
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Olly Hahn at SPV/Steamhammer for the help
Thanks to SPV/Steamhammer for the promo pictures of the band
Additional photos of the band provided by Greger Lindblad and Rainer Kalwitz
Mike Andersson is maybe most known for being the voice in Cloudscape. Now he has teamed up with Anders Johansson (Hammerfall) and Stefan Elmgren (ex-Hammerfall) and formed the all-star act Fullforce. The bands debut album was released at the beginning of summer 2011 and the guys have already began to work on the follow up. Here is what Andersson had to say about the new album and the birth of the band that recently opened shows for Edguy and Kottak in Sweden and Germany, enjoy….
Hi Mike, how are you? Are you ready to take on metal-rules.com for an in depth and close up interview? hehe
Hey Anders. I’m doing fine, thanks. Always ready for an interview ;).
Well, maybe we could talk about the new Fullforce debut album to begin with. It’s called ONE…how long have you guys worked on it?
We have more or less been working on it since early 2009. So, it took around 1 year to finish the songs in for the recording studio…
Who has written the material? And what are the lyrics about?
The music are composed by me, Stefan, CJ and Anders. We have written th songs separately in order to create a decently broad style where we take advantage of our musical backgrounds to create the FULLFORCE sound. I have written the song “Oblivion” for example which shows a bit of my way of composing and Stefan have written “Heart And Soul” which resembles his way of composing and CJ have composed “None Of Your Concern” which is his kind of trademark. All lyrics are written by me and they first and foremost are lyrics that deals bout “life”. I like ´writing lyrics about things that people might be able to relate to in one way or another :). Not too much hocus pocus in other words…;).
I know that you and drummer Johansson have written the song “Mythomaniac” together. How was it to write a song with a drummer?
It was really cool. I normally prefer to write on my own but, I am also open to new musical adventures so, I gave it a shot ´trying to write with Anders and it turned out AWESOME. Anders is very, very musical and the collaboration worked out awesome. There’s already a new song finished that is written by Anders and me which is planned to be included on our second album :).
Were there a lot of songs that didn’t made it on to the final edition of the album?
We had around 18 – 19 songs and 12 made it to the album (the 12th song is on the Japanese bonus CD and also as iTunes).
Where do you find the inspiration to write songs and what comes first when you write, the music or the lyrics?
I always write the music first. I find inspiration from life, different situations I experience or see. Along with the composing I also compose the melody line for the vocals….when I’m finished with the music I start writing lyrics which I find suitable for the song(s).
How would you like to describe the kind of music Fullforce plays?
In 2 words I’d say “Melodic Metal”. But, there are lots of ingredients in our music that I (we) think makes us a standout in the genre. We have a slight progressive feel in a few songs and some songs are also very ethnic while others are more typical “sing along” songs” in the more traditional heavy metal way. We want to keep it decently simple but, also explores our musical way of creating music to keep a wide style but, still not too wide….it’s hard to explain…but, well…he he he…
How came you up with the idea to call the debut album ONE?
Well, it resembles us being a “unity” as a band. And of course it was a very suitable title considering it’s our first album so…
Who has done the cover art-work to the album and what do you think of it?
I think the album cover is really awesome. It’s created by Austin Pickrell and Rainer Kalwitz who previously created album covers for bands like Metal Church, Praying Mantis etc etc.
In retrospect are you happy with the outcome of the album?
Yes I am. All songs live their own life, the production turned out great even thou we did most part ourselves. We recorded the album before we signed for record labels and CJ Grimmark mixed the album and did a great job so, we are really satisfied.
For those who thinks that Fullforce sounds anything like Hammerfall what would you like to say to them? (Elmgren played earlier with Hammerfall and Johansson is the drummer of Hammerfall)
Of course there are a few resembles considering Stefan is in FULLFORCE. He has his way of composing music which is a little bit closer to the style of Hammerfall compared to my way of composing for example and this is a good thing. Stefan is king on writing hardrock songs that people find easy to remember and sing along to. But, like I said earlier we want to keep our style wide in order to prevent ending up as a “copy-cat band”.
Who plays the keyboards parts on the album?
It’s me, Stefan and CJ that plays all keyboards on the album.
Who plays the keyboards live on stage?
This far we use pre-recorded keyboards on stage considering our music is guitar-based and not keyboard based. But, who knows…we might hire a keyboard player eventually…
Is it correct that you recorded ONE before you even had a record deal?
Yep, we did. We took a shot…we learned that the interest for FULLFORCE was big even before we had composed our first song….24 hours after we made the band official on the Internet “Sweden Rock Magazine” did an interview with us just based on the interest about the bands constellation etc. A year later we signed for awesome label “SPV/Steamhammer”.
You shot two videos to two of the songs, which songs? Have the videos been aired yet?
We have actually filmed and released 3 videos. The first one was “Walls of secrets”, the second video was “Heart And Soul” and the last one was released around a month ago and that song is called “Open Your Eyes” which is filmed during our tour in Sweden and Germany with EDGUY and KOTTAK. All of them have been aired and is viewable at www.youtube.com
This can be read in the biography “Fullforce is not intended to be a project! The band is aiming to do lots of live gigs and touring… it’s a real band with the ambition to record more album over the coming years” how do you respond to that?
That’s 100% correct. We ARE a real band with the ambition to tour and record more albums. As we speak we have almost completed the songwriting for our second album and we will enter the recording studio in early 2012 to aim for a May 2012 release. We recently did a short tour with German metallers EDGUY in Sweden and Germany plus we have more things in the works when it comes to performing live :).
Do you think it’s important to make videos to songs?
Absolutely. Videos gives a song a different depth plus it’s always fun to watch a video than just ‘listen’ to the song. It’s also a great way promotionally…
The music industry have changed a lot the last 10-15 years. What’s the biggest change to you think?
There are so many aspects to this but, the biggest difference as I see it is the economy. Record labels can’t support bands as much as before financially nowadays. Most of the music is focused on the Internet which is both good and bad. I personally is kinda old fashioned and prefer to listen to music on the CD player, he he he.
Metal-rules.com gave your album 4.5 points out of 5 and I read another review where you got 4 out of 5 how does that feel?
That feels GREAT and we’re damn proud and happy about it since you’re a very respected webzine. I think the reviews are linked in our website at www.fullforce.se
Is there any difference in the way foreign and native media have treated and written about Fullforce?
Well, not that much. I’ve noticed that German media have misunderstood some facts of the band but, nothing really important. Some webzines announce us as project which of course is very wrong since we’re a real band and NOT a project.
What does the Asian media/fans think of the band?
As far as I know we have received great feedback from Asian media and metal fans over there. The well known BURRN magazine rated “One” to 80p out of 100 which is great :).
I know you had a release party back in June in Gothenburg, how was that? Did you perform live?
Yep, we performed live together with a band called ENGEL. It was a great evening…lots of music, beers and mingling he he. A really fun evening in the sign of metal :).
How come you chose to throw the party in Gothenburg and not in the southern parts of Sweden where both you and Johansson live?
Well, basically because we had played in Helsingborg before but, not in Gothenburg so, the timing was right and also the first chance for us entering a stage in Gothenburg (Sticky Fingers) so, that’s the simple reason.
Where have you recorded the album? In which studios?
The album is mixed in CJ Grimmarks studio (Area 52) in Jönköping (Sweden) and mastered by Peter In De Betou at Cuttingroom. Drums were recorded at Heptagon Studios, vocals were recorded at AA Studios assisted by Niclas Olsson (Alyson Avenue) and all guitars were recorded at CJs studio (Area 52) and the bass were recorded in Gothenburg…somewhere, he he he.
Why did you end up recording in various studios?
Basically because we live in different places. Anders have his own studio (Heptagon) and CJ have his recording studio etc etc etc….so, it was easier to record the album this way….everything ended up in Area 52 eventually for mixing…
Was the entire group gathered when it was time to record or did you record each parts on your own and mailed it to the producer?
“One” was recorded separately. Drums in Malmoe….bass in Gothenburg….vocals in Helsingborg (Hyllinge)…guitars in Jönköping….then everything was sent to Area 52 for mixing…
Who produced the album?
In a way all of us did but, it was CJ Grimmark that “did the job” and therefor the credit in the booklet…
Isn’t it hard to produce your own album? Is it hard to stay objective?
I am not a producer myself but, I do believe that it isn’t that easy because, you listen to your own songs in a different way than other songs written by other bands/artists…so, I think you’re right about being hard to be objective…
How involved was the other members in the production?
Everybody was involved. CJ did the “job” but, all of us was involved as far as it comes to the ‘production’ and how we wanted it to ‘sound’. Everything went really smooth and there was actually no hang-ups at all :).
Is producing something that you’re going to continue with in the future?
I don’t know….as it seems right now we will hire a recording studio and producer to mix and produce our second album but, nothing is really settled yet…
Who mixed the album?
Do you consider Fullforce as a ‘Do It Yourself’ kind of band?
That depends on how you mean. We do a lot of things ourselves but, we also have great backup from our record label and bookers so, that’s a question on how you mean. Lots of the promotion on the Internet is done either by us in the band/friends or done by our record label…
Whats was the response from media etc when you broke the news that Fullforce was coming out as a band?
It turned out amazing…Sweden Rock Magazine contacted us within 24 hours after the announcement wanting to interview us…other magazines and webzines followed after that…
The former bass player in Hammerfall Magnus Rosén was also a part of the band earlier but why did he leave?
He left in early 2010 when we were preparing for the actual album recording of “One”. He decided to leave because he felt he didn’t have the time that FULLFORCE demanded considering we’re a real band. Magnus had too many projects going on and had to exclude lots of things at that time. There were no hard feelings and we’re still very good friends.
Was it hard when he decided to leave the band?
It’s never fun when a band member decides to leave unless it’s about personality problems etc so, of course it wasn’t fun when he decided to leave but, we were in a good situation and knew lots of good bass players that we knew were interested in joining the band so, shortly after Magnus departure we recruited Tommy Larsson to the ranks :).
Was it hard to choose a replacement for Rosén?
Actually not. We recruited our friend Tommy Larsson quite shortly after Magnus departure so, he is a great bass player and have a cool stage presence
Was Larsson the obvious choice for Fullforce?
More or less…yes :).
Is the current line-up a solid one?
You can never tell if a line-up is solid but, musically and personally my answer is YES. Then you never know what happens in the future if things happen in life etc etc…
Where does the band name come from?
Well, I think Stefan had an idea based on his past solo project name (Full Strike) and I misunderstood him which eventually made me sending a mail suggesting Full Force based on Stefans solo project and Anders history in Malmsteens Rising Force….then Anders came up with the great idea to put Full Force as 1 word = FULLFORCE…voila….there you go…;)
Do you think that people can mix up the band Fullforce with Stefan Elmgrens Full Strike?
I think a few have done but, most part doesn’t. There are no connections at all to Stefans Full Strike…
Elmgren left Hammerfall to focus on becoming a pilot and said that he wasn’t going to play or perform no more but now he does, why did he change his mind do you think?
He started to miss playing heavy metal and performing live…it’s as simple as that plus the fact that the members in FULLFORCE inspires each other personally and musically. Stefan is still a pilot but, have more time for music nowadays and also touring so, we are very fortunate to have him as a member in FULLFORCE….he’s a great musician, guitar player and personality.
Do you see any problems in the fact that the members doesn’t live in the same city?
Well, actually no. Of course we can’t rehearse on a daily basis but, there’s no need to either…we rehearse in for tours and album recordings and that works perfect.
All of you guys have other bands that you’re involved in and that can be count as your main acts, is it hard to find time to get Fullforce out on the road?
I am also a singer in a band called “Cloudscape” but, to be honest FULLFORCE is as we speak more time demanding and it inspires me a lot. FULLFORCE is as real as CLOUDSCAPE is to me and I don’t see myself as “the more member” in CLOUDSCAPE or the opposite. I put my passion, interest, inspiration in both bands no more no less even thou more time might go to FULLFORCE considering we recently released our first album.
Do you like the fact that Fullforce is referred to as an all-star act?
Both yes and no. It’s cool in many, many ways but, the backside to it might be that some people finds it hard to accept us as a band and thinks we’re a project.
Were you friends with all of the members prior to Fullforce?
Magnus Rosén introduced me to Stefan Elmgren. Magnus and me have known each other since the PLANET ALLIANCE sessions back in late 2006 and often talked about working more together after that. Anders, CJ and Tommy I’ve known for a few years prior to FULLFORCE.
Do you think it’s important to be connected to and use the various forms of social networks and forums that are available today?
Yep, nowadays that is a big media channel….facebook, myspace, twitter etc etc…
Do you get a lot of mail from fans and what’s the most common question you get?
We get tons of mails….it’s fun and we’re honored to meet all fans ´reading their cool mails. The most common question might be “when will you tour South America” or another country;).
Have you done a lot of live performances so far?
We did 3 club gigs in Sweden prior to the release of “One”. In September 2011 we joined forces with EDGUY on their “Age of the Joker tour” in Malmoe (SE), Gothenburg (SE), Stockholm (SE), Hamburg (DE) and Berlin (DE). We were supposed to perform in Essen (DE) too but, because of Tobias getting an infection we had to cancel that show.
How was it to play live with the band?
AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME!!! I enjoy EVERY MINUTE on stage with FULLFORCE….it’s fun beyond words to say the least!!
Was it hard to get a record deal?
Nope…we had a bunch of interested record labels with different offers…we chose to ink papers with awesome and respected label SPV/Steamhammer and in Japan we are licensed to Marquee/Avalon.
Were there many labels that was interested in signing you?
5 or 6 labels showed interest :).
Are you happy with the work SPV/Steamhammer have put into the band and the album so far?
Yes, yes and yes!! We are really happy and proud to be part of the SPV/Steamhammer family :).
SPV/Steamhammer have had some problems with the finance earlier. Do you consider the label as a solid label today?
Absolutely!! They have a good way to work professionally and thinks ‘modern’. SPV/Steamhammer is one of the oldest labels today with a huge amount of knowledge and ambition.
How come you chose to sign on with them?
Many reasons….they are by reputation a great label to be part of, they have GREAT marketing and promotion and works FOR the band with a future-vision and not solely a ‘present-vision’. They are very, very supportive and they have passion in what they do.
For how many albums are you signed for at SPV/ Steamhammer?
I think it’s 3
Is the album available to purchase in stores world wide?
As far as I know, yes. I’m not sure about South America but, USA, Canada, Europe and Asia it’s available.
Is the album released in North America and Canada at the moment?
Yep….it was released there on July 28, 2011:).
Is the album available to download?
It is on iTunes and other similar sites…
Do you co-operate with any booking agency or management at the moment?
We have booking agency “Live Nation” in Scandinavia and “All Access” that covers the rest of Europe.
You have an English blog on the side Rocknytt who takes care of the writing there and is it fun?
All of us have written in that blog but, the most part is actually written by me;). Of course it’s fun…it’s a cool way to let fans get inside the band so to speak…
You’re also sponsored by the clothing line Rawk Ink how did you land that deal?
I know Patrik and his wife Cattis that runs RAWK INK so, they thought that sponsoring FULLFORCE was a great way for them to get their name out in the music industry so, we’re really proud that they are our sponsor….their clothes ARE AWESOME…high quality and really cool looking :D. I used their shirts on our tour with EDGUY plus you can see FULLFORCE wearing them in the “Heart And Soul” video… :).
You opened for Edguy on a few of their shows in Europe at the end of September, why did you only participated on the Swedish shows and the three shows in Germany?
There were a few reasons for this….for one thing it was based on economy and also the fact that it was intended to be another band ‘taking over’ our slot after the Essen show. We would’ve loved to join the whole tour but, we were happy for what was given to us and we had a BLAST!!!! :).
The show in Essen was canceled, are you going to perform there when the new date is set?
Actually we were offered three new dates with EDGUY (the three shows that they postponed because of Sammet getting an infection) but, we sadly couldn’t do these shows because of economical matters….it was too expensive for us to go back to Germany and do these shows plus Anders was busy doing the last rehearsals with Hammerfall in for their tour.
Did you get a warm respond from the Edguy fans? And how was it to tour with Edguy and Kottak?
It was an awesome experience. EDGUY and KOTTAK are really cool bands and we’re really happy and honored to be invited to join them on tour. The fans were also AWESOME to say the least…we had fantastic response from the crowd during our shows and we’re longing back to tour again as soon as possible :). Check our latest video on youtube (Open Your Eyes)….it’s filmed during our tour with EDGUY and KOTTAK :).
Do you think that you gained any new fans during the shows?
Absolutely, I know we did…we met LOTS of fans after our shows…both new ones and also fans that were there for our sake :).
How was it to go out first as support act when you’re used to be a headline act with your ordinary bands?
It was actually really damn cool. We set the standards high right away I think and the audience were hungry, wild and inspired so, I have nothing to complain about there…:)
What’s your main priority at the moment, the European market or any other markets?
Well, my main priority is to get the band going, write music and all of that. All markets are important for us even thou the European one is bigger…
What are the plans for Fullforce during 2012?
To release our second album, do festival shows and hopefully also touring :).
Are you going to do a tour or at least more live performances the next year?
Are there any festival shows booked for next year?
Yes, there are a few :).
You recently shot a third video to the song “Open Your Eyes” what can you tell us about the video shoot?
Well, 95% of the video is filmed by ourselves but, edited, finalized and produced by Rainer Holmgren. It’s solely filmed during our tour with EDGUY and KOTTAK so, it’s a really fun video to watch I think :).
When can we expect to find the next Fullforce album out in stores?
If everything goes as planned I’d say May 2012 😉
What would you like to say to the people that haven’t discovered Fullforce yet?
Well, go buy it;). It’s a GREAT album….it fits all needs…good to party to, good to relax to, good to headbang to….good to sing along to….it’s basically a great and cool melodic metal album that shouldn’t be missed 😉
Well, do you have any final words of wisdom to the fans and readers?
Be safe, be humble and stay metal!! Follow FULLFORCE at
This was all for me this time, I wish you and the rest of the band all the best and hope to see you on stage really soon.
Thanks a lot Anders and the pleasure is all mine talking to you:). Good luck with your awesome webzine and see ya soon.
//Cheers: Mike Andersson