Band leader and drummer JK,lead singer Matti Alfonzetti and bass player Mats Vassfjord – Impera
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Khalil Turk at Escape Music to get this done. Thanks to Escape Music for the promo pictures of the band. Studio photo of the band taken by: Michael Johansson Promo single pictures and group photo of the band taken by: Tallee Savage Live photos of the band taken by: Ulf Magnusson
Here comes a brand new interview with the Swedish hard rock act Impera. It’s the second time around the band is featured with an interview in metal-rules.com. This time around I not only hooked up with band leader and drummer JK but with lead singer and legend Matti Alfonzetti and bass player Mats Vassfjord. The trio told me everything about the new album, the future of the band and I also got a chance to get up close and personal with one of my favorite vocalists of all time Mr Alfonzetti. The brand new album by Impera is called PIECES OF EDEN be sure to check it out. Enjoy!
Hi again JK, Mats and Matti are you ready to take on metal-rules.com once more?
We sure are….
Impera’s brand new album PIECES OF EDEN was recently released. How long did it take to write and record the album?
J.K: I’ve had some idea’s and meet up with Tommy and after only ten days we had all the music down and that’s because Tommy is the fastest songwriter I know then Matti started with the melodies and lyrics, I think the whole album was done in about six months.
Mats: We all work pretty fast, once we set time aside to do something.
Who in the band writes the material? And what are the lyrics about this time?
Matti: I wrote most of the lyrics for this one based on ideas and suggestions from JK
J.K: Like the first album Matti and Tommy are the main force in the writing of the songs but I try to get some input in all of the songs. The song “The Beast Within” was featured online on the bands Facebook page. What did the fans think of the song?
J.K: Only good feedback from the fans and they are asking for more videos so we have to work on that.
Mats: Beast Within was the very first thing we released from the new album, and it was instantly received very well. Initially we were gonna do a proper video for it, but conflicting schedules forced us to choose another path with that video, but hopefully we will record a proper video for another track soon.
Your debut album LEGACY OF LIFE went really well and got great response from both fans and media. Did you ever feel pressure from that when you worked on the new album?
Matti: There’s always pressure when you do a follow up but I think we even made a stronger album this time..
J.K: I agree, I’m really proud of this one, best one yet.
Were there many songs that didn’t made it on to the final edition of PIECES OF EDEN?
J.K: Unlike “Legacy Of Life” where we had 18 songs to choose from this time we only wrote the songs that wind up on the album.
Where does the title PIECES OF EDEN come from?
J.K: Like the first album it was Carl-André Beckston that came up with the name, he created the artwork for our albums and he came up with the name after he design the covers so it fits with the cover and we love he’s stuff.
Mats: He’s a great artist with great ideas.
The band has been working really fast with the new album and it was released pretty much one year after LEGACY OF LIFE, was that just a coincidence?
J.K: No, that was my plan from the beginning, we start recording the third album in January and it will be released October 17th 2014.
This time you’ve featured a few songs in mid-tempo like “All Alone” and “Fire And the Flame” and the ballad “Since You’ve Been Gone”. Was it your plan to add more slower songs on this album compared to the previous one?
Matti: I know that Tommy wrote “Since you’ve been gone” with my vocals in mind, so yes, there was a plan to have more variation this time.
J.K: Absolutely, I wanted to blend everything that I like. Mats: It’s always important to not get sucked in to HAVING to sound a certain way. I’m sure with the third album we’re gonna evolve even more.
The song “Goodbye” is written by Paul Stanley. How come you chose to do a cover of that particular song?
J.K: “Goodbye” has always been one of my favorite songs and when we got Bob Kulick to play solo guitar on it we just had to put it on the album after all Bob plays on the original from ’78.
Mats: We all love KISS in this band and Goodbye may not be the obvious choice for a cover song. But it turned out really good, and like Johan said, it’s a great privilege to have Bob Kulick play lead guitar on it.
Have you read any reviews about PIECES OF EDEN yet? What does media think of it?
Matti: We’ve had nothing but great reviews so far….It seems everyone is well into our stuff which is amazing!
J.K: Yes, there have been great reviews all over the world and there should be, it’s an awesome album and it’s always great when people outside the band like it as much as we do.
Are there plans on shooting a video to any of the songs?
J.K: There are plans the shoot a couple of videos but it’s hard to coordinate it because we are rarely in the same city for the most time but we are working on it.
Did the band perform live at the release party that you threw in Stockholm?
J.K: Yes, we played 4 songs from “Pieces” and the fans that showed up besides the invited guests was amazing. It was a great night and there is a clip on Youtube from that performance, great stuff.
Mats: That was a really fun night with a lot of friends and fans showing up to celebrate the release of Pieces of Eden
Alfonzetti and Denander are once again doing an amazing job. Are you happy with the members work and effort?
J.K: Absolutely, I work with the best of the best.
How would you like to describe the differences between this new album and the debut one?
J.K: This one is much more diverse and on this one we did all the writing ourselves and I think you can here that. Don’t get me wrong I love “Legacy” but I think “Pieces” is a more solid album.
Mats: Even production- and sound-wise this is a deeper album and it has better songwriting. We couldn’t be happier with it.
Many bands and artists think that their latest album is the best one yet, do you agree with PIECES OF EDEN being your best album so far?
Matti: I do. Songwriting performance and sound is spot on, as far as I’m concerned.
J.K: I agree 100%.
Mats: Pieces is a more solid album than Legacy in all aspects.
Do you think that fans of LEGACY OF LIFE is going to appreciate PIECES OF EDEN?
J.K: Absolutely, “Pieces Of Eden” is “Legacy Of Life” on steroids.
Studio and production work
Where was the album recorded this time?
J.K: same as “Legacy” four different studios. LS Studios, Dreamsphere Studios, Atomic Rooster Studios and Hammer Road Studios.
Was everyone gathered in the studio at the same time or did you send out demos for the rest of the band to work with?
J.K: Everybody worked by themselves that’s the only way we could do it.
Was it you and Lars Chriss that once again produced the album?
J.K: Yes, I produced and Lars mixed and co-produced the album and he did an amazing work as usual, and as you know he’s our fifth member.
Is it hard as producer to connect all of the parts the members have recorded in different studios?
J.K: Both yes and no but it couldn’t have happened without Lars by my side he’s the master when it come’s to putting everything together.
Who mastered PIECES OF EDEN?
J.K: Same as on “Legacy” the great Mike Lind at Masterplant, I always like to work with the same people when it comes to the production, people I trust and that I know are the best at what they do.
Label and management
Are you happy with the work that Escape Music have put into the album and the band so far?
J.K: I can’t complain, they are great.
Escape Music is working together with the promotion company Connecting Music, how do you think the co-operation is going?
J.K: Good I hope… Is the album released world wide at the moment?
J.K: Europe and Japan for the moment but we’re working on getting it released worldwide.
Is it possible to purchase and download the album legally on the internet?
J.K: Yes everywhere spotify, itunes, amazon and so on.
When we spoke last time you said that LEGACY OF LIFE was going to be released in USA during 2013, is the disc out there now?
J.K: Only through Amazon but we are working on it.
Is PIECES OF EDEN also going to be released in USA and Canada? If so when?
J.K: No dates yet sorry.
Is the band currently working with any promotion agency or management?
J.K: We have just signed with Rocknytt Lajjv Agency.
Personal with Matti Alfonzetti
I have to begin with congratulating you to the amazing vocal work you did on PIECES OF EDEN! You’re one of the best singers in the world in my opinion.
I thank you, kind Sir!
When J.K got in touch of you launching the Impera idea what did you think?
I had already co-written a few songs for the first album with Tommy so I knew of the project.
Was it given from the start that you was going to be a part of Impera?
Actually John Corabi was meant to be the singer for the first album. That didn’t work out so JK asked me to step in and save the day:-)
In the last interview with JK he said that you two first met when it was time to do promotion pictures, is that true?
In person yes! We had spoken on the phone loads of times and since I do my vocal recording in my own studio, we first met for the photo session!
You have an amazing voice, how have you managed to keep it intact through the years? What are the tricks?
Good question….I don’t know….I guess I don’t indulge in drugs, alcohol and other bad (but fun) substances. I try to keep fit, eat well, that kind of thing…no tricks, just hard work, dude!
How is it to work with Denander, Vassfjord and J.K? The first live show with Impera took place at Väsby Rock festival in Sweden this parts summer, how was that?
They are all excellent musicians and good blokes so working with them is easy! I really enjoyed the live show at Väsby, we had a blast! Even though it was the hottest day of the year!
How come Impera haven’t toured more?
Both Tommy and me are pretty busy guys….I guess it’s just logistically hard at the moment. I’m sure we will tour at some point. We need to get out on tour to raise peoples awareness of the band!
All of the members in the band are involved in other projects/bands. Is Impera of high priority when it comes to tour and record?
Speaking for me I try to not make those calls, just go with the flow. It rarely clashes with the bands I’m in anyway…
J.K has this to say about you “He’s a good friend of mine who also happens to be one of Sweden’s best rock vocalists ever”. What do you think of that statement?
I think he’s absolutely right! Ha ha!…Seriously, I’m honored that he thinks that.
Are you happy with the outcome of PIECES OF EDEN?
More than happy! I truly believe we have a killer album here. I think I knew that even when the first song was done!
J.K also says that everyone in the band are huge fans of Kiss, who is the biggest fan in the band? 🙂
JK! Or maybe Mats? I don’t know….:-)JK!
What are you up to when you don’t work with Impera or Skintrade?
At the moment I’m totally focused on Skintrade and the new album which is just now finished! I also do quite a bit of songwriting, production and session work.
Past present and future with J.K
In the last interview you said that you were going to dedicate the entire 2013 to Impera how has it been going?
Great. From January to present day it’s all about Impera the first six month was about getting the album ready and since then it´s all about promotion selling the album, like I’m doing right now, interviews and then more interviews.
You were also talking about doing a DVD what’s the status on that?
No DVD yet, I’ll think we wait until the third album is out so maybe late next year.
How come you haven’t toured or played live more this year?
Like Matti said earlier, he and Tommy are involved in so many other projects that take time but we are talking about doing some festivals next summer.
The debut as well as this new album has been released in Asia, is the interest for Impera big over there?
Absolutely, I was on a cruise to the Bahamas not long ago and wound up signing autographs for a lot of people from Japan a very nice moment in my life, (I’ ve Made It) ha ha ha…
Is the band booked for any summer festivals next year?
There are plans, that’s all I can tell you.
When do you think that the next Impera album is available in stores?
In October 17th 2014
What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t discovered Impera yet?
Check it out, if you’re into melodic rock, you will love it.
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy PIECES OF EDEN?
1) When it was released in October it reached number one on the album chart on one of Canada’s biggest radio stations. 2) Good reviews across the board, across the world. 3) It´s simply awesome.
Well, that was all I got for this time. I hope you and the band all the best in the future and finally, do you have any words of wisdom to share with the fans and readers?
We love You all, see you soon in the eden or on tour. All the best //J.K, Matti, Mats & Tommy IMPERA
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