CROMONIC – Vocalist Pasi Humppi (ex-Freternia)
Interviewed by EvilG
Pasi Humppi is a name I remember well and fondly from his time with the Swedish power metal band Freternia. When I was contacted by Pasi, and given the chance to hear the new CROMONIC, I was excited because to me this new band carries on a lot of the feeling and style from Freternia. Like Freternia, Cromonic are also a Borås, Sweden-based heavy/power-metal band. Cromonic formed with the current lineup in 2013 and consists of five members. With their debut album ”Time” coming out this week, now is a good time to talk about all things Cromonic, and of course, to fill in some of the gaps regarding Freternia.
I’d like to do this chronologically. Every now and then I still pull out the Freternia CD Warchants & Fairytales (2000) and especially A Nightmare Story (released in 2002) and think to myself – why didn’t this band do more, record more, get bigger, etc?! What are your reflections on this and the band in general?
Freternia was an amazing time and experience for me personally. Still remember the phone call from Tomas asking me to try some vocals! I was blown away by the talent the guys in the band possessed and the great material. Patrik von porat (at that time Lund) and Tomas Wappling had already written the songs and I had a great pressure to learn the songs before entering the studio. I was never involved in any actual songwriting on Warchants & Fairytales.
There was also some member issues after Patrik left the band and it’s my opinion that we never found any good replacement after he left.
A nightmare story was incredible fun to record and to write the lyrics together with Tomas. We had late night phone calls just discussing the story and how it would evolve.
Sad thing is that we had bad luck with our labels. Loud n proud went bankrupt short after the release of Warchants & Fairytales. And arise records was struggling with the illegal spreading of music through the internet. We actually got emails from record stores asking us to send CD’s which we of course never had.
The reason for the split up wasn’t any fight amongst the members. We are actually all very good friends. Tommie moved to Stockholm (east coast, Boras is west coast) and the rest of us had some motivation issues. It just simply died by itself.
In 2009 Freternia did an EP called Age of War. I don’t own this as it wasn’t widely released. What is the story behind this – was it released by anyone, was it different from A Nightmare Story, and how can fans hear this material if at all?
This was actually a demo recording. Me and Tomas decided to give Freternia one more go. We recorded some demo songs and released on song called “age of war” on MySpace. The style was very similar to “A nightmare story” and we actually wrote a whole bunch of songs.
My personal life got in the way that time. Full time job and two small children took all my time. I suppose it wasn’t meant to be!
Do you view Cromonic as a continuation of the essence and spirit of Freternia?
Well this is a tricky question. Me and Patrik both where in Freternia but we never wrote any songs together. This is the songs that probably would have been if Patrik had stayed in Freternia. Working with Patrik is a great honor since I consider him to be one of the best guitarists I have worked with. But of course you can hear that we both came from that band.
In a nutshell – if you are in contact – what are the former Freternia members up to these days?
I know Tomas is working on some songs and same goes for Tommie. Peter Wiberg is a local politician. Stefan Svantesson was the drummer in Crystal Eyes for many years after he left Freternia. I don’t know if he plays the drums anymore. Mikael Bakajev is supporting Cromonic and it is actually his dad that plays the drums. That’s a cool thing to do…being in his 60’s and record a debut album.
Your vocals are killer. A melodic and distinctive voice that I instantly recognize. In all the years since Freternia did you record any vocals that were released that us fans can track down?
Thx a lot! It’s in the name of honesty very hard for me to be the judge of my own voice.
Well I was the lead singer in a band called Ironware. This was during the Freternia years and we released an album called “Break out” in 2003. After that I sang on an album from 2007 with a band called Ablaze. This one was only released in Japan so it’s kinda rare.
Now I sing in Cromonic but I also done vocals with Anbaric. A new hard rock band with a style that’s hard to define. I will also appear as a guest vocalist on one track from the Greek band Wizart.
In these intervening years, were you active in any bands that were playing live – with whom, when, where etc.
No, not really. I was busy being a dad. But I missed being in a band.
Cromonic did a demo back in 2005, which I’ve never heard then the band either ended or went on a long hiatus??
Yeah! It was a promo cd called rebirth. I think you can find the songs on YouTube.
There was to much stuff going on at that time. I suppose time was an issue.
It was a different cromonic…. more of an project than a band. We never rehearsed, just recorded 3 songs and moved along with our lives.
So what became of that demo and why the 10+yrs of silence since then?
Sands of time, fire within and salvation was the name of the songs. They are all on YouTube under the cromonic name.
As goes for the silence. As I said it was a different Cromonic both in music style and in members. When cromonic of today came to life it was simply the fact that we liked the band name a lot. The old cromonic was a project and the new one is a band!
Tell us a little of what the metal music scene is like in your home of Borås, Sweden? Do you get to play live there very much and is the scene receptive to your brand of metal?
Well boras has no scene anymore. Not any worth mention anyway. But we live close to Gothenburg and there you still can find some venues and clubs that still offers the opportunity to play live. Back in the freternia days the scene was great in boras. We had several rock clubs and venues. They don’t no longer exist which is a sad thing.
How did you choose the title for the album “Time” – and does it have some significance to you and the band?
Well the title is from the song “time”. It felt as a great title considering how fast the time flies. For me it feels like yesterday being in the studio recording a nightmare story. The fact that it is 15 years since the release is hard to grasp. Time is brutal and lethal…it will destroy everything and there is nothing we can do about it. There is so little time and so much to do!
What are your favorite songs on the new album?
My personal favorites is “Paradise” and “The Hunt”. “Paradise” being more of a classic 80’s song and our single. “The hunt” with great keys from Mathias and amazing bass-playing from Niklas. But that might of course change, considering the fact that all songs sounds amazing. I am very pleased with the result on this one. Patrik is a great composer and he doesn’t stop amazing me with his stuff. I’m very privileged to be in this band. For once I have the feeling of being in a solid band with extremely great musicians.
Are there lyrics for a song in particular that contain a message or story that you are especially proud of or would hope that people think about as they check out the material on the album?
I like all the lyrics on this album. They have a more reality feel than Freternia had. If I had to pick one it would be ”Tale of Pain”. This is a personal song, lyric wise, and describes my pain and agony during the separation from the mother of my children. The knowledge of not being flawless in relationship, the sadness, and of course anger. Many songs have this theme on the album. From all bad things, something good turns out, and for me it was the lyrics. “Tale of pain” I wrote at my parents and it took like 10 minutes to complete. So the songs have a different message than the songs from the past had. This one has no dragons hahahaha!
Digital release of the album is taking place a little ahead of physical – is there any reason for this? Do you expect to do better with digital version vs CDs? Will you also consider vinyl release?
Well no reason. We actually set the online release date with the intention to have the physical release at the same time. The cover art we had at first was not right so we needed to change it. So the reason is the delay caused by that.
Today the digital market is way ahead of the physical. I don’t like it cause i still enjoy a physical Product. Reading the lyrics from a booklet and watching details is something many kids of today don’t do. Vinyl is something we briefly discussed but there is no decision made. Public demand is a major factor here I suppose.
What label will be releasing the album? Is it a struggle to find a label, or fairly easy based on the quality of past material?
Well we will release it through our own label Cromonic Music. We had several offers from both bigger and minor labels. As a newcomer band its hard to get a good deal without some label taking the most of the little income there is. I think it was Georg who first as joke said that we should release it ourselves. The joke became reality after some fast research in what it would take. We are even looking in the possibility to release the Freternia albums digitaly. It has to work with copyrights and such of course but it might happen in the future.
What kind of a tour will you be able to do to support this album? Any details yet?
We are of course hoping on a tour to support the album but have no details. We have been really busy with the release and promotion of the album.
Will you be doing any music videos to support the album?
Yes! We have actually already recorded a Music video for the track Paradise already. We expect the editing to be finished within a couple of weeks. I Believe this will be an awesome video and i got the honor of playing a mental patient hahaha (just being myself that is). Patrik was a beautiful corpse too, so its not just a video with us just playing the song.
JUST FOR FUN
I know you are a big fan of Gamma Ray (me too – Kai Hansen is a god to me). So what does the band mean to you? Also what are your thoughts on Kai stepping back his singing and them hiring someone to front the band along with him….I find it kind of weird but I’ll give it a chance.
Gamma Ray is and will always be my number one band. I have seen them live so many times and with different line-ups. Still remember the Land of the Free album and my first thoughts. This was the way music was meant to be! Kai is an super-friendly guy and I have met him a couple of times. Lately his voice has sounded worn out. His vocal style surely puts some strain on his throat. At first I was devastated by the news that Kai is sharing the vocals. But after I experienced them live with Frank on vocals I changed my mind. His voice is perfect for Gamma Ray and it gives Kai some freedom to use his full potential vocally.
Name 5 albums and singers that helped shaped your style.
- Imaginations from the other side – Hansi
- Keeper of the seven keys – Kiske
- Battle hyms – Eric Adams
- Headless Cross – Tony Martin
- Masterplan – Jorn Lande
As for helping me shape my style that would be Mr. Hansi. When I started to sing I had a hard time with certain chords. I listened to Blind Guardian a lot at that time so I added some roughness to my voice. That helps a lot, so thanks to Hansi hahaha!
Name 5 NEW metal bands (as in bands that have formed in the past say 10 years) who you think are worthy of carrying the metal flame forwards.
- Civil War
- Nordic Union (dont know if this is a actual band or just a project)
Sweden has a lot of great traditional/melodic/power metal bands. I’ll randomly pick 5 active bands that I personally love – tell me what you think of them:
Hammerfall opened many doors for other bands back in the Days. Great guys and musicians.
I’m not familiar with this band to be honest. I think Patrik has them in his playlist.
Sabaton is I believe the biggest band in Sweden and last year they headlined Sweden rock festival. I really like like them but I like Civil war even more!
From our hometown! I know these guys well, and they are superb musicians! They are like an eternity machine. Just keeps on going no matter what.
I know there are many more, many that I also like…what 5 Swedish metal bands would you select as being awesome and representative of great Swedish trad/power/melodic metal?
Well this one is hard since there are so many! Some of the bands are pretty old and some has split up ages ago…but never the less great bands!
- Civil War. Some members left sabaton and formed Civil war along with the lead singer from Astral doors. The first album is a killer. Pure Magic!!
- Astral Doors. Patrik’s voice is so awesome, He has a touch of Dio in his voice without being a copycat.
- Nocturnal Rites… don’t think I need to explain myself here hahahaha!
- Zonata. I always liked this band and its sad they no longer exist. There is a rumor though that they will re-record some old album. But that’s a rumor, and I don’t know if its true.
- Lost Horizon. For me Daniel has the best voice in Sweden! A great guy, singer and frontman!
Last question – as I’m in Canada, I’d like to get your take on what comes to mind when you think of great Canadian metal bands? I know the Canadian metal scene is much lower key than Sweden’s, but can you name 5 Canadian metal bands that you like? 🙂
This one is tricky! I am really bad in knowing the origin of bands in general so i must confess… I have to use wiki for this!
- Helix:Simply a great band!
- Voivod: had no clue they came from Canada! Still great stuff!
- Anvil! Had no clue they came from Canada. Nevertheless awesome! Remember watching some documentary opening my eyes to this band!
- Razor: realized I only know of the older bands. Guess I could use a update on Canadian bands
- Instanzia. I checked these guys out after getting fb friends with Alexis. Great stuff!
Thanks for your time and CHEERS DUDE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks. Here is a link to our Spotify. The album will be out on Friday 7/4