Singer Jim Jidhed – Alien
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Birgitt Schwanke at GerMusica PR for setting up the interview.
Thanks to AOR Heaven for the promo pictures of the band.
Promo pictures taken by: Anders Fästader
The legendary Swedish AOR/Melodic rock act Alien is back with a fresh new album titled INTO THE FUTURE jammed with some edgy and a little harder rock music songs compared to their previous releases. This album sure sounds like nothing the band released before with some really heavy guitars and a much heavier sound than earlier. The band lost two original members in bass player Ken Sandin and keyboad player Jimmy Wandroph which makes the current band a trio. I had a shorter chat with singer Jim Jidhed during which we spoke about the album, the loss of the original members, the heavier sound picture and who it is that plays bass and keys on INTO THE FUTURE.
Hi Jim, it’s really nice to talk with you today, I hope you’re doing fine and ready to kick off the interview.
Hi! Thank you and I’m all ready
Let’s travel back in time to 2010 when Alien was re-formed with the original lineup, what brought you guys back together again?
Well, Tony and I got together in 2004 and did a record Dark Eyes released in 2005 and some years after that we talked and thought we asked the rest of the original members if they would be up for some shows for the fun of it and to have
another chance to play our old beloved songs once again.
How come the band wanted to re-release the debut album in 2013, now titled ALIEN 25 th ANNIVERSARY including both the European version and the US version of the album and SHIFTING GEAR + 4 back in the 2013?
I cant recall why this came to be. I guess there were some company asking our old company if they could do a new release of the first album. I think this was because we began to play together again in 2010 and stuck together for more
than just a few shows.
What respond from fans and media did the band get on the 2014 year album ETERNITY that included the original line-up?
Well, we wanted to do a album that reminded of the first one us five guys did and i think the fans liked it. Dont think we got so many new fans though since it was in an old traditionell eightie fashion.
I know you did a few live shows at the time of ETERNITY, did you only perform in Sweden or in Scandinavia/Europe as well?
We did play a festival called Firefest in England both in 2011 and in 2013. We also played Spain and Heatfestival in Germany as i recall it around those years.
How was it to head out on the Anniversary Tour that you did last year, how many shows did the tour include?
It was fun to celebrate that Alien had been around for so long and we did just a few shows that was really fun doing.
Last July the news came that bass player Ken Sandin and keyboardplayer Jimmy Wandroph was leaving the band, was it an expected departure and why did they leave? Are you guys friends today?
Some time prior to July last year we had have some discussions about what way to go musically and i guess it was a matter of difference of opinion of what Alien should do and sound like in the future that led to those two members leaving
New album INTO THE FUTURE
When did the band start to work on material to the new album?
You can say we started the process over two years ago what ended up being Into the future
Have Janet Morrison Minto, with whom you worked with on ETERNITY and the debut album been involved in the lyric-writing to INTO THE FUTURE? How much have she contributed?
Yes, thats right she has been co writing the lyrics with us.
Who writes the music and the lyrics and what comes first when you create a song, the music or the lyric?
Well we like to think since we share everything both music and lyrics and other things we all do for the band that we are all the writers of our music. But you can say that my melodies and my vocals are often in the center of what we’re doing so therefore I’m usually involved in everything we write. You can say that we’re looking for great riffs and strong melody lines and then we work with that and see where it leads us so to speak. But we are all three very much involved in what we do and how we sound. We had a real blast all three of us working with this album. It was like being back in our teens where we experiented and just had a lot of fun.
Into The Future (Official Album Trailer)
Prior to this album you pretty much kept the bands music within the AOR/melodic hardrock genre but with INTO THE FUTURE it feels like you’ve leaned into a little harder rock approach, is that correct?
Thats was the whole idea with this record. We wanted change and to developed in a sense.
The album contains 12 tracks and clocks in on about 50 minutes, did the bands use all of the songs that was written or were there any item you left behind?
Well we had songs to work with but for different reasons not all songs made it on the record.
Night Of Fire (Official Video)
What are the longest songs “Into The Future” (5.38) and “In Her Eyes” (4.58) about?
Into the future, it’s about either taking new chances or stay where you are. And also being thankful for the times you had together with people but also to say goodbye. In her eyes is basically about a man who gets blown away when he see a woman and thinks that she looks at him the same way when they pass each other in the street. Only to realize she didn’t look at him as he thought and just passed him by. More of an entertainment lyric. There’s only one ballad included in “Children” that ends the album, was it a plan from the bands side to only include one slow long in favor of the new more edgier sound? We also ended Eternity in that same way with a ballad. I also did that on my latest solo album Push on through in 2017. So, you can say it’s a trademark now ha ha !
Who handles the bass and the keyboards on the album?
I played most of the keyboards and the bass was greatly handled by Henrik Thomsen who is an old and dear friend to us in the band.
How would you like to describe what kind of music Alien plays on the new album?
It’s a hard one but we like to think that we play a kind of melodic hard rock with a touch of metal. We think that we succeeded to keep our melodic background combined with a mixed guitar approach style of the seventies and eighties colored it with a much heavier sound and tune downed guitar setting. Who knows, maybe we’re setting a new slightly new trend here for bands from our former genre.
We have been honest and worked very hard to get it exactly where we wanted it and we are very proud. We know that this isn’t for all of our old fans but we´ve already gain new fans in a short time.
Do you think that old hardcore fans of Alien are going to enjoy INTO THE FUTURE?
Many will and some won’t.
Have you read any reviews of the new album in the media yet, do you and the band care about what critics have to say about your work?
Good question! for sure you think it’s nice when you get a review where you can see that the person have really listen to what we have been trying to do. Then it’s ok if the review isn’t to our liking but we know that the person have really listen to it. We have been very fortunate with many good reviews but we have gotten some bad two. The bad ones mostly come from die hard AOR fans / sites and that was to be expected. More than anything that proves we succeed to do something a bit different.
The info sheet claims that fans of Harem Scarem, Unruly Child and Europe is going to like the new album, can you agree with that?
Don’t know, i hope as many as possible give this record a chance. We’ve already heard that people find nice stuff in the songs even after listen to the record four, five times and that is a good thing I think.
You sing very good and Tony’s guitar playing is of the chart are you happy with the outcome of the album when you look back on it?
Thank you! we are so happy and proud of this album and its been a lot of work but also a lot of fun, just as it supposed to be.
Many artist things the last thing is the best that them have done what do you stand on that?
Well I think we can find great moments from past records and this latest one is so fresh and in a way we have listen to and worked with it so much that you can be a bit tired of it right now if you know what I mean. But in the sense of thinking our latest album is better than the previous ones I think no. They’re different and have its own worth in its own way. But we love this one ha ha!
Past present and future
The band threw a live stream release party for the album at the 26 th of November, how was it? Did you play any old songs as well or only new songs from the album?
It was great and we did play “Only One Woman” and “Go Easy” acoustically.
Was it fun to throw a live stream and were there many participants, is that something you can see the band do again in the future?
It was a really fun experiment but a bit odd with no audience. I can see us doing this again in the future. It can be a great way to reach fans in countries in parts of the world that you normally don’t visiting to play. touring is expensive and we are not that kind of band with tours every year around the world. But with the stream possibility this can for sure be away to reach fans.
When the pandemic is over or when it’s possible to tour again, is the band heading out on the road then?
Yes we are planning to play much more than we used to in the past. Hopefully this slightly new style can give us the opportunity to play hard rock festivals too.
What’s your thoughts on the pandemic, have Sweden handled everything wisely or do you think the government should have done anything differently?
I know there’s a lot talk about how sweden is handeling the situation but it’s something i dont want to get in to, I just hope for all our sake that this will be over as soon as possible.
Alien got legendary status in Scandinavia and Europe, what do you think of that, do you feel like a legend :)?
Ha ha! well I know both Alien and I with six solo albums have been around for a while and still going strong. If that nominates us for that status, nice! Smile!
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy INTO THE FUTURE?
If you want to hear “Melodies” combined with “heavy riffs” and a lot of “Heart” please listen to this album. There you got three reasons.
Well, my that was all me and metal-rules.com had for now, thanks for taking the time making the interview, I wish you and the band all the best and stay safe and healthy, do you have any words of wisdom to share with fans and readers?
Thank you and all the best to you too. Well, if you’re out there playing and giving it your best just stay true to yourself and don’t be afraid of change and to experiment with your music, arrangements. It’s easy to lose sight of why you once started playing. And to all you singers out there, to keep the strength in your voice and to develop, don’t be afraid to visit a GOOD vocal coach. I think many of us remember starting out how the drummer and the guitarist put in numerous hours rehearsing while many singers just grab the mike and begun singing. Theres so much you could gain by working on your voice even as a rock singer. stay safe everyone