Heart of Steel: Interviews

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Interview With Tenebre
Interview By Anders Sandvall

Thanks to Regain Records for the promo picture of the new line-up.
All live pictures by Anders Sandvall

I recently spoke with Richard Lion, leader of the band Tenebre, about the history of the  band and the new record ”ELECTRIC HELLFIRE KISS,” and the future of Tenebre.

What’s your opinion about the fact that there has been so many members coming and going throughout the years?

tenebre-pic4.jpg (13639 bytes)We have always tried to evolve. Sometimes members choose to quit because of a new musical direction of the band, which is a good thing. I believe that fresh blood in the band has saved us from doing the same thing over and over again. Another thing is that I have always been the main songwriter, and therefore it has never damaged the band in the aspect of composing.


Why did Kalle quit? You and him started the band.

Yes, we got the band going. We had played together before Tenebre too, in a band called Flegma. But life changes. When Kalle’s girlfriend got pregnant with twins, I knew that it would be hard for him to play with us and his other project, 69 Hard. I asked him to choose a band before we went into the making of E.H.K. He chose 69 Hard.


What was your feelings about Kalle leaving the band? Are you friends today?

We are still good friends, and I have never questioned his decision. I felt a bit lost when he quit, but I soon realized that this could actually lead to something better, which I believe It did.


Why has it taken a such a long time for a followup to the record?

Well, we went into the studio to record in Dec. ’01. That’s only one year and four months after the recording of “Mark...” In the meantime the band has got a singer and replaced one of the guitarrists. And above all, I was hospitalized with my son for a while.


The band has two new members: Victor on lead vocals and Peter on guitar. How did you recruit them? Did you know them before?

I knew Victor pretty good. We have played on the same venues a few times before, and I worked together with his girlfriend. I only knew Peter remotely. Our drummer has played in the same band as Peter, so he was not unknown to us anyway. I asked Victor to give it a try, and he wanted to join immediatelly. Peter once told me that if I knew a band that needed a guitarist, just give him a call. So I did.


What’s your opinion about the two singers? Is there any difference?

tenebre-pic2.jpg (33549 bytes)I think it’s better for me not to compare - I leave that to the listeners. I like what Kalle did, and I like what Victor is doing. Besides the fact that they are different singers, we now play a bit more melodic music than we did when Kalle was in the band.


“ELECTRIC HELLFIRE KISS” is your fourth record. Is this record more mature than the previous three? Are you satisfied?

Mature? I think E.H.K. is more precise, more effective with not-so-long songs. We have stronger choruses, and higher tempo than we had before. I would be lying if I said that i’m completely satisfied. You never should be. There is always something that annoys you. But it’s the closest to “satisfied” we have made.


On the former record the content was very dark and grim. What about this new record? Did you think of something special when you wrote the lyrics and the music?

I didn’t write all the lyrics, so I can’t say. But speaking for myself, no, not really. I sometimes write from a personal view, and sometimes it’s just bullshit I make up in my mind.


How long did it take to record the new album?

tenebre-pic3.jpg (18251 bytes)Too long. We recorded for about four weeks, and the producers then edited and mixed for several weeks more. Over a period of four months, so It took some serious time to get the album ready.


Is the whole content new material?

No, a few bits were written before “Mark..”, but never used because of the current situation in the band at that time. It wasn’t an idea to even try these bits back then, because they were “too gothic” for some members.


Where is the record produced?

The record is recorded, mixed and produced in a studio called Cherryfield-Mustard mobile studio. It’s located above KB, a famous rock club in Malmö.


Do you have any favorite songs from this record?

I like the ballad “She Darks the Sun,” and also “Nocturnal Rhapsody,” which is kind of punk-goth.


Why do you release the maxi together with the full record?

tenebre-pic7.jpg (14078 bytes)We have to release our stuff together with other bands on our label. If we were to wait and release the full-length CD later, it would take some more boring months until it would have come out.


Why have you recorded a cover of the Pet shop boys song, “It’s a Sin?"

Because we are a gay boy-band disguised as evil goth metallers. No, seriously, we all had ideas about a cover song, but we couldn’t agree on any song except this one, strangely enough.


When I listen to the new record, I have the impression that you know your direction better, and how to make the album sound it's best. The previous records before gave a divided picture, though a broader and stronger music direction. This record appears to be a logical continuation of the previous record. Do you agree?

I guess so. We have never been afraid of making music that doesn’t fit the picture people have of Tenebre.


Do you feel that Tenebre has developed through the years?

Oh yes..definitely. Most of all in the aspect of writing and arranging songs, but also musically. The intentions in the beginning were to make dark, evil hits. Nowadays, it’s about making dark and catchy songs!


Give me a quick definition of the music Tenebre is playing?

Gothic metal...death-rock..horror-punk! We are everything..and nothing.


You write most of the music. Where do you find inspiration to do this?

tenebre-pic5.jpg (15683 bytes)Late evenings in front of the TV when I play guitar. I come up with ideas almost everyday, and sometimes they are good enough to make Tenebre songs out of. The lyrics are different. I write down words and bits and then try to make a whole piece of them.


What’s going to happen when you have released the record? Have you planned any tour? Where? In Sweden?

We are trying to get some gigs, but it’s fucking hard. Let’s wait and see when the reviews on the new CD are out. I think we will get some dates then.


Do you have a good relationship with Regain Records?

Yes. I work there! haha!


What do you think of the hardrock/metal in the twenty-first century? Does it have any future?

tenebre-pic6.jpg (14877 bytes)People have always tried to put metal down and they have never succeeded. Metal lives and will never die. That may have came out like a Hammerfall lyric, but it’s true. The scene was maybe half-dead during the heydays of Grunge, but trends come and go. Metal remains.


Do you want to say something to the fans out there?

We want come come to our town and play, so go down to our pingis-club and DEMAND a Tenebre gig.


Thank you for taking your time to answer my questions about the band?

Thank you Anders.


Visit the Tenebre website at www.tenebre.com