Interview date

Octobre 2009


Blaster of Muppets


Interview Tom Englund, Jari Kainulainen, Jonas Ekdahl & Rikard Zander

All your albums tend to have a very dark atmosphere, what inspires you? Do you see life as something sad?

Tom: I think the music reflects the lyrics, it’s hard to write about happy topics when you play some music as sad or dark as ours.

Do you need to feel sad to write a song? Can you do it if you feel happy?

Tom: No, I actually can’t. I haven’t tried but I have actually never written a song for Evergrey when being happy. But of course, I’m happy in a way when I’m writing… it’s not like I’m sitting in the dark, cutting my wrists… but I think I need some kind of blues to perform.

With the release of “Torn”, Evergrey celebrated 10 years of music. Looking back at those 10 years, what is the thing you’re the most proud of today?

Jonas: This guy! (pointing at Jari)

Tom: Errr… well, I don’t agree! (laughs)... I think the DVD is the thing I’m the most proud of. It’s a great collection of both memories and great songs. Being able to combine that on a disc is fortunate!

What’s your favourite Evergrey album?

Tom: We’ll have to exclude “Torn” since it hasn’t been with us that long so we can’t have a fair opinion about it. So for me, at least emotionally, I think that “Solitude Dominance Tragedy” is the album that made me realize that I wanted to do this for real. For the first time, we knew what we were doing in the studio, I felt myself more confident as a singer… so yeah, that one.

Jonas: Of course, “Torn” but I’m really a fan of “Recreation Day”.

Jari: Well, it’s pretty much the same… “Torn” and "Recreation Day".

Rikard: It’s hard to compare the albums I played on because it’s so many memories so I can only really choose between the 3 albums I didn’t play on… So, I’ll say “Solitude Dominance Tragedy”. That’s my favourite!

What’s the record you’re not so proud of after all these years? Something you’d do differently today…

No. And that’s what’s really nice. We have always worked things until the point where we would be happy. I wouldn’t change anything… I mean, re-recording albums, stuff like that, it’s bullshit: you change people’s view on things that they have had their mind set on for like 10 years or so… I can’t recall anything I would like to do differently.

“Monday Morning Apocalypse” has been a disappointment to some of your fans who did not recognize the typical “Evergrey sound”… I, on the contrary, think it was a great album which offered something new and fresh. What’s your opinion on that?

Jari: I think it’s a brilliant album! I love it.

Tom: I think that the main reason why some people don’t like it is because it’s quite a big step away in terms of sound. We needed and wanted to do something different to stay interested and that’s why we took the chance of doing so… But song wise, people complain that it’s not dark enough and I think it’s one of the darkest albums that we have! And also, when we play these songs live, it’s not like people look depressed.

“Torn” marks the return to a more “Evergreyish” approach of things, was that something you really wanted to do, or did you feel a kind of pressure from the fans to return to that style?

No, I have never felt any pressure. I mean, we’re not that big a band to feel such pressure. Well, of course, I find it extremely flattering when people say that something is extremely bad or when they say that "Monday Morning Apocalypse" has ruined their lives because it means that they care! For "Torn", I and Jonas have written a lot, and we had total control over what we did.

Your first live album (and DVD) was great. Do you have plans for another one or not for the moment?

No, we don’t.

Your situation has evolved with time and you’ve become more and more popular. Can you now live from your music?

Yeah, it’s different for every person in the band; we have lived better or worse depending on how many gigs we have… And I’ve done other things for other bands, I’ve been living from music for about 6 years now but in combination with other things.

What are the bands that had a big influence on you? And what are your favourite bands or musicians these days?

Tom: I think it’s the same as when I was a kid. Of course, we listen to a lot of music, all of us… but really, bands like Iron Maiden or Queensrÿche… I may not always listen to what they do today but I still appreciate what they have done. As for more recent bands, I really like Katatonia.

Jari: the biggest thing to me is Black Sabbath, and as far as musicians are concerned, I really like Geezer Butler of course, Cliff Burton (rest in peace) and Billy Sheehan. And new bands… definitely Lamb of God, they’re brilliant!

Jonas: Kiss: big influence! And I’m a big fan of guitarists, so I listen to a lot of guitar heroes and I actually listen to more guitarists than drummers. But as far as drummers are concerned: Mike Mangini from Extreme or Steve Vai, Chad Smith from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Abe Cunningham (Deftones). I actually listen to a lot of groovy kind of drummers, more than technical ones like Mike Portnoy. I also love Tomas Haake from Meshuggah, which is a band I’m really a fan of. And there’s another band from Sweden called Bullet: really kick ass!

Rikard: I grew up with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. So I obviously listen to a lot of these bands. Otherwise, I really listen to any kind of music. For instance, there’s this French band I really like, they’re called Phoenix. And of course, I also listen to new metal bands but it’s really in periods you know, you find a new band you like, you listen to it a lot, and then you move on…

Can each of you give me two of his all time favorite metal albums?

Tom: Ok! For me, "Operation Mindcrime" by Queensrÿche and "The Final Countdown"!

Jari: Black Sabbath "Heaven and Hell" and maybe… Iron Maiden "The Number of the Beast"!

Jonas: Right now, my favorites are "The Great Southern Trendkill" by Pantera and… "Creatures of the Night" (Kiss)!

Rikard: Two albums that meant a lot to me are "Assault Attack" by MSG (Michael Schenker Group) and Y&T "Earthshaker".

What is the most singular or out of the ordinary memory you have about a tour or a concert?

Jonas: Well, on this tour, we had to cancel a show in England, a festival… And it was the promoter’s fault entirely; he refused to pay us all the money so we refused to go. We would have lost a lot of money if we had come. So the promoter, on the spot, went and said “Evergrey is not playing, they don’t feel like playing”. It’s so fucking bad that someone has to lie and doesn’t have the courage or the balls to stand up for his own mistakes. It’s not the greatest memory, it’s not a funny anecdote… but it’s what we have on our mind right now.

What’s the strangest gift a fan ever gave you?

Tom: A big ass painting a guy gave me. It was a picture of me painted from a centerfold in a magazine and the page was in my face so it looked really really funny. Henrik came to me and said: don’t fucking laugh but this guy is gonna give you something. Don’t laugh!

Where is it now?

It’s in our rehearsal room! (laughs)

Your plans for the future?

After this tour, we’re going to play a few gigs in Scandinavia and then, we’re going to Brazil… and after that, we don’t have any plans.

No new songs to record?

Not for the moment, no. We never write songs when we’re on tour. It’s something we do after that… So, yeah, the writing will probably begin when the tour ends… we have to have a sort of deadline or pressure to start working.

A message for French fans?

I just hope that they won’t miss us today but then, by the time you publish that, it will be too late! (Laughs)

Thank you very much for you time. I'm looking forward to the show.

Thank you! I hope you'll enjoy it. See you there!