Sonata Arctica

Interview date

27 Avril 2012




Interview Henrik Klingenberg (par mail)

Hello Henrik, you're back on the road with a single and an album awaited by millions of fans.

You took your time since the end of the "The Days of Grays" tour, a time which was helpful to mature and reflect about an new album that seems more rock but also more diverse than its predecessor.

Hi, I'll do my best to answer your questions :-)


First, can you reveal the mystery of the title of the new album?

It's actually a modification of a lyric line in the song "Alone in Heaven". I wouldn't want to get into it too deep, but when you check out the lyrics to that song all will be clear.


Let's talk about the cover of the new album, different from previous ones. Can you tell us about this change and what is hidden?

I think all our album covers are at least a bit different from each other but yeah for this one it was again time for a stylistic change in some respects. I'm not gonna tell you what's hidden in there, it would ruin all the fun :-) Anyways we wanted to have something that reflected the change in the music and I think this worked out really well. Tony was working with the coverartist live over skype and they managed to come up with this so, the rest of us didn't really have to do anything else than say "Hell Yeah" !!


Except for "Unia", the majority of Sonata Arctica albums arts seems to be made on the same model: a simple picture always in the foreground that reveals many details and references when paying attention. Is this the same case for your songs, which may seem simple enough at first listen, but more complex over time?

Ah soo, ok now I know what you ment by the cover thing earlier. I haven't really thought about the graphics and meaning behind them that much, but as far as the music goes, you're absolutely right, a lot of our songs seem simple at the first listen but then later on you'll find all kinds of small details hidden here and there. I think it's important to have these layers in music so that you'll find new stuff when you listen to the song many times, otherwise it gets too boring.


The subjects covered in "Stones Grow Her Name" seem more distant from those of previous albums. Why the change?

I think it's a bit of a recoil from the last album, with "The Days of Grays" both the music and the lyrics were really dark and moody and I think this time the approach is more positive and upbeat. Naturally most of our lyrics are not the happy-go-lucky type of stories but I think this time everything doesn't seem as gray and black as a few years back.


Speaking of change, the first single "I Have a right" is about child abuse. Why did you decide to highlight a theme so unusual?

Well, the video shows that aspect but at least for me personally it's more about children's rights. I guess as you grow older at some point you get this concern for your offspring and what kind of world we'll leave behind us for future generations, and to me it seems that this was the initial inspiration for this song. I'll have to check with Tony but I think that's at least quite close to the reason behind it as far as I know.


The story of Caleb (which includes four songs on different albums) just ended on "The Days of Grays." Did you plan to make a new saga with "Wildfire" ("Reckoning Night"), Wildfire II and III ("Stones Grow Her Name") or only the name is common?

There are no plans that we've talked about, but knowing Tony I think he'll come up with a way to put some more chapters into the Caleb story even though it ended. The Wildfire is indeed a continuation of the original wildfire story... I have no idea if there will be more parts in the future, but we'll see.


Since the last tour, we've noted that Marko has a lot more stage presence and is also more accessible, which seems to be the reverse for you. Is this an intended effect or changes of the members themselves?

I think this is more a natural progression and with this new stuff and tour, you'll again see some changes in the presence of the different guys. We've never talked about who should do what on stage so it's all just a sum of a bunch of random events that at some point starts to synchronize, at least partially.


The first date of your tour was held at the PPM Fest (Power Prog Metal), where you have unveiled new songs like "Losing My Insanity" and the current single "I Have a Right". Were you worried about the public reaction to these new songs?

Not really, we know that when you play new stuff that hasn't been released most people just stand and watch and check out what's going on, and that was naturally the case at the PPM fest as well. For us it was important to start playing the new stuff as soon as possible, we played over a 180 shows on the last tour so there was definately an urge for us to get new songs into the setlist right away, even if the album is not out yet.


To continue on this concert, the setlist included old songs such as "Broken" ("Winterheart's Guild") and never previously played on stage ones such as "Breathing". How did you come to such a balance between old and new songs?

It's starting to be almost impossible to get a balanced setlist since we have released so many albums, and it will get harder and harder as we move on. I think for this tour we will focus on the new album and then throw in some older songs that we like to play, we'll see how that goes it's definitely a challenge to make a good setlist.


And you got a lot of people's attention at the signing session at the PPM fest and apparently you did not expect it. For such an accessible band, very close to their fans, how did you manage to handle this crowd?

There was a great turnout to the signing session that's for sure but for us it was just nice, and it's really not that hard to stand behind a desk and say hello to fans, sign some stuff and maybe take a photo. So for us it was really easy.


The last concert you've done in France was at the Elysee Montmartre, a venue which, unfortunately, caught fire a week after your visit. How did you react to the loss of this place you've always known?

It was quite a surprise of course and then later we were a bit sad that we can't play there again, We have had a lot of great moments in that place and many amazing shows so it will be missed.


Do you have any ideas yet about upcoming shows in France?

We will do an European Tour in the fall of 2012 and there will be some shows in France but I'm not at liberty to reveal the dates quite yet. Keep checking our homepage. :-)


During the tour for "The Days of Grays", you were forced to cancel several dates because of flu, including two in France. How did Tony recover his voice after this? Is its totally healed now?

Tony's voice is totally recovered and have been that way since he got over that hellish flu. I guess rest and antibiotics were the things that got him back on track. Travelling on a bus is always the worst for the singer since his voice is his instrument and when one guy gets the flu in the bus, everyone will eventually get it.


You are a fan of video games, what would be your reaction to learn that the players come together under the banner "Winterheart's Guild" to honor you until the release of the eponymous video game?

Very cool indeed, and I really hope that the game will see the light of day. At this point, I haven't heard anything about it in years. Hopefully it will be made.


Finally, one last words for the French fans?

We're really itching to get back out there and play and I hope to see you all in the fall when we come to France. A big Cheers !!!!


Henrik thank you for your time.

No problem. Thank you !

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