By David E. Gehlke
The “progressive metallic” tag has by no means fairly accomplished Gothenburg, Sweden’s EVERGREY justice. Whereas such components exist inside the band’s framework, EVERGREY was by no means constructed to run with the DREAM THEATERs and SYMPHONY Xs of the world. As an alternative, EVERGREY has leaned closely upon the soulful vocals of Tom Englund to color emotional landscapes becoming to their indisputably darkish and difficult music. It has taken them from bold idea albums (“In Search Of Fact”),to stripped-down, song-first works (“Monday Morning Apocalypse”) to their newest string of symphonic however no-less-heavy LPs (“The Atlantic” and “Rise Of The Phoenix”). Regardless of the method, all of them have been uniquely EVERGREY.
With most bands opting to attend to launch new albums till touring alternatives resumed, EVERGREY made essentially the most of their free time and has rapidly adopted up final yr’s “Rise Of The Phoenix” with “A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testomony)”. The aforementioned Englund spoke to BLABBERMOUTH concerning the quick turnaround, that dreaded “progressive” tag and the way his lyrics mirror right now’s surroundings.
Blabbermouth: It looks like “Rise Of The Phoenix” simply got here out and now you are again with “A Heartless Portrait”. Why such a fast turnaround?
Tom: “The day after we launched ‘Phoenix’, we had a band assembly. We determined that we have been in all probability not going to have the ability to play stay for some time. I mentioned, ‘Perhaps we must always maintain writing and see what occurs.’ We had this break in between the place we at the least recorded the music movies for all of the songs for ‘Phoenix’. We simply stored on going. We went again to our writing dens and wrote for six weeks. Then we met up as a band and listened to the stuff. We ended up with 15 new music concepts. The inspiration was pouring. Then, Jonas [Ekdahl, drums] and I began producing the strongest songs — the songs all of us had agreed that will be nice and had nice riffs. We did that back-and-forth for a bit. We went again to the band and mentioned, ‘Now, we’ve got these ten songs. Can something be added, or lets go together with these?'”
Blabbermouth: Does the continuity at the moment inside the band assist with these items? It appears like you’ve gotten a fairly carved-out course of that streamlines songwriting.
Tom: “At the beginning, it helps we aren’t concerning the ego in any respect anymore. We bought that out of our programs. [Laughs] Now, it does not matter if it is one man who writes 9 songs or the 5 of us. It is completely different from album to album. From ‘Hymns For The Damaged’ , that is when me and Jonas began producing albums. All of us agreed that that is the way in which it really works greatest. We ship stuff and make songs out of them. We trip. It is nonetheless a democratic endgame if you’ll. We are the captains on a ship with two greater captains and three smaller captains. [Laughs] No, however that is what it’s and everyone seems to be snug with that method of working. It takes the strain off all our shoulders. We’ve got recorded the final three, 4 albums as we go, particularly for the final album. I recorded the guitars on the time of writing them completely. When it was time for bass and drums, they already had good backgrounds with vocals, solos, guitars, every little thing.”
Blabbermouth: I bear in mind when Henrik [Danhage, guitar] and Jonas left EVERGREY in 2010. Being how effectively the band operates right now, how essential was their four-year break?
Tom: “That was one of the best and solely choice I made and we have made as a band that they need to depart. We would not be right here right now in the event that they hadn’t left again then. That is for certain. In between, after we had discussions about them coming again, we sat down individually, me and Henrik, me and Jonas, Jonas and Rikard [Zander, keyboards], we sat down and mentioned, ‘I used to be pissed off at you for doing this and saying that and performing like that.’ That actually helped.”
Blabbermouth: Again to the short turnaround. Not plenty of bands are releasing an album yearly.
Tom: “We’re additionally following our greatest business success with ‘Escape Of The Phoenix’. EVERGREY‘s trajectory has all the time gone slowly however all the time upward. Even an album like ‘Monday Morning Apocalypse’  the place folks thought we dipped, however we did not. We bought much more folks into the band. These days, seventy % of our fanbase is from 2014 and onward. That is a fairly cool place to be in in your thirteenth album.”
Blabbermouth: So that you’re saying your new fanbase has taken over from the holdovers from “In Search Of Fact” and “Recreation Day”?
Tom: “That’s what’s nice about this. In the present day, it is really easy to statistically measure what number of listeners you’ve gotten with all of the streaming corporations and the way you do with bodily gross sales. I can get an summary a lot simpler. We additionally personal publishing rights and all that stuff. It is easy for us to see the place folks purchase vinyl. That is the straightforward half. However it’s even simpler to get entry to, ‘What number of streams do we’ve got on this metropolis?’ Seventy % of our whole fanbase has arrived after 2014.”
Blabbermouth: What led you to maneuver over to Napalm Information from AFM?
Tom: “It was time to maneuver on. After 4 albums, we reached some extent in our collaboration with AFM that we knew how issues would search for the following albums if we stayed. It was the identical for them as effectively. They have been, by far, one of the best label we’ve got had up till that time, little doubt. When issues change into too snug, folks kind of lean again after which we do not transfer ahead. It was time to get some blood, new vitality and oxygen to this mission.”
Blabbermouth: “A Heartless Portrait” could possibly be your most song-oriented and melodic album shortly. What made you head in that route?
Tom: “There was no aware choice. We simply do what we do. It might be nice to have a grasp plan of, ‘We sat down and mentioned we must always go extra songwriter-oriented,’ however we by no means try this. We would play pretentious music, however we’re by no means pretentious within the songwriting mode. We simply go together with no matter we’ve got inside us. I imply, in the event you apply one thing for 30 years, one may hope you would change into higher at songwriting, guitar enjoying and vocals. That is the place we are actually. I really feel like we’re by far on the high of our profession on all ranges and all views. Perhaps not the virgin a part of writing your first music, however we’re very snug with what we’re doing in all different views.”
Blabbermouth: Is it extra of a problem to put in writing songs like that? You’ve got pushed the technical envelope earlier than with out going too far.
Tom: “I believe that is the problem from the beginning. It takes time to get good at stuff, to put in writing memorable issues. I believe we are able to go on and play eight-minute progressive stuff, certain. I do not suppose that is us anymore. We by no means have been. We had these progressive components in EVERGREY. However we depart that to bands who can deal with it higher than us, like DREAM THEATER. That is their bag; we do our stuff. We would launch a super-progressive album subsequent time. We’re all progressive followers. It is dependent upon the place we’re in life.”
Blabbermouth: I by no means thought the “progressive” label was appropriate for EVERGREY. It instantly positioned you right into a field with bands that sounded nothing such as you. What do you suppose?
Tom: “Again within the day, it did. It appears like I am 100 years previous. [Laughs] Again then, folks have been much less open-minded. ‘It must be thrash metallic. It must be dying metallic. It must be black metallic.’ Loss of life and black metallic followers did not hear to one another’s genres. In that method, yeah, once they noticed a band popping out on [progressive rock/metal label] InsideOut Music in addition they anticipated it to sound just like the bands on the label at the moment. It did harm us again then. We felt that we weren’t that and we had extra to supply and by ‘extra,’ we’re additionally plenty of this and plenty of that. We’re every little thing in-between fucking MORBID ANGEL to EUROPE. [Laughs] It positioned us in a style the place folks instantly and particularly at the moment, put us with DREAM THEATER. It was unlucky for us. When a few of their followers listened to us, they found we did not play like DREAM THEATER in any respect. On the identical time, I perceive the human facet behind that. Individuals wanted to place us in a style to grasp stuff. I am proud to say we’ve got sounded distinctive from the beginning as a result of we’ve got. In the present day, perhaps we’re getting the reward of sticking with our weapons and never altering.”
Blabbermouth: Individuals might also not know what to make out of your vocals. You do not sound like different progressive metallic singers.
Tom: “Yeah, I do not know what it’s. I’ve all the time sung the way in which I may. I’ve by no means placed on a persona; I am unable to try this. I play guitar to one of the best of my capacity as a result of that is the max I’ve inside me — the identical with vocals. I sound the way in which that I discuss, mainly. Some vocals you possibly can hear, ‘He talks like this, however he appears like that.’ That is bizarre for me. I contemplate myself extra like David Gilmour [PINK FLOYD] in that side. It is all concerning the music. I am not speaking concerning the guitar enjoying. [Laughs] I am speaking about his vocals. I would not need to examine myself to David Gilmour [on guitar].”
Blabbermouth: EVERGREY has a fairly good monitor file with ballads. “Wildfires” from the brand new album is one other good one.
Tom: “I believe I had the thought, ‘What if the solar fell down? How would we react?’ That was the inspiration to get going with the acoustic guitar. I even performed keyboards on it. [Laughs] That is additionally the factor that makes the album sound completely different. Guitars are performed by me, Johan [Niemann, bass], Jonas. Keys are performed by everybody. It provides one thing. I do not know what it provides, nevertheless it’s a freshness. However ‘Wildfires’ is a type of songs that, when it was accomplished, we thought it was stunning. It wanted to be on the finish of the album. We’re old-school; we prefer to take heed to the album from begin to end. It served as an amazing breather and you’ll hit play once more. And it additionally has a implausible fretless bass solo by Johan. It jogs my memory of [DON HENLEY‘s] ‘New York Minute’. That is what we ripped off.”
Blabbermouth: The subject material of “Wildfires” is becoming for the instances. How a lot of the final two years spilled over into the brand new album lyrically?
Tom: “Every album, even you set it within the context of alien abduction or being molested by the Catholic Church, we have all the time written concerning the human perspective. That’s primarily based on the place I discover myself in life on the time. Not saying that I used to be molested, however that is very a lot the case with the 2 final albums. It is my view of the world. It is my view on a world the place I really feel I do not belong. I really feel much less and fewer like I belong. It is turning into more and more extra hostile and vile and ruthless and egoistic. It is not one thing I need to pay ahead to my youngsters. Individuals right now, younger folks, particularly those that are usually not lucky sufficient to be well-educated or cannot afford to go to a college, are usually not educated in criticizing the media and the sources of data. If I’ve the battle to win, I need to say it is essential for teenagers to know who they’re, or younger folks. Discover out who you’re earlier than someone tells you who to be. All of the media and I am contributing by posting on Instagram and Fb, however that is the mentors right now. These large media corporations let you know what to purchase, eat, learn how to cry, what to chuckle at. Once you’re younger, it is tough. It is leisure blended in with quick access to data.