CCD aka Compulsive Composing Disorder and their second album "Winter In Paradise". The new release from Swedish rocker Robin Vagh (Vagh, Optimystical) sees the man and his accomplicies dailing up the old-school well known sound of the past with a brand new vocalist. While the debut, Mindfuckness, was all about roaring metal sounds, Winter In Paradise is held together by intense compositions. Fighting poor health and overall poor living standard, it's not always easy to believe in the Swedish society or Paradise, but the power of Music (and sport) get the rockers going and CCD is bringing us their best album up to date. Find out more about the album and the man. Here's ROBIN VAGH:
So, what's it like, 'Winter In Paradise', if you have Compulsive Composing Disorder?
CCD is the least of my problems today. I think society is getting colder and colder and due to my bad health I have experienced the sector of health and care, and the problems within them. But the title “Winter in paradise” also is connected to the fact that religion seems to lose weight in the society. Eden has frozen… New gods have risen…
Several musicians are gone and replaced since your debut. Why the drastic change?
If you mean since CCD-debut “Mindfuckness” there's only one change. But if you mean since the VAGH-debut almost 20 years ago I don't see it as that drastic. It's projects with a lot of time in between. I have never known if the current release is gonna be the last one… You hook up with different people throughout your life, but bassplayer Jan-Åke Jönsson is still with me and lyricist Björn Ledelius is back with the gang you could say. He wrote some lyrics especially on VAGH “Into the Future zone”.
I can hear more hooks and "Yngwie" rock on Winter In Paradise. What influences did the album have, if any?
I think it’s a development of things, also technical. You don’t have to compromise that much if you don’t need to book expensive studios for everything. Today I can work for several months writing and preproducing songs. Another fact is that I have come across some fantastic musicians to fulfill my dreams and plans for the songs. Jay Matharu and Lars Granat are great guitar players that´s making things that fits the material well. They have also inspired me to develop my own guitar playing. Jan-åke is a skillful bassist always ready to come up with solid ideas for the songs. And also though I´m still a fan of 80´s metal, I have gotten some critics for being so midtempo all through my albums. Winter in Paradise is a riff-based album with a lot of energy. A little bit faster, but my main influences are 70 and 80 hard rock and metal. Deep Purple, Scorpions, Judas Priest etc etc
How would you describe vocalist Peter Highmountain in comparision to Niklas Hult (singer on your debut album)
It's hard to compare when the material is a bit different, but I think Niklas has a bit more power and bottom in his voice, while Peter has a little bit more clear voice with an edge. I think they both suite their albums perfect. I´m really glad finding Peter in a late stage of working with Winter in Paradise. As a matter of fact, you could say he saved this project. It was almost put to sleep last summer, when we´re experienced problems finding a singer. That´s the beauty of the project-form. You don’t have any contracts to release a new album.
Tell us something about the overall lyrics on the album. What inspired you to write about narcissism and influencers?
All songs are about religion or the lack of religion. What impact the church had and not have anymore… There are some lyrics ´bout empty churches and the new kind of worship people of today turn to. They follow reality stars, influencers, mammon etc, getting lucky on their kind a “Shop til you drop-philosophy”.
After all the band/project albums. How difficult is it to come up with new and different ideas?
It´s pretty hard, in periods. I write songs in other genres as well and I like to find some crossovers due to sound and arrangements. Since I grew up with AOR, NWoBHM, Scandirock, the Hair band-era and also a bit of progressive metal, obviously that makes the bank of ideas bigger to choose from. I´m also that lucky to be in my mid 50´s and I have “some” old material in store that I every now and then can rearrange and bring to new life.
You're not ever afraid to change around your sound/style too much? (regarding: expectations)
I don’t think there´s any expectations since we don’t know ourselves if there´s gonna be a next album or not. I just call upon my friends when I think I´ve got material for another album. But as far as the disorder will remain there probably will be more songs composed. The biggest threat is my health.- for example I have lost the sensitivity in my fingers, especially left hand, and that makes it hard to play the guitar as I want. We´ll have to see how fast the degeneration goes…
Is it difficult to compete with the overkill of bands/albums on internet? To break through the zombie horde and the massive waves of rock?
Yes, I think it´s almost impossible for a not touring project to reach that big fanbase. I´m too old for all that social medias such as Insta, snapchat, twitter etc… I know what it is and how it works, but I don’t wanna spend time on that. You have to be there to reach new listeners. We had a facebook group for a while, but it was almost impossible to get some action and activities going.
You're also the producer of the album at your own studio. What's the secret behind a good production?
I´m not really the right person to ask, but over the years I have learned how I want it to sound. I think you have to listen, listen and listen. And obviously there are some ground rules of how to record and not overdo it, not try to produce the song before everything is in place. And when you have adjusted some things you just have to let it go. Then you contact experienced engineers such as Ricardo Borges at Fascination Street Studios and he will do his magic together with Tony Lindgren on mixing and mastering the album. They did a great job and that is one of the reasons I´m more pleased than ever with the production, but there are some errors in the process that I don’t think any listener will notice since they don´t know how it was meant to sound ??
Are you the workaholic/control freak? (music-wise)
Yeah, music really gives me energy. It has also been good therapy this last years when my health has gotten worse. It´s good fun to create something that ends up on an album or video or something long lasting. As I said I also write songs in other genres that starting to make some noise. And regarding the control freak; yeah, if you have a vision you have to get involved. I think it´s easier in a project where there´s often a mastermind writing the songs, finding musicians, paying for everything. You have to be in control, through the years I have tried to give people total freedom, but to be honest, they often fail to deliver. Time is often an issue. But I don’t tell musicians how to play, I give them a demo and the freedom to perform as they want. It´s very seldom an issue about how and what they play.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do
Fuck that mindfulness. All hail to Mindfuckness! Be proud of your differences, all you disorders out there… ROBIN VAGH
INTERVIEW by: Urban Wally Wallstrom
(c) 2019 RockUnited.Com