RockUnited - What lays behind the title "Ordinary Just Won't Do", you feel there's a certain pressure to record something extravaganza and flashy? :-)

Anders Rydholm - It seems like coming up with good titles is much harder than to write and record the songs. We have always tried to use humour and irony in both our lyrics and album titles, but I'm afraid that some people miss that and take it seriously instead. We have just tried to find a title in the same vein as the two previous ones. I like "ordinary just won't do" since much in our music is a little bit over the edge with all those high vocals and lots of background vocals. That's not ordinary anymore.

RU -I've got the next album title for ya' right here: "Over-The-Top" ;-)

AR - "View from the top" is pretty close to your suggestion so I think we've got it covered.

RU -The new CD is slightly different from previous ones. Do you feel it's important to continue with your "trademark" music, or even more to widen the horizon with new influences and styles.

AR - We have got some remarks in a couple of review that this album is too heavy and that we should stick to the style of our last albums. I find that so narrow and boring. I think that it's important to keep our trademark but for heavens sake you must be allowed some musical freedom. I don't want to write the same song over and over again and I never will.

RU - Not that it ever stopped AC/DC from belting out the same old melodies for the last 30 years.

AR - AC/DC are great and in some peculiar way they get away with writing the same kind of songs over and over again. Maybe because they are so down to earth and basic. I fight not to repeat myself and still I probably do it much to often despite that I am aware of it. But I have to do what's right for me and I can't look what at what over people think or wants me to do.

RU - With the previous two questions in mind, what about fans, friends, and not to forget, press reactions so far?

AR - Fans and friends have shown really great reactions to the latest album. Many reviewers as well. There are a few that think that we have gone too far and that we should get back right away to do our old thing. We ourselves are very proud over the album and think that it's a big step forward for the band. That's the most important thing. Still we think that we could develop our concept a little bit further. We don't feel that we could close done our little band at the spot.

RU - You must let us know about the story behind the track "1982".

AR - To be honest there's no story. That just a good year in the heydays of our lives. We were young and everything was possible.

RU - What's "Devil's Advocate" about then? Or perhaps I should ask whom?

AR - It's not about a specific person more of a way of living. People are get burned out so early in their lives. Money and abuse takes over and becomes the Devil's advocate. That is what I am trying to say.

RU - I've noticed that you're not really into writing lyrics. The question would obviously have to be why?

AR - It takes too long. I have problems to find anything to write about and I think that it's so boring. I end up writing lyrics for the songs Ola isn't interested in writing. Then I have to come up with something just so that we could record the song. Lyrics is always the last thing to be done for our songs. Usually everything is already recorded before we get lyrics to the song.

RU - Steve Overland (FM) and Chris Ousey (Heartland), helps out with lyrics on a couple of songs each. How did that happen anyway?

AR - Ola Karlsson divorced his wife and during that period he had no interest what so ever to write any lyrics. They wanted to move on and didn't know for how long this period of Ola would last. Khalil Turk of Escape Music then put us in touch with some other Escape artists that helped us to write lyrics for the first six written songs of the album. When Ola started to feel a little bit better he began writing again. But still there are traces of his divorce in his lyrics (New beginning, Heaven or hell). But I think that it's good to work a with other people it expands the horizon a little bit.

RU - You've arranged, recorded, produced, and written most of Grand Illusion's material. You obviously like to have total control over everything in your life? :-)

AR - I am a control freak but the other guys are not so much into writing and arranging. If I hadn't been pushing. Nothing at all would be happening. That's for sure. To be honest I think that I have spoiled the guys a little bit.

RU - Are you really *that* much into Styx as the band name may suggest?

AR - I like Styx from the period of 1978 - 1982 that started with "Pieces of Eight". But they have never been my main act. Grand Illusion is just a name and the only thing I think that we have in common with Styx is that they named a record Grand Illusion (It's not one of their better albums in my ears). Many people put us very close to Styx just because of our name and we ourselves can't see that there are a close musical connection between Styx and us.

RU - I've also said the you guys have some "ABBA" influences in your music, if you get my drift? Not that you *sound* exactly like them, but there's still something in the similar approach to songwriting or harmonies? Would that be completely off target and dead wrong???

AR - I think that there are a lot of Swedish influences in our music and ABBA is one of them. They had a big focus on melody and that's my main focus as well. But I think that if you listen closely to my music you could also hear some Sweet, Queen and Giant influences. You get influences all the time and it ends up in the music you write and the way you arrange your music.

RU - How would you describe the difference between the two vocalists Peter Sundell & Per Svensson. Register and soundwise.

AR - Peter has extremely high natural voice and a lot of power. His voice is not so low and he sing best when the melody is in a higher range. He's got both a softer, more clean voice, and a real rock voice. He is very focused and controlled on everything he's doing and that's the secret behind his incredible high pitched notes. Countless hours of practise, he now sings notes that very few are able to hit. Doing background vocals with Peter and Per is very easy, they pick up the parts right away. None of the songs on this album has taken more than 5 hours to record background vocals for.

Per has a great musical talent but is a little bit lazy. He sings from ultra low to a pretty high normal voice and than he adds a very strong and clear falsetto that is very high as well. He is also very fast on picking up parts and could control his voice extremely well.

RU - Would you say that Grand Illusion is mostly a studio project, or will you be able to perform any more live dates anytime soon?

AR - It used to be a studio group but we played live at our release party last Saturday and we are looking for more gigs. So we are trying to change into a live group as well. We got a really great response from the live gigs we have done so far.

RU - Your opinion about the hardrock genre of today. Are you into Nu-Metal or anything post 1989? :-)

AR - For me music has to have a melody and that excludes a lot of heavy metal acts. One I do like is Nightwish that has a lot of melody in their songs.

RU - Anything you fancy from the others acts & releases at Escape Music?

AR - Steve Overland is a great singer and I think that you will like his new Ladder Album that sounds very good. I have also helped Heartland producing their vocals for the next album and it sounds good. Chris Ousey was over In Sweden for a week and Per and Peter helped out with some background vocals.

Thanks for everything, if there's anything you'd like to say, add, or promote, please do:

AR - I just hope that people could have a little more open mind to music and not set labels on everything. I like albums that doesn't sound the same all of the time and I hope that we'll see more of that in the future, instead of this narrow minded thinking many groups put out nowadays. Everything doesn't have to sound the same. Enjoy the music instead.
Grand Illusion's site
Interview by Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,