"All About The Album - 15 Questions" - a brand new section at the RockUnited site where any recording artist with an recently released CD is confronted with 'album' questions (15 of them, duh!). If you'd like to have your material up here, email: urban "at" rockunited.com (simply replace "at" with your standard @ )
OVERDRIVE - The Swedish band was formed back in 1980 and the line up has been consistent since their initial formation, with the exception of vocalist Per "PerilOz" Karlsson who came onboard for the reunion in 2003. "Angelmaker" is the spanking new album and lyrically it deals with a variety of topics, from catholic priests, vampires and Indians to psychopaths and warnings of our world going down the drain. The title track tells the gruesome story of the Swedish "angelmakers". No doubt a very scary story. Speaking of scary, there's a cover of, "I Know There's Something Going On", written by Russ Ballard and originally recorded by Frida from ABBA in 1982. Just kidding... I actually enjoy the original a LOT!! Very catchy schtuff!!! Here to tell us more about "Angelmaker - the album", the guitarist and main character (you may also recognize him from Locomotive Breath, as journalist, and author of the book(s): 'The Encyclopedia Of Swedish Hard Rock & Heavy Metal), here's the excellent six-string bender,: Mr. JANNE STARK...
How has the reaction to your latest CD been?
It has been totally outstanding! We're really positively surprised. Some have called it our best album ever, which feels like a big rewards after all the work we put into it!
How long did this CD take to make from start to finish, recording-wise?
We started working on the album late 2008. At first I wrote a couple of tracks which kinda set the pace and approach we wanted, then we all started writing. This time we wanted to write all new and fresh material, as opposed to "Let The Metal Do The Talking" where half the tracks were written back in the eighties. We kept on writing and in February 2010 we had around 25 tracks to choose from. We selected 18 which we recorded, and in May 2010 we started rehearsals and then recording. We wanted to take it slow and get it right. The remaining 6 tracks will be used on a vinyl album entitled "The Angelmaker's Son" which is planned to be released in March in a limited edition.
What kind of 'sound', production wise, did you have in the back of your mind, prior to entering the studio?
We wanted it to sound quite classic, but still fresh. We actually had a couple of CDs we liked the sounds of and played some them to Pelle Saether to give an idea of what we wanted. One was Bombay Black's album "Psycho Magnet", where we liked the drum sound for instance.
What kind of input did the producer have during the process?
Well, this album I actually acted as producer. Producing is not only about setting a sound. It's so much more. Keeping a budget, making sure everything gets recorded in time, making sure all stuff is there, having an overall view of the album, the artwork and the entire project. As an engineer Pelle Saether is a very straight ahead guy who tells it like it is. If he thinks something sucks, he damn well says it in your face. I really like his approach and we get along very well.
And are you pleased with the final outcome? (sound - production wise)
Yes, very much so! It turned out just the way, or even better actually, than we had hoped! Also, as we had so much material to choose from, I think we managed get a really good flow on the album!
Did the producer (you) use any (weird) experimental miking and/or recording techniques?
The recording was a bit scattered location-wise. At first we recorded the drums in Sound Palace Studio using Johan Blomström (who mixed our last album). We recorded the drums and rough guitars. No oddities there. After that I recorded all the rhythm guitars in my studio. I used a Hughes & Kettner Trilogy head and a 4x12 Hughes & Kettner cab with Vintage 30s. I miked it with just one SM57 in the centre of one of the speakers. I tried all four, but found one sounded the best. I also used a Hot Plate between the head and speaker so I could crank the amp up real loud and get the tubes glowing, but without bringing the walls down (it acts as a resistor). I actually used a Lehle P-Split and split the signal and also recorded a clean signal just in case we wanted to re-amp the guitar, but it sounded so good we didn't have to. I also used an Orange Tiny Terror in some spots (through the same speaker).
Guitar-wise I mainly used my True Temperament fretted Gibson Les Paul in one speaker and either my True Temperament Strat or my Gibson Explorer 76 Reissue in the other, depending on what type of tone blend I was looking for. I actually used my Greg Bennett mini Flying V (tuned to A) in one spot when I couldn't lay down the upper harmony with my regular guitar. Not much effects, besides an Xotic Effects BB Pre-amp, which I used to kinda tip it over the edge sometimes (mainly in solos) and a Dunlop Cry Baby Wah. I also used my Sound Groove Vibe, and outstanding univibe clone built by The Toad in Rochester. Kjell recorded his stuff in his own studio and Kenth recorded the bass just a line-in and then used an amp-plug when mixing. I also recorded some of the bass in the same manner, using my old Peavey T40 bass.
How did you go on about capturing your 'live sound' in the studio, or perhaps you didn't...
I actually did. The rig I used to record, which I described earlier, is exactly the same I use live. I like the tone and wanted to get the same tone in the studio. When I record I also strive to play and record the entire song through. I don't want there to be a lot of clips as I feel the flow gets lost. It's the same with my solos. I mostly start to improvise, then find some things I like which I use. I may do a few takes an get a solo I like. After that I record the entire solo in one take. Sometimes it's close to what I "constructed", sometimes only bits of the original are there. It's all about capturing the feel and tone.
Please inform us about your favourite songs and lyrical highlights and why?
For me I think "In Gut We Trust", musically because it's a pretty catchy tune and lyrically I wrote after reading an article about yet another new electronic device we didn't even know we couldn't live without. Sometimes it's like - Come on! Think!! Use your gut and stop over analyzing and trusting everything you read, hear or see. I also think adding the distortion to the chorus made it sound a lot more raw and brutal. Another one would be the title track. Me and my girlfriend were watching a movie and there was this old woman at a convent that came and took a new born baby away from its mother. My girlfriend said it was an angelmaker. I looked it up and stumbled upon a pretty gruesome story about women in Sweden, in the late 1800s-early 1900s, who would adopt children born out of wedlock for money just to kill them. The last one was convicted in 1927.
Any overall theme of mood that you're trying to capture while writing songs?
When I write music it mostly happen when I noodle around on my guitar. I can't just sit down and "write". I always have my Pod XT connected to ProTools, so whenever I find a riff I like, I immediately record it. I then either keep working on it or return to it later on. Then I try to make the lyrical theme fit the song, it should be a complete package. Some of the lyrics to my songs are written by our singer and he of course works in the same way. In some cases we both wrote lyrics to the same song, and picked the ones we felt worked the best. We don't have a problem killing our darlings in that sense. There's not really a common theme or mood, it all depends on what mood I'm in and what mood the song creates and craves.
Does your vision for coming up with music get affected at all by time?
Well, it depends a bit what you mean. I don't think my writing has changed that much during the years. I get the same kick when I find a riff I like and manage to make it into a song. I still get the same kick out of hearing a great song, too. I mean the dream of becoming a big ass rock star slowly faded during the years, but I still feel the same love and joy for heavy rock and playing guitar. That never fades!
Did the record company interfere with anything on your "sound" and songs?
Nope, not at all. We recorded the album ourselves, selected the songs using a listening panel of around 15 people and delivered a finished album to the label. Fortunately they liked it!
Are there any 'crazy' behind the scenes anecdotes from these sessions that you can share with us?
Haha, I would love to be able tell you a lot of crazy things, but I'm afraid this recording was quite uneventful. There were some situations where panic was in the air as files were missing and things didn't get done as planned, but apart from that there were no major fuck-ups. When we were mixing we brought some cases of beer, but ended up the last night before going home finding we hadn't even touched them because we'd been working all the time! What a bunch of crazy rock stars we are! We don't even have time for drugs!
How would you describe the sound of your new CD to any potential new fan?
I'd say it's classic heavy metal in the old school of Maiden, Riot, Priest and Iron Maiden but with a personal touch.
Who are your influences and heroes? (music-wise)
Since four of us are old farts we grew up with the 70s hard rock and bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple etc. Our singer, Per, was born around the time we did our first release and thus have a different background, more in the vein of Iron Maiden, but also Black Sabbath. For me personally I grew up listening to guitarists and bands like Leslie West (Mountain), Snuffy Walden (Stray Dog), Ronnie Montrose, Pat Travers and Michael Schenker, but later on I also got inspired by people like Ty Tabor (King's X), Mike Slamer, Randy Rhoads etc.
If there's anything you'd like to add, say, please do:
We'd of course like to get out and play as many shows and festivals as possible, so keep voting for us! If you want us, we'll be
Interview by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom,