U - Hi Tommy! I must say it's great to hear you "rock out" with loud guitars again. Was this something you had in the back of your mind all of the time, when entering the studio?
TD - Hey Urban! My heart has always lied closer to the heavier music eventhough I'm of course a fan of westcoast and pop as well. When I decided to do this album I decided on two things, first that I wouldn't care so much about having a ton of big names like on the first Radioactive and second that I wanted it to really rock and kick ass.
U - Not only did you come up with some classy guitarwork and songmaterial. You also managed to make the very best out of the production. Who's your "mentor" anyway, or did you learn it the hard way?
TD - Thanks, I've been writing and recording for more than 20 years and I've been a studio owner for at least 15 years, with a big interest in production skills etc. These days I have a nice Pro Tools studio at home, so it's really easy for me to make things right by taking the time i need...actually I have so much experience doing this that it rarely takes that long anymore which is nice.
My mentors or main influences as producer and for sound is David Foster, Humberto Gatica, Bruce Swedien, Bob Clearmountain and Quincy Jones but anyone who does a good job becomes an influence on me. Since I work with so many styles I pick up ideas from all kinds of people.
U - I believe I wrote something like: "Goodbye to wimpy melodies and Hello to Rock'n'Roll again", in the review. Would you say this is the main difference, between "Yeah!" and "Ceremony of Innocence"?
TD - I guess the melodies aren't that different but the attitude in general is much harder. Overall the new album is simpler and in your face which I really like.
U - I guess you're more or less pleased with the outcome of "Yeah"? Any late regrets or mistakes???
TD - I've never been more happy with an album to be honest, if anyone asks me for one album that shows what i'm all about, I will give them this. There's always a little note, word or sound on every album you do, that could've been better... but i look at it in two ways, first of all it means I can still do better which is a good driving force, but then on the other hand music isn't about perfection, it's about feelings.
U - If you had to pick one song from the album to represent yourself and your sound with. Which one of them would you choose and why?
TD - I think i would pick "I Should Have Known Better" cause it features all elements of me and the album in one song.
U - If we're talking about some of the songs included here. The one's with Fergie Frederiksen is sometimes (in my opinion), very similar to his work with Toto. Especially the "Demon" track! Do you find any truth in this at all?
TD - Absolutely, I actually wrote Demon for Fergie from the start with a clear goal to make a very "Isolation" sounding song. That is something I normally don't do, but I couldn't help having a little fun. The first thing Fergie said when he heard it was "have you ever heard an album I did with Toto called Isolation?" HAHAHA!
U - "I Should Have Known Better" is all about...?
TD - Nothing personal or so, I just came up with the title cause it fit the melody really well. There are no lyrics about my life on this but 2 of Geir's songs, "Don't Give Up" and "Souls On Fire" where he wrote the lyrics about his life.
U - How did you get in touch with Steve Overland (FM), and why does he only sing lead on "Lies Feed On Lies"?
TD - Steve and I appear on the 'Boston Tribute' CD and I've always been a fan of his voice. When I was finishing the album I got a call from my good friend Khalil at Escape and he said that I should have Steve singing one song. He offered to help me ask him plus get me a studio etc. Steve agreed and did a very good job and I'm deeply honored to have him on this album.
I'd like to do more with Steve in the future and there are plans for a cool project called "Voices" for Escape where i will write all the music and singers like Steve, Chris Ousey (Heartland), Terry Brock (Strangeways, Phantom's Opera, Solo) etc. will write lyrics and melodies plus sing of course.
U - Overland should really be a multi-millionaire with a voice like that. How did the other singers respond to his performance? (one thing's for sure, he's still 'the voice')
TD - I agree, I know that Geir, Mikael Erlandsson and Chris Demming all reacted very well to his vocals and many reviewers have Steve's job as favorite on the album.
U - What's the main reason behind the use of several lead vocalists anyway? And would you ever consider to work with only one singer in the future? (under the Radioactive banner)
TD - Mainly because I'm not a singer myself and I love hearing a special type of voice for certain songs. Radioactive isn't a band but my personal project, like a hard rock version of a Quincy Jones album, so therefore I use a lot of cool people...I'm like a painter who is blessed with all of these amazing colours, who allow me to paint with them. But, I might very well just use one voice for a third Radioactive... only time will tell.
U - What the heck does the cover art mean then? And why do MTM "always" use the same bloke for this job? I find most of them to be pretty crappy anyway. :-)
TD - I got an email from Rainer Kalwitz last year, who told me that he was a fan and wanted to do a cover for me, I love his work and haven't had something like this on any of my albums before. I came up with the concept and he liked it...I've always been interested in UFO's, pyramids and most paranormal things, so it's fun for me to include it here. Most people have voted it one of the nicest covers of the year so I guess it's a matter of taste.
U - Did you or did you not "steal" the Radioactive name, from the Gene $immons' solo album? :-)
TD - I absolutely stole it from Gene's solo album, I'm a huge Kiss fan.
U - You've been playing on a lot of albums with a bunch of different artists, over the years. If we only talk about stuff you're not involved with as songwriter. Is there any recording you can look back at and be extra proud of?
TD - There's many but the "Fee Waybill" album that Richard Marx and Bruce Gaitsch produced with me, Bruce and Steve Lukather on guitars means the world to me as well as the "Guitars For Freedom II" album i did with Carlos Santana, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Steve Lukather, Mike Landau, Andy Summers etc was amazing... There's so many with all these legendary people that I sometimes have trouble understanding it myself.
U - And the most shitty session work you ever done, would have to be...?
TD - I played on lots of absolutely crappy albums and demos in the 80's, that I've done a good job of forgetting thank God :-). I'm happy about them now cause you learn from everything you do, but they sure sucked at the time:-).
U - You're also pretty much the man behind the great comeback of Jim Jidhed (ex-Alien). Did you write those songs originally with Jim in mind... or?
TD - I'm definently responsable for Jim doing this album, but actually making it was a 50/50 effort. A very good and learning experience! Jim had many of the songs for years and when he played them to me, I convinced him we had to do this album. I wrote the ballad "I Can't Go On" with Ricky Delin for "Sayit's" second album and Jim sang it there as well. We liked it a lot but wanted to make it with a better production this time. The other songs I wrote for this album cause we needed songs in those styles.
U - You co-wrote the song "Tills Jag Mötte Dig" for the Swedish leg of the European song contest this year. Mikael Erlandsson sang it and while it didn't reach the final, it must still have been only for the good? What about the response from the business people and music fans?
TD - It's been such a wonderful experience from day one and i'm looking at a gold, platinum and double platinum record on my wall right now as a result from it. So it's hard to not feel good about it:-). The fans have been 100% positive and we've gotten a lot of new work from it, so I'd do this again any day.
U - What else can we expect from Denander this year? Any new projects on the way?
TD - Many projects in the making as always:-), i'm just now producing the "Sweetwater" album for Atenzia, the new "Sayit" album for MTM, working with buddy Lars Chriss (Lions Share), Mats Olausson (Yngwie, Kamelot) and Andy Loos (Glory, Lions Share) on our Tykoon project, plus making final plans for 4-5 other big artists, that want me to produce them this year. Together with Chris Demming I have a song & production company called Connectunes and we're working with many things as well.
U - Foreigners always like to talk about the Swedish or the Scandinavian "sound". Is there a Swedish sound? Are you a part of it and what the heck does it mean to you???
TD - There's definently a Swedish (or scandinavian?) sound but i'm not sure how much i'm involved in it, cause my influences are generally more American. I really don't know what it is that makes foreigners think of it as a Swedish sound, so i guess we have to ask them:-).
U - There's so many stories you can tell about yourself and your work in the past. (see Denander's official site for all his work etc.) However, could you tell us the real story behind "Speedy Gonzales"? The band you formed with vocalist Thomas Vikstrom (ex-Talk Of The Town) & drummer Mats "Dalton" Dahlberg (ex-Dalton/Treat), back in 1990? The big question would be: What the heck did go wrong anyway? You guys had some serious stuff going on there for awhile? Did Dalton screw up things as usuall??? [:-)]. Didn't you have a "semi-famous" manager too?
TD - We started this band when Talk Of The Town broke up, Thomas and I decided it was time to put together a real kick ass heavy metal band. I had plans for a killer band but Thomas started talking about Dalton on drums, which I said no to... but he insisted and somehow I gave in which I totally regret now. To make a long and horrible story short, Thomas, Dalton and this idiot keyboard player that I thought was a close friend of mine, ended up screwing me and my girlfriend at the time over so bad, that I left the band and took all the music with me.
They tried to replace me but couldn't so the band broke up. It's really a big shame cause then band was great, except Dalton who was a rather crappy drummer. The manager was Anders Tengner, who is very well known in Sweden as journalist and TV personality (Okej, Rocket). Anders had gotten us serious interest from two major labels in USA and if the guys hadn't fucked this up, who knows what could have happend?. The only good thing was that i left and soon after got the whole Radioactive thing happening... so in hindsight I'm thankful for the crap they pulled...the title track from the first Radioactive is all about what happend.
U - Thanks for everything. If there's anything you'd like to say, add or promote. Please do:
TD - Just to give you guys a big thanks for all your great work and support...plus tell people to check out my website at the new address: www.tommy-denander.com
by: Urban "Wally" Wallström,