Op het Power Prog & Metal Fest te Mons/Bergen konden we de progressive metalband Evergrey interviewen.
Zanger Tom Englund en bassist Johan Niemann stonden ons te woord.
Hi! How are you today, glad to play here at PPM Fest?
Englund: Very good, yeah absolutely.
Did you know the festival already?
Englund: We know Tony, the organizer. His band was opening for Evergrey once. And so, that’s how we got here. We didn’t know it was this big.
The Power Prog & Metal Fest seems to be a perfect festival for you guys to fit in. How do you think about that?
Englund: Yeah, it seems great for us. Many cool bands as well. I haven’t really had the chance yet to check any bands yet. I wanna check out Accept…
Any other Belgian festivals you’re attending this summer?
Englund: Not this summer no, this summer we’re doing not so much. Two years ago we did Graspop, so the people who are here are lucky, haha.
This may be a cliché question, but I’m wondering which of the 2 you prefer: playing at a festival like this or rather in a smaller venue?
Englund: If it’s a smaller packed venue, then I prefer that. Because these festivals are not your audience only, but it is also a great challenge. So yeah you get a cliché answer as well. Both are great, or both can suck, too. You can perform for 30.000 people and have a shitty day, or play your own gig and suck.
Any special stuff we can expect this evening or will it just be a kick-ass Evergrey show like usual?
Niemann: We’re always kick ass, so like usual, haha.
Englund: I mean, that’s what Evergrey is about. We don’t really like to blow things up. We’ve always let the music talk for us, so I guess that’s what everybody is here for.
Niemann: So we’ll kick as much ass as possible for sure, that we can do.
The lyrics from Evergrey are always very emotional. Where does this inspiration come from?
Englund: Like every emotion, from the inside. Everything that I write about in the lyrics is about things that happened to me or to people around me, or something that, you know, inspired me in such a way that it was grand enough to include in my music.
You are pretty big in the progressive metal world. Are there bands that inspired you in this genre?
Englund: Not as far as writing music for Evergrey goes. When we started out we wanted to be Dream Theater, but we quickly realized that we couldn’t play like them so we gave up that thought… and started drinking and have fun, haha! But there are of course a lot of bands that had an influence on us and probably unconsciously, like Iron Maiden. Stuff like that. Maybe not for writing the same kind of music but it inspired us to play, when we started.
What is your favorite metal album and did this have any impact on your musical career?
Englund: Ow, tought question…
Niemann: I have one… Operation Mindcrime [album van Queensrÿche]. This is for sure an album that has been really inspiring. And when I met Geoff Tate, actually at Graspop we met him, the circle was full.
Englund: And then downwards, haha!
Englund: Somewhere in Time [album van Iron Maiden]. Fucking great album. Especially the choruses. That records is… Wow! I listen to it once a week still. Still one of their absolute best records.
If you would do a cover, which song would that be and why?
Englund: We did one of Somewhere in Time called Wasted years, acoustic. I think it’s on Youtube, you should check it out!
Is anything like that planned tonight, something acoustic?
Niemann: Well, you can expect it but you won’t get it, haha.
How important are number of albums sold and chart positions to you?
Englund: That’s what we live of so of course it’s important, but you know, speaking about the last five years or so it has sort of become impossible to live of the album sales. Before you could get an advance for 150.000 Euros and now you can get it for a lollipop… You have to make money another way, like merchandise. But of course it’s important, the more albums you sell, the more people that come to your show. And chart positions always give you an entry into the pop culture out there, reaching more people, a bit more average.
Evergrey released a best-off album not so long ago called Decade and a Half. Was this your own idea or more obligated by the label?
Englund: It was not our own idea. If it would have been our own idea, it would have been named a worst-off, haha.
Niemann: Evergrey, the brown album, haha.
And did you pick the songs yourself?
Englund: Yeah I picked them myself. I also made the layout with all the pictures, it shows us from the beginning until now. Only for that alone the fans should buy it, it’s really funny.
What are the next plans, already working on a new album, touring further after PPM Fest?
Englund: The next plan is to play this show and then we don’t know. We have other shows that we will do. We played a lot this last tour, something like a 150 shows.
That must have been quite heavy, touring that much?
Englund: Yeah, we had some issues as well like stolen gear and we were tired. We have plans but it doesn’t go further than just plans.
When watching some photos on Facebook for example posted during previous tours, a lot of crazy stuff seems to happen sometimes. What’s the weirdest thing that ever happened off stage?
Englund: It must have been when we forgot Marcus and Rikard in Denmark and we took a boat to Germany. So they called us while we were in Germany while they were in Denmark in their shorts, winter times, they were freezing their ass off, almost fucking dying. So they called “Where the fuck are you?!” “Yeah we are in Germany, where are you? “We’re in Denmark!” “What the fuck are you doing in Denmark?”… So we sent our drum tech to go get them and on the boat, the telephone died, so we didn’t know where they were.
To end this interview, can you describe Evergrey in 3 words?
Englund: Dark melodic metal. Or great, greater, the best. Or worse, worser, worst. Something like that, aww you can pick your choice. Thank you.
Thank you for this interview.