August 6th, 666
SOLAR DAWN - FROST-WORK - MIGHTY
SOLAR DAWN - EQUINOCTIUM - MIGHTY
With a release date of March 2002 Mighty Music recently launched the debut album of its latest hopefuls Solar Dawn. Being impressed with the Swedes' first release on Mighty Music, the demo-on-CD Frost-Work, and looking forward to the full length following months of delay, Ali "The Metallian" speaks with Solar Dawn guitarist and spokesperson Anders Edlund - 04.03.02
Anders, thank you for taking the time to chat. Can you go through your formation and history for the readers?
Oh, we've had many changes in the line-up and mostly as a result of lack of interest from members. We demand a bit effort if you're about to play in Solar Dawn. We started back in '97 under the moniker Jarawynja, but we changed it in 2000 because we didn't want to be mistaken with the American band Wynjara. We've released 2 demos/promos, The Festival Of Fools '98 and Desideratum '99. We then signed a deal with Mighty Music in 2000, released a MCD called Frost-Work in 2001 and recently we released Equinoctium our first full-length album.
How did the deal with Mighty Music come about?
They offered the best deal when we searched for a record contract. We had many positive reactions as well as offers but no one seemed to be able to give us a good/fair deal.
What about your many previous members. Speak more about your and their experiences and what they are doing now.
I played in a band called Vorhees in the early days. Christian (Alvestam-singer/bassist) is also a member of Unmoored. Henrik (Schonstrom-drummer) is a member of Traumatized. The only one in our present line-up who hasn't had a band before is second guitarist Andreas Mansson. We simply found him on the street banging his head in the gutter... he he (Writer's note: Mansson has a project called Stink-Bug). I don't know what our former members are doing right now or in what bands they're playing and I really don't care. I haven't got any contact with them actually!
What about Christian's many other bands (Sattyg, Evendim, Anduin, etc.)? And who in your band was in Dawn? What about C-Ment?
All of Christian's other bands are some sort of a project. The only REAL bands are Solar Dawn and Unmoored. You know he writes music in so many different genres from metal to pop, and I guess it's his way of separating them all from one another by calling them different names. No one in Solar Dawn has been a member of Dawn. Jocke Pettersson who played the drums on Equinoctium was a member of Dawn, but they only released one album as far as I know. So I don't get the point why Mighty Music always says that Solar Dawn features members from Dawn?! That's a big lie actually! Jocke was only a session drummer. C-Ment, well, that is a sort of disco/metal/pop project for a close friend and I. It only exists in summers though. Since we only got time to work with it in the summers when we are on holiday”... he he. It isn't serious at all.
Dawn had several albums to their name. Regardless, why did you release your demo on CD?
I don't know! It was Mighty Music that wanted to release it as a teaser for our full-length. I guess it was some kind of revenge because we didn't sign a deal including 3 albums with them... he he. No, I honestly don't know the exact reason why. Perhaps they wanted to make people aware of the name Solar Dawn as soon as possible? Looking back it seems it was quite a good idea. We have received superb response for both Frost-Work and Equinoctium this far!
How many albums have you signed for with Mighty Music then?
I guess one shouldn't tell people so I will say it like this: we didn't sign for 3 albums as MM wanted us to. We didn't want to be caught up for such a long time as 3 albums. Hope you are satisfied with that answer?!
Yes, that answers the question Anders so let us move on the current release. Please expand on Equinoctium both musically and vocally. What does the title mean?
Well, it's not a concept album lyrically or musically. We tried to take our music one step further and included some clean vocal parts as one of the main changes. We didn't want to do a Frost-Work #2. Lyrically we write almost about anything that affects us in one way or another. The title is an old English word for Equinox. I don't have a favourite song on the album because every song is important for its final result.
Let's stay with the current album. You have read my review of Equinoctium. In the review, while generally favourable, I decried the changes as negative. What is your reaction?
Well, it's always sad when you disappoint people who previously liked you because that's what hit me when reading through your review. I know we can't satisfy everybody with our music. But, as a musician, you have to try to develop the music as well as your personal skills. As I said earlier we didn't want to do another Frost-Work since that record is already done. For some it's suitable and for others it isn't. I think we've managed to advance one step further to a sound of our own. Otherwise I think the review was good. You surely have a journalistic side Ali.
Thank you for the kind words Anders. Sticking with Equinoctium, why did you re-record two demo songs for the full length?
To be honest with you it was the result of a big lack of time. Everything went so fast from when we'd signed the deal to when we had to enter the studio. Since Christian and I are both perfectionists it took too much time to write new material. You know, some bands are able to release two albums a year but we don't work that way. That's why we won't record a new album until spring 2003 earliest. This time we'll take our time to make an even better album than Equinoctium.
Since the guitarist brings up the future I take the opportunity to take him to task on the topic. During our last chat I was asking about the future more than anything else. Anders, what is your reaction?
If I remember correctly you were worried that we would do an 'Entombed': Go from (being) death metal to become a rock n roll band. I promised you that we will never do such a thing. We would end the band before doing such a thing! Or at least we wouldn't call ourselves Solar Dawn. That's important to know. Solar Dawn is associated with death metal! But I don't think you should worry. We've just begun our musical career!
Your At The Gates influences seem overt. Do you object to this assessment?
How come I'm not surprised by this question??... he he. I do not object, guilty as charged! People often say we are influenced by both ATG and In Flames. I do agree that our ATG influence is obvious but none of us is influenced by IF. Unfortunately, I guess, that if you play melodic death metal and come from Sweden, everybody thinks you are yet another IF-Clone! I'm a friend of Adrian Erlandsson, who used to handle the drums in ATG and I think their music was just SUPERB! But they stopped playing just at the right time. I think if they had played today, they wouldn't be so big as they've become since they quit. They left something with Slaughter Of The Soul: The wish among fans that they'd re-unite and make a come back!
I move to the line of questioning from the essence of the album to the presentation. The cover of the CD is rather different. It actually reminds me that - looking outside from Metallian Towers - spring is dawning. Can you expand on this?
It reminds me of the beautiful Swedish nature. I think it's a rather comfortable cover art, don't you think? The nature in Scandinavia is extremely beautiful - both in winter and summer and I think we should be proud of it. It's almost always a fact that you don't appreciate something that is so close to us. But we (Solar Dawn) do and that is the main reason we used that image. We also didn't want a typical death metal cover with dark colours and death or zombies etc.
I agree with your assessment regarding the Swedish nature reference. Let's talk about the lyrics, shall we. A song like Deicidal Beliefs isn't exactly run-of-the-mill text, is it? Are the lyrics reflective of your opinion? An old photo depicts Christian in a Deicide T- shirt. Are the Americans an influence?
Unfortunately I can't answer this question because Andreas and Christian write the lyrics. But I guess it is based on something that has affected them - not their personal beliefs! Deicide is a big source of influence for Christian. I have only listened to them since I first heard Once Upon The Cross. But I think they're extremely good. We are going to see them live in Stockholm at the end of March actually.
Well, a Deicide show never fails to be memorable - for one reason or another. But let us move from Deicide to Hypocrisy and the Tagtgren brothers. What are they like? While Tommy produced your album at the Abyss Studio Peter has a guest solo credit. They are like really ugly both of them - ever seen a troll? No, Peter does look like a living corpse or Zombie, but I guess it's the result of working 22 h/day! They're both really kind and care about the bands that record their albums in Abyss. They too want the final result to sound good. The production work went extremely well. Although we only had a week to finish the recording with the mix included. The album is the result of Tommy and us working almost 14 hours a day for a week. Peter played a solo on Vulturous Need since we felt something was missing in that song. We simply asked him and he thought the idea was really cool! How many channels does Abyss Studio have and how many did you use? It seems like you've managed to record quite a bit in one week with all the rhythm, backing vocals, etc. one can hear.
It's a gigantic rack! I don't know how many channels it has included but I think we used like 30-35 channels all in all! Yeah, we did record a lot of rhythm guitars - like 4 and 2 solos or something like that. The singing is also done in many steps. But of course, we were very effective in one single week.
The album is done and the outcome now available for the fans. Anders, can you please up-date the readers on the latest developments and news with the band?
Everything is moving normally. We are writing material for the next full length! We are (also) trying to find management that can deal with such things as tour-bookings. We haven't found a suitable management at the moment. We are also waiting for the release through Candlelight in Canada and the States.
Is there a date? What are your expectations for the release in North America?
I don't know what to expect from Candlelight! We simply have to wait and see. Of course it would be great to play some gigs or festivals in N. America but we haven't heard anything from the States, yet! I hope it's merely a matter of time before we do. There is no date as far as I know but I guess it should be out in late March or beginning of April.
Anders is referring to a licensing agreement between Mighty Music and Candlelight for North America. Speaking of record companies I know that a while ago you mentioned establishing Mighty Music Sweden?
Unfortunately that is a closed chapter now. I didn't have the time to help Danish MM out since I'm a student now at a University and I don't have the time needed to do a good job. But perhaps I will open it up again in the future. I don't know!
Speaking of appreciation, what is your assessment of life in Sweden? How politically aware are you?
We have a comfortable life here in Sweden. We work from 8:00 to 17:00 or study or something else. I guess it's not different from a normal life in Canada. But with one difference”¦. we don't have those gigantic Cities like Toronto, Montreal etc. You know, even when you are in Stockholm you get the feeling of being in a small town. I'm not into politics at all. They promise a lot of things and earn big salaries but they barely know how to wipe their own asses at the toilet (censored?!) Politics sucks to be honest with you!
No, no censorship here Anders. Personally though there is this lingering suspicion here that government-bashing is promoted by corporations which like nothing more than have governments off their backs. Regardless, where in Sweden are you? Is there a local band you like or recommend? Is there a scene?
I live in a small town called Skövde. It's situated about 150 km Northeast of Gothenburg. There isn't a scene in our hometown but it's beginning to develop. I guess we've have had some sort of influence on the kids in that regard. That's really fun (to see). Unmoored (featuring singer/bassist Alvestam) is from our hometown and I can really recommend them. They had a deal with the Singaporean label Pulverised Records. I can't recall any more known bands actually. Oh yes! Shotgun Messiah was popular in the late 80's and came from our hometown as well.
You are a student. What do you study and why?
I'm studying media. Like TV-production, Radio Production, Web production you name it! I began studying because I used to work at the Volvo Foundry where they make ground engines for Volvo lorries and to be honest with you I think it sucked big time. (I was) always tired, started work at 5:30 in the morning, etc. I was tired of my entire living and had to do something else, something that made m e feel useful again.
With that Anders Edlund says goodbye as he muses about an imminent university exam. Fans can look for Equinoctium in stores and will find the band's web site at www.solardawn.cjb.net