Tom S. Englund (Evergrey) interviewed

What makes Tom tick? You’ve been doing Evergrey for more than 15 years now.Tom S. Englund: I don’t know, man. Must be as simple as the love for creating music and music in general. That and, of course, travelling the world numerous times as a result of the chords I play and write of course feel great when you look at it like that.

Do you ever see yourself in a different music role? Songwriter for other artists or producer? Tom S. Englund: Yeah. That is something I have already done both as the owner of a studio once as well as doing different projects and music for many different type of settings be it commercials for TV or something else.

I asked the previous questions because I can definitely see “Wrong”, for example, working with a Christina Aguilera or P!nk vocal. The hook is there. The lyrics are there. Tom S. Englund: Well first, thanks! That is a real compliment. You just have to be in the right place at the right time to get lucky enough getting a song onto a major artist like that. In our small ‘metal world’ chances of having a number one hit is slim to none.

How is the line-up different now that you don’t have Jonas Ekdahl, Henrik Danhage and Jari Kainulainen? You lost songwriters, which I’m sure made you a little nervous. Tom S. Englund: Of course, me and Rik [Zander; keyboards] were nervous. Who wouldn’t be? We were most nervous about if we could write songs on our own. Even if I wrote most since forever, the other guys’ impact have always been extremely important. So, when we released [Glorious Collision to] fantastic reviews and fan-responses, we were relieved.

What was your primary motivator going into Glorious Collision? Do motivators differ album to album? I mean, you contractually bound to deliver music, but I’m curious what personal factors go into making an Evergrey album at this point. Tom S. Englund: Yeah, as I said, we just made music to see if we could to start with. Then, when we felt confident enough I guess some sort of childish revenge thoughts got in there as well. But now it’s like any other album that we still are very proud of having made.

Evergrey’s always has had a melancholic angle to the music. What I’m trying to say is Evergrey isn’t just a Helloween or Maiden clone. There’s a soul behind it rather than a few key records by bands from the ‘80s. What do you attribute this to? Tom S. Englund: That is hard to answer with a simple correct answer. I think it has to do with everything from my upbringing to the fact that my voice sounds the way it does. Then, of course, the lyrics play a important role in giving it a special feel.

Do you have a favorite track now that the album’s lived with you for the better part of 2011. Tom S. Englund: Favorite to play live is “Frozen”. On the album, I would say “The Phantom Letters”.

I think your voice is different from other heavy metal singers. A little bit of soul and rawness in there. How do you think you’ve changed as a vocalist since, say, The Dark Discovery? Tom S. Englund: Well, since I started singing three weeks before the recording of the first album I would hope I have gotten a bit better then of course the knowledge of how to write melodies and lyrics have grown on me as well!

The production on Glorious Collision is very rich and warm. Was that a goal going into the record sessions for the album? Tom S. Englund: The goal for this album would have been to get each song to sound exactly as it needed to sound. Before we have more worried about the overall sound and sort of base everything on the same sounds. On this album we have really worked on each song. Also the drums are something we put a lot of work on. Since we didn’t use any triggers there was a lot of emphasis put on the microphone technique.

I particularly like the drum sound. I know robo-perfect drum sounds are preferred at the moment, but there’s also a counter-movement. Like people recording drums that, well, sound like drums. Tom S. Englund: Yeah, that was our major intention too. The kids need to know how drums sound for real. Otherwise, they will be so disappointed when they get their own first kit.

How was your stateside headlining tour, in retrospect? Tom S. Englund: We have had a great time and with two Texan dates left the overall impressions are that we have started to get the Evergrey-ball rolling again. We had been away for six years and thus in some places the turnout was not fantastic. But for the most places it was really great and to know that the fans are still is extremely rewarding.

I caught the Philly date. I was so impressed I said to a friend of mine, “Evergrey would be a major contender in the states if they had a few high profile supporting slots.” The fans in attendance knew all the lyrics, sung along with you, they were passionate. Tom S. Englund: Yeah, that is pretty much our view on things as well. We need to tour with a band of Dream Theater’s size, maybe Opeth or even Avenged Sevenfold. To show people what we are about ’cause I think many people have a preconceived view on us that not necessarily is true. We are at least aiming to convert as many as possible.

** Evergrey's new album, Glorious Collision, is out now on SPV Records. Order it HERE.

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