EVERGREY - Tom S. Englund

\r\nGiven the chance by the release of their astonishing new album TORN Elena Mihailidou of Metalzone.gr had the chance to talk with EVERGREY’s mastermind Tom S. Englund. Tom talks about the new album, their inspiration, their new label, their supporting appearance on Whitesnake, how different this album is and generally what makes EVERGREY so unique.\r\n

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\r\nMetalzone: We’ve got Tom Englund from Evergrey on the other end of the line- welcome in Metalzone Tom.
\r\nTom:
Thank you very much
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\r\nMetalzone: Let’s begin by your latest release TORN. Tell me a few things about the production, the recording, the inspiration how did it all end up to be TORN?
\r\nTom:
I think we started writing quite early for this album. As soon as we got home after an eastern European tour. Our guitar player Henrik, also from our friends in In Flames that he helped out on their American Tour. So he went and did that and started writing some riffs here and there for the new album so we just kept on writing and that was one and a half years ago. Then Henrik came hope and we just kept on writing, we did some other tours and kept on writing in between those, and.. Then what happened, we finished and we decided we are going to record it for a shorter amount of time than we usually do because we wanted to keep that sort of stressed edge to it all and it turned out to be a good thing for us. To feel the pressure even though we had our own studio and all we knew we had to go out and do all these recording we had to do that day. So that’s what we did and I think we had the most fun ever recording during this album, it was a cool thing and it came out on the album as well so…
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\r\nMetalzone: You took a leap of faith between Monday Morning Apocalypse and TORN. I mean being left without a record deal and still keep writing and then trying to strike a record deal- how was that?
\r\nTom:
That is just the thing it was not like we were left without a record deal. We had 100 offers from different record labels but we didn’t want to decide to stay on Inside Out first of all, we wanted to do something different. And secondly we said that if we’re going to write a new contract with a new record label we wanted to make sure it’s the best contract ever written for us. So that’s why it took so long. We negotiated first with 20 different labels and then we had 10 left and then 5 left and than 3 left and in the end SPV was the one who stood up to our demands and made them happen. But it took some time I think we negotiated with SPV for 8 months alone. But now today we’re very happy. Filthy rich! (laughs)
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\r\nMetalzone: Do you feel that this record label will be able to take you a step further? Maybe give you more coverage and maybe more promotion?
\r\nTom:
I don’t know you should know that better than me. Do you feel so?
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\r\nMetalzone: I think so yes, that’s why I’m asking.
\r\nTom:
Already we have sold out on our limited edition. That’s something that would take a couple of months for us to do but we sold out before even the album was released so. And it is 20.000 copies and we entered on 4th place in Swedish album chart last week and we entered in German charts so things are going really well so far. We’re so long in this game now so we know things can turn in a second so we just hope that it’s going to keep on going and we’ll be able to come out and meet all our fans. That’s why we do this so we can earn enough money so we can make another album.
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\r\nMetalzone: Tom, I was wondering, about the lyrics, they are all so.. I don’t know sometimes I feel that they’re actually choking me, so melancholic and they draw you inside a different world. Tell us a few things about the lyrics, is it a concept the whole album?
\r\nTom:
No it’s not a concept.
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\r\nMetalzone: What inspires you then?
\r\nTom:
This album is totally inspired by where I was at the time when I wrote it. I had a lot of personal issues at the time, which I won’t go into any further than that. It wasn’t all me, all of us had a hard time. It even came to the point when we said we don’t want to do this anymore. But we still kept on writing in some weird way because we’re musicians this is what we do. This is what we need to do in order to breath. Even if we had decided not to do another album we would still have kept on writing material for whatever. We need to get it out of us. And when I write my lyrics it’s like speaking to my best friend. Like I am talking with a pen, and the pen listens and understands and makes my inner ideas and feelings and thoughts, and frustrations, and fears, come out. And that’s what they do in the lyrics. It sounds melancholic and sounds dark and like a life without hope but what the whole album resembles and reflects is that no matter what situation anyone has been through there’s always going to be someone out there that has been in the exact same position as you or even worse. And I think that is a very comforting thought and a really comforting feeling to bear with you when you sit there. When you feel like shit, you feel like the loneliest person in the world and then it’s always nice to know that you’re never alone.
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\r\nMetalzone: What’s the most personal lyric you’ve wrote on this album?
\r\nTom:
In this album? I can’t even choose. All of them are reflecting different days of my life. Some of them are occurencies that happened earlier but still affected my life. My personal views on things very deeply. Such as SOAKED which is about a friend of mine who killed himself. But other than that maybe FIL is one of the songs where it gets the most personal.
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\r\nMetalzone: Through the discography of EVERGREY you consistently go back to the issue of water, STILL IN THE WATER in TORN you say pushing my head underwater… What is it about water that inspires you?
\r\nTom:
I think water is such a big thing. Water can sort of symbolize a lot of different things. Still in the water is about a person who is sort of caught in a room with water up to the chin. In TORN pushing my head under water is very symbolic of being held down, and frustrated not being able to keep your head above the surface.
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\r\nMetalzone: Actually it feels suffocating…
\r\nTom:
Yeah exactly. I don’t know I like the word. It also can represent so much. It’s big massive mighty thing water, if you look at the sea for instance. It can also be big and frightening and dark. Like DARK WATERS another song.
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\r\nMetalzone: Yeah that’s why I asked. I don’t personally thing so but reading reviews about Evergrey I’ve come across a certain characteristic. Is there a gothic element in your music?
\r\nTom:
I don’t know. I don’t know what gothic is. So, not intentionally. I don’ think that we’re more gothic, I don’t think we’re progressive either. I just did an interview with an English radio who said we’re a dark melodic death metal band. And I said what? People are always going to have their ways with the words and the genres, and I really don’t have time for it.
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\r\nMetalzone: What do you feel is the trademark of Evergrey?
\r\nTom:
Me! (Laughs)
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\r\nMetalzone: I think so too but please elaborate on that.
\r\nTom:
I would say three big things that are significant of EVERGREY are melancholy, my voice and the melodies.
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\r\nMetalzone: About the way you play guitar in this album, are you somehow influenced by NEVERMORE or Jeff Loomis’s style?
\r\nTom:
No not at all he is too good. We did a tour with Nevermore and Inflames in America once and Jeff is beyond fucking talented. He is a monster on guitar. But sadly enough not a big NEVERMORE fan but I do enjoy Jeff’s playing a lot and we’re good friends but no I am not influenced by him at all.
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\r\nMetalzone: Comparing to Monday Morning Apocalypse what are the differences in TORN. Would you say you’re back to the roots of what defines EVERGREY? Because there has been much controversy about Monday Morning Apocalypse.
\r\nTom
: Yeah and it’s sold most albums than we’ve ever done so that’s a double edged sword in a way. You’re always goanna have these fans that they scream out that they hate it.  And it’s always these fans that scream the loudest. The ones that say that they love the album they say it once. It’s like Man I love this album and it’s sort of done but the ones who hate it they feel the urge to say it one million times you know. That sort of becomes the strong point and the sort of public opinion of the album that it was a failure but it wasn’t. We toured the most on this album we sold the most on this album and we met the most people of this album, and I play a lot of those songs today live. And then I don’t fear anyone to say that oh my god this doesn’t sound like EVERGREY at all. On the contrary these are songs appreciated most when they’re played live. So… what was the question? (laughs)
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\r\nMetalzone: You got lost? It is about if you feel you gotten more commercial with MMA and you feel you’ve come back with TORN.
\r\nTom:
No I think that’s the safe way “…now we are back to our roots, and now we sound like this and that and bla bla bla.. ” Every album we have done sounds different from the other one. Comparing the albums for me is like comparing different movies. It’s like you were to compare Lord Of The Rings with Jaws III, it’s two different movies though they might have the same actors in them. That’s the same for me and I have learnt for so many times that we have to expect of ourselves is the most important thing. As long as we stay true to our hearts, to what we believe in, then it doesn’t really matter what everybody else thinks. We don’t make music for our fans, we make music for ourselves and then we are just lucky, very lucky that we have fans. And that’s the way it has to work for the rest of our lives otherwise we would be making music that somebody else wrote. I would say that this album is probably one of the darker albums we have done if you look at it lyrically but I would say that Monday Morning Apocalypse is probably the darkest album on lyrics. But then musically it’s not as dark, I’d say it’s a bit more rockish that album but that also reflects on the lives we lived when we recorded that album, and that goes for all of the albums.
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\r\nMetalzone: About touring, are you planning on a tour?
\r\nTom:
Yeah we’re planning on lots of tours.
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\r\nMetalzone: Recently I read you’re goanna support Whitesnake on your hometown.
\r\nTom:
Yeah that’s right which is a cool thing for us cause we’re great Whitesnake fans from when we were kids and we get to play in Sweden’s biggest venue’s indoor and where we went as kids and watched other bands play. It’s an awesome thing for us to be able to do that.
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\r\nMetalzone: But apart from that?
\r\nTom:
Nothing. We’re planning on things but…
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\r\nMetalzone: So you can’t tell me if you’re coming back to Greece?
\r\nTom:
We might come back to Greece actually I am waiting for some guy to contact me so … we’re doing this off weekends now in Romania and Poland and Russia and I’m hoping we can get to Greece as well.
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\r\nMetalzone: Let’s keep our fingers crossed, thank you very much for your time.
\r\nTom:
Thank you
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\r\nMetalzone: I wish you all the best in touring, sales everything and I hope to see you in Greece
\r\nTom:
You bet, bye bye!
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\r\nYou can download the audio of the interview HERE
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\r\nElena Mihailidou\r\n

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