With their new album ‘Escape Of The Phoenix’ Evergrey returns with a killer album that can easily been seen as one of their best albums in the last years. Time to have a nice little chat with Evergrey team leader and mastermind Tom Englund from their home Studio in Sweden to dig deeper in the secrets of the long-running creative bee.
GRIMM: First of all congratulations with the new album, it sounds wicked , you remain still true to the Evergrey sound.
Thanks a lot, the response has been quite good. We are happy with how the album has turned out and how well it is accepted by our fan-base out there.
GRIMM: Was the pandemic an inspiration for writing this album ?
Well, we have written this album in 2019, it was scheduled that we would record in 2020. So for us it didn’t change too much, we had to do it, we had no other choice.
GRIMM: Could you tell us about the creative process of Evergrey. Is it an Englund thing or more a combination of creative minds ?
Mostly it is me. And Jonas, our drummer. For about 90 % we write all the music, it’s a 50/50 thing . We are also a bunch of music nerds, like we are super interested in the whole production process, the keyboard noises and so on. Henrik, our guitar player, he just wants to play guitar cause that’s what he loves to do. So for Evergrey it’s me who starts writing and Jonas starts writing. We do all the work before the other guys comes in , you see, we meet, lay out our ideas and decide which are worthy to present to the others. And then we sort out the ideas and start another round of creativity with fresh ears where the rest of the band adds the final details.
GRIMM: On this album there are lot of good songs on it, so for you, what’s your favorite song on the new album.
Ha, you know, I don’t love to listen to my own music. I have worked on it for like over a year, you know. The great thing about this album is that the label asked, which song do you want that we do a video for. I was like, truly I don’t know, and I know, normally you should have an idea which song you choose, to attract the listeners for the new stuff. But on this album, every song can represent it. So I said, it’s better that you guys decide what you have feelings for. So they’ve gone with Forever Outsider. But really they could have taken anything, like August Mourns, Eternal Nocturnal, the one with James (Labrie, Dream Theater). It didn’t matter.
GRIMM: Now you’re mentioning James, how did that collaboration to mind.
Well, while we were in the Evergrey studio in the process of this song, where everyone in the band was involved and Jonas was playing with the keyboard parts, I was like, huh , we should have a guest vocalist here. And it then it sort of turned silent, like everyone was on the same level of thinking, who could we take. And this is the god honest truth , everybody said almost at the same time, it must be James.
I don’t know if it was because it’s something in the melody, or something in the vibe, everybody’s like, super excited. Oh, we must call James. So I wrote James an email that day. And he just wanted to hear the song. And when he heard it, it was like, yeah man, absolutely, I want to do this
GRIMM: How do you still get inspired, you have already been for 25 years in the music business with Evergrey. How do you manage to keep getting fresh ideas?
I mean, I guess that’s one of the one of the advantages of being a smaller band that Evergrey is. It is still growing, we’re still selling more and more albums. It’s the truth. So we never went down. We still go up. You know, it’s very, very fucking slow. It’s taking 25 years and counting for where we are going. But at the same time, at the same time, we see improvement in each and every album. The most important thing is that we always try. Always try to write the best song that we can. That’s it. And we don’t write for anybody else. We don’t write for fans, for the journalists, we write music because we love music. Yeah.
And if we can’t make the best possible song, then we won’t release it, you know. So therefore I can with 100% honesty say that each and every song that you have heard coming from me, is 100%, where I could put the most of myself into it at that time. That’s it. So that’s how we do it. And then we try to, we came from a period where we had written three albums in the same story line, this trilogy, yes. So for this album, where we, instead of writing this huge big painting, or painting this huge, big picture, we can now do 11 small postcards instead, which was also refreshing for us, you know. We try to do something new on each album to keep ourselves revitalized, and stay hungry. And that’s what I think about this album.
GRIMM: How do you think about the Covid pandemic, how this will affect the music industry ?
It’s something strange, I mean, we’re already broke. So I already know how it affects us. We have no other choice, we have to go through it , I mean, that’s the great thing about humans, we are flexible, and we are smart. And we use our brain to come up with new ideas in order to survive. And
for me, I’ve been keeping busy with singing on my fans, songs and projects and other albums, and I do anything and everything to pay the bills, like everything, like everybody else.
I offered my services to anyone that wanted me on their song. I think I’ve recorded 35 songs this year, or last off, plus, plus Silence Skies plus Redemption. You know, I’ve been and always have been very busy, but this is what I love to do. So for me, it’s just an honour to be on the these albums with these guys. But as far as touring goes, you know here in Europe, we had to move our tour for the third time and it’s supposed to start on October the 8th, let’s hope so. Who knows, maybe not, then we ‘ll have to move it again. Let’s get our fingers crossed we can get sweaty again and drink a good beer together. Let us pray for that future.
GRIMM: As you are a music nerd, I suppose you are also listening to a lot of other bands. Are there any bands you wish to give a little push out there.
Yeah, but I’m gonna push a couple of my friends because because they’re so talented, and they really deserve the attention. There’s an Italian band called DGM. I play with Simona in Redemption, he is the guitar player of DGM and Redemption is also a fantastic band. So check out their latest album and then there’s this guy who plays piano with me in Silence Skies, he has this other fantastic prog band without vocals, Lux Terminus called. And then I like the new Architects songs a lot, yeah. The new Dark Tranquility album is also a great one to check out. So yeah there is a lot of new music out there that is worth listening to.
GRIMM: I will do that, thanks for the nice chat. Good luck with Evergrey and hope to see you as soon as possible out there on the streets.
Yeah, me too. See you.