Swedish prog quintet Soen released their fourth record “Lotus” on February 1st. The perfect excuse for us to have a chat with drummer Martin Lopez (ex-Amon Amarth, ex-Opeth).
Be sure to check-out our 9.2/10 review for Lotus: https://www.grimmgent.com/soen-lotus/
All of your previous records were produced by the band itself. For your new album Lotus however you opted for David Castillo and Iñaki Marconi as producers. What inspired that decision and what impact did it have on the creation of Lotus?
David recorded the drums for Lykaia and also mixed the live recordings on Lykaia Revisited and we have known him for a long time and know that he is extremely talented. We all felt confident that he could take our songs in the direction we wanted sound wise. That was an easy decision. Iñaki has been working with the band for a few years now and know our music inside out, he’s very dedicated and know how to push us to the next level. Working with the two of them made the recordings much easier and frictionless than on previous sessions.
Lotus is also the first album to feature Canadian guitarist Cody Ford. How did that affect the songwriting for this record?
Actually, we already had the music written when Cody joined the band. Cody came in and delivered fantastic guitar parts and solos and I think his playing definitely made the songs live and breathe. His style of guitar playing is a perfect fit for us.
Inspired by everyday life and our current society Lotus seems to bring a message of diversity, open-mindedness, reflection and the search for positivism even when it’s sometimes hard to find. How important is it for you as a musician to openly address certain topics and why?
Being in a band you automatically have a platform to say something and to express your thoughts in a way that most people don’t. To throw that away by making cute love stories or medieval fairy tales seems to be a bit of a waste. With that said, we are not trying to change the world, we just express our thoughts and reflect on what’s going on around us.
Concerning that message of diversity; were you surprised about the mixed reactions your video-clip for Martyrs got?
Not really, it was quite expected. But I’ll have to admit the stupidity of some reactions was a bit surprising. If you think watching five drag queens having fun is more provocative than watching the daily news you might want to stop and reflect for a while.
To promote Lotus you will be touring through Europe for about three weeks. Just like your previous tours -I assume- you won’t be using backtracks during these gigs. How does the extra freedom it brings outweigh the extra possibilities a backtrack could provide?
It outweighs it a hundred to one. The extra possibilities are false possibilities. No one will care about that extra percussion loop or big choir when we are in the same room. It will just kill the freedom of the performance. A concert is about being in the moment together, not about five guys following a computer.
What I personally love about Soen is how your music creates atmospheres that are accessible enough to immediately trigger certain emotions yet intriguing enough so every time you listen to it you hear elements you hadn’t noticed before. How do you find the right balance between that simplicity and complexity?
Good question. We all love details, and every song goes through a long process of writing and rewriting to find a balance. A song should be a journey in itself: it doesn’t have to be an Iron Man triathlon but still take you to more than one place emotionally.
Do you think we can expect more European tour dates later this year? And a possible show in Belgium?
I think you can. We don’t have all the details yet but there will be more touring for sure.
Did you know the word ‘soen’ is Danish for ‘the sow’ and is in day-to-day life mostly used as slang-word for ‘the slut’? And was that the source of inspiration for the band-name (no offense intended), if not what was?
It means a lot of different things in other languages. For us it stands for “Songs of Exiting Names” or maybe “Sweden Origin Entrepreneur Networks” I can’t remember which one it is...
Any message you’d like to send to your fans to wrap up this interview?
Come check out our new guitar player!