Brace The Storm..... Jonas Ekdahl Speaks Out.
"Evergrey are a band that have come a long way since their early days, having formed back in 95 by original member Tom Englund (vocals & guitar) who has kept the band alive and continued to make quality music since the release of their debut album 'The Dark Discovery' in 98 through GNW Records. Like all bands Evergrey have seen some line up changes and it was in 2010 when Jonas, Hendrik and Jari would leave the band and Jonas and Hendrik would return in 2014 with bassist Johan Niemann when the band reunited for the album 'Hymns for the Broken' for new label AFM.
'Hymns for the Broken' was a great comeback album, which saw the band stronger then ever and the friendship once again grew. Now they have returned and toured for that album it was time for them to record yet another album 'The Storm Within' in 2016 which is a superb album, one of their finest albums in some time. I managed to chat with drummer Jonas about the new album and the past. Here is what he had to say about the the bands album and future."
Well Jonas it's a pleasure speaking to you, hope you had a pleasant flight to the UK. I'd like to start off by saying the new album really is a kick ass album I'm loving it!! So I better start by asking you out of the past albums you have recorded which are you're favourites and why?
"Well thank you, glad you like the album. To answer you're question, I have a soft spot for the album 'Hymns for the Broken' because it is the 1st album we made since we got back together with this line up. I am also a huge fan of 'Solitude.. Dominance... Tragedy' as it set the tones and styles for the band. The 1st album 'The dark Discovery' was good but they were young and it didn't capture their true identity of the band until the release of the 2nd album."
What band was you in before joining Evergrey?
"Well I was in bands with friends, playing Thrash, Prog and other style of metal. We never did any albums only demos. There might be some stuff on you tube, but I won't put it up."
As a drummer who inspired you to play drums?
"Well I would say Chad from 'Red Hot Chilli Pepper', he is a big influence on me. I also am influenced by Mike Mangini from Dream Theater, I loved his work with Steve Vai and Annihilator, Extreme and he my biggest influence. (Ed: did you ever meet him when you supported Dream Theater?) Yes I was blown away to met him, we did 4 shows in Italy and Poland last summer. He is a really cool guy so that made all the difference. We had a great time touring with them. I actually have one of his old drum kits at home, I got it when I was 18 and he had a clinic in Sweden and he sold it to a music store where Tom worked and I bought it from that store. When I found out it was his I couldn't let it go. I told him about it and he got excited and told me that I should not sell that kit, which I haven't. I listen too a lot of drummers, I like a lot of modern drummers like Luke Holland and drummers like that."
We talked about the 1st 2 albums, have you ever thought of re-releasing them through AFM with bonus tracks and re-mastering them?
"Well I we may do that, we have talked about it, we are not sure yet."
So why did you, Hendrik & Johan leave the band?
"Well there was tensions within the band and it started to effect our performance and the band in general. It wasn't fun anymore so we sat down and decided to part ways and Tom could carry on with Rikard and remain friends. I think if we didn't make that decision then we wouldn't of remained friends and carried on today. It was a very important decision and I am happy that we did."
What did you think of the album 'Glorious Collision' even though you didn't play on it?
"I really liked it, it had a very different organic feel to it."
How did you all hook up again?
"Well it was an arranged party for our old bass player Michael who was getting married. We had an idea of kidnapping him and getting him drunk at our rehearsal room, so we got together the rest of the band and we ended up jamming some old song. So Hendrik, Mike and myself started jamming some old Evergrey songs and I put the old Evergrey intro through the p.a and sounded great, we had so much fun. A few months later Tom called me and asked if we could fill in for a show because Marcus and Hannas couldn't do the shows as session musicians, and we were both available for the shows, so we agreed to help out. We later on said this was fun and maybe we should do something with the band later on so we did."
Coming back to the band to record 'Hymns for the Broken' must of been a great time for you all right?
"Yes it was, it was fantastic, and the reviews were awesome and we took everything slowly and we didn't want to end up the way we were before we left the band. So everything was done slowly and we took our time on that record. I think it's a perfect album, we have become stronger now."
Did the album sell well for you with you been on a new label? What other labels approached you?
"It sold very well for the band, I am not sure what other labels the band approached as Tom & Rikard signed the deal before the rest of us came back into the band. We are happy with AFM and they are a pretty big label, this is the last album with AFM but we are keeping our doors open."
So let's now talk about the new fantastic album 'The Storm Within', who came up with the title for this record?
"Well we made the track listening for the new album and title for the album on the way home from touring in May. We listened too the album and we needed to come up with a title of the album, Tom came up with some titles and 'The Storm within' was perfect. I'm not going to tell you what the other titles were called (laughing)."
Who did the art work for this record?
"It was done by a Brazilian guy and this was the 1st time we had worked with him. His name is Carlos and he got our visions right away, he is super talented and he know what we were looking for in a cover. We will certainly be working with him again for sure."
I believe you are doing a video for 'In Orbit' what other songs have you done a video for?
"Yes we are doing a video for that, we also did one already for the song 'Distance' and will be also be doing another video for the song 'The Paradox of the Flame' & 'The Impossible' and they will follow the album in concepts. I don't want to say too much at this moment it will spoil the idea."
Are you doing a new live DVD soon, it's about time?
"Well yeah we would love to do one, it depends on where and when? We need the right time to do one, and I think it would be cool to do one and also an acoustic album too."
What songs from the new album do you like and why?
"Well I like the song 'The paradox of the Flame' because it has all the elements of a real journey with the cello and violin and Tom's wife Carina doing some vocals on it make this a really good song. There is so much going on in that song. We did the song in 1 take at 1am and that sticks with me. When I started writing songs this was one that I knew would be a great song for the album. The rest of the album is great but that song is my favourite."
So you on tour soon with Delain around Europe and the UK, are you supporting or a co headlining tour? I'd love to see you again but I am hoping you will come back as a headlining tour, will this happen?
"Well Delain are heading the tour & Tom wanted us to open up for them on the tour and there getting big. Kobra and the Lotus are also on the tour, we will do a headlining tour ourselves in the future."
Are you doing any festival or tours before this tour?
"We are doing a few shows before the tour in mid October but that is it in Sweden and Norway. We need to start practicing for the tour and it will take a few weeks to get them together."
Well thank you for the interview, best of luck with the tour and album sales, do you have anything to say before we finish?
"Well thanks for the interview, we will come back to the UK doing our own headlining tour very soon. I hope the fans like the new album and thanks for the interview."
Thanx to Mike Exley and Jonas for the interview.