|Certainly the best thing to come out of Gothenberg, Sweden is the progressive/power/metal band Evergrey and if there was ever a front man that made the word enigmatic come alive it is Tom Englund. As the lead singer and guitarist for the band since 1998, Englund has been the creative driving force of Evergrey steering them to the top of the Swedish charts, and on stages worldwide. Having recently released their eighth cd, "Torn" and signing an imposing deal with Steamhammer/SPV, Evergrey is poised to take the metal/rock world by hailstorm. I had a chance recently to speak with the dark director of all things Evergrey and ask him my top ten...I hereby introduce you to Tom Englund...|
KIM: Evergrey has been around for a decade now and growing stronger--how has the band evolved over the years?
|I've been through a hell of a lot--at times I questioned my own being.|
Well, I think we've evolved more on a personal level and matured as people. There was a major down period for the band before this cd, we weren't enjoying each other's company, we didn't appreciate what we had....there was a point where we weren't sure Everygrey would go on...being away from home is tough enough, even tougher if you're not enjoying being around each other, but then we sat down and discussed things...Now? It's better than ever, and what we went through to get here affected each of us.
KIM: With the new release of Torn, what can fans old and new expect?
For the old fans...well first off we have great fans...but I hate to sell a product; it's not why we're here...Torn is true to our hearts, our music influences...as far as new fans? It may not be what they think, we know for a fact that people don't know or take the time find out who we are.
KIM: Can you tell us about your songwriting process and was it different for the new cd in any way?
The major difference was us, me and Henrik but Henrik was away on tour so me and Jonas wrote most of the album and it was cool,it really added a new depth and dimension...subtle things like keys of songs. We complimented each other perfectly.
KIM: I know you've been asked this before but Evergrey's lyrics have never been afraid to touch on dark or "taboo" subjects...where do you find the most impetus in your output--is it observation, personal opinion, CNN, etc?
It depends on which album. This one is by far the most personal album I've ever made. I've been talking about things that really affected me for this cd and much of it is a straight up diary, no fiction added--it's life. Some of our other cds had storylines so to speak. I've been through a hell of a lot--at times I questioned my own being.
KIM: So, Torn is deeply personal and special?
Yes...it is--perhaps the most internal cd we've done.
KIM: Tell us about the addition of Jari on bass--what were you looking for in a new recruit and how has Evergrey worked with the new dynamics brought on by a new member?
We decided when Fredrik left, to do something totally different. We decided to offer the gig up to anyone. We had about 400-500 people apply and we tried out four. Jari was actually the 5th and he was recommended to us, but he had to do what everyone else did...he flew out the very next day which told us he was taking it seriously and then it took like two minutes to hear his playing to know he was it...plus he had touring experience so we knew we had the guy!
KIM: You've been on the other side of the production board and held a "different" microphone so to speak.... Produced and contributed backing vocals and additional guitar leads on Dragonland's album Starfall, produced the Shot Injection demo Fear Comes Full Circle and guested on their EP in addition to producing Awake (UK)'s 2007 album Illumination and you've provided vocal parts for Ayreon and Odins Court. First, what have you enjoyed about this part of the creative process, being the wizard behind the curtain so to speak, and what challenges have you faced in these different roles?
Contributing guest vocals is something I love to do when I have the time...being a producer is being creative in another way and it's a challenge that I enjoy...being a producer for Evergrey is tough because you're constantly shifting chairs and it can be difficult—moving from being in the band to being the person who knows best! (laughing)
KIM: With the new deal with Steamhammer/SPV there is talk of back catalogue releases, and perhaps bonus material--what has this new marriage truly brought to the band and what can fans look forward too?
Well, first off it's a much bigger label which we've noticed already—everything from promotion to having to speak to 500 people to get something (laughing). Certainly the availability of our cds is greater...as far as a back catalogue? We'll see....we have to make it worthwhile for the fans--we don't simply want to remaster--we don't want to rip off the fans.
KIM: Let's talk about touring in support of Torn--Any plans to come stateside?
We're doing things differently for this cd. We're planning on touring the Scandinavian countries first, then areas like Poland--as far as next year, we're not sure what order but we will be in the USA!
KIM: As you reminisce over your career what is the biggest change in the Prog Metal scene that you've observed and if you could change something yourself about the scene what would it be?
I want to change your view about us! I don't really see us a Prog Metal band, but we've been described as Prog, Dark, etc The only Prog band I have ever been into is Dream Theatre but we've never been as skilled as them but I know we appeal to a lot of the same fans...in some ways though I think it's unfair to label us Prog, Dark as we're all of the above and more.
KIM: Finally, you are influencing up and coming vocalists and performers and have been a mentor in the past...who played the biggest role in influencing you?
Bruce Dickinson! He's my all time hero and the best front man. I can't sing like him, I only do whatever I know...
Classic understatement indeed. Thanks Tom for your time! For more info on Evergrey go to www.evergrey.net.