Drummer Henrik Ohlsson's band, the melodic death metallers Scar Symmetry, are about to unleash yet another amazing metal CD with Dark Matter Dimensions. In this interview with Sea Of Tranquility's Scott Jessup, who's a big fan of the band, Henrick tells of the changes Scar Symmetry have gone through now with two new vocalists, the origins of Scar Symmetry and the style of music they play, plus their ongoing rise in popularity.
SoT: Hello Henrik and thanks for doing an interview with Sea Of Tranquility.
Henrik: Hi there, it`s my pleasure. Let`s go for it!
SoT: Dark Matter Dimensions is my favorite metal album so far this year- what do you think makes Scar Symmetry such a great band?
Henrik: We`re really passionate about what we do and that`s probably the most important thing. I think we`ve found a nice formula for creating music because we have such a wide range of influences and we don`t limit ourselves when it comes to different musical genres. No matter what kind of riffs we use it always ends up sounding like Scar Symmetry for some reason. I mean, we`ve tried stuff that normally wouldn`t work for a melodic death metal band and our basic attitude is to test the limits of the genre. We can write death metal songs or heavy metal songs, combine the genres or go for almost pop-sounding stuff. That`s why things never get boring in this band, we`re really open-minded about the whole creative process. I think that`s the secret. Or at least part of it.
SoT: Why the change to two vocalists? Were there a lot of applicants?
Henrik: Having one guy doing all the vocals isn`t really the optimal solution, especially in a live-situation. With two guys we`re able to make it all flow better on stage and that`s the reason we chose to recruit two guys.
A lot of singers were interested in joining the band, some were well-known vocalists and some were underground talents. But we chose Roberth and Lars because they had great voices that fit the band AND they clicked with us on a personal level.
SoT: I was surprised how quick you have released another album, after Chris's departure I suppose the band was keen to show the fans how good your new vocalists are?
Henrik: Yeah, we really wanted to release something with the new lineup as quickly as possible. We couldn`t tour that much for "Holographic Universe" because of the lineup-change so we had a lot of time to write material and work on ideas during the year between the previous album and "Dark Matter Dimensions". Coming up with new material has never been a problem for us, we always have more songs than we need for every album. That was also the case this time.
SoT: How have Roberth Karlsson and Lars Palmqvist fitted in to the line-up? I really enjoyed hearing what they have brought to the band.
Henrik: Cool, I`m happy you enjoy the voices of our new members! Well, as I said, aside from being great vocalists they clicked with us on a personal level and that`s really important. They are easy-going guys and it was a true pleasure to work with them on this album. They are totally open to different ideas and nothing is impossible for them. That`s just the way we want it to be.
SoT: Who decides on the album and track titles?
Henrik: I am taking care of the lyrics and the titles. That`s the way it`s been since the beginning and I truly enjoy coming up with the themes for each album. I think I`ve found a unique path regarding the lyrics and the fans seem to enjoy the lyrical concepts for the albums. I`m glad that so many people seem to share my interest in the subjects that I write about!
SoT: How much has your fan base grown in recent years?
Henrik: It`s hard to tell, but it seems like there`s been a steady growth over the years. Things kind of exploded for us when "Pitch Black Progress" came out in 2006 and the interest in the band has increased exponentially since then. That`s the way it feels anyway. People are more passionate than ever about the band, just check out the guestbook on our myspace-site and you`ll see what I mean.
SoT: Can you tell the readers about the origins of Scar Symmetry?
Henrik: It all started when I was recording an album with my previous band Altered Aeon in Jonas´ studio in 2004. Jonas was thinking about forming a new band at that point and he asked me if I would be interested in joining that band. I agreed and suggested Per, who was also a member of Altered Aeon at the time, as a second guitarist. Kenneth and Jonas were old friends and since Kenneth was a killer bassplayer it was only logical for Jonas to add him to the lineup. Christian had been recording in Jonas´ studio with other bands and when he heard about this new project he told us that he wanted to join. We agreed and that`s how the first lineup of Scar Symmetry came together. We recorded one track called "Seeds of Rebellion" and sent it to a label called Cold records and scored a deal with them.
SoT: Will Scar Symmetry be touring extensively?
Henrik: We`re aiming for the top and we`ll do whatever it takes to get there. We have a lot of tours and separate gigs booked and we get offers all the time. So yeah, I think we`ll have a very busy touring-schedule for this album.
SoT: Your drumming with Scar Symmetry is very impressive, how long have you been playing?
Henrik: I am 34 years old and I`ve been playing drums since I was 13. I had a break from drums between 1999 and 2001 because I was actually doing lead vocals in a couple of bands at that point. So drums has been a big part of my life for a long time.
SoT: Who are some of your influences?
Henrik: I`m influenced by guys like Sean Reinert from Cynic and Snowy Shaw when he played with King Diamond and Memento Mori. I`m also a fan of Mikkey Dee`s playing in King Diamond. I really get inspired by awkward drumming, Confessor `s "Condemned"-album for example. Everything that brings a new perspective to drumming inspires me. But I also appreciate good rock drummers like Eric Singer.
SoT: Thanks Hanrick for your time, and for another very cool Scar Symmetry CD with Dark Matter Dimensions.
Henrik: Thank you for the interview, I appreciate the fact that you like the new album! We put a lot of effort into it and we did our best to release our most ass-kicking album ever. Take care!
(Click here to read our review of Dark Matter Dimensions