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InterviewsThe essence of conviction: Everygrey痴 Henrik Danhage says band ready to push on

Posted on Saturday, September 25 2004 @ 16:56:55 CDT by Jedd Beaudoin
Heavy Metal Evergrey has been growing in popularity around the globe over the past few years. With albums such as Recreation Day, In Search Of Truth and The Inner Circle the Swedish collective has show itself time and again as one of that nation's more promising acts, mixing progressive, metal and even pop elements into one fascinating pot. Sea of Tranquility's Jedd Beaudoin caught up with guitarist Henrik Danhage earlier this year, just as the band had completed a short U.S. jaunt. I think that when I spoke with Tom Englund last year after the release of Recreation Day he said that that record was written and recorded fairly quickly. Was that also the case for The Inner Circle?

Henrik Danhage: It all depends. If you think that six months is quickly, then, yeah. [Laughs.] We spent six months on this one. The first month was trying to get something together so that we could start recording. We had three different works stations that we used during that month. It was a confusing and very frustrating experience because four months into everything it was still very difficult to know if we had anything or not. We had all these riffs and some recorded tracks and the feel of it was too open, you know? We managed to get it all together. But it was a long time to work on it.

SoT: I read that you worked down to the wire on this record, that you and Tom worked on the sequencing up until the night before a CD listening party.

HD: We had to remix one song. We were burning a CD so that the press could listen to it. I think we went 90 minutes past the starting time. I think that that's kind of OK, if you take six months work and you run 90 minutes late. That's OK.

SoT: Were you nervous once you sent it out into the world or did you say, "Enough is enough. We can't be Def Leppard and work on this for five years"?

HD: It was very hard ... the first time the press heard the complete record was also the first time that we heard the complete record. That was kind of scary. But Rikard [Zander, keyboards] is the oldest of us and he's very logical at times like that. He said, "We don't have any more control over this. Our work is done. We spent half a year with the CD, we all know we did the best we could do. If people don't like it, then there's nothing we can do." It was done and we couldn't do anything more to it. It was kind of frightening but at the same time very satisfying to drop it over to the press.

SoT: You toured a bit last year. What was it like to get out and play?

HD: It was really good getting out. The studio thing is fun but it's like going to work after a while, even if it's great work. When you're cutting tracks it becomes about getting the fucking tracks done, you know? It's almost like being at a fucking factory, you know. So, getting out and going on tour and seeing people, watching people banging their fucking heads ... or when you see a guy with his arms around his girlfriend and they both have their eyes closed while we're playing something .... That is the shit.

SoT: How did you first come to join Evergrey?

HD: Daniel [Bronell] didn't want to do this anymore. He didn't want to tour anymore, he was tired of that lifestyle. I knew Tom and he said, "I'm going to fucking call you if I have any problems with my boys." Then he just called me up and said, "Hey, dude, I have problem. Do you want to try this?" I wanted to make sure that I was getting into this band on the right terms. I didn't want to get into some fucking sideman position. In that case, there's a lot of guys who do that sort of thing a lot better than me. I wanted to be a member of the band and have a lot influence in the band as well. That was a hard transition. Tom has his mind and I have mine. We had a lot of hard discussions, about three weeks in. But he's my best friend. It's all good now.

SoT: Do you think that it was maybe kind of weird for the other guys to see a new guy in the band with such strong ideas about thing?

HD: I don't know at the time but I do know that I always embraced things like that. When Rikard came along he had a lot of ideas末a lot of good ideas末and a good idea is a good idea, even if you get if from your fucking mother, you know? It doesn't matter. We don't have time or room for big egos, unless all of them are equal. Then it's good. I really think that a band should have a strong personality and should be powerful and act like rock stars when they have to. But you can't have that in the rehearsal space or on the bus. We just need to be five regular dudes, then put on the rock star costumes once we get on stage.

SoT: How do think that the band's sound has grown or changed since In Search of Truth?

HD: I had the early CDs and I always envisioned that Tom's vocals would be more in the forefront. I think that that's the finest thing that we have. I think that that's what sets us apart from other bands, even for someone who might not be into our style of music. I think that that person could hear one of our songs and if they'd heard one before be able to recognize Tom as the vocalist within 30 seconds. I think that that's a beautiful thing because there are a lot of bands that sound the same ... I think it's good to have somebody who sets us apart. We've focused more of the songs, scaled down some of the difficult passages that really didn't have anything to do with songs, anything that distracted from Tom's voice. I think that we're more focused on having a good vibe or a low, dark vibe more than the technical aspects now.

SoT: I feel like there are songs on this record末and the last one as well末that wouldn't be out of place on the radio. Is that one of the things that the band thinks about?

HD: I would love it if all the the guys into prog or metal would still dig us and still buy our albums but I would be just as glad if we wound up being played 10 times a day on radio stations throughout the United States. I know that my family and everyone around me would be gladder because we can do even more things when we have days off, you know? Let's not fool ourselves here末money and success is very important and if we wanted to stay underground, then we shouldn't even have a contract. We should just be at home. It is important to be heard but I don't think that we've been bending over to do that.

SoT: Well, let's turn our attention to touring for a moment. Do you think that Evergrey at this point should do a headlining club tour here or do you think that it's better for the band to get on an arena tour as a support act?

HD: I think it would be stupid ... there's no use in us headlining clubs right now. In order to sell out the clubs, we'd be playing little dumps. It's not like all the kids who buy CDs are going to come to the shows. Let's be realistic. I'd rather do two more support act positions, maybe on an arena tour,in order to really spread the word. I'm sure that末and I think that I have proof末that we're winning over people every night. If we did a headlining show, our hardcore fans would come and that'd be great. I'd love to play 90 minutes for the fans. But right now I'd rather play 45 minutes and spread the word to those who don't know us. I hope the fans understand that.

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