– Hi Henrik and, first of all, thanks for your time. What’s SCAR SYMMETRY currently up to?
Hi there! We`ve been doing tons of interviews in support of the new album over the last month or so and we`ve also begun to do live shows in support of «The Unseen Empire». We had a release-party recently and performed some of the new songs for the first time live that night, then we headlined a show in Stockholm (with Desultory and Vicious Art as support acts). The festival season is about to start and we`re going to continue playing festivals every week throughout the summer basically.
– You have recently released «The Unseen Empire»; how has been tis feedback so far?
The feedback`s been great. It seems like some people were a little bit disappointed with our previous album «Dark Matter Dimensions» and lots of people has expressed appreciation that we have «returned to form» with the new album. That`s nice. I`ve only read good reviews and both old and new Scar-fans seem to be ecstatic about «The Unseen Empire».
– To start getting into it; what does its title mean? Which is that «unseen empire»?
The title refers to the Illuminati, basically, it`s just another term for it. I was thinking about this supposed elite that is hiding in the shadows while pulling the strings of mankind in order to realize their agenda for world domination. So I went like: «The Illuminati seems to be kind of an invisible empire, hmmm…invisible empire…unseen empire sounds cooler. Yeah, The Unseen Empire- tadaa!»
– And what the main lyrical ideas behind it?
Well, most of the lyrics deal with different theories around the Illuminati and the New World Order. There are visible empires that seem to rule and an unseen empire that truly rules the world. We are lead to think and behave in a certain way because it serves the means of the Illuminati agenda. So some of the lyrics deal with the political side of all this, how the Illuminati politics are being executed and stuff related to that, and other lyrics deal with more abstract and occult things that are related to this…cult, or whatever you want to call it.
– Your previous «Dark Matter Dimensions» was a different album. Did the line-up changes have something to do with that?
Yeah, well, we went through a lineup-change in the band and we were really happy with that change, of course, since we were the ones who kicked our previous singer out of the band. But there was also a fair share of uncertainty regarding the future of the band because we didn`t know how people would react to the lineup-change and stuff like that. I think that was the reason why «Dark Matter Dimensions» came out a bit different compared to the other albums, we probably channeled a lot of both old and new frustrations into the music and thus it became more of a brutal and experimental album compared to anything else we`ve done. But it was an important album because it was our way of bouncing back from some sort of a crisis and I still like «Dark Matter Dimensions» for what it was. That album was an important step in our musical evolution and I`m proud of it because of that. But I really feel that «The Unseen Empire» is a much better album and it`s more in line with what we really want to do musically with Scar Symmetry.
– But could you now say you have found your actual sound with «The Unseen Empire»?
As I mentioned before I really like «Dark Matter Dimensions» but…I really feel that «The Unseen Empire» is a much better album and it`s more in line with what we really want to do musically with Scar Symmetry. So yeah, I`d say that we`re kind of back on track with «The Unseen Empire» but I also have to point out that «Dark Matter Dimensions» was an important step in order to arrive at the point where we are now musically.
– And how does having two vocalists affect you? Both your sound, your live performances, the composing process, etc.
It`s great to have two vocalists because it allows us to arrange the vocals in whatever manner we like. We can switch between voices without effort and we can blend the voices in a totally different way compared to when we only had one guy doing the vocals. We were actually thinking about getting another vocalist months before we recorded «Holographic Universe» in 2007 because it is really demanding for one singer to take care of all the different voices, we noticed that after intense touring in 2006 and 2007. But the time wasn`t right because our previous singer didn`t really like the idea. When we eventually realized the vision of having two vocalists in late 2008 a whole new world opened up in the vocal department and now we`re able to arrange the vocals without thinking about how to pull it off live. Plus the fact that Lars and Roberth are really easy-going guys and have awesome personalities, that helps too. The composing process hasn`t really changed, we do things the way we`ve always done it. It`s just that we`re more free to explore ideas these days.
– I noticed «The Unseen Empire» souns more melodic. What are your feelings about that?
There`s always a lot of different opinions regarding whether an album is more brutal or more melodic than the previous works. Some interviewers say it`s our heaviest album ever and some have the same opinion as you, it varies a lot. But anyway, I personally think it`s more melodic than for example «Dark Matter Dimensions» and I like it that way. We never intended to compete with Cannibal Corpse when it comes to brutality, we are influenced by so many other things than just extreme metal. We have the progressive side to the band, the heavy metal approach, and we also have non-metal influences so we need to have a lot of creative space and explore many areas of this thing called music. Brutality is also a part of what we do but it`s just one element among many others.
– Anyway, the mix between heaviness and melody’s still one of the most important things in the record (I’d dare say). How important are those contrasts in your music? How do you manage to keep that balance?
We`re not really planning or calculating the balance between brutality and melody, complexity and simplicity, harsh vocals and clean vocals. All that comes naturally because of the fact that we`re influenced by so many different styles of music. When we formed this band we made sure that we wouldn`t corner ourselves by only doing one thing musically, like only death metal or only this or that. We mixed everything without caring about genres and shit like that. So the contrast is extremely important, we kind of base our sound on the contrasts present in the music and that`s what makes this band unique. Scar Symmetry was never a band for people who are restricted to one genre only.
– This makes me wonder about the band’s name; what does it mean? Does it represent your sound in any way? As one can make it’s own interpretations…
I remember when I googled our bandname in the early days, before we had released any albums and before anyone knew about our existence. The only hits I got was about plastic surgery, ha ha! But that wasn`t what I thought about when I came up with the bandname, of course. I wanted a name that represented the brutal side and the melodic side of the band in kind of a yin/yang-way. So «scar» points to the brutal
side of the band and «symmetry» represents the melodic side of the band. That`s basically it.
– Is there any plan for a videoclip?
Yes, we`ve discussed different ideas for a video with our management and we`ll do a video as soon as we can. We`re pretty busy right now but eventually we`ll squeeze a video-shoot in somewhere. We`ll probably do one professional looking video for this album instead of three so-so videos like we did on «Dark Matter Dimensions». Around the release of the previous album we thought it would be a good idea to split the budget and do many videos for an album but it didn`t turn out that good so this time we`ll focus on one video like we did on «Pitch Black Progress» and «Holographic Universe».
– I think you have never been afraid of including non-Metal elements in your music so; what are your main musical inspirations? Both inside and out from Metal.
I can`t really name specific bands that has influenced us, we`re more influenced by the vibe of certain genres and that`s what we work with. We might have this death metal-riff or a «cock rock/arena rock»-riff or a classic heavy metal riff or this cool awkward progressive pattern but it`s hard to say exactly where the idea came from. It`s more of an intuitive thing and searching for a certain vibe when creating a song that is supposed carry a certain atmosphere, you know.
– You are confirmed for some summer festivals but, do you have plans for a big tour in support of «The Unseen Empire»?
Yeah, we`ve received a lot of offers for tours but we need to sit down and discuss which ones to do before we confirm anything. We`re going to do all the festival-shows this summer, an Australian tour after the summer plus either a European tour or a U.S-tour and then we`re going to finish the year with some dates in South America. After that we`ll continue supporting «The Unseen Empire» through live shows next year. That`s the plan.
– And finally, what are your near-future plans beside touring?
We`ll be busy doing those festival-shows throughout the summer and that`ll take up most of our band-time, so to speak. As I mentioned earlier we`re going to try to squeeze in a video-shoot somewhere in the near future and right now we`re doing lots of interviews besides playing live shows here and there.
– That’s all, thanks once more for your time. Feel free to add any last words if you feel like doing it.
Thanks to the fans out there, we appreciate your support immensely! Hope you like the new album and keep checking our myspace/facebook-sites for the latest info. Cheers!