EVOCATION (Eng.)

– Hi, thanks for your time. What are you currently up to? How is everything doing right now with EVOCATION?

Hi there, right now we have just come home from our first leg of touring on the new album “Illusions of Grandeur”. We did a shorter tour with 7 dates in Sweden and Germany which was really nice. I think we can call it an extended release party. On all our previous albums we have done release parties in our hometown but this time we wanted to do some extra release shows on selected venues. It was a really nice but short run! Besides just coming home from the tour we are all doing very fine and are quite amazed with the overwhelmingly positive response from media and fans to the new album.

– Though you were formed back in the 90’s, you have just released your fourth album and you still are an underground band. Due to this I guess there may be some people who don’t know about you yet so, first off, could you please share some history of the band?

Evocation was already formed in 1991 and was part of the first wave of Death Metal coming from Sweden. We released 2 demos in 1992 which later on gathered cult status in the tape trader community worldwide. Some also claim that Evocation was partly responsible of creating the Gothenburg Sound along with bands such as At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity, In Flames etc. Evocation was a part of the Gothenburg scene in the early 90s and did lots of shows together with bands from the region. In 1993 Evocation was put on indefinite hiatus due to musical differences. 2005 the band finally managed to reform with the entire original line-up from 1991. After the re-union in 2005 Evocation has released 4 full length albums and 1 demo compilation. The first three releases were made through a German independent label named Cyclone Empire and the next 2 were released through Century Media Records which also is the bands new label home. Since the reunion Evocation has played some of Europe’s biggest Festivals such as Wacken Open Air, Rock Hard Festival, Party.San Open Air, Summer Breeze Open Air etc. and also toured Europe with bands such as Amon Amarth, Cannibal Corpse, Arch Enemy, Dying Fetus, The Black Dahlia Murder, Obscura etc.

 

– This new opus is entitled «Illusions of Grandeur». What are your expectations on this effort and how has its feedback been so far?

I think the title “Illusions of Grandeur” also a bit reflects on the expectations or hopes a band has on all albums; to be able to make the big break-through. As the mighty Lemmy of Motorhead once said; “Every band wants to play on a sold-out Wembley Arena. If they say they don’t they are either stupid or lying…” So I guess we all musicians are dreamers and nourish a dream of sometime getting the recognition of the work we are putting down into the music. Concerning the new Evocation album “Illusions of Grandeur” the response to it has so far been quite amazing in the important European media. So perhaps we will be standing on the Wembley Arena next year… Hahaha

 

– The guitar melody on this new record and certain epic touches remind me to AMON AMARTH. Has this band influenced you in any way?

People have told us so already on our first album we did in 2007, even before we had heard of Amon Amarth. First time I heard Amon Amarth was when they released the “With Oden On Our Side” album and my first thought was that I heard similar melodies and structures that we have been using since 1991. When we were on tour with Amon Amarth in 2011 I actually brought this subject up one evening and Johan Söderberg immediately said that he also heard the resemblances every evening when we were on stage. I think the reason for this is that all the songwriters in Evocation and Olavi Mikkonen who is the main songwriter for Amon Amarth have Finnish ancestry. We have all been brought up with the same melancholic Finnish melodies since we were children and that’s what colouring the music we make today.

 

– In fact you’ve had Johan Hegg as guest artist. How did this arise? And what are some other artists you would like to cooperate with?

Yeah, Johan did a guest appearance on the new album and it turned out just fantastic I must say. I think the main reason for the guest appearance of Johan was the friendship we made with him when we were on tour with Amon Amarth in 2011. We had a really good time together with them and stayed in touch with them afterwards. So when we were working with the new album we talked about if we should have some guest appearances and that’s when Johan’s name surfaced. We instantly felt that it would be a cool addition to the album if he would do some guest vocals. For us Johan is a great down to earth guy with an amazing sense of humour and also one of the very best Death Metal vocalists out there today. We met up with Johan after a show with Amon Amarth in Gothenburg in February 2012 and asked him if he would be interested in doing some guest vocals on our upcoming album. He immediately replied that it would be an honour to do it. In May 2012 he had some business in Gothenburg which is closely located to our hometown where Evocation Studios is also located. So we just picked him up there and then we drove off to Evocation Studios. It only took him 90 minutes from the moment we entered the studios until all the vocal parts were finished. And as always when Johan is around growling one starts to wonder whether the thunder is roaring outside until you realize it’s his mighty vocals that makes you think so… Thanx Johan for the amazing guest vocals!

There were some other musicians we asked to join in as well but due to conflicting tour schedules we just couldn’t make it happen. That will have to be for the next album instead!

 

– On this «Illusions of Grandeur» we can find a perfect blend between melody and aggressiveness taking form in songs. Do you think this album is your opus that is the closest to show the actual EVOCATION identity?

Thank you very much for the comment! Yeah, that’s exactly how I felt when we were at the closing stages of the album production; this is the album that comes closest to the real essence of what Evocation really is. Before we even started working with the new album we had long discussions about what we really love about Death Metal and what the essence of Evocation really is. We analyzed our previous efforts and tried to figure out what we really enjoyed about them. For instance we all felt that blast beats and grind beats really wasn’t the essence of Evocation and therefore we decided to remove those parts from the new album completely. Instead we added more melodies, groove and cool hooks. And to still keep the aggressiveness we added more of fast 2-beats and double bass drum beats. That way we managed to balance the melodies with the necessary brutality on the album. And also as a final result I think we managed to find the essence of what Evocation really is. In my opinion we managed to produce an album that we can stand proud of for a long time ahead.

 

– I could also say this is a CD with a bigger dynamism in each tunes. Was this something you aimed for or did it just come out naturally?

You are absolutely right that there is much more dynamics in each track on this album. I think it was both a result of the working agenda we set up for the album and also it just came spontaneously when we were working with the tracks. We set up the goal for the album that we should have a lot of dynamics on all the tracks so that they become interesting both for us as musicians but also for the listeners. And then in the end when we were working with the tracks in the studio it just came spontaneously to work that way and the result became really cool in my opinion.

 

– I’d even dare say «Illusions of Grandeur» is your best-sounding album to date. If I’m not mistaken was recorded at both IF Studios and your own as well. Would you mind to share some light on how was this process like? And are you satisfied with the result producer Roberto Laghi got?

Thank you very much for the comment! Yeah, the album was recorded at both IF Studios and Evocation Studios. We recorded drums and vocals at IF Studios and then we did guitars and bass at Evocation Studios. It was mostly due to logistics that we chose to record it in 2 studios. Drums were easier to record at IF Studios since most of the equipment for the drums was located in Gothenburg and also they have a really nice sounding recording room there. For the vocals it was easier to record at IF Studios since our vocalist is living in the same town. Guitars and bass were natural for us to record at Evocation Studios since both me and Vesa lives quite near to the studio. We just brought the necessary equipment from IF Studios to Evocation Studios and then we did the recording after Roberto Laghi had been there setting the sound for us. Roberto Laghi was amazing to work with and we are just so satisfied with the result of the album. This was actually the first time since 1992 that we worked together with a producer. In 1992 we worked together with Tomas Skogsberg when we recorded our first demo “The Ancient Gate” in Sunlight Studios. To work with a producer is a great relief for the band; it takes so much pressure off the shoulders from the band. The band can fully concentrate on making the best possible effort on the tracks. Roberto is a totally down to earth guy that really makes the band push them into making the best possible effort. I hope we will be making many more albums together with him.

 

– This has been your first piece with bass player Gustaf Jorde after Martin’s departure. How has fitted in? And what could you say has Gustaf brought new to EVOCATION?

Gustaf joined the band in June 2012, right after all the recordings for “Illusions of Grandeur” were done. So he didn’t have any impact on this album but we are surely looking forward to having him a part of the writing process for the next album. So far Gustaf has done a shorter tour and a club show with us and it has worked out absolutely perfect. He adds a really positive vibe to the band and he has opened our eyes for several things that we haven’t thought about earlier. So all in all I would say that Gustaf is a perfect fit for the band!

 

– It has also been your first release with Century Media after leaving Cyclone Empire. How has this move been? I guess they can provide you a bigger coverage, as they are one of the most important labels in Metal. Moreover now Century Media has some great Death Metal bands as GRAVE, MORGOTH or ASPHYX in their rooster, among some other younger bands into the style as MORBUS CHRON so, do you feel like CM is a good home for EVOCATION?

Right now we have been signed with Century Media for almost a year and it has been working flawlessly. When we decided to sign for Century Media a really important thing for us was their commitment with Death Metal that they have had ever since the very beginning. Their base has always been within the Death Metal scene. After having toured Europe and played a lot of festival shows we already knew a lot of key persons at Century Media. The scene is quite small and you bump into people where ever you go when you are out on the road. Century Media is really taking care of Evocation’s best interest and I’m very proud to say that after a year of collaboration it feels as if we have found our label home. I don’t see Evocation moving anywhere until our career is over.

 

– Leaving the musical aspect of the album aside; what do some of the lyrics on this «Illusions of Grandeur» deal with?

I’m not really the right guy to deal with the lyrics since it’s the vocalist Thomas Josefsson who does them but I will give it a try. Thomas always writes lyrics about things that he gets affected by. It can be psychological phenomena, people doing irradical things etc. For this album I think Thomas has been writing about things circulating around his favourite phrase; “don’t let the fools guide you blind.” What he means is that he wants people to start thinking for themselves and make up their minds on their own without being influenced by other people. Other people might have their own interest in making you think in a certain way.

 

– And what did you want to express with the artwork? As I personally think is your strongest one, crafted by Xaay if I’m not wrong. How did you work on it?

Yeah, Xaay is the guy responsible for the artwork this time again. We already started working with him on our previous album “Apocalyptic”. We were just so pleased with all the stuff he has made for us that we wanted to continue working with him for this album as well. He totally managed to make the artwork of his life for us. We were just totally blown away by the artwork and I think it captures the title “Illusions of Grandeur” perfectly. One can see a vision of an ancient empire that is at its peak but if one studies the artwork a bit closer one can see in the foreground that parts of the temple has begun to crumble. The prefaces of the empires fall… And then one can see that the empire was merely an “Illusion of Grandeur”. When we work with people doing the artwork or layout we try to give as little guidance as possible in order to let the artist express himself freely. For the cover artwork we just gave Xaay the album title and the lyrics for the title track and then we just let him get to work. I think it works best this way and it feels almost as if Xaay thinks the exact same way as we do. Every time he delivers something to us he has captured the exact thing that we wanted him to capture. I think we will continue working with him for a long time ahead.

 

– All this about «Illusions of Grandeur» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?

Swedish Death Metal

 

– You were formed during the early 90’s, when bands as ENTOMBED or DISMEMBER among many others started to leave a mark with a refreshing style (back then) which has became timeless. What do you think has changed since then into the underground scene?

One thing quite apparent for me that has changed in the underground scene since the 90s is the commitment. Back in the early 90s everyone involved in the Death Metal scene was totally committed to it. You ate, slept and breathed Death Metal 24/7. And people were only into Death Metal and not into any other scenes at the same time. Everybody involved from musicians to fans lived by this codex and today I don’t see that commitment in the scene.

 

– Finally, what are your near-future plans?

The near future plan is to promote the new album in every possible way. A new video for one of the tracks from the album will be released in a couple of weeks. We just did the shooting in Germany the other week with a director named Carlo Oppermann. The video was shot at an abandoned hospital and I think it will turn out really cool. Besides that we are making up touring plans for the winter and hopefully we will take the band for another run in Spain. Last time we played there was in 2009 when we toured Europe with Cannibal Corpse so naturally we need to get back there. Truly awesome audience in Spain!

 

– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.

Thanx for the interview and hope to meet you all on the upcoming touring cycle for “Illusions of Grandeur”!

Cheerz,

Marko Palmén – Guitars tuned in B-flat since 1991

 

Sergio Fernández

sergio@queensofsteel.com

 

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