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Home » » Interview - EVOCATION - For us is the winter time the ideal time to write new music since it’s dark, cold and depressive in that period.

Interview - EVOCATION - For us is the winter time the ideal time to write new music since it’s dark, cold and depressive in that period.

Interview with Swedish death metal legend EVOCATION.

Answered Marko Palmén.

Translated by Duzl, thank you!

Ave EVOCATION! I have to admit that your new album „The Shadow Archetype“ killed me. It has everything what death metal should have. What kind of feedback do you have from fans and critics? How about reviews? Are you satisfied with what you did?

Hell-o there, and thanx a lot for the nice feedback on the new Evocation album! So far I would say that the album has received really positive reactions from both media and fans. And for us it really means a lot to hear all those comments on the album, it’s what keeps us going as a band! I’m really satisfied with “The Shadow Archetype” and all the work behind the album. We spent more time on this album than we have ever done before and the result was also amazing in my opinion. I’m certain we can stand proud of the album in the future to come.

The first thing that caught my attention was the great cover by Michal “Xaay” Loranc. Why did you want to work with him and how did you choose the cover? What is the title painting? What does it mean? It makes me think and I cannot really figure out what or who is it? Some kind of a monster? I really like the cover; it catches my attention every time.

The Shadow Archetype” comes from the Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung’s theories of psychological archetypes. Jung meant that humans are not born as a blank sheet of paper or a tabula rasa. Instead he meant that humans inherit psychological structures from their ancestors that go thousands of years back in history. “The Shadow Archetype” is the psychological structure which holds all the dark or evil side of the human psyche.

The artwork itself is a symbolic interpretation of “The Shadow Archetype” or the dark side of the human psyche. The evil of man flashes out in a second in an uncontrollable rage… I think our artwork artist Xaay captured the theory extremely well and one reason for that is probably that he was very well read up on the subject. He did a paper on the archetype theories at the Cracow University a couple of years ago. The reason why we chose to work with Xaay is that we really love his work and we have worked with him now on every release since the 2010 “Apocalyptic” album. Nowadays we consider Xaay as our in-house artwork artist. When we work together with Xaay we pretty much do it the same way on every album; we give him an album title, lyrics and some tracks to get inspiration from and then he comes up with his ideas. And he always delivers something amazing for us that capture the ideas that we have. The artwork for “The Shadow Archetype” is in my opinion the best artwork he has done for us…

Who is the author of your lyrics for “The Shadow Archetype” and what are the lyrics about? Where do you find inspiration?

Thomas Josefsson our vocalist writes all the lyrics for Evocation. It’s dealing with his thoughts on politics, psychological disorders, sex, drugs, media and so on. How he sees the world. He is a very deep thinking kind of person and as soon as we have a new song he sees the whole story in front of him. Every song has a story on these kinds of topics; I think that it’s his mission to tell you something. The lyrics are the most important part to tell a story and to explain the feelings in the music. It’s all true emotions and it’s a way to tell a message. Thomas works for months with the lyrics and every word is in the exact position where we want it. He hates to start working with a new album but as soon as the brain flows and the pen works he loves it. I love the fact that the band and the fans love it to. I really hope that people see this.

The new album has a dark and sharp sound. Who is the author and where did you record? I would like to know how you compose. How is the composing process of EVOCATION? Who has the last word? Who is the one to say “this is right; this is how we are going to let it go”?

All the music on the album has been composed by me and Simon Exner, the new lead guitarist. However I must point out that the whole band has been involved with the making of the album. Thomas, our vocalist created all the lyrics and the arrangements for that and Gustaf our bass player created all the bass lines for the album. Also not to forget that our session drum player Per Möller-Jensen (ex-The Haunted) was also involved and did some re-arrangements for the drum tracks which turned out amazing.

The creative process for “The Shadow Archetype” was really smooth and easy in my opinion. When me and Simon wrote the music for the album we shared the same visions and thoughts on how we wanted the album to be and I think that was a major factor for making the songwriting process so easy and smooth. We just threw riffs and ideas at each other and then we would meet up a couple of times each week and try to work them together. Although it took almost two years to write the music for the album it was never boring or hard to work with each other. I think both me and Simon might have the last word at least when it comes to the song writing. For the lyrics Thomas has the final word and for the bass Gus has the final word, I guess we are all responsible for our own parts.

The album was recorded in three different studios; drums at Crehate Studios. Guitars, bass and lead vocals at our own Acacia Avenue Recordings and backing vocals were done at Dugout Productions. The production turned out amazing in my opinion and we didn’t compromise with any details of the sound. We just did everything to perfection and that’s why we also spent almost a year recording, mixing and mastering the album.

I like the darkness which people can feel from your music. I feel like going through a forest during the night, somewhere in the North in Sweden. Are you influenced by your surroundings, by the place you came from? Does the nature from where you come from reflect in your work?

I would definitely say yes to the question if the dark northern nature reflects in our music. The Nordic countries are quite dark and depressive, especially in the winter time. Right now we have the period of time where there is most light and this week Sweden is celebrating midsummer’s eve which is an old pagan feast. So at the moment everybody up here in the Nordic countries are in a natural high due to all light, it’s only dark for a few hours in the night until the sun rises again. So for Evocation the winter time is the ideal time to write new music since it’s dark, cold and depressive in that period. I like really melancholic melodies and I know for sure that my sweet spot for those melodies has been influenced by nature, growing up in a home with melancholic Finnish music etc.

You published the album by Metal Blade Records. Your previous album was published by Century Media Records. Why the change? Are you satisfied with Metal Blade Records?

The record label change was simply due to the fact that the recording agreement with Century Media ended. Metal Blade Records is however Evocation’s number one choice for a record label and that is due to several facts. Metal Blade has for the first an amazing roster with classical bands such as Mercyful Fate, Slayer, Behemoth etc. Secondly they have a great reputation in the scene as a label that supports their bands, and also have a strong foundation in the extreme metal scene. For Evocation the perhaps most important thing why we chose Metal Blade Records was that there are friends of the band that go all the way back to the very beginning of Evocation in the early 90s. For us it means a lot to work with friends of the band and somehow it feels as if the circle has closed for us when we signed with Metal Blade Records. We are extremely satisfied with the work Metal Blade Records has done for Evocation.

I have to admit that I have your complete discography. I started to listen to your band when you published your second demo cassette in 1992. I like the evolution you had; you can see how much you are developing. The only album I did not like was the previous one “Illusions of Grandeur” (2012). I cannot help myself but it seems different and not special. Did you compose differently? I feel that this album is unusual for you.

Thanx a lot for the support through the years! It’s people like you that keeps the band going. I mean we are not living off the music and for us it’s almost vital to hear people like you saying that the music we make matters in their lives. It gives us the necessary energy to keep on going as a band!

When it comes to the “Illusions of Grandeur” album I can agree on some parts there. When I listen to it nowadays it feels overproduced, meaning that the sound is to clean. There are too many guitar layers with harmonies etc. which makes the whole production lack the necessary brutality that we always have had. The song writing on that album was also more melodically oriented which in a way was a counter reaction to the previous album “Apocalyptic” which probably was our most brutal album. So yeah, you are right in some ways about the “Illusions of Grandeur” album. However I must point out that I still like several of the tracks on that album although the production became to clean. With a more raw and brutal production the album wouldn’t have stood out as much in comparison to our previous efforts in my opinion. But no matter what I’m still proud of the “Illusions of Grandeur” album and all the previous albums as well although there is stuff on every album that I in retrospective would want to change. One has just got to accept that the album turned out the way that it did and accept the fact that it is a product of the period of time we were in at the moment. At the moment I’m just so extremely satisfied with how “The Shadow Archetype” turned out. I think it’s the strongest album in our back catalogue both with the songwriting as well as the production. We will see if it will stand the test of time…

Recently me and my friends talked about wanting to buy your first records, old demos but there is no place to find them. Have you thought about releasing them again?

I just checked on the internet and most of the stuff is still available on different web shops. Some vinyls might be sold out but CDs and some of the most common vinyl versions are still available out there. The demos from the early 90s we did a re-release on CD and Vinyl through Century Media in 2012. That release is a really deluxe version with double Vinyl 180g, and the CD has a 36 page booklet with the entire history of Evocation from the early days until today etc. Everything remastered at Fascination Street Studios with top quality. So unfortunately today there are no plans on re-releasing any of the old material with Evocation. If there would come an opportunity to release the old demos in a strictly limited version on cassette there might be a possibility that we would do it. And also if there would come an opportunity to release the old albums as picture discs then it would also probably happen, but besides that I would say that there are no chances of re-releasing any of the old material.

You are like veterans right now. When you compare your beginnings and now, do you feel that the times have changed? I mean the attitude of fans, labels, promoters, and so on. I often hear that “it is not the same as it used to be”. What do you feel?

That might be the case but I’m not sure if it’s the scene that has changed or if it’s me that has changed. Perhaps the digitalization of the music scene changed the attitude towards music and has made people and the scene to digest albums and bands in a faster rate than before. The lifespan of an album nowadays is shorter than ever and which also maybe reflects in the attitudes towards music in a whole. I sometimes feel that music doesn’t have the same value as it did back in the 90s for instance. In my opinion it’s a bit sad but there’s not much one can do about it.

Nowadays, most people download music online and they only use its digital copies. How do you feel about this issue? I would like to know it from you, from a musician.

I try to embrace the music scene as it is and also the digitalization. For instance services like Spotify are a great invention for the customer although it sucks for the bands when it comes to revenues. I also love Spotify as a customer but as a musician it pretty much sucks. When you don’t have a physical copy of the album it also devalues the music and the work behind the album.

Are there any records which have caught your attention recently?

The best new album I have listened to in the last few years was At The Gates comeback album “At War With Reality”. A really strong album in my opinion and the title track itself is in my opinion one of the strongest At The Gates tracks ever done. Totally recommended album! I was really sorry to hear that the main song writer Anders Björler just recently left the band. I think it will be difficult to create the At The Gates magic without him onboard… Other bands in the Death Metal scene that are interesting at the moment are for instance Vallenfyre, Memoriam, Firespawn and The Lurking Fear.

Do you know and listen to any Czech bands?

Unfortunately I’m not familiar with the Czech metal scene… I don’t listen to much new music at all nowadays. Sometimes I get a tip from some friend and I will check it out but I really suck at checking out new bands nowadays…

What are EVOCATION´s plans for the next few months? Will you support your new album with a tour and would you like to go to the Czech Republic?

At the moment we are working on getting some shows done for the new album. There might be some touring as well but at the moment we don’t have anything to present to the readers. First in the pipeline we are planning to do a show in our hometown Borås and after that hopefully some European shows. Czech Republic would be awesome to play; we still haven’t done a single show there. We played in the neighbouring countries but unfortunately not the Czech Republic. For me personally it would be great to play there since I absolutely love the country. I have been there several times on vacation. The capital Prague is just astonishingly beautiful and the food and the beer are just amazing. I’m sure I will visit the Czech Republic several times in the future, with or without Evocation. But hopefully with Evocation!

Thank you so much for this interview and I wish you a bunch of sold records, hundreds of crazy fans and tons of good ideas.

Thank you for the support of Evocation and hope we will meet the readers on some shows in the future!


/Marko Palmén – Guitars tuned in B-flat since 1991

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