I’m super excited that my Daytrotter Session will be released Friday, September 21st! Here’s a sneak preview from the last episode of my Drivin’ & Dreaming TV show which shows when I recorded the Daytrotter Session in August. Don’t miss out on hearing this exclusive recording. Get the Daytrotter app now!
“…Not dread but a connection with our past is what we feel, a thread running back to the artless creatures we once were when we first heard the oboe-like notes from the Great Horned Owl. In Paleolithic times, we suspected omens in its voice, heard in it questions we were unable to articulate, but which have stayed within us, incomplete and taunting. We are certain that ancient, taloned bird sees what we do not, knows what we never will. And some night, silent as a gliding feather, its immensity will engulf us at fireside to tell us things we want to know as well as those we don’t. In the shadowed forest we’re pulled by that lurking and alluring ghost and we are enthralled.” Welcome to Twin Peaks: Access Guide to the Town
2011 was a busy year for me. I worked hard to get an artist visa to the US, preparing for a tour that might go on for as long as two years. At the same time I wrote and recorded a new album. Now that I’ve landed in my tour in the US it’s also time for my new album to land. “The Owls Are Not What They Seem” is a collection of 12 new songs. My musical journey started out in 2004 when I recorded Blue Moon and me and my musicians all gathered in a basement studio in Stockholm recording acoustically and almost all the instruments at the same time. After that I tried a more common way of recording in layers, adding instruments upon instruments. For my third album I hired a producer, Tobias Fröberg and for my fourth album Florida i experimented with a bigger soundscape with more drums than I had ever used before.
For “The Owls Are Not What They Seem” I went back to basics. After having done an acoustic solo tour for my album Florida Acoustic in 2010 I felt I was in my best element when I was playing and singing at the same time without the restrains of headphones and click-tracks. So I decided to make an ablum that was the essence of that me. Just something I could record in my bedroom without the pressure of a big production, time and opinions from others. All the songs on “ ” are recorded that way. Me – playing and singing at the same time, then sparsely adding other instruments to enhance and highlight where I thought it was needed. My goal was to keep it down and make an acoustic album with a live, organic feel to it. I had no interest in changing the world or inventing something new. I just wanted to make a beautiful acoustic album. And here it is: “The Owls Are Not What They Seem”
You can now pre-order the album here. You’ll get a free track straight away. Physical signed albums will only be available through my website until the release. I also have two special guests on the album; Martin Hederos is playing the piano on “Nothing quite so gentle” and Pontus Borg has lent his voice to “7 miles wide”. Please hit the share button to tell all your friends.
Soon the last part of H.A.T.E will be released by Swedish metal band Akribi. We managed to keep them still for a few minutes to ask them some questions about the meaning of life and metal…
Hi Akribi! You guys are doing “E – Part Four of H.A.T.E”. How has the experience been so far?
Definitely different. We’re not at all used to interpreting other musician’s materials, nor working with such tight deadlines, but it’s been a very fun and rewarding experience so far.
Great! Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?
We’re a female-fronted progressive metal band based in Gothenburg, Sweden. The band started out back in 2003, based on the idea of playing ambitious metal with strong songwriting. It’s an ideal that has remained intact through countless lineup changes over the years. As a consequence of this, we like to work with a slightly expanded palette of scales, chords and time signatures in our music. Oh, and let’s just get one very common misconception out of the way… “female-fronted” in this case does not mean “gothic” or “operatic”.
Just like Badmouth you’re releasing this EP only a few months after your
album release. Are you always this productive?
Given the right circumstances, sure. As hinted above, the band has had a bit of a rough history with lineup changes and whatnot. We have begun writing the next album and it’s going surprisingly fast so maybe we’ve learnt a thing or two about efficiency.
Did you think it was hard to interpret Sofia’s songs into your own style or did you get ideas straight away?
We decided to transcribe the chords and scales that Sofia used. After we had done that we stopped listening to Sofia’s versions and began working. We sent note sheets with ideas to each other; “Could this be something?”, “Would this passage sound better if we changed scales to Lydian?”, “What happens if we add this chord there?” and so on and then we tried playing the ideas. We changed a lot, added riffs and details to make it more Akribi. It took us about a month and then we recorded it, sent it to our mixing guys in Brazil and voilà.
Which of the songs are you most pleased with and why?
It’s difficult to pick a song. It sounds weird but when you live with a song in the intense way that’s required for writing and recording it it sort of becomes your baby. The song we play the most often nowadays is The Garden. The guitar solos are great and Alexander gets to play his Chapman Stick and that always makes him happy. Our songs are usually pretty long and that makes set lists tricky to do so it’s good to have a shorter-than-four-minutes-song up our sleeve.
What’s your favorite gig memory?
That must be the first time we were on stage and the audience sang along with our song Carry the Rain. It’s an incredible feeling. But if you’re looking for an awkward anecdote it must be when the guards didn’t let our drummer back into the building after a sound check. He tried to convince them that he was in the band but the guards told him “yeah right, that’s what everybody says”. The rest of us were backstage ready to go on stage not knowing where he was.
Can you tell us a little bit about the recording sessions and what was most fun with being a part of this project?
Well, the recording workflow was the same that we always follow. When we’ve written the chord progressions, melodies and overall structure of a song, we record (or in this particular case, program) a drum track and have everyone record their parts individually to that. All recordings are then assembled in a sequencer and a rough pre-mix is done. Feedback is sent out, obscene words are exchanged, and adjustments are made. When everyone is sufficiently satisfied, the tracks are sent away for mixing. The most interesting and fun part of this project was that is was far out of the realm of what we usually do. Apart from on a few auditions, we don’t play or record external material. Oh, and we finally got to put a growling part in a song, courtesy of Rafael Basso of “Unlit Face”.
What’s next on the agenda for Akribi this winter?
In October we got a new drummer and we’re in the process of getting to know each other musically and he’s learning all our songs. Parallel to this we’re in contact with booking agents and promoters around Europe. Music is always better live and life on stage is great so we’ll play live as much as possible.
If you would record a Christmas metal album, which three songs would be on your list?
Hey, we’re a metal band! We don’t do Christian things 😉
Thanks for hanging out! We look forward to hearing the songs 🙂
Listen and pre order E – Part Four of H.A.T.E by Akribi here! You’ll get an instant download of one of the songs! The EP will be released December 1st.
Listen to all the EPs of the L.O.V.E vs H.A.T.E saga here:
So you thought the year was over? That there would be no more Sofia-songs to enjoy? Well you thought wrong. As a special treat we still have “E – Part Four of H.A.TE” coming up December 1st like an early Christmas gift.
I’m so happy to tell you that the last EP of the H.A.T.E saga is being recorded by Swedish band Akribi, who is the first band in the project to have a female singer (and she’s pretty damn hot too!).
In a sea of generic female-fronted metal bands, Akribi blatantly defies the worn-out gothic/operatic formula, staying uncompromisingly true to its progressive- and melodic metal roots. Based in the Swedish metal capital of Gothenburg, Akribi delivers its own brand of metal influenced by genre-defining acts such as Dream Theater, Symphony X and Marillion, but also by bands far outside the progressive genre.
Their debut album “Black Morning Sun” has recently been released to great acclaim, with reviewers calling it: “a jewel of an album, and a must have for fans of new progressive metal” and “premier league prog metal immaculately recorded with impeccable sound“, with the band being called: “one of the best female fronted progressive metal bands I’ve ever heard“.
So my hopes for Akribi’s addition to H.A.T.E is sky high!
Akribi has actually already sent me a teaser by a few pics from the studio. Let the count down begin!
I’m so happy to announce that we met our goal in the pledge and thanks to all of you who pledged we will be able to release the last part of L.O.V.E next week. If you haven’t pledged you can still pre-order the physical CD, T-shirts and other goods up till November 1st. After that the EP will only be available as a digital download.
For this update I thought we’d grill the producer a little bit, so I tied him to his amplifier and made him answer all these questions…
Marcus Högquist, you are the producer of “E – Part Four of L.O.V.E” and you are also the guitarist in Sofia’s band since many years, how do you think this recording was different than the others you’ve made with Sofia?
More guitars 🙂 The previous recordings I´ve done with Sofia have all been different from each other. For example, the first one we recorded almost completely live with just two microphones. All of us sitting in the same room and playing together. And for that one we used mostly acoustic instruments. For the following records we have been doing more and more overdubs, recorded separetly and used more electronic sounds. This time I’ve tried to capture the essence of Sofia’s songs and let them guide me toward where I was going. Maybe in some cases I’ve put them in a slightly new context, soundwise.
What’s your favorite song on the EP and why?
I like them all. But if I have to pick just one I’d say If I had a man. I’m really pleased with how it came out.
If you would describe this EP as the love child of two bands/artists, which would that be?
John McEnroe and Mats Wilander 😉
If you would have had an unlimited budget, is there anything you would have done differently?
I think I would have recorded the songs live with the band in a big fancy studio somewhere in the countryside. We would stay there for a few days and be totally focused on making the best record ever. For relaxation between the sessions some of us would play some tennis, Christian would go fishing in the lake just outside the studio and Sofia would probably get a nice massage.
How come you chose “Lower Case Letters” as your re-make song?
Actually the new rhythm feel of that song came out of a mistake during a rehearsal that Sofia and I where doing for a promotion tour a few years ago. So for the following tour we decided to stick with that new rhythm arrangement and we did on our last US tour with the band as well. Then, when I was asked to pick an old song for this recording I just thougt it would be nice to record it that way.
What was your biggest challenge as a producer?
Because I recorded a lot of the stuff myself, I’d say being the the producer and the musician at the same time.
Exactly how many guitar tracks can we expect on “E – Part Four of L.O.V.E” ? 😉
What’s your best words of wisdom when producing an album?
Keep an open mind. It might be good to have a plan for how you want the songs to sound. But be open for new ideas during the process and let them inspire you.
Thanks Marcus! We look forward to hearing your awesome creation!
“E – Part Four of L.O.V.E” is being released November 1st.