This interview took place at the really smart "Holiday Inn hotel", place de la République, Paris. After a little chat with some people from different Webzines and Fanzines, Roger Wessier, the organisator, and representative of Replica Records (French distributor of the band), introduced me to Tom who was sitting in a tiny little lounge. Evergrey interview was ready to start…
- Hi Tom, I'm Jeff of Metal Storm.ee, nice to meet you and thank you for this interview…
Hi, you're welcome, thanks a lot too.
- So let's start this interview with a question about the cover of your new album. It really looks like the Usual Suspect Poster…
Haha yes, right…
- But you're cool guys right? You're not Kayser Soze, why should you all go in jail? So what's happening, what's the meaning of this cover?
This is not such a big "meaning", it's just something that everyone wanted to do. You know, something different, something that we've never done before, and make journalist like you ask about it. And everybody can ask something about it actually… Before, nobody asked anything about our covers….
- Yeah, you wanted to do something different, maybe funny too, to catch the attention of the people and of your fans?
Yeah it's a bit funny too… But if you look at the lyrics you'll find that it is not so funny (laugh). But well that's the plan we had, we wanted to "chock" the people with this cover and it seems that it works.
- You say that the lyrics aren't so funny, so what's the story behind the lyrics of the new album?
It's twelve different stories. Well it can talk about a lot of things, you know, murdering, car accident, suicide, frustration. Everyday tragedies, things that we will, unfortunately, "meet" one day…
- I don't have the lyrics of your last album, but, yes, in general it's always really sad and deals with psychological problems, and personal tragedies. Does it come from a personal problem?
Well, I always want to write a piece of interesting lyrics and it's really important for me to write something close to my life and you know, after all, I have the right to write lyrics about something really affective. I could write lyrics about Dungeon & Dragons… but no, I let it to Hammerfall (laugh). Seriously, it's always been like that, and I will keep it like that because people can "understand" what I mean.
- You did a lot of concept albums; have you been so impressed by one concept album that you said to yourself that you should only do concept albums?
Well, as you already know, Monday Morning Apocalypse is not a concept album. But yes, I mean, I listened to Operation Mindcrime, and it had a major impact… Hum well on my life and on my musical view so we like to do concept albums but I only consider two of our albums like "real" concept albums.
- So what do you think of the new Mindcrime?
I haven't hear it…
- Not yet?
Is it good or bad?
- Well hard to say, only one song seems to sound like the old OM… you know…
Haha well I see… Well I'm waiting for it anyway, so I will tell you later (laugh)…
- Ok !!! (laugh). Well, The Inner Circle had a lot of background vocals. The new one seems to be a bit punchier. Do you perceive it to be closer to "Recreation Day" or to its predecessors?
I think it's more!!!
Haa, but you're talking about female background vocals, opera stuff?
- Yes!!! (laugh)
Oh ok, then yes, this is a bit different. Because there is a lot of backing vocal, Henrik sings a lot in addition of me. But yeah we don't have a lot of female vocals this time. You know, we don't decide anything before, we just do music that we wanna do, and this is the how it turned this time. But hey the next time we will only use female vocals if you want? Ok? (laugh)…
- (laugh) But is it closer to "Recreation Day" or "The Inner Circle"? Maybe it's just really new for you too?
No, it's something really new. But of course there are still some connections with both "In Search Of Truth" and "Recreation Day". The structures are quite similar with what we did back there. But we never try to do the "same" songs you know.
- Hum well, the problematic question…. There is a recurrent one with Evergrey. Now I want an answer, what kind of music, metal, do you play?
Haaaa… (laugh) We play METAL!!! (laugh). You would like that I say that we're progressive metal? Or dark metal? Or melodic metal? Well I have an answer, Evergrey is all of that… And even more (laugh). So it's not really fair to put just only one label on our music.
- Yes I see, I was expecting this answer (laugh). But if I understand, your "name" is just a synonym of your musical style? Is it a sign of success on a side?
Absolutely, of course!!! Evergrey sounds unique in a way, and I think that we have this musical particularity since our 2nd album. This is something that we're all very proud of, that's something that every bands in the world try to accomplish. We're just lucky to be able to do that. At the end everybody is able to say that it is Evergrey music, it's great really.
- It seems that Evergrey is becoming bigger and bigger, right? Do you have this feeling too?
Well, I know it because we sell more and more records, we make better and better deals, we do better and better shows, that's a sign. I'm happy of it of course.
- And you make videos too… Only big bands do that. Will you shoot a new video for "Monday Morning Apocalypse"?
It's already done!
- So, will you be jailed?
(laugh) No it will be something normal… You'll be able to see it soon…
- Let's talk about you live performances. You'll be at Metalliance Festival in May…
No no no, I heard this information too but we won't be there unfortunately. Actually, we will be touring in the USA…
- Damn ok, but you'll big at Graspop right?
- Do you like to play for big festivals? What's the difference between those kind of events and normal performances?
Both are great you know. In a festival, you play for a lot of people of course and also for people who're not here only for you, it's a good way to catch new fans. With the basic tour, you play for your fans and evidently the feedbacks are really nice in general. So well I like both, and we like to play live anyway so...
- There is something that I would like to know. I don't play the guitar, but I like the instrument and I would like to know how did you end up playing with Caparison Guitars. A lot of Metal bands play with these guitars now and I would like to know how did you get this deal with the Japanese firm?
Well we were endorsed by Ibanez before. Mattias (note of Jeff: Freak Kitchen guitarist and main representative of the firm.) is my friend. So I had a talk with him one day and I said that we wanted more support than we get with Ibanez. Mattias contacted Itaru Kanno, who is the chief of Caparison Guitars, and told him that we were great guitars players and that we needed a new brand of guitars and so… Here we are!!!
- So are you happy with those guitars, is it better now?
Hoo yeah… MUCH BETTER!!! Two hundred time better (laugh). We have everything that we want now. We have our own design from the colours to the microphones, we have five signatures models, that's cool really. It cannot be better and that's good when you're a guitarist.
- Oki one last question Tom. Metal Storm is an international webzine and I know that lot of people want to know if you're planning to tour, especially in the USA?
USA… yes we will tour with In Flames, Nevermore and one other band, if I'm not wrong it will be during May. In France and Europe you'll see us in September after the summer festivals of course. Anyway be prepared for a big tour and a cool show.
- Thank you Tom and see you @ Graspop then!
Of course we will see you all on tour. Check our website to see when we will be in your town! Bye bye!!!
Thx goes to Tom and Evergrey, Roger @ Replica and Benji for the support