Tom Englund - Evergrey
Evergrey, the stalwarts of the Gothenburg metal scene, have released what may well be their best record to date in Glorious Collision. Its power underscores the turbulence the band has gone through as it hits you like a massive brick wall. Tom Englund, lead singer as well as an amazing guitarist, sat down with Exiles before a recent show to discuss how they came to this Glorious Collision.
An interview with Tom Englund of Evergrey.
By Jeffrey Easton
Metal Exiles: The new version of Evergrey saved the band, what has it done for you?
Tom Englund: It kept Evergrey going, which was the whole idea basically. At first we tried a few things to see if we wanted to keep Evergrey going, we wrote a few songs and it turned out very well so we just kept on going.
Metal Exiles: Besides doing it for the fans, what has kept the band going?
Tom: To see if Rikard (Zander) and I could write songs together and see if the band was still fun to be in.
Metal Exiles: You have three new members (Marcus Jidell, Johan Niemann, Hannes Van Dahl), what have they done for the music that the last version did not do?
Tom: You have the new vibes coming in as well as the new influences, there is just fresh blood coming into the band and that shakes things up. It is different than it was before but not to the extent that all of a sudden Evergrey is playing country music.
Metal Exiles: What did the new vibes coming into the band do for the new songs?
Tom: Honestly most of the songs were written most of the material already but Marcus co-wrote a few songs but music wise it was done. On the next album there will be much more input from the new guys.
Metal Exiles: Torn was a good record but The Glorious Collision is far superb. Do you think the writing was on the wall about the future of the band?
Tom: We have always tried to make the absolute best album that we can at the given time and that was the same for Torn. We would never release an album that we feel was mediocre or half assed. We have always given 100 percent, it was just after that album we felt, as we know now, that that was all we could do with that line up.
Metal Exiles: What was it like going into the studio with new guys and was it harder or easier for you?
Tom: It is hard to record an album when you want it to be as good as you want or as good as I want. For Hannes it was his debut album so he had nothing to compare it to but an album is an album. We did not know each other but the result is the most important thing.
Metal Exiles: And it was a great result. How did it work to your advantage to work with new people rather than having the same people time after time? Were you more influencing or did you take in more influences?
Rikard: It’s fresh to go with new people but you are not sure what you would get because with the other guys you knew what you were going to get out of them. This was totally new as well as scary and exciting at the same time.
Metal Exiles: Marcus is a great guitar player, how did he acclimate to your style of playing Evergrey music?
Tom: Very well and very fast. One of the things I was most impressed by was how well he adapted to Evergrey music. It is quite a task I believe to get the correct feeling of where I am in my head and where Rikard is in his head and make it his own.
Metal Exiles: Evergrey is a technically precise band with their own sound, when you hear Evergrey, you know it’s them. What did he bring in as far as his set up to play on the record?
Tom: He brought in a few guitars for the acoustic parts but we got him an endorsement through Comparison Guitars. He basically played on the Comparison models and maybe on one Gibson for the solos, we used the same gear.
Metal Exiles: Again the new record is stunning and the themes are always dark. What does this album revolve around?
Tom: They revolve around where we have been as a band for the last three years before the new guys came in and a bit after. It’s not a concept record though because a few songs are about different things.
Metal Exiles: Mentally where were you coming from?
Tom: When we were writing the songs we were fresh, hungry and revived. We were free in a way. We are still friends with the ex-band members but it felt as though we were breathing under a blanket for a few years and all of a sudden someone took it away.
Metal Exiles: What does the Glorious Collision mean to you as far as a title?
Tom: A collision is something we go through every day, you never know what direction the collision will take you. If you take the band splitting up as a collision, it got us here today with that happening. It was a glorious collision for everyone.
Metal Exiles: One of my favorite tracks is Frozen. Where did that come from?
Tom: That is about where we were at the time, when we did not listen to each other or pretended to listen to each other. We came to point where we did not care about each other as people, which is where we started out before music, business and bullshit got in the way. Now we are back where we were ten years ago before all of this happened.
Metal Exiles: How did you allow that to happen?
Tom: I think you can ask anyone in a relationship that goes stale where you take things for granted. That is the key to allow your relationships to get fucked up.
Metal Exiles: When you sing your material what does it do to you mentally?
Tom: Well it’s not like we are dark gloomy people that sit around and cut our wrists, I think for me it is a way to get it all out of me. Venting is a good thing. We are happy people but we can always find something dark within us.
Metal Exiles: You made the comment that this is not a concept album but The Inner Circle was a great concept record. Would you be against going back in and doing one again?
Tom: I am not against anything but I find it hard finding a subject that would be interesting enough to write about.
Metal Exiles: Your wife (Carina Englund) has had a major part in your past recordings but recently she has only turned up in bonus tracks. Is there a reason for her lessened appearances?
Tom: I never thought about it like that but she is really an extra spice that we add to the music, she is not a member of the band. We do not sit down and write the Carina part but I did for this album where she should sing And the Distance in her own way because she has a lot of fans. It is the same with guitar solos, they have to be there for a reason, not just for it to be there.
Metal Exiles: It has been a long time since you did a major tour of America. Will that trend continue or will there be a few rounds with this record?
Tom: Right now we do not know what we are doing next year. The smart business move would be to come back and doing an opening act tour for someone that is bigger. We would like to go back in an do a new record and then come back again..
Metal Exiles: Seemingly nobody buys CDs anymore, they just download their music but the Glorious Collision release has great packaging. For a format that is supposedly dead in the water why did you go all out for this release with a comic etc?
Tom: Because that is the only way you can sell CDs anymore.
Metal Exiles: Do you still make money on CDs or just from the tours?
Tom: We have never made any money from CDs. Honestly, advances for record deals are a 10th of what we did 10 years ago so yeah you can only make money from the live shows.
Evergrey are a powerful asset to the metal world and that statement is realized fully after one listen to Glorious Collision.
Official Evergrey Site
BUY Glorious Collision