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Christian Eriksson & Bill Hudson (Northtale)

Interview with Christian Eriksson & Bill Hudson from Northtale
by John Paul Romero at 16 August 2019, 7:24 AM

Swedish/USA "supergroup" NORTHTALE recently released their latest album, "Welcome to Paradise." Metal Temple writer John Paul Romero recently got the chance to sit down with Christian Eriksson (Vocals) and Bill Hudson (Guitars) to chat with them about their project, the new album, and a few other topics. Check it out!

First of all, I’d like to congratulate you for the successful album launch!

Bill: Thank you so very much! It’s been a lifetime coming for me!

Christian: Thank you so much!

I’ve been following you right before you were officially a band, and I must say you were one of the most hyped bands out there for the past year – and that was even before you released your 2018 version of “Shape Your Reality”. How did that affect your activity in the studio?

Bill: That’s a good question! I think a lot of the reason why this album is so unique is because we knew it all along that, no matter what, people would listen! Whether they liked it or not is something else, but in the music industry it’s hard enough to get your stuff heard. Because it’s so hard to get it heard, a lot of people tend to write music one way or another, trying to appease a certain slice of audience. I always chuckle when I see a musician claiming they’ll write music in a style that’s popular but they don’t like. It never works! With “Welcome To Paradise” we wrote what WE wanted to hear if another band wrote it. The album that we would’ve bought when we were teenagers. We knew there had to be more people out there that thought like us, and apparently we were right!

How would you describe the feedback you got when you released “Shape Your Reality”? I mean you barely made a promotion when you released it but garnered lots of attention anyway.

Bill: I assume you mean the first version, that released last year. It was good. But none of us in the band were ready to release it yet. People seemed to like it, but we got also a bit of criticism on the production, which is understandable considering it wasn’t the final version. All in all, I was happy with the result.

Right from the start of your journey as a band, a lot of people already call you a supergroup. Have you embraced this label already? How do you feel every time you are called like that?

Bill: That’s a nice promotional tool, and obviously it works since every interview we do we’re asked about it haha! But as we always say, we don’t consider ourselves a super group. Avantasia is a super group. We’re just a bunch of dude who have been in other bands previously. And if things work out our way, you’ll forget that we ever were in those bands anyway!

I’m not sure if you still remember but I had an interview with you last year and there we talked about the supposedly upcoming EP. But of course, with a very fortunate turn of the tide, you got a contract with Nuclear Blast and unleashed your full length debut instead. Can you explain us what exactly happened in that sequence?

Christian: Yes I remember! To be honest I really can’t.. of course we always wanted to work with Nuclear but we never thought that they would pick up a new band with no music out. But we started talking and all of a sudden they offered us a great deal. We are really happy to be working with them, they are THE label for our kind of music.

Bill, if there’s someone from the band who had been through a lot of musical journeys, it must be you. You have played alongside legends throughout your career and became one of the most respected guitarists of the whole genre. My question is: How would you compare NORTHTALE to the other projects you’ve been involved in?

Bill: it’s 1000x better! Haha, seriously though it is what I’ve always wanted to do. TSO, Savatage, Jon Oliva’s Pain and Circle II Circle are all bands that I grew up listening to and was incredibly honored to be a part of at one moment or another. I would’ve done all of that for free. In I Am Morbid, I’m a founding member and I really enjoy performing that kind of music, as it’s a challenge. Doro Pesch of course is the Queen of Metal and the honor level of performing with her is also through the roof. But one thing is consistent: None of that is my music. I’m performing someone else’s music to the best of my ability, but no matter how good I am at it, I’m still playing “a cover song” and following someone else’s direction.

With NORTHTALE I run the show. It’s my music, and the people around me are the people I want around me. I found an amazing writing partner in Christian, and the music we make is the music I dreampt of making the entire time. It’s almost like I needed to gain the experience of touring with all those bands in order to finally do what I wanted to do back in high school! Believe me, from the looks of the members, to the compositions, to the artwork and even the record label: this is what I’ve ALWAYS wanted to do.

Going back to the album – I personally love how classic and raw it sounds, just sheer power and energy. You really nailed that STRATOVARIUS meets HAMMERFALL kind of vibe. You even sounded like JUDAS PRIEST in the opening of the song “Bring Down the Mountain."

Bill: I appreciate that, man! We’re not really trying to reinvent the wheel. We just want to play music that we love and we’re very honest about it and wear our influences loud and proud. All three of those bands are huge influences on us!

Christian: Thanks! yeah as Bill says we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel.. I feel nowadays many bands are trying to come up with new gimmicks and such to like “top everything”. With NT we’re focusing more on writing the music we love and there’s been a few bands over the years that has inspired us such as Judas,hammerfall, helloween etc.

I noticed that your attack on vocals in “Welcome to Paradise” is a lot different than those you did with TWILIGHT FORCE. You even did a surprising ballad in “Way of the Light” where I barely recognized your voice. Can you say that you are more comfortable with this approach?

Yes indeed! In TF I didn’t write the music, In NT I do. NorthTale is exactly what I want to do and there’s so much more that can be done with the vocals than just high pitch. Me and Bill really complement each other in the song writing.

Talking about another song, “Everone’s a Star” – it’s a really interesting and engaging song plus it also sounds so inspired. I wonder who wrote it? And what’s the story behind it?

Bill: First of all, you should know that song was almost cut! And boy am I glad it wasn’t! That’s one of several partnerships between myself and Christian. For the longest time the working title of that song was “Schläger”, because that’s what it reminded me of! I wrote all of the music (and even performed keyboards) and sent Christian the music with a few vocal ideas, as I always do. He sent me a few ideas, I sent some ideas back… but we were never happy with the result. Until one day he randomly sends me a demo of it singing top to bottom, lyrics and all! I laughed so hard and knew that that was it! The lyrics fit the music and the melody so smoothly it took it to a whole different level!

I know you already have a tour lined up but I’ll still ask: What does the future hold for NORTHTALE? Any other plans?

Bill: We’re gonna start our journey on August 15th in Sweden at Sabaton Open Air and head to Japan for Evoken Fest the week after on August 31 and Sep 1st. As far as touring, we have recently settled on a booking agent and he’s starting to look at tours for us.

Before we sum up – a little bit of good time. What’s your favorite album of 2019 so far and why?

Bill: For me that would be Sabaton’s “The Great War” and the recently released Ed Sheeran “Collaborations Project”.

Christian: Are there more bands releasing this year? ;-) Haha just kidding. 2019 is probably one of the best years for melodic metal in many years. So far I really like the newest single from Civil War. Looking forward to the release.

Any further messages/shoutouts? Promote your debut album!

Bill: Thank you John and Metal Temple Magazine for the space! We can’t wait to hear everyone’s reaction to “Welcome To Paradise”! Keep the melody in metal!

Christian: Thank you so much for this interview! I really hope everyone’s gonna enjoy our album and I hope to see you on tour soon.
Thank you so much!



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