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Erik Martensson (Eclipse)

Interview with Erik Martensson from Eclipse
by Grigoris Chronis at 20 October 2008, 10:25 AM

Already fighting for the Top Hard Rock Release category for 2008, ECLIPSE's Are You Ready To Rock CD just grabbed us by the balls and we had no other choice than to obey to its dynamics/melodies/hooks/vocals/atmosphere. Four years after their previous release, Sweden's ECLIPSE is back in action; Mr. Martensson (vocalist), we really hope we won't have to wait another dozen of years for the next one. Promise?

Hi Erik, greetings from the Metal Temple magazine!

Hi! Great to be with you!

Well, we had to wait for nearly four years to see a new ECLIPSE album coming out, but what-the-hell it as definitely worth the wait! I know it sounds typical, but do you share this impression too?

Yes, we do! This album is by far the best we have ever done. No question about it. It feels great to be back and with a strong album like this it's even better.

Reasonably enough: why did it take you that long to come up with a new album?

After the Second To None release in 2004 we struggled a lot in the band in witch musical direction the band should take. After nearly a breakdown of the band it ended up with that only Magnus Henriksson (guitar) and me was left in the band. We decided that if we should continue this time we have to do the kind of music we both really like and listen to. One can say that we went back to our roots and did an album that we wanted to listen to ourselves. And I can say after all that has happened that everything has been better. It has never been more fun to write and play music. It won't take another four years until the next release!

Are You Ready to Rock is a great title. It just came out as an idea or it reflects a new 'meaning' for ECLIPSE, since in this album we see the band possessing a more hardened sound/style?

Thanks. I've encountered a few journalists who have hated it. But I like it! You know exactly what you will get and this album sure delivers it too! I came up with the title when we listened top the final mixes of the album. It just seemed like a perfect title when we listened to the album.

So, which you think were the ingredients for Are You Ready to Rock's making? Are the songs newly-written or you had any leftovers from the Second To None days? Who handled the songwriting, who took care of the lyrics and who produced/mixed the album?

Only three songs are from the years between Second To None and when we started to write for this album, Unbreakable, 2 Souls and To Mend A Broken Heart. The rest of the album was written in only one week! Magnus and me actually bought a lot of beer and booze and went out into the Swedish countryside for one week and both drinks and inspiration flowed! A good friend of the band, Miqael Persson, helped us out with writing a lot of lyrics for this album.

Was it stressful enough do achieve the kind of sound you wanted for Are You Ready to Rock? Can you recall feeling 'let down' by any obstacles while rehearsing/recording or things went smooth enough and by your side?

I have never done a more easily recorded album than this. It was written and recorded very fast. We knew exactly what we wanted when we started the recordings so everything went very smooth and we are very proud of what we have achieved.

Are ECLIPSE only you and Magnus Henriksson as of now? I'm asking 'cause in the back of the promo CD the mag got for review it states with the help of these fine musicians referring to Johan Berlin and Henric W. Erikson. Did they act as session musicians for the new album?

When we started this whole thing again it was only Magnus and I. But when we started to write we decided to do it for real and found new members for the band who like this music just as much as we do. But in a very early stage it was only we two. But by a fault by Frontiers Records graphics department the promo pressings of the album was totally wrong. Henric was only part of the band for a short period but we decided for another drummer just before the recordings. So it's actually a guy called Robban Back that plays drums in the record. And he is a permanent member of the band as well. Johan is also a permanent member of the band.

Listening to the new album again and again, I can see a tension for faster and heavier tunes; apart from the EUROPE/TALISMAN etc parallelism, I witnessed a relevance to the mighty WHITESNAKE's volume (mainly in the rhythm section's duties). Still, your vocal harmonies contradict perfectly with the songs' size. How do you see - in clear 'music' facts - the new ECLIPSE album?

I totally agree with you. We went for a heavier production this time. The earlier records were more AoR in the style and that is actually quite funny as none of us really listens to AoR a lot. But anyway, when we decided to do this we knew it was a change in style for us and we all love WHITESNAKE and the other bands that you mentioned. And that of course influenced us during the recordings of the album. We wanted this album to be filled with so much energy as possible. We gave each song everything we had.

The new album is out via Frontiers records; this label's by far established as the safe home for - in general - melodic/hard Rock bands. Is your contract extended for further albums?

Frontiers has really done a lot for this genre by providing the opportunity for bands playing this music. We will of course continue to work with them.

Out in 10th October (Europe, at least), what would you expect from Are You Ready To Rock? These are kind of hard times for CDs, sales are descending and there's tons of stuff around (bands, labels, promoters, managers). You think with the proper promotion/distribution fans will at least have the chance to have Are You Ready To Rock available? Cause - I know - once they get to listen to it they'll run buying it, haha!

You are so kind! But I have no expectation in terms of album sales. I know that we have done a great album and if people buy it it's even better. And I know that the business is not so good these days but if we were in it for the money we would not play this kind of music anyway. We do it because we love it.

Apart from the obvious 'love' themes (an endless source!), what other concepts does the now album deal with in regards to the lyrics? You think still the fans pay attention to the lyrics in an album?

What would a Hard Rock album be without lyrics about love and broken hearts? But we have of course dealt with different topics on this album. For me personally it's very important that the lyrics fit the song and that it lifts the melodies to new heights. I'm not sure that hardrockers listen so carefully to the lyrics but if the lyrics are really bad, then they will definitely notice it.

Now listening to To Mend A Broken Heart (my personal favorite off the album), I'd like to ask what's - in your opinion - the impact of minor scales in a Rock fans' ears? OK, 'party' songs the scene of LA produced in the 80s is a specific case (I can thing lots of POISON or some of BON JOVI and MOTLEY CRUE, for instance) but my belief is that more 'moody' songs (always in a Hard rock pace) speak more in a grown-up rockers' hearts.

If you use major scales it can take away the nerve in the music. As you say, sometimes it's fantastic with a really up-lifting major scale chorus. Makes you feel good. But minor scales really is the shit if you want to write Hard Rock, kick ass tunes!

Do you consider Are You Ready To Rock has the vibe to attract juvenile fans? You see, there's a tension in younger ages to have interest in more extreme/aggressive stuff. On the other hand, things have changed for melodic Hard Rock the last years; it's back in the map. Your opinion?

I really hope so. I think this album can appeal to both new and old fans of the genre. It's aggressive and ballsy enough not to be classed as old-fart music by the young kids, but still classic enough for the older fans. It will be very interesting to hear the reactions from fans when it will be released. If I were a kid, I would absolutely buy this CD!

Erik, thanks a lot for your spare time. Really anxious to see if the fans are Ready to Rock to the sound of ECLIPSE, is there anything you'd like to add?

Thank you Greg for having me on Metal Temple! To all the fans out there: just stay true to yourself, follow your heart and keep on rocking! I will surely do.



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