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Interview - Fredrik Joakimsson (Cullooden)

Interview with Fredrik Joakimsson from Cullooden
by Daniel Fox at 17 July 2014, 11:21 PM

A different approach is needed every now and then to produce something that will eventually become a pillar and inspiration to others. CULLOODEN wished to upscale the merits of Metal into their own veil of progression, utilizing melody and complexion to their advantage. Daniel Fox recently talked to Fredrik Joakimsson, vocals / guitars, about the band’s latest release “Silent Scream”, the band, music and more…

Hi Fredrik; it has been almost year since the release of "Silent Scream". Does the response from the listeners match how pleased the band is with the outcome? You already know I loved it.

Hi there Daniel! Well, seven months.. but yes absolutely. We're all happy with the reactions and reviews. Most of them were much better than we could imagine.

I've been curious, who is the person on the album cover, and how does it tie in with the meaning of the title?

It's Micko's (our label manager) son. When I look at the album cover I feel that you're standing in an empty world and no one can hear you scream. That's what we were thinking of when we made the cover. There's so many people out there trying to say something but won't get heard, whether it's music, politics, poetry etc. So that's what it's about, the pic and the title.

There's a huge range of styles and moods on this album; I hear some melancholy on "Drowning in Silence" and "Endless Tears", but "Star of the Night", probably my favorite piece, is very happy sounding. What were you guys aiming to accomplish with this range in themes?

I've always been a huge fan of melodic music and great choruses, but also the heavier progressive side, so I guess it's all a mix of everything that we love. Jonas our guitarist always hits me with the greatest piece of instrumentation, and from there I can easily come up with a strong melody to the song. And I guess what we were aiming for was just to create an album with great top lines and songs that were simply not boring to listen to, no fillers.

"Our Only Desire" raises a contentious issue that no one thinks about; superficiality. What was the motivation to create this track?

It's something that I’d been thinking about for a long time because it's a thing that disturbs me. The lust for money, fame, to be the best looking person, and what people are willing to do just to make it in their career, and how much stress it creates, and hate against each other it also creates…so I wanted to write about that, and when this song came up, I just started to write down some words. And here we are.

Let's talk about the band's origins. How did Cullooden happen, and what is the meaning of the band name?

Me and the bass player Michael were talking about starting a metal band back in 2000, so I began writing some tunes and recorded them. In 2003 we formed a band and from there on the constellation have changed throughout the years. The name comes from the battle of Culloden which is a historic battle between Scotland and England y 1746. Later on we just added and extra "O" in the name and stopped write about that subject. Some people may think we take sides when it comes to this but it has nothing to do with England or Scotland, and we just write about different things in life and problems in our world.

One of the most effective hooks on this album are your vocals. To me, you sound very similar to Tommy Karevik, you may or may not have heard of him, but he is one of my favorites. Are there any vocalists in particular who have influenced you?

Oh yes, I know of him and I love his voice. As you already know I’m also the drummer in Cloudscape and we played with Seventh Wonder once in Holland at Prog Power Europe. Had a great time with the guys, and me and Tommy sang 'Carrie' together after a round of beers. That was fun! I listen to so many different artists and singers, but a few of them I grew up listening to is Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, Joey Tempest, Axl Rose, Dio, James Hetfield, David Coverdale, Ian Gillan, Freddie Mercury.. A few other newer singers that has inspired me is Russel Allen, Jorn Lande, Phil Anselmo, James LaBrie.

The remaining members are obviously accomplished musicians; what can you say about their backgrounds before coming to Cullooden?

We were all basically just unknown musicians playing with local bands in town. None of us had released any records yet or anything. Just amateurs playing at home.

This may be my ignorance, but I noticed in recent social updates that the band now has a drummer. At the time of Silent Scream's release I wasn't sure; did you record drums for the album? I am aware of your drum work with Cloudscape.

No we don't have a permanent drummer, but we have Daniel Beijbom who played drums on Silent Scream. He was a member of the band back then but decided to quit, so he's only joining us sometimes on various pics and updates just because he's the drummer on the album. Nothing more. If the time comes for us to play live we will decide then who will help us out on stage behind the drums.

You have obviously done live shows with Cloudscape; are there plans for live shows with Cullooden, or is the band primarily a studio project? Many great acts stick to studio work, and it seems like an enthralling project to be involved in regardless.

We are actually talking about becoming a live act again, because we were that 8 years ago, and it's important if you want your band to be seen or heard more. Only time will tell when that will happen. But in my opinion this music is too good to just remain as a studio project. On behalf of my band, I really hope it will happen someday soon!

I've seen hints that the band is working on a new album, quite a fast update so relatively soon after Silent Scream! What can you say about it so far?

We're working on new tunes and yes, we've been given out early teasers. But I don't know yet when the next album will be out. I'm taking a break with the vocal recordings at the moment, but I guess we will have most of the songs done by the end of this year, and start the mixing process sometime around next year. We're totally psyched about it and we feel that our sound has evolved to an even more melodic and wider style.

Thank you for answering these questions Fredrik, I look forward to future updates and music from Cullooden (and Cloudscape!). Is there anything you'd like to add?

Thank you Daniel, my pleasure! :-) Keep spreading the word about Cullooden, and thank you all so much for your support!



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