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Interview - Per Nilsson (Scar Symmetry)

Interview with Per Nilsson from Scar Symmetry
by Charlotte Wittingham at 25 October 2014, 11:37 AM

Scar Symmetry is name that is pretty well known in the world today. They have recently released their latest album; The Singularity (Phase I: Neohuman). Our team member Charlotte Wittingham grabbed up the opportunity to speak with Per Nilsson about the new release.

Was your latest album The Singularity (Phase I: Neohuman) intended to be released on your 10th anniversary?

No not really, but the mere fact that we were approaching our 10th anniversary was one of the reasons why we wanted to do something different - after having released a string of five albums in an orderly fashion, it was time to challenge ourselves a bit as well as our fans.

When listening to the album myself I did get a science fiction feel; was this intentional?

The lyrical concept of the album is a mix of real science stuff and science fiction, and I tried to write music that would support and enhance the vibe of the lyrics, so yes, it was very much intentional!

In terms of the continuous changing music industry what has been the biggest change for you and Scar Symmetry?

There hasn't been that many changes to how we operate as a band. We're not doing Scar Symmetry full-time so a lot of the changes in the music industry doesn't affect us much since we earn most of our living from doing other stuff. We just keep on doing what we do; write and record albums, and tour whenever we feel like it, without ever compromising with our artistic vision and integrity.

Do you think the Internet has made you more accessible to your fan bases all over the world?

Absolutely - I interact with fans online pretty much every day. I try to make myself as available to the fans as I have time for - and I devote a considerable amount of my time talking to fans online, in different ways and in different forums. I think it's a really, really cool thing, and most of the fans I interact with are really nice people.

Do you think tools on the Internet such as downloading; streaming, Social Media platforms etc. are a positive thing for the music industry or a negative thing?

I think you'd be hard pressed to find a musician or music business person who don't think there are any negative sides whatsoever to the new technologies! But as old business models crumble and wither away, new will take their place - though there's no saying if it will ever be as profitable generally to the musicians and record labels as it has been in the past.

We've been living in this brave new world of downloading and streaming for quite some time now and it's interesting to see what kind of bands and business that manages to survive, and what sort of business and marketing decisions they make to stay afloat. I think that a lot of music fans are starting to recognize the need to actually support their favorite artists, to keep them in business making new music. The concept of crowdfunding is very interesting - though some bands have made asses of themselves by launching VERY unrealistic, bordering-on-greedy campaigns. But the cool thing about it is that it sets up a direct link between the artist and her fans where the lion's share of income actually makes it directly to the artist's own pockets, to be used for whatever things the artist needed them for - recording, production, manufacturing costs, or even as a mean to support the artist financially while working on the products. Some people get all rallied up with the whole thing because they have the misconception that the artists are asking for donations, when in most of the cases it is nothing more than a system that allows the fan to pre-order and pre-pay products from their favorite artist.

It appears there is issues on the album people can relate to on a daily basis; would you agree?

Maybe not that much today but most certainly in the future. If we follow the trajectory of technological advances that we are currently on, we will in the next few decades see the biggest paradigm shift in the history and evolution of mankind. With the emergence of man-like artificial intelligences, brain-computer interfaces, cryonics, cloning, and advanced robotics and androids, we will see a very different reality on earth. At some point we might see the rise of sentient machines which certainly won't be uncontroversial to people in general.

Would your single Limits To Infinity be you first choice to release as a single? If yes why, if no which single would you choose?
Basically, we in the band though that 'Limits' and 'Cryonic Harvest' were the best candidates for the singles, and as it turned out, our record label felt the same way!

Does this particular apply to anyone in particular? For example someone seeming infinite because they seem to have a lot of money and power.

'Limits to Infinity' shouldn't be interpreted literally - in the context, it's meaning is more of a poetic, philosophical nature. In the song, the 'elite', the people who are behind the technological advances that have led to the modification of humans into 'neohumans', discover that there are limits to infinity in certain cases, as a circle of creation/destruction that is bound to repeat itself - virtual particles fluctuating in and out of existence, entire universes created in a big bang and destroyed in a big crunch only to explode into existence again in a cycle that is repeating itself on a timescale way beyond our imagination.

Some critics class your music as modern metal; as a musician what does that mean to you?

It means very little, to be honest. 'Modern' metal is bound to be 'un-modern' at some point, right? In that sense, it might be the worst ever name for a genre! When I write our music, I don't care about whether people are gonna be able to comfortably fit our music in any one genre or not, it just isn't something that concerns me very much. Not that I don't see the benefits of sticking a genre-tag on bands - but mostly, that is something that is of interest to the industry (labels, distributors, records store) and the press. Oh and not to forget, the 12-year old scene kids who spend countless of hours on online discussions on whether a band 'djent' or not, hehe.

When people really are pushing me for an answer, I usually say that Scar Symmetry plays progressive melodic death metal because that is a broad enough description to encompass most of what we do musically, and it is specific enough to actually give people an idea of what we're all about.

Will there be a tour or festival appearances to promote the album?

Most definitely, yes! We were planning a Euro tour for early next year but we recently learned that one of the guys is becoming a first-time father around that time so we have to postpone that plans a bit. The idea is to tour the festival circuit next Summer and then pick up touring late Summer or early Autumn of 2015.


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Edited 06 December 2022

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