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Jack-Roger Olsen (Highland Glory)

Interview with Jack-Roger Olsen from Highland Glory
by Michael Dalakos at 05 February 2006, 6:01 PM

Highland Glory strike again with their brand new review.asp?id=1258 release. This cool melodic Power Metal album will satisfy all the fans of the genre. So, I asked Jack-Roger Olsen (guitars) to tell us a couple of things about the band and well, here it is!…

Welcome to our magazine’s featured interviews corner. Though this is the second time I get to talk to you, this is the first for this magazine. So let’s start with a short biography of the band…

Hi! Well, all of us previously played together as Phoenix Rizing since January 1996, and we released two albums before we parted company with the singer and guitar player. Then we continued the band with Jan Thore on vocals but changed the name to Highland Glory, which was formed in spring 2001. So far we have released two albums and toured Norway.

Forever Endeavor is your second album. What can you tell us about the recording process (how long it took, where it was recorded, who’s responsible for the production etc)?

We started writing the material for this album only a couple of months after the debut was released and we continued to write in between gigs to promote the debut. After a year we were ready to record the follow up which was immortalized in Panser Studio, in Oslo, between October - December 2004. Some vocals were added in Studio Jam, in January 2005.

We produced and recorded it ourselves. The mix took as long as 6 weeks and was done by the talented Hugo Alvarstein. For what he did in the mix we felt he deserved co producer credits. He added many great ideas. Then we had to wait for Mark Wilkinson to finish the artwork for Judas Priest so he could do ours and the album was finally released a bit later than expected in June last year through Face Front in Norway and worldwide in November on Massacre Records.

Compared to your previous release, From The Cradle To The Brave, do you see any major differences? Is the new album a step ahead for the band?

I think with this album we took all the elements of the last album and developed them a bit further, that’s why I’d say it’s more of everything from the last album - it’s more epic, more atmospheric, more catchy, more heavy etc…

Both albums have been released through Massacre Records. I assume you are satisfied with their work…

Yes, we are satisfied to be on such a relatively big label but so far they haven’t done anything apart from releasing the albums. They haven’t been able to help us concerning touring etc…

I know that all the band members have previous experience from other bands, but please tell us: how difficult was it for you to get a record deal?

When we started Phoenix Rizing, we played locally for about a year until Norway’s Metal guru and chief editor of Scream magazine, Frode Ψien discovered us. He signed us to his label, Face Front, through which both the P.R. and H.G. albums were released in Scandinavia. Other labels distributed the albums outside. When P.R. split and we became H.G., he licensed the albums to Massacre. We were very fortunate that he liked us and helped us but our problem now is that we don’t have a management nor a booking agency to help us to the next level.

Can you give us an inside look on how the band composes music?

Usually Lars, Jan Thore and I come up with the ideas and we all arrange them together during rehearsal. We only write the songs we are going to use on the album and focus 100% on them, instead of writing more songs than we need.

What is more important for Highland Glory? The music or the lyrics?

Obviously within Metal the music is most important but the lyrics also count. We want try to avoid the worst clichés.

I have noticed that two songs in the album have a smooth transition. I am talking about Mindgame Masquerade and The Sacrifice. Was this done on purpose or do these two songs have some kind of a link?

Lars was influenced by my Mindgame theme when he wrote Sacrifice, so I guess this was what you could call… accidentally on purpose! (Laughs)

It was purely intentional that we put them together, since it’s sort of the same theme only developed.

I also noticed that you have included three cover songs! Why is that? Don’t you think that three covers in one album are too much?

We were asked to record a bonus track for Japan and we recorded some of the covers we do live and thought we’d pick the best one. We thought they all came out well, and Massacre decided to put them all on as bonus tracks. If they were regular tracks, 3 covers would be too much on an album, yes, but they are bonus tracks. None of them are on the original Scandinavian release.

A set of less serious questions. If aliens abduct the band, what song would you play for them?

Well, must be Spirits Of Salvation or Demon Of Damnation, depending on their purpose! (Laughs)

While renting an adult film, you discover that your music has been used as a soundtrack. How would you react?

I would react…surprised! (Laughs) I would certainly have something to laugh about and talk about. I wouldn’t mind really. (Laughs)

Going to a live show you discover that you have been billed between two boy bands. How would you react?

Check the above answer! (Laughs)

Thanks for the serious answers. What are the immediate plans of Highland Glory?

We will continue touring to promote the album as much as possible and then we will start thinking about the next album I guess.

Thanks for your time. Close this interview with a message to all our readers.

Hi to all you passionate about Metal music. Hope you will check out our albums and hope we will be able to come and play for you sometime. Take care, cheers!


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