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Jonas Ekdahl (Evergrey)

Interview with Jonas Ekdahl from Evergrey
by Orpheus Spiliotopoulos at 01 December 2004, 10:11 PM

Evergrey: One of Europe's most creative Metal acts around. No doubt about that; Evergrey created their own unique style and gained their own fan base from day zero. Oh well, I suppose most of you metalheads know about this band anyway – how could you not! And if you don't know if this band's good enough for your ears or not, simply go purchase any one of their albums (from their debut The Dark Discovery from 1998 to the outstanding The Inner Circle released in 2004) and I'm pretty sure you won't regret it. The band's new drummer, Jonas Ekdahl, was kind enough to answer a few questions I had and tell us a few things about himself. Evergrey fans…N'Joy!

First of all, welcome to Metal Temple’s ’Interviews’ section.

Thank you! It feels great to be here!

You’re Evergrey’s new drummer, after longtime drummer Patrick Carlsson left the band (after the release of ’Recreation Day’ if I’m correct). What do you think of your predecessor? Do you know the reason why his cooperation with Evergrey ended?

Yes I am. I joined when ’Recreation Day’ was released. Patrick left the band because of personal reasons and that is nothing I want to talk about in respect of Patrick. He’s a great drummer and a great person! He cracked everyone up when he started joking around, which was basiclly all the time. I admire his playing and Patrick as a person, and  I have learned alot from when I worked as his drumtech.

Would you like to fill us in with a little bit of your past (in music)?

I grew up listening to bands like Europe,Twisted Sister and Kiss. I started to play drums when I was 10 years old. I took drumlessons for about 5 years, before I entered Sweden’s only high school with percussion as a major. I went there for three years and then I graduated. Then I played with an unknown band from Gothenburg for a year or so before I joined Evergrey.

Would you like to share with us the story concerning your addition to Evergrey’s roster?

Sure! I started my friendship with the Evergrey guys in 2001 when they did the video for ’The Masterplan’. Patrcik wanted to borrow some of my cymbal stands, and I asked him if he needed help setting up his kit. He said that it was fine with him that I helped him out. After the video shoot, Patrick called me up and said that they were going to play a show together with Hammerfall, and he asked me if I wanted to be his drumtech. For me, this was an awsome thing! I was 17 years old when I started working for Patrick and Evergrey, and I was their drumtech for two years before Patrick left the band.

How does it feel to be in one of Europe’s most creative Metal acts?

It feels just great! I don’t really think about it in that way actually now. I did think like that when I first joined Evergrey as a drummer. But that feeling has cooled of a little bit now. Maybe because I’ve been the drummer for over 1½ year now. And maybe because I have learned a lot and matured since I first started in the band. I’m not saying that that feeling is gone or that I don’t care about it or anything, because I do, VERY much! I’m so glad that it is Evergrey I’m playing together with, and not any other band, because these guys are the greatest guys you can possibly find!

Talk to us a bit about Tom Englund. He’s known to be a very sensitive and creative artist and a very strong character as well. How easy or how hard is it to be working together with a personality like Englund?

Tom has an extreme motive power and he’s very stubborn. And I think that’s a very good personal quality. He is amazingly talanted in so many ways. Especially in music and in lyrics. I mean, it’s just stunning to watch him write his lyris and listen to him when he record them. You get goosebumps all over! It doesn’t matter if he writes/plays or produce rock, metal, or pop, he’s still a demon on what he’s doing.

 ’The Inner Circle’ was Evergrey’s latest album, which was released this year. Are you (as a band and as an individual) satisfied with its results?

Yes I am! I’m proud as well! And I’m even more satisfied because ’The Inner Circle’ is the first full length album I’ve ever recorded. It gave me a lot of great experiences and I’ve learned so increddibly much by recording this album. Not only the recording or mixing, but the whole writing process as well. And since we recorded the album in our own studio, we could basiclly spend as much time as we wanted there. So we took advantage of that as much as we possible.

You co-produced ’The Inner Circle’ together with the band’s keyboardist, Rikard Zander and the main production was done by Tom Englund and guitarist Henrik Danhage. Was this your first involvement in an album’s production? Was the production a difficult process?

Yes, Tom and Henrik produced this album. And since this is the first album I’ve ever recorded, I was kind of nervous in the beginning. But that disappeared pretty quick. We literally lived in the studio from the day we started writing ’The Inner Circle’, to the day it was finnished. For about six months. I had a blast the whole time, and it was a very rich and knowledging experience for me. It was a lot of hard work, but there were also a lot (!) of fun going on in the studio! And that’s the way I think it should be. If you don’t feel that you’re having fun with what you’re doing, then you should think about finding something else to do, that you find more amusing.

Was the cover artwork entirely Mattias Noren’s idea or was he given the idea by any of the band members?

The album cover has been a co-laboration between the band and Mattias. He’s a great and talanted artist that understand us good when it comes to changing ideas and visualize them. This cover is a bit different than the other covers that Noren has done. Even though the latest album cover is very minimalistic and simple, I think that he did a great work, as always! Sometimes, the most advanced thing might not be the most difficult thing to do.

You’ve been announced to be special guests at a Scorpions concert (in Annexet, Stockholm) on September 2. What does it feel like to be going to appear next to a mega-band like the Scorpions?

It was awesome to go up on the same stage as them. Even though we only got 35 minutes, we gave it all to the audience like we always try to do. The gig went very well and the crowd was better than I thought they would be. I mean, we’re a bit heavier than the Scorpions, just a little bit (laughs), so I thought that the audience wouldn’t appriciate our kind of music. But they went crazy and we got a very good reponse from them. That was really cool.

Is the band going to take a ’break’ after the touring has ended or are you guys going to start working on a next album right away? If you’ve already started working on a next album would you like to give us any tips on it like for example what’s it going to be like etc?

I don’t know really. We haven’t been talking about a break after the tour. And we haven’t been starting new songs either, so I can’t reveal any secrets, because there aren’t any. (laughs) Right now, Tom has been mixing our live album that is going to be released in the beginning of next year, I think. We’re doing a small European tour in the end of this month as well.

Finally I’d like to thank you for your time in answering these questions and wish you and the band all the best. The final words belong to you; send out a worldwide message to all our readers and of course your fans!

Thank you, dude! It was a pleasure doing this interview! To all the metalheads out there, I want to say: Keep the metal alive! Stay true to what you believe in. And I’ll see you on tour soon. Don’t stop partying, because remember, It’s all about having fun. So stay fuckin’ metal!


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