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Lars Chriss (Lion's Share)

Interview with Lars Chriss from Lion's Share
by Grigoris Chronis at 05 April 2009, 1:52 PM

I was thrilled with 2007's Emotional Coma CD; still, would never imagine my favorite LION'S SHARE album was yet to come. That's the main reason - I confess - another conversation with the Swedish band's mastermind, Lars Chriss, was a 'must'. You're welcome to read below in what ways Dark Hours can be extremely harmful for your me(n)tal health.

Interview with: Lars Chriss from LION'S SHARE

Hi Lars, thumbs up for the new LION'S SHARE album. Must confess I was not that ready to listen to such a bombastic in-your-face CD. How's the early response been like?

Thanks! The reactions have been awesome so far. Album of the month in Sweden Rock Magazine and high on the radio charts in USA, so we hope this is a sign for things to come.

Did you have a clear vision for what the new album would sound like when you started the songwriting/recordings? I think the new album is more powerful related to Emotional Coma, it has more rage and more straightforward Metal moments. What's your opinion?


Obviously, we are even more together as a team now after making one album and several live shows together. We had a chat about what songs were the most popular on Emotional Coma and kind of took it from there really. The up tempo songs are always popular and so was a song like Trafficking, with layers and layers of guitars on the chorus so we did expand on that thing. We wanted to have a couple of more up tempo songs and to be a bit more direct with the vocal melodies for this album basically. We also worked with a new sound engineer, Jens Bogren (AMON AMARTH, OPETH), since we were so blown away by his production on the last SYMPHONY X album. The album turned out even better than we hoped for. It's our masterpiece.

Did you reconsider the album's aim in the meantime? I mean, would you sit and listen to anyone else's comments/objections in the middle of rehearsing/recording for Dark Hours?

What we did was after the album was mixed we played it to a couple of groups of people, to see what songs they liked best. Based on this we made the song sequence, the choice of video track etc. It's quite hard to see things objective when you are so close to the material.

You have preserved the same lineup that did Emotional Coma, right? Who recorded the drums parts now? Are there any other 'guest' musicians in the new CD?

Yes, LION'S SHARE is a trio. Me, Patrik Johansson and Sampo Axelsson. We use different drummers for albums, tours etc depending on the direction we want to take with a certain song. This time we used Conny Pettersson from the Death Metal band ANATA. He was recommended by our engineer Jens Bogren. Michael Romeo from SYMPHONY X did a guest solo on Behind The Curtain.

Could you also explain the album title to us? A rather moody title at first, but not that similar to what we eventually listen to in the new CD's songs. Did you have any other titles available that were finally rejected?

All songs are about main events that happened during the late 60s. We played around with a couple of other titles with the word decade in it, but we finally settled for Dark Hours.

Dark Hours seems to be a good guide for someone willing to dig in today's attributes in the European Heavy/Power Metal scene, a genre that sees more and more bands not having 'that something' to offer anymore. In opposite, Dark Hours seems to be a rather conscious album and I wonder how's LION'S SHARE career/discography so far has helped Lars Chriss to always write music that can attract the interest of Metal fans who seek for the same old, same old.

We just write from the heart. Our main influences are the ones we grew up with, like BLACK SABBATH, MEGADETH, JUDAS PRIEST etc. Like them we are a riff based band. We have played this style for so long so it's very natural and pretty much in our genes by now. The LION'S SHARE discography basically shows where the band was at during a specific period of time. We've never been forced to go in a certain direction by someone outside of the band. We have kept the essence of the LION'S SHARE sound and just expanded on this.

Do you keep in mind what people may say when you read reviews on your works? Many artists feel- especially the last years, with countless bands/albums- not enough time is available for a journalist/fan to comment on (or rate) a CD release. What key-points does Dark Hours have, in you opinion, that can override such perceptions?

I think every fan of well performed, well produced, riff driven, melodic Heavy Metal should definitely check out Dark Hours. If you like bands like BLACK SABBATH and JUDAS PRIEST you can't go wrong with this album.

The guitar work on the new album is simply immense! I can instantly recall of songs like Judas Must Die, Napalm Nights, Phantom Rider…Did you try hundreds of riffs to build on the basis for each track or you chose to start from specific melodies/harmonic lines and then dress them up with chords? How much did the other members contribute in the making of the songs? Or it's you only involved?

To 98% all our songs start with a great guitar riff. We usually finish an instrumental demo before we start writing the vocal melody and then finally the lyrics. All three members were involved in the song writing.

Are you responsible for the lyrics too? Got the promo copy of the disc for a start and could just make little of a guess on the topics LION'S SHARE deals with in terms of lyrics.

Patrik wrote all lyrics. He got inspired to write about big and true events that happened during the 60s. We cover the Vietnam War, Charles Manson, Martin Luther King and several other topics from that decade. We have posted a couple of track-by-track videos at www.youtube.com/darkhours2009 that you can check out.

Regarding Blistering Records, I'm a little bit confused. Is it a label you participate in or it is your label? What was the motive for Blistering Records to be born anyway? How's things rolling so far? In what way(s) do you think the formation of this label can push the LION'S SHARE name to the next level?


I got approached by two persons that wanted to start a new Rock and Metal label. They knew I have been in this business for a long time and that I have a lot of contacts and experience. It was their idea to bring LION'S SHARE over to the label. Obviously, it gives me a better control over the marketing and stuff plus the deal we have I'm sure no other label can compete with, so of course I didn't say no to this offer. We started out by releasing 16 albums in USA last year and now we will release two albums per month in Europe too starting end of March. I think we have a great roster after only being around since October 2008. Check BR out at www.blisteringrecords.se.

Summer is drawing near. Are there any plans already for the band to take part in summer fests or tour on your own? I'm confident much of the Dark Hours tracklist will be really a good time to listen to performed live.

We will do club dates in Sweden during March, April and May. We hope to do some festivals and hopefully find a good tour for the Fall. Unfortunately we had to pass on a tour with SAXON and ICED EARTH since we didn't have enough time to get fully prepared. It was a real pity since not only have we toured with both bands in the past, but it would have been a perfect fit musically for the Dark Hours album.

Do you think most bands are playing with fire when they tour supporting big Rock/Metal names, in terms of having limited of a chance to have their performance watched in interest? Or the chance to play in front of a large amount of people is itself a great opportunity by default?

I think support slots are a great way of winning new audience. However it's important to go out with the right package musically. You must figure out what bigger band's fans you think could be interested in your music. Otherwise it doesn't make sense and it's a waste of time and money.

Lars, thanks a lot for this brief talk. Really wish the quality of the Dark Hours tracklist will find its way to Metal fans' hearts sooner or later.

We hope so, too. It's a great album so hopefully people can spend a minute or two to listen to the samples we have on our MySpace page and at www.lionsshare.org. If we sell well the chances are of course bigger we can come and play in Greece. Which we would love to.



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