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Night Crowned's Ken Romlin: "… you are kind of competing with yourself and with each record, you feel the need to beat yourself and to become better"

Interview with Ken Romlin & Henric Liljesand from Night Crowned
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 17 July 2021, 9:55 PM

The final frontiers, or the final journey? The last rites or the beginning of a new stage in one's existence, or rather dissolve of existence? It is possible that these constant contemplations and inner debates rumble through the minds of many people on Earth on a daily basis. Some in order to find assurance and others to perhaps finding meaning in what they have. Indeed, a potential endless puzzle. Night Crowned, the Swedish phenomenon that has been working quite fast, never did have a tired moment, and simply went forward, writing and recording in order to unleash a new storyteller, “Hädanfärd”. Understanding the afterlife or what goes on through a person's mind, even Death's, Steinmetal tried to find more clues by talking to Ken Romlin and Henric Liljesand

Hello gents, it is a pleasure to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how has life been treating you in the last period of time?

K. Romlin: Yeah it's been kind of productive, we made the best out of the pandemic to make ”hädanfärd” as good as it could be.

Similar to the storm that is rampaging through your records, what goes on within people’s hearts nowadays, some are totally feeling the pressure of this era of mankind, is quite extreme. How do you identify with what has been going on? Do you see a way out of it or are we supposed to live with the phenomenon and simply continue our lives always rigid?

K. Romlin: I’ve been on parental leave for a year & I can tell you not so fun to be home & having a pandemic that kind of stops the whole world. But overall, I think that it Will not be like it was before but probably better than this past year.

At least I am glad that you guys made use of the time being stuck at home by composing new music, releasing it less than a year and a half after your debut album. You guys work fast no doubt. I guess that not like some cases of a drop down in motivation, Night Crowned continued its efforts in full swing right? Weren’t there restrictions that affected you?

K. Romlin: No, we did as we did with Impius Viam, we recorded everything in our homes, yeah of course, if someone got sick then we needed to reschedule the recording time if we helped each other out or something like that.

Before we head down into the mystery that you prepared for me, and for every listener out there, what led you to write this album in Swedish, I guess that it was up close and personal that it felt right only in your mother tongue?

K. Romlin: The idea was to make a double album one in Swedish & one in English, but when we were almost done with the pre-production, we felt that this album needed to be in Swedish.

You titled the album “Hädanfärd”, which is roughly translated to “From Now On”. Call me weird, yet I believe that you have scored with being enigmatic. There is no time, no point of entry or exit. So where are we in this record exactly? Is it a sort of a “time, what is time” debate?

K. Romlin: ”Hädanfärd” means ”to die, passing away etc” it is the final journey into the unknown, the life after this. I came up with the title when myself & H. Liljesand spanned ideas for a title. And it wraps the concept together.

Ken, you talk about a story being told, who’s story exactly? Is it yours or rather each person twisting his or her own version of a formula that was decided some time ago, perhaps even ages, may it was always there?

K. Romlin: For a while I have worked on a fictional story about a person whom is wondering the world & on this trip him/her meets an old man, this man is death. It is some kind of a thriller novel that I am aiming to finish by the end of the year.

In your view, what makes this story portrayed in “Hädanfärd”, a kind of never started and never finished tale? How can you really twist both ends like that?

K. Romlin: Each song is about death in some way, like Fjättrad is about to die & Ett Gravfäst Öde is about death’s eternal wish to die himself, Grått & Ödelagt deals with when summer ends and all wither and rot while the eternal winter comes. And there are fragments in the lyrics that is connected to my novel.

Isn’t it possible, and I am going for the “if”, that the story begins with a person’s birth and finishes in death? Am I completely lost or is there direction in this?

K. Romlin: Hehehe both yes & no it is about the life cycle but not so straight forward.

Heading back to reality for just a moment, is there a relation between the story of “Hädanfärd” to our current state of affairs? In any way are you trying to imply hints and points to our point in time?

K. Romlin: No, not really but maybe something like it will come in a future album, only time will tell

For some reason, perhaps not always, but it did hit me, with my understanding of the storm of emotions going on within “Hädanfärd”, it felt to me like a much more aggressive record. Sure, it has its atmospheric moments, and those are hard to deny, but overall the aura is darker, bleaker. How do you guys relate to the musical change within the album? What inspired you to put the pedal to the Metal just a bit more?

K. Romlin: We loved the response on Impius Viam, the only bad thing we could say is that it was a bit long & the sound was a bit polished so we aimed to make an album that landed on 40 to 45 minutes, we strived for a dirtier sound to give it an even more 90s feel. The Dark bleak aggression just came to be I think.

With the closeness of “Hädanfärd” to the debut album, I was wondering if there were lessons of sorts that you took under advisement and implemented on the new album while the songwriting was in place?

K. Romlin: There are always lessons, we reflect a lot during pre-production & during the recording & when we all feel that the song feels good, then it’s done. I think we trust each other more during the recording of ”hädanfärd”, we know how to push each other to become better.

Talking about the songwriting, and I know that you guys are veterans in your craft, such a challenging record as “Hädanfärd”, both musically and conceptually, would you say that it drove you beyond your limits as songwriters? What have you learned from the album’s experience?

K. Romlin: I think that when it is time for album number three we will re-think the recording process & how we record & what we record with or whom we record with. Because you are kind of competing with yourself and with each record, you feel the need to beat yourself and to become better

Henric, on the melodic and rhythmic end, it sounded so rich and utterly amazing, surely the melodies escalated the stimuli or the songs, and upscaled the general feel generated. How do you find the course of the melodic features on the album?

Henric: I am glad to hear that! I try to make the album as melodic as possible without losing the heaviness or to over use them. They play an important part in each song, even though they might be used in different way in each song.

The overall sensation of the mid-90s surely exists within “Hädanfärd”, even in the modern sounding production. In regards to the production, who engineered the record to such closeness to perfection? How do you view the Night Crowned sound?

Henric: This time We had a better idea of what we wanted to achieve sound wise, compared to the first album. So it was really a matter of growth from our side, as well as Janne and Scott working together to have the album mixed into the great sound We ended up with. I see our sound as you do, as a melodic 90’s black/death metal sound but with a modern Production.

“Ett Gravfäst Öde” sent me back to the amazing Dissection days of the 90s, an old school spirit passing along the frosty atmosphere, only to be barged by contemporary means of attraction. How do you find this tune?

Henric: This is One of my fav tracks on the album. I love ”Storm of The Light’s Bane” and ”Somberlain”, and of course Dissection inspires me when I write my music, even if I don’t think about it. But in this song I think we created a chilling feeling as they once perfected. I do love Johan's solo on the intro and song structure is a bit Different, so maybe that is why I like it so much.

“Gudars Skymning”, unlike the previously mentioned track, takes no prisoners in its modern form, maintaining heaviness and a melodic direction that is both brutal and pleasing at the same time. What is your perspective towards this musical path of the song? How do the melodies on this track, which are enchanting, contribute the drama of the story?

Henric: When I start to write a new song, I always sit down and write the melodies first. Then I Add the rhythm guitars and that is when I decide what tempo the song should have. Then I just build and build until the song is complete. So for me the melodies drive all our songs and build bridges Between all riffs and parts. Again, you chose another of my fav tracks on the album.

With 2021 appearing to be rather lost when it comes to live shows, would you say that Night Crowned will officially perform live in 2022? What are your plans for the close future?

K. Romlin: We want nothing more at the moment to be on the stage again, so the plans are now to rehearse & create a really good set list & try to get some shows booked for 2022

Gents, I would like to thank you very much for this interview and for your time. I am ecstatic about the new album, you did amazing. All the best

Thank you so much


 



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