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Trident's Joakim Antonsson & Henri Heikkinen: "Trident is unique in its sound, but carries with it the soul of the extreme metal genre…"

Interview with Joakim Antonsson & Henri Heikkinen from Trident
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 29 August 2020, 9:39 PM

From the cold North, inspired by frost, mysteries, myths and legends, some history to put in the mix. Venturing beyond space and time, as if time was never really an element a restricting issue. It is not as if they pioneered in, most of them at least, but the Swedish Black / Death Metal members of Trident, have been confident, patient and after twists and turns, returned with "North", simply put. Steinmetal had a talk with Joakim Antonsson & Henri Heikkinen about the new chapter for the band, the new album, musical progress and more.  

Greetings guys, it is a pleasure to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing?

Thank you for having us

It was out of nowhere that I heard that Trident is coming back with a sophomore album, after a decade since the debut. Now, it is true that you had an EP in 2015, something of showing a sign of life, yet you have to admit that there has been an expectancy. So what has been going on with the band, I guess life hits you hard that you had to put aside things or perhaps the involvement of the band members in other groups?

It´s true that there has been some time now since the last full length album, but the time and work put into creating “North” has been necessary. We didn't want to rush things, and also tried to get the right label and finance together as a foundation.

“Shadows” was as you put it to show a sign of life, that the band is still active and working even if nothing is officially released to the public. We have gone through a great change in line-up and that has required us to find ourselves in the new group-dynamic. Like how to acquire the maximum potential from all individual members and the sound that we all want to represent (while staying true to the original sound of the band of course) and since most members have had busy lives besides Trident, including work and playing in other bands, finding a balance to stay creative has shown to be a true challenge that we seem to have overcome.

Newly signed to the Dutch Non Serviam Records, which is no less than a suitable foundation for the band to be part of, you are about to unleash “North”. It surely feels chilly, like tasting the cold with every bit of riff. Tell me, is this a special historical homage to your Viking ancestors or rather a version of yours based on the old Viking myths and stories?

It's a little bit of both. The lyrics of the song “North” are actually based on perceptions deriving from old religion, folklore and myths about a place very far up north to where healers would send the sickness of people to not find their way back to plague their hosts. A lot of the musical inspiration from most tracks on the album comes from riffs I wrote whilst travelling the more northern parts of Sweden, a homage to the beauty of the vast forests and mighty mountains. The usage of runes and the fact that we are a band based in Scandinavia can easily be interpreted as a full out Viking homage, but in fact references to different (mostly northern) folklore, philosophies and cultures are used in the creative progress.

While listening to “North”, it was hard for me to escape the thought that I was on some sort of journey through time. What can you tell about the path laid out to every listening while storming through the album?

We wanted to make “North” into a musical journey beyond the restrictions of perceived time and space, A dark cosmic trip through a dreamworld of our creation. Hopefully the listeners will feel that they can let go of the world around them and embark to realms beyond. The paths taken should be from the personal perspectives of the listeners, and I really look forward to hearing what people experienced or where they went in their minds.

The featured artwork of “North” is no less than stunning, Juanjo Castellano surely made it happen for you guys with a level of detail that is hard to come by. What does this artwork reflect in your view? What was the initial vision?

We sent small parts of the lyrics and concept of songs and gave him pretty much free hands creatively. And we are all extremely happy with the results. Truly a masterpiece.

The man in the middle symbolizes the “Schaman”, a character that will be revealed to you in one of the songs on the album with the same name. And the five other characters in front of him symbolizes the band members. Some details like graves and the elusive reaches of mountains and forests symbolizes the songs “Death” and the title track “North”.

After the release of “World Destruction”, more than half of the band were let off, or left on their own, and you came up with a line-up that remained solid until nowadays. How did the new guys, well maybe not that new but they weren’t on the debut, changed the reality that is your new album, “North”?

We had a large change of line-up, which affected the overall dynamic. All the members are in many ways different creatively, but with a shared love for amazing music and a vision of an old-school yet unique sound. All members, past and present have contributed to making Trident something we all are very proud of.

It has been a while since “World Destruction”, and also a while since “Shadows”, how do you think that Trident developed musically on “North”? Which elements that were founded on this new record eventually became a solid base in the band’s music?

We are constantly evolving on personal levels and as a band. Becoming better at what we do, how we do it I have no clue It just feels right. Sometimes the creative progress is like a fine beverage, it takes time to perfect and age properly, but with the right recipe in hand it will be worth the wait. I feel that we have found the perfect recipe, and we are already writing material to the next album so fingers crossed, it should not require another decade to finish.

What kind of influences sunk into the music while the album was in its songwriting phase? What inspirations led you to the end result that is “North”?

The inspiration regards the North as an actual place, the atmosphere. Musically, there was a try to create something from the 90s era of Black/Death Metal with a more modern twist. This became the premise we as a Band worked towards in the process of writing the material.

In your view, what do you think were the main challenges musically while creating “North”?

The music came naturally, the hard part was to find the finance, the right studio and getting the line-up and sound ready for the work.

In general, what do you think that was lost in the 90s, and that never came back, in regards to extreme Metal? How did it change in the manner that you felt that you needed to retrace the roots? Do you believe that only trends work nowadays?

There is a lot of music being produced today, a lot of it is completely terrible or good but sounds too similar to something else. We as a band wanted to make music that we like to play and listen to ourselves. The kind of music some of us pioneered the stages of the 90s with, and some of us grew up listening to. Trident is unique in its sound, but carries with it the soul of the extreme metal genre. So us wanting to create the lost chapters of 90s extreme metal is just the closest we get to explaining our sound, and will to make something new with the old tools.

With the pandemic still relevant, and I know that Sweden is also deemed as a Red country, there is plenty of time to sit at home, other than work. Have you already started thinking of the next release?

None of us are sick, so we continue to work. But we are already writing material for our next release, and planning tours and release gigs for the “North” album. Hopefully the pandemic will be over soon, we are getting very anxious to get out on the road.

Other than being promoted for the release, it is unavailable to play shows for the moment. Are there other ideas that you thought about in order to do your best for the album?

We have already booked some shows in Sweden for Jan-Feb 2021, and we are also planning release-tours but since it's impossible to see what state the world is in 6 months from now we can say nothing for sure. For now, we just have to wait and see how this plays out.

Guys, I wish to thank you for this interview, it was an immense pleasure, thank you also for the fine album that you guys put out. Please don’t wait for another 5 or 10 years. Cheers

No Problem. We are already working on it, and we feel confident the next album will be released way sooner than that. Cheers!



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