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Veonity's Anders Sköld: "Who decides what is good or evil? I want to believe that most people strive to be good. We have to believe that or else the future seems way too dark."

Interview with Anders Sköld from Veonity
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 03 July 2020, 2:51 PM

Sorrow, sadness, the endless struggle from within, a conflict that might never end. However, there always hope, always something to hold on to in order to overcome the hardships. Metal music has been saving lives for generations, whether the outer society would like it or not. Coming out into a new era of their existence, the Swedish Veonity unleash "Sorrows", a different kind of version of their rather positive Power Metal heritage. Steinmetal had a chat with Anders Sköld of the band regarding the new direction, and different conception.

Hello Anders, it is great to have you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing mate? What is up on your end?

Hey! Feels good that you´re having me, the first interview for "Sorrows"! I'm doing great even though the whole pandemic, as for many other, has stopped some planned events for us. But on the bright side, we have had lots of time do finish up the last details regarding "Sorrows" and shoot a video for the first single.

After pretty much setting Veonity as a continuance of the European Power Metal wave that swept the world since the late 90s, crossing the first decade of the 00s with a firm hand, here we are with a new record, “Sorrows”, that appears to somewhat different tone, even if not entirely. Lyrically, I guess that these troubled times could have been an inspiration to the leading theme, which is a form of negativity. What is your opinion about that?

Even before "Legend of the Starborn" was released Samuel and I discussed the tone and feeling for the next album. We both decided that the concept saga had come to an end and that we wanted to make a small change in the sound. A lot of bands make big changes in sound and style but we wanted to stay within the boundaries that are Veonity, lots of bass drum and huge choruses, but add something new and different.

What we decided in the end was that we would add more progressive stuff, more riffs and add the symphonic elements but still keep it power metal. Some people might think it´s not that big of change but for us it is. You are absolutely right about the lyrical theme, all the lyrics is pieced together from difficult and challenging times in our own life. I find that sadness and sorrow is easier to write about than happy times.

That sawn heart on the artwork is intriguing, being displayed on a pedestal as if it was a showcase in a museum. What can you tell about it and the inspiration that led to it?

As I mentioned before the lyrics comes from our own life and a friend of mine had a rough divorce and pretty much got his heart shattered. The music and his friends in the metal scene helped him to slowly heal. I´ve never seen bad blood in the metal industry and I wanted to show that in some way. There something soothing in that, even if you lay your heart out on display and its split in two, the music heals. And as always Thomas Holmstrand made it exactly as I imagined it.

Speaking of the terms surrounding sorrow, what is that source of the constant inner battle within a person, as if it was an endless struggle between good and evil?

The perspective of good and evil is interesting. Who decides what is good or evil? I want to believe that most people strive to be good. We have to believe that or else the future seems way too dark.

Do you foresee, within the line of “Sorrows”, a light in the dark for mankind and its social and inner struggles with itself? Do you think that we have a chance to change ourselves or rather reality will strike first and direct us?

A lot of the lyrics of "Sorrow" revolve around the chance of a new beginning and fixing the mistakes you made. It´s easy to blame others and wait for someone else to do something but in the end it comes down to ourselves.  I truly believe that it´s never too late to change direction of the path you are following. Every day you open your eyes presents an opportunity to make different choices.

I have been tracking your music for some time now, and I have to admit that I have been meaning to ask, in relation to “Sorrows”, how were you able to find the edge between a musical form of Metal that in its own special way inspires positivity, to the theme of the album that is way darker?

Haha funny you mention that because we had that discussion. Power metal in my opinion is happy but since we decided the theme of the album long before we started writing the music it somehow came out little darker by itself

Talking about the music on “Sorrows”, in technical terms, you made quite a step that has been part of your previous albums, certainly the first two albums, “Gladiator's Tale” and “Into The Void”. How do you define the progress in Veonity’s music within “Sorrows”?

Even though I like "Gladiators Tale", it is somewhat naïve and simple. It consists mostly of songs me and Samuel wrote when we were teenagers. For each record after that we have put in more time and effort on the songwriting and arranging of the songs. Since we have been playing and writing music together for almost seven years we have of course improved our skills on the instruments, and with that we can write more challenging and interesting music. Before "Into the Void" I had never sung, and I feel like I'm getting a little bit better at it for each album.

On "Sorrows" I think everyone is performing at their peak and we are really satisfied with the outcome.

Such arrangements and usage of additional means in order to broaden the music is to be expected to be part of your vision for your next releases?

Yea I think we will continue exploring this path. Veonity, as mentioned earlier, rests on the foundations of melodies and choirs and I don’t see us straying too far from that. But on the other hand, you never know. Might do something completely different haha.

In the light of the elements, which served “Sorrows”, how would you describe the changes made in the band’s songwriting process?

On previous records we didn’t decide the story of the song until after it was written. On "Sorrows" both Samuel, who writes the music and lyrics, and I, decided the theme and most of the lyrics before we started writing. Almost all the songs have the working title and most of the lyrics. That process made it easier.

One of the album’s interesting songs is “Blinded Eyes Will See”, which philosophically is somewhat challenging, and makes one think of the future. What can you share regarding your understanding of our current reality and of course mankind’s evolution in relation to this song?

This was the first song I wrote and it is one of those songs that just came to me, I wrote the whole song and lyrics in under one hour. It basically deals with the fact that everything we are comes from what we are taught and born into. It´s not until you choose your own path and beliefs that you´re truly free. Still in 2020 mankind wages war and kill each other for money. It´s like history hasn’t learned us anything at all.

The exceptional singer of Dragonland, Jonas Heidgert, recorded an amazing duet with you on “Where Are Memories Used to Grow”. What can you tell about this special cooperation between you two? What were you looking for in a guest vocalist prior to recruiting Jonas?

We have had guest singers on all our previous albums, Isak Stenvall (Lancer), Tommy Johansson (Reinxeed, Majestica, Sabaton), Piet Sielck (Iron Savior), Patrik Selleby (Bloodbound). We basically just choose singers from bands we like and I´ve been listening to Dragonland since I was 16-17 years old and I have always liked Jonas' voice. I met him at a party a few years back and he was a friendly nice guy and we talked about Dragonland and the sad fact that it´s been way too long since their last album. So me and the guys thought it was about time to let the dragon soar high again. Some kind of a childhood dream to do a duet with Jonas haha.

At first listen, I thought that you made a tribute for your countrymen, Sabaton, with the song “War”, as it surely has the same lines, vocal pattern, overall spirit, and musical direction of the former. Did it just hit you that you need a number like that because it felt right or it was something different entirely?

Glad you noticed it. It was done on purpose as a tribute to Sweden's pride, Sabaton. What they have achieved is amazing and this is a small way of showing our respects.

Prior to “Sorrows” you signed with the Italian Scarlet Records, after being signed to Sliptrick Records for years. What led you to this change? Was it time to leave the comfort zone or simply you felt that now it was the time for the band to arise?

We have worked with Sliptrick for five years and they have helped us really well on the way but we felt we had come as far as we could with them. Looking at Scarlet they are well spoken about and I know and I'm listening to almost all of the bands they have, which means they sign good bands and they market them well. We actually had many offers to choose from but Scarlet was the right choice.

Even though the pandemic is still here, and we have no idea for how long to be honest, where do you see the band going forward? What do you believe that is in stored for Veonity?

For many reasons that would take too long to discuss here, there were not a lot of live performances after "Legend of the Starborn". Live shows is what we love and hopefully we will get out on the road, even though that might be challenging at this time. We will have to wait and see!

In terms of live shows, which there aren’t any, will you be doing live stream shows or perhaps q&a?

We have discussed a live stream but since Samuel is living on an island in the Caribbeans at the moment, pretty much quarantined, it seems impossible right now.

Anders, I wish to thank you for your time and effort for this interview. I found “Sorrows” to be a fresh piece of music that has a lot of energy and depth. Many thanks. Cheers :)

Thank you!


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