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Veonity's Anders Sköld: "So we discussed about the fact that no matter where you come from in this world, every kid has opened a book and daydreamed about being a hero, going on an epic quest being someone or something he or she are not"

Interview with Anders Sköld from Veonity
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 19 March 2022, 1:36 PM

Against the odds, against the elements that are too powerful to come up against, a sort of a survival story in order to defeat the forces of evil. There are those that would argue that it is too much of cliché, nonetheless, in every story, no matter what is being thought of, has a moral. The Swedish Veonity bring forth a story of a boy that is a hero, a warrior with a shadow, a spirit that lives through him and fights a ferocious battle. Titled "Elements Of Power", the Swedish form of Metal has never sounded so strong. Steinmetal had to know more about the story and the album from its vocalist, Anders Sköld.

Hi Anders, it is awesome to have you for another conversation with Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing? What is happening in Sweden at the moment?

Hey, it's also awesome to be back with you again! I´ve been doing fine actually, got sick in Covid like everyone else but in fully recovered now. Sweden is now seeing the light in the tunnel, spring is coming and all restrictions are lifted.

Earlier on, at the time of our previous talk, the pandemic took quite the toll out of the world, as no one really knew how to confront it. At present, we are much more equipped and prepared for it, and there are also thoughts about how we are going to handle the next in line. How do you find these last two years overall pandemic wise?

Well, there's really nothing good to say about the last two years. We had to cancel two tours and postpone one. But if we should try to find something positive it would be that we did get a lot of free time to work on the new album.

Since your previous album “Sorrows” was the heart of plenty of lockdowns, and culture shutdowns, were you even able to support the album properly? Were there considerations for live stream performances that took quite the attention earlier on?

Sorrows came at probably the worst time possible, just before all the real crazy stuff happened with Covid. When we released it there were still tours going on and the really hard lockdowns weren't in place. But then it all happened fast with cancelled tours and lockdowns, so I would say no we didn’t get the chance to support the album properly. Regarding livestreams, we discussed it but there were too many obstacles at the time. The main obstacle was that our lead guitarist Samuel lived in the Caribbean and was under heavy lockdown. So we decided that we wouldn’t be able to do it.

Due to the lack of live options, and being between lockdowns, and restrictions, how were you able to preserve the unity of Veonity? I know that this pandemic had its way into breaking bands a part because of lack of purpose.

The thing is with Veonity that we are not a band that became friends, we are friends that became a band. I´ve known Samuel and Kristoffer for almost twenty years and Joel for ten years. We have had the same line-up since late 2013. As I mentioned Samuel lived in the Caribbean so we didn’t see each other much more than during Zoom-meetings and band discussions. But me, Joel and Kristoffer hung out regularly and rehearsed, drank beers and played videogames so it wasn’t that different besides that Samuel wasn’t there.

With your utmost withstanding of the situation, and your determination to march on, you guys worked on your next epos, titled “Elements Of Power”. I understand that there is a boy that runs the show in a way, being the man individual when all hope is lost. Why was a boy chosen to be the main character, the protagonist?

First of all, me and Samuel love fantasy and Sci-fi so we decided to go back to the stuff we love.
Sorrows still has its place in our hearts but people seemed to like the fantasy stuff and so do we so why not go back there?

I came up with the main story and then me and Samuel came up with the details and storyline and during that process we talked about how we already have the muscle hero from Gladiators tale and the space-hero in In the void and Legend of the Starborn. So we discussed about the fact that no matter where you come from in this world, every kid has opened a book and daydreamed about being a hero, going on an epic quest being someone or something he or she are not. So we decided to go with that take, but if you read the lyrics you´ll realize that the boy is actually sheltered by a big magic warrior in the story, some sort of an avatar, so we didn’t send a lonely boy into war haha.

The idea of vanquishing all evil, once and for all, now that is an ideal that I am not really sure that can be achieved. Nonetheless, and even though it was an effort to put an end to the latter, how can this be? Is evil, in your perception, that limited?

Our stories shouldn’t be taken like something that is 100% applicable in the real world. It's more like whatever you do you should fully engage in it. If you want change you have to be a part of it. Sometimes the task comes to the you, and when that happens you have to decide; am I going to answer the call or ignore it? If you answer it, no matter how big or small the task is, that is your quest and if you fulfil it, then you have come a long way on your journey.

Are these elements of power that you speak of are actually the Earthly powers of water, fire and earth? How do these come together in the fight against evil in your perspective?

The story is a straight forward fantasy story; the power stone has to be recharged with these elements to sustain the shield that is protecting mankind. But if we talk symbolism, everything you do makes a difference for someone. Maybe it makes a difference for a lot of people, and sometimes only for you but nonetheless will it make a difference. Remember this when you go through life and hopefully you will recharge your own and peoples “power stone” instead of depleting it.

We talked about the limits of evil, nonetheless, it has been said that there is evil in each of us, and some argue that we were born with it, just that we were able to suppress it. How do these notions sit with the album’s idealism?

That’s a deep question that we didn’t really discussed during the writing of this album haha. But if would try to answer it would be something like that there's of course some people that want to be evil. But most of us has probably done something that was perceived by others as evil, even though our intentions weren't bad. As I mentioned earlier, people go through life doing tons of different things. Most of us don’t really think how our acts affect others, maybe we should be better at that?

 “Sorrows” was my first introduction to the band, and its musical form. “Elements Of Power” on the other hand is a small step forward in finding those right hooks, and maintaining the amazing musicianship abilities, in particular in the lead guitar department. Would you say that the record is the next step for Veonity or rather preservation of something that works that needs no change?

If your first introduction with us was Sorrows then I understand you feel like it was a small step forward. For us though it was a step back to what we were doing on In the Void and Legend of the Starborn. Sorrows came from a place where we wanted to try something different. We really like the album but the reviews were mixed, some thought it was a huge step forward in evolving the band and others that we destroyed the Veonity feel. Even though we like Sorrows our hearts lie with the true powermetal fantasyworld so that is where we are going to stay and explore!

I mentioned the lead guitar work on the previous question, yet I have to have it in a different discussion. With the known Power Metal antics going on, Samuel Lundström landed a series of amazing soloing efforts, which brought massive boosts to the impact of the songs. How do you find these furious melodic streams of power on the album?

From the beginning we were both lead guitarists and shared the duty but the more advanced the singing became the more I felt that I should focus on the voice. On Gladiators tale and In the Void we shared 50/50 and on Legends of the Starborn it was more like 75/25 and Sorrows I only play 1 solo. So for Elements of Power we decided that Samuel should do them all. I think this is his best work so far, he really put in the hours this time do deliver some insane stuff, which really highlights the album.

In your perspective, since “Elements Of Power” also has that spirit of protecting the flame, especially if it burns bright, what is, or are, the game changing factors on the album? What makes it tick in contrast to “Sorrows”?

Everything, the cover art, the songwriting, the story and the joy of playing it. Don’t get me wrong, as I mentioned I really like Sorrows but it's not what my heart desires to write. I am not interested in inventing something new and bold, I just want to write and play epic power metal!

If there is one thing that could be rendered as a challenge, while considering the fact that it is a concept album, what can you tell about the songwriting process, which served the purpose of the album as a storyteller?

As always me and Samuel writes everything but not together. I write 5 songs and Samuel 5 songs. Most people can't hear the difference on our songs so we melt together nice. We tried writing stuff together in the past but it never works out. This time we wrote the whole story first, that makes it a lot easier to write the music because you already have a feel of what every part and song should be and sound like!

Speaking of the songwriting process, was “Elements Of Power” written in a manner of internet connection or were you actually able to rehearse the songs, and convene, in order to wrap them up? I know that the restrictions weren’t that high up the roof in Sweden.

After we wrote the songs we showed them to the other guys and me, Joel and Kristoffer rehearsed the songs for quite some times. Then me and Joel recorded the drums with Chris from Majestica as the sound engineer.  Samuel came home for 1 week during the summer and we recorded all the guitars over 2 days. The low restrictions in Sweden made it possible to both rehearse and meet each other.

I believe that the album’s chief hymn is no other than “Altar of Power”, which was also one of the album’s singles. While listening to it, I could feel that sense of empowerment, it is direct, hard hitting, without being a speedster. How do you find this particular track and its impact on the record?

It is actually one of my favourite track also. The first time I heard it as a demo track from Samuel I didn’t really like it but during the process it really grew on me and I can't wait to play that one live!

When it comes to storytelling, at one of its highest of orders, there is “Gargoyles of Black Steel”, it is a darker tune, sharing high quality singing style. One of the album’s constructive tunes in a way, a step away from the usual European Power Metal of the late 90s. What can you tell of the creative process of this particular song?

I can't really describe the process because both the lyrics and music were written by Samuel. But I do know that he wanted that particular part of the story to be a darker and riff-based song which turned out great! I think it still holds the flame of power metal when the refrain kicks in!

After listening to the albums so many times, which I have the feeling that you had your share, what do you believe that this album taught you, other than the mere experience? Would you say that it changed your perception as guitarist and vocalist?

By the time the album is released we are all pretty tired of it. But the main thing I've learned is that you should always stick to what you really love. That will show in both the songwriting but also the performance on the songs!

Since the borders are already opened, and the latest variant is slowly coming to a close, have you already started planning ahead for the band to support the new album?

We had a tour planned that would take in the end of February/March with Bloodbound, but that was postponed to march 2023. Other than that we are working in some gigs in Sweden.

Anders, thank you again for your time and effort for this interview. I was glad to listen to another great album by you guys, and I hope that we can do this time and time again, all the best. Cheers

Thank you for having me!


 



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