Soen’s new album, Lotus, will be unleashed on the 1st of February via Silver Lining Music and they will be on tour in Europe throughout March and April.
Metal Wani’s Katia Filipovic talked to singer Joel Ekelof about their new offering.
“It’s the first time we feel really satisfied. This was the best we could do right now, at this point in time.”
The graphics for this album are absolutely stunning and could easily belong in an art gallery, giving this project an air of real elegance.
“We think that the visuals should go hand in hand with the music. It is not “just” an album cover. It’s like an old tradition. I’m old enough to have bought the physical CD’s ad L.P’s.”
I asked Joel how the new album was given its title and he explained that it was closely related to Soen’s philosophy about music and life.
“The lotus flower can grow in harsh surroundings and circumstances. That is how we see our music and the way we are writing today. The subjects we write about are quite dark but we still feel hope and positivity. Even though there is so much that is wrong in the world, you can still go on.”
Joel went on to explain in more details Soen’s writing process.
“It starts with Martin and I. We’ve been together on all Soen albums. In general, it begins with Martin. Some chords, some riffs or beats and then we get together and start working with harmonies and melodies. When we think we have a song, the whole group comes together and members add their own things. It’s a very generic process.”
On working with producer David Castillo, this is what Joel had to say:
“He was already helping out on the previous album Lykaia, recording drums. Until Lotus, we felt we wanted to produce the albums ourselves, because we are control freaks but we’ve seen David’s development and he’s really grown as a producer and we thought he’d do a better job than us. And now I think that David is a really up and coming producer. People will see a lot of major albums coming from him.”
I wondered what Joel’s music journey was and who his influences were:
“As a kid, it was Alice Cooper. I started with Poison. I was blown away. Then Hey Stoopid came. It was the first album I bought with my own money. Then I started listening to his old stuff. When I got a little bit older, I was more into grunge, not really Nirvana but more Alice In Chains. They were huge for me. I really wanted to sing like Lane Stayley. He was my first vocal hero. On Facelit, his voice was so huge! Then there were also other influences, like Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Tool…”
Joel talked about his first band, where he started covering the Who. He later played in an original band called Willowtree who has produced a few albums. “Some people are like…shocked that I was in a band that played a different kind of music to what I do now.”… “It’s funny sometimes that people do not realise how you evolve.”
Soen’s new video Martyrs has caused a bit of a controversy on the band Facebook page, much to the band’s surprise.
“Isn’t it interesting? The reaction to it was a bit exaggerated. We did a video which was going to feature drag artists. Well, people are reading so much into it! They think that we have a political agenda, that it’s a liberal statement and we are LGBT…It’s funny how people seem to over read into this stuff.”
“I didn’t expect it to be controversial to that many people actually. Especially to our audience.At the same time, it’s good to hear that someone cares. Many bands today go very, very safe. They just do nice videos where nice things happen. And everything is so cozy and happy. It’s nice to see that some people got a bit touched by it. If they get mad, I feel that maybe it was necessary to do this.”
Before concluding this interview, Joel shared a rather surprising fact about Soen.
“We have never played one gig in Sweden. We have sold out on Copenhagen, Helsinki, London, etc. But we don’t get to play on Sweden and I don’t know why! We were planning dates for the tour, you know. But I don’t think that our booker has found anything. It’s really weird. A curse or something!”