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In Words: Coastland Ride

- Markus Nordenberg - Feb. 2012 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Coastland Ride
© Coastland Ride

Markus Nordenberg - February 20th 2012 (by email)

Coastland Ride isn't a new band, but On Top Of The World will be the first time they hear from these guys. At the same time their new album was released, their debut was re-released. Time to learn more about the Swedish! Here is what Markus Nordenberg has to say!

Let's talk about the beginning of Coastland Ride... You started talking about a band project about 15 years ago, but it took til 2003 to release your first album... What took so long?

Hi, Claudia! How nice that you want to know more about us. As you say, we started our band in 1997. Mikael had bought a computer with software to record music. The technology was new to all three of us and we probably worked for a whole year with the first song. When it was finished we had a computer crash and the song disappeared. Unfortunately we had not made backup copies, and it was just to start over. We had at least learned a lesson.

The subsequent years, we recorded the songs that ended up on our first album. Since we do not work as full time musicians it takes longer to record the songs and make an album than if we would have been fully dedicated to this. I guess that is the reason why it turned 2003 before it was released.

Why the name Coastland Ride?

The name is a pun that Mikael came up with. We live on the east coast in the middle of Sweden. Ten miles north, where I have my family's roots, is a scenic area known as the High Coast. The area consists of a hilly landscape full of mountains and valleys as a result of the last Ice Age. Travel by car in that area can be a bit like riding a roller coaster ride, going up and down all the time. Coastland Ride is a merger of those two different images, the undulating coastal scenery and a roller coaster ride.

Your self-titled debut was released in 2003, who did it feel? And did your expectation been fulfilled?

It was great fun and stimulating to put out an album on a record label. It was 'for real' and a step towards the 'next level' as musicians. It was also nice to reach out with our music to a wider audience than just friends. We received generally good reviews and the only common denominator that the reviewers had was that the album was a bit short of playing time.

It took you quite long to present the follow up... What slowed you down?

First, we had a small gap where our focus was on marketing and administration of the first album. After that we went on a kick-off where we recorded some of the new song ideas on a 4-channel recorder. After that we started working on the songs more seriously. On our debut album, we worked for a model where we had three songs running simultaneously. We finished all three before we started a new trio of songs. When we summed the whole album we realized that in the long process it had been a difference in the production and sound quality between the first songs compared with the final productions. We were constantly developing our skills working with the technology and it was this that was reflected. When working on the new album we changed tactics. We started new song ideas all the time but did not finish them. We had the ambition to have 12-15 songs where we would complete the final steps in the songs almost simultaneously and thus achieve as uniform sound as possible. After a while we had 8-9 song ideas whose status varied greatly. One time we worked with a specific song and the next time we could work with a completely different song. I think the work was a little unfocused and had a loose structure. In addition, we could never 'celebrate' that we had finished any song. All in all it contributed that we lost momentum. I think we got to a point where we felt that the energy and commitment was not what it had been. We had a meeting where we discussed the situation we were in. We felt strongly about the material we had and took a decision to make a real re-start and we began to finalize all the songs from a more focused approach. A month later we contacted the Avenue Of Allies company and the feedback we received gave us the energy to speed up the process further. Although the album took much longer than it was meant I can in retrospect think that we have learned something valuable from this that we can take with us in future processes.

When did you start writing songs for On Top Of The World? Or have the songs been collected over the last couple of years?

Some songs included in this recording process were written many years ago. For example Sandra was written back in 1992. Second Chance was recorded for our first album, but was too much alike many of the other songs, and for that reason we did not bring it then. On this album it suited better because we felt we needed an easy-listening song. However, I believe that many of the song ideas are from the years 2000-2003. A few have been written after that.

How long did the recordings take?

I think it shows in my previous answer. It's been a long, slow process and not a cohesive and distinct specific recording session.

Avenue Of Allies now released your new album as well as the debut, who had the idea for the re-release?

It was the record company director, Gregor Klee, who suggested it when we discussed the possibility of releasing On Top Of The World. We are very pleased that we got the opportunity to re-release the first album.

At the re-release you have 3 bonus tracks, have these been written for your debut and just don't make it? Or just been written around that time?

The first bonus track, Jenny's Heart, was recorded at the end stage for the last album, but was for various reasons not fully completed to be included. It has remained untouched until we completed the final steps of the re-release. The second bonus track, The World Is Not Enough, was written in 2002 and was included on the On Top Of The World album. However, in the last minute we replaced it with Second Chance, which we thought was more easy-listening and the kind of song we did not have on the album. The third and final bonus song, Pitch Black Ride, was recorded for the first album. Stylistically, it was too much different to find its place among the songs of the first album and therefore it was removed in the final stages before the release.

Are there more songs left over from the early days?

I think we have about five recorded songs that we have not given out. Four of them are from before the first album and one song is from the period before On Top Of The World. They are of varying quality in terms of production and sound.

On Top Of The World and Coastland Ride are in stores for about 2 months... How is the feedback? Satisfied so far?

We get very mixed reviews. Everything from those who think that there are not enough AOR songs and that there is no cohesive thread through the album to those who think the album is a piece of good melodic rock and that the musicianship and the variety enriches the listener. The first track, Act Of Faith, is the song that most reviewers feel like a real killer song. Otherwise they don't have the same opinion about what songs they think are the strongest tracks. I think that shows that there are many strong songs on the album. I think that the fact that all songs are not pure AOR is not necessarily bad. There are many pure AOR CDs out there where the songs certainly are strong, yet sound so much alike in style that they lack originality. For myself I very much like the kind of AOR played by Work Of Art, Toby Hitchcock, W.E.T. and similar artists. They do it so well, so therefore within the band we ask ourselves, why do we have to get into that kind of style and try to sound like these artists when they do it so good? How much fun is it for the music industry if all bands should sound the same? For this reason, we try to be ourselves, creating our own identity and make the music that we know we can do well.

What about playing live? Any chance you hit the stages?

Currently we have no ambitions to play live. The other week we were asked to play live here in our hometown. However, it would mean a lot of work to put together the additional musicians needed and rehearse for a single gig so we declined. We prefer to use our time to start up the work to begin recording new material.

At your YouTube channel you posted excerpts of some songs, can we expect a video clip? Live footage?

At the moment we have no plans for such things.

What's next on your schedule?

We will begin recording new material and it's very inspiring and exciting.

Thanks for talking to you!

Markus Nordenberg
Coastland Ride

Claudia Ehrhardt


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