The Swedish band Crystal Eyes is around for years and have a new album under their belt. Good reason to talk with guitarist Mikael Dahl about Chained!
Your latest album is called Chained, do you feel chained?
Yes, I really do. I felt chained, when I was locked up in a dirty factory just to make a living, I feel chained now, when I'm locked up in school studying electricity 8 hours a day. There’s really nothing more I can do about it, then hope that I someday can escape all this waste of time and just concentrate on my music. This is what the lyrics on the new album are all about. However there's also a positive side of the title and that's of course that we're chained to metal.
I guess you already got some feedback... Are you satisfied?
I never expect anything, because I just write songs for myself and never care of what people might think about it. But then, of course when the records are released and the reactions come I hate to read anything negative. =) I have to say that I’m very satisfied with the response for this record. The reviews are great and the fans love it. It seems like most people appreciates our path back to the classic heavy metal from the eighties.
In some reviews you get criticized for not offering something new, I would rather say you stick to the 80's sound... How do you feel about being criticized? Especially as there are bands who play their kind of music for 25-30 years... And are still successful.
I actually don't take it as a critic, because the ones who write this stuff have no idea of what Crystal Eyes is about. When we started Crystal Eyes in 1992 our only aim was to write music as it was in the eighties with bands like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept, Black Sabbath etc and this has never changed. Even if heavy metal is as big today as it was in the eighties the songs and melodies are somehow gone.
You are nominated for the Swedish Metal Awards 2009. Have you expected this? And what does the nomination means to you?
No one saw this coming! And we're just thankful and hope we got a chance to win.
I think to many fans it was a surprise that Jonathan left the band when you did Dead City Dreaming. Have you seen it coming?
I actually started thinking about it maybe 2 years before he left. Already when he got his first kid the band started to suffer, because he couldn't dedicate so much time for the band and then he got a second one and it got even worse. The sad thing is, that I know he wanted to continue and get more time for the band, but his wife got really sick before the recording of Dead City Dreaming and he came to a point we're he had to make a decision. We're still very good friends and I have a strong feeling that I will play with him again sometime in the future.
Then Niclas Karlsson was back in the band. Was it hard to convince him? And what happened that he is already out again?
Me and Niclas have been playing in the same Judas Priest tribute band called Defenders Of The Faith since 1993 and we're still doing it. Niclas has after he left Crystal Eyes in 1995 been in bands like Fierce Conviction, Freternia, Zonata and Rising Faith, but he lost his inspiration after all those bands broke up. He actually told me a couple of years before he rejoined, that the only band he would be interested in playing in again was Crystal Eyes. So I just asked him and he said 'yes' right away. It felt good to have him back, but it was obvious after a while that he really had lost the inspiration and I guess he is more happy now when he can spend his days killing dragons and wizards on his computer. =) Anyone interested in Defenders Of The Faith can check this site: www.myspace.com/defenderssweden
Now Paul Pettersson is the new guitarist, where do you found him?
We never thought we would find anyone in our hometown, but suddenly I got an email about a guitarist that was described as the best in the universe. It was from Paul's brother and Paul had no idea about it, he actually doesn't even have a computer. =) I thought this was very strange, because he lived 5 minutes (by car) from me and I also found out that he had played in a band with Crystal Eyes first drummer. He gave me 2 demos and it was just what we're looking for. And Nico is glad that he doesn't have to be the oldest one anymore.
What influenced you to write Waves Of War?
The lyrics are the only fantasy lyrics on the record and they're inspired by the movie The Pirates Of The Caribbean. The riffs and melodies are as much Running Wild as it can be without copying and it's not the first time you can hear inspiration from Rock'n Rolf in my songwriting.
And what's your inspiration in general? Musically and lyrically!
My all time favourite band is Judas Priest. Other bands that inspire me are Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Manowar, Dio, Accept, etc, but also more melodic acts like Def Leppard, Whitesnake, White Lion etc. It's all about what those and other bands did in the eighties. I get no inspiration of today’s music. Lyrically it's about life itself.
Some video clips can be found on YouTube. Are there any plans for a new video? And which song will/would you do it for?
We have no plans for a video, but Waves Of War would be a good choice, since there's a movie to use scenes from and we don't have to show our ugly faces. =)
What about playing live? Will we get the chance to see you live?
We're looking for gigs right now and I really hope, we'll make it to Germany.
Anything on your schedule so far for 2009?
Just play Metal!
First of all I want to thank Mikael for answering my questions - and he was real quick! - and I perhaps we'll soon see them hit the road... Keep your eyes open for Crystal Eyes!