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In Words: Evergrey

- Michael Håkansson - April 2000 - Claudia Ehrhardt -
- Tom Englund & Michael Håkansson - Dec. 2001 - Claudia Ehrhardt -
- Jonas Ekdahl - Oct. 2008 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Evergrey band promotion photo
© Evergrey

Jonas Ekdahl - Oct. 2nd 2008 (by phone)

Evergrey been through some changes, bassist Michael Håkansson left the band and was first replaced by Fredrik Larsson - who moved on to his old band HammerFall - and then by Jari Kainulainen (ex-Stratovarius). They are now signed to a new label and back with Torn.
Drummer Jonas Ekdahl called to answer my questions and so we talked about Torn! With a different band member working usually changes, so I wanted to know, if it's a different working with Jari? "Of cause it did! Jari and Michael are completely different bassist. Michael kinda represented the heavy side, he was more into death metal while Jari is a more technical player. The styles are totally different and that has an effect on the songs" Jonas explains. "Jari is more suitable in that aspect for Evergrey - in technic and style. We have a lot of stuff we play where the bass plays along the guitars and sometimes the bass plays along with the drums. Jari is more flexible, he can play whatever we need. Michael is a very steady player, very heavy, but more simple. But he is the coolest stage personality I know, but playing-wise Jari is the better player." Quite true, but Michael will be missed live, coz he was really going crazy on stage.
With Torn they chose a very short title... And Jonas continued "It's good to have a short one, to have a powerful title which gives a statement." And the cover artwork supports the title... "We had our vision of the cover. It was quite clear what we wanted, so we asked Matthias Norén and shared ideas. He knows what we want and it worked out real cool!" Jonas told me enthusiastically. Musically Torn is more like Recreation Day then Monday Morning Apocalypse - something many fans might welcome, coz Monday Morning Apocalypse got partly criticized for being to experimental. "When we write albums we don't think about which way it might go. Whatever comes out, comes out and so this is what come out of us this time. It wasn't planned, it happened!" Jonas commented. And I believe him, coz it fits to what Evergrey did and said in the past and also how I know them from several encounters. Usually I meet them somewhere on tour... "There are talks about a tour, but no details yet. We will have a few shows at the end of the year and early 2009 here in Sweden. Just single shows. And there will be some shows in Poland and Romania, but nothing fixed about Germany or elsewhere." Looks like we have to wait and see, but for Evergrey there will be a special show - special for the band. "In December we will support Whitesnake in Stockholm and Gothenburg" he explained. "The arena in Gothenburg is legendary - at least for us. We all were fans from Whitesnake and we all saw the first concerts there when we were kids. We saw bands like Kiss and Def Leppard... and now we will be on that stage! And play with Whitesnake!" Jonas added full of excitement. "I hope it will really happen, coz a couple of years ago we got a call that we should support Ozzy - and than less then 24h it was cancelled, Ozzy had an accident." Many fans are touched by Evergrey's music... "I'm honored! Many people tell us and it's great to be able to help to get through something... problems, whatever and that we can support them at that times with our music. Its great to have those people listening and to help them with our music." Jonas told me. Sometimes an album or a song needs time to grow, sometimes you get into it immediately, so give music a chance!
Evergrey toured a lot and been to many places, I wanted to know, if there is a place Jonas would like to go to... to play... "Japan!" he said without thinking and continued "I really, really hope that we can go there and tour. Japan is where we really want to go, we should have played there before, coz all our friends been there already. In Flames toured there, HammerFall and Soilwork, it's time we can tour there! But we enjoy playing live and want to play everywhere and for every fan! Playing live is the best thing in the world and wherever we get the chance to play, we play! It's the music and the fans what's important to us!" Time was running out, but this won't be the last chat with Evergrey! Hopefully they can tour a lot and if they come to your area, don't miss them!

Claudia Ehrhardt


Tom Englund - live 2001
© Claudia Ehrhardt

Tom Englund & Michael Håkansson
- Offenbach (Germany), Dec. 8th 2001 -

It wasn't the first time that I met Evergrey, but the first time after the release of In Search Of The Truth! For me one of the best releases in 2001 and so I won't missed on tour with Therion. After the soundcheck singer & guitarist Tom Englund had time to answer my questions and a few moments later bassist Michael Håkansson joint us.

Please tell something about the concept! I know that you had stories related on the previous releases.

Actually I read a book by the author Witley Striter. It was a book called Communion which ef­fected me very deeply. So,..... And as you said yourself we touched this subject on prior albums.

Yes, but you can't do a conceptual album about everything you wrote about in the past.

No, I hope not.

Otherwise you have to record 10+ albums... ;-)

At least, but I think we will do that anyway. As I said the book touched me deeply and Michael read it as well. I told the guys about that idea and they thought it's a cool idea as well. I tried to make something out of it and it worked out pretty good.

Also you changed musically....

Of course, I mean, we have 3 new members!

How came this line-up changes?

Coz I'm a dictatorial asshole! ;-)

Oh, you try to be the next Dave Mustaine! ;-)

I'm Dave Mustaine! ;-)

No, basically.... The former guitarist and bass player left before last years tour.

Right, I remember Michael was on tour with you last time.

And with Sven, our new keyboard player, we feel that everyone is 100% committed to it! We are 4 guys who really work hard for it. And it's hard to have a person who is just giving half of what we give. We wanted to have someone with the same goals, who gives the same and fight for the same... For the same future.

For the next years...


So, we don't have to expect new faces soon. I think it works pretty good with the new line-up.

Absolutely! It is like we were lacking persons, like "Everybody's here?" It's very easy right now, everybody is completely into it!

That makes it a lot easier, especially on tour.

Yes, we even hadn't any fight's yet!

No, not a single one!

And the tour is almost over!

Tonight's show and tomorrow!

Last shows tomorrow, then you're going back. What's coming next? Small club shows? Another support tour? Festivals? What's planned?

There are plans, but nothing confirmed yet. We will do some headlining shows in France and then Sweden.... And hopefully we can do a full-scale American tour.

That sounds good.

Our aim is to do another European tour before summer.

With the better support of your new label, it should be possible. Do you see any difference after you signed with InsideOut Music?

Absolutely! Everything is fantastic so far with InsideOut. We really can tell the difference from former labels to now.

So, you are satisfied with the situation these days?

Absolutely, this feels like a major release.

For many it'll look like that, I think. I guess that there are still a lot of metal fans who haven't heard about Evergrey until the release of this one. You had less promotion and probably if I wouldn't have ran into you at the Kamelot / Crimson Glory tour, I might heard about you first with In Search Of The Truth... You said you'll play some shows in Sweden. Will you do festivals there?


Actually there are not that many festivals in Sweden.

Two, as far as I know...

Two or three, whatever...

Two I know about.

We are booked to play the one and only....

... The big one!

The Sweden Rock Festival!

That's nice, coz I'm going there this time!

Good, get another dose! ;-) (A joke, coz when we were on our way to the nightliner to do this interview, I said that I miss a sticker on the album which warns that you might get addicted after listening to it!... Ed.)

Yeah! So there is a lot to expect. And there will be another album somewhere in time which won't be a conceptual album. A regular one....

A reggae album! ;-)

Regular album! Have you already started to write new material? Or are you writing when you know that you are going to record soon?

We did this mistake with this album. We wrote the album in 1 ½ months,...

Therefor it's pretty good! ;-)

Probably, so... But it was a fucking hard time to be 9 or 10 hours in the rehearsal room a day for a whole month. It's not that much fun! We have started writing and have 2 songs so far.

Did the line-up changes also changed the songwriting? Do the band write the songs? Or are you still the main songwriter?

It feels like it's more a band afford thing now. Even if I feel that the last albums were also a band afford thing. It's only a Tom Englund project thing until I bring it down to the rehearsal room. Then everybody gets integrated!

You write the material and in the rehearsal room everyone can give input to the songs.

Of course! but now everybody comes up with riffs and harmonies, songs! So far I haven't done much.

That's pretty good, coz you have a larger variety when several persons write and not just one. Also it's more satisfying for everyone in the band to be involved. Earlier you said that you might tour the US which ain't confirmed yet. How are the reactions there? Usually we hear that for almost every band it's pretty hard to tour there and that there is no metal scene...

For us it's fantastic! We have a really, really strong fan base there! We played the Prog Power Festival...

That's very unusual to have a strong fan base there for a European band.

Prog Power we played 3 or 4 weeks ago.

Four weeks ago in Atlanta!

... And we co-headlined with Kamelot, but 85% of the people were there for us. So, pretty good!!!!

Kamelot are more known in Europe then in the States.


That was like a 1,000 seater place.

Sounds cool and I think it was nice to meet the Kamelot guys again after awhile.

That was pretty cool!

There are more people into prog then into... Whatever you wanna call it.

Power metal it's called. ;-)


With the prog elements in your music, do you think there is a larger interest in the band?

We don't think that way at all.

That's a classification of the writers of some zines...

Well, we don't consider ourselves to be a prog metal band.

I don't think that you are a prog metal band, you are more power metal with progressive elements.

Well, I don't really know what we'll do on the next album. So, it's really hard to tell.

There will be a lot of pressure, coz people will expect something like In Search Of The Truth.

We don't care. We do it for ourselves! As long as we are happy... We don't care. You got to be true to yourself and that's what gonna gain you the most.

And that's what bands do who are around for 10 or more years. Otherwise they won't succeed.


So, you'll be around for ten more years? ;-)

Of course!

Then we will be about 37 y. 40, that's it!

That's nothing! We can do it until we are 100! ;-)

Then we are ugly....

Depends on how long you can still walk on stage and rock...

We can sit, sit and headbang!

That might look a little strange....

Yeah! But we will be around for awhile. It's hard to say, perhaps this band will be dead in a year...

Hopefully not!

Of course, but you know....

You don't know what the future holds for you.


But at the moment the future looks bright for Evergrey!


Hopefully,..... Maybe...


Next shows in France and than Sweden. We were in the charts in Sweden.

You are one of the bands who can play in Sweden and people come to see you.

Right now we get a lot of interest from each and everywhere.

Sweden is hard to tour, to play... But it's getting better!

Not just Sweden... Scandinavia at all. Many bands can't go there, coz it's to expensive.

Of course it's expensive to tour Scandinavia.

But I think that the fans appreciate it, if a band plays there. Do you see any difference in the fan reaction?


So, where is the best country for you to play?

On this tour? Poland!

Definitely Poland! And Hungary...

Perhaps coz almost nobody plays there.... Have you ever been to Athens?

Oh, yeah!

How was that for you?

The best experience so far!

Turkey shall be even better....

I heard that before.... Perhaps next time....

Than it was time for them to get ready for the show, but I think this wasn't the last time I had the chance to talk to them... Perhaps at Sweden Rock I'll get a little up-date.... Anyway, good to see them again!

Claudia Ehrhardt

Michael Håkanson
© Claudia Ehrhardt

Michael Håkansson - Pratteln (Switzerland), April, 23rd 2000 -


I have to confess that I hadn't really listen to Evergrey before the tour... Shame on me! In Vosselaar the band was unable to play, coz singer Tom Englund caught a cold and couldn't sing. A few days later in Bochum they offered a decent show, but Tom was still vocally not in his best shape. So, I hoped that in Pratteln Evergrey been through health problems and I will get the chance to see a good show. Btw, in the meantime I got the album and listened to it a few time.
Tonight's show was pretty cool and so I asked bassist Michael Håkansson for a short interview when he passed me in the audience. He agreed, so I met him later for some talking.

I don't know a lot of the band, so please tell a little bit about the band history and how you came up with the name Evergrey!

I'm quite new in the band...

But you know about the history, I guess....

... Yes, I know about... The band was formed in the mid-90's. Tom and Dan (Nojd, former bassist) came up with the name, coz they had a lot of problems, unemployment, so their life was kinda grey... No shades of life, everything seems to be forever grey. So they came up with Evergrey!

The logo and the artwork remind me more about a black metal band... But musically you are more power metal. You are very melodic and this is maybe not what people expect when they see the logo / artwork.

That's true!

And so many will be surprised when they see you on this tour.

I think so, too. Concerning the artwork and the logo it's all about keeping the dark feeling of the band. You can hear that in the music, too. It's not happy metal... It's just like expressing emotions.

Darker emotions...


But you have a very positive energy on stage.

Yeah, if we would have the mood on stage which we expressing in the songs, it would be pretty boring to watch.

For me it's like you try to turn the dark emotions with positive energy on stage into something more positive...

Right! That's it exactly! There is always something positive in the negative.

And if you don't try to see the positive you'll never get out of the negative...


How been the reactions from the audience on this tour so far?

Pretty good actually, better than we expected! When you get out on your first tour as an opening band, there are a lot people who are not really interested into an opening act and so we don't want to expect too much. But the reactions been very good and the crowd was pretty good everywhere!

For me it looks like you have a lot of fans in Belgium and Holland...


So it was a pity that you couldn't play in Vosselaar. I know that a few people came just to see Evergrey!

Oh yeah, it was a pity! But there was nothing we can do that day! We'll come back and do some shows in Europe this summer and hope to get back in autumn for a bigger tour.

Have you played some shows in your area? Or is this , more or less the first time you're out and playing?

It's the first time the band really gets out to play! The other guys played at a festival in the States last year and...

That's very unusual!

Yeah, it is!!!! We have a lot of fans in the States! So we are hoping to get to the States later, too. We had a problem with the release of this album in the States. We were supposed to tour with King Diamond in the States this summer, but the CD wasn't released yet and so it was better to wait.

Yes, it wouldn't make sense without an album out. But to tour with King Diamond would be a big chance for you...

Right, he offered us to join him at his European tour in October. We are good friends with the guitarist Andy LaRoche who is the producer of our album.

It will help a lot to go out with a band like that.

Of course! In the meantime we'll work on new material.

So you use the time between this tour and the festivals for songwriting.

First we were scheduled for studio in November, but I think that'll be hard to do, if we are going on another tour and doing the festivals in summer.

But when you start writing now, you can enter the studio straight after the tour and release the album next spring.

Hopefully, we can. We'll release something, coz it's important for us to do. If we don't people may forget Evergrey.

Right, there are too many releases every month and to stay for a while out of the public eye is kinda death sentence to a young band.

Yeah, it is!

Did you have the chance to play in your home country? Or is anything planned? I know that it's tough to tour in Scandinavia.

Actually we are probably going on a tour with In Flames and Tiamat, but that's not confirmed yet. Hopefully sometime around Christmas we'll do it.

That sounds pretty cool. Perhaps I shall go to Sweden then....

Better do that!... Actually we did a couple of shows, me and Sven. We joined the band last November and so today was our 10th gig with this line-up for Evergrey.

I think the people didn't recognize that the band has not much live experience...

... Me and Sven, we played with another Swedish band called Embraced which is more kinda melodic death metal. I don't know how many Sven had done, but I played about 100 shows....

... Okay, but it's a difference to have experience as a band!

Of course, but we brought a new input, also for playing live and this brought some fresh air into the band and also will in future.

The future might bring them back in fall on tour and in the meantime they'll play some festivals. Anyway, the band have to proof live and with the next album that they can handle the pressure they exert of after this great debut. I have to say thank you to Michael who was so kind to spend time for this spontaneous interview and I'm looking forward to see them at the Bang-Your-Head festival in Balingen.

Claudia Ehrhardt


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