With Prince Of Paupers Swedish band Grand Illusion is presenting a new album, an album which would have been the perfect soundtrack for summer. But at least in the part of the world I live we haven't had much summer and so it will light up the dark days of winter. Time to take a closer look! Thanks to Anders Rydholm who answered my questions within no time!
Lets start with a little travel back in time... You started as Promotion and were active for years, do you remember why you choose Promotion as the bands name?
Sorry that was too long ago, ha ha. 25 years is along time and I remember that we struggled to decide on that name too. Its hard to find a unique band name and nowadays it's also hard remembering.
When you started what later became Grand Illusion, how difficult was it to find a band name? I know you gave Escape Music's Khalil Turk 4 to choose from...
I think that we had at least 50 names but most of them were crap. We narrowed it down to 4 names we all thought were Ok and Khalil chose Grand Illusion. It works well with our over-the-top style.
Have you been inspired by the album of Styx?
Not by The Grand Illusion album but they have some good songs. Personally I like the Pieces Of Eight album best. I don't like the song Grand Illusion by Styx. It's just a good name and we don't see the connection with Styx as many other people do.
Do you know that there is a Styx tribute band named Grand IllusionGrand Illusion in the US?
People have told me that but since they are not releasing any albums it doesn't matter to us.
Grand Illusion lasted til 2005, what happened?
We needed time to work with other people and a break from each other. There were some tensions. It did us a good and I think we have developed a lot due to that break. Musically we gained a lot working with other people and broadening our horizon.
In 2010 you came back with Brand New World, would you agree that you three are the core of Grand Illusion?
Per, Peter and myself has always been the core. Peter and Per for the vocals and I have always played bass, keyboards and the majority of the guitars so that's no difference from out past. Many people think that but I have always done the majority of all instruments but drums. Our old drummer Christian is also a part of the core but the he was to busy with his normal life to be part of a reunion. He still has played live with us so we still consider Christian a part of our core band.
Did you consider to look for someone to complete the line-up? Or did you know right from the (re-)start that you will work with guests?
Hard to say. Muris Varajic will probably be a part of future recordings too, but we also think it's great to bring in outside people to help lift and variate our music. What could be better than to work with some of the best musicians in the world. It's great inspiration for us all.
Why did you choose the title Brand New World?
It was a brand new start for the band so that title felt natural.
Have you been satisfied with the response?
We have got some really good reviews for both our new albums so we are happy. We don't try to sound like the main stream AOR band and as long as people realize that were happy. I'm a little bit bored by all comparisons to bands that I have never even heard of. Take the music for what it is and don't categorize so much.
When did you start writing songs for Prince Of Paupers? And when did the recordings began?
I wrote the songs from February 2010 to July 2011 and we recorded from the same time until June 2011. Most of the album were record by September of 2010, but then Peter lost his voice and it took 3 months before we could continue.
Why the title Prince Of Paupers? What inspired you for that one?
We liked that title. It's pretty unique and it works with our music style. Visual and grand. Most titles has been used so many times but this one both felt good and was unique.
Will you do a video clip? Which song(s) would you like to visualize?
There are so many songs we would like to do video of. Gates Of Fire would be great, but it would cost a fortune since it's about an ancient battle in Greece. So Faraway is another song that would be great for a video. It's a question about money and time. Spend money on a great video or have enough money to continue to record music.
Most of the lyrics were written by Arlene Matza-Jackson, please tell us a bit about Arlene!
Arlene is a fantastic woman that lives in Los Angeles. I have been writing with her for the last 5 years. Arlene has a lot of lyrical ideas and also is a positive force for energizing the band. Without here it would have taken much longer to finish these songs. I don't have enough lyrical ideas. Arlene has a lot of energy and also helps to push us all.
You played Firefest 2010 - and a few more shows -, what about live shows in 2012? Any plans for touring?
We will do a couple of gigs in Sweden starting right after New Year. For the moment no plans outside Sweden, but if anyone wants to bring us over to Germany, England or any other country we are always positive.
Was the Firefest performance recorded for whatever future use?
These days many bands have their own YouTube channel and give a little inside into studio work or do a vlog from tour. Do you plan something like that?
We have our own YouTube channel. http://www.youtube.com/gisweden
We have uploaded a lot of videos from the makings of the album, interviews, etc and more will come.
(Looks like I only found all the Styx or cover band related videos.... - Claudia)
What is your take on social media? Love or hate?
Probably somewhere in the middle. None of us in the band are any good blogger or good on sharing the normal life so we are not uninterested. I would more call it lazy. We have our own Facebook page and that is the best way to communicate with the band. http://www.facebook.com/grandillusion
Last, but not least... what can fans expect from Grand Illusion in 2012?
Hopefully a lot of gigs and an active Grand Illusion. We are really proud over our new album and if everything goes as planned we will probably start recoding something new during 2012. But who knows what happens in the future.