Nocturnal Rites are no newcomers or nobodies anymore and deliver good albums again and again. I haven't had the chance after the release of Afterlife and so there was more to talk about then just their latest output Shadowland.
After the release of Afterlife you toured with Iron Savior. How were the reactions on that tour?
Oh, great. The tour went well, pretty much all over Europe. We had some really cool shows and I'm very happy we did that tour. It was a nice power metal package with three (+ sometimes a 4th support band) great bands, all having their own specific sound. So yes, the tour was really awesome.
Do you had the chance to play more shows afterwards? Outside Europe?
We only did festivals and some one-off shows in Sweden after that tour. When we'd wrapped up all the touring and gigging for the Afterlife album we targeted all our energy on writing the new album. We started writing full time right after our last show at Pitea dansar o Ler festival in Sweden in August.
Any stories to tell from being on the road?
People usually ask this question and it is always hard to answer. You know, being on tour means a different story every day. It's hard to find only bits and pieces that sound interesting to someone that wasn't there.
This is the first time that you didn't record in your hometown Umeå. Why? This time you recorded in the Dug-Out Studios with Daniel Bergstrand. Was Bergstrand your first choice? How was working with Bergstrand in comparison to the former producers / engineers?
I guess every producer and engineer has his own way of working and that's why it's interesting to try out new people. You suddenly feel more creative and focused when there's a new guy around. I think working with Daniel for this album was our smartest move so far. It really helped us get what we'd been looking for a long time. I guess Daniel is a bit more laid back compared to our former producers. Not that he let things slide, but he keeps everything at a fun level and allows you to go nuts sometimes.
The cover artwork for Afterlife was done by Andreas Marshall. This time you worked with someone else. Why? Tell us about the guy!
I think we needed a change. Andreas is a brilliant artist, probably one of the best in the business, but we'd had him on the last two albums. We always think of change as something positive and when we saw Leo's samples we knew he's doing an amazing job. So it was really that simple. We sent him some sketches a friend of ours did and we got back an amazing cover.
Was the concept of the artwork done by the band? Or did Leo Hao came up with it?
We had some ideas surrounding the title so we asked a friend of ours to draw some sketches. But I guess both Leo and Century Media did some changes. But all in all the idea behind the cover is our friend's and ours.
Your biography said that you started writing new songs after returning from tour. What was the reason for this? Working live with the new line-up?
Well, we don't write much on tour. It's hard to stay focused and we've, unfortunately, got used to writing songs in our studio. So I guess we're a bit spoiled. We need our machines and all the other crap to get going. Plus also, as you mentioned, working live with a new singer brings new ideas and inspiration. When you get back from a tour you're filled with impressions and emotions from meeting people from all over the world so you can't help it - you have to start writing in order to get back out on the road.
Why do you chose Shadowland as the title? Do you think that title represents the album best?
We wanted a song title to be the title of the album, so we had lots to choose from. But some song titles just don't sound like album titles. Shadowland instantly sounded like an album, plus it sounded a bit mystical and interesting so we went for that. However, I do think it represents the album in a good way. Lyrically the album is quite dark.
What do you think is the musical difference between Afterlife and Shadowland?
I think we managed to keep the heaviness and probably even make it even a little more heavy, too. But I do think we were able to incorporate more melodies into Shadowland. We worked a lot more on vocal lines and vocal arrangements this time around. We also added more guitar work and worked harder on keyboards.
Does touring inspire you?
Touring is the ultimate source for inspiration. You meet thousands of people from all over the world, every day is a new adventure and not two days are alike. To be able to be on stage every night in front of a new audience is probably the greatest gift of all. So yes, touring inspires us very much.
How are the reactions so far?
The reviews on Shadowland have been excellent. I don't think we've ever had this feedback before. It feels great and I'm confident this will be our biggest album so far.
Are there plans for you to tour?
So far we've done some one-off festival shows in Sweden and in August we will be doing Wacken and Eurorock plus some other smaller shows. In September we have a show with Blind Guardian in Sweden plus we're working on some other things for later this fall, too. You will definitely be seeing us on stage a lot this year. That's why we're here.
Have you thought about recording a live show for an album and / or DVD?
Lots of people have asked us about doing something like that. So maybe the time has come? I don't know where or when yet, but we will definitely try to do it.
Have you ever thought about side-projects? What do you think about side-projects, e.g. Full Strike of Stefan Elmgren?
Since we're all pretty much involved in the songwriting process, I don't see how we'd ever have time to do that when we're trying to have a new album out every year. In 7 years we've done 5 albums and toured so NR consumes a lot of our time. But if there ever is time over or if we take a shorter break sometime in the future, who knows?
Some questions which are more general.... At the moment the soccer world championships are going on... Sweden was kicked out by Senegal's national team. Did you expected more from your soccer team? Or don't you care about it?
I had no idea how they would do before it all started. But I think they did a very good cup indeed. We won our group which was one of the toughest in the championships. Once your team starts winning you always expect them to keep on winning and I definitely thought they would beat Senegal. They're a good team, but in my mind that game was a no brainer. Maybe that was what went wrong, we thought the game was won before it even started?
As a band you travel a lot while being on tour... Sweden hasn't joined the Euro-community. Why didn't Sweden wanted the Euro in your opinion? Would you welcome the Euro?
Honestly, I have no idea. I would personally welcome the Euro, because of how easy everything would be. Coming home from tour with 10 different currencies is never any fun.
You already been to many places. Where would you like to go? To play?
We still haven't been to Japan. So that's what we're trying to do this year. Our sales have been really good over there, so it's strange that we still haven't toured there. But we'll try to for this album.
Many bands don't want to play e.g. Turkey, but there is a huge metal scene. Would you go there?
We'd go anywhere. That's how simple it is with us.
Final question... What are your plans for the future?
To tour as much as we possibly can and to visit the places we still haven't been to. That's our immediate plan.
Thanks a lot and I hope that they'll soon come on tour. Perhaps on the festivals there is a chance to chit-chat or at least on tour... Who knows? Anyway, I saw the band live before and can recommend to see them live!