Randy, what's up, man?
Everything is good here, how are you?
Everything's good here. I'm doing a lot of interviews here. I'm very happy. We have a new album, The Venomous, is coming out and it's a lot of work and there's a lot of excitement in the band right now, so we feel good. I feel good so far.
So there's a lot of things happening in your world right now.
Yeah. I see a lot of mags' requests coming in, so that definitely feels positive. And a lot of good feedback so far from the mags. I heard a lot of good comments and people seemed to like the new album. That makes me feel happy, because, I mean, every musician, that's what he wants when you release an album. Your aim is for people to love your stuff. And so far, so good, man.
Exactly. I saw some good reviews myself and I have to say, it's an amazing release.
Thank you very much. I appreciate that. I'm glad you like it. I never take it for granted. You never know what people will think, but when people are telling you to your face that they love your stuff... this is my payment. Thank you.
Well, I actually caught wind of your music from Yan from Dissector. He said to check them out, they're awesome.
He says hi, by the way.
Yeah, in this band I play guitar lead. I play guest solos for them. It's a Russian band.
Yeah. I write lyrics for them.
Oh, cool. That's nice, man.
What I noticed with your albums is that they're very steady. Including all of your music. You sound better with every release.
Thank you. Thanks for saying that. We're trying our best. I mean, we're always trying to be ourselves. We're always trying to write songs that make us feel and that makes us feel okay, this is interesting, this is solid, this is nice... it happens then that other people like the stuff. Like you told me you like it. I guess we are doing something right.
Yeah, exactly. It's a wonder I didn't hear you before that. It's a shame, really.
No worries. Now you have the chance, actually.
So, what can you tell us about the new record?
We worked on this album... we started actually to write the songs one year ago. I started to write initially some stuff and I hooked up with our new guitar player Magnus. We worked together on the new album and wrote all the stuff together. It was a great collaboration even though he's a new guy. He has a lot of cool ideas. So you can actually hear the new, fresh ideas in the album. Even though he incorporated a lot of his ideas, we still have the same Nightrage signature song, you know. And that's a good thing. But it's a great collaboration so far. I'm very happy with the songs and it was never a struggle for us to sit down and write all the stuff. So I'm looking forward to the next one, actually.
Yeah, I bet. How much of the previous record was already written before Ronnie joined the band? How big was his creative input in that record?
You mean on the Puritan?
Yeah, the Puritan actually... I had a lot of songs written down before. He helped me a lot in the arrangements. When the songs were done, he helped me change some stuff or edit stuff and also he wrote all his vocal melodies and we wrote the lyrics together. I think Ronnie and me were, you can say that we are, the core of the band. He's a blood brother to me. We're on the same page both musically and as individuals. We're great friends and I'm very happy that he's in the band now. And I have somebody to trust and somebody to work with. He's very trustworthy and very... loves the band on the same level like I do. That's a rarity to find.
So it's nice to have a bit of synergy within your ranks...
Yeah. He feels like a brother to me. Besides the music and the band. And that's the most important thing to me, to have a great friendship in the band.
Yeah. Has his creative input increased if you look at the previous record to this one?
Definitely. He's always helping us - me and Magnus. He helped us a lot with the arrangements and this time he wrote most of the lyrics on The Venomous and all these vocal melodies. He's a big part in the songwriting team. It's like, it used to be me, and then came Ronnie. Me, Ronnie, and Magnus. So we feel these three guys are the main composing team in the band. It feels stronger than ever now, I think.
The Holy Trinity, you could say.
I really love your musical constructs. This albums fits even better together than the previous one, I think. And the guitars are really on fire in this production, man.
Thank you very much, I appreciate it.
Yeah. Did you anything different this time around if you compare it to the production of The Puritan?
This time I can say one thing that we... we kind of had a plan. We wanted to go to different directions sometimes. Like we said, okay, now it's time for us to maybe write a fast song or a mid-tempo song. So we had kind of a plan. A thing that we never had before. And was kind of a new thing that came from Magnus actually. And that gave it a little more dynamic in the album, if you want. We had like two songs with mid-tempo, and then a little bit faster, and then some acoustic parts or whatever. We kind of planned it to have a structure for the arrangements. That actually gave the album a more cohesive and more inspiring sound, I think.
Yeah, I think so as well. The album deals with the downfall of humanity and our tendency to self-destruct. How did you land on this theme?
We always get inspired from daily stuff. Either from personal experiences or if you just look at what happens in the world every day, there is a lot of stuff that you can think about and write about. I think it's a concept album, The Venomous. It deals with human evil and the self-destructive nature as humans. I don't think we ever have learned from our own mistakes. Even though we were writing this Venomous stuff, dark stuff, you can say we always believe in hope and change. We always believe that it's a matter of choice, actually. And I think that people, if they want to, they can go to the other direction and change to something more positive. Find the light at the end of the tunnel, you can say.
Yeah. Do you think we are still salvageable as a species?
Yeah, I mean, all those theories we are talking about is not only theoretical or vague theories. It's a reality that's kind of sad reality. All this bloodshed towards innocent people, all these wars, all this hatred, it's a lot of crazy stuff. It's like how is this going to end? Is it going to be total destruction or it can be something else. It can change to something more positive. We are... we can save our own lives. It's a matter of choice, I think.
Oh yeah. It's a weird time. It's a weird political time. All over the place. All over the world.
You can see it every day and it's kind of sad, you know. It's sad but I believe in the human spirit. I still believe in that.
We can still turn it around. Absolutely. Is it a whole concept album, or are there stand-alone songs on it?
I think it's a great concept. It's a concept album actually. Because all of the themes are leading to this one subject alone. Like we, you know, we want to be... we want to follow the war or we want to follow love? It's about if you take those thoughts... the title, The Venomous, it's the song that connects all the other songs in the great concept. Because we are hungry for war and destruction and we have proven that for all centuries. So that's the main theme in the album. Some other songs like The Blood talking about the bloodshed that happened from ISIS recently... all this bloodshed. So we are talking about the bad stuff that we humans do to each other. Mainly.
Yeah we do need to wake up a bit and see all the big gears that are turning right now.
Yeah and we are spitting this venom all the time. It's up to us if we want to change.
Absolutely. I agree. Also, great work on your video for the title track, by the way. Is that, by any chance, a nuclear winter scene?
It's a very cold, cold video. You can see a lot of dark skies and a lot of snow at the time and hearing this music and the vocals and the guitar melodies... it's a great combination along with the brutality and the melodies and I think it fits a lot with what we wanted to express with our lyrics in the video.
We love how our video director translated the music and the lyrics into this kind of great war.
Yeah. I just keep watching it. I was wondering if there's any symbolism with the falling snow?
Yeah, maybe that shows that everything is cold. Very lonely, very sad, and stuff like that. But there's still hope. There's a glimpse of light in the lyrics. There's a glimpse of light between the lines. There's a light at the end of the tunnel.
We can still turn it around.
So we always try to find this light. And there is light if you want to see it.
Absolutely. How would you compare the current era of the band with previous incarnations of Nightrage? What has changed and what is still the same?
You mean this lineup with the lineup before?
I think now we feel like a more solid band to be honest with you. You can actually hear that on the album. It's a more solid band. Because on the previous album, we had some issues to face and we were me and Ronnie mainly on the album. So this album feels like we have a drummer, we have a new guitar player... it's a band. And the way we wrote the album, it's a collective effort. It's a team effort. So it feels like more of a solid unit right now. So that makes me feel very confident for the future and for the next albums.
You're at a really incredible place right now. It's promising and a bright future.
It's actually kind of cool that we are still here even though whatever happened in the past. We are still here and we are trying to write the best songs we can write. So this is great statement, actually. That we're still here and they're trying their best.
Still here and kicking ass.
Thanks for saying that!
I've been reading a lot of reviews and stuff over the last few days and I saw that your sound has been compared to In Flames a lot.
I was wondering, in what ways would you say that your sound is different?
I think there is no comparison if you ask me. I mean, In Flames and Nightrage are two different bands. I don't think we have any connections at all. And I don't understand when people find some relation. Maybe we have a lot of melodies in the guitars. We like to explore a lot of melody in the music, anyway. So maybe that's way. But I don't think there's any connections with In Flames. In Flames for me is just a different kind of band. We are still metal. That thing alone makes us different.
I actually agree with you there. I thought it was a strange thing to say. But I saw someone even go as far as comparing a track of yours, sequence by sequence, to In Flames songs. What? (Laughs)
Of course people can have their own opinions. That's okay. That's no problem. But if you ask me, I don't think there's any connections or musical... we're a different kind of band. Nightrage is more like a band of its own. We have our own sound. We're playing the acoustic guitars with growling vocals or melodies with brutal riffs. And we have our own sound the way we play the melodies and all that stuff makes us different. Very, very different, if you ask me. It's kind of unfair actually to compare us with other bands. It's like people think we're trying to take their own sound and copy... like we're copycats or something. But that's not what we're doing here. It's like we don't really care about other bands are doing. We only care to write, good, mature songs.
I absolutely agree with you. And that's the reason I asked this question. So you have your own chance to explain that to the readers.
Thanks for giving me the chance to say that. It's actually the truth.
This is your seventh album since you started the band back in 2000. The world has changed quite a bit since then. How much has your own world changed?
If I think about it, I don't think we've changed too much. I still feel like I'm the same guy I used to be like ten years ago. I still feel the same excitement. I still feel the same. I don't feel my age in ways. I'm just being the same guy, doing the same thing... following his own dream creating Nightrage and creating songs and playing shows and meeting cool people, meeting our fans. Connecting with our fans. That's our aim. This is our life. This is what we do. This is fate. So for me, I haven't changed a bit if you ask me. And that, for me, I consider i a good thing. I think it's a good thing that you're yourself all the time. You don't wanna be something else. You just follow your heart and play music from the heart and be happy about it.
It shows you have a passion for this and it also shines through in your music, I think.
Yeah, I mean, for me, Nightrage is my life. It's everything that I have. And I don't see me doing something else in the near future. I can tell you that the best album is going to be the next one. There's going to be a lot of albums coming from us. We have a lot of albums still inside us. That's a promise.
That's a great thing. I like that. Your whole attitude that you described also shows through in your social media. And you're a pretty active band there. How important is Facebook for you these days?
I think it's one of main promotional things you can do. It's number one, actually, for any band. It's very important for you to be active there, because a lot of people can see. A lot of people can interact with you. In a way, it's kind of your way to communicate and connect with your fans. And a lot of people appreciate that. If you put stuff like songs and lyrics or whatever and just being able to be here and answer and show them that you are active... that means a lot to them. It's a great interaction. And I think the whole social media thing is great when you know how to work with it. Of course, you don't want to overdo it. There's a balance. So we try to keep a balance of posts. We don't want to overload stuff. Like, pissing people off or something. At the same time, we want to be there still and be active and still have a great connection with our fans. So there's a balance.
Yeah. I really like how you present yourself on your social media and how you are amidst your fans. I also really appreciate that you are a member of our own community, the Metal on Loud community.
Yeah, sure man. Thanks. I'm trying my best. I spend a lot of time every day on social media for me. I think it's important that you... if you have band and you have a fanbase, you need to be there to show them your love and the fact that you care about them. That thing alone is a great thing. And I think with social media, it's really easy to be there and being active and having this great communication.
I absolutely agree. Did I spot some guitar lessons on your Facebook page? (Laughs)
Yeah, sometimes we are doing these tutorial videos now. Me and Magnus. We actually started to film some tutorial videos about the new songs. We did The Venomous and now we did Affliction and we are planning to do more. I used to do a lot of guitar videos before but we tried to make it a little bit more professional with better cameras and better lighting and better background. Because I think it makes sense for the fans to have more quality there. Better stuff for them. Better quality audio. Better visual quality. And we are very active on that and I think it's a great thing for the fans for guitar players or musicians to see what we are doing on the new songs and it's a great way to stay in contact with everybody. With Nightrage.
There's a lot of musicians on the social media and Facebook, so I'm sure you're making a lot of new friends that way. Absolutely.
Definitely. And also you need to be there if you have a band nowadays. It's a must. Facebook and YouTube and Instagram and Twitter. All those great sites. You need to be there. So you need to get along with all this new stuff. These streaming services, Spotify and Google Play playing your music. Otherwise young kids won't give you a chance because that's what they know. They don't know about cassettes and cassette players and...
And tapes and stuff like that. They know about smartphones and Spotify. So you need to go with the flow, you know.
Brave new world.
Yeah. Even though we're old people, we get it. We know what we have to do. What we need to do to promote our music the best way possible.
Absolutely. You absolutely get it.
You already mentioned that you have more albums still inside you. Are there any dreams on your bucket list you wish to accomplish in the coming years?
Yeah, we have another album now we need to release with Desperate Records. And then our deal is gonna be finished. And we're hoping to renew this deal because we're really happy with their work. They're really professional. Really great guys. Really great label. Even though they're kind of new. They're coming from Stockholm, Sweden. So we have another album to do with them and then we're looking for the best. You know, like I said, there's a lot of good songs and good ideas still inside us, so we have to put them out. Before we leave this world. We need to do something about it.
I get what you're saying there. Will we be able to see you on tour this year?
That's a good question, because now we are talking with a new guy from the Netherlands and they are looking for shows for us. Tours and stuff like that. And we're hoping to get a European tour after the release of the album and a chance to play in Japan. An Asian tour. And go to North America and come back in September and do more shows. Unfortunately the festivals are already full. So we're looking for that 2018 summer now for festivals. We're looking to actually go out and play shows for the new album because I think it deserves the best attention.
Yeah. If you get in my neck of the woods, let me know. I'll be there, man.
Thanks and it would be a pleasure to meet you. Thank you for the interest in the band and thanks for the interview. And we really hope all our fans will love the new album and support The Venomous and buy it and give it a chance and we love you guys. Can't wait to see all our fans at upcoming shows.
Thank you very much for your time as well and we'll be pushing your music for sure.
Thanks Randy. Keep it metal, man.