For me, the Twilight Force interview was the first time not one, but two voices enthusiastically greeted me as soon as the Skype call connected. A nice surprise! What followed was a fun conversation, with a band that takes their fantasy seriously, in a way that they stay in character. Meet Twilight Force!
Together: Hello Randy!
Blackwald: How are you doing?
Hi there, good, how are you?
Blackwald: We’re fine!
Lynd: We’re great, yeah!
Blackwald: So that you know, I am Blackwald
Lynd: And I am Lynd.
Okay, that’s good to know! And Blackwald is on the keyboards, and Lynd is on everything with strings, right?
Together: Yeah, kind of. *laugh*
Alright! Well, thank you for taking the time to talk to us! How are things in your world?
Blackwald: It’s hectic, we’re working and preparing for the show on Sabaton Open Air right now. So there’s a lot of work with that.
Lynd: There are lots of things to do, especially with the new liveshow. We have to make a lot of preparations for that.
Blackwald: Learn the new songs, and it’s not easy! *laughs*
Yeah I bet! New stuff is always a bit hard. Do you do special things with your liveshow?
Blackwald: Yeah we’ve got a few tricks up our wizard sleeves, and we’re preparing something really special for the Sabaton Open Air gig on this Saturday.
Very cool! Sabaton, it’s a nice band.
Blackwald: Yeah it’s a pretty interesting thing, because we will play after the Sabaton show, and that’s going to be a challenge *laughs*, because they put on such an awesome show. We will just be there to give the audience something extra, after the big fireworks show *laughs*. But we really love them as people. They are good friends, we are really happy to be able to play with them.
We already had them in our magazine before, they are nice guys.
Blackwald: Yeah, they are really nice!
So, let’s talk “Heroes of Mighty Magic”! What can you tell us about your new release?
Blackwald: Wow, what do you want to know? (Both laugh)
I want to know everything! *laughs*
Lynd: Well, it’s our second album as you probably know. With our previous album, “Tales of Ancient Prophecies”, we tried to bring back the golden age of Power metal, and with “Heroes of Mighty Magic” we wanted to take it a step further and evolve a bit, but still staying true to the great melodies and the fast tempo’s. That makes Power metal what it is.
Blackwald: So as Lynd said, we actually expand more on what we already did, but we try to bring it one step further. As it is right now, it’s much more intricate with complex orchestral arrangements, but still the most important thing to us are the melodies and the sense of adventure and stuff like that. So we just tried to keep the core in tact, but expanded our horizons.
Well you succeeded there.
Both: *laugh*, thanks.
You mentioned the golden age of Power metal. What do you see as the golden age of Power metal?
Lynd: Well, for me it’s probably around the very late ‘90s and early 2000’s. I think the greatest Power Metal album of all time, one of them anyway, is Luca Turilli's first solo album.
Blackwald: Yeah, it’s really great.
Lynd: And some of Edguy’s earlier stuff, And Sonata Arctica of course.
Blackwald: I think we grew up with the same albums that we have in mind, for me it’s also Blind Guardian, Nightfall and Middle Earth, all great epic Power Metal bands. All around the mid nineties, late nineties.
Alright, I get the scenery here! When I listened to your album the first time, I got a serious merry-go-round on speed vibe. You should consider starting your own theme park!
Lynd: *laughs* A Twilight Force theme park, yeah!
Blackwald: That would be great! Maybe we can team up with Disney!
That might work! What to you is the Twilight Force sound, how would you describe your music?
Blackwald: For me it’s bombastic…
Blackwald: And Adventurous, yeah. A magical landscape, a sense of Adventure, memorable melodies. But a really bombastic sound, you really want to go ride on the back of a dragon.
Lynd: yeah, a kind dragon.
Blackwald: *laughs* Yeah, we only have nice dragons!
*laughs* Yeah, it’s obvious to me that your inspiration lies for a large part in the fantastical realms, and your sound is epic and almost cinematic at certain moments. Where did you find your inspiration for those aspects in your music?
Lynd: Well, a lot of inspiration comes from early Hollywood music, and nineties Hollywood music. “Home Alone”, those kind of movies.
Blackwald: “Jurassic Parc”
Lynd: The old American family movies.
Blackwald: That’s something we also grew up with and it’s something that we really like. So far I think it’s a pretty unexplored area, to combine that with Metal music. I don’t know, there might be bands that have done it, but generally, when you talk about early Rhapsody for example, it’s more Baroque, Classical music.
Lynd: More Vivaldi stuff.
Blackwald: We try to bring in more contemporary film and motion picture music. And that hopefully as you say, it gives us a bit more cinematic approach, a cinematic feel to it.
I really got a soundtrack idea from it, and I was wondering, if you were to use it as a soundtrack, what kind of movie would it be?
Both: *laugh* Great question!
Blackwald: I would say for me, the spontaneous answer would be “How to train your Dragon” *laughs*
I like that, that will work! *laughs*
Blackwald: I don’t know about Lynd?
Lynd: Well, maybe some erotic movie with dragons… *laughs*
*laughs* And would that be with actors or an animation?
Lynd: I don’t know, probably something Japanese *laughs*
A nice Manga thingy, yeah. What were your favorite stories, legends and authors when you were growing up?
Lynd: I don’t know the English title for it… “Till vildingarnas land”.
Blackwald: Oh yeah, they did a movie about it, it’s called “Where The Wild Things Are”.
Yeah, I know that story!
Blackwald: And actually, now that Lynd mentions it, I must somewhat agree. I really love that when I was growing up. For the rest, all the Tolkien stuff, we have been reading that also. And I must give an honorary mention to Terry Pratchett, also a big inspirator. May he rest in peace.
Terry Pratchett, absolutely. I’m still reading his last book.
Blackwald: Oh really? I haven’t yet, there are still a few to catch up on.
Where it comes to stories, do you prefer visual stories from movies and television, or the ones that you shape in your own mind, from books?
Lynd: I think I prefer, well it depends on the mood of course, but at this moment I’m really into a big fantasy epos of twelve books, and I really enjoy that. So I have to say books for now. I’m reading a Russian writer called Nick Perumov (Probably “Keeper of the Swords”, Ed.). I don’t know if it exists outside of Russia and Sweden *laughs*
Blackwald: Are you reading it in Russian? *laughs*
Lynd: No, Swedish!
Blackwald: For me, I don’t know. I think it also depends on the mood, like Lynd said. Sometimes, if you want to consume something quickly, a movie is fine. When you feel at peace and have a bit more time, then reading is preferable I would say.
Lynd: It’s hard to focus on reading when you’ve consumed a lot of magic potions, you know?
*laughs* Absolutely. What would you say makes your sound, your style unique and different from other Power Metal acts?
Lynd: Well, probably the things we mentioned earlier on. I think we have a new approach to mixing the contemporary soundtrack music with Metal. At least, I haven’t heard that before.
Blackwald: Me neither. There are a lot of bands that are putting in orchestral and classical elements and stuff of course, but I think that we focus a bit more on the orchestral side. We call our music Adventure Metal, so it’s not 100% real Power Metal, so we try to put more emphasis on the orchestral side, and the sense of adventure. So that may be something that people are not very used to. We hope that we can bring something new to the table with that approach.
One of the things that came to mind when I was listening to your new album, I also interviewed Van Canto earlier this year. Are you familiar with them?
Blackwald: Yes, I believe they played, or sang at Sabaton Open Air, a few years ago. They do choir covers right?
That’s right. The reason I bring them up is that their latest release was a cooperation with a author. They wrote a book and made an album about it.
Blackwald: O wow, that’s a cool idea.
Yeah, so I was wondering if you heard about it, it’s really something I would see you doing as well.
Blackwald: Yeah, maybe we should contact this Russian guy that Lynd is reading!
Lynd: Exactly. Actually I think, two guys have contacted us saying that they are writing books.
Blackwald: For me, and now I’m just talking from the top of my head, but it would be an amazing thing. We have created this world for this second album, with the Twilight Kingdoms. There is a map, the lure other stuff, it would be great to hand that over to an author to create stories. Real stories taking place in the world and universe that we came up with. That would be a real fun thing to do.
Lynd: Yeah, for sure.
To expand on it, and give it some dimension. Very cool!
Blackwald: Yeah exactly. Good idea there, thanks *laughs*
Can you tell us a little bit about the world you created?
Blackwald: Well, I think most of it is going to be in the booklet. We will have the longer stories surrounding all the characters that we portray in Twilight Force. And we will expand on the lure more when the time comes, all the places and kingdoms and such. There will be a lot coming, I don’t want to reveal too much at this point.
Exactly, no spoilers *laughs*
Blackwald: There’s a lot of stuff in the booklet actually, a few more details there.
Very cool. Where it comes to your new album, how different would you say it is from your previous album? Are there things that are still the same?
Lynd: Well our new album, a lot of the things are the same. I mean, the melodies are still there, but it’s a lot more complex, without taking anything from the main focus, which are the melodies.
Blackwald: It’s similar, but hopefully people can see that it’s just the next step in our evolution. I know a lot of people think that when a band creates one album, it should be exactly like that for the rest of their career. *laughs*
Please no *laughs*
Blackwald: My personal opinion is that you should stick to your fundamentals or the basic idea that you had, once upon a time. Then you can take like, side tracks and take different influences, evolve and change your sound, but you shouldn’t like change your genre. If you start out as a Death Metal band, your second album shouldn’t be a Techno album *laughs*. I mean, that to me would be somewhat betraying your audience, in a way. But for us, hopefully with this album we have just built another branch on the tree that we started to grow a couple of years ago. There are still a lot of similarities, but much more complex and more evolved.
Lynd: We even have two tracks that are ten minutes long, each, something we didn’t have on our previous album. We have ventured into a bit longer songs this time around. That was exciting for sure, to create a longer journey, so to speak.
Blackwald: But that was a lot of work, so maybe the third album will only have two minute songs *laughs*
So, you’re going punk *laughs*. Now that you just had your first chapter, you introduced your characters, and now you reached the second chapter where the story really starts.
Blackwald: Yeah, hopefully. We think so too. It feels really good to have accomplished this. It’s been a lot of work and a long journey. We’re really satisfied.
Lynd: We are really excited for the album release. To see what people think.
If you look at your album title, “Heroes of Mighty Magic”, do you feel that magic still exists in this world, and what does it mean to you?
Blackwald: That’s a good question. When we are on stage, and when we create music, and when we live in this world that we have created for ourselves, there is definitely a lot of magic. And that is the magic that we experience. It’s not Paul McKenna *laughs*. That’s not the magic we are talking about. I mean, magic exists in a way because, if you think about all the contemporary entertainment that is around, computer games and movies and everything, it’s a really popular subject. A lot of people enjoy it, and since we grew up with it, we really feel like we want to partake in a journey that involves a lot of magic and imagination and escapism if you want. I think people need that. We’ve always needed that. Maybe now more than ever, with a lot of stress, and a little bit too much reality from time to time.
With so much ugliness in the world, we can use a little magic.
Blackwald: Yes. Exactly. Now we just have to learn how to cast fireballs, that’s the next step *laughs*
*laughs* Yeah, that would be nice. Lyrically, the new album, is it all once central storyline, or are there songs that stand all on themselves?
Lynd: Well, they all revolve around the Twilight Kingdoms. Yeah, you can find a central storyline.
Blackwald: Yeah I think you can. Exactly. It takes place in the Twilight Kingdoms, all of them, and they were written over a long time, the lyrics. Some might be a bit loosely connected and some might be very well grounded in the storyline and the Lure, so it’s a little bit different. Most, yes. They are all somewhat connected.
Meanwhile, back in the village!
You already mentioned your main inspiration musically are the classic Power Metal bands, the golden age of Power Metal, but what other influences do you have? At times I even spot a little Trans-Siberian Orchestra in your work!
Blackwald: Oh, well, maybe. Yeah. What would you say, Lynd?
Lynd: As I said earlier, the motion pictures soundtracks, the early Hollywood music from the ‘90s. That’s mine, anyway.
Blackwald: I think also for me, it’s also a little bit of the more new school composers, the next generation of Hollywood composers, like Harry Gregson-Williams and John Powell for example. They kind of carry on what John Williams once set out to do, and still creates. They do it with a bit more modern touch perhaps.
Movie magic is also something very special. Where it comes to writing your music, what’s leading in your creative process, the story or the music?
Lynd: I would say it always starts with the music. In our writing process we actually put out the outlines of a song fairly quickly most of the time. Then when we have the basics, we get a feel for what this story is supposed to be about.
Blackwald: Yeah, we try to find a good suitable title for the song, that fits the mood of the song.
Lynd: Yeah, we go from there. So we have to decide, when the basics of a song are done, we feel okay, are we flying on a dragon? Or are we working in a dwarven mine? *laughs* From there we choose the topic and title, and then the story unfolds around that.
So you listen to what the music tells you.
Lynd: Yes, exactly.
That’s a really popular way of doing things these days, but there are always two kinds of bands. There are those that start with a lyric and a vocal line, and those that start with the music and go from there. It’s always interesting to see who goes where!
Blackwald: Yeah, exactly. We’re definitely a start with the music type of band.
Lynd: Although it would be interesting to start with the lyrics for a change sometimes, and try to compose music.
Yeah, or with a book!
Lynd: Yes. Compose music to a written storyline, as movie composers do.
Blackwald: Maybe we will do that sometime! Good idea.
Where it comes to your live shows, how well does your music translate to a stage show?
Blackwald: Very well, I’d say. We play perfectly every time! *both laugh* No, but we try to make fun shows, we try to have fun on stage and involve the audience as much as possible. We want it to be a feast for both eyes and ears.
Lynd: All the rest of the guys are really skilled musicians, we never have to worry about stuff, we can just enjoy ourselves, and really put on a good show. I think it really translates well. I mean, there are stories that we have to tell, and we can do a lot of moves, and we can do a narration and stuff like that on stage. I think it’s a really fun way to express our music. It brings something extra than just listening to an album.
So you bring more to the stage than just the music?
Blackwald: Yeah, and hopefully that will evolve over time as well. At this point we have to give birth to a dragon, and stuff like that *laughs*, but at this point we have our characters, and we try to perform surrounding those characters, and what they represent. We have a lot of ideas that we want to realize, and hopefully in time we will do that. It’s a matter of time and money *laughs*.
Well, you’re a really young band, still. You were founded in 2011, so there’s plenty of time to develop those things.
Lynd: Yeah, I think so too. We are just getting started.
Blackwald: Things just got real! *laughs*
At least you’ve only been around for five years now. There are bands that don’t even bring out one album in five years.
Blackwald: That’s true. And it’s been a lot of work with this album, and at least I think we are really looking forward to the third, *both laugh* but things just have to calm down a bit so that we can focus on bringing that mood out again.
We have readers in many parts of the world. We are a very international magazine. Where can our readers see you play this year?
Blackwald: This year it’s the better part of Europe I think, because in October we are going on tour with Sonata Arctica. I’m not sure from the top of my head which countries we will visit, but at least Germany, France, Italy…
Lynd: And we’re playing Norway for the first time!
Blackwald: Norway, yeah, for the first time.
Lynd: Exactly, and it’s a sold out show. It sold out very quickly.
Blackwald: Yeah, that’s going to be a lot of fun. Here we go, I found it. It’s Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, UK, France, and the Czech Republic.
So, a big tour!
Blackwald: It’s going to be a great tour, and Sonata Arctica are really great guys. We really got along great the last time we went on tour with them. And this time it’s going to be only us two, so it’s going to be really great.
Where it comes to your tour wishlist, what countries are still on there?
Blackwald: I would say, Japan.
Lynd: Yeah, Japan. That’s my childhood dream. Japanese dragons! *both laugh* And also, the US!
Blackwald: Yeah, the US would be great.
Lynd: Both North and South America.
Blackwald: But we know it’s a difficult thing to do if you want to play great venues and such, there is a pretty long road to get there. Hopefully, one day. Japan would be the first step.
We will keep an eye on your road ahead.
I’ve reached my last question, and that is, do you have any last words for our readers?
Blackwald: We really hope that you will enjoy “Heroes of Mighty Magic”, and that we will see you on tour someday! And whoever comes into battle at our side, will be a knight of Twilight’s might. We hope that we will meet you guys out there!
I hope so too! I’ll definitely look you up when you’re in Holland!
Blackwald: Great, great, come see us man!
Definitely, I’m curious! *laughs*
Lynd: Just don’t get your hopes up! *both laugh* We’ll have a great time there. We really loved playing there last time. It was a great venue, with great people, so it’s going to be awesome!
Blackwald: Yes, come say hi!
I will, very cool! Have a great night, thank you for your time and Metal On Loud!