Henrik Petersson & Andreas Wikström
March 3, 2023
All is well thank you Lior
Henrik: Well, yeah - it was quite the blowback since we only had the opportunity to do the one tour on our previous album before the world shut down. I think we did our last show on February 29th 2020 before the pandemic shut the world down. We were lucky that we had material recorded to be able to release a live album in early 2021 called "Live Sacrifice". We did become very good at working remotely and wrote all of 'Kingmaker' that way during the pandemic. Even if we didn't have lockdowns, it was very much not recommended to meet up and we avoided that as much as we could.
Andreas: I think the songs pretty much came about in the usual way for the most parts, a riff, an idea, and then we collaborate from that. There wasn't like a plan for a concept album or anything like that.
Andreas: Not really an intent at all, but the songs often reflect, at least to some degree, whatever is on my mind at the moment. With the world in the state it is today I guess it's not that surprising that a few more somber things crept into the songs.
Andreas: As you said, these are common themes. I guess they just fit the genre. And even though I might base any given song's lyrics on what's on my mind at the time it still has to "fit" you know. But that's kind of the beauty of it as well, it leaves a lot of stuff open for the listener to interpret their own way as well.
Henrik: I'm not the lyricist, but live and breathe Screamer. And from the start this band has been an adventure spreading feel-good vibes, though sometimes cloaked in melancholy, urging the listener to believe in themselves and live life to the fullest. Andreas probably has another answer to that though haha
Andreas: No, I agree! At the heart of it, there's always going to be a positive vibe to our stuff, but that doesn't mean that you can't stop to think and reflect about less positive things every once in a while.
Henrik: The cover depicts our Demon Rider, our mascot if you so like, that we've been using as a reference in lyrics and artwork since our second album. A renegade that lives on the road, fighting for what's right and just. The main thought was to try and tie the lyrics together from both our old and new musical outputs. It's more like picturing the Screamer-world from a dystopian future where there's no boundaries between science and perhaps even some fantasy elements. Think more Dark Tower than LOTR, because I do believe that is way more accurate. At least it makes sense to me, and it's how I presented the idea to Andreas. It feels like he should give his thoughts about it as well.
Andreas: Yeah, exactly. Again, anything goes as far as the origin for a song's lyrics, but then you kind of make it fit that "Screamer-world" mold. Everything could take place there, but some stuff might be applicable to real life as well.
Henrik: We had the approach of what we wanted the album to be pretty much from the start in terms of what type of songs we wanted on this one. I personally have always wanted us to create a fist-pounding epic song, and when Andreas presented his idea of the chorus to "Ashes and Fire", I instantly got an idea that Jon managed to make flesh. I think we worked on that one the first time me and Dejan ever met up to jam with him, to be honest. And we leaned heavily on the melodies this time around, that was probably one of the details, besides the arrangements, that took the most time to finish. Dejan and Jon sure did a great job there. All in all, I think Jon added some flair with the guitar works and Andreas was definitely on top of his game for this one.
Henrik: We don't really consider what we do to be 'nostalgia'. It's obvious how the listener can perceive it that way, but we as a band have no interest or intention of sounding like a tribute band to the past. Even if we do know that the 70's and 80's music has given us the solid foundation we stand on, we strive to move forward all the time. Guitar melodies, hooky sing-along choruses and a pounding rhythm section is what get us all going when listening to music and attending shows, and that's what we want to return to the listener as well.
Henrik: Nah, calling us a progressive metal band would probably be an overstatement, haha! We do like twists and turns, but serving the song and keeping it interesting for a live crowd is what we're into, simply put.
Henrik: He's actually Jonathan Morheim these days. Most of the album was 'done' by the time he joined the ranks, but he did a great job in presenting a few ideas of his own and putting a new flare to the musical approach of it all. Can't wait to see what's in store for the next album with him on board.
Henrik: Well, just because it sounds simple, does that mean it is simple? There's quite a lot of intricate guitar parts and a ripping solo in there. But this is definitely presented as a highway anthem for sure.
Henrik: I think it's very important to have one of these songs on any album made. The vibe and intensity differs a bit from the rest of the outputs on the album, but it deserves its place when it comes to building a dynamic listener experience. And yah, it works out fantastic in a live situation as well!
Henrik: We definitely kicked everything up more than a few notches this time around. We went to Gothenburg and Top Floor Studios where we did pre-production with Jacob Herrman for 4 of the songs and I felt that helped us a lot in finishing up the album. While Dejan recorded all of the guitars and bass in our own recording studio, I took the drums and went back to Gothenburg and Jacob for a week-long session. It was a greatly rewarding experience to get to work with a drum producer and also a drum sound wizard. After all the revising was done, Dejan reached out to his old friend Henrik Udd (Hammerfall, Powerwolf, Architects among others) who mixed and mastered the album. Already when we got the test mix back we felt that we nailed 'Kingmaker'. We're very proud of the outcome!
Henrik: We have a European tour with Skull Fist coming up in April, as well as some Scandinavian dates around Muskelrock in May/June. What happens next we will see, we're looking into crossing the pond to go on yet another North American tour. The future will tell!
Thank you Lior for the interview