Kristian Hermanson & Jonathan Sameulsson


With three full albums worth of great material released within the last year, perhaps no band has been more productive through the Covid 19 pandemic than the soon to be Swedish giants STARMEN. Metal Temple writer Mike McMahan caught up with them recently, on the heels of their latest release "By The Grace Of Rock 'N' Roll", to chat for a bit about different aspects of working through such an ordeal, songwriting and chances for some live tour dates upcoming. 
By Mike McMahon
March 27, 2021
STARMEN's Kristian Hermanson: "We are constantly making new songs in different rock-genres and with different influences. I don't know if we think so much about making it in a special way - we just make music we love. " interview
First off, thanks for taking the time to talk with me. I want to congratulate you all on "By The Grace Of Rock 'N' Roll". I had the pleasure of reviewing that one recently, and it really is a great record. Are you guys seeing a lot of positivity in the reviews?

Jonatan: Thanks a lot for the review! In fact, we have received almost only positive reviews so far. Our label and distributor and ourselves are very grateful and happy that people seem to like our music.

Kristian: We are so grateful for your review and many others!!!It means a lot and it is so inspiring to continue writing more!

It seems all three releases have had generally the same type of reaction from press and fans, alike. Has there been any opportunity to get this stuff in front of people in a live setting?

Kristian: No. Corona is troubling the world in so many ways so we have to wait to preform live. When we formed STARMEN the intention was to write music, record albums and do videos and not to be a live act but now we have to reconsider since many people would like to see us live. We think STARMEN has a lot of potential to become a great live act with all the cool stuff that goes with our gimmick!

Are things opening up in Sweden more? If so, are you eyeing any possible dates to get out?

Kristian : It is a very closed society for the moment so there's no eyeing of any tour dates.

Are you able to stay active, as far as writing and rehearsals are concerned?

Kristian :We write and record new stuff constantly, that is our thing. We are  planning to do more videos to our latest album, We don't rehearse since there is no sight of gigs.

Jonatan: Since I joined the band in August last year, the band has been very active, and the ideas are constantly flowing. We have new songs for more than one album, and plans for new music videos. So yes, we are very active.

I hear quite a lot of KISS influence in your music. Kristian, as the principal writer, is that your biggest influence?

Ha, no but I like Kiss but there are a lot of other influences like Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Def Leppard and Ozzy among others !

Has there been any communication from the KISS camp regarding your look? I have actually heard that possibility mentioned.

No…KISS doesn't own any rights to wear make-up and cool clothes but you never know ??? .

What other influences are prominent with the rest of the band?

Jonatan: I am into music in all genres, but for this project I am influenced by hard rock and metal from the 1980s like Europe, Stryper and Yngwie Malmsteen Also modern bands with an 80s vibe, like Gathering of Kings.

Kristian: I like a lot of music in many genres. My main influence  is Beatles and McCartney but in the classic rock world I would say Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Def Leppard and Ozzy among others.

Whose idea was the inclusion of "All Along The Watchtower" on the "Kiss The Sky" record?

Kristian: I'm responsible! Haha! I love the song, and I knew it was a hard task to do a new version of a song that already had a perfect version in Hendrix version but…we did it and I think we made a great Starmenversion and we have got a lot of good feedback on it.

Any other covers come to mind that you may look at down the road?

Kristian: I have some in mind but we write so many songs of our own for the moment so it have to wait.

With such a prolific output over the last year, how much of a struggle is it for you to keep things fresh?

Jonatan: We are constantly making new songs in different rock-genres and with different influences. I don't know if we think so much about making it in a special way - we just make music we love. Then Kristian somehow makes his part as a producer, and suddenly they all sound like Starmen-songs.

Going to specific cuts on "By The Grace Of Rock 'N' Roll", I was really taken by several of them, but specifically "Kairi" and "Black Thunder White Lightning". Is there an overall band favorite cut? If so, why?

Jonatan: I think we agree that "Kairi" and the title track are favorites. Am I right, boys?

Kristian: They are all babies to me! Hahaha!

How do you go about splitting vocals? With four obviously talented singers in the band, how does that process work?

Jonatan: I think we all enjoyed in singing "By the Grace of Rock'n'Roll" together. When I joined the band, the album was already finished with Kristian singing the song on his own. But his idea for the band has always been that we are four equals, so he asked me if I had a song that I had written and would like to sing, so I sent him "Kisses of an Enemy", which he produced to sound like Starmen. Or better said – he "Starmenized" it. Marcus sang lead vocals on "People's Parade", and on the Japanese bonus track "Ghosts", Andreas handles the lead vocals. Then someone (Marcus?) came up with the idea to split the vocals in "By the Grace of Rock'n'Roll", so we tried it and really enjoyed it, so there might be more of these kinds of songs in the future.

Thank you again for talking with me. I hope to see you guys out on the road, sooner rather than later. Best to you all.

Kristian & Jonatan: Thanks a lot for this interview!!! All the best!!

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