STARGAZER: "Life Will Never Be The Same" Full Album Streaming / Interview with vocalist / guitarist Tore André Helgemo

Stargazer is perhaps the most exciting melodic heavy metal/classic hard rock to emerge of Scandinavia […]
March 1, 2023

Stargazer is perhaps the most exciting melodic heavy metal/classic hard rock to emerge of Scandinavia in the last few years. Delving deep into the cliches of the style, they manage to nail it, sounding at the same time vintage and refreshing. Today, we debut exclusively their third album, "Life Will Never Be The Same", and we talk with vocalist Tore-Andrè Helgemo about aging, opportunities and pursuing a dream.

"Life Will Never Be The Same" full album streaming:

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Stargazer's Tore-Andrè Helgemo "I had a band traveling to New York in 91 to become superstars, demo in hand"

Was there any specific goal set – artistic wise or in terms of results – that you set for this new album before you start the composition for it?

I think the goal we set for "Life Will Never Be The Same" was to continue developing our sound and songwriting, and to apply more production skills. We were very satisfied with "The Sky Is The Limit", and we saw no reason to do the "same" record over again. Therefore, I think you can find other elements on this record, you didn't hear much on the previous album. Saying that, the goal must have been to do it better!

You seem to be middle-age guys. Where have you and William been hiding your talent until you formed this band? I know you had a previous incarnation of Stargazer, right? Was it the same style? And did you have any bands before that?

Middle-what!!?? Hehe, I think we have spent some years, you're right of course, learning to come to where we are now. Not sure we've deliberately been hiding exactly, but we have managed to not become very well-known to most of the world until perhaps recent times, if I can say, something seem to have changed a little in that perspective lately. William and I had a band together before Stargazer, called F.R.I.E.N.D., that we dissolved and started over as Stargazer, at first just the two of us with session musicians, then a live band were formed with the release of our debut album in late 2009. We both have been hard rock musicians since the 80s, in different bands in Norway, some minor failed attempts on going abroad was tried in the early nineties. I had a band travelling to New York in 91 to become superstars, demo in hand. Well, we were talking to some folks there, but we didn't follow up when we came back home again. In '93 that band became history after a short national success on Norwegian broadcasting, we almost had a hit single with that band, which was called Empire. But, we couldn't manage to keep the band together in spite of the little success at the time, then grunge ruled, and our melodic hard rock at that time would've lost the battle anyway, I believe. Or, you never know!? After that, we've had some minor projects going on at the local scenes mostly. Me for one, have traveled a lot around with the acoustic guitar and my voice as the only weapon.

Some of the songs in this album seem to deal with pursuing your dreams in the music industry. Is that something you aspire to – to be able to make a living from the band? Is that something hard in Norway these days?

I think it is hard everywhere, and Norway also is a small country when it comes to audience for melodic hard rock, so that make it even harder to achieve such a thing here only. Yes, we are going out, and we are working our way towards making it such we can survive economically, at least while we are touring. We are all in day jobs at the moment, and we keep them as long as possible or necessary.

What other themes are running in the songs of the album?

Loss, grief, sadness, lust for life, hope, light and shade, to mention a few.

Your musical approach seems to be exactly in between melodic heavy metal and hard rock. How did you get to this sound? Whom, from the band, brought what influences to the overall sound to make the "Stargazer" sound?

I think the sound came naturally out of William all the time always developing his style and adjusting his rig, very mindfully. With me, I have been true to my own voice after years of forming by listening to other singers, wanting to be able to be just as good as them, experimenting with tone and expression, trying sometimes to listen similar to the vocal rock stars, then, taking all with me as experience grows, to let the timbre of my own voice shine through it all. Picking on all those cliches that we love, and just blow them out through ourselves.

You had some lineup changes from the last album to this one and right now you and William seem to form the core of the band. In such a tight unit, is it hard to find musicians who are really able to have the same kind of vision and commitment as you guys and, on the other hand, are you somehow resistant to let go of the band reigns to any new member that comes in now?

That's true, both that there have been lineup changes and that it is hard to find musicians capable and visionary enough, to understand how much effort and idealism one has to put into this, without seeing a dime coming in, heheh! Everyone aboard the Stargazer ship has their important role in this. So, though William and I write and produce the music, the other band members understand what it takes from them, and that they are crucial for making this work. For example, I have seen some failing reviewers noticed that Sondre, the keyboardist, is not possible to hear in the mix or in the live situation, and kind of asked what's the point for him. Well, I tell you, if we took him out of the sound, you would've thought somethings not right in their sound, something's missing!

What can we expect from Stargazer in the near future? Are you able – with your familiar and professional lives – to just tour as much as possible and is that financially viable for a band like Stargazer in times like we're living today?

Well, for the near future, we know we will record a new album in 2024! Yes, we are able, you see, middle aged as we are, with grown up kids. Now, we can take our wives and mistresses with us on the tour bus and travel the world if we like, no boundaries! The sky is the limit you know. Financially? If the following grows enough, I really hope so, then I really think it is possible.

Tore André Helgemo - vocals, rhythm guitar
William Ernstsen - lead & rhythm guitars
Sondre Bjerkset - keyboards
Jomar Johansen - bass
Svend Skogheim - drums


Official site

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