Progressive was never one of the genres that i particularly enjoyed however i think that in the last few years i got to know a lot of great and more evolved bands that didn’t just try to impress with awkward sounds that just exhausted our ears. One of these bands is definetely Soen. On the occasion of the new album “Lykaia”, we had the pleasure to talk with the vocalist , Joel Ekelöf.
Hello, Joel I welcome you to Metal Invader. Lykaia is the band’s new effort and the successor to Tellurian (2014), an album that emphasized on human emotions. What new ideas Lykaia brings with it?
JE: If Tellurian was more philosophical and introspective Lykaia is more based on personal experiences, real life. The whole album also has a more raw and vile sound. We wanted to take a step away from the digitally polished prog-metal direction that many bands tend to lean towards nowadays.
As we are a Greek magazine you do understand that the mythology around Lykaia is quite familiar to us. How did you reach to this title for this album?
JE: We were inspired by the wolf like character that lies within us. And the cannibalism goes on in modern society even if it might have a more sophisticated expression.
The concepts of journey and exploration are not new for Soen. This time the journey seems to be spiritual or the journey took you to other paths?
JE: The musical journey has always been a central part of what we do. We might have payed more attention to the mysteries. And as we have matured I think that we have learnt to respect and nurture the spiritual elements of music. There are certain part of the creative process that cannot be controlled, and you need to respect that in order to create good music.
Soen does with extreme ease heavy and groovy as it does melancholic and dark, I think mostly because of your vocals that helps this transition. Is it in reality that easy for you to accomplish that?
JE: We often use the vocals as a contrast to the music instead of everyone going the same direction. But I don’t think that it’s part of an elaborate plan, it is something that comes quite naturally during the creative process.
Progressive wasn’t always an easy genre. However modern progressive bands have changed that and started combining other metal genres. Soen also adopted this fusion of genres, was it mostly a rock or more heavy amalgamation?
JE: I think that Martin’s roots in Black/Death Metal is a huge part of the sound. The progressive element for us is the journey, but even though there are fantastic musicians in the band we try to avoid being technical in an infantile way.
In your debut album there was an apparent influence from Tool, however from your sophomore album Tellurian and later to this new album, Lykaia, you’ve let yourselves create a more unique sound and discovered an identity of your own. Do you think that this occurred because you matured as a band?
There is a bloom of supergroups, every day we hear about a new one and they mix different groups and backgrounds altogether. Is it a trend, it’s the need to create something divergent or is it plain a simple boredom?
JE: It might be so that musicians have easier ways to create music together nowadays. However, for us this is the main thing we do since seven years back. So it is not a side project or anything like that, and we will continue to do music in Soen for many years to come.
Greece is an utterly religious country that is almost ruled by church, however you come from Sweden, a country that a great percentage of the population doesn’t believe in any God or any other life force. Are you a religious person or is spirituality just a fascinating subject to be inspired and create music?
JE: I have a catholic upbringing which is very uncommon in Sweden. I’m not a big fan of religious dogma but on the other hand I think that the high secularization in sweden has created an almost narcissistic world view. I think that we need to accept and embrace the fact that we are not in control over all aspects of our lives.
People seem captivated by folklore stories of lycanthropes, vampires and all sorts of supernatural. Are you one of those people?
JE: Yes, but perhaps more captivated of the role the wolf plays in our human character and in folklore. The fact that the wolf affects us so much is probably because it reminds us of our own features.
You released a new video for the song ‘Lucidity’. In this digital era how important is for a band to create music videos? Do you plan on releasing any other videos?
JE: Not at the moment, but nothing is written in stone.
But the real question is, are you a video person? Do you enjoy making one or is it a necessary evil?
JE: I like to do videos, but It gets harder and harder to do them nowadays in this post-MTV world.
Most of the times when a new record is being released, a tour is coming along. Are we going to be lucky enough to see you touring soon? Any plans for Greece?
JE: There is no plans that i’m aware of at the moment. But of course i’m really hopeful that we will be able to come soon.
Well, I leave you with the last words. I must thank you for this interview and hope to see you soon live.
JE: Thank you!