Musicscan: Personally I like to think that Nightrage is about musical education of metal listeners in some ways. What do you think about this impression? Is this something you are heading for – intentionally or unintentionally?
Nightrage: Well thanks for the encouraging comments, and one thing that is certain on the nightrage camp is that we are going for the passion and playing music from the heart. We are making songs that we feel that we would love as fans, and that is the most powerful force that is driving us. I feel that this new album “The Venomous” has all the best elements that we are and what we can achieve as musicians so far. I think creativity its our motto and also being as natural as we can be, without the stress that all the metal cliches are is nowdays. We love to play the music and that is very obvious on the songs on the album. We are never being afraid to experiment and find new ways on our already adventurus song writing.
Musicscan: Everyone is always speaking about the so-called difficult third album of a band. Looking back on the working process of your second third album The Puritan - was it this difficult?
Nightrage: That is the seventh album of Nightrage if thats your question, and we feel that the hunger and fire is still with us and we feel inspired to keep it up. The Puritan was the introduction of a new era for Nightrage, and with “The Venomous” we feel that we are continue where we left off with the previous album and we create something more mature and more interesting. The Puritan was a tough album to make and we feel that we pass the test, with this band we have learned to be survivors, because we love what we do to the death.
Musicscan: And how did you experience creating The Venomous with having two new members to the line-up? When you started the work for The Venomous – was it your decision to just let creativity flow, or how did you go about writing it?
Nightrage: It was awesome to have 2 new guys in the band Magnus Söderman on guitar and Lawrence Dinamarca on drums, they provided all their great skills to make “The Venomous” even stronger. Especially me and Magnus we have written all the songs together and we find out that we had the best time and chemistry working together. We just let the creativity flowing and the whole thing was really natural, I had all the main initial ideas and then we sit down with Magnus and jammed along all the riffs and arrangements for all the songs, with the help of Ronnie Nyman. Then Lawrence put his own ideas on drums and we went to the studio and started recording the songs.
Musicscan: Where do you see the line drawn between progressing on what you do well, and completely offering a new direction or sound? Especially in the context of Nightrage and melo death of course. Do you still feel there is new ground to discover?
Nightrage: There is always something new to do and if you let yourself open without being too judgemental, a lot of great new ideas can show up. I think “The Venomous” has all that innocence and honesty that its sometimes rare to find because too many bands love to follow the next trend. For us is all about creating good songs, and feel happy with the material we have in our hands. I think that “The Venomous” is doing that exactly, offering something new without being too cheesy or over the top.
Musicscan: What sort of evolution has the band gone through into The Venomous? For me, it offers a pretty good mixture of everything people connect with Nightrage. How do you feel about it?
Nightrage: I think this time we tried to cover some new ground and incorporate more different styles into our songwriting, and that is because of Magnus input on the songs, even though we have the same kind of styles, his approach is more thrashy and the way he is writing melodies a bit different that mine, so combining our styles is what you hear on the album, plus on the vocal deparment Ronnie style is more raw and more punchy than ever before, and you can tell that he made a big improvement from the last album.
Musicscan: As it's obvious that Nightrage consists of well-skilled musicians: do you sometimes have to prevent yourselves from getting too technical or too heavy to stay memorable? I'm asking because it’s obvious, that it is an important thing for you to write songs with a good dramaturgy and contrasts.
Nightrage: I totally agree in what you just mention, sometimes know too much its not a good thing, because listeners in reality they dont want to get all this technicality, they dont like it and they dont understand it, so know how to write some good simple melodies and riffs, that can work together can be the most challening thing, and I think that “The Venomous” has that kind of vibe. Yeah I think we have to remind ourselves a lot of times, why we are here and what we have to do, what is the right thing to be done, using all your skills in music can be a total mess in the end, I like simplicity and listening to some good tunes, and we tried to write the new songs with that mentality.
Musicscan: From my point of view your taste in music has become wider over the years, while the songwriting of Nightrage became more focused. True? How did your view on the songwriting and the style Nightrage is playing develop over time?
Nightrage: Yeah we have been always open minded when it comes to the songwriting, I think Nightrage has a particular style that we have developed through the years, and “The Venomous” is the most recent offering that is going stepping into new territories, without loosing the obvious our identity. We have grown a lot during this time and now we feel that we have learned a lot and there is so much more to be learned. Music is an endless source of inspiration and we find it always challenging and interesting to let oursleves finding new inspiration.
Musicscan: You are around for a longer career already, and built up this career constantly. But nowadays it seems anyone can find a gross picture on the internet and make “20 minutes of noise” and be an underground sensation. Do you consider it cheating or lazy? What do you think of this recent phenomenon and about possibilities for metal musicians - even in the underground - in general? Is Nightrage somehow benefitting from the digital age?
Nightrage: Yeah is true that we have always been around, surviving the day. Its true on that new digital era, everyone can be a rock star and has his own time, and thats not a bad thing if you ask me, as anyone has the right to do it, music is a universal thing that everybody deserve to get through it. The only maybe sad thing is that if anyone can be as good as the old heroes, or has the same skills and quality, and thats where all the difference is, because its not only about who is doing it, is what kind of music and how long can survive in that cruel buisness, because except skills you need balls as well.
Musicscan: From the outside perspective you keep on following your DIY roots and ethics while the circumstances have become professional: is it hard to stay true to what you come from and to find an arrangement with the industry/music business? What lessons have you learned from being involved with metal music for so many years?
Nightrage: That being yourself can be the most challenging thing, because you will meet all the shit in the world towards your face, I have heard the most ridiculus things so far, even from so called friends about what is right and whats not. But I realise that you have to follow your heart to be able to express yourselv with honesty and dignity, without sacrificing quality. Is really hard to be on that buisness and also being a good man, sometimes is kind of hard for me to be on certain situations that makes me feel really uncomfortable, I feel that many people using certain situations to survive without thinking about the concesquences, I dont want to become a snake, id rather being myself and being able to sleep at night, that is more appealing to me.
Musicscan: And speaking about the feeling of community within the melo death genre: Do you feel that the sense of unity is still as strong as it was when you started with Nightrage? How have the circumstances changed and how do you feel about the status of melo death right now?
Nightrage: I´m proud that we are still here and we do what we do with all the love and passion we had in our hearts. I´m not sure if there is any unity, the times are very different now and many bands have changed to something else, and to be honest I dont think there is enough decency on this metal style anymore, What I see is people trying to make it and being the best band, not a good way to go at all, I feel that we need more excitement and more rockers that they live for what they do and not doing it in order to live.