Since this album is called Tales From Six Feet Under II, what makes it different from the first one?
They had some similarity, because they were both written in a similar time frame, during lockdowns. They’re both using my programmed drums. They’re both a compilation of the songs I release every month on my Patreon. The first one was written while I was still with Delain, it’s similar to other Delain tracks, but the second one wasn’t. It’s even more eclectic, and heavier than the first one.
Was it an opportunity to do something different from your work with Delain?
Yes. I produced most of it, the drums and guitars are programmed except
So is there a band playing with you or is it all programmed guitars and drums?
Yes, it’s all programmed, done by me, and there are a few guest musicians playing cello, and guitar on Against All Odds. There are also some clarinets, which I played
Have you definitely left Delain, or are these some solo songs you’re doing on the side?
I’ve definitely left Delain, they have a new singer
It’s become kind of a cliché that most symphonic metal bands lose their singers and get a new one. Why do you think this happened so many times?
I don’t think it’s necessary just symphonic metal, most bands don’t stay together for too many decades. It’s kind of like a marriage in that way. I had been part of Delain since I was 17, so leaving was a big decision, I’ve had this phase where I wondered “Without the band, what even am I?”
So now, do you think you’ve bounced back as a solo artist?
No, I feel like I’m very much starting again. Creatively, I’ve been very busy, and emotionally, it has been great, with the support from Patreon, releasing all these songs and videos. It has also been a weird time because of Covid. I’m very nervous about getting out of the basement and starting our new live show, because I’ve spent so much time in the basement.
Is releasing new songs on Patreon rather than releasing a whole album all at once before a deadline better for you?
I release one song a month, so I still have deadlines. It’s important for me to have deadline to keep track of. It’s not just writing, it’s also recording, artwork, all of that, and it’s easy to get new ideas, but not to finish writing and recording. But at least, I can take more time.
So let’s look at the songs you wrote during that time. Are your recent experiences the reason why the album has so many references to survival and hardships, or to quote from one of the song titles, ruin?
No, I’ve always been very dramatic. For example, Against All Odds is about starting a new relationship against all odds, and returning to the live show, against all better judgment. It’s very meaningful to my personal life, but it’s not necessarily about band drama or anything like that. Human to Ruin is about how I thought about having a kid, but I’m a kid myself, I would just ruin him if I had one.
There’s so much pressure to have kids, but you don’t have to do it if you don’t feel ready.
I completely agree, but at the same time, I wonder if anyone ever really feels ready. We do that so much, also with relationships. People feel like they’re not worthy of love, and they think “I won’t jump into it because I could ruin it”.
So it’s about taking chances.
To look at other song titles, what do you think is toxic and what is your idea of a utopia?
Toxic is low-key inspired by someone who hasn’t been convicted, so I won’t say his name, but he has raped a lot of people. At the same time, there was the Britney Spears trial, and how the rapist walked free while the woman had her freedom taken away, and all these sensationalist media, all those toxics things in society. In the video, there are these superficial problems and the big problems, the superficial ones take our attention away from the big ones. There are pop culture problems like the Britney trial, but at the same time, there’s Roe v Wade being overturned, and they’re both examples of sexism.
Because sexism seeps into every face of society, so it’s not certain actions or events that are toxic, it’s the life we have to live that is toxic. I got a sense of that in your song.
Yes. My utopia would be getting rid of racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, speciesism, all the isms. If we could get real equality, we could solve other problems, like the environment.
I guess you called it Utopia to end the album on a hopeful note.
At first, the song had a different title, like the last sentence “It’s the end but we won’t unlock our hands”. It’s about the end of the world. So there’s some irony to the title.
Sometimes we feel like we should end the world and start all over again, though that probably won’t happen. What other interesting facts could you tell me about other songs?
Venus Rising is going to be the next single. It’s inspired by expectations, how society expects us to always rise to the expectation, and by the Botticelli Venus. It makes no sense to be jealous of a painting. She never had to hide, to make herself smaller or bigger, she was always rising.
It’s interesting that you mention being jealous of that painting, because Venus is associated with beauty, and that ties into the expectations that society has about women and beauty. So that gives a lot of hidden meaning to your song.
Yes, many people can relate to that in some ways. Other songs are inspired by when I was feeling so tired, and low, and the need for escapism. People might find company with that. They should hear it, they’ll find some way to connect to it.
Of course. My personal interpretation of the album is that it was about the broad concept of survival and rising from the ashes, not that it was about personal drama that’s not my business. We can make our own interpretation of songs, relate it to broad ideas, our own experiences or even fictional characters.
You’re absolutely right. Thank you for listening, and have a good evening.
Thanks for the interview, and thanks for making your album.
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