I talked to lead guitar player Magnus Henriksson and drummer Philip Crusner of ECLIPSE, before their gig in Siegburg. For about half an hour we talked about the newest album “Monumentum”, their adventures on the road and a lot of other stuff. There you go.
Manu: Welcome back to Germany. Do you remember how many times you have played here already?
Magnus: In Germany? I don`t know.
Phlip: Way too many times
Magnus: No, not so many times, actually. I think we have been here for the first time in 2015.
Philip: But you toured with other bands in Germany!
Magnus: Myself, yeah, but not with ECLIPSE. I think the first time was Hamburg in 2015. And we went here last time, earlier in 2017.
Philip: And 2016.
Magnus: Yes, 2016. Then 2017, and now we are here for a few gigs. We are working our way into the German market.
Philip: We like Germany, and Germans. We like to be here.
Manu: What is special in Germany?
Magnus: First of all, here are a lot of people who like Rock…
Philip: ..and Schweinehaxen!
Magnus: Exactly, Schweinshaxen!
Philip: Is it Schweine- or Schweinshaxen?
Philip: Schweinshaxen … and beer of course!
Magnus: And the people are just lovely.
Manu: Would you say German crowds are very different from Swedish crowds?
Magnus: No, I don`t think so. It isn`t that much of a difference. But what is it, 70 or 80 Million people here?
Philip: Sweden just got 10 Million. So of course it`s a big difference that way.
Magnus: Yes, the big difference is, that its more cities here, and more people. You don`t have to travel very far to get to the next town. In Sweden you have to travel for hours. And there are not so many Rock venues in Sweden. We got like a handful.
Manu: But there are a lot of bands originating from Sweden
Magnus: Yes, we have a lot of good bands coming from Sweden.
Philip: Too many bands, too few venues.
Manu: If you think about which bands did influence you most, who would that be? Is it rather Swedish bands, or others?
Magnus: For me it`s always been the Classics, like DEEP PURPLE, THIN LIZZY, MAIDEN, METALLICA, AC/DC, you know, all those kinds of bands. WHITESNAKE. From Sweden, what do we have? EUROPE, or you got the whole Gothenburg scene.
Philip: AT THE GATES, IN FLAMES, … I think we try to listen to as much different kinds of music as we possible can. Whe are not playing very often, so when I am at home I often listen to much softer music and try different things
Magnus: But to sum it up, AC/DC is a major influence. Or inspiration, I would rather say. In general, for the whole band, its rather European music. I was never much into the American Hardrock. More that from Germany or England. I like THE SCORPIONS very much, or MICHAEL SCHENKER, HELLOWEEN, you know, that stuff. And the British, DEEP PURPLE, RAINBOW, and all that. YNGWIE MALMSTEEN is probably the biggest Swedish influence I had.
Philip: There`s only one god.
Manu: The band was founded in 1999, which makes it 19 years now. I know there have been changes in the Line-Up since then, but with people 18 years makes an adult, so you could say the band is now…
Magnus: The band is a grown-up child now! (laughs)
Manu: … if you compare the band now to the band in its beginnings, what would you say is the main difference and what is pretty much the same?
Magnus: There is a lot of difference. The first ten years I would not even call us a band. We were like a project. We released two albums, we didn`t play, we had a handful of gigs during these years, we didn`t take it too seriously. So it wasn`t until 2008, when we started to put some effort into this project and try to work it more as a real band and get solid members. We didn`t start touring a lot until 2012, when we had a lot success with that album “Bleed and Scream”. That kind of put us on the map. We wasted a lot of time doing nothing. I wish we could have been more serious from the beginning, then we would have a bigger career now. But that`s life.
Manu: What about the style of the music?
Magnus: The first album started out almost like an AOR album, which I don`t know why that happened, because we are not really into that kind of music whatsoever. We like Hardrock or Heavy Metal. But that was the only thing we could write at that time. So it turned out this way and we were proud. We wanted to do a record, so that was cool. We didn`t have a plan or a vision or anything. But now we sound like we wanna sound. We have our own sound, I don`t think we sound like another band, we have the ECLIPSE sound, so we are very happy with that.
Manu: If you take the almost 20 years, or the almost ten years from 2008, both are round numbers, is there anything you are planning for the band anniversary?
Magnus: Well, the thought has crossed my mind, I also asked Erik the other day, but no, we won`t look back. The bands who do, they already had their peak. We still gonna peak, so there is no point of looking back yet. We don`t have something to celebrate if we look back. We should be celebrating what we are doing now, because we have never been bigger than we are now. The best album is up to date now, so why celebrate the old times, which were just miserable and shitty? Celebrating a bad band (laughs), I don`t see the point of that. If we had a really good and long career with Gold Albums 20 years from now, then we can celebrate that. We are celebrating what is happening now.
Manu: So you would say “Monumentum” is your best album so far?
Magnus: It`s my favourite.
Philip: I like “Bleed and Scream”.
Magnus: I like all three of them. “Bleed and Scream”, “Armageddonize” and “Monumentum”. They are all pretty good. But I got a special place for “Bleed and Scream” in my heart. Maybe because we had so much fun doing that album.
Manu: I was wondering about the song “Hurt”. The first time I heard it I thought “Is this some weird sadism in the lyrics?” and I was a bit puzzled about it. But when I saw the video the idea of the song I got there was very different than that. So what would you say the song is about?
Philip: It`s about when you have something, that you need to tell a loved one, something the person is not looking forward to. So the song is about something you know you need to tell another person and you know its going to hurt him or her.
Magnus: Like someone has died or passed away and you have to deliver the bad news and you know “This is gonna hurt”. That was the vision. And if you look at the video, that was entirely our directors version of it. We didn`t want to influence him at all, we wanted him to have his own vision of it and the video turned out really cool and artistic. I like it very much. With every song you should never tell anyone how it is supposed to be, you should have your own fantasy and what it means to you.
Manu: What would you say is your favourite song on the album and why?
Philip: It differs. When we released the album it was “Hurt”. For half a year it was “Hurt”, then it was “Vertigo”. Right now it`s … geez … “Vertigo”! I don`t know.
Magnus: For me it`s always been “Black Rain”, “Downfall of Eden” and “Hurt”
Philip: “Black Rain” is my favourite, sorry about that!
Magnus: Right from the beginning I have felt like that, so that it is. I think they will gonna stand the test of time.
Manu: What do you think the fans react most to?
Magnus: I think these three. If we play “Black Rain” you can see everyone headbanging in the crowd, when we play “Downfall of Eden” everyone is singing along, moving and being emotional, and with “Hurt” I can see people crying. When you stand on stage and you are being elevated, it just takes a few seconds until you know how it`s going to work, and you can totally see the reaction. If they look like Zombies, blank faces, then you know “Ok, this is not gonna work, sorry”
Manu: You have been signed to Frontiers for quite a while now.
Magnus: Yeah, since 2004! I think we are the band who worked with them the longest. It`s quite amazing, 14 years.
Manu: What does it feel like to be part of the Frontiers family?
Magnus: The good thing with them is that they are really great fans of this whole genre. They are really into the music, they love it. I like that. Everytime we send them a new song, they go “Oh, fantastic! Super!”
Philip: Good people!
Manu: Did you play their festival?
Philip: Yes, twice. It`s a good festival!
Magnus: Very well organized, everything just works. Very professional from the first year. We had a lot of fun.
Manu: Since “Monumentum” is getting a lot of good response. What are your plans for after the tour? Are you already planning on a new album?
Philip: Yes, there is going to be a new album. We are talking about it, we started writing. So next year, in 2019 it will be released.
Magnus: When we wrote “Monumentum”, we only had like three months, from when we started writing and producing the whole thing. We don`t want to do that again, because that was such a horrible experience. It`s so much stress. So now we started writing right away, so we have about a year. So that there is no pressure, that`s the way I want to work.
Philip: “Monumentum” still turned out very well. I think the new album will in the end be stressful as well.
Magnus: In the end it’s always stressful.
Philip: And this year it’s just touring. Touring last year and this year, and then there will be the new album. Two years of touring. We will be playing the Bang Your Head Festival” in July.
Manu: You are booked to quite a lot of Festivals
Philip: Yup, Barcelona again, third time in a row, there are festivals in France, Belgium, Germany, England, Spain Ibiza. That’s a bunch of Festivals.
Manu: But not Sweden Rock
“No, we won`t look back. The bands who do, they already had their peak. We still gonna peak”
Magnus Henriksson about the upcoming band anniversary
Philip: Not this year. We did that two years ago. We gotta wait a couple more years.
Magnus: They have a policy. Bands like us need to wait five years. They want to be exclusive with everything. But we will be back for sure.
Manu: If you are asked about your funniest or weirdest tour experience, what comes to your mind?
Magnus: Oh my god (thinks) … Tell us something Philip
Philip: There are just so many weird situations.
Magnus: Give us one thing.
Philip: I did a tour through Europe and I woke up in the bus. It was the bass-player who drove the bus in Paris and he did not look at the metre for gas. So we were running completely empty. So I woke up and it was people screaming and horns. It was a complete fucking mayhem, right in the middle of Paris. So apparently we had run out of gas, at a red light. There was fucking panic. The whole Paris was almost shut down. And the funny thing, when that happened, that was the day, and we did not know about this, that France had a strike because of gas, so every fucking gas station was closed down. And for some reason I had told the guys maybe three years ago, that I learned French for four years, but the only thing I can say is “Je ne sais pas”, which means “I don`t know”. That’s the only thing I learned from four years. So they sent me out to talk to people and it was a complete disaster. It took us eight hours to get some gas.
Manu: Did you miss the gig?
Philip: No. We did not! – But that was a funny one. It was so stressful, the whole city of Paris almost wanted to kill us. There is millions of stories. It`s fun touring. Nowadays it’s a little bit calmer, more organized I guess. To me that’s good.
Magnus: Yes, fewer stories and more organized. So its good in a way. The older days were just mayhem. People running off and getting lost. Our old drummer was once sleeping in the street.
Manu: Some bands, when they tour, they want to relax in between gigs or have some drinks, while others are rather up to seeing something of the countries they are touring. What is it for you?
Philip: We want to drink beer! (laughs)
Magnus: No, we like seeing stuff.
Philip: Yeah, there is just so little time you have.
Magnus: You have load-in, and then its dinner-time and soundcheck. We try to do some sight-seeing whenever we can and when we get time for it, other than that it is just waiting, waiting, waiting.
Philip: I think you are going in a bubble sort of.
Magnus: But it`s nice. We have a big bus, we got a lounge in the bus, we got a tourmanager, tour techs and all that. So we got people taking care of us and it helps when you can go on tour like that.
Manu: If you could choose a band to open up for, who would you choose?
Philip: Right now I would say DEF LEPPARD. Cause I have never seen them play (laughs) and I want to see them play
Magnus: We have actually opened for DEF LEPPARD, but that was before you joined the band. It was at a festival in Finland.
Philip: A festival is not the same!
Magnus: No, it`s not. We have though opened for two of my favourite bands, SCORPIONS and AEROSMITH, quite amazing. But on my bucketlist there would still be AC/DC.
Philip: And WHITESNAKE!
Magnus: Oh WHITESNAKE, that would be awesome!
Manu: I saw you always have some acoustic songs in your set
Magnus: When we do a headlining show, they want at least 1 ½ hour from us, and if we would only play fast songs the audience gets tired, and we get tired, so we need to find some dynamic in the show. We built it up, then we take it down and built it up again. And that way it makes it more bareable and interesting for the audience
Philip: I don`t know when we put it in the show, but I think it was after you and Eric did a promotion tour in Spain, wasn`t it?
Philip: After they toured Spain, radio and shows as well and stuff, after that, wasn`t it Denmark, we said “Lets try this” ?
Magnus: Yes. We tried it out and people loved it.
Philip: It absolutely works.
“Schweinshaxen … and beer of course!”
Philip Crusner about what he likes most about Germany
Manu: Do you sometimes exchange the songs?
Philip: We do!
Magnus: Yes, it`s nice for the crowd and us. It`s just so loud all the times, so it`s nice to take it down.
Manu: I know some of you are playing in other bands. Can you tell us something about your other projects?
Philip: I like and try to be in one constellation only. For me this seemed more legit, so I play in ECLIPSE and I only have a tiny, little sideproject called EMPRESS, but I haven`t touched that for two years, I don`t even know if I can call it a band anymore
Magnus: I agree. I don`t like to put my heart into to many projects. To me its ECLIPSE, and of course I am a member of W.E.T., but W.E.T. is just an album band. We are not doing any shows, so that is just studio work for me and I don`t have a desire to be in other bands. Eric and Magnus the bass player are part of AMMUNITION and Eric is producing a lot of stuff, but I know as soon as we have more bands it will take a toll for the band sooner or later, and that`s what is happening right now, they have to prioritize one band and the other band is going to suffer sooner or later, so I am really happy, that I am just in one band. It is good for my health as well.
(Philip laughs loud)
Magnus: My stress level is low
Manu: Tell us something about the competition you were participating in in Sweden. Did that change anything for the band regarding popularity?
Philip: It didn`t do anything for us outside Sweden, but in Sweden it did a lot for us. Maybe 10% of our shows are in Sweden, so if you look at the whole picture it is a tiny tiny piece of the puzzle
Magnus: We got to play a little bigger venues in Sweden and we get a little more paid now, then we used to.
Philip: Plus more radio, the media is more up for us, but it didn`t affect Europe at all. And we knew that.
Magnus: Some parts of Finland, though, because they watch Swedish television.
Philip: We were there for a week and it was a lot of fun. I`m glad we did it, and I would`t want to do it again. Been there, done that.
Manu: Is there anything you want to say to your German fans?
Philip: This is our last gig of our tour in Germany, so we want to say “Thank you” to everyone who came out.
Magnus: Thanks a lot. It`s been a great ride. It`s been a lot of people coming, who travelled for hours and hours to see us, and what can I say? I can`t thank you enough for showing up!
Philip: I can`t wait for this show tonight, which is in… oh we should get ready…
Manu: Thank you so much
Magnus: Thank you for having us!
[Foto Credits: Live Fotos: Manu / Promo Fotos: ECLIPSE]