Interview with Eclipse
I am sure you all have already read our long concert review for the ECLIPSE gig a week prior in Saarbrücken and as promised there, here is our follow-up interview of the one we had last year at the “MonumenTOUR”.
I was really happy to do this again at Kubana Live Club in Siegburg, which I think is one of the most lovable clubs in Germany. Not only are the owners, who run it as a family business, super nice, not only do they serve very delicious food in the restaurant upstairs, but also does the location itself in the basement of the building create a great live atmosphere and the sound is very good as well.
This time the whole band shared their precious time to talk to us and as a result we again have a very interesting read for you. We have been chatting about the new band member, the brandnew album “Paradigm”, the dedication of the ECLIPSE fans and a lot of other interesting stuff – whatever we were able to squeeze in our 20 minutes, before the band had to rush for another interview.
Manu: Welcome back to Germany and here to Siegburg, where we already did an interview together last year, so it is very nice to follow up on that. And congratulations to your 20th band anniversary and especially for releasing THE album of the year!
Erik: That’s good, after 20 years you make the album of the year!
Manu: It is, in my opinion!
Erik: No, that is everyone`s opinion! All around the globe!
Manu: I think we really don`t have to wait what else will be there to be expected in November / December….
Erik: It is already there!
Manu: Did you already have your Schweinshaxen on this tour?
Victor: Was that a thing last time, too?
Magnus: Yeah, we were talking about this. We had it in – what was the city called again – Bamberg!
Manu: I thought you would probably have one in Bamberg! I know that you said last time, that you don`t want to look back to the past years, but if you had just one word to describe the two decades of ECLIPSE, which one would you choose? Take your time to think about it if you like.
Erik: Slow! (laughs)
Magnus: Yeah, I mean we don`t want to celebrate 20 years, because we are still peaking and we don`t want to look back. We think the best is yet to come and, as I have told you last time, we have proven that, we are going upwards all the time.
Manu: Absolutely true.
Magnus: So I would say 20 years from now, looking back at this moment…
Philip: … from the retirement home …
Magnus: hopefully we don`t have to celebrate now
Manu: So would your word be something like “development” or “up”?
Magnus: Growing as a band… I would say “grow”. We are not very nostalgic, we don`t look back
Erik: The best songs are not yet written, the best songs are yet to come.
Manu: So you are saying this is still not your peak yet?
Erik: Yes of course, the next one will be even better. Better than that one and better than all of them. Of course, it has to be. If it is not better than the previous one, than there is no point in releasing a record
Manu: You have parted ways with your old bass player, Magnus Ulfstedt, and Victor is in the band now. Do you want to introduce him, (to Victor) before you may introduce yourself.
Philip: He is my brother. His name is Victor and I have been with him my whole life. I havn`t been in a band with him for ten years and now we are back at it!
Erik: Crusners are taking over!
Manu: Are there more brothers that could get into the picture?
Victor: No. Well not that we know of! (laughs)
Erik: When your parents die, they could cut out a piece of the heritage. I hope it’s not gonna be a singer and a guitar player
Philip: That would be funny actually. You can`t have any money, but we can give you a singer and guitar player, that`s the offer!
Manu: So Victor, how were the first gigs of your touring with ECLIPSE so far?
Victor: Wow. It feels very, I don`t know the right word for it … It is much larger for me, the whole crew and everything that is surrounding it, as well as the pace we are going. Everything has been very good and there were a lot of surprises. I mean, I`ve known the guys for many years, I have watched ECLIPSE for many years, since you (points at Philip) joined the band in 2015, so I think it was 2014 when I first saw them. It feels like it has been a part of my life for a long time, but now I am in a different section of it, which is really really nice
Philip: You now see it from the inside
Victor: Yes, exactly
Philip: You don`t like what you see!
Victor: No, it`s been fantastic, really really good and very nice, very good rock!
“The next album will be even better. Better than that one and better than all of them. Because if it is not better than the previous one, than there is no point in releasing a record”
Erik Martensson about the increasing quality of the ECLIPSE-records
Manu: I was wondering how you come up with all these great one-word-album-titles, like “Armageddonize”, “Monumentum” or now “Paradigm”? Is it just there or do you need to think about it for a long time?
Victor: I have a theory, but I am not the right one to answer that one.
Erik: When you see the name, when you come up with it, you kind of know. If it is actually pretty good, then you will know it`s right. And usually when you present a title, when the right one comes up, usually people are not protesting anymore. If it is like “Yeah, it`s pretty good” and everyone is saying that, then it is there. Everyone can always come up with a better title, but if no one comes up with a better one, than we stick with the one that we have. This one came up quite early
Victor: Is it always early within the process?
Eric: Sometimes we come up pretty late, there has always been panic, but this time it came pretty early.
Magnus: I think you had the idea already back in 2016.
Manu: Last time you said about the length of the process altogether, that you had only three months for writing “Monumentum” and at the time of our interview you had already started writing “Paradigm”. And you were like fortune-telling, that it still will become stressful. Were you right in predicting that?
Erik: It always starts slow and always becomes stressful in the end somehow. Because if you have a lot of time, the choices are always open, you can do what you want. But the closer you get to your deadline, you gotta deliver. You can try out what you want first, but in the end we need to have 11 great songs, so you better make it happen. So you get more and more serious in the end. For me it is always complete panic. We always have a super-super deadline, the record label telling us “We need the album by that time, not later”, and then there is always panic. Which is a good thing.
Magnus: There was not a lot of time to experiment for the previous album. We had to get it done. Now we had some time to try out some ideas, sounds and stuff. And I think we achieved that.
Manu: In my opinion every song on the album is brilliant, especially “Blood Wants Blood”, which tops the others even a bit and it is my favorite song. One is standing just a bit behind and I am not saying at all, that I don`t like it, but it is just not as good as the others. It is “38 Or 44”. So maybe you can promote it a bit to me and tell me, why I am wrong on that one?
Erik: Very interesting. A lot of people actually say it is their favorite song…
Manu: Oh ok, I see.
Erik: … but it is actually my least favorite as well
Magnus: For me too. It is the oddball. You always need to throw in a few oddballs.
Erik: I wanted to replace that song
Magnus: Me too
Erik: But I spend a whole week of writing in the last week we had to write the album. I had one week and told myself “If I can`t come up with a better song, than it will be “38 Or 44””. But there was no inspiration, I could not write anything that was usuable.
Victor: Maybe you felt that the album was done?
Erik: Yes, maybe it is this
Victor: Well, I really like that song. “Blood Wants Blood” is my favorite one, followed by this one.
Manu: So maybe you can tell me: What am I missing?
Victor: To me it, I don`t know, it kinda rings a bell, it feels almost like an oldschool Metal thing. It is a bit like stuff that you would not expect. Like a horse running off, as if it is there in the forest or something, it goes very galloping.
Erik: I had to listen to it a couple of times, now I kind of like it
Victor: It grows on you
Erik: I think the more Oldschool Hardrockers, they think it is the best one. It is very familiar to the classic stuff. But I tend to not like that
Victor: It has kind of a late 70s/early 80s vibe
Manu: So how was the response to the album so far? I mean we already assessed that everyone likes it, because it is so great. But was there any response that was very special or surprising to you?
Erik: We had a review from Canada from a woman who said she had really been a super ECLIPSE fan and this album she thought was terrible. She cannot recommend to anyone to even listen to it. It is just so bad. Maybe she can listen again, to maybe one or two songs from the record, the rest was just shit. It doesn`t sound like ECLIPSE anywhere, it sounds completely different and has nothing to do with ECLIPSE. That is kind of the most surprising review, yes.
Manu: Oh wow, weird, I thought when listening “This is SOOOO ECLIPSE!”
Erik: Maybe she put on the wrong record
Magnus: Maybe she mixed up the streaming
Victor: Or maybe she played it backwards.
Philip: Of course, that`s it!
Manu: Or she put it on the wrong speed.
Magnus: Yes, the wrong speed probably
Erik: It sounds more ECLIPSE than ever
Manu: Or maybe she is using one of these old CD changers and had forgotten some other crap inside
Manu: You have recently released your video for “Masquerade”, but for some reason it did not make it on the setlist. How do you decide about which song will be on the setlist?
Victor: We actually have played “Masquerade”
Manu: Oh really? Not on the two gigs I was at though
Victor: Yes that is true, but we played it three times. In my view of things I think there is clear setlist of what we feel that it represents the entire back catalogue. There are many, many new songs on the setlist and it worked really, really well. “Masquerade” is one of them, but sometimes we need to leave room for other ones
Philip: Nowadays there are so many songs, that we like and love to play and I think we play one hour and 45 minutes every night, which is longer as we have ever done before and still we can`t fit every song into the setlist. In Italy, Milano, we played almost two hours and then we did “Masquerade” and a couple more, but it`s hard.
Magnus: Now we have a setlist that feels really good
Erik: And with some songs, they may be fantastic on the album and they do not work as good live. Live situation and studio situation is completely different. Some songs are fantastic in the studio, but when you play them live it is not there. And I think “Masquerade” has been one of those songs. We so far haven`t really nailed I think
“I think it is just about going out and having as much fun as you possibly can. Trying to interact with each other and the people in the audience, who are travelling to meet with us. So this is the most important thing.”
Victor: “Masquerade” is probably the heaviest of all ECLIPSE songs I think, like it has that beat “da-da-da-da-dam”. Sometimes to get that into a setlist…
Erik: But we know the songs, so who knows. Maybe it will be on a setlist
Manu: Yes, I noticed that you also had changed the setlist a bit between Frankfurt and Saarbrücken. Even though in Saarbrücken you also had to shorten it, due to the technical issues there. What happened?
Victor: Just some technical stuff. Nothing interesting actually, but there were some problems before the show. So I think we cut out six minutes or something.
Manu: It was three songs compared to the written setlist.
Erik: There were some technical issues, so that we could not go on stage on time and there was a strict curfew. All venues have their curfews
Magnus: It was a Sunday, too, I think
Manu: It was on a Tuesday
Magnus: There was some miswiring when preparing the stage for us after the opening band and they could not make my guitar work
Victor: Unfortunately stuff like this sometimes happens, gladly not often. In my point of view we just wanted to do it and at the end of the setlist realized there was the curfew and people signaled us that there is only ten minutes left
Manu: I thought it was really impressive to see, that during the first two songs one could sense, that you were a bit stressed out by the situation, but just adjusted to it and at the third it was all gone and you were just having fun as usual, even though the stage was very small and you had no space to wave the flag
Victor: You should wear it as a cape when there is no space
Eric: Yes, good idea, I should wear it as a cape!
Manu: I have noticed that you put a lot of effort into showing, that you not only know how to play fun music and are very entertaining in general, but you also make sure to show what talented musicians you all are. For example yourPhilip with your drum solo. At this point, being a very mediocre drummer beginner myself, I gotta confess my drummergirl crush on your abilities. Like even with a 71 bpm ballad like “Hurt”, you put in so many variations, that it is not as easy to play as other songs within that range. So I think that really is amazing. And also all of you interact a lot with the crowd and see when a camera is pointed towards you, being very playful with all of that. How important is all that to you?
Philip: I think it is just about going out and having as much fun as you possibly can. Trying to interact with each other and the people in the audience, who are travelling to meet with us. So this is the most important thing. See it`s like Magnus, he can play guitar ok…
Philip: … that’s why it is fun to incorporate guitar solos like in “Blood Enemies” or after “Battlegrounds”
Magnus: We need some intermissions here and there, not just song-song-song-song. It makes it better for the show and here and there you can get a rest
Philip: If you can play the guitar you can do a lot of cool things
Erik: The most important thing I think is, the live-show should be very dynamic. If you just play fast high-energy songs, after a while, it is just like having cake all the time, as starter, main and dessert, it is just too much of the same thing. It should be a lot of dynamics, that`s why we mix those acoustic songs in, just to give people a breather, from all the high volume. And it is also good for the band, because it makes the whole set dynamic, because when you go back and do the high energy songs, we still have the energy to give as well. If you have the same songs for 1 ½ hour and you just jump up and down for 1 ½ hour, after a while that is boring. In the beginning it’s cool, running and jumping, but after a while… You need those dynamics, both for the fans and the band.
Manu: I think it`s pretty genius to put the acoustic version of “Battlegrounds”, which brings everyone down to a slow pace, just before one of your hardest songs “Black Rain”. This is a total “Boom” effect
Victor: Yes, that is great. I always loved that.
Erik: “Black Rain” is a fun song by the way, one of my favorite songs to play live
Manu: After the gigs you spend a long time as a whole band with your fans at the merch table, signing everything and taking pictures with everyone. How important is that to you, to have this interaction with the fans and stuff?
Magnus: It is so little effort for us to do and we see people appreciate that so much. It is just a nice giving something extra, having a photo, signing some autographs. It doesn`t cost us anything to do that, so it is just nice we get to give that
Philip: We want to interact, it is something we really want to do. They are the ones breathing life into the music. Great to meet them, really! Instead of just sitting backstage, waiting. Having a beer with the fans instead is great.
Erik: And I mean if I went to a concert and they did it, I would love it. I understand that Angus Young cannot go out and have signing sessions after playing a big arena, of course not.
Philip: But actually you can see him in the booth after
Erik: If he did, that would be awesome. And I know every time they stayed in hotels in Stockholm, they always go down to the fans waiting outside, I seen that several times, they go down and make sure every single fan waiting outside will get a photo and a signed autograph. Even after all these years they still do it, everyone gets their autograph, everyone gets their photo. It`s been hours down there by the fans, fantastic
Manu: What is the craziest thing a fan has ever done?
Erik: Without a doubt a girl from Switzerland, she got my autograph tattooed on her arm. That`s hardcore
Erik: Beat that if you can! This is pretty strange. But maybe you (looking at Philip) have been through worse.
Philip: No no no.
Manu: Now we are curious!
Victor: No, they are all being nice. There has been nothing disturbing or something
Philip: I think so far the fans all have been respectful and they are all there for the music. I think that is very common for all the people coming to the shows. They are all in for the music. They are very interested in music
Erik: it is not like take AC/DC again, not everyone going there is going for the music, some are because of the big name and they should be there. It is one of the rock names they actually know.
Philip: But people that go to an ECLIPSE concert, they are usually extremely interested in the music, they sing along, know every lyric, that is fantastic. They are super dedicated, so it is amazing to meet them after the show. And for me there is this thing, that almost after every show there is these people that have those almost heartbreaking stories about someone who died or a break-up they had or whatever and they have an ECLIPSE song that sort of helped them get through it, like for example “The Storm”, that is really awesome.
Manu: I have one last question, since Danny [the tourmanager] is already pointing at his watch: Last time you said you like to do some sightseeing when being on the road. What was the nicest thing you did on this tour so far?
Victor: I would say for you it is maybe Stans, where I missed out
Victor: When you went up to the mountains in Switzerland
Erik: Yes, that was fantastic, the mountains in Switzerland. But Bamberg in Germany is fantastic as well
Magnus: Tommorow we have Leipzig and we are going to see the Thomaskirche. Johann Sebastian Bach is there, they have a statue for him there, we are going to see him
Erik: That is probably going to be the highlight
Victor: Putting sticker on the grave
Erik: That`s is funny. Putting stickers out there or doing a graffiti “Noone is better than you”
Manu: Since we are running out of time, is there anything else you want to shout out to your German Fans?
Philip: We want to thank everyone
Erik: Come to the shows, we have a couple of more shows here in Germany, four or five
Magnus: We got Leipzig, Essen, Berlin, Hamburg
Erik: A lot of German dates this tour
Manu: That’s true
Erik: We haven`t played much clubs here yet, so this is great. You got to start from there and work yourself up
Manu: Thank you so much!
All: Thank you! Thank you for having us!
[Foto Credits: Alex Neckbreaker]