Talking about EVERGREY, we are referring to a great band of the Progressive/Power Metal scene, coming from Sweden! With amazing musicians in their line-up and an ability to constantly progress, they leave no room for doubt, regardless of musical preferences. We recently enjoyed them in a double concert, sailing at the waters of the Caribbean, on the 70,000 Tons Of Metal cruise! There, we were lucky enough to meet all their members and see for ourselves how down-to-earth and kind people they are. Under these circumstances, the band’s keyboard player Rikard Zander answered to all our questions! You can read this very interesting interview just below…..
– Hello Rikard and welcome to our Web Magazine! First of all, how is your life going up there in Sweden? What news from the north side of Europe?
Rikard Zander: Thank you! Life is alright up here… Still winter, still cold and sometimes snow, plus the global worries we share with pretty much the rest of the world. Nothing new there…
– Some days ago, you had the chance to take part at the 70K Tons Of Metal cruise in the Caribbean! How was your experience over there? How does it feel for a musician to be “trapped” for 4 days in a place with almost 2.500 metalheads that come and talk to you all the time? Is this annoying or does this gives you a motive to go one in what you do?
Rikard Zander: It was a great change of pace for us from the north to experience the Caribbean climate for a few days .
For us being a semi big band it’s not a problem. I don’t really think about it… For me it’s a great chance to see lots of bands, meet nice and happy people, and have a great party! I think that’s part of the deal taking some fan-photos once in a while when you’re doing a show like that… It would truly be a prison if you felt you had to sit in your cabin the whole trip except for your shows.
– What was the best moment for you at the 70K Tons Of Metal 2023, so as a musician with EVERGREY but also as a metal fan, concerning the other bands you’ve watched? Also, was it your first time there? Tell us 3 reasons someone should join this cruise!
Rikard Zander: I think our second set on the pool-deck was smashing! The first show was good as well but since we had that little extra spice with Floor from NIGHTWISH as a guest, it was something else. Some of my favorite shows were FRACTAL UNIVERSTE (big theatre), DARK TRANQUILITY (pool deck), OCEANS OF SLUMBER (ice rink) and HYPOCRICY (pool deck). Of course I missed a lot of shows.
It was the third time we played on the boat and probably the best gigs we’ve done. A little less people on the actual cruise than our first couple of times. Don’t know why but maybe som post pandemic thing or something?
Reasons to join the cruise… The Weather, The music and the whole context of being on such a luxurious boat for four days. The Party is great, if you want it to be!
– You are in EVERGREY since 2002. What is the best and what the worst moment you remember having in the band?
Rikard Zander: There are so many great moments Its hard to top one of them.
Recording our DVD in 2004 was a memorable moment. All those tours and shows we’ve done are all awesome memories.
The worst is when we were supposed to open for Ozzy in Scandinavia. Play all the big arenas in Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark. One day everything was settled and the next morning we heard on the news that Ozzy fell from a four wheel bike, broke his neck and everything obviously became cancelled.
– From the 10 full length albums you’ve recorded with EVERGREY (excluding the last one), which one has a special place in your heart and why?
Rikard Zander: The first, which for me was “Recreation Day”. I kind of got back in the metal business again after a while playing other types of music.
All these new things I would experience from helping out writing the album, recording, the gigs and tours that followed. It was really fresh and amazing times. We also got a Swedish Grammy nomination. That album still holds a special place in my heart.
– Last year you’ve released “A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)” album with EVERGREY. Are you satisfied from the impact it had to the metal society till now?
Rikard Zander: I think it has been good! It kind of feels like we released two albums since we hardly played gigs on the “Escape Of The Phoenix” album, because of the pandemic. We are satisfied but we always want more and that’s why we keep doing new albums and try to improve every time.
– Do you still take part at the songwriting of EVERGREY? If yes, in which songs were you involved at the “A Heartless Portrait (The Orphean Testament)” album? What process do you follow in order to compose songs?
Rikard Zander: Yes I do… My main writing contribution was “Call Out The Dark” and ”Reawakening”. The Process can be very different. For example in “Reawakening” I had the keyboard riffs of the song. Jonas, our drummer had a very groovy idea so I just combined the two ideas and they fitted perfectly together. Sometimes you just have an idea and sometimes you pretty much have the whole song.
– Which song that you’ve composed with EVERGREY till now is your favorite, and why? What memories do you have of catching the idea for this song and completing its structure?
Rikard Zander: Hard to choose but on the last album I presented the main riff for “Call Out The Dark” to the guys and they were not very impressed. I felt it was a strong idea so I didn’t give up… Me and Jonas arranged it more in a EVERGREY style, wrote a bridge and the solo stick and when Tom laid the vocals everyone was blown away… The band thought it would be one of the video-songs but unfortunately the label disagreed. I think its one of our best songs, though.
– Do you listen to music in your everyday life? Can you short out three of your preferred music choices, telling us the reasons that you choose them?
Rikard Zander: I do listen to music but not that much… When I listen to music that’s what I do. I don’t particularly like having music as a background doing something else and that makes it harder to find the time. I don’t really have any preferred music choices. I kind of just check stuff out… For example I realize I haven’t heard GENESIS with Peter Gabriel a lot, so I check it out. I talked to some guys from ROTTING CHRIST on the boat so I had to check them out. I recently saw a documentary about BOYZ TO MEN, so then I had to check that out, lol. When its party time its a lot 80s metal, hard rock and AOR though, cause that’s what I grew up with.
– Are you planning any solo projects in the future? Do you compose music for your own?
Rikard Zander: I’m not ”planning” any solo projects but I compose music pretty much all the time and sometimes I feel the music would suit me the best. 🙂
– Assuming you didn’t have any personal relationship with Thomas Englund, and you were just a metal fan listening to him because you like EVERGREY’s music. How would you characterize him as a musician? What words would you use to describe his voice? Also, since you know him personally, how would you describe him as a person?
Rikard Zander: That’s very hypothetical since I do know him and play with him. But I guess as a guitar playing singer with a deep soulfull voice and a great guitar tone.
He is extremely funny, smart and very spontaneous. That helps him a lot with cracking ideas… On the other hand he forgets quite fast what he just came up with 🙂 In total he is really awesome!
– How is your experience playing live with TIAMAT? How did this cooperation come up?
Rikard Zander: It was a while ago since I last played with TIAMAT but it has always been great! They have a very “punky” attitude that differs a bit from EVERGREY and that can be refreshing… For example they never use backing tracks or a click track when playing live and that gives a certain freedom which I like.
Actually it was on EVERGREY’s first 70 k of metal cruise I got to know the guys in Tiamat and started to do gigs with them after that.
– What is your best memory with EVERGREY in Greece?
Rikard Zander: My first memories from Greece are from Larissa. We have played there a few times and it was really awesome! It was a while ago, though. Its always great to play in Greece though the first time I played in Athens I was really blown away! Very passionate crowd! Thessaloniki is also good but the turn out hasn’t been that great the times I’ve been there.
– Thank you for your time Rikard! It’s obvious that we’re looking forward for an EVERGREY’s live show in Greece! The epilogue is yours…
Rikard Zander: Thank you and hopefully we will return to Greece soon!
Interview: Alexandros Soultatos
Translation/Rendering in English: Kostas Boudoukos
Cover Artwork: Alexandros Soultatos
Design & Editing: Alexandros Soultatos
Photos: Patric Ullaeus
Date: 19th February 2023
External Link: EVERGREY – Official Page
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