Sunday, February 12, 2017

Interview with Erik Mårtensson (ECLIPSE)

Erik Mårtensson is a very talented musician and that's a thing that can be shown with his main band Eclipse as well as with many projects/bands (Ammunition, W.E.T., Nordic Union e.t.c.) that Erik has involved with.

After the already classic "Armageddonize" record, Eclipse strikes back this year with another superb slice of pure melodic hard rock bliss "Monumentum"!!! Their fresh and brand new opus, through Frontiers Records, comes to show us why this band is considered one of the hottest bands out there.

It is a privilege for Heavy Paradise to interview Erik and talk about the new record, the today's hard rock scene, Frontiers Records and some other really cool and interesting stuff. Enjoy!!
(Interviewer : Vassilis Hassirtzoglou)

Heavy Paradise : Hi Erik, it’s really a great honor to have you here in Heavy Paradise for an interview!

Erik: Thank you!

Heavy Paradise : A new album, “Monumentum”, and judging by the first two singles (‘never look back’ and ‘vertigo’) I have to say that it’s a killer one! Love these songs! My question is a bit cliché but I have to ask; is that your best album to-date?

Erik: A cliché question gets a cliché answer but it's actually honest. I believe it's our best album so far. There is not a single weak song on this album and I have not been able to say that about our other albums. And it sounds more Eclipse than ever before

Heavy Paradise : Eclipse is a band that overcomes itself with each record. Your first couple of releases were both solid. But with ‘Are U Ready To Rock’, ‘Bleed And Scream’ and the latest masterpiece ‘Armageddonize’ you guys offered some gems. How difficult is for a band to stay in the same high levels with each recording?

Erik: It's very demanding and the highest expectations comes from the band itself. We are brutal self critics and the day we start thinking we're good enough it's time to quit. When we start working on the next album we need to raise the bar once again.

Heavy Paradise : Frontiers Records is a company that stays true to its goal; to keep the rock ‘n’ roll dream alive and to continue with the same passion to release records that ‘smells’ 80’s. But there are some people that criticize the company (and its roster) for repeating themselves. What’s your opinion about that?

Erik: It's pretty obvious that if a label puts out records that aims for nostalgia it's bound to be repetitive. But that is also their strategy to some extent. You can see that as a weakness or a strength. If you want nostalgia you buy a Frontiers record, if not, go get something else. No one force anyone to buy their albums. Having said that, I think that bands like Eclipse and many others on their label are pushing the genre and really develops the sounds from the 70's and 80's. With Eclipse we have one foot in the past and one in the here and now. Best of both worlds!
Heavy Paradise : Let’s return to the new record! Your new opus is entitled “Monumentum”. How did you come up with this title? Does this word mean something ‘deeper’ for Eclipse?

Erik: It was a make up word I came up with while discussing what the album should be called with our drummer Philip. I wanted something unique like Armageddonize. I also wanted something epic but at the same time moving so I combined the two words Monument and Momentum and out came Monumentum. We laughed about it and kept talking about other names but the title kid of stuck in our heads. Later on when the album was starting to be finished and we listened to it Monumentum was the perfect title.

Heavy Paradise : The sound of your new album is a bit edgier, imho. Does the rest of the songs sound, also heavier, or are there some surprises in some of the songs?

Erik: I think you are right when you say it's edgier. The production has more attitude than the previous album especially when it comes to the mix. This band always play with tons of attitude but it shines through very well on Monumentum. The album is quite diverse with all from catchy uptempo to slow and heavy songs. Side A is more poppy and side B is more classic rock. There's a lot of new stuff for us as a band but the listener probably won't notice them so much. For them it just sounds even more like Eclipse.

Heavy Paradise : How do you see the rest of today’s melodic hard rock/metal scene? Is there a band or bands that can make the break through these days?

Erik: I think the hard rock scene is better than in a very long time or even better than ever. There's a lot of bands popping up that makes great records and I'm glad to be a part of this movement. The scene is back to the roots when it was all about music and not destroyed by commercial interest as it was in the mid 80's. Bands make records for the love of the music and not for money and fame. There are too many new great bands to mention even one. Hell, only in Sweden they're all over the place creating great new music!

Heavy Paradise : ‘Never Look Back’ is the first video-single from “Monumentum”. Are there any plans for another video in the near future?

Erik: Yes! there are actually at least two more coming. For the first time we will release a ballad called "Hurt" as a single. The best ballad I've ever written so it was a obvious choice.

Heavy Paradise : Which are your influences Erik, when you are writing a song? And which are your main influences as a musician?

Erik: When I started as a kid it was classic rock bands like AC/DC , KISS and WASP that made me pic up the guitar and start to play. Then the fantastic journey started to discover all great music that had been released in the past. I discovered bands like Deep Purple, Sabbath, Uriah Heep and also everything new that came out. That was a fantastic period in life when the world of music opened up before me. Later on I started to listen more to heavy rock like Slayer, Megadeth and later I went more into death and black metal. But somehow the music I started out with was the one that I should return to. I know rock music inside out, so nowadays my main inspiration comes from totally different directions. All from indie rock, EDM, folk music and of course classical music. If it's good music it's good music no matter the genre.

Heavy Paradise :  I saw that you guys have released some dates for live performances. Any chance to see you in Greece?

Erik: We are working on getting to Greece. You guys over there should start a movement and ask promoters to bring us there. We had offers in the past but we never had the chance to go there at the time. But would LOVE to come to Greece and play rock and drink Ouzo!

Heavy Paradise :   Many people ask about your first couple of albums. If you can find them the prices are ridiculously high!!! Is there any possibility of an re-release of those two?

Erik: The short answer is no. I don't like them and I consider them "official demos". I see "Are you ready to rock" as our first album. That's when we found our sound and I don't want people to check out Eclipse and hear the first album wondering what kind of crap it is! Let it be a rarity for the die hard fans as it had little musical value.

Heavy Paradise : So, what’s to expect from Erik Martensson next? What are your plans in the near future? Do your plans include a new W.E.T. album?

Erik: First out is of course promoting the new album and go out on tour and meeting our fans! There's a spring tour coming up and then there's festivals throughout the summer and back on tour again in the fall. Having said that, I have quite a few cool projects and albums coming up. And I also mix and master albums for other bands and artists all the time in between recordings.

Heavy Paradise : Closing, I have to thank you for this interview, Erik, and to wish you all the luck in the future!!

Erik: Thank you for doing the interview! Cheers and I hope we'll make it to Greece already THIS year!

Check out the first video "Never Look Back" from the new album :

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