The Night Flight Orchestra


16 Décembre 2017


Blaster Of Muppets

Interview Björn Strid

Hi Bjorn and thank you for taking some time to answer a few questions for

Awesome! Thanks for having us.

First question, you’ve released three albums with this band but it’s your first real tour… how is it going so far? Is it what you hoped it would be?

I really didn’t know what to expect at all… As you said, we have three albums but the two first ones sort of went under the radar a little bit, we were on a very small label… So in many ways, this third album, “Amber Galactic”, feels like the real first one. We’re very grateful of course, I mean, Coroner Records did everything they could… but now with Nuclear Blast, we have more exposure. When Nuclear Blast said they were interested, it was very important to them that this was not just a side-project and it was very important to me as well because it’s so much more than that. It might have started like one but it became something else, something bigger and now there’s such a great musical connection within the band and also the personal chemistry is fantastic… so it’s great… but to answer your question (he laughs a little bit), the tour so far has been great. And I’m blown away you know… Yesterday, I woke up to the news that we were nominated for a Swedish Grammy… which is very very unexpected. So, things are happening and I’m very excited about all this, I love doing this.

Do you have the feeling that you’re attracting people from outside the metal sphere or have you mostly picked the interest of metal fans who already knew you?

I’m sure that maybe 70 or 80% discovered the band through Arch Enemy or Soilwork but on this tour, we have a meet & greet every day and I ask everyone how they discovered the band because I’m very curious you know… and even though the majority already knew us in our other bands some actually saw us at the RockHard Festival in Germany and of course they knew Arch Enemy, for example, but said it was not their thing… they actually like The Night Flight Orchestra because it’s rock music. It’s very interesting to see who you can attract… At the Rockhard Festival, I could see some guys wearing Watain or Behemoth patches dancing to “Domino”… and it was mind-blowing…

It’s cool… Fortunately some people have the idea that you can listen to Behemoth and appreciate good classic rock…

Yeah because it’s all about the presence and the music, it really is… I think that people can tell it’s not just a bunch of metal guys saying “ok, let’s play something 70s”. It goes way beyond that. There’s so much passion for the music… and so much knowledge too. And I think people can see through that pretty quickly, if it’s only a gimmick or a pastiche, people will be able to see through that and will lose interest.

Do you agree with people saying that you play feel good music? Don’t you find that a bit reductive?

Yeah, that’s fine by me. I mean, it’s feel good music but there’s also some story-telling and sometimes a bit of pain behind it too, it’s very balanced… but yes, it’s definitely about having a good time. And I think we need that.

Let’s go back in time for an instant, when you released your first two records… It was surprising to see you sign a deal with a small Italian label. What made you choose Coroner Records in the first place?

Yeah, it was around 2009, I think… It was actually very hard to find a label that really understood what we tried to accomplish. Maybe we didn’t really know what we wanted to do ourselves, you know (he smiles)… We had great songs, we loved what we were doing… but nobody was really interested. My friends at Coroner Records - you know I did some vocals with an Italian band called Disarmonia Mundi in the past and they had this label – and they got the picture right away, they loved it. So they told us they really want to put this out, they saw the potential, and I’m really grateful for that.

I’m actually surprised to hear that no other label was interested, even though the music you play is not the same as Arch Enemy’s or Soilwork’s, I would have thought that with your names, your reputation, you know, some labels would have gone for it and figured what to do with your music…

Yeah but I think that the problem was that it’s so much different… I mean, if it was just a metal project like me, Sharlee and David doing a black metal project for example, I think it would have been way easier… But The Night Flight Orchestra was so outside the box, completely different, therefore the selling point of us being in metal bands sort of disappears… I think that’s sort of what happened.

Have you felt the consequences of being signed on a label such as Nuclear Blast for your third record yet?

Yeah, I mean… better distribution obviously, more exposure, more press… I was really surprised when Nuclear Blast called me up and told me they wanted to sign us. You know, I’ve always had a good relationship with them since Soilwork signed with them in 2001, but I really didn’t expect it. I think they really don’t have any other bands that sound like us. It’s kinda hard to find in the scene today a band that sounds like we do, I mean, there’s obviously a lot of nostalgia connected to it but it also makes sense, it’s a way of composing, of producing, of performing that’s been lost for many years. I think we’re providing something that’s been missing for a long time and I’m grateful that Nuclear Blast saw that as well.

How did this tour come together? Was it something you had always wanted to do or did your new label push for it?

No, we definitely wanted to tour but we wanted to do something special you know… not some package you see so often in the metal world with four bands, we wanted it to be more like “An Evening With…” you know. So, that’s just us, there’s no one else and I’m really proud to say that we’ve been doing pretty well so far on this tour and I’m really impressed you know because it’s all us, there’s The Night Flight Orchestra and that’s it.

Singing for this band is very different from what you usually do with Soilwork. The vocal parts are actually quite difficult to sing, many of them including powerful and high notes ("Midnight Flyer", for example is a challenge)... Has it been easy or hard for you to change your singing habits?

Yeah, I mean I was so curious to find out if I could really pull it off… When David joined Soilwork in 2009 on our tour, we bonded so much on music from the seventies or the eighties that, at the end of the tour, we agreed that we needed to start a band that captured that way of writing and performing songs… but I was a little bit nervous about that. I felt I had something inside of me, it was there but I didn’t know if I could really pull it off… so when we got together for the first time and jammed and I realized I could actually do it, it was the greatest kick in the world. That first rehearsal we had was one of the top three experiences of my life. It was like wow… It’s something that has been there the whole time, something that I wanted to do… But obviously it took some time you know, and I also had to enter that role of being a different person on stage as well, we haven’t done many shows and this is our first European tour… But now, it’s starting to feel comfortable…

Would you say it has helped you improve as a singer in general?

Yes, a hundred percent. And I think that you can tell I have brought that into Soilwork as well. Ever since I have started The Night Flight Orchestra, I feel I have developed as a singer a lot, and you can hear that in my other band too… I have a stronger voice now, I can do more things, I have found more ways of expressing myself vocally as well.

Will you record some shows for a possible live album in the near future?

That would be pretty cool, I would like that. I think that we sound pretty good live… We’re not going to do that on this tour though but it might happen in the future, yes.

Your albums seem to follow a chronological timeline from the end of the 70s for your first record to the early 80s for your third… Are you going to continue this timeline or are there no specific rules for what’s to come?

No, there are no specific rules… I mean, I would agree with some people saying that the first album was more 70s oriented and not so much 80s but actually, things sort of just happened you know, we didn’t have a plan, we didn’t discuss much about it, we just bond so much over great music… It’s true that with “Amber Galactic”, there are definitely early 80s influences but it just seemed like a natural step. I don’t feel like the next album will sound like 87-89, you know, but there is so much to explore, I’m just very grateful to be around ones of the best musicians I know… it’s like we can do whatever we want and it’s a great feeling. There are no limits. That in itself is a great kick and makes me want to perform better and that’s how you develop, it’s a challenge.

Last summer, you posted a message on your facebook page stating that you were on your way to the studio for some magic… Is there another album on the way already?

Well, the new album is pretty much finished. We’re gonna wrap it up after this tour, we have like thirty-five songs… which are probably not all gonna be released (laughs) but there’s such a constant flow of inspiration, so it’s really cool!

Great news! I didn’t expect a new record so soon, when do you think it’s going to be released?

I guess late spring, very early summer.

Any names of women for some songs on the next record?

(laughs) Yeah, I’m sure there will be, ha ha!! It’s true it has become a bit of a trademark…

What is it with all these nostalgia acts today, playing music from the 70s and the 80s? Do you think it is a reaction to a frustrating modern world?

Yeah, we live in a world today where melodies you heard when you were a kind seem very comforting but then again it’s not only about nostalgia, it has this familiar and comforting feel to it but it’s also a manner of providing something for ourselves that’s not really there and that we feel is missing. We’re on a mission, that’s what it feels like.

What’s your playlist between shows on this tour?

Oh, it’s all over the place, it’s impossible to sum it up. Basically anything from 72 to 89… and some new songs as well… it’s like a constant song battle, we take turns on the tour bus, it’s fun! Every day, you discover new stuff… It’s like “Have your heard this one?, “No what’s this band?”, “Check it out!”, “wow…”, it’s cool.

Are you still buying CDs?

Not CDs but vinyls and digital, yes.

What’s the last record you bought?

A band from my hometown, I found the vinyl on discogs… they’re called Proud. They got signed to EMI in 1983 or 84 and they released an album called “Fire Breaks The Dawn”, it’s so awesome. It’s sort of classic heavy metal but it has that kind of Yngwie Malmsteen feel to it, they have a fantastic guitar player, you should check it out.

After this tour, you just told me that you would be finishing the new Night Flight Orchestra album while I thought you would be going back to Soilwork. Does it mean that next year is going to be devoted to NFO as well and that Soilwork fans are going to have to be a little bit more patient?

No, actually we’re going to enter the studio with Soilwork in April for five weeks, and that’s something I’m very much looking forward to as well. The songwriting has begun but there will be no touring right away unless something shows up with Night Flight Orchestra. So, the first part of the year will be used to record albums mostly, but we’ll try to do as many shows as possible with Night Flight Orchestra if opportunities show up.

Are you going to share your time equally between both bands or is Soilwork going to remain the main focus?

I don’t know… that’s gonna be rough because I love both bands so much, I don’t know, we’ll just have to figure it out. I feel very balanced musically because I have Soilwork that is a big part of me, I have been doing that for twenty years and I’m still very excited about it, and I have The Night Flight Orchestra which is very exciting as well… it’s like neverending love, you know, its gonna be hard to juggle with that but we’ll do our best.

Time to conclude this interview, the last word is yours :

I think it’s a very exciting time for this band and that many people could appreciate it, just give it a listen… We discussed that a bit earlier, even people listening to extreme metal can appreciate this type of music you know, so if you’re open-minded, I think there is something in there that is very special and people should check it out. And for those who already know the band, thanks for listening and supporting us.

Thank you very much Björn.

My pleasure.