IMPERIA

IMPERIA should be well known by now having released a bunch of albums over the years. Why we haven’t interviewed them before I don’t know. ©2016 Anders Ekdahl

When you release a new recording does it feel like you have to start a new a couple step back because so much time has passed and so many new bands have entered the scene since the last album or do you just pick up where the last one left?
-Well we have not ever really cared too much of what is going around with other bands. In the end you really can’ t as there is so much going on anyways and once you start following some trend you are always late, it’s better to just trust yourself and write the music you like yourself. In a way you write it to yourself in the first place and then hope somebody else also shares your taste. We also don’ t really have any pressure from the fans or the label and are pretty much free to do what we want, which is a huge privilege. And, we have been quite productive in the end if you think of it. In 11 years the band has released 5 full-lengths including the Angel album, so it’s not that we have been doing nothing in between. Only this time it took a few years longer. Music-wise of course your taste might develop during the years or you just wanna try different things …

Do you have an aesthetic that you keep true to from recording to recording (i.e. stylistical same art work, lyrical theme etc.)?
-Not really. We have had Helena on the cover on all albums for the obvious reasons, but it’s not like it has to be like that, could have been something else too. But of course that identifies the band too so why not.

How hard is it to come up with lyrics to the songs? When do you know that you have the right lyrics?
-Helena hardly ever prepares anything beforehand so often the actual lyrics are written in the studio while trying vocal lines. Just checking out what fits, what inspires. There might be a general theme or a few lines decided earlier, but the actual lyrics are often written on the spot by improvisation. It’s very cool to follow. Sometimes the guys also help with that, or the producer by giving some lines, most of the time Helena just sings lines from the heart, stops for a minute and sings another verse. It’s very creative and natural process in a way and pretty unique in a way too I believe. The same goes for the vocal lines themselves too. Of course I have written all the songs and have demos ready for Helena, but she never rehearses the songs beforehand. All vocal lines are created at the vocal booth while recording. That’s why when I write the music, I never think of the vocal lines. I might have an idea what it could be but most of the time Helena just shoots from the hip. And as she’s very good in pitch the takes will be most of the time keepers right away. Sometimes I have an idea for a chorus melody for ex and then we arrange it together. So sometimes i’s also a sort of joint effort. And even sometimes other guys come up with suggestions….

How hard is it to find the right art work? What are you looking for?
-Not hard at all, when I have the title that is decided together, I just try to find an idea. Usually that goes smooth and I have free hands with it. Actually my own band is a very easy client 🙂 As for art I always try to create a “story” in there. The picture needs to have some kind of meaning that refers to the title….
Do you ever feel that you get misinterpretated because of the metal you play?
-Not at all, we just write the music we like. We also try to experiment with different styles which makes it interesting for us. I don’ t even know what kind of metal it is we play as we have elements from Opera, Symphonic, Gothic, Progressive, Power-metal, Folk-metal and what ever metal.

Do you feel that you get the recognition you deserve, nationally as well as internationally,
-That is a good question. Let’s say we can’ t really complain and have the luxury to be able to release records and make the music we want. Also the reviews have always been mostly positive. But of course I think it goes for all artists out there, you wish that there woud be more exposure so that more people would hear the music. We are very well aware that sometimes it’s a matter of financial support, sometimes a question of pure luck even. But as a musicians, once you have delivered the album, it’s out of our hands and our means to promote it are limited. Luckily we have a bunch o good people working for our releases. But yeah, more exposure sure wouldn’ t hurt as always.

Is the end of physical close by or is there a future for all formats?
-No I don’ t think there is end in sight, there will always be people who enjoy the music from a physical copy. I notice this also in my work as labels release vinyl editions and such. Of course the share of physical copies compared to digital distribution is low these days, but some fans will always wanna have the hard copy. If it’s the CD-format no idea though. Personally I don’ t mind that much, times do change. But vinyl is of course the ultimate music-lovers format no doubt 🙂

I get the impression that today’s touring scene is most made up of festivals or multiple band line-ups. Is it harder/tougher to tour today?
-It is in a way yes. The venues try to avoid risks and if you are a smaller band it’s hard to get a concert. Some festivals even charge you for the slot and for tour the support bands pay the headliners. Obviously not all bands are able to do this. We’ve been around already so long as musicians, that we just don’ t do that. If someone wants us to play, we will do that of course as we love to perform live, but we are not doing anything if we end up loosing financial means we don’ t have. Then we rather not play. We’ve had years when we were on a major booking agency and toured a lot, but now that we live in different countries everything is more complicated and also more expensive to organize. But said that, we will do some shows to support the album of course.

If you were to decide how would the stage show look like?
Hahhah, no idea. But it would be big! And probably some natural elements there, trees and such. It’s a very good question, I don’ t think anybody has ever asked me that. And I have never thought of that!

What does the future hold?
-More music, more albums and hopefully some live-playing as well as we all miss the stage!

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