Relatively unknown outside of their native Sweden, power metal band NOSTRADAMEUS is determined to gain more popularity in the metal community with their sixth release, Illusion’s Parade.
I had a chance to speak with vocalist Freddy Persson by e-mail about the band’s friendship, playing live and why internet downloading could lead to the band’s demise.
Illusion’s Parade is such a fantastic CD. It’s by far your most solid and mature release. What was your mindset while writing and recording this album?
Well, we’ve had a lot of new input from our new guitarist Lennart (Specht), as he wrote big parts of the new album. Finally it feels like we’ve reached where we wanted to; with an own sound and an atmosphere throughout the entire album that we feel we didn’t have in the past. Regarding the lyrics, many of them were written by me during a very hard period of my life, resulting basically in some very suitable topics considering this atmosphere.
What do you hope to achieve with the release of Illusion’s Parade?
Hopefully, first of all, the feeling of happines coming from having made an album that’s worthy of listening to from the first song to the last, even a year or two after it’s been released. Then also, good enough sales to let us continue to record albums in the future. The market is extremely tough these days with all the downloaders, so let’s just keep our fingers crossed.
Your labeled as a power metal band, but you’ve always had a progressive, even thrashy edge to your sound. Who are your influences and what music do you listen to?
Oh, that’s very different depending on which member you ask. We listen to everything from black/death metal to swedish folk-music, pure pop/rock, both national and international, so it’s hard to say with a name or two.
You don’t have the typical Gothenburg sound. How did you come up with the Nostradameus formula?
I don’t know really. We just kept on playing and after the first two albums we didn’t care so much about sounding like all the other bands mixing in Finnvox (Studios). From “Hellbound” and forward, we’ve used the same studio in Malmö and since this studio isn’t used by so many other metal-bands, I guess that made us sounding a little bit different.
Being in existance for over ten years, do you feel that you have not received the recognition the band deserve, especially in the States?
It’s hard for me to say really. I know it’s hard to break in the States. But I feel sometimes we’ve had better credits than what we deserved. It’s just me and my friends playing and then it feels sometimes a bit weird when we get better scores on an album than what some of our former idols are getting for theirs. On the other hand it feels sometimes that in certain countries it’s something of a fashion-thing to give us some really bad credits when reviewing our albums. For example, I can’t remember a single review from Italy, Austria or France that said anything good about our albums. In France it feels like the reviewers are still pissed off because we had the opening-slot on the HammerFall tour 2003, instead of Nocturnal Rites or Dream Evil, and as a result of that they are giving us 3/10 or 4/10. It’s not that it’s so important nowadays for me as a person as it was on the first albums, but I still think it’s a bit unfair. The last album is really not that bad.
Do you feel it’s important to break into the U.S. market to gain more acceptance?
Actually, in our situation it’s quite important to break into ANY market.
What are your current touring plans?
We’re planning to make some shows in Sweden during Jan.-Feb. next year, and if everything goes as planned, we’ll play a couple of shows in the Benelux area in April approximately.
Any bands in particular that you would like to hook up with for a tour?
Well, Judas Priest if we could have the choice.
How important is staying true to the recorded material while performing live?
That depends on what kind of gig we’re talkning about. But in general, I think it’s quite important that the audience recognize the songs and are able to join in. On the other hand, we’ll give up a lot of the recorded effects on our future gigs as we have a wish to get back to the roots somehow. Just us and our instruments on stage in order to just give the audience the most possible concerning energy.
Every band lives to play live shows, can you describe your feelings about performing live and why it’s important to give your best performance?
I guess it’s a matter of just enjoying the situation. To be standing on stage with your friends and see a lot of people in front who came there just to have a good time togheter with you and the rest of the band. I love that feeling and I’m very grateful that I have the privilege to every now and then, have the opportunity to do this.
Your earlier releases seemed somewhat more heavier and faster, but “Illusion Parade” is more controlled and developed. Do you feel the band has progressed since its formation?
Oh yes! After all, when we started this band, I was the only member over 20 years of age. Today, after changing some of the members, only Jake is younger than me and he’s 30 in a month. We’re older and more mature (I hope..:)) and the new members also have a lot of different input on the bands songwriting and performances.
It also seems like your earlier releases dealt with the Fantasy aspect more than on Illusion’s Parade. Who comes up with the concepts and lyrical content, and where did you draw your inspirations from for the songs on this CD?
Most of the lyrics I write. Very often, when I feel down, since writing about your crisis is a very good way to get it out of your system. Then I also feel it’s more inspiring today to write about a personal experience compared to writing about kings, dragons, unicorns, steel, battles or any of the other topics we’ve been dealing with in the past.
AFM Records, the label you’re signed to, has such a great roster of bands. With the record industry being as it is, as well as the global economy and internet downloading, do you feel AFM are doing all they can to promote you and get you the publicity and tours that you need to carry on as a band?
I think they are doing what they can in a VERY hard, tough, lousy, destructive market. It’s close to impossible to compete with what can be found on the net for free and to be honest, if we don’t sell enough copies of this CD, it will be the last one for us. The reason is simple, I’ve spent quite a big amount of my private money just to get this album out on the market and if I cant get it back, we cannot afford to record another one. It’s as simple as that! So to put it straight, every free, illegal download of “Illusion’s Parade” is bringing the band closer to the end. I hope the people who like the band, who are downloading our material for free, consider that.
I really appreciate your time. Any last words for your fans?
Nothing more than support the band by buying the album. Hope to see you all on the road in a near future! Thank you for your time!
By Kelley Simms