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End of September Interview

You know how there are albums that draw you in, and don’t let go? It was like that for me with the self-titled debut by Swedish melodic metal newcomers, End of September. The album has a warm, caressing flow, but with a undercurrent of melancholy that threads its way through the tracks … rather like wading across a stream on a summer day, and stepping into a chilly spot where darker things dwell. Splash, splash, splash, brrrrr.

End of September

Sonic Cathedral’s Robin Stryker sat down with Erik Tordsson (guitarist/founder) and Elin Redin (vocalist) to chat about all things End of September. Dive in to find out what Erik and Elin had to say about their upcoming debut album, exhausting arm-waving, their feelings on the eve of the band’s first live show, and much more! End of September will be released by Ulterium Records on May 11, 2012 in Europe and May 22, 2012 in the USA.

Elin and Erik, welcome to Sonic Cathedral! We’re very happy to have you here this morning to talk about End of September’s debut album. Jumping right in, would you give our readers an introduction to your band?

Erik:  I started the band as a project. I started writing songs, and then I found a vocalist, Victoria, at first. We did a demo which got Ulterium Records interested. But yeah, things happened, and Victoria and I parted. So I started to look for another singer, and found Elin.

Elin:  Eventually. (all laugh)

Robin:  Erik, you had recorded a demo with Victoria in 2009, Ulterium Records had green-lighted you, and then you lost your vocalist. What did you do during the two-year hiatus?

Erik:  It was really hard to find a vocalist, I thought. Our label was a great support at this time, and I'm glad they stuck with us. And that was pretty much all I did, except recording.

Elin:  Yeah, Erik did record the album during this time, without having anyone singing.

Robin:  Elin, how did you and Erik wind up collaborating?

Elin:  We hadn’t hung out as friends, but we have been in touch and met before. It was last summer that he sent a message (on Facebook, actually) to my husband, asking him if he knew any female vocalists who like metal and sing metal, or if maybe, I was interested in it. If I had sung this type of music, or liked this kind of music. When I got that message, I got very intrigued, and thought that I really wanted to listen and see if this is something for me. I actually had not sung this kind of music before. (laughs)

Robin:  You said that you had not sung “this kind of music before.” Had you been a vocalist in other projects or genres of music?

Elin:  Yeah, I have been singing a lot in church and different kinds of bands -- mostly cover bands -- and playing at different parties and weddings and stuff like that. But on albums, I’ve been mostly singing background vocals. So I’ve been listening to metal a lot, mostly when I was a kid actually … you know, having two older brothers influences you … but not trying out singing metal. When this opportunity came along, I realized after a while that it was something for me!

Robin:  Erik, I was curious to read that your roots seem to be in a harder, more aggressive style of metal. How did you go from extreme metal to starting a melodic metal band like End of September?

Erik:  Actually, I went from hard rock to death metal and back almost. So my roots are more in hard rock, like ‘70s Deep Purple, Rainbow, and bands like that.

Robin:  What is it that drew you back? I believe you are still doing growl vocals, along with clean vocals.

Erik:  (laughs) Actually, the grunting is not me. It’s a guest vocalist, Barry Halldan from the Swedish band, The Weakening. After I’d been in this death metal band, I was longing for something that was more my roots and my style of playing and singing. So yeah, I think it was that, that brought me back to my roots.

Robin:  I especially love two tracks -- “Waiting for the Rain” and “Autumn Breaks” …

Elin:  Great, thank you!

Robin:  I have been playing them and playing them. First of all, in “Autumn Breaks” there is the line: “at the end of September, I’ll be praying for the Spring to come.” Which came first, the band’s name (End of September), the lyrics, or neither?

Elin:  (laughs) Neither? It must have been one of the ways. Tell us, Erik, what was it?

Erik:  Actually, “Autumn Breaks” was called “End of September” before we changed the name. We felt that End of September was a better band name, and we changed. But the lyrics are still end of September in the line.

Robin:  What is “Autumn Breaks” the death of … the end of a relationship? What was going through your head when you wrote that song?

Elin:  (Swedish) I was translating. (laughs)

Erik:  Actually, I’m not sure. It was too long since I wrote it that I can’t remember the lyrics.

Elin:  It seems like Erik almost writes his songs subliminally or something, because I keep asking him, “What’s this about? What’s this about?” And he just says, “Well, I don’t know.” So, it’s up to everyone who interprets it, actually, to come up with his own thoughts about what it is about. So I guess, your thought about thinking back on a relationship is very good. I think of more of a life thing, when life changes in different seasons. You sometimes come into the Fall of life … often when you get older, of course. But you can get into the Fall every once in a while, when you have a lot to think about and a lot to go through. So that’s what “Autumn Breaks” is about for me.

Robin:  One of the things I very much enjoy about End of September is just how much emotion you have in your voice.

Elin:  Oh, thank you so much, Robin!

Robin:  The lyrics have a lot of substance to them. Which ones really tug at your heart strings, Elin?

Elin:  The one that comes to the top of my head is the song, “Inner Voice.” I think it is really speaking to all of us. Maybe especially as women, actually, we have lots of struggles about our looks and everything that the media tells us to be like and look like. It just tells you that the true self -- the inner voice that you have -- is the one that you have to kind of get a hold of and be all the time. So that’s the one I think that really, really gets me.

Robin:  End of September just released your first music video a couple of days ago for “Isolated.” What made it the stand-out track to introduce people to your music?

Erik:  I’m not sure, actually.

Elin:  You don’t know?

Erik:  I think we liked the melody and the aggressiveness. It’s very straightforward.

Elin:  I think so, too. The straightforwardness, the aggressiveness, the intensity and the great riff in the beginning, it really strikes you, like immediately. It’s not some … ack, I can’t find the words right now … but it’s very straightforward.

End of September

Robin:  Tell us about the video shoot itself. I’m just amazed at just how loooong it takes to shoot a video that is four-minutes long. Any interesting things happen during the shooting of “Isolated”?

Elin:  (laughs) We just worked our butts off. I’m sorry for that expression. (laughs) We had only a day. We had nothing more than a day, so we worked from 8:00 in the morning until 8:00 in the evening, just shooting and shooting and shooting. We heard that song like 40 or 50 times, so we kind of know “Isolated” now, by the way. (all laugh)

When you shoot a video, you really have to do everything over-the-top. You think that you waved the arm, but you really don’t WAVE the arm because you have to do it super, super much more. Do you know what I mean? Because it really doesn’t come about, if you don’t do it extremely much. To come to a conclusion, we were very, very tired after that. (all laugh)

Robin:  Your arms are tired of waving …

Elin:  (laughs) Oh, yeah!

Robin:  Did you have a director barking at you: “Bigger, bigger! Give me MORE”?

Elin:  Yeah, we really did … in Spanish, actually! They were from the Canary Islands and didn’t speak any Swedish. So it was a lot of Spanish, which we don’t understand. But we did understand their body language. (laughs) They were waving and waving.

Robin:  (laughs) The album cover is very pretty. What is going on with the artwork and also the scarab beetle … I think it’s a scarab … in your logo?

Elin:  Those things are hard (aren’t they?) to find art that really expresses who we feel we are. We had a guy, whose name is Markus Sigfridsson, that Erik knew from before and had worked with a little. We thought we would try out with him, and he listened to the music. (To Erik) Did we try different lay-outs? No, he just got it from the beginning; didn’t he?

Erik:  Yeah, he started on the logo.

Elin:  Ah, he started doing the logo. That’s right. We weren’t very pleased at the beginning, so we had to send it back and forwards a couple of times, just trying to get it right. But eventually, he really did. We love that logo!

The beetle, I think it was Erik’s wife who came up with it. We wanted to find something that was standing out, and that we could use in different merch and those kinds of things. When you see that beetle, you would say: “Yeah, that’s End of September.” So we incorporated that into the logo, and it was really cool! It really was. His wife is really good at that kind of stuff, by the way.

Robin:  This is great! So, your husband connected you with Erik …

Elin:  Yeah!

End of September

Robin:  … and Erik’s wife came up with the symbol that people will associate with End of September. Speaking of metaphorical bugs, what was the first kind of music bug that bit you?

Erik:  Hmmm, that’s hard.

Elin:  Well, I’m coming from a musical family. My mother sings, my dad plays, and my brother plays. I’ve been involved with music since … hmmmm … I think I was singing on stage in church for the first time when I was three years old or something. It always has been music for me, and it’s always been all kinds of music as well. So I don’t have a moment or a band that spoke to me in that way, that “I’m going to do this.” I’ve just had it from the beginning.

Erik:  For me, I think it was my two uncles. They got me into Deep Purple because they listened to a lot of that ‘70s-style music. I think, somewhere along the way, I felt that I wanted to do that in some way. So I started to play the guitar when I was maybe nine or so, I think.

Robin:  Were your parents enthusiastic about your choice, Erik, or more like: “Please go away with your horrible, horrible caterwauling”?

Erik:  No, it was okay, I think. At first, I wanted to play the drums. (all laugh)

Elin:  Of course!

Erik:  But they weren’t too enthusiastic about that.

Robin:  When you guys are not making music, what are your favorite things to do?

Elin:  I’m actually a devoted knitter … I knit A LOT. (laughs) That’s my main thing, but I have a kid as well. So, I’d probably have to say my main thing is to play with him.

Erik:  It’s the same for me. I have a son too!

Elin:  (laughs) He knits a lot. That’s what he was going to say. (all laugh)

Erik:  Besides music, I have my studio, but that’s music too. There’s not too much that I have time for, other than music.

Robin:  The release date for End of September is a little less than a month from now. Are there things that you have to do to get ready for the release, or are you mainly biting your nails as you wait for the album to hit the streets?

Elin:  Well, we have to rehearse a lot. We do that every week, for hours. I think we know the songs pretty good now, actually. (laughs)

Robin:  And you know “Isolated” VERY well. (laughs)

Elin:  Yeah, you’ve got that right! (laughs) It’s like pushing a button when we start that song. Yup, we can all do it in our sleep.

Robin:  What is coming up next for End of September after the album release? Are you lining up gigs?

Elin:  Yes, we do, and some coming in. So that’s what we’re going to do.

Erik:  We just got booked to support Amaranthe at Zaragon Rock Club on the 28th of April. Then there's the release gig at Harry’s in our hometown of Vaxjo [on June 1st] together with Alyson Avenue, and then it’s Frizon Festival in August. That is what has been confirmed.

Elin:  So far.

Erik:  So far, yeah.

Robin:  Well, we hope that there will be many more! Are you guys nervous about playing out the new songs live for the first time?

Elin:  (laughs) I would lie if I said “no”. Of course, I’m nervous. But excited, more than nervous, I guess.

Robin:  We have about reached the end of our time together. Talking directly to new fans of End of September, what would you like to tell them?

Elin:  Thank you, if you are our fan! That would be great if you are a fan! (laughs) Everything is so new to us. Speaking of fans, it feels a bit unreal. (laughs) But maybe I should say something a bit more clever than that. Erik, do you have something to add?

We just hope that people love our new album as much as we do. We worked hard, and really hope it will be received as good as possible. It’s always hard to put something out there that you worked a lot on and really care about. We hope people love it!

Robin:  I trust that people will. Thank you so much for talking with Sonic Cathedral today, Elin and Erik!

Elin:  Thank you, Robin!

Erik:  Thank you.

End of September

Photo credit: Lotta Löthgren  www.1811.nu

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