Scar Symmetry are about to release their new album “The Unseen Empire”. I thought it would be a good time to give Hendrik (Drummer/Lyricist) a call to talk about the new record, conspiracy theories and try to pinpoint why so many metal bands come out of Scandinavia.
Music Feeds: Hendrik tell us about the new album The Unseen Empire?
Scar Symmetry: It’s the new Scar Symmetry effort dealing with the alumanri and the new world order lyrically, and musically it’s way better than our last album. [laughs] Our previous album was our first with the new line up. We kind of experimented a bit and tried to find ourselves again. This new album, I think we found our form and back in business for real!
MF: Explain for us the songwriting process for this album and how it compared to the last one?
SS: The songwriting process was pretty much the same actually. When we write songs, we usually write individually. On this album Jonas and Per collaborated a little bit more. They wrote half of the songs on the album together, on the previous album they didn’t write together at all. That was the biggest difference between the albums. Otherwise, it’s pretty much the same thing. They wrote music and I wrote the lyrics and they arranged the vocals also. The thing is, though the singers had their own ideas when we were recording the vocals, the main part was written by the guitar players.
MF: Do you find it’s a bit different writing lyrics now that you have two vocalists?
SS: It’s easier, especially in a live sense. It’s better for us because we don’t have to care about how we arrange the voices. When we had one singer we had to take that into consideration. Nowadays we can just switch between voices whatever way we like to, that’s the difference with having two singers compared to one.
MF: Where does your lyrical inspiration come from?
SS: It comes from all kinds of places and not from a specific, main inspiration. A couple of songs on the new album had a huge influence from a guy called David Icke, he’s like a genius when it comes to conspiracy theories. I may not stand behind everything he says, but it’s really entertaining stuff. It’s inspiring to write lyrics from that view point. Otherwise it’s like conspiracy theories, conspiracy facts, sci-fi stuff and new science that hasn’t really been accepted yet.
MF: Along those lines of conspiracy theories, what’s one of your favourite conspiracy theories?
SS: [laughs] I really like the idea that the leaders of the world aren’t really human! It’s a really interesting thing to think that way. Always when I ponder on that I get lyrical ideas.
MF: Who inspired you to first pick up the drumsticks and play drums?
SS: When I was growing up I really liked the 80s metal bands like KISS and Motley Crue, but when I actually started playing drums I was really into death metal. So people like Pete Sandoval from Morbid Angel and Sean Reinert from Cynic really triggered me when I was 13/14 years old.
MF: Is there anyone in the scene now that you’re really impressed by?
SS: Pretty much the same [laughs] There’s a lot of good guys nowadays. So many good instrumentalists. I really like Sean Reinert still. [He’s] so diverse. He can play pretty much anything.
MF: Are you the kind of drummer that has the urge to play every day or do you limit it to rehearsal/studio/gigs?
SS: I don’t really like just sitting down practicing every day. If I play drums I want to do something creative with it. So I create songs when I play. I make them up with some guitar riffs, and this not for Scar Symmetry, just my own project. I’ll create a bunch of riffs and then record drums. That’s how I practice. I don’t do it every day because that would bore the hell out of me! [laughs]
MF: The one thing that’s always amazed me is the amount of good metal bands that come out of Sweden and Scandinavian countries. Why do you think that is?
SS: That’s a question I’ve been asked a lot and it’s difficult to answer. I’ve heard all kinds of speculations like the similarity to Nordic folklore and metal bands. I can see that with At The Gates. There were a couple of bands that were really groundbreaking and then the whole thing exploded and there were bands everywhere, especially during the death metal phase of the early nineties with bands like Entombed and Dismember.
MF: Are there any plans to get down to Australia to tour?
SS: We’ve been on our way over there a couple of times in the past, but it just didn’t happen in the end because of business related stuff. As soon as we get an opportunity we’ll probably go there. I mean, it’s not up to us, it’s more up to the ones who book the shows for us. So it’s all about business when it comes to that.
MF: Explain to us what a Scar Symmetry live show is like seeing as we’re yet to see you guys play?
SS: A big part of it is having fun. We’re not guys who look grumpy on stage! [laughs] We’re happy and we enjoy ourselves and that’s the kind of energy we want to express to the audience and feed off and hopefully get it back from them. We also make sure to play songs from all the albums and we listen to the fans and play songs they want to hear.
MF: What’s been your favourite moment so far in Scar Symmetry?
SS: Every first time, like the first time we went to the States, that was a huge moment. There’s been a lot of great moments where you stop and go “Wow!”
MF: If you were to make a mix tape, what would be the first song you’d put on there?
SS: Mmmmm that’s kind of hard. I’d probably put on an Iron Maiden song. One of their keyboard sounding ones from Somewhere In Time or Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son. Probably the track Somewhere In Time. But tomorrow it might be different! [laughs]
Scar Symmetry The Unseen Empire comes out April through Nuclear Blast.