“Evocation” Interview by David Maloney
First off I would like to thank you for joining us here to answer some questions for our Publication Metalheads Forever Magazine. How are things at the moment? Hope all is well. Can you tell our readers about the band please?
Thank you, everything is really great. Our new album “The Shadow Archetype” is out now, it’s been a long wait and a lot of hard work. Evocation was founded back in 1991 and was part of forming the Gothenburg Death Metal scene in the early 90s together with bands such as At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity etc. Evocation disbanded in 1993 and resurrected again in 2005 and has since the reunion released 5 full length albums including “The Shadow Archetype” which is released on Metal Blade Records. Evocation has toured Europe together with bands such as Cannibal Corpse, Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, The Black Dahlia Murder, Dying Fetus, Obscura etc. Evocation is a band that that is and will always be 100% about Swedish Death Metal tuned in B-flat – No compromises!
“Silence has, in the past worked wonders” Can you tell us in little more detail what these words mean to Evocation in terms of the years 1993 through to 2005?
I never thought we would regroup again, but when we did I instantly felt a responsibility to make my part, my vocals and my lyrics as good as possible, the other guys had the same feeling. We know what we are capable of to create as a band, either we do it 100% or not at all. In one way it was a huge bummer that we split up in 93 but on the other hand it was a really fantastic feeling to start it all over again. We are all really close friends especially me and Marko, but since the split up we drifted apart naturally, but the feeling of making music together again is huge.
According to famed producer Tomas Skogsberg- Killer act with a killer sound lost to the annals of time. Has he also been speaking in reference of the band taking a break, taking a breath of fresh air before regrouping?
We never planned to take a break, we were done with Evocation. We couldn’t work together anymore, the energy was lost. We always knew that this band was a great band but there were also tons of other bands and music running through our teenaged brains and we ate it all. Eventually we had too much different views on the sound and the music. When we worked with Tomas Skogsberg we were peaking, we had our sound, we were warmed up and ready to go. This period was amazing but short, we had some major offers and we had our audience but we somehow lost the red line I think. But if we look upon it in an objective way today, yes there was probably a reason. Sometimes it grinds my mind, what would have been the story if we’d never quit?
I keep reading and hearing your name resurrect in terms of throwback Death Metal meets and leads the new wave of Swedish Death Metal. Is that fair to say? What are your opinions on such statements?
Well it sounds really positive, we would be really happy if we lead the way. I can think of two sides to see it, one is that we never quit and rather take it for what it is. We enjoy doing what we do even though we have less time to do it. The other side is that we like to develop, we like to be influenced and we like to push ourselves forward. Sometimes we have the craziest ideas but still we never leave our roots. You know that the smallest twist in the adjustments can make the big difference, the way you play it is always there. Now it looks like we really found the right sound for the right kind of songs. For me personally I enjoy the really heavy and brutal DM, Marko prefer melodic more and Simon is a technical new school dude. Mixed together with Gustaf who comes from a hyperspeed band you get a pretty good balance I think.
After the departure of founding members and longtime friends Janne Kenttakumpu(Drums) and Vesa Kenttakumpu(Guitar) It must have been a devastating blow to take , to say the very least, probably damn near crushed the band with their departure. Now looking back are you glad you kept the band alive and moving forward? Just how hard was it to stay face and keep things moving through all this? Was is for the best it happened the way it did?
I had a minute with Vesa and Janne by myself at the rehearsals at one time. Marko already told me they were about to leave so I knew it already but I wanted to hear it myself from them personally so I could really believe it was true. I knew this could be the last nail in the coffin for Evocation and I also felt Marko’s words echo inside my head. He was like, “if half the band goes, everything goes”. But there at the rehearsals I told the brothers that we already had a backup plan, they dropped their jaws. I just felt the survival mode kick in and said that we’ll survive but I had no fucking clue really. Anyways, they left and yes it was a really hard blow for the band. But the thing is, I felt the other way. I felt it was time to wake the fuck up. Evocation could die any minute now if we didn’t take actions.
A new name would be just stupid, Evocation is what we believe in and what we do. If me and Marko would end up in the same band under a different name after the departure of two founding members would just be silly. Coming back with a new attitude and a new edge was what we did instead, Vesa and Janne wrote most of the music so we felt that now it was time to kill. This is the sound we’ve been looking for many years I think. When Janne and Vesa left and Simon entered the band a lot of new doors was open to the unknown but it was very challenging and really teasing at the same time. We have been working so hard for so many years it would be insane to bury the band. I told Marko when he was having second thoughts that he should think over it very well, Evocation has always been about honest music and devotion. You don’t turn your back on it just like that, you wash away the sand and rise up!
You’ve lost critical members and Evocation as a Trio holed up in your Hometown Boras and enlisted Guitarist Simon Exner and Wrote “The Shadow Archetype” over a two year period. Is this accurate? In some ways one could say your 5th album is yet another rebirth of the band?
Every time we make a new album is a rebirth of the band. Yes, it took about two years to make it. I know it’s a long time but it was worth every minute of waiting. Still our private lives is taking most of our time. I am happy for every year we still exist.
After all this band has been through since your inception do you feel you are a more mature band with less to prove the metal world and to people in the industry? Do you feel you can do things at your own speed channel your energy in other areas of the band?
We only have something to prove for ourselves, we are not a product for the industry or a metal world. Every album is a diary from a certain time in our lives and every released album is a proof of our existence. But I think we are more open minded for every year.
This leads us to your latest release “The Shadow Archetype” What can you tell us about the process of writing this album as opposed to your past experiences?
Well the process of writing the guitars and drums has been on Marko and Simon’s table, pretty much behind closed doors as it is for me as well. When I get an idea from them I start to write the lyrics and make verses, bridges and chorus. If we would do everything together every time it would take us forever to write a new album. When Gustaf is doing his bass it’s the same thing and this way is very effective. Everyone is doing their best anyways. This time we almost did everything ourselves in our own studio.
Have you stayed true to your signature sound? Have you experimented some? Or with maturity as the sound and style evolved and matured as well? Is that safe to say?
Well, when we did the “Illusions of Grandeur” we made a more clean sound, maybe too clean for my personal taste but the production on “Apocalyptic” failed a bit so we thought it would be fair I guess. The result was a really nice production but together with the songs and our style it was a little bit too clean, the songs felt too simple. Every album we make is unique in both sound and performance, as I said before we like to develop and we like to stay fresh. But “The Shadow Archetype” will always be huge milestone for me, it has exactly what I love the most.
In closing I would like to thank you once again for taking the time to speak with us, they are and were a million questions I wished we had the time to ask you. Maybe we can do a follow up in the very near future. Good Luck with all your future endeavors. Do you have any closing messages or words of Wisdom for your fans and our readers?
Thank you very much for taking your time, it’s always a pleasure, hope to meet in the future. And to all the fans out there: stay out of the cctv.
David Maloney / MHF Magazine