sexta-feira, 22 de janeiro de 2016

Interview - Thomas Vikström (Therion) - "I Was Born Into the Music"

As he himself says in the interview, Thomas was born into music, the son of well-known singer of Swedish opera, says his life changed when he heard KISS, and then began with his first bands in school, making playbacks, playing drums and then starting with the vocals, following a career that has in the curriculum from the first band that considers his first serious work, Talk of the Town, receiving a gold album in Sweden, the huge work in bands and projects like Candlemas, Brazen Abbot, Dark Illusion, Storm Wind and many others, and today shows all his versatility and talent in Therion(Versão em português AQUI)

Check out this interview where Thomas tells us a bit more about the beginning of his career, his work, future plans, the recent American tour and more, yielding really cool stories, with good humor and friendliness that is typical of the singer.

RtM: Hello Thomas!! I would like to begin this interview asking about how did you began your career as a singer, and I believe that your father was your main supporter. Would you Tell us a little more about how began your interest  and your first steps in music?
Thomas: I was born into music. My father was an operasinger and entertainer so I quickly learned how showbiz worked. I was hanging backstage with him and so on. But it took a little while before I realize that I would work with the same thing. I was like most boys, I wanted to be a fireman or a policeman. I even had an idea that I would be a sailor (Yes, Im still intrested in boats) also Icehockey was a big thing for me, and I played hockey for a long time. But the music was always there you know. I started to sing very late. I was 15 or 16 I think. 

RtM: And how the Heavy Metal came into your life?
Thomas: I was at a friends house playing. This must have been 1976 or so. And he put on a record with KISS and showed me a picture of the band. That changed my life forever. It was superheroes and they played music at the same time. And I also started to understand that girls like you when you played music. We made playbackshows(Kiss and ABBA) in school and I got my first kiss after playing KISS. I remeber that girl. Her name was Elsa. 

RtM: Great times and good remembrances.
Thomas: Yes, But in those days the word Heavy Metal was not invented yet. But for me Metal and rock belongs to the same family. Eventually I started to play drums and my band was called Power Dogs. I was in third grade and I played with the “big boys” in the sixth grade!! We did 2 gigs and my mother fixed my first stage costume( I still have it somewhere). When I was 15 I started to sing in a band that we called Bastard. Later on we changed it to Octagon. We were actually pretty good. We sucked at our instruments, but we had good songs and the right attitude. I sang horrible back then. Everybody heard that, except me! Hahaha

RtM: Classical music is already long present time within the world of heavy metal, what factors do you attribute the union of these worlds, with metal fans and musicians always being very attached to classical music?
Thomas: I dont know, In Therion its a mix between the two styles. Classical music and metal is not so far from eachother. The idea of creating emotions are the same. And Im convinced that Beethoven or Wagner would love Metal if they were around today.

RtM: And besides you, who unites these two worlds very well, what other musicians do you think know how to use in a better way  classical music and Metal Music?
Thomas: Nightwish Is a very good example I think. Great band!

RtM: And what are your inspirations as a classical singer and also as a Heavy Metal singer?
Thomas :Hard to say, but I guess when it comes to classical singing my father. I realize that today when I listen to my recordings and his recording. Sometimes the timbre is scary alike. I think its un-avoidable. His philosophy was very simple when it comes to singin:. "Have fun and sing as natural as possible. If you can talk you can sing". He was actually irritated of many of his collegues on the royal opera who was walking around singing scales and warming up for hours. He thought that was kind of wimpy (hehehe). He was called the punkrocker of the royal opera.
When it comes to Metal... I dont know, there are so many good singers. Rob Halford, DIO to name two. Freddie Mercury is also a true hero for me.

RtM: You are a part of the history of very important bands in Metal, as the legendary Candlemass. I would like you to tell us a little about your years with the band.
Thomas: Candlemass was a strange period in my life. I recorded the album "Chapter VI" with them. An album I like very much. Messiah was out of the band and I was litterately thrown into the studio and I sang “The dying Illusion” and I ended up singing on the whole record. The fans hated it. (Not now. Now it has become a cult record) and I can in a way understand it. Candlemass wish was to get away from the doom metal, and they did with this record. We did a few shows and one day the band just fell asleep. Now they are doing great and we are still good friends. 

RtM: And you have the album with Talk of Town, a band with great results with the first record. Tell us a little about that period wit TT. 
Thomas: Talk of the Town was my first serious band. I was only 18 or 19 when our first record came out. It went up the charts in Sweden and I received a gold album for it. The hit we had was called "Free Like an Eagle". I wrote the song and it was like winning a lottery. This was the moment I understood that this is something I know how to do, and I can as a bonus earn good money on it. Talk of the Town was like The Backstreet boys of melodic metal. 5 good looking men (yeah I was handsome once upon a time… he he) with good songs touring around sweden with a major hit. It was a great period in my life. 

RtM: In 1993 you had released your solo album "If I Could Fly", I would like you also to comment on about your solo. I believe solo albums are important, a way of musician show their influences and personality without barriers.
Thomas: My solorecord was actually a very simple deal. I was asked by my publisher to do a solorecord and I said yes. The deal was: You sing, we write the songs. If you are into melodic rock, I think it’s a great album. 

Talk of the Town

RtM: Oh yeah, great Melodic Rock songs, my favorites are "Love to Watch you Move", "Forever and Ever" and "Love and Emotion".
Thomas: Unfortunately when it came out grunge started to get HUGE. And it was not a big commercial success. But I like that album. Jeff Scott Soto is doing some of the backing vocals and Marcel Jacob (RIP) Is playing bass on some tracks. Pontus from Hammerfall are doing some solos. Johan from Therion are playing drums and also Per Lindwall who played with everybody. Yes, even ABBA.

Thomas' solo album
RtM: Besides Brazen Abbot and Dark Illusion, we have Stormwind, with who you released six albums, is also an important part of your history in the metal music. How were the years alongside the band, what's your favorite work with the Stormwind and why did you leave the band?
Thomas: Brazen Abbot and Dark Illusion are album projects. Especially Brazen Abbot is a project I loved to be involved with. Stormwind was cool. I never quit that band. The band leader Thomas Wolf decided to put the band on ice to do other things. I think Stormwind was growing from album to album. The first album is probably the worst I ever made and the last one is a great power metal album.
My fav song from Stormwind must be “Touch the flames" I think.

RtM: You have worked with many other bands, and plus those that we noted above, and may be is a difficult question to answer, but of all the work that you were part of, which ones did you like more to participate, and in which you consider that had your best performances?
Thomas: Without a doubt Therion I think. But I am never fully satisfied. But I've learned through the years that, accept and go further.Its only music! It just destroys the fun to be too picky.

RtM: And sure, about Therion, one of the bands (the best in my opinion) that better combine the Classical Music with Metal, and you fit perfectly in the band, making it difficult for a fan to imagine the band without you, and I hope we have many albums with you beside of the band. Tell us a bit how was your entering  in Therion. 
Thomas: Yeah, you have to get used to me, I dont have any plans of leaving. It all started with a telephone call. “Hi, my name is Christofer Johnson. I play in a band called Therion. Do you wanna go on worldtour?” Thats how Christofer is. Very direct. I told him, Sure, it sounds like fun. But how do you sound?? Send me something so I can listen. I never heard Therion before. I heard ABOUT them. Next day I had the whole catalogue in my mail. And the first song I ever heard was “Mitternachtslöwe”. I was blown away by it and called Christofer on the spot and told him: I AM IN!!!  

RtM: And also about the band's "family" atmosphere. We can see that this climate contributes a lot in live performances.
Thomas: When I did the first tour the atmosphere in the band was ok but a bit tensed. Some member (No names) called the fans very ugly things, and acted very unpolite which secretly made me very sad and ashamed. But I decided to have fun and I did not care a second about the grumpy feeling that was in the band. Now the spirit and atmosphere in the band is very very relaxed. We have fun, and the arguments are really few. Touring is how it should be: FUN! And I think that people can feel that when we are on stage.

RtM: Speaking of "Family", your daughter Linnéa also joined Therion. How is it for you to have her beside you on stage? I think it must be something very special and it fills you with pride. And i have to say, she is getting better as a singer and stage performer!
Thomas: I am used to have her beside me onstage now. And I am of course very proud of it. She is getting better for each year. She was actually only 18 when she did the first gig with us. That was at the bloodstock festival in England. I was more nervous than her. Me and Linnea have a very close relation. When we are on tour our relation transforms from father and daughter to collegues. Many people ask if I get jealous with all boys who hits on her on tour. Of course not. 

She is an adult now and does exactly what she wants. And now she has a steady boyfriend. The drummer in the band Dynasty that actually was the drummer in Rock Of Ages that I did for almost 2 years.  I think me and Linnea had 2 fights with eachother. First one was when she was 5 and I should teach her how to ride a bicycle, and the second time when she was 16 and asked if she could have a party in my house. I said: sure you can, but there will be ZERO alcohol, its my house and there is no need to even discuss it. I was not popular after that. But now she actually thanked me for it.

RtM: We had speak about your solo album, from 1994, do  you have plans or desire to release another solo album? Maybe with Linnéa! It would be nice!
Thomas: I am actually working on a solo project. It has the working name “CHURCH OF DECADENCE”. I am really exited about it. When or if it will come out I dont know yet. No, plans if Linnea will be in it. But...Thanks for the suggestion!

RtM: And your role in the Rock Opera "Antichrist Superstar"? What can you tell us about this work, and your expectations to perform it live?
Thomas: Its a big big project. And to tell you the truth we dont know yet how we will do it live. But in one way or another we will! 

RtM: Recently you have been back in America, through Mexico, where Therion has a large fan base, and South America, where the band is also loved. How was the impressions about that tour here in America, and how you feel about this complicity and love by fans here for Therion?
Thomas: To me the fans are everything. Without them we are nothing! Zero! And Im a social guy who honestly loves to spend time with fans outside the hotels and so on. If you are an artist that think the fans are a pain in the ass, there is plenty of Mc Donalds who needs your service. South america is very special for me/us. And a big surprise this tour was our first time in Honduras. It was really really cool and the fans were awesome. 

RtM: The tour was also special because was the Chiara’s first time here too.
Thomas: Chiara is fantastic. We actually started to lose hope to find somebody who could keep up to par with Lori Lewis. Thanks youtube that we found her. She is a great person and she is doing a great job. 

RtM: I remember you have spoken in a humorous way that was the "No Sleep Tour" with you making several shows in a few days. It should really be tiring, but I think all worth it with the reception from the fans, and to be doing what you like.
Thomas: This tour was a tour with very early flights. Sometimes you must go up like 04.00 in the morning to fly to another place. And when you arrive you must go directly to soundcheck. After the gig in Uruguay I totally lost my voice (which I almost never do) Luckily we had a day off after that and I could sleep and recover and do the remaining gigs in Brazil. If it was worth it?? Yes, 10 times around! You have to be made of a special material to love this life and I do!

RtM: And artistically speaking, do you feel you are a realized musician or have something you want in your career? What things you would also like to realize?
Thomas: I have done more than most people have done in a whole lifetime, I have visit around 45 countries and I dont know how many albums Ive been in. Am I rich?? Noo..Not really. But I am wealthy if Im speaking about what I have seen and experienced. But I always wanna try new things. I would like to do more Theatre. And If I was offered a role in a movie I would say yes without blinking.

RtM: Thomas, thanks for you time, before all, i'm a huge fan your work, and hope to see you soon and Therion here in America again (In Porto Alegre too, i hope)! I let this end space to you to send your message to the fans.
Thomas: Thanks! My pleasure!
I think I have the best fans in the world and we will be back in latin america again. And I hope it will be soon!!!!
Many kisses Thomas V

Interview: Carlos Garcia
Photos: Opening: Tim Tronckoe
Therion & Thomas archives (all photos are not modify, in respect of the autors)
Thomas Fan Page
Therion website
Related Links:
Interview wit Linnéa

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