quarta-feira, 8 de março de 2017

Interview - Nalle Pahlsson (Therion, Royal Mess): "Music is expressions and feelings"

Perhaps for some the name NALLE PAHLSSON may not sound familiar, but for a fan of Hard Rock and connoisseur of the Swedish scene, will certainly link the name to bands like Treat, Last Autumn's Dream, Easy Action, Vindictiv, and most recently Luciferian Light Orchestra and , Of course, THERION, band that Nalle is member since 2008.  (Acesse a versão em português)

With great experience and ability that goes beyond a great bass player, and after so many services provided in albums of dozens of bands and artists, whether as official member, guest or musician hired, In 2011 Nalle decided to work on his solo project, where he would put into practice his ability as a composer, lead singer and multi-instrumentalist, with the sonority focused on bands that inspired him since he was a boy, simply music coming from his soul and heart, ROYAL MESS was released in 2015 by the Australian label MelodicRock Records.

We had a talk with Nalle to bring you some of the work of this important and talented Swedish musician, where he tells us about his beginning in music, the passion for Rock and Roll, a summary of his history as a musician, the works he was part of, the Entry into the Therion, the Royal Mess and more!

RtM: Nalle, the people who follows your work, knows that you're always involved in various projects, so tell me, do you have any idea how many albums you've recorded, either as a member or a guest?
Nalle: I actually have no idea........ ? I have to check it some day...... (laughs!)

RtM: And how did you get started in music? Who were the people who encouraged you at the beginning?
Nalle: It was my big brother Benny who was 10 years older than me who got me into the world of rock music. He´s the foundation for a very big part of my musical background. He had the albums with the cool bands and artists and I listened to his records very much as a kid. He also had a guitar that I learned to play by myself.

RtM: And the first bands that caught your attention?
Nalle: From the very start it was Jimi Hendrix and The Rolling Stones. A bit later on there were Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath...... then The Sweet, KISS, Alice Cooper, Status Quo, David Bowie just to mention a few......In the late 70´s I also got in to more progressive stuff such as U.K. Genesis, Rush, Kansas etc....

RtM: You're a huge fan and a collector of Kiss, and logically it's one of your favorite bands.
Nalle: Yes, KISS is absolutely one of my biggest favourites, but it has of course very much to do with their image and all of that. They were living cartoons ! They were like Superman or Spiderman – but they were real! I discovered them when I was 11 or 12 years old. If you would have asked me or any other young boy at that time what they wanted to become, he would probably have said “A RockStar or a Super Hero” - KISS were both ! They were a little boy´s dream – and it was also about the mystique. Nobody knew what they looked like or who they were for about 10 years !

RtM: Specifically about Kiss, which items do you like best in your collection? Do you have any idea what the rarest item would be?
Nalle: I would say my autographed concert book from Stockholm, Sweden 1976 !

RtM: What did you think of the latest Kiss studio albums? As a fan you expect them to release new material yet? Some fans do not like Tommy and Eric  wearing the classic masks. Are you a radical fan type or more open minded?
Nalle: I think “Sonic Boom” is a really good album. “Monster” I wasn´t very happy with. And I have to be honest; Even if I´m a fan of the classic line-up – The band sounds better today with Tommy Thayer and Eric Singer. But for me – KISS will always be about  Gene, Paul, Peter & Ace ! But Tommy Thayer actually sounds more like Ace Frehley than Ace Frehley sounds like himself today ! KISS is more like “A Show” you go to watch. And to me it´s ok ! If Tommy and Eric uses the original members make-up...? - So let it be it ! I don´t care ! Bring on the show ! :-)

Malcolm Young with an AB/CD T-Shirt
RtM: Coming back to your career, what was your first professional band? I remember AB/CD, a tribute band to AC / DC, which had a relative success there in Sweden.
Nalle: AB/CD was formed by me and some childhood friends in the end of 1983, and we still play now and then. We have actually sold more records than many other hardrock bands from the period of the early and mid 90´s.

RtM: You've also made and are part of well-known traditional bands like Treat and Vindictiv, tell us a little bit about your collaboration in these two great bands, especially Treat, which is loved by Hard Rock fans from around the world.
Nalle: I became a professional as freelance musician and played with very many different swedish and danish artists from 1983-2004 actually. It wasn´t until 2005 with TREAT that I really joined “a real band”, and in 2008 I joined THERION.
With Vindictiv I have recorded 4 albums....but I´m not part of the band anymore.....
I´m a big fan of Göran Edman who sang on the 2 first albums of VINDICTIV.
I was a member of  TREAT from 2005-2012 and actually, the album “Coup De Grace” that we recorded is a great statement for me as a bassplayer. Still today I get mails and people are coming up to me telling how much they love that album and that my bassplaying is so good on it – and that makes me happy ! :-) I really like that type of melodic hardrock.

RtM: Sweden, by the way, is recognized and respected as a major producer of excellent Metal and Rock bands, but mainly of Hard Rock, cited by many publications and journalists. Tell us a little bit about this "phenomenon", and why do you think that there are so many great bands of the style in your country?
Nalle: I really don´t know......? I guess we got very much influenced by brittish and american rock and pop music in the 1960´s, -70´s and -80´s....and swedish people are usually very organized and focused. Swedish people are also in some ways seen as a bit boring and strict.....and maybe that´s the way it is ? – but maybe we get very much of our feelings out from the music..... (?) Music is really about expressing yourself. And it seems we know how to do it.

RtM: Of recent releases, we have the Last Autumn’s Dream’s album, in which the band pays homage to several classics, such as Sweet and Kiss. Tell us a little more about this release, and how you were choosing the songs. I bet Kiss was a vote of your own!
Nalle: We´ve had a few covers on earlier albums of L.A.D. And we actually had been thinking of to record a full cover album...... and when it came to the point that we noticed we would have too little time for original material this time, it was a good opportunity to do it. And we´ve actually got VERY good reactions from everywhere so far ! Many of the songs are so anonymous that people in the end will believe these are our own songs :-D. We choose the songs together and Jamie told me to pick a KISS song. And it became “All the way” from the album “Hotter Than Hell” !

"Deep down I´m a very simple guy who just loves simple and powerful music."
RtM: Gathering of Kings is also a new project that you are involved in, and soon will be released by Melodic Rock Records. Tell us a little more about this project, wich have many great musicians. I have great expectations!!
Nalle: So far we´ve only recorded 2 songs, but it seems like we´re gonna record the rest of the album in march-april. Hopefully it will be released before this year is over.

RtM: Upon your entry on Therion, tell us how the invitation was, and I believe that as a musician it should be very gratifying, because the band has a very personal and original sound, and certainly was and remains a challenge for you as a musician.
Nalle: Thomas Vikström who was an old colleague of mine (now a dear friend) recommended me and Johan Kullberg when Petter Karlsson and Johan Niemann quit. We just went to a rehearsal place here in Stockholm and tried a few songs out. One of them was “The Blood of Kingu” and one more that I can´t remember. We just played the songs through and then Christofer Johnsson said “It sounds good – Just like it use to and the way it should do” (something like that) – So, then the thing was clear. We became members of the new Therion line-up. At that time I had no idea that Therion was so popular in South America. I got totally shocked when we got to the first gig in Mexico City.

RtM: I see you feel really good about Therion, as Christopher always says, is a family, and he's always looked for people who have a great relationship, not only internally, but also with the fans.
Nalle: Yes, to me music should be about friendship and having fun together, and that is the way it is in Therion. We feel comfortable with each other and we feel a deep respect for the fans! Without the fans you´re nothing but “another band”...

"To me music should be about friendship and having fun together, and that is the way it is in Therion." 
RtM: Therion is finalizing the recordings of their Rock Opera, and you also recorded parts of the guitars, and sure the bass. Tell me a little about the records, how are your expectations around this album.
Nalle: I´m actually VERY excited to hear the final result! When I recorded the bass and rhythm guitars there were not very much vocals recorded yet, so I really don´t know how it will sound...... There were also very much other instruments missing...... I´m just wondering about it being so long......3,5 hours ! It´s going totally against everything in this “fast going world” we´re living in today......Will the fans have the strength and will to really get into it ? We´ll see......

RtM: In 2015 you finally, after being part of so many bands and collaborating with so many people, released your solo album, Royal Mess. Tell us a little bit how you felt about this step in your career?
Nalle: It was something I´ve had in my mind for many years and I felt it had to be done! And I´m really pleased with the result. It contains so much of the music I grew up with, and that still today is there deep in my heart and soul. Deep down I´m a very simple guy who just loves simple and powerful music. It also felt good for me to show people I´m nor only the bassplayer, but also a guitar player, singer, producer and songwriter.

RtM: And how surged the idea or the need  to launch a solo? Had not you felt this need before?
Nalle: I guess every musician has that dream. To make your own record and show others what you´re able to do and to prove to yourself that you can do it ! It´s of course also very much of an “ego thing”.

"Royal Mess contains so much of the music I grew up with, and that still today is there deep in my heart and soul."
RtM: You can also showcase your ability as a vocalist (receiving many compliments for this experience as lead singer), and multi-instrumentalist, showing much more who Nalle is as a musician and composer, and that your vein is actually Hard Rock,  such as Melodic Rock, Sleaze and AOR.
Nalle: I´m very happy to have received all of these good reviews from all over the world. I´m so thankful that I have got so much back from both listeners and journalists! And yes – I agree; I see myself as a true rocker ! :-)

RtM: The fact of knowing and collaborating with many artists, I also believe, made it possible to have many special guests. Tell us a bit about how you organized the recordings and production of the album, having several guests to "distribute" on the songs.
Nalle: My plan was to bring in friends and colleagues from the music business that I´ve played live with or had recorded with – or that I just had some relation to in music business. I managed to get around 25 guests aboard! Everybody that I asked were willing to join! Most of the guitar players recorded their solos in their own studios and then sent the files over to me after we had some talk on the phone. There are still many friends that I want to have on my recordings – so now I´m planning the follower to my first Royal Mess album !

RtM: About the sound, besides the Hard Rock that has this characteristic of Swedish bands, I felt a lot of influence from Kiss, something quite obvious as your influence! There is no way! I would like you to tell us more about your inspirations in the composition of the album.
Nalle: I actually never thought about where the inspiration came from for the songs.....? I don´t think you can hear anything that is some kind of Rip-Off or something like that....but sure, I´m inspired by KISS.......and I guess you can also hear some influences from AC/DC in “Gold Digger”.... The stuff that sounds a bit more american I guess I´ve got from my inspiration from the bands Journey, Foreigner and ToTo that I love very much.

 "I failed a couple of times, but in the end I confessed that I really had a drinking problem and I decided for myself to start a new life without alcohol."
RtM: In some lyrics you approached your personal drama, which was the fight against alcohol, which fortunately you won. Could you tell us a bit about it, and what advice or encouragement would you give to people or families who suffer with this type of problem?
Nalle: People are telling me that I´m strong to keep away from the alcohol and so on..... but I would like to say that it´s more of a decision! I failed a couple of times, but in the end I confessed that I really had a drinking problem and I decided for myself to start a new life without alcohol. I´ve been sticking to that decision now for almost 6 years – and I feel better than ever! 

Today I actually pretty often feel ashamed of how much swedish people drink...... Alcohol is like religion here. You can´t have fun, you can´t be yourself, you can´t have a good time without drinking – and it´s being announced on FaceBook all the time. Drinking alcohol is the highlight of the week – getting drunk, feeling free and happy – C´mon be yourself – have a drink! I know all of it – Cause I´ve been like that myself ! Today I know better! We are actually quite many musicians here in Sweden who has totally quit drinking.

RtM: Talking about some of the songs, "Aces High" is a great opening, referring to the Hard Rock of the 80's. I'd like you to tell us more about it.
Nalle: Well......... For this one I only had the music and the title......the words for the chorus I played around with for some time......then I showed it to my co-writer Anders Lundquist, and he came up with the story behind the title. I think it turned out to be really good – It´s an energic and happy song !

RtM: "Mr. Freedom" follows a more Sleaze side, with groove, and "The Pieces of my Heart" is a Power Ballad, something that could not miss in an album of the style! I would like you to comment a bit more about these two songs.
Nalle: "Mr Freedom" is a bit KISS-influenced in the chorus I guess..... The lyrics I wrote about how I escaped my ex-girlfriend who was really bad for me......and it´s also about how I got free from the drinking. My heavy drinking started when I was together with her. I don´t want to blame her for everything, but she was a big part of my situation back then..... I wanted to get numb and escape reality......
“The Pieces of My Heart” has a touch of american oriented rock in the chorus..... The verses I have no idea where I got them from..... ? I think it´s a pretty original ballad.....The lyrics are more about revenge than feeling sorrow and sadness after being left by your love you held so dear – until she betrayed you......

RtM: Talking about more two of my favorites, in "See you in My Dreams" we can feel a very emotional load, and I would like you to comment the lyrics.
Nalle: The song is a 100% written to my brother Benny who committed suicide back in 1986 whereas the song also was written. Yes, the song is 30 years old ! Some bands and artists recorded it at that time. The record companies loved it.....but for some reason it was never released. But now – it is out there ! Unfortunately, just a couple of weeks ago, also one of the guys who wrote the full lyrics for the song died – Nestor Geli – a great and nice guy.

RtM: And "From Rise to Fall" is another very captivating Hard Rock, which, like some other tracks from the album, immediately referred me to Kiss, especially in the chorus and backing vocals! Very good!
Nalle: To me “From Rise To Fall” sounds very much Def Leppard! But sure – KISS as well! That´s ok with me! - I like it too!

RtM: There are many great Hard Rock/Rock and Roll songs! "Hell City", "To Hell and Back".....We could talk about every song! The album is great! Finishing on the Royal Mess, after this first solo experience, do you intend to release a new work soon? How were the results and the repercussion?
Nalle: The record company says they are ready anytime for another Royal Mess álbum só I´m working on it! CD:s aren´t selling very much today, but the reviews have been very good, so I´m very happy about it!

"To me it´s absolutely uninteresting how fast you are or how much technique you need to play this and that. Music is expressions and feelings. "
RtM: A compliment that I would like to give to your work, is that you are one of those musicians who always puts a lot of feeling in the compositions, always looking to make a significant contribution, and in their solo album, we can feel this feeling and footprint a lot. One thing that seems to me missing in many young bands and musicians nowadays, as we see many "superproductions" and also a very large number of groups sounding very similar and unimaginative. Do you believe that this is due to the fact that there is a lot of concern about sounding perfect, and forgetting to think about the composition itself?
Nalle: Thanks for your kind words ! :-) First of all I think you should “play music and play songs” in the second place you play your instrument, if you see what I mean ? I don´t care about me being the bassplayer – the instrument is only a tool I use to express music. There are too much virtuosos out there. To me it´s absolutely uninteresting how fast you are or how much technique you need to play this and that. If you´re like that, you may as well be into sports! Music is expressions and feelings. And many youngsters may be a bit too much into what they believe is a rock´n´roll lifestyle (?) Maybe they´re more thinking of to be a “cool rockstar” than to really perform (?) But what do I know....AND – some tend to forget that playing in a band is really a teamwork and NOT about yourself being a soloist. It´s about listening more to the others in the band than listening to yourself actually.

Treat: "Coup the Grace" promo pic
RtM: And if you have to do a “Time Line” of your career, what the ten more important albums wich you have recorded? Just a little “game” to fans and people who are knowing, or wants to know more of your work.
1.       “Royal Mess” - Nalle Påhlsson´s Royal Mess
2.       “Coup De Grace” - TREAT
3.       “That Makes One” - EASY ACTION
4.       “Vindictiv" – VINDICTIV
5.       “Virus”- Randy Piper´s ANIMAL
6.       In Disguise” - L.A.D.
7.       "Sitra Ahra" – THERION
8.       “The Rock´n´Roll Devil – AB/CD
9.       “Pure” - CHRIS LANEY
10.   "Luciferian Light Orchestra"– Luciferian Light Orchestra

RtM: Nalle, thanks so much for your attention, we hope to see you soon here in South America!
Nalle: Thanks to you as well Carlos !
Nice talking to you !

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