"When I got diagnosed this syndrome, I thought that this is it, I wouldn’t play anymore"
The Swedish Doomfather is talking about The Doomsday Kingdom, Candlemass and his efforts to return back in action.
Mr. Edling, it’s a great privilege talking with you. So first of all, I’d like to ask you, if you don’t have any problem with that, how is your health going? Are you getting any better with your health issues?
Absolutely, I am much better now and I am over the worst part of it. Now I can function in a normal way, even though I’m still a little bit tired. That’s because I’m still eating these heavy antidepressants but I will be rid of them before the summer, in like three months’ time. So, it’s all looking much better now and I have a little more time being fixed, so it all looks good. Spring is coming, summer is coming and I will be better with every day.
I am glad to hear that. So, let’s talk about your new effort, The Doomsday Kingdom. How did you decide to create a new project this time around?
It was a thing, a born of a little bit of frustration because as you know Candlemass have decided not to make any more albums. I was frustrated by that fact so I needed something, a new outlet and I didn’t know what to do really. So, a few years ago I’ve got the idea and it was actually when I went out to catacombs in Paris and I got this little feed for an idea that I should create a new band and do a new record. You know, things sometimes don’t go as planned and after that I hit the wall in a big way but I still had this idea planted in my head. It took three years before it was finished and ready but I am pretty proud of it. It took a long and bumpy ride but I am very proud and happy of the result.
I understand that Marcus Jidell was an obvious choice to collaborate with but what were the criteria that you chose Andreas Johansson and Niklas Stalvind, especially the second one?
The drummer was after Marcus, he was the one suggested that I should use Andreas as the drummer because they are friends. I didn’t know Andreas at all but what he did with his drums on the songs was fantastic. I think he is an excellent drummer. As about Niklas, I knew him from way back because we used to bump into Wolf all the time when we played with Candlemass at festivals, at backstage and at airports and stuff. So, I knew Niklas a little bit even though we don’t live in the same city at all, he lives like two hours south from Stockholm. I think he was the perfect choice for the vocal duties and he did an amazing job, he gives a lot of refreshness and energy to the record with his singing. He fits like handling glove, you know, like he was born to sing the record. I am very happy with his performance on the album, like with Marcus fantastic guitar playing. So, everybody has done a fantastic job on the record and I am very fortunate to work with such great people actually.
You almost answered my next question about Marcus Jidell. I found that his work was almost majestic with big influence by Tony Iommi and so well putted solos inside the songs...
Yeah but also I asked him to do like a Dio’s solo in the first song, the “Silent Kingdom” and he came up with a Vivian Campbell solo. Then, on the “Spoonful Of Darkness” song I asked him maybe he could do some kind of a Randy Rhoads solo and he came up with a Randy Rhoads solo. So, that is absolutely fantastic I think, I was blown away by his solos on the album actually.
I absolutely agree. So I suppose he is something like your right hand for the recent years?
Yes, absolutely. Marcus has got a great ear for music and not many people have this ability. He is a great producer as well because of his abilities, you know, the hearing and feeling for music. So, it was great having him producing the Doomsday Kingdom record, it was the spider in the net. Ηe belt with Niklas when it came to his vocal files and Andreas with his drummer files as well and Marcus was laying the puzzle with my bass, his guitars, the vocals, the drums and everything. While I was sick at home, he did a great job putting the pieces of the puzzle together. So, we could have everything ready when it was time for the mixing of the record and in that case David Castillo did a fantastic job with the mixing. I think the record was fucking great actually.
Back in 2007, we had “King Of The Grey Islands” and now we have “Never Machine”. What about this “Never Machine” meaning? Is it something like a metaphor, as it was those grey islands some years ago?
No, the “Never Machine” song was totally inspired by the Spanish thriller “The Box”. It’s a man placing a box outside a married couple’s door, on the doorstep and it takes in the box and they get to know that if they press the button on the box they will have a million dollars but bad things will happen. Αnd of course, they pushed the button (laughing). That was the inspiration for the “Never Machine”. But also the “Never Machine” can be the TV or the computer screen or the telephone that people are staring to every day. You stare into a fucking screen all day and you forget everything and you know that it makes you zombie. So, it can also have that interpretation.
In the previous effort, the “Never Machine” EP, you had a song “The Whispering” that in my humble opinion stood out as one great folk/doom song. It was a special composition, so why didn’t you give it a second chance to shine in the new album with a better production?
Because I think it would be too much to use three tracks from the demo also in the record. I like “The Whispering” as well but, you know, we had both “The Sceptre” and the “Never Machine” on the demo EP.
In this EP were the demos and you can’t have all the demos on the record because I think a lot of fans would have been disappointed if I would have taken three or four songs. A lot of people have asked me the question why it isn’t “Zodiac City” on the record. But if I had used all four songs on the record then people would have been disappointed because then other people would have been disappointed because there are too many songs from the demo that came on the album. You understand my problem...
So, when you decide “ok we’ll do two songs from the demo on the album” and actually the other six songs on the album are absolutely great, even though I personally like “The Whispering” a lot I don’t think I would like to take out any song from the album and replace it with “The Whispering”. And Niklas, that sings on the Doomsday Kingdom, he loves “Zodiac City” and he said “please can we have “Zodiac City” on the album?” but I didn’t want to take any song out from the album and put “Zodiac City”. I think all the songs that are on the album should be on the album and I think I am right in this. People have different opinions and think in different ways but that’s how it is and I am, you know, 1000% happy with the album and also with the demos. So, there isn’t a problem anywhere.
As we talk about standout tracks, I think that “The God Particle” is definitely the best composition of the album and probably one of the better ones in the last two or three years of the doom genre. Could you give us some more information about its creation and its lyrical part?
Oh I’m glad you like it. I was a bit afraid that people wouldn’t like it and I am very happy to hear that because it’s a bit different. You know, it’s not Niklas in the singing and stuff, so I was a bit afraid that people would think that it was too different from the other stuff on the record. Actually, it’s me singing it and it’s a very personal song so that’s why I wanted to sing it. In a way it’s about my little son being born and the strange cosmic vibrations, the strange ways of how the universe works sometimes. You know, is it a thing of god or is it some mysterious force of whatever is happening when a child is being born. It’s a bit trippy but I think the lyrics are pretty cool and it was a blast singing it. It’s a long song and I think it’s pretty powerful anyway and it was great for me to play my first guitar solo ever, you know, as I do in the end of the song. Of course Marcus would have played it a thousand times better but I don’t care, I wanted to do it and I did it. It was absolutely great to do “The God Particle” song and I am very glad you like it. So, then I don’t have to be afraid that people think it is misplaced on the record or anything, it’s a good thing.
The next question is about Candlemass and the anniversary “Nightfall” shows that they’re going to give. Of course we’ re lucky that we’ll have the chance to see this show in Greece in some weeks from now, but it’s some kind of weird that Candlemass exists and plays without you, the mastermind of this band. I understand that the health always comes first and in such big names as Candlemass is difficult to stop the processes and the requirements, but don’t you think that this version of the touring band is some kind of incomplete without you in many ways?
Of course, but what shall you do? I‘ve been sick for a long time and I cannot ask them to not play, that would be really silly of me to demand it or to tell them not to play. I mean, these people are my friends and they would like to go and play so that wouldn’t be cool if I told them that they had to sit on their asses for years while I am sick. The problem is also that I wasn’t aware of the fact that they are doing “Nightfall” shows...
What do you mean you weren’t aware of it?
I know that Netherlands’ Deathfest that they played a week ago should not have been a “Nightfall” show, so they were surprised as well. There was some kind of misunderstanding because the “Nightfall” shows were supposed to be very special and I would have participated in that. Now more “Nightfall” shows have been booked but I only agreed to do three of them because I have doctor’s orders. I cannot do more than three. It’s a bit weird; Nightfall shows without me or without Messiah it’s a bit strange. The thing is that I heard from the Netherland’s Deathfest that the “Nightfall” gig was fucking great. So, would you rather see the show not happening or would you like to see it as it is; me being sick and Messiah not in the band anymore. We still see a great show with great songs performed in a great way, all with Mats Leven as the singer, so when I read in a several reviews that the Netherlands’ Deathfest gig was fucking great, I said “congratulations, that’s great, I am very happy to hear this” because then nobody hopefully will be disappointed because I am not playing the bass and Messiah is not singing. It is what it is. That’s the reality.
We could expect in the future more shows like this for your other albums like my favorite “Chapter VI” or “Tales Of Creation”?
Yes, maybe “Tales Of Creation” but I don’t know, I have no idea about this. We did “Ancient Dreams” with Robert a few years ago but I don’t know. I am gonna do the Doomsday Kingdom for a couple of years now so I have no idea, I cannot answer that question.
So can we expect live shows from The Doomsday Kingdom in the future or this is just a studio act for now?
No, in fact I am doing some Doomsday Kingdom shows this year and next year I will definitely tour with The Doomsday Kingdom. So, I am sure I will come to Greece and play with the Kingdom in Athens by next year.
Yes, I am looking forward to it.
You are obviously a very creative person, being one of the most influential Swedish musicians in the metal scene and writing material since the middle of the ‘80s. After all these years and having those ups and downs, did you ever think about something like retirement, you know, just leave your legacy to do the whole work and that’s it?
Well, when I hit the wall and got diagnosed this stress related fatigue syndrome, of course I thought that this is it, that I can’t play anymore. I was in really, really bad shit and sometimes these diseased syndromes are chronic they say. Now that my disease is not chronic I will be back in full form next year. But when I was in bad, I mean in really bad condition then of course I thought I might not be able to do it anymore and I may not be able to play live again. I was hoping that I would be as well so I could at least write songs. It’s been a really tough ride for me going through this sickness, both physically and mentally. It’s been pretty bad some times and better some other times but it‘s been really taken all three years. You know, inside, in my heart, I‘ve always hoped that I would be able to come back because this is my life. This is what I love, this is what I was born to do, you know, write songs and go out and play them for people that wanna hear my songs and wanna see Candlemass or wanna see The Doomsday Kingdom. I mean, that’s absolutely fantastic and I am very fortunate to be back on my feet now and ready to do it again, even though I take small steps this year. Until next year it will be on full speed, I hope, so now I must say I am in full life. You won’t get rid of me yet. It was close that I was so sick but still got a few years in me I think.
In the same mood, this year we had the last shows of “The End” tour of Black Sabbath. Although Tony Iommi left a chance for a new album or even some shows here and there, the facts say that they’re starting to think about the end of this long and successful career. Being a big fan and yourself, which are your thoughts about it?
Well if they decide that they wanna call it a day, I am pretty sure they are all agreed to do it so who am I to say they shouldn’t do it? I am pretty sure that Black Sabbath is a huge fucking beast to have on the road to function. I think it’s a very, very complicated machine. When Tony Iommi has got diagnosed with cancer’s stuff it hasn’t been easy for him so I really think that “13” and this huge tour that they did was a good point to quit. I really hope that he will be okay maybe on a smaller scale, as I heard that he teamed up with Tony Martin so maybe it will be a “Headless Cross” reunion and play songs from the Tony Martin era. That will be on a smaller scale and he can pretty much called his shots but I am sure he will still work. I think he is like me. Ιf he teams up with Tony Martin, I am sure it will not only be for some live gigs; then there has to be a record and another record so I am looking forward to that. When Dio died I think that was terrible because I really hoped for a new Heaven And Hell record, that would have been fantastic but now he cannot do that. He is a creative person and if Sabbath cannot go anymore he will find new ways for his creativity, as it is the approach of Tony Martin and like I did with the Doomsday Kingdom. You know, it’s the love for the music and everything about it. So, hats off for Tony Iommi (laughing).
I have one last question. I would like to ask about Avatarium. We had a few days before the announcement of a new album called “Hurricanes And Halos”. I saw its beautiful artwork and being a fan of the first two albums, I can’t wait for the time I’ll be able to hear the new songs. So, could you tell us more about the direction that you took this time? You know, I really hope for something even more gloomy and bluesy than the previous “The Girl With The Raven Mask”.
I think you will be happy because there is no metal on the new album. There is no doom, there is no prog; the new album is totally ‘70s oriented. The opening track is like Deep Purple of 1972 and there’s another song like Uriah Heep of 1971. I wrote six of the tracks; the Deep Purple song, the Uriah Heep song and then a song that to me it is a very ‘70s Alice Cooper’s song. Marcus and Jenny have written two songs and they are very much like a Led Zeppelin’s song, so I think you will be happy. It’s a very good record and I think it will do great. One of my favorite tracks is totally Blue Oyster Cult so I think you will be very happy when you’ll hear the whole album.
Thank you very much Mr. Edling, it was an honor talking with you. I wish the very best for the future. Close this interview as you want...
Thanks a lot and I hope to see you in Greece in the next year. We’ll go to the tour on Europe and I am sure will be in Athens and maybe in Thessaloniki. I hope to see all the Greek fans there, you know, it’s gonna be sooner or later. Thanks a lot and have a great evening.