SOEN drummer Martin Lopez (OPETH, AMON AMARTH) recently spoke with Rock All Photography. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the group's upcoming album, "Lotus":
Martin: "I think we've never been this satisfied after making an album. We've always had some problems with the production of the albums – sound-wise, mainly — and this time, I think we really reached the goal... On previous records, our guitar players produced the albums. This time, we had we had David Castillo and Iñaki Marconi, and they came in with a lot of knowledge on how to reach the vision we had. The whole recording, we used a lot of analog equipment and some digital stuff, and that's pretty much the big difference. The last album, we mainly used analog stuff, but [it] didn't sound as heavy — it didn't breathe as much as we hoped it would. Now, this record really does."
On the group's goals when writing the album's material:
Martin: "The challenge is always the same — we try to make music as good as we possibly can. [We] put a lot of hard work into it and really want to have an album that is better than the last one. It's just about raising the bar every time, but we can [get] obsessed with it, and then we put thousands of hours into every little detail. I think that probably the hardest thing to do is to just release it – to just say, 'Okay, I cannot touch this song anymore,' and understand that the song is done and is good enough to record. It really tough, and sometimes, you destroy tracks by just getting too obsessed about it, and you start not liking music or certain passages that are really good. Because of this obsession where you try to make things better, you start hating the songs."
On the band's sound:
Martin: "I think it's like a good book or a good movie — there needs to be some kind of intricacy there, and it needs to be challenging, and there needs to be some intelligence behind it. Otherwise, it's just entertainment, and I'm not into that that much. I listen myself to music that makes me discover different things every time I listen to it. That's pretty much what we do, lyrically also — [we] try to have some value in what we say, and not just deliver something for you to head-bang to at the same time as you're cleaning your house. We try to really have you focused on the music and feel something."
On the group's recently released single/video, "Martyrs":
Martin: "Going through different topics about what we could do for the video, that idea came up, and just talking about it, we realized that a lot of people would get provoked, and automatically, we made a decision that we had to do that video. [In] 2018, just having five guys dressed as women, if that provokes you, then we have an issue there that we need to address. It turned out as we expected, or a little bit worse than that. We had a lot of people contacting us and telling us that they love the band and they really love our songs, but they cannot listen to us anymore because of the video, and they cannot support us — stuff like that, and people telling us that we have this conspiracy theories with us following a liberal agenda or whatever. It's just completely stupid. We're just musicians — we're just artists, and we just think that we need to address these issues. We support anyone who wants to do whatever they want, as long as they don't hurt anyone. If five guys dressing as women is a problem for you, then you don't really have any problems in your real life. We're real happy with the video, and the message came out, but at the same time, we're not fighting a war here. We're just a band, and we express ourselves. If you're a caveman and cannot accept that stuff, then maybe we're not for you."
On the band's preference to perform 100% live:
Martin: "No back tracks or click-tracks or anything. It's supposed to be live, right? That's what we do. I think that that is another problem we have today with bands and with the digital era. Music is about feelings — about heart and sharing with with your audience, expressing yourself. When you start following a machine and start playing to a click track just to be on time, you kill the magic. I'm not into that. I will never surrender to that. I want to have music as it is supposed to be — five guys who wrote those songs playing those songs live for you to share... There's no room for expression when you're following a click-track. You're just doing an act — you're acting; you're kind of selling a product instead of being an artist, a musician that is there to share something. I don't want to be pissing on bands that do it, because I don't know what they feel, but I want to enjoy every second of being live. I want to enjoy the actual feeling of doing this music and hopefully connecting to someone in the audience that is feeling the same. That's the magic of it. That's why I do it."
"Lotus" will be released on February 1, 2019 via Silver Lining Music.
SOEN will bring "Lotus" on the road as it tours Europe starting in March 2019.
Joel Ekelöf - vocals
Martin Lopez - drums
Lars Åhlund - keys, guitar
Stefan Stenberg - bass