Hi there. Congratulations to your great album. Please describe the reactions to the CD so far.
Niklas Tengblad: Thanks a lot for your appreciation! It´s been a fantastic response from all over the world! Particularly in Europe we´ve managed to reach out. Great reviews and a lot of air play too. We feel that there is a strong longing for pure metal again. We are also excited that almost every track on the album has been mentioned as a favourite to different people.
Do you care for the opinion of your fans, the press and people in general? Or is it just you and your music?
Niklas: Throughout the recording process we just followed our instincts. Now we sure care about the opinions of the fans and the press. Without support there is no way for us to continue. We have a treasure of songs waiting to be recorded and to be played live if the kids want us to.
Some of our readers may never have heard about you. Please give us a short briefing in the band's biography.
Dark Illusion started out 1982 as an early teen rock band in Stockholm, Sweden. Tomas Hultqvist - guitarist and song writer - joined the band in 1983, bringing heavy metal and hard rock into focus. We played live during 1983-1985 at local joints. Two different demo tapes were recorded during this time with songs as “Night Knight”, “Child of the Night” and “Warrior”. The band was split in 1985.
In 2003 Tomas and Niklas decided to record and produce a Dark Illusion EP called “For Just Another Night”, containing 4 tracks of melodic rock with Thomas Vikström on vocals. The EP was released by Battlefield Records, a new label started by us. Some tracks were played at different radio stations in Europe. This gave us confidence to start the production of our 1:st CD Album with 14 heavier tracks of older and newer songs.
Please describe the moment you decided to give Dark Illusion a new start.
Niklas: Tomas H and I kept contact through all years working together with his and mine song writing. Finally in 2003 we sat down at his apartment listening to some older demos + having a couple of beers. The material felt fresh so we decided to record an EP to get experience in production etc. Of course, the songs for the EP were a lot more AOR sounding than what D.I. normally played. The other guys came in later to complete the line-up.
The music and the scene are not the same like 1985. What do you think? What has changed and what has remained the same?
Tomas Hultqvist: A lot of it has changed and a lot of things are the same. A big difference is however, that you’re not dependant on the big labels as much anymore. Or having to record in big expensive studios. Now there’s guys sitting with their computers around almost every corner who can help you with really advanced stuff. And it won’t have to cost a fortune either. As far as promoting the band though, I think playing live is still the best way to do it. So in that respect it hasn’t changed.
Let's talk about your new CD. My favourite is "Night knight". Can you tell us something about this song and it's history?
Tomas H: That song is very special, since it’s collaboration between different individuals. Initially I had the music for it, but I had absolutely no ideas considering lyrics whatsoever. Then Ola Jansson, the original B-player, and Niklas Tengblad came up with the most outstanding lyrics one could ever have asked for.
I still don’t know how they did it, ‘cause it’s so great. But I’m glad they did because otherwise D.I. would never have evolved to what it is today. The song “Night Knight” really changed things. It gave us a clear direction and we’re still on the same track.
Which one is YOUR favourite song from the album and why?
Thomas Vikström: “Power of the Evil” and “Sensational Walk” I would say.
Pontus Egberg: Great album – no bad tracks!
Niklas: “Night Knight” is definitely the greatest one as it turned out – I still can´t get enough of it after more than 20 years. Originally “Child of the Night” was my favourite.
Are there some lyrics that are special to you? Tell us something about them.
Tomas H: Personally I like the lyrics for “Night Knight”. To me it’s a classic, and it has all the elements of a great lyric. “Tragedy” - originally I had a different lyric for it than the one that’s on the record. But it wasn’t good enough so Anders Lundquist were brought in and turned it into a great piece of work! “Weeper Deeper” - because Thomas Vikström sings it so convincingly and brilliant. Finally, “Runaway on the loose”. Yet another example of a good working collaboration between myself and Anders Lundquist who really put on an awesome finishing touch on it.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
Tomas H: From everywhere. From listening to music, watching a concert or a movie or reading a newspaper or a book. Or just from life in general. No really big secrets. You just take it all in and then see what comes out.
I like all the songs of your CD. But the old ones most. Some of us believe that in general music written in the eighties is more magical than the one written nowadays. What do you think?
Tomas H: I agree totally. But then again, it all depends on who you are and what music were popular when you grew up. Because those bands and records are bound to stay with you forever. I personally dig a lot of records between the years ´79 to ´81.
How would you describe your own music?
Tomas H: Well, basically it’s gotta be energy that’s coming out of the speakers.
If we didn´t still have the energy we wouldn’t be doing this. We also put a lot of emphasis on the song writing and the quality of the songs.
What are your musical influences in your opinion? How have they changed through the years?
Tomas H: It’s been changing a lot over the years. For me, it started with The Beatles, went to Mott the Hoople and Bad Company, on to The Sweet and Kiss, later to UFO, Rush, Scorpions, AC/DC and Judas Priest. Then the Punk thing was happening. Then NWOBHM came along and the Metal scene really exploded, with bands like Dio, Accept, Saxon and Iron Maiden. And it’s been going on strong ever since.
Please name some lately released CDs that you like to listen to at home.
Niklas: I mostly listen to web radio actually. Latest bought records that sound good is Swedish Nocturnal Rites and Firewind.
What do you think about trends like Metal Core?
Tomas H: I’ve never heard it. I know what Hardcore is though, and I don’t like it much. So if it sounds like that it’s probably not my cup of tea. Any good music should have some kind of melody to it I think. I like some of the Bay Area Trash bands of the late 80’s though.
Do you still watch other bands play? Have there been some shows lately that impressed you?
Niklas: I saw Yngwie Malmsteen about 2 years ago in Stockholm, great show and performance! Otherwise I mostly visit local clubs in Stockholm with upcoming bands.
What makes the difference between Dark Illusion and other Swedish Power Metal bands?
Tomas H: Well, it´s hard to compare as we’re just starting out. Fresh out of the can, without the help or influence of a major label, leaving it all up to ourselves what we want to do and how far we are willing to push things. But it’s been working well this far.
We'd like to know something about the underground in your hometown. Are you still in touch? And if so: Where do you hang out? Are there some yet unknown bands that you like?
Niklas: I´ve been out quite often at local rock clubs watching local bands before we started the time consuming production of “Beyond the Shadows”. Actually I put together a compilation CD in 2003 with 16 great upcomers from the Stockholm area – by the way that was the start of Battlefield Records. Some of my favourites from this period are Paperback Freud and Source of Ignition playing plain rock and hardcore respectively.
What about the Swedish Metal Scene in general? Do you know some bands, and if so, is there friendship, rivalry or more or less nothing special?
Tomas H: We have lots of friends in the music business. But we don’t associate with any other band in particular. If there is a rivalry it’s a healthy one. We wish the best for everyone.
How important is it for you to play live on stage? Will there be Dark Illusion Live Shows?
Tomas H: It’s part of the plan for sure. But when or where it will happen is really impossible to say at the moment.
Are there still some bands that you would die to play with?
Tomas H: Not any specific bands, but venues. We are like everyone else attracted to all the outdoor festivals that take place during the summer in Europe. So attending at one would be perfect.
Still three questions to go. What do you think of Metal web magazins?
Tomas H: Well, it’s really a new world that’s opening up to everyone in Metal, with the internet thing becoming a reality. It really brings us all together; Germans, Russians, Swedes, Dutchmen, South Americans etc. Nowadays we’re all like one big family I think. And the Metal Web Magazines play a big role.
Is there something that you have never been asked but always have been eager to say?
Niklas: To upcoming bands around the world I want to say – there is a golden opportunity nowadays in the digital world. Firstly you can record a great sounding album without entering the biggest and most costly studios + secondly you can reach out to fans, radio stations and magazines around the world by internet. Don´t always wait for the big label to find you. Finally, don´t underestimate the importance of the recording process, mixing and mastering of the record – put all you have in to it – also get help/new blood from outside the band. Tough shit but maybe worth it!
Best whishes to you all. Any last words?
Tomas H: OK, to all you who read this: I hope that you go and check out our new CD “Beyond the Shadows”, which we have put a lot of work into, and which we think is a fair representation of D.I. in the year of 2005 and what we’re able to provide when we’re at best.