Hi Dag & Dan. Congratulations with regard to your latest CD "White Darkness"
. The songs are very moving and sensitive. Even if includes also progressive moments I don’t find it is a matter of typical Prog Rock album. Nevertheless it turned out softer-rock and more emotional such “Invisible”. What do you think about the term Prog Rock ad about my assessment concerning Invisible? Is it maybe due to the large number of “old/new” tracks?
DAN: I would´t call it progrock either. I only like the old progbands such as “Genesis“, “Gentle Giant”, “Yes”, “King Crimson” and stuff like that. I think "White Darkness" is “progressive hardrock”. We always had “old” songs from Tom Nouga or Original of our albums so it’s nothing new “Eternal” is 75% an Original song and so is “One of the lonely ones”, “Alonely” and “Stalingrad”. Even “Alone” on the first Nightingale album is a old songs from the band “Fordz” featuring all three Swanö brothers!
I’m again surprised about your latest record, not only because the title “White Darkness” is could be little confusing, bit also the atmosphere is very emotional. How did you develop this album – how did you deal with it? Maybe it is due to the first “bigger” tour after “Invisible”
but also due to private events/development?
DAN: Since my dear brother wrote pretty much all of it, I worked more to oversee the whole operation and to fix with the production of the album. I tried to step out of the box and Nightingale as a fan. I wanted the production to be big and ballsy and all the songs to have both depth and a glossy “surface”. The touring is fucked this time. A few one/off gigs here and there. I like touring, but not again with the same style like previous tours. I could imagine getting my ass on a bigger support slot for a cool prog/progmetal band. I see no joy in playing to 5 people on a Tuesday in a German town I never knew existed!!!
Don’t you think it seems to be the most “personal album” which you have ever recorded with Nightingale
DAN: It’s the ONLY personal album we ever did. All the other stuff was science fiction lyrics. It was hard to write about “family matters” but it was something that I needed to do. Now it is one and I like how I feel today.
Dag, how it comes, lot of songs which you recorded with your old band ORIGINAL in the 80ies are also included on the new output? What was the idea to think of older demos?
DAG: I never recorded them with Original. It was 25 years ago and you have to go into a “real” studio to do that and we didn’t have the money. I think the songs are good and in need to be heard.
What about the sound of the songs if one compares the “new” versions of "White Darkness"
with the “O/originals”? Do you have some opinions of people who are not involved, but know both versions / only the old versions (songs, demos)?
DAG: Original hade some good players but the vocals were very poor. In no way we could do the songs justice and the Swedish lyrics were awful (all mine). Also the arrangements were pretty poor. People often ask me questions like: what did the original versions sound like but why not go to my homepage
? Loads of rare stuff is there ready for a download! All songs are re-arranged with sections added and removed. The only “Original” song. That is almost identical to the “Original version” is “One of the lonely ones” from “Invisible”. “To my inspiration” and “Belief” are very similar to my solo versions. Since we didn’t record or played live much most people never got a chance to hear the songs But that was the deal in those days. One former member have heard the new versions and like them. I think the other players don’t remember much of the songs. As i said: it was a long time ago!
Dag. Why did you decide to give up your stage name Ton Nouga –first time for Nightingale? Why did you perform now under your real name, what was the decision?
DAG: It started of as a joke and a play on the artist names of the –80 like Kee Marcello and Joey Tempest. To use my own name would have caused confusion when Dan started to record and produce so I kept it for 18 years! Then we got a “real” Tom in the band so I got confused anyway :-)
Dan: You let us know a lot about your feelings since you have written quite personal lyrics. How do you feel now after having said lot of things by using the music? What is it like sharing own feelings with a lot of fans (worldwide!)? How did people react on the song –maybe your divorced / wife?!
DAN: I know only the reaction from my girlfriend, and she was not happy at all with me spilling my guts to the new stuff but like I said before, I needed to clear my mind and the only way I know is to get it out in lyrics. I never did such a thing before, but instead of seeing a shrink or have a cry-booze-event and make a fool out of myself, I choose to write a couple of songs about my dark time.
Could you imagine writing songs about more political topics with Nightingale?
DAN: I am not sure, maybe. I think the whole environment shit is pretty alarming. I might write a piece about the in the future. I am ashamed of being a part of the generation that is fucking up the planet. There’s been quite a few generation before us and they did a good job…we suck…
Dan & Dag, how can one imagine the relationship between brothers concerning Nightingale? How do you behave in the studio? Are you family or business partners?
DAG: I would say business. Not because we don’t have “family feelings” but it just works that way. We never had any big rows” or brotherly” fights even when we were younger and lived at home. I guess the age difference is part of that (I’m 10 years older) and the fact that we are nice people :-). DAN: I respect my brother and knew very well what I gave myself into when I invited him into the project. It is a nice feeling to have someone aboard that you can truly trust with all your heart. We are alike and different enough to co-exist in the same band. Nowadays we are “co-owners" of Nightingale and with White Darkness we also get Tom Björn and Erik Oskarsson into the writing credits, which is nice!!!
Do you help each other a lot or does everybody think about his own career since you are both great musicians for a long time. Everybody does his own thing or do you therefore have other projects?
DAG: Of course we help each other. Not so much nowdays but that could change. I “helped out” on Unicorn, Pan-Thy-Monium, Karaboudjan and some other projects. Dan helped me on the two EPs I made and played live with Tom Nouga. In the beginning of Unisound Dan used my recording stuff and we split the money. We never had any competition.
Dag, your projects are not very famous in Germany, one could only read about it some metal magazines that your are a great inspiration for Dan. Since your family has been very musical, Dan started with Edge of Sanity. How did you deal with the situation your brother started with Death Metal –mainly- and nowadays still works with lot of Death Metal bands?! Also Bloodbath is an extreme example of DM. Do you like such music? Do you care about his “Music faves”?!
DAG: My music is not famous anywhere :-). I don’t like Death metal. I think Dan going with Edge of Sanity was sad because that mend, more or less, the end of Unicorn and I think that was a great band. But I don’t think they would have carried on anyway. I was a bit surprised when Edge of Sanity “hit big” but I saw a few of their early shows and the crowd was nuts so I know something was going on. The biggest surprise was the guys he did it with. Not exactly the same type like the guys in Unicorn :-). It was a wise career move. He was there right from the beginning and became part of the whole movement of a “new” music style. Nowadays folk se Unicorn as something “big” but they were slightly more famous than Original :-). Without Edge of Sanity, Unisound and all that stuff there would been no Nightingale so I’m great full :-). I never heard Dan mention any metal band among his faves but I’m sure there are some.
Dag, can you tell us more about your other projects (old / new) and how is it possible to get some CDs etc.? What kind of music (direction) is it; in which countries is your music quite popular?
DAG: As I said earlier my music is not famous anywhere (well maybe in my studio :-). I sing in Swedish and the music is a mix of pop/rock and progressive stuff. Go to my homepage and check it out http://www.dagswano.com
. You can buy CDs from me direct.
As already mentioned you were on tour in 2005, also in Germany. How do you remember the tour and what was the audience like? Seems you are more popular in the USA than in Germany?! And what about Sweden, do you perform live on stage or on TV? How does the Swedish press react on your music?
DAG: It was a fun tour and the audience were great. Since we only played once in the US it’s hard to compare. And Sweden: we don’t play in Sweden very much but the show we do in Bollnäs will be recorded and broadcasted by the Swedish radio some time in the future. When the press write it’s usually nice stuff.
Dan, you have often said you didn’t like going on tour with Edge of Sanity. After some gigs on Wacken Open Air (´05) with Bloodbath and some gigs with Nightingale - may we expect some further tourneys as well as festivals with Nightingale, Bloodbath and Edge of Sanity? Why did you change your opinion?
DAN: It’s a hard work to prepare for a good show. Being a perfectionist like myself makes it even harder:-). I have a few fantasies about performing stuff from my brutal past in a live environment. I also would like to take Second Sky
gigging in the future. But I live on a pretty tight budget (I see freedom as something worth paying for…) and when I spend endless hours in the studio or rehearsal rooms I don’t really make the money I could make spending the same time in the studio or working in the shop Musikbörsen in Örebro (Homepage)
Dan: Question about Bloodbath: You “promised” a recording (DVD) of the Gig in Wacken 2005. When can one expect it? Would be very sad if the great gig wouldn’t be available on DVD.
DAN: The negotiations between the band and the label broke down. As far as I know, the DVD is never to be released.
F***! It’s sad! One of the best live shows in Wacken; but shit happens!
What would you think about touring (Nightingale) with bands such as Porcupine Tree or Riverside? Do you like these bands? What do you think about such a proposal?
DAN: I think a tour with bands like that for Nightingale would be awesome. I could also imagine rocking out with Opeth or bands like that... DAG: I wouldn’t mind playing with them but I’m not a big fan.
Concerning Nightingale: What will the design of the t-shirts looks like, when we could get/buy new stuff?
DAN: I am not sure. I think a white shirt like that would be cool, with the right design. But at the moment I don’t have the budget to print shirts...so maybe later...
Dan: What do you think about the first three albums of Nightingale nowadays? Since you released “Nightfall overture” in 2005 I suppose you like to alter lots of songs? How it comes you always like to improve songs; Nightingale, Edge of Sanity – will you ever reach the point of satisfaction?! What do you think?
DAN: I am never satisfied.... I always find things to improve :-) But I am better these days and I am slowly learning to let go of shit from the past and look forward instead... what is done is done...
And what do you think about the solo album “Moontower” nowadays?! Do you think it would be better to record it again and sing it with a clear voice, without the “growls-like”? And what about a “Moontower” Volume 2, may with some deeper voice? What was the reason to “end” the project after one record?
DAN: No way. “Moontower” is exactly what I wanted to do and the contrast between the music and vocals are perfect. For me it would be weird to re-record. A bit like re-record White Darkness and growl all over the place:-).
Nice idea, I think it would sound great.
What are your next plans? DVD, Tour, working progress with your next projects? Tell us “everything”?!
DAN: I am working with the Second Sky album. I have begun to work with the vocals. It’s one helluva job, but I am sure it will all kick once I am ready!
Thank you very much for the answer, your time and always the great music you create. Hope to see you live very soon, greetz from Hannover in Germany.
DAN: Thanx. I hope to return to your country to gig. I am going there a lot since my girlfriend lives there! Nice country!! Beer and Sprite rules!!
Big thanks to the “Prog Rock Brothers” for the long answers & Klaudia of Black Mark. Last but not least my thanks goes to Yvonne – for everything!