Who are Engel, you might ask? Formed back in early 21:st century Engel set their aim to give the world their propaganda. You’ll know Niclas Engelin from his time in Gardenian & Passenger and a few short moonlightnings with In Flames. Marcus Sunesson spent time with The Crown whilst also moonlighting with The Haunted (2001-02). Joining these two six string shredders are vocalist Mangan Klavborn, drummer Mojjo of the Project Hate and bassist Steve Drennan formally from Locus & Amon Amarths touring bass player.
Releasing their debut album “Absolute Design” in 2007 just set the first step out to global domination. After touring with amongst others Dimmu Borgir, Arch Enemy, Atreyu, Still Remains, Trivium. The sight is set for more touring, more albums, more Engel. This is it – this is now! The latest album of Engel “Threnody” has seen its Japan release on April 2010.
But what else are Engel and what are they doing today? let’s ask it from Niclas Engelin, the founder of the band…
Hi Niclas, welcome to Metal Shock! How’re you doing today?
All good here, Tarja, in a grey and cold Gothenburg on a monday night 😉 (editor’s note: 17 jan 2011)
Who are Engel? Please introduce us your band-members…
We are a five piece Metal (if you want to label us) band with some industrial influences and suckers for hooky tunes who are based in Gothenburg/Sweden.
Steve Drennan – Bass
Mangan Klavborn – Vox
Jimmy Olausson – Drums
Marcus Sunesson – Guitar
Niclas Engelin – Guitar
Engel was formed by you, in 2004. Your genre is death meal with alternative influences. Can you tell me more about these alternative influences…
Think it was around somewhere in 05 actually but who counts that?? Think we got a diverse kinda style with a root firmly in Metal but with some influencies from the industrial world that´s for sure. We like to combine hooky riffs with loops/beats and to mix it up with some hooky choruses and let´s not forget about the solos who´s in there as well!! We are real suckers for good songs and epic productions which you can hear on Threnody. Influences come from all over the places and it doesn´t have to be music in general it can be visiting some cool places or just meeting odd people along the way that catches you in some way or another even if you don´t really aware of it at the time…sounds freaky ..hahaha
…and how your sound has changed in these years, if any?
Think we found our style on the first recordings we did but we have developed the style along the way and maybe have spiced it up a bit with some more bigger and epic arrangements with songs like Sense The Fire & Perfect Isis were we combine string arrangements to make it even bigger. But apart from that it´s still the same beat pumpin’ haunting riffage as on the first recordings.
Where are coming from your musical inspirations?
As I write it can be from everywhere…a shitty day can turn out to be a great song in the end of the day which is a cool thing with music!! It´s something that comes from whithin and can not be described that easily. It´s like with some songs that comes quite quick to write while some just have to be around for years to come out, like a ghost you carry with you.
Your second album, Threnody, was finished by the end of 2008, but was released in Japan on April 2010. Why this delay?
It was finnished in feb 2009 with all the mix and mastering to be exact BUT we got caught up in a political downward spiral with our former record label SPV which saw the end of light during that period so we had to do it all over again with finding a new home and clear all the contracts and stuff which was a messy period of time. We were free to do what ever and wanted to put out the album ASAP!! which was a great opportunity to put out the album in Japan and to strat the whole Engel machinery again and to let the world know about Engel again!!
What is the message of this album? How was its writing process?
Threnody is… songs for the dearly departed, songs to hail our loved ones who have passed away, which was something that happened to both me and Mangan during this period of time while recording the album so we wanted a title to celebrate our loved ones who passed away.The process of writing went smooth as always which is a blessing to have a easy ride while making music!!
How your fans and audience welcomed Threnody?
It´s been an owerwhelming at some point and as always some who have to bitch about something 😉 But people are really happy that we have brought back the loops & beats and really dig the production of this album which was something that we really wanted to have A Big Thick Production!!
Talking about Japan, it seems that you’ve gained much more success in that part of the world. what do you think, what could be the reason for that?
Japan has been just wonderful and we have just started over there with the release of Threnody and it feels awesome!! Think it has to do much with the political stuff we have been through during the years stuck in that so have to like re-do everything again in EU which is something that we gladly do again with this album Threnody!!
Last autumn 2010 you signed with the French Season of Mist, how this new contract has changed your life?
We have a chance to put out our music in a good way and the album can be found everywhere which is something that we really like and we feel that we have a understanding and support from the label and it´s been running smooth so far.
Your lineup, especially the bassist enlistment has changed often, but Steve (Drennan) seems finally to be the right man for you. Can you tell us about this difficulty to find the steady and stable lineup, and what could have been the reason for that?
Steve has been with us for a while which is just awesome to have a steady line-up again!! Some people get jobs that they been searching for and get it or people just get tired of playing overall, it´s not that fancy playing in a band with touring and stuff like some might think… you have to be an odd character to handle the ups n downs in a band..hahaha..we are all freaks.
You’ve shared the stage with such acts as Still Remains, Amon Amarth, Dimmu Borgir, Paradise Lost and Katatonia. What is your best gig-memory of these bands?
There´s a lot of good memories from these tours and we all get along really well with bands which is something that´s have to be needed ‘cus you live so tight to each other for weeks or moths.The cool thing with touring with bands is that you get friends and chat from time to time or meet up at gigs/tours and can have a laugh of the memories you share!!
What are your touring plans for 2011? Any change to see you here in Italy, or in my home-country, Finland?
We will start touring in Sweden throughout Feb/mars and then through EU with Raised Fist and then back again to good ol´Sweden for more gigs!! We are planning the year as we speak so please stay tuned for more dates as we go!!
Thanks Niclas, I will 🙂
Engel has so-called Saint-members… who are they and what they do?
Saint!! Is something that we really hold dear and close to our hearts it´s like a fanbase that seems to spread like plauge throu out the world!! We got Saints so far in Finland, Japan & Germany and more is on the way which is awesome!! When you become a Saint you become one of us, you get the news first hand and get to be involved with the world of Engel!! So what are you waiting for??
Me, a Saint? 😉 well, I could be your first finnish-italian Saint, though… LOL
Niclas, you’ve worked often with In Flames in the past, but also in these later months, as a tour guitarist. What is your relationship and plans for the future with them?
They’re my buddies from way back in time…maybe like since 89/90 or something like that, and me and Jesper formed our first band together and it was called Poltergeist after the horror movie!! hahaha..so it´s more like a familly thing.
What about the forthcoming album of In Flames, how it’s proceeding?
Just know that they are in the mixing phase as we speak.
And if I may ask, and if you know, how’s Jesper doing today?
Have not spoken to him lately but I hope he´s getting better and feeling stronger ‘cus I want to see him on stage ASAP!!
Niclas, you’ve also some other projects going on. Can you give a brief update about Sarcazm, Passenger and Gardenian?
Hahahaha…shit your updates…Sarcazm are dead and Passenger have some cool recordings done but we need some time to release that one and it can take some time to do so…hmmm and Gardenian ..hmmm.. maybe there´s something going on?? or a re-release!!
ahahahah yeah sorry, you can say it outloud… shit my updates LOL
Now a couple of personal questions… what do you do, when you want to “unplug” yourself, I mean the relax and freetime, whenever you have it…
I use to play a lot of soccer and indoor bandy but don´t get the time but mostly I want to just be by myself and to read a book!! mostly biography by legendary band like Zepellin/Sabbath where the real deal was going on!!
What is your New Year’s promise? any dreams that you still have in the drawer?
Wish I could cut down on “snus” cus´ it´s getting stressful to have it under my lip all the time..for you who don´t know “snus” is something you have under your lip like ball and it´s all nikotin and it´s a poor excuse to not smoking.
Yep, I know snus, (in some other languages: snuff, nuuska, tabacco da fiuto), but I’ve never tried it though… Good luck for you Niclas for cutting it down.
But before I leave you to your other engagements, the last question… or lets say, the word is yours, whatever you wanna say to your fans and to those who’re reading this interview…
Please check out our album Threnody cus´it´s worth your time and you will NOT be disipointed and why not check out the Saints while you still listening to Threnody!!
Niclas, thanks a million for this chat. Wish you all the best for 2011! Horns up!
Thank´s for the interwiev and wish you the best for 2011!! Cheers 🙂
Interview by Tarja Virmakari – Photos: Niclas Engelin Official Facebook
To the end – “Threnody”.