When you watch a video clip or listen to a song on your streaming devices, you only witness the finished product. When you visit a concert or a festival you witness the live music and the stage performance or your favourite artist! But before all that can be enjoyed, there are a lot of things taking place to make it all happen. Artists, musicians, bands, venue directors, they all have their own story to tell!
In this series I’m going to talk to several different people, to find out what the stories are behind it all! From a “big shot” artist, all the way to promotion and record companies. In this episode Liam Strand of Swedish Emetropia.
Hailing from Linköping, Sweden Emetropia has been around since 2017. After releasing their debut EP Precession of the Kings in 2018 Emetropia made their international debut in Belgium, was the opening band for Swedish Bloodbound and was supporting act for Swedish- Romanian Crossing Eternity. When covid hit the world Emetropia seized the opportunity to start the recording process for Equinox. The album brings the full story which was teased in in their debut EP. All tracks from that EP are “re-imagined” and re-recorded combined with brand new songs. Enough to talk about so when the opportunity arose to have a talk with founding member Liam Strand, I gladly accepted!
Hey Liam, thanks for taking the time for Maizter Underground! It’s a huge honour for us, to have you here! First off, how are you doing?
I’m doing fantastic. The weather outside is doing its spring thing. One day it is nice weather, the other day it can be freezing again haha. Next to that, the football season is starting again. I love to play myself so I’m glad that its starting again.
That’s great man. I love football myself as well but I’m pretty sure you are fitter than I am. I merely watch haha! Kidding aside, who is Liam Strand? What can you tell me about yourself?
I’m a PHD student in philosophy who loves to play football and make music. Right now, we are talking about my life as a musician and for that I am the keyboardist and main songwriter for Emetropia and also for my other project. A synth pop duo called Radiohimlen. And next to that I am the founder of music and video company called Oakensource Productions.
Ah cool! You’re a busy man! Well, for now let us focus a bit more on Emetropia. The band started back in 2017. How did that came to be?
The roots go back actually to 2011 when our lead guitarist Olle Renius started a cover band back in high school. They played and had fun for 5 years, when they ended up needing a new drummer and that’s when Oscar Heikinnen entered the band. At about the same time I was looking for a band to join as a keyboardist. So I used a digital messageboard and Oscar picked it up. That was the moment I entered this cover band (GrayScale). We played cover songs and had a lot of fun doing it, but we decided to start work on our own material. As I was part of other bands previous to Gray Skin, so I started to write our own music. After a couple of months I had written several songs, so now we had original music and we decided to make a push for ourselves. Our rhythm guitar player wanted to leave and was replaced by Jonathan Jakobsson and sadly our leadsinger had to depart due to an illness with his hearing. Luckily we found Lisa Wellenberg and she joined us as our lead vocalista. As we had several changes in the band, and we now had music of our own, we felt the time had come to form a new band with a new name. Emetropia was born.
Emetropia brings symphonic power metal to the table but with an epic sauce. The majority of bands that perform in this genre bring a somewhat dark feeling to their listeners. Emetropia on the other hands brings a more energetic and uplifting sound. Why is that?
As I am in the main songwriter for Emetropia I tap into my own inspiration as it comes to music. I’m a fan of bands like Stratovarius and Gloryhammer but Olle and Oskar for example are leaning more towards the prog metal side. I try to incorporate that but the base for my song writing is power metal mixed with lot of influences from other metal genre’s.
Ah ok! Well, Emetropia hit the ground running so to say. Quickly live shows in Sweden were done and even an international debut was gained by performing a show in Belgium. All seemed to be going fantastic, but then Covid hit the planet. How did this change or effect the dynamics in the band and how did you record the album with all the restrictions etc?
Well, in October 2019 we had a band meeting and we agreed to take a step back for the coming months. It was a hectic two years and Lisa was pregnant at the time, so we all agreed to focus on personal matters for the coming months. Just when we wanted to get back together and pick up pace again, Covid hit. At first we were like, let’s wait and see what happens. Like almost all bands, we also did a live stream show in that period as we thought it would be a temporary thing. Not something that would take two whole years! Realising that, we focused more on the album and on the writing and recording process of it all. Of course it was strange as we hardly could come together to record music. Most of the time it was Olle and I and sometimes joined by either Oskar or Lisa to record their parts. The social band dynamic of recording that is usually there when you’re in a studio together, was more or less lost. We basically didn’t come together or rehearse properly during 2020 and 2021.
Yeah it was a sad time. The silver lining in it all, was that Emetropia got the time to record the debut album Equinox. Before going a bit deeper into the album I wanted to talk about the fact that the E.P. (Procession of the Kings) is incorporated into the album. The songs are “re-imagined” and found their way on to Equinox. Was this always the plan?
The plan was always to include the E.P. on the full album. When we released the E.P. we were eager to release some music of our own and thus we recorded the songs that we knew where finished. The simple fact was that the album wasn’t done yet but it’s always good to get new material out there. A few years had passed when we started recording the album and we sat down and discussed if the songs held up to our standards today and what we can produce. We felt we could do the songs more justice, so we re-imagined them and they find their way to the album!
Cool! Now, Equinox has been released a couple of weeks ago. First of all, how did you decide what name it should get and what can you tell me about the album itself?
We discussed and we all came up with several names. After putting our heads together we narrowed it down to a couple. Equinox stoot out to us from the beginning. And why is that I hear you think. Well the album tells the story between the summer- and winter king. The album start at the first “equinox” when summer is taking over and it ends with the next “equinox” when winter takes over again. And to be completely fair, we thought it was a cool name haha!
The album itself is a concept album and Lisa was mainly responsible for the story idea as she came up with it. We knew that Lisa doesn’t really like to write songs that have no co-relation to each other. It does not have to be a linear story, but they have to come in a package so to say. With my inspiration being in the powermetal genre, and with Lisa’s way of writing lyrics it all fitted perfectly. We tried to have influences from other genre’s shine through in our music like for example the choirs and orchestral parts. And off course we were lucky to have the opportunity to call upon the expertise of producer Michele Guaitoli (Lead singer for Visions of Atalantis a.o.)
Very nice! After all this exciting times for Emetropia, news just reached us, you are going to support Visions of Atlantis and SecretRule on their European tour! Congrats! How did that happen?
Thank you very much! Well, it seems like it might have been advantageous to let a guy, who’s a musician in one of the greatest bands of the symphonic metal genre, mix and master Equinox, haha! Perhaps not exactly like that, but we had a dialogue with Michele, after the mixing was done where we talked about the album. It was mostly technical stuff related to studio engineering but also song-writing and music production. However, we also briefly touched upon our general goals with music and interest in touring and we said that it’s definitely something we want to do some day. Then the stars aligned and now we’re joining these fantastic musicians on a tour!
This is going to be the first proper tour for Emetropia. What can we expect?
First of all, people can expect an incredible evening with symphonic metal! It’s not every day not two, but three (!) symphonic metal band join forces and tour together.
What we hope to bring is an energetic and dynamic show which get people excited and warmed up for the rest of the evening! Fans can also expect us to hang out in the venue as soon as we can because we really want to meet all of our European fans.
Is there special merchandise being produced for this, perhaps to be sold at the venues?
Yes there is! We are re-stocking the Equinox digipak and have just finished a new t-shirt design, so for the first time in 4 years, we can offer a new t-shirt, which feels awesome!
Yeah, I can imagine that! Well, I sincerely hope we all get a chance to obtain tickets and watch Emetropia perform your fantastic music live! For now, I want to thank you for a great talk and on behalf of everyone at Maizter Underground we want to wish Emetropia all the best with all you guys take on in the future!
If you don’t want to miss anything Emetropia announces or releases, make sure to follow them through the following links!
IF YOU WANT TO LISTEN TO MORE EMETROPIA PLEASE CLICK THE FOLLOWING PLAYLIST!