SOURCE – Congratulations on your new record “Illusions Of Grandeur”, I feel that this is perhaps your best record ever, how do you feel about this statement?
Marko Palmén (Guitar) – Thank you so much for the nice comment on the new album! I totally agree about the fact that this is the strongest effort we have ever managed to produce. But then again I guess all bands say that when they have a new album out… But honestly I have felt all along the way of the production and now also afterwards that we will have a real difficult time to top this one. Together we made an album that I think we can stand proud of for a long time ahead!
The reactions from media so far has also been absolutely amazing with “Illusions Of Grandeur” receiving our strongest sound check positions and reviews in the most important European media so far in our career. Among fans the reactions have also been great although some of our old school fans are saying that we should have kept the signature Swedish death metal guitar tone. It was a deliberate decision to go for another guitar tone on this album. We had so much advanced guitar riffing happening on the album and if we would have kept the signature buzzsaw guitar tone all those nuances and cool stuff would have been lost in the production.
SOURCE – Was there an overall theme you wanted to present on “Illusions Of Grandeur” that was present on past albums or was it an entirely new experience?
Marko Palmén (Guitar) – No, not really a theme but Thomas who does the lyrics probably had some over all thoughts concerning the direction. I mainly think Thomas wrote lyrics about his favourite expression; “don’t let the fools guide you blind”. Meaning that people should make up their own minds about whatever it may concern instead of being fed with other people’s opinions. Those other people might have an own interest in making you think in a certain way… The theme itself is not really new since Thomas has carried with him this theme on previous albums as well although it has evolved on “Illusions Of Grandeur”.
SOURCE – Are you perhaps preparing some new video for the promotion of “Illusions Of Grandeur”, can you tell us something about it?
Marko Palmén (Guitar) – Yeah, we just released a new video for the track “Divide And Conquer” from the new album “Illusions Of Grandeur”. We filmed the video at an abandoned hospital at Offenbach in Germany while we had an off-day on a tour we did in September/October. The video was directed by Carlo Oppermann of Ambitious Films and his fantastic crew and the result turned out absolutely amazing! We did most of the footage in some old operating room, quite creepy with all the medical gear still there… hehehe You can check out the final result at our YouTube site: www.youtube.com/evocationswe
SOURCE – Evocation is active for seven years (since reunion) which is very big achievement if you ask me, so how do you look upon your whole career, what were biggest highs and lows?
Marko Palmén (Guitar) – Yeah, I absolutely agree that it’s a big achievement for us to have been active for so many years now. Every time we play together I’m just so pleased that we finally managed to do the reunion with the entire original line-up. Evocation is a band that is fuelled by friendship.
The biggest highs of our career have been several but to name a few the Summer Breeze Open Air, 2009 and the 2 European Tours we have done with Cannibal Corpse, 2009 and Amon Amarth, 2011 being some of my favourites. The Summer Breeze show in 2009 was just pure magic… We entered the stage at around 9 pm and it was a really hot and humid summer evening although the worst heat had begun to settle at that time of the day. There were around 6000 people from all corners of Europe at the stage and as soon as we entered we were met with an ear deafening roar from the crowd. At that moment I knew we were going to have a magic evening together with the crowd. Fortunately the whole show was filmed with a professional crew and later on released as bonus material for the limited edition digipak version of the “Apocalyptic” album.
Both the tours with Cannibal Corpse and Amon Amarth were amazing and there are a lot of stories from them as well but as the saying goes; “what happens on tour, stays on tour…” hehehe We made some really good friends with both the bands and we still stay in touch and try to meet up with them as soon as they are passing our territories on tour.
And concerning the biggest lows there are of course such as well. The first things that come to my mind are the shows that had a low number of people attending. We have had those shows just as all other bands have had, and they are not always that fun to do. But one has to do the show even if there are few people there, they have paid to watch an Evocation show and that’s what they will receive. One has to give 100% on all shows no matter what!
SOURCE – There are some guest musicians on the album, so please tell us something about your work with them, I guess that they are all your friends?
Marko Palmén (Guitar) – Yeah, but we actually only had one guest musician in the form of Johan Hegg from Amon Amarth on “Illusions Of Grandeur”. His guest vocals turned out absolutely amazing I must say!
I think the main reason for the guest appearance of Johan was the friendship we made with him when we were on tour with Amon Amarth in 2011. We had a really good time together with them and stayed in touch with them afterwards. So when we were working with the new album we talked about if we should have some guest appearances and that’s when Johan’s name surfaced. We instantly felt that it would be a cool addition to the album if he would do some guest vocals. For us Johan is a great down to earth guy with an amazing sense of humour and also one of the very best death metal vocalists out there today. We met up with Johan after a show with Amon Amarth in Gothenburg in February 2012 and asked him if he would be interested in doing some guest vocals on our upcoming album. He immediately replied that it would be an honour to do it. In May 2012 he had some business in Gothenburg which is closely located to our hometown where Evocation Studios is also located. So we just picked him up there and then we all drove off to Evocation Studios. It only took him 90 minutes from the moment we entered the studios until all the vocal parts were finished. And as always when Johan is around growling one starts to wonder whether the thunder is roaring outside until you realize it’s his mighty vocals that makes you think so… Thanx Johan for the amazing guest vocals!
SOURCE – A lot of focus these days is on the issue of kids illegally downloading music from the internet and how to combat this. The record companies are steamrolling governments all over the world and pushing through draconian legislation and restrictions that only seem to benefit them while crippling the rights and privileges of everyone else. What are your own thoughts on this and the future of the music industry?
Marko Palmén (Guitar) – Right now I don’t think anybody knows where the ship is going… All I know from having seen the music industry from inside is that the bands out there are struggling like never before. Record sales are constantly dropping which forces the bands out on the road in order to make their living and the consequences of that is that the concert business is being over flooded. The numbers of visitors on concerts are dropping all over Europe which makes the revenues for the bands even smaller. So in fact all the music industry is being affected by the downloading and in the end the consumers will also be affected since the bands can’t afford being musicians. I expect a lot of bands and most certainly also several labels to call it quits during the next decade and for me it’s a sad development of the music business.
SOURCE – Do you momentarily make enough money to live from being a musician?
Marko Palmén (Guitar) – No, and I don’t expect us to do it ever. We have never made any money from the band. All the money we have raised has gone straight into the band to afford going on tours etc. In fact we have been doing the band only because we love death metal beyond everything else in our lives.
SOURCE – You’ve embraced social media, having your own Facebook and Twitter account separate from the band. How important is social media now?
Marko Palmén (Guitar) – I see upon social media as a necessary evil. Personally I’m not that fond about those things but I see it as a way of staying in touch with friends from the music business. I’m more the type of guy that likes to call and meet up with friends instead of being impersonal and just sending them text messages over the internet. But as it has turned out we have made lots of friends all over the world thanx to Evocation and it would mean some logistical problems meeting up with friends from the US or other parts of the world just to have a cup of coffee and have a chat. I guess in that case it makes sense to have the social media in order to stay in touch with friends, fans etc.
SOURCE – This is your second album for Century Media Records, what can you tell us about your relationship with them, how are they treating you?
Marko Palmén (Guitar) – After having signed with Century Media Records in January 2012 we have been in business with them for a year now and all I can say is that they are professional in every aspect of the bands. For us it was a natural choice to go for Century Media since they have had their roots in the death metal scene all along since the very beginning and they are still the strongest force in the scene when it comes to death metal. From my personal side of view I can honestly say that it finally feels as if we have found our label home.
SOURCE – That would be all for this time, thank you for the interview, and I wish you all the best! Your last message to fans over here?
Marko Palmén (Guitar) – Thank you very much for the interview and hope to meet up with our South American friends on the touring cycle for “Illusions of Grandeur”!