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Timeless Miracle (Mikael Holst)

by: ZOLTAN KONCSOK - 2005-7-19 18:35:50

email: zoltan(AT) metalexpressradio(DOT)com

Machine Men

Before forming Timeless Miracle you've been playing together with Fredrik in a band called Trapped. What should we know about that band?


We formed Trapped in the winter of 1995 with drummer Kim Widfors, who was a long time friend of Fredrik. We were just three guys who liked the same kind of music and decided to form a band together. We were playing a more traditional metal back then that sounded more like Dio or early Running Wild. I remember that we did a couple of community gigs and there must have been 30 other bands playing but we where the only metal band. That says a lot about the Swedish metal scene in the mid 90s. After a couple of months Kim left the band when he got accepted to a bartender school in England. Fredrik and I decided to continue writing songs as a duo with the aid of a drum machine. In 2002 we decided to make a demo of the material we had and so we recorded “In the Year of our Lord” but we were never really happy about the production. So we upgraded our home studio and re-recorded some of it and replaced some tracks and the demo “The Enchanted Chamber” was finished. All the songs on the album is in a way Trapped songs but under the Timeless Miracle name.


Was it obvious for you and Fredrik that you'd continue together?


Yes! Me and Fredrik have always written the songs together even from the very beginning and this is the only way we know how to make interesting songs.


How did you hook up with the other members of the band?


Sten Möller, our second guitarist is an old friend of ours and has always been around as a silent member. Sten was always the guy we played new material for and asked for input so for us he was a natural choice when it became time to complete the line-up. We got in contact with Jaime Salazar through RoastingHouse, our management, as they had worked with him on several projects and recordings.


Your most famous player is definitely Jaime Salazar who is a living legend in Sweden. Was it easy to pursue him to join the band?


Yes, it was easy. We just asked him and he said yes after hearing our demo. We never had to convince him or anything like that. We were a bit worried in the beginning that he might decline because of us being a new band doing our first album. But we had luck on our side. It was actually the producer Anders “Theo” Theander who suggested him as we needed a really, really good drummer. So we sent him the demo “The Enchanted Chamber” and asked if he would be interested in joining us and thankfully he was.


Is he a permanent member or just helped out during the recordings?


He is a permanent member. Luckily for us because it would be very difficult to find a drummer with his extraordinary skills to replace him.


Btw, what do you think about his other bands and projects?


I have only listened to Last Tribe and Opus Atlantica and both of those bands I like a lot. Opus Atlantica is pretty close to what we are doing ourselves, so when I heard their album I knew we had gotten the perfect drummer for Timeless Miracle.


How did you end up signing for Massacre Records


We got signed to Massacre through RoastingHouse, our management who financed and produced the album. When all recording, mixing and mastering was done it was sent to different labels around the world and we were signed by Massacre in Europe and Marquee/Avalon in Japan.


Did you also get offers from other labels?


In the beginning of 2004 we actually got an offer from a small European label that wanted to sign us and because of them we contacted RoastingHouse studios in Malmö when searching for a suitable recording location. RoastingHouse gave us a better offer, so we turned down the other label.


How many albums you have signed for?


I’m not sure because our management handles the business parts. I believe it's for 1 album and then they have first bids on the albums we produce for 6 years.


What was the initial musical idea when you formed Timeless Miracle? What type of music you wanted to play?


Our original idea was to play melodic power speed metal with touches of classical and folk music. The most important part in our vision was the melodies! They had to be very defined and accessible to the listener. We wanted the music and the melodies to stick in the head of those who heard it so that they would go around and hum it until it drove them crazy. You know, when you get a song in your head and you just can’t let go of it. That was our aim and personally I believe that we succeeded.


Rhapsody seems to be an obvious influence for you, but please tell me about your other influences.


Obvious influences as you said are besides Rhapsody are bands like Helloween of course, Blind Guardian, Running Wild and Rage. Others are King Diamond, Candlemass, Manowar and Swedish punk bands like Dia Psalma who do a folk punk kind of music with swedish lyrics. A musician I really like is Motörhead drummer Mikkey Dee who also played with King Diamond back in the good old 80s. When I was younger I could never understand his drum figures and backbeats, so that made the songs more layered and interesting.


The musical ideas for Into The Enchanted Chamber came from one guy or the whole band is taking part in songwriting?


All music is written by Fredrik and myself and the songwriting process is always the same. Usually it's either Fredrik or myself who present a verse, bridge and chorus with the vocal melodies. We then decide what works best for the melodies with arrangement, tempo and so on. When the basics are done we start adding the extras like sticks, intro and solo part and work on it until it's a complete song. Usually we have some guidance in what direction to go if the melodies themselves have a specific tone, like for instance if the verse and chorus is very melodic and cheerful, we will most likely add a stick that’s a bit rougher. An example of this is the title track “Into the Enchanted Chamber” where the chorus have hymn-like qualities with lots of horns and choral arrangements the stick with vocals have been scaled down to a simple guitar driven part with a single lead vocal line and a church organ as foundation. 


Is it some kind of a concept album?


There is no concept in the sense that the songs together form a story. It's more of a theme album because all the songs deal with similar subject matters. In this case its horror, the supernatural, the afterlife and other similar stuff.


What is your favourite moment on the album?


Hmm, tough question. I must say the third and extended chorus of “Down to the Gallows” because it has what we call here in Sweden “beer drinking qualities”. In other words: it makes me want to drink beer and that is always good.


How long have you been in the studio and what kind of memories you have of the recording sessions?


We spent a week at RoastingHouse Studios recording the drums with co-producer Pontus Lindmark. That was a very interesting experience, we learned a lot that we can use when doing pre-production for the next album. The thing I remember the most about the drum recording was when Jaime was doing his warm-up routine between takes, the guy is simply an astonishing drummer. This was in august of last year and it was really hot, Jaime sat there doing all those fast parts in like 30 degrees with no air conditioning. The poor guy was really tired after each take. After the drums were recorded we began recording of the guitars, bass, keyboards and vocals at our own studio. That took about 3 months because we all went to our regular jobs and recorded on our free time. For the most part it went really well but there were some incidents when our recording equipment overheated due to the hot summer and the extreme workload we put them through. 


The metal scene traditionally strong in Sweden. How is it in the area you live? Are you in touch with other bands?


Yes there are loads of great metal bands from Sweden but not so many in the southern parts where we are from. This is perhaps because there are no places for the bands to perform live, we have one rock club and they don't even have much rock on their program. So the metal scene is pretty non-existant here. I believe that Gothenburg, where bands like HammerFall and Dark Tranquillity are from, is the Swedish metal capital but that's pretty far from where we live. The only other band we have some contact with is the great Swedish heavy metal band VII Gates who helped us out a lot in the beginning before we signed with RoastingHouse.  


Have you been able to play many gigs so far?


No, not really, we are still in the planning stages of doing live shows. We have gotten some invitations to come and play but so far it has been for smaller club venues in Sweden. But I'm sure that if we tried we could get a spot as an opening act for another band doing a European tour.


Which band would you like to tour together with?


Hmm, personally I would choose Gamma Ray if it was up to me.


How would you recommend your debut album for fans that never heard of Timeless Miracle?


I would say, If you like your metal melodic and fast with a touch of folk and classical music check out the album because that is what it delivers.


What do you think about the Internet as a promotional tool for young bands?


Internet has been an extremely good tool for us as a band because it was thru our old home homepage we got the original record deal offer. We have never sent a demo to a record company ever and today we are signed to Massacre Records and it's all thanks to the Internet. So if you play in a band you should really consider making a webpage for it with some sample songs.


You already mentioned that you have regular jobs. So, what do you do when you're not playing music?


I have a regular office job for an import & export company doing book keeping and such. Fredrik works for DHL as a courier. Sten works at a switch central and redirecting emergency alarms. Jaime is the only one of us that makes a living on this. He is a session drummer and also tours a lot.

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