JOACHIM NORDLUND (DREAMS OF AVALON, ASTRAL DOORS): “When We Decided To Take A Break With ASTRAL DOORS Last Year I Saw An Opportunity To Write More Songs On My Own”

Joachim Nordlund has been the guitarist for Astral Doors since 2002. After 9 albums and numerous tour cycles, the band is currently on a “creative break.” Nordlund has been a part of side projects before, but he’s never released a true solo album. On August 28, 2020 Metalville Records will release Joachim Nordlund’s Dreams of Avalon Beyond the Dream. Nordlund’s affinity for 80s Melodic Rock is front and center on this release. Don’t just take my word for it. Let Joachim tell you himself.

MER: If I knew absolutely nothing about Dreams of Avalon, how would you describe the music to me?

JN: I have taken all the things that I love about 80s Melodic Rock, like big choruses, a lot of keyboards and catchy melodies, and put that into my songs. I don’t want to invent the wheel one more time here, so I think that all of you that like this kind of music will find it very familiar. And at the same time I have my own unique way of express myself. That’s what I hope anyway. I try to put a lot of emotions into the songs.

MER: How does the music of Dreams of Avalon differ from your work with Astral Doors?

JN: It differs quite a lot I should say. The music in Astral Doors is based on heavy/groovy guitar riffing with Patrik’s scouring voice on top of it. It’s Heavy Metal and very powerful. The music I make for Dreams of Avalon is the opposite to that. It’s more light and the songs are often in major keys, which I think gives it a different touch. That would never work in Astral Doors.

MER: You’ve been making music with Astral Doors since 2003 and have been a member of couple other bands over the years, but Beyond the Dream is your first solo album. Is the material on the album music you have been collecting over the years that hadn’t worked out for other projects, or is this more recent material you put together specifically for Dreams of Avalon?

JN: Actually both. When we decided to take a break with Astral Doors last year I saw an opportunity to write more songs on my own. I already had 4 songs laying around that I didn’t know what to do with, so I continued in that vein those songs were written. And last fall I had songs for a full album and lucky for me my record label liked what they heard and wanted to release it. And Dreams of Avalon was born.

MER: You wrote all the songs and played many of the instruments on Beyond the Dream, so I am sure all the songs are your favorite. If you had to release a three track promo ahead of the album, what three songs would you choose and why?

JN: “Young Wild Hears” is my favorite at the moment so I had picked that on first. It’s a song that lies close to my heart because it’s about me, and my reflections about my youth. Your body is getting older but in your mind you are still the same. I think a lot of people can recognize themselves in that.

“Somewhere Tonight” is a song I wrote some years ago. It’s about a person who feels lost in this world, the feeling of not fitting in. I have felt that way many times in my life but it’s actually about my son. He’s diagnosed with Aspergers and he is struggling with that every day. But now he’s also found music and is creating very cool Hip Hop songs.

“Stop” is another song that I like very much. I think it has a Van Halen feeling over it, especially the guitar/keyboard riff in the chorus. It’s about a guy who will never stop playing Rock’n’Roll, no matter what. Maybe it’s about me, who knows?

MER: Did you find it easier or harder working by yourself on Dreams of Avalon in comparison to working on an album in a group setting with Astral Doors?

JN: In Astral Doors I write the music together with the drummer Johan. And we can be very productive when we work together, we have the right chemistry so to speak. And we only write the music, our singer writes all the lyrics and vocal lines. With Dreams of Avalon I have to do everything myself, so it’s much harder. But at the same time it’s very liberating, I can do it just how I want it to be. It only takes a little bit more time to get the pieces together.

MER: When I listened to Beyond the Dream I heard a strong 80s AOR/Melodic Rock influence similar to Journey, Survivor, Asia, etc.… Are these the kinds of bands you looked toward when putting the album together?

JN: When I grew up in the 80s I listened to melodic rock a whole lot, so yes. I have listened to those bands over the years. But I was more interested in the bands that came from Sweden, like Europe, Alien, Treat and Talk of the Town. And then we have Bon Jovi of course. They made a huge impact on me when they released Slippery When Wet. I still have that album as a reference to how a Melodic Rock album should sound like. But I can’t say that I had some particular bands in mind when I wrote this record.

MER: I saw on the Dreams of Avalon Facebook page that you were shooting a music video recently. What song was it for and what is the concept of the video?

JN: I was shooting a music video for the song “Young Wild Hearts”, which is out now by the way. It’s the first single from the album. The song is about me looking back on my youth, and realizing that I’m the same person as I was back then. But with an older shell. I had a lot of video clips laying around from where I was young and played in a local band called Erina, so we used some of it in the video. It turned out pretty good I think.

Did you have plans to tour with Dreams of Avalon prior to the Covid-19 lockdowns?

JN: No, for now I just see it as a studio project. But I love playing live, that’s the main reason I started to play guitar in the first place. Nothing can beat the feeling to stand in front of a big crowd of crazy headbangers. So if I can get some good festivals or something I will for sure try to hit the stage with Dreams of Avalon. But that’s something for the future to tell.

MER: Is there a story behind naming your solo project Dreams of Avalon?

JN: Well, I have always liked the word Avalon. There’s something mystic about it. You really don’t know what it is, but for me it’s a nice place, some kind of a paradise. A place where you can live in peace and harmony. And in a way it’s a dream come true that I had the ability to make this record, and there you have it.

MER: What is the status the bands Sky of Rage and SunStrike that you were a part of?

JN: Sky of Rage is put to rest since long. It was a fun thing to do and I think we put out a decent record. In fact, I had that singer in mind for Dreams of Avalon at the beginning, but it ended up that I sang myself. SunStrike is another story. After the second album the singer Christian Eriksson didn’t want to be part of the band anymore, so we stood there without a singer right after the second record was released. Christian went on to some other bands but now he is “free” again so we took the opportunity to ask him if he wanted to make a new record with us. He had to think about it and here we stand waiting for his reply. He was quite tired of the music business right now but I really hope that we can get together once again.

MER: Is Astral Doors on a permanent break or a temporary one?

JN: We say that it’s temporary, but I really don’t know. It seams like we all enjoy our little side projects more at the moment. We have made 9 records over 15 years, not many bands can beat that. So I guess we felt a bit tired after the latest release Worship or Die. We had no energy left to follow it up with festivals and tours. We never said that it was a break, it just came natural. I spoke to Patrik, our singer, the other day and we said that if we make another record we will give it 100%. I hope we can do it because I miss touring and the meeting with all the fans.


  • George Dionne

    George was a contributor here at Metal Express Radio, reviewing albums and conducting interviews, out of Massachusetts, USA. George has contributed to numerous music related websites and blogs, and even managed his own from 2004-2009. George's first assignment was covering a live show by the mighty GWAR. By contrast his later assignments featured Judas Priest, Van Halen, and Bon Jovi. George was also the front man for the South Eastern Massachusetts cover band Sound Tower from 2009-2015.  Sound Tower played 300+ shows across MA and had two original songs on the Cape Cod radio station PIXY 103. George enjoys a good whiskey, scotch, and/or bourbon and fights crime in his spare time.

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