ERIK MARTENSSON (ECLIPSE): “When You Are Writing A Record, It’s Like Building A Car. When You Play Live, It’s Like Driving That Car”

Erik Martensson (Eclipse)
Photo: Anders E. Skånberg

On the eve of the release of their eighth album, Wired, Mick Burgess called up Erik Martensson to talk about the making of the record and plans for touring now that Covid restrictions are being slowly lifted.

You’ve had almost a year off the road due to the Covid restrictions. Is that the longest you’ve gone without playing live?

We played at the Alcatraz Festival in Belgium a month ago and that was our first gig in 17 months. It’s been a long, long time. I’ve never had such a long time between gigs even going back to when I was a kid. It was a big festival and there was a lot of people there and they had everyone needed a Covid pass to prove that you’d had your two vaccination shots. It was like taking a time machine back to 2019. It was fantastic to see a lot of people having a good time together again. It was great to be back up on stage again. It wasn’t just the music, it was the whole vibe and seeing everyone having such a good time. I stayed there until 2:30 in the morning as you never know when you’ll experience that sort of time again.

Did the crowd seem to be even more up for it than usual?

I guess so and it also showed that when the world reopens again after the pandemic things will go back to normal. I wondered if people will be scared to go back into large gatherings but I think not, I think they’ll show up like they did before.

On to better news, you have a new album, Wired, out soon. How do you feel ahead of its release?

I’m super happy with the album. It’s been a team effort with the band and we’ve been working hard together. We had a lot of time to develop the whole album and I think we have a lot of energy and good vibes. There’s also a playfulness on the album we didn’t have before.

When did you start work on writing the material?

We already had a couple of songs but we started writing for real last autumn and we were writing until the early spring.

“Saturday Night (Hallelujah)” is the perfect antidote to the current climate. Was it important to you to make a statement with your first song and celebrate the good and the positive out there?

Absolutely and that was the reason why we wanted to release it. It’s a tongue in cheek song and it’s fun. We wanted it out for the summer for that feel good vibe. It’s nothing too serious but it’s exactly what I’ve been longing for.

Did you have any ideas left over from your previous album Paradigm that you were able to work up or did you start with a blank canvas?

We started from scratch. We never keep something from an earlier time even if they are good songs as you kind of lose interest in them. If they didn’t make the cut the first time they won’t be so good the next time either.

Were you able to write together or did you have to rely on Zoom writing sessions?

We wrote the songs together. I don’t like writing over Zoom at all. When you’re together in the same room, something happens. There’s a much better creative vibe when we work together in a way you can’t get over Zoom.

How did you normally write together in the days before Covid?

We usually start with a guitar riff or maybe we have a chorus or something that we can build a song around.

There’s 11 songs on the album. How many songs did you write during these sessions?

We usually don’t have anything left over but as we had the time, this time we did have quite a few extra songs. Usually, we might have a riff here and there that we worked on but didn’t use and we just concentrate on those songs which we know will make the record but this time we did have some extra songs left over.

How was the recording process? 

We started with the drum recordings for a week or so and a week of guitar recordings and I did the vocals in between. We worked pretty fast. The main part of making an album is writing the songs. Once we have the songs it is a fairly quick process to record them as everyone in the band are good musicians.

The CD version and vinyl version have slightly different running orders. Why did you do that?

One of the songs is different as well. The CD version gets “Dead Inside” which is not on the vinyl and the vinyl version includes “Ain’t No Fun” which isn’t on the CD. We did this because we couldn’t decide which of the songs should be on the record so we put one on the CD and one on the vinyl. We didn’t want the record to be too long though as I hate records that are too long. Eleven tracks is super maximum for me. You just can’t maintain the level of interest if the album is too long. It’s very rare for a band to make a double CD which stays interesting to the end. Rainbow Rising has only five songs and it’s one of the best records ever made.

It’s your first album with Victor Krusner on bass. How has he fitted into the band?

It’s been great. For the first time we have a super good lineup. Everyone plays so well and we have such a good vibe in the band. We really are good friends. When you’re in a band you do so many things unrelated to music. When you’re on stage you’re only up there for an hour or so and the rest of the day you’re filling in time on a bus or hotel so it’s so important that there’s good vibes, especially when you’re making a record. Good vibes make you creative. That’s another reason why we’re so happy with the record because everything went so smoothly. He’s Philip’s brother and has been our guitar tech so it was an easy transition for us.

What happened to Magnus Ulfstedt, who has been with you on and off pretty much from the start on drums and on bass?

We grew apart both personally and musically. We wanted to take the band in one direction and he wanted to take us in an ’80s retro Rock direction but we wanted to move forward and explore new things and new ways of writing songs. He was very unhappy with the way the band was changing. We don’t want to write the same record every time.

Wired is your 8th album. Is it important to you to stay creative and release new music?

This is the most important thing for me. I need food and sleep and I need to write songs. That’s what I need to stay alive. However, writing music without being able to play live is also unsatisfying so going on tour to play the new songs is also very important to me. When you are writing a record, it’s like building a car. When you play live, it’s like driving that car.

How many new songs do you tend to introduce into your live set when you head out on tour?

We’ll play a few each night and we will play every song from the album at least once on the tour. We had a rehearsal yesterday and played six of the new songs and they sounded really good live.

Does it take a while for the new songs to bed in alongside the classics or are your fans pretty receptive to new material?

As we are quite a small band, fans who like us are very much into music and they are very accepting of new material from day one. That’s very good for us as we don’t just want to be a “Greatest Hits” band, although we don’t have any hits but you know what I mean. It keeps the band on their toes too and we’re super excited to play them as we like them so much.

Talking of live shows, what are your touring plans looking ahead?

The only place that’s free to play indoor shows is Switzerland at the moment so we’ve booked a venue for an album release show on the 9th October. It’s a fun idea. We are starting to book shows for Sweden and Scandinavia but I don’t think there’ll be a European tour until next year. Promoters and booking agents have been booking and cancelling over the last couple of years so I think a lot of them are waiting to see what happens over the coming months.

It’s been a while since you played in the UK. Do you hope to come over to the UK play soon?

We really hope so but I don’t know any European band that’s played there since you left the European Union so I don’t know how that will affect touring for bands like us. We will make it to the UK somehow.

What else do you have lined up over the coming months? Is there any activity on the W.E.T or Nordic Union front?

We released a new W.E.T record last year so we haven’t really started to think about another one yet. I’ll be talking to Ronnie Atkins about the new Nordic Union album. He’s feeling really good now. His cancer treatment has worked really well. At one time we didn’t know if he’d make it and things were really dark but he’s made such a great recovery. He’s been through hell but is much better now. There may be something happening with Nordic Union in the near future.

Wired is out now.

For more on Eclipse see

Interview By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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