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Cloudscape - Interview, August 2012

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    Posted: 14 Aug 2012 at 10:12am
"New Era" - the latest offering from CloudscapeHaving been out in Europe since July 31, 2012, Swedish progressive metallers Cloudscape's latest album, the massively melodic and supremely sophisticated New Era, is set to be released in North America on September 11 on Nightmare Records. We had a talk with vocalist Michael "Mike" Andersson about the album, discussing the album itself and the Cloudscape cover artworks, plus Mike comments on some of the songs on the album. Fans of innovative melodic metal, read on.

First of all, congratulations on your brilliant new album New Era. The album has been out for some time in Europe now and will be released in September in North America. How has the album been received so far in Europe?

Thanks a lot :). This far the response have turned out nothing but amazing. I've read a few reviews and also read comments on the internet from fans that are totally top notch, so we are really happy about the response this far :).


What are your expectations towards its reception in North America?

Well, I have no expectations, but I certainly hope wholeheartedly that our fans in the U.S will like New Era as much as the Europeans seem to do:).  


The new album is called New Era. Does the title indicate a change in the musical direction of Cloudscape compared to Cloudscape, Crimson Skies and Global Drama?

It indicates a few things actually. The musical direction is one thing, but even more because of the band member changes the last few years. There was a time where we even discussed about not continuing with Cloudscape. But we hung in there and found new great musicians and friends and of course this has made some marks in the band, so we're simply heading for a new era and new found inspiration.


How would you, in your own words, describe the music on New Era?

Well, I think we still have much left of the sound that we've established us with but, with new touches and different musical angles. It's still progressive but, maybe not as much as on our previous albums. In general I think New Era is more straightforward with lots of songs that have really catchy choruses that will appeal to more straightforward metal fans that possibly don't like progressive music.


Many of the tracks on New Era feature both catchy vocal melodies and heavy guitar grooves, and, overall, the album strikes me as being perfectly balanced between heaviness and catchiness. Did you guys consciously aim for that sort of balance when you wrote the material for the album?


Yes absolutely. I think variation is very important in order to prevent an album to be too generic. But that's my opinion ;).


What was the writing process like for New Era?

It was a looooong journey. The first song I wrote for New Era was written even before Global Drama was released in 2008... it was the song 'Before Your Eyes'. We haven't rushed anything, have had no deadlines - none whatsoever - which have made the whole writing process more relaxed and inspirational :).


Cloudscape is often described as a progressive metal band. 'Progressive' can of course mean a lot of different things to different people. In which way would you say that the music of Cloudscape in general, and on New Era in specific, is progressive?

Well, Cloudscape have never been as progressive as bands like Dream Theater and the likes but, we certainly have lots of progressive moments in our music.... especially our previous albums. New Era still has progressive touches but, maybe not as much... so basically I still describe our music to be 'melodic metal with progressive touches'....but, this time more focused 'melodic metal' ;).


In any case, I would say that the songs on New Era are definitely sophisticated, and when I listen to the album, I am reminded of the phrase 'the thinking man's metal' which was used to describe Queensr
ÿche's music back in the late 80s and early 90s. Would you say that the music of Cloudscape is 'the thinking person's metal'?

Our music is still the 'thinking person's metal' hahaha, but, like I've said, it's also more easy for the general metal fan to listen to who doesn't find the progressive style very appealing. New Era has something for everybody that likes heavy metal I think :).


Which other musicians or bands serve as sources of inspiration for Cloudscape's music?

We don't have other bands as inspiration and we've never had in that aspect. Our self titled debut might have been inspired by prog metal bands in general, but, for me as a composer, for example, I have my way of composing music and what inspires me is nature, experiences, my mood, nice places I've seen etc., etc., etc... we never try to sound like a certain band.... but, of course, we have our bands that we listen to and like which might have some impact on us.


I find the cover art quite interesting. What is the story behind the cover artwork?

Actually, you can make a story of all our albums ;). The self titled debut from 2005 is where Earth is starting to change. On our second album, Crimson Skies from 2006, you see futuristic elevators where people escape Earth before Armageddon. On our third album, Global Drama from 2008, you see our planet beginning to boil. And on New Era the CS building is leaving with the last humans for better worlds to find and to start over all again while our world is chaotically falling apart into the abyss ;). Is it deep? Well, hahaha... I made up that story based on Mattias Noréns artwork so, we'll make it official here and now ;)


Global drama, as the Earth boilsThere you go, folks. It's now the official story behind the Cloudscape cover artworks. Is there any specific connection between the cover artwork of New Era and the lyrical content of the album?

Each picture in the booklet resembles the song either lyrically, by title or simply based on the feel of the song.


'Share Your Energy' is a very melodic and very musically compelling track. What are your own thoughts on this song?

I think it's really catchy, and style-wise it flirts with melodeath, I think, but with a very catchy and radio friendly chorus.


What is the song  about lyrically?

It's simple... lots of people have lots of energy... many people haven't, so let's give some energy and positivity to the ones that don't have as much. It's basically an encouraging song with a optimistic message that people should learn from, and many might recognize themselves in it :).


What about 'Voager 9' and 'Into the Unknown'? They both seem to deal with exploration and expansion into other territories?

'Voyager 9' is basically a futuristic lyric about human kind exploring new worlds in different galaxies. 'Into The Unknown' is a lyric about Vikings... ;)


Both 'Voyager 9' and 'Into the Unknown' also strike me as being more hard rock oriented. What are your own thoughts on those two songs?

That's correct. 'Voyager 9' is very epic and clocks in at almost 9 minutes, but, still, it's very straightforward and hard rock oriented. 'Into The Unknown' is also more hard rock oriented like you claim, but has a more basic structure and is very melodic.


'Simplicity... Huh...' is a funny title, so I have to ask: what is that song about?

The title is simply "ironic". Love problems and stuff... is it simple? Well, most of the times, not so. It's an ironic title and the lyric is about trying to forget about past love problems to go on with new directions in life... leaving the past behind.


Are you planning to do any touring in support of New Era?

Absolutely but, nothing is confirmed yet.


Nothing is confriemd yet, but Cloudscape may be rocking your town very soonWhere can New Era be purchased?

EVERYWHERE ;). But, a well known online store for U.S fans is of course Amazon or Nightmare Records' own webshop :)


And where can those of our readers who are interested in learning more about Cloudscape go for further information?

The best place to visit is www.facebook.com/cloudscapesweden, but we also have an official website at www.cloudscape.se. But I recommend You to join us at Facebook :)


Thank you very much for doing this interview, and, again, congratulations on your brilliant new album New Era.

Thanks a lot and the pleasure is all mine :). Cheers and take care.

Check out 'Share Your Energy' here.


Edited by Time Signature - 06 May 2014 at 12:23pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Colt Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Aug 2012 at 10:45am
Nice interview! Clap
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote adg211288 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 2012 at 3:40am
Great interview Kim, really given me a good perspective for writing my own review for New Era. Thumbs Up
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