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WOLVERINE

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They are finally back, the long wait was definitly worth it! The new album "Machina Viva" is once again a real gem and shows Wolverine once again at their best. We sent out some questions and Stefan, Marcus and Thomas were more than willing to provide them with an answer, enjoy!

WOLVERINE

For starters lets go back to 'Communication Lost' what happened or didn't happen after that?

Stefan: I don't really have a good answer for that besides the fact that we have always been pretty slow when it comes to the actual  writing process. Honestly, we argue a lot. And I really mean a lot. Every detail is looked upon from five different horizons and we work those details over time and time again until we're all more or less satisfied. In a way I guess we're a bit too much of a democracy to be really efficient. The upside however, is that we don't add any "fillers" to our albums and every song gets a proper workthrough. Things would of course go much faster if we all lived close to each other which is not the case. On top of this you have every day life with kids, work and so on.

What did you guys do in the past 5 years?

Stefan: As a band we worked on the new material and we also did a few shows back in 2013. We played both ProgPower USA and ProgPower Europe as well as a one off gig in Tel-Aviv. Besides those shows there hasn't been much activity when it comes to playing live. Personally I went through a divorce which of course is something that drains a lot of energy from you. At the same time it was good fuel for writing songs so I really don't think it affected my activity within the band in a bad way.

Knowing that things go very fast these days, aren't you a bit afraid you are going to have to reclaim your position?

Marcus: Haha! I don't even know what position we have had before to be honest? I don't think we are in any competition here, we do what we do because we love it and if people love it too it's all a bonus. Even if people would hate what we do we would still be doing it for ourselves.

Stefan: Me and Marcus have been in the band for 21 years now. God knows we really tried for many years to somehow make it big so to speak. However, as one has gotten older it has also gotten easier and easier to realize that we're in this band only because we love writing music and performing it live. As Marcus said, we're doing this for our own satisfaction. I'm always up for touring and trying to bring the band to the next level if the offer comes our way, but if it doesn't I'm fine with that as well. As long as I get to create music with this weird bunch of people I'm perfectly happy.

Thomas: We have been fortunate to be able to release music that hasn't been meddled with by anyone with commercial interests only. It is a good thing you still have people in the business that are genuinely interested in music for music's sake - music as an artform I suppose - as opposed to the vultures who use "music" as a profitable medium, where profit comes in first place. Perhaps this is a simplified and sordid way of describing things, but I do think it is sad to see what kind of "music" the business throws at people, and how it is devoured without thought, concern or through what I would regard as an active choise. I admire listeners who think and seek, and genuinely appreciate music in a deeper sense, instead of consuming whatever hollow music-like things that are thrown in their faces. I guess it is too demanding for many to look beyond what's served right in front of your nose? Please note, however, that I am not the one to decide whether or not our music belongs to one side or the other. All I know is that we don't have any commercial goals when creating or music, and that we aren't trying to imitate the current mainstream music you hear out there. And I know we also have great fans who are genuinely interested in music and in what we do. It is worth so much to hear what our listeners think and feel about Wolverine's material. Reading what these people share and meeting them in person at the few gigs we do, is something that at least puts me in a position where I feel I am part of something that actually carries some sort of meaning - to me as well as our listeners - and that's the position I feel is the most important to me. Sorry for the lengthy answer. I hope it makes sense somehow.

You guys also found a new home with Sensory records, where I think the band fits perfectly! How & when did you sign there and for how many records?

Marcus: We initially planned to release the album by ourselves but eventually came to the conclusion that it would be a quite big task to execute it well. I reached out to Ken, who I was sort of familliar with, just to find other options. As it turned out he did have an eye on us before and he was interested in the band. As of now we have signed for this album only with an additional option.

How did the recordings and production go?

Marcus: As with "Communication Lost" we handled the recording ourselves with mainly me as engineer. It all went quite well and smoothly, I started recording the drums at the end of September last year, it took something like three or four days to record them. After that I think we did 3 days of bass, all the guitars (acoustic/clean/crunch/rhythm and lead) took maybe 1,5 weeks in total to record spread out over a month or so. Per handled all the keyboard and cello recordings at his apartment. Some additional stuff (percussion, synths) were recorded at various places. All the vocals was recorded at Stefans house, we converted his son's bedroom into a vocal booth, it all turned out great! The album was mixed by Christian "Moschus" Moos at the Spacelab Studio in Germany. It was there that we also recorded our first three albums.

Stefan: Ever since the recording of "The Window Purpose" back in 2001 I've been working closely with Oliver Philipps (of Everon fame as well as one of the founders of the Spacelab Studio). He knows just how to make me perform at the top of my game. He's also responsible for most of the vocal harmonies on our albums. This time around we planned on having him come over to Sweden and record the vocals with me. However, that never really worked out so instead I recorded with Marcus but we were constantly in touch with Oliver through Messenger and Skype, sending files back and forth. As for the harmonies he wrote, he used Melodyne to tweak the harmonies out from the leadtrack so to speak. He then sent us his ideas and we recorded them properly. It all worked pretty well although, of course, I'd prefer that he's physically present the next time we record.

"Machina Viva" is Wolverine at it's best, how long did you guys work on it and how do you compare it with your previous work?

Marcus: I think we started coming up with ideas like 4 years ago or so. We have had a constant file sending frenzy ever since, bouncing ideas back and forth until something acceptable came out of it. I think Machina Viva is just us further exploring our boundaries if there are any. We do what we feel and what comes out of that and I believe we have always done that. I believe it's our most dynamic album to date considering the contrasts between complexity and simplicity.

Thomas: Yes, since every album has a different sound, I would say this album is just sort of a continuation of what we do. Who knows how the next record will sound? 

For  me, Wolverine is a band I like and love because all the layers of emotions that are hidden in the music, At times it sounds really intense! Are the lyrics and subject also emotional and perhaps personal at times?

Stefan: I'm glad to hear you say this. When I first started writing lyrics I was very much into trying to write lyrics containg lots of metaphors and that was very open for interpretation. I do however feel that I've drifted away from that. I, more or less, only write lyrics about stuff that has taken place in my own life. Stuff I've experienced and that has shaped me to who I am today. Today I approach the lyrics in a simpler way than I used to do years ago. In a way I try to keep the feeling of the lyrics, like you mentioned, more real. More "hands on". It also makes it easier for me to deliver the lyrics credible when we record or perform live. The songs become stories that are very easy for me to "live through" when I sing them. With this being said, I also listen to a lot of bands and artists that write lyrics much more open for interpretation and I have tons of respect for that way of writing lyrics as well.

Are there plans to go out and promote the new album?

Stefan: We will play ProgPower Europe again this year. That festival is more or less our second home. It's always a blast playing there and I really can't wait to get back there. We have many friends over there that has supported us through the years, both personally and musically. Apart from that show nothing is planned right now but hopefully we have some interesting stuff brewing. But more about that later on...

There is a bonus track on the album, "Pile Of Ash" the cello version, a bit surprising, but it makes the emotions in the song so more intense, how did you come up with the idea?

Marcus: Per originally wrote this as a piano song and I loved it but we all thought the piano was a litte too familliar with "What Remains" on Communication Lost and "Trust" on Cold Light of Monday. It felt like repetition so I suggested to do it with an electric guitar instead to get a sort of Jeff Buckley vibe to it. I also suggested to do it in a cello version, originally just to experiment and see which one was best. We liked them both for different reasons, in a way I think they both capture something the other version don't have. One other thing is that I personally love alternative versions of songs both in live situations and studio.

Is there any special kinda meaning behind the album title "Machina Viva"?

Thomas: I think the answer for this depends on who you ask. Marcus and I worked on, or discussed the title and came up with an idea about the conflict between the individual and, say, society. Many times I experience the individual to be quite machine-like as a consequense of how modern society affects our values, behaviour etc. It's like we are bombarded with incessant ideas and imperatives on how to live, think, act and what not - and I believe this bombardment is mainly about things we are certainly NOT. So much focus on the external stuff rather than what's going on inside of you and who you really are. Much of this, of course, has to do with consumption. So, the album title ("The Living Machine" in English) reflects the paradox between our internal and external life - does this make sense? It reflects how the individual is alive but dead, or at least dying. It reflects how we gradually succumb to forces that are put in place to alter how you really think and who you really are. It is difficult today, in modern society, to be "real" so to speak ("How do you define real?" Morpheus asks), when being constantly under fire. And we best take cover! Another translation of the album title is "The Living Plan"- which could be interpreted as having a connection with the issue described above. Is there a plan behind all this? Is there by any chance forces that want us to become machine-like and empty shells who do not think clearly and who have lost contact with who we are? A strive for a communication lost? I would say that the two songs that mainly has a connetion with the album title are "The Bedlam Overture" and "Machina". You can also see sort of a double nature in the album artwork, where the shape of the truly organic and biological reflects the shape of the hard, constructed and dead motorway, and vice versa. You can also skip the interpretations and just appreciate a nice sounding phrase in Latin (which, when I come to think of it, is regarded as what we call a dead language). 

Thx so much for the new album and your time to answer these questions, glad you guys are back :-)

Stefan: Thank you!

Marcus: Thanks!

Thomas: Vielen Dank!

 

https://www.facebook.com/wolverinetheband

Nico

 

 

 

 

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