Scar Symmetry is an up and coming melodic death band straight out of Sweden. Featuring an all-star line-up with members from Unmoored, Altered Aeon, and Centinex, there is little wonder as to how they managed to pull together such a fantastic debut.
Interview with Henrik Ohlsson (Drums)
Wayfaerer -First off, congrats on a kick-ass cd! How's the response been in general?
Henrik-Thanks! The response has been incredible I must say, we didn`t really expect this kind of overwhelming reaction. We did interviews constantly for three months or so and the reviews has been excellent. All this gave us an opportunity to move from Cold records/Metal Blade to Nuclear Blast which is just amazing.
Wayfaerer-With all of you coming from different bands, how did Scar Symmetry come about?
Henrik-I was recording in Jonas studio (Black Lounge) with my other band Altered Aeon in February 2004 and Jonas asked me if I was interested in starting up a brand new act with him. I certainly was interested and I suggested that we`d use Per from Altered Aeon as a second guitarist. Jonas brought in a friend of his called Kenneth on bass and Jonas also contacted Christian for the vocal spot.
Wayfaerer-How did you get signed to Cold Records?
Henrik-Cold records was interested in Scar Symmetry from day one because of the names in the line-up, they recognized many of us from other bands. We sent them our one track demo Seeds of Rebellion in mid 2004 and since they liked our sound we got a deal with them.
Wayfaerer-I'm sure many others have asked this one before, but is Scar Symmetry a full-time band or a side project for everyone?
Henrik-I have never been in a full time band because no band takes your full time in my opinion, at least not at this level. There`s always room for other musical escapades. But Scar Symmetry has full priority when we have live shows booked or when we`re recording material. When we`re not doing things like that then some other band has the priority. But it is a real band and not some kind of studio project or anything in that vein.
Wayfaerer-Having Jonas Kjellgren in the band, was it an obvious choice to use the Black Lounge to record? Any interesting stories from the recording?
Henrik-Yeah, we all wanted to record at the Black Lounge studio because the studio itself is great and we can spend a lot more time there than in someone else`s studio since we won`t have to worry so much about the recording budget, you know. We used a lot more studio time than our budget allowed for Symmetric in Design and we could do that because Jonas owns the studio and makes up the rules. So the choice was obvious for us, we will record the second album there aswell.
Wayfaerer-The many of the lyrics deal with mystical or cosmic themes, is this a personal interest?
Henrik-Definitely. I could never write about something that I wasn`t interested in, the lyrical themes are something that I live with in my mind every single day.
Wayfaerer-Continuing with the lyrics, they were intelligently written and seem pretty important. Do you think lyric-writing can make or break a band?
Henrik-I think that the music itself comes first and foremost, if the music sucks and the lyrics are great it just doesn`t work out. But if the music is great and the lyrics sucks then a band can still have a successful career, we`ve seen lots of examples of that. Good lyrics can`t save a band in my opinion, at least not in metal. But lyrics can be a useful tool to accentuate moods and vibes and it`s a great opportunity to say something in words if you feel the need to do that.
Wayfaerer-I really liked the cover of the disc, going along with the symmetry idea. Was this completely Par Johansson's idea or did you give him a concept to start?
Henrik-I sent Pär the lyrics, the title Symmetric in Design and a little explanation of it and that was all that he had to work with. We were totally blown away by what he came up with, he gave us two versions and we used the best one for the regular release and the other version was used for the Japanese release. We`re really happy with the artwork for Symmetric
, it`s cool that you like it too!
Wayfaerer-When I was thinking of symmetry, it reminded me of the Dan Brown novel, Angels and Demons. It deals with a Vatican conspiracy and the Illuminati branding symmetrically-written words on victims. Have you heard of it?
Henrik-Yeah, I started reading that book but I was disappointed with it and stopped reading it half way through. But the thing with the words was cool, I am also intrigued by the whole Illuminati-idea. I just prefer other works that deals with that stuff.
Wayfaerer-What do you think distinguishes Scar Symmetry from the ever-growing number of melodic death bands (besides the all-star line up)?
Henrik-The slightly different approach of the music, I think we have stuff in our songs that you normally don`t hear in the melo-death scene. And our lyrical themes are pretty unique aswell and we`re really not concerned with labelling ourselves as melo-death or whatever, which places us in a position where we can do just about anything. I think you can hear that when you listen to the album.
Wayfaerer-Do you have a favorite song on Symmetric in Design?
Henrik-2012, the demise of the 5th sun has always been my fave song on the album!
Wayfaerer-Will you be doing making any music videos for this album?
Henrik-We had some plans for a video but since we changed label from Cold records/Metal Blade to Nuclear Blast right after the release of Symmetric in Design we had to cancel those plans. Metal Blade and Cold records had no interest in putting money into a band that was no longer signed to them and Nuclear Blast had no interest in supporting Symmetric
since Metal Blade/Cold released it. But we`re hopeful that things will happen when the next album is released.
Wayfaerer-Do you have any plans for a 2nd cd at this point or is it too early?
Henrik-We will begin recording the album in August this year and it will be released by Nuclear Blast next spring if I remember correctly. We haven`t rehearsed any new material yet but we have some new songs that we will rehearse later on when there is more time, it`s too early to say anything about the musical approach for the next album but we`ll keep the key ingredients of the band.
Wayfaerer-I know that you are currently in Altered Aeon as well, but is there any possibility of Theory in Practice coming back to the metal world?
Henrik-No I don`t think so, T.I.P stopped its activity in 2002 and nothing has changed since then. I am currently writing new material for Altered Aeon though and we have plans to start recording the second album in April next year.
Wayfaerer-Any plans (in general, not necessarily Scar Symmetry) for the upcoming summer?
Henrik-Well, we have a couple of shows with Scar Symmetry and Altered Aeon that we look forward to this summer. We will rehearse with both bands before those shows obviously and Scar Symmetry will write a lot of new songs this summer since we`ll enter the studio in August to record the second album as I mentioned earlier.
Wayfaerer-I've been asking every band I interview lately; who's the most "metal" Star Wars character?
Henrik-He he, Darth Vader! He has that ongoing battle inside of him, every musician can probably identify with that. And his visual design is so goddamn metal!
Wayfaerer-Thanks and best of luck in the future! Any closing comments you'd like to make?
Henrik-Thanks! Right back at you. Remember to visit our site at www.scarsymmetry.com for the latest news and general info. It was a pleasure doing this interview, cheers!