Reinholdz, Johan (Andromeda) (August 2002)


An Eye-Opening Constellation

Andromeda 2003Andromeda's debut album, Extension Of The Wish, has not only garnered an extremely positive reaction among critics, but even more importantly, it has brought the band to the forefront of the progressive community. Guitar player and songwriter Johan Reinholdz is looked upon as a rising star in the genre, or to some, maybe already one of the best. I decided to conduct an interview with Johan to discuss the upcoming album, Two Is One, the band itself, and his own musical and personal foundations.

Shawn Lakhani: Hello Johan, thanks for doing this interview. Before we talk about anything else, can you please discuss the new album slated to come out later this year (at least in Europe). I think the title is Two Is One, is that correct? Maybe you can tell us its direction and how it compares to Extension Of The Wish ? What should people expect differently from the new work?

Johan Reinholdz: Yes, the new album is called Two Is One. We are mixing it right now and it will be out some time late this year or early 2003. The new album sounds quite different from Extension Of The Wish due to the fact that we are a band now and it's not only me doing all the writing like it was before. Me and Martin [Hedin], our keyboard player have written most of the material but Thomas [Lejon] (drums) and David [Fremburg] (vocals) have also contributed some stuff.

I think the music is a lot more varied on this new album. There are more calm, atmospheric parts and also really heavy riffs. The music is almost more progressive now than before, more unpredictable. Another big difference is that there are a lot more room for the vocals this time. Before it was based around instrumental parts mainly, which isn't really the case anymore. But there are still many intense instrumental parts and also an entire instrumental song as well.

Andromeda - Extention Of The WishSL: In context to the different Extension Of The Wish versions that have been released, how does new singer, David Fremberg, enhance the prior album, and how does he compliment the band's musical style, especially on the new music?Andromeda - Extension Of The Wish reissue at Final Extension

JR: He has a much wider range and also more power in his voice than Lawrence has so he can add many different types of moods. He really broadens our musical spectrum.

SL: Is there a goal to be the most original in the progressive metal field, or are there other factors that cause a band to incorporate different influences and cross into other genres sometimes?

JR: We don't have a conscious goal to be the most original band out there, but of course it's the ultimate goal of any musician or band to have a unique style that people like and can recognize. But I don't think that one should really think about it too much, just go for what feels right.

SL: What's your opinion of the solo in terms of its usefulness and when it should be used? Do other players overuse solos? And, how do you try to convey emotion or feeling into your solo?

JR: It should be used to enhance the impact and mood of a song or part of a song, bring it to a peak, I think. How I try to convey emotion into my solos? I don't really understand that question...

SL: I know many musicians have their own opinion on how to combine melody and technicality into one entity. How do you go about combining them in Andromeda's music, and what do you feel comes first if you had to choose?

JR: A good melody and/or rhythm always comes first, that's what music is all about.

SL: What should we expect from Andromeda, let's say, by the year 2005?

JR: Impossible to say at this point. Time shall tell.

SL: What is the purpose of Andromeda? Why did you decide to play in the category of progressive metal? And, what is your purpose, overall, as a musician?

JR: To create great, original music. That's it.

SL: I heard that Extension Of The Wish was actually done very quickly in the studio, is that true? If it was, was there a certain pressure there? And, exactly how do you go about the writing process. Does it take a long time, or do ideas just run through your head, if you know what I mean?

JR: The recording of Extension was quite hectic, but it went fine. Sometimes lack of time makes you concentrate and work more efficiently, which was what happened. It may take one week, one month or one year to write a song, it always differs. It's really hard to explain how the songs are written, that too varies. Often me or Martin or the two of us together write the basic riffs or parts and the basic arrangements of a song and then we play it together with the others at rehersal and see how it goes and then maybe change some things here and there.

SL: I know that your label in America is Century Media. Were you surprised that such a well-known label would want you guys to be part of their roster?

JR: We heard before the album came out that they were going to license all the releases of the bands on our label WAR-music (now bearing the name New Hawen Records, to whom we still are signed) in North America, so we weren't that surprised. But, it is a good thing because they are quite a big label with good distribution.

SL: If you had to describe your band in one word, what would it be?

JR: In ONE word? Wow, that's generous. I guess: Interesting.

SL: We discussed influences and different genres earlier. What musical elements do you try include in Andromeda's music?

JR: A lot of different moods. Some really intense, progressive stuff that creates a lot of energy and excitement. Some very emotional and atmospheric melodies and harmonies and also a lot of stuff in between those two suggestions. It's hard to really explain these things. We just try write good music that we like to listen to ourselves.

SL: What have been your major influences not only as a guitar player, but as a musician and songwriter in general? What bands do you feel are truly "progressing" in the sense of the word in the modern era?

JR: Guitar-wise people like: Marty Friedman, Dimebag Darrell, Kee Marcello, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Rothery, John Petrucci, Yngwie Malmsteen, Gary Moore, Steve Vai. As a songwriter (among many others too numerous to mention): Metallica, Slayer, Opeth, Yes, Dan Swano, Genesis, The Cure, Marillion, Morbid Angel, Pantera, Depeche Mode, Rush, Megadeth, Atheist, Angelo Badalamenti, etc., etc.

Artists that I feel are truly progressing (and by that I don't necessarily mean that they play "progrock" or something like that) nowadays are: Opeth, Björk, Tori Amos, Tool, A Perfect Circle, System Of A down, Propellerheads, Air, John Scofield, Tea Party, Spock's Beard among others. All of them great artists by the way. I hope that Andromeda is considered to be among those artist above as well.

SL: Say you were deserted from the rest of the world for one day, but you were able to take a CD player and one album. What album would you choose?

JR: Damn, that's impossible to answer! If you'd ask me tomorrow or the day after that I probably wouldn't give you the same answer twice. Maybe Tori Amos - From The Choirgirl Hotel. But there are so many other great albums, The Cure's Disintegration, Wish, Rimsky-Korsakov - Scheherazade, Morbid Angel - Altars Of Madness, Captain Beyond - Captain Beyond, Enya - Shepherd Moons, etc., etc.

SL: Lyrically, can you explain the messages of both Extension Of The Wish and the forthcoming album? Does anything intertwine?

JR: I haven't written any of the lyrics on the new album so I can't tell you about that. All the lyrics on Extension... were however written by me. They are mostly describing a certain state of mind, a type of feeling or stream of thoughts. Everyone can make up their own interpretation of the lyrics, which is good. There are some of those lyrics that I actually don't know what they are about.

SL: Will Niklas Sundin be doing the cover for the next release? Or, will it be someone else?

JR: Mattias Norén (www.progart.com) is doing the cover design for Two Is One.

SL: Can you explain your background musically and maybe also the background of the other members of Andromeda?

JR: I grew up listening to a lot of metal - Iron Maiden, Metallica, AC/DC, Slayer, Megadeth, Entombed, Sepultura, etc. Then in my teens I got into some different stuff like Enya, The Cure, Sisters Of Mercy, some classical music. And then it just went on like that, I got into jazz, fusion, some pop music, progressive rock/metal, 70s heavy metal. Nowadays I pretty much listen to all kinds of music - from hip-hop and funk to electronica to death metal.

I don't really know what all the other members grew up listening to, etc., but I know that Thomas really likes Meshuggah, Freak Kitchen, Rush, UK, Police, Fates Warning, etc. Martin loves Björk, Tori Amos, Magellan, Marillion, Mike Oldfield, Gentle Giant, Queen, stuff like that. David likes Kiss, Björn Skifs, Type O Negative, Steely Dan, SFF, Deep Purple, and so on. We have actually fired Gert Daun, our bassist, but I think he is into a lot of old heavy metal and progressive rock like It Bites, Saga, Rush, Yes, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple.

SL :Johan, your band is just one of the many progressive acts coming out of Sweden in the recent years. Is this just a coincidence? Some say it's the water, haha. But, really, why and how has the Swedish scene produced such a great number of progressive metal bands?

JR: Don't know really. We have good opportunities for anyone to learn how to play instruments and sing here in Sweden. It's quite cheap, you don't have to go to a private teacher who demands big money for lessons. We are also quite open for the American and English culture and language and have been since the beginning of the history of pop and rock music. That may be two valid reasons.

NonExist - Deus DeceptorSL: I know you worked on NonExist's Deus Deceptor with Johan Liiva (ex-Arch Enemy) and some other well known musicians. You probably had to take a different approach to the music, am I right? Do you feel that projects like this make you a better player?

JR: Yeah, I think it's good to play different styles of music and to play with different people, it's also a lot of fun. You always learn something. Every experience is important.

SL: I know you played ProgPower in Europe last year. Did it work out well for the band, especially it being the premiere of David? And, what do see you in the future regarding live shows?

JR: I think it went really well. The audience was great and we'd love to come back to the Netherlands some time again. Actually David had already played some gigs with us prior to ProgPower so it was no problem. We'd love to play more live, it's something we really enjoy. Hopefully there will be some kind of tour after Two Is One is released, but we don't know yet. Our next gig is with Flower Kings in Gothenburg here in Sweden the 17th of August by the way.

SL: Regarding the evolution of the mp3 debate that has really taken flight recently, do you feel that mp3s hurt the artist, or do you feel that they actually produce better sales and notoriety for the artist? Has the Internet been a major boost for your band's success?

JR: It's good for bands to promote themselves that way. You can really reach a lot of people using the Internet. We got a lot of help from having some of our songs downloaded from our site prior to the release of Extension... It helped spread the word. But if people just downloads mp3s and stops buying CDs, then it's not good. And this is what seems to be happening right now. The CDs are too expensive I think.

SL: Ok, last question Johan. Where does Andromeda go from here?

JR: On the road hopefully. Thanks for your support! Check out our new album Two Is One and also the re-release of Extension Of The Wish with bonus tracks, new mix and new vocals by David. Cheers!


Discography:
Extension Of The Wish (2001)
II=I (2003)
Final Extension (2004)
Chimera (2006)
The Immunity Zone (2008)
Manifest Tyranny (2011)

Playing Off The Board (DVD) (2007)
Live In Vietnam (DVD) (2015)

Added: August 9th 2002
Interviewer: Shawn Lakhani

Artist website: www.andromedaonline.com
Hits: 826
Language: english
  

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