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Interview with Soen | «The expectation is always to deliver a better album than our previous one»

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Initially formed in 2004, it was in May 2010 that the formation of Soen was officially announced. Funding member drummer Martin Lopez describes Soen’s music as “melodic, heavy and intricate”.

The group’s first song, ‘Fraccions‘, was released in October 2010 and their debut album, Cognitive, was released on 15 February 2012 receiving positive critical reception.

Since Lopez and Joel Ekelöf formed the group, Soen have never shied away from exploration and analysis of self or society, both as musicians and expressionists.
2012’s Cognitive beat a firmly heavy, progressive metal path, before 2014’s Tellurian saw Soen start to stride freely into their own power and unique visions. Their third offering, Lykaia, was a conceptual journey exploring earthier places.

Soen’s fourth album, Lotus is another journey using a different set of perspectives. The album will be released on February 1st 2019 via Silver Lining Music.
Produced by David Castillo and Iñaki Marconi at Ghostward Studios and Studio 6 between July and October 2018, Lotus contains dissertations on modern society such as ‘Rival‘, ‘Covenant‘ and ‘Martyrs‘ that are fraught with poetic, finitely designed confusion and chaos. Specific meanings, however, remain at once deeply personal and wholly universal.

Soen will be bringing Lotus on the road with them as they tour Europe starting in March 2019, which will herald an exciting new chapter of skin-shedding, soul-searching and self-realizing Soenjourns for all who dare to commit to the ride.

SOEN are:
Stefan Stenberg – Bass
Cody Ford – Guitar
Lars Åhlund – Keys, guitar
Joel Ekelöf – Vocals
Martin Lopez – Drums, percussion

 

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I believe that your new album Lotus is your best so far. How would you rate it compared to your previous work? How do you feel about your previous albums with hindsight after album No 4?

Martin Lopez: I agree that it's our best album to date.I like all of our albums but there's always been issues with either the sound, production or packaging that have somehow ruined it for me. With Lotus I feel it's the first time that we reach the vision that we had behind the album both sound wise and visually.

 

 

What was your approach and your expectations when you started recording Lotus?

Martin Lopez: The expectation is always to deliver a better album than our previous one. Outside of that we wanted to finally get a sound that would be really heavy when needed but to also have a good separation between all the instruments. We wanted a sound that would make you feel like you're sitting in the studio watching the band play.

 

 

There's a new member in the band, guitarist Cody Ford. I know that you write most of the songs, so what would you say that he brings to the band? And since Marcus and Joakim were also credited with producing how would you say the sound of the album was affected by the changes?

Martin Lopez: Cody brings what we expect from a guitarist and more.We need a guitar player that is very complete and can handle heavy riffing as well as mellow stuff and leads with a lot of heart. It's not easy to find musicians like that, It feels like all the people we tried out besides Cody would be amazing at just one thing which doesn't work on our music because you need to dominate many different styles. The decision to bring a producer from the outside came right after we were done with Lykaia due to us not being completely satisfied with the sound of the album. We decided to work with David Castillo and Inaki Marconi because we have known them for a very long time, they know what we want and need and they are amazing at what they do.

 

 

Your lyrics are real, your videos are meaningful and socially sensitive. Are you inspired by life itself, or is it something more personal?

Martin Lopez: Lyrically we are inspired both by what happens to us and around us. The only requirement is to be honest and not afraid to speak your mind, the words behind the music need to have value otherwise it feels like you're only doing half the job. We never felt comfortable with singing about love stories that never happened or fantasy and mainly address issues that we feel need to be talked about.

 

 

After, hopefully, many many years, what would you like to be your legacy in music?

Martin Lopez: I hope to make music that will mean something to the listener and not just entertain them for a few minutes, to make them think and analyse and feel something more than just the will to headbang.

 

 

Apart from the obvious 'progressive metal' label how would you describe your music?

Martin Lopez: I personally see us as a metal band, I've been a metal head since I was a child and I listen to all kinds of metal and music in general. I feel like the label "progressive" nowadays isn't what Soen is about, most of the Progressive Metal bands out there are in it for the technical thing and I only care about making good songs with a lot of emotion. With that said, as long as the label progressive means open-minded i feel we fit in there.

 

 

When you write a song what is the process that you go through to make it a Soen song?

Martin Lopez: It depends on the song, normally Joel and I meet and come up with something that I later on bring home and start building upon, then I meet with Stefan and Lars and they come up with their ideas and add their touch to them. Also Stefan and Lars write music and we kind of go through everything and keep the music that we like the most.

 

 

When did you feel that you got your own sound as a band? I suppose it's a process, especially when you come from a major band with its own history and you have to move on. Was there some kind of pressure for you in the beginning or did it feel like 'I'm just doing my thing here'?

Martin Lopez: I never felt any pressure from the outside.Pressure comes from within, we all are obsessed with making the best music we possibly can and for me personally I don't have anything besides my family that I value as much as I value music so if I don't do the best I can whatever it takes I wouldn't be living a fulfilling life.

 

 

Please send a message to your greek fans.

Martin Lopez: Tikanis Hellas! We really want to play there as I have very fond memories of the Greek people. I hope to see you all very soon.

 

 

Thank you for your time.

Martin Lopez: Thank you for yours.

 

 

Chris Mouskos, Eleni Ktisti, Marios Rigopoulos, Konstantinos Karageorgiou

 

Black Velvet Radio

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