Swedish melodic hard rockers Eclipse are back with a brand new offering in Armageddonize. I spoke with Erik Martensson (Vocals, Guitar) as he told me about how the album’s name came to be, in addition to the unfortunate passing of his father and how many of the songs on the album are about him. He also talked a little about his influences and some unexpected “firefighting” that happened during one of the band’s recent tours.
Let’s talk about the brand new album, Armageddonize. What kind of approach were you going for on the record and are you happy with the final recording?
Erik: We did it the same way as we usually do our albums. We write for ourselves and from the heart and if we like a song it’s going to be on the album. It’s not that we don’t respect our fans, but we must convince ourselves if we wanna convince our listeners. But I must say that I’m really happy with the album. I really like all the songs on the album and that’s a rarity I tell you.
Tell me about your musical background. What are some of your influences?
Erik: I’ve been listening to hard rock all my life. I have a three year older brother that listened to hard rock all the time as well, so as long as I can remember I’ve listened to it. I spent all my pocket money on records. I listened to WASP, Motley Crue, Whitesnake, AC/DC, Metallica etc and these are the same bands I still love and they formed me as the musician I am today.
What was the writing and recording process like for Armageddonize? I’m sure this isn’t your first rodeo, so did things go smooth for you this time around, or did you run into any issues?
Erik: Just as you’ve said, this was not the first album I’ve done so I know pretty much what it takes to make one and it’s a lot more work than most people probably know. On this album we were on a very tight schedule and in the middle of it my father totally unexpectedly passed away at just the age of sixty-seven which made a huge impact on my life and my family, and of course on the album.
Let’s talk about some of the lyrical topics on the album. Much of this sounds like it’s come from life experience, it seems almost autobiographical in a way. What inspires your lyrics?
Erik: A lot of the lyrics on this album deal with the passing away of my father, but not all of them. I usually want to go for a more dark side of life when I write lyrics as it’s those things that usually get under your skin. That being said, I’m actually a really happy guy and I don’t dwell in misery all the time. But the lyrics have to work together with the melodies and that’s really important for me.
The name of the record is Armageddonize, so do you think we’re all headed for some great impending doom? These days, everyone seems to think that the world’s going to end next year, next month or next week for some reason.
Erik: (Laughs) No, it just sounded cool and had that great eighties vibe. Magnus (bass) came up with the title “Armageddon” and I thought it was so boring and then I said “What about Armageddonize“? We all thought it was great and that was it really.
What do you do when you’re not making music and is there anything you’d recommend?
Erik: I love downhill skiing. It’s the best thing in life and almost better than music to be honest. But I have a family and two kids and hanging with them is the best thing in the world. I also enjoy driving motorcycles and while I was growing up I was driving a lot of motocross and competed in the national championship for youths.
What are some of the best tour experiences you’ve ever had? What are some of the most memorable or unbelievable things you’ve ever seen on the road? What’s the worst experience you’ve had while touring?
Erik: We usually have a really good time on tour and it’s so great to meet all the fans after shows. It’s one thing to write and record an album but seeing that other people actually know the words and the songs is unbelievable. The worst and afterwards most insane thing on tour was last year in Spain and we were out celebrating a great show. Magnus (guitar) and Robban (drums) stayed up a little longer and probably had a few drinks too many. While I was asleep Magnus came up with the great idea of spraying two floors of the hotel with a fire extinguisher, which was a very bad idea. The mess was unbelievable, but the hotel manager just said it was okay and only wanted a hundred and fifty euros for the cleaning, We paid him and got the hell out of there. Magnus was called “The Firefighter” for the rest of that tour!
What are the touring plans going to be for Armageddonize and where can we see you live? Who are you touring with?
Erik: Absolutely! We’re doing a full tour schedule and it’s also our first proper European tour with Eclipse this year. We really can’t wait to go out there and play this album live for all the fans. Starting in Sweden, we’ll be traveling to the UK, Spain, Italy, Norway, Finland, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Switzerland and even more to be announced soon!
Thanks for releasing a great hard rock album and I wish you the best of luck with the tour and in the future! – Eric