After 7 years of processing, Mindtech, have finally put out their debut album. The founding member, guitarist, songwriter & producer Thor-Axel Eriksen talked to Grande Rock, giving more details about the band’s background, their future plans and music in general. Do read below for more…
Mindtech band pic
Hey Thor-Axel. I’m sure you’re glad to see your so-long anticipated debut on the market at last!
T: Thanks Thanos. I am really happy to finally have achieved one of my goals. To release an album, with my own music, made on my own terms.
I guess 7 years to complete your debut album is a lot of time. What held you back and what were the issues you faced during those years?
T: Well, mainly time... Being a family man, working full-time and so on, makes it hard to find time to create music, and produce an album. It’s been on and off, and the other musicians participating, have other bands, and commitments too.
I’m aware that there have also been several re-recordings. Why’s that? Were they due to production standards?
T: Yes, mainly the evolvement of digital recording equipment. Most recordings on the album have been done in our own home studios, except for the drums. They were done back in 2008, and Lasse’s keyboard parts back in 2009. We did all the rest of the instruments too, back then, but it came out a bit crappy, so I put the whole thing on hold for a while. There has also been some replacement of members, and things have been a bit unsure. Then I bought the Fractal Audio Axe FX2 last year, and suddenly the guitar sound fell into place, and boosted the spirits.
You did the production as well. How hard was it to bring all those things together in order to achieve a satisfying result? Was it rather challenging or what? Are you happy by the final outcome though?
T: It has been a big job and I have had a pretty steep learning curve, production wise. I am a logistic man, work wise, so I have enjoyed it too. Making things fall into place. It’s very satisfying. All the guys have contributed, out of their own time, so I had to wait for them to do their thing. I am really happy with the final result, it has exceeded all of my expectations.
I bet working with Børge Finstad (Mayhem, Tristania, Arcturus, Big Bang etc.) for the mixing and Markus Teske (Vanden Plas, Mob Rules, Red Circuit etc.) for the mastering was a great experience. How was the overall sound changed after their contribution?
T: The great Børge Finstad lifted the production many steps, and made it sound bigger and heavier than I had expected. He understood where to go at once, and that was well-spent money as I see it. Øyvind, from Withem, recommended Markus Teske for the mastering, and he also knew where to go, at once. It was a relief to let go of the control, to some extent, and let the professionals to their thing.
Hence, what are those “Elements of Warfare”? Where does the title refer to?
T: It is mainly referring to the lyrics. Have tried to describe different aspects of warfare, how some individuals are feeling in the line of combat, and also bigger issues, where a few individuals, deciding how the world should be like. The title and the subjects are very anti-war.
Please give us a hint about each track…
T: “Lords of War”: A heavy, groovy song. Describing some of today’s politicians, and governments.
“Absolution”: Also heavy as hell, more synths on this one, makes it a bit more industrial. Describing a man’s thoughts, being involved in the line of fire.
“Enemy Within”: A bit more conceptual song, on manipulation of the mind, with propaganda and such.
“No Solution”: The “pop” song on the album, and our first single. A man’s’ longing for those that means the most.
“Lost Cause”: Inspired by more industrial music, and describing the basic meaningless thing of fighting a war, with no obvious cause.
“Transparent”: A pure metal song, with a triplet beat chorus. Lyrics on how the single soldier is invisible, insignificant to the people in charge.
“Salvation”: A man’s last thoughts, before he dies. Musically just acoustic guitars, and some keyboards. A breather on the album.
“Sons of God”: My big opus. The only song I wrote, without any other contributors. I knew where I wanted this to go, and have achieved it. The song has everything, heavy riffing, more down parts, melodic vocals, and some odd rhythmic figures. The female vocals make this track stand out, in so many ways. Back to the theme of how a few men, is deciding on the world’s future and existence.
“My Crusade”: Another industrial inspired track. Describing the last minutes of a suicide bomber in this world.
“Resistance”: Meant as positive vibe song, on how we could change the world, if we just stand together, and fight the “big guys”. Turned out much more melodic than intended, thanks to the choirs on the choruses.
You decided to form your own label and release your albums through it. How and why did you come up with such a thing? Were you somewhat tired by the whole way the music industry works today? Do you think it was for the best after all?
T: I think it is the only way, at the moment. Coming from “nowhere”, it is almost impossible to land a deal nowadays. There are no labels, running after you with a contract. So to get the album(s) out, finally, I saw no other solution. It gives you more control too, and the chance for getting some of the expenses covered, is at least a bit bigger.
Do tell us a bit about the guest appearances of: bassist Linus Abrahamson (Andromeda, Asymmetry, Anton Johansson's Galahad Suite, Citadellion etc.) and the vocalists Linda Kvam (a local pop/country singer) & Anette Uvaas Gulbrandsen (Sabbathian/Leave’s Eyes).
T: On the first round of recordings, I did all guitars and bass myself. So, then we decided to re-record, I wanted to concentrate on my own parts, and let the other guys do their thing.
I met with Linus at last year’s ProgPower Oslo. Andromeda played, and I was the festival driver. Got in touch with afterwards to ask him to do the bass, and he pleasantly agreed. He is such a professional, and delivered his parts fast and flawless.
Linda Kvam, has been a favorite singer of mine, for a long time. Approached her to do the vocals, some years back, and wrote her parts, with her voice in mind. She did her own thing though, and lifted the parts, and the song “Sons of God” beyond expectations.
Anette has a lot of choir experience, so we multi tracked her for the choir on “Resistance”. She has a beautiful voice, and with a lot of different nuances.
The video for “No Solution” is already out. Will there be any other videos anytime soon?
T: Hopefully there will be a few more. We released the single in June, but didn’t have footage, or time to do the video before now. There will be at least one more single, and video from the album. Maybe two, depending on how the album is received.
How would you describe the band’s sound to someone that comes across your band for the very first time?
T: Heavy, groovy and melodic metal. With a hint of progressiveness.
Now that the first goal is reached, what are the future plans for Mindtech? Touring? Playing in Festivals? Promoting the album further?
T: It’s a bit open at the moment. Hoping to play at some festivals, and we will push the album further of course.
Mindtech band pic 2013
Since you have two releases out at the same period, one with Mindtech & the other with Tritonus, I’d like to ask you which one you enjoy the most.
T: I enjoy both albums equally. Mindtech, of course, because it’s my own material, and my baby, so to say. Tritonus, because it has been such a huge part of my life. Playing, rehearsing and writing those songs, with the greatest guys I know. (i.n.: OK, that makes perfect sense!)
I think it’s time for our weird Questions!!! How did you come up with the name Mindtech… whose idea was it back in the day
T: Mindtech was a song title, a working title for “Enemy Within” actually. Finding a unique name is difficult, and there was no other bands with that name back in 2008.
Victor Hugo said: “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent”. What’s your say?
T: Music is LIFE for me. Especially if it wakes up some sort of feeling. My life would be empty without listening, playing, making music.
How can we make people love and buy music in this time-period with all the financial problems and the easy way of getting it for free with just a few clicks? Some say that going back to vinyl is the answer… but there’s not only that. What else can the labels and the bands do?
T: Wish I had the answer to that one. The true music-fan still buys their CD’s and vinyl. And maybe do the occasional Itunes download. We just have to adjust I think. There are no stopping the digital evolution…
Do you believe that all those incidents in the early 90s… in the Norwegian black metal scene have caused some kind of problems or helped the scene become more known all over the world?
T: That whole scene had some extreme individuals that really took it way too far. The bands with some sort of substance, is still going strong. I guess all of those incidents helped them, in some weird way.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music evolution, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
T: Dream Theater – “Images and Words”
Which will be the best soundtrack to play in the day we will be forced to evacuate planet earth?
T: Crimson Glory – “Eternal World”
Is fiction part of reality… or reality is fiction’s flaw?
T: Reality is of course fiction’s flaw! (i.n.: Cool! wink)
Imagine that your girlfriend/wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?!
T: Well, there is a reason that I am divorced hehe… (i.n.: Didn’t know that! Hehe!)
That’s all for now Thor-Axel! Thx for the music. All the best for the future… close this interview in your own words…
T: Thanks to you, Thanos, for taking the time. We appreciate the support from webzines like Grande-Rock. Hope you readers will check out Mindtech’s music, and spread the word.