Last month, early March, the Swedish Power Metal band LAST KINGDOM released its debut album under the wings of Limb Music Products. The offering is titled “Chronicles Of The North” and is inline with what bands like POWER QUEST, GALLOGLASS, FREEDOM CALL and similar have released over the years. A few weeks ago I reviewed “Chronicles Of The North”, which you can read here. As with every new band or new release, it’s nice to how they things began, how the album was created and so on.
Below you can read the Q&A to which bassist Jimmy Malmenlid and vocalist Stefan Jacobsen added answers.
First of all, congratulations with “Chronicles Of The North”. How happy are you with release and the fact itself that you made another album? Does it still entice you, giving you a proud feeling? 🙂
Jimmy: Thank you very much! Releasing this album is a dream come true. A dream we’ve had since childhood. So of course we are very proud of it.
It is said that LAST KINGDOM was formed at the Volvo plant you work(ed) in. Do you still work there?
Jimmy: Yes, the foundation with Stefan and our former guitarist Freddy, was formed at the factory. They later searched for more members and found the rest of the persons that would join the band, which later became LAST KINGDOM.
LAST KINGDOM… is there a specific reason for this name? Does it come from a book (like, for example, Bernard Cornwell’s “The Last Kingdom”? :-))
Jimmy: We are familiar with the book, but honestly we found out about it after we formed the name of band. Our songs are dealing with a lot of the bad things in the world, both fiction and real, and about the world coming to an end etc – therefore we found the name suiting. Kind of the last hope, the last place you know.
What inspired you/drove you to become a musician? And did you take lessons?
Jimmy: Some of us did take some lessons, some are self-taught. We get the inspiration from everywhere, especially from the Metal-scene, and the reason to become a musician is simply because we love it.
Any previous experiences? I saw on Metal-Archives.com that Stefan Malmenlid was also in IRONWARE, another band that was signed to LMP.
Jimmy: All of us have a long history in music, but none of us have made it big so to speak. There is a long list of different demo bands.
Speaking of which, is this one of the reasons why you chose Limb Music to sign with? Or did Limb choose you? Were there other labels that showed interest?
Jimmy: That’s one of the reasons, that we wanted to work with them. But I think our demo stood out and that’s the reason they wanted to work with us. A couple of other labels showed interest too, but we found what Limb could offer us would suit us best at this point.
You made 2 demos before writing “Chronicles Of The North”. How do they compare with the songs on your debut full-length? Did you re-write or change those demo songs?
Jimmy: The songs are pretty much the same, but we put much more time and care into recording them, which made them more powerful, tighter and better.
The album itself then: “Chronicles Of The North” is a title that could indicate this is album 1 in a series (see also RHAPSODY, ANCIENT BARDS, KALEDON, …). First of all, what does the title refer to, what are the songs about? And are the songs connected with it and with each other?
Jimmy: Of course we hope to get the chance to record a sequel. Well, we come from Sweden (the north) and we are here to tell you our stories, our chronicles – I guess that’s the best way to explain it. It’s also up to the listener to interpret what the songs are about. You can interpret the songs in different ways. Both in past and present for example.
Is it a stand-alone album or are you indeed planning to write a sequel (and more) so to speak?
Jimmy: It’s a stand-alone album in that way that the next one is gonna be another stand-alone album. Right now we don’t have any plans to let it be a “Chronicles of the North – part 2” if you know what I mean. Yet it would probably be the same feeling over it. It remains to be seen, that’s all we can say right now.
Where did the lyrical inspiration come from for this first album?
Jimmy: Sadly from all the bad things we see around us, mixed with our imagination.
How does the cover art link with the songs?
Jimmy: We have got the feeling that this is a Power Metal album, and we hope that you get that to. It’s just that simple.
What songs on “Chronicles Of The North” stand out for you? Which do like to hear most and which are most fun to play?
Jimmy: I think it’s “The World Is Dying” since it has a lot of different parts that get together perfectly. I also get a positive feeling when I hear it, and even though “The World Is Dying” it gives you hope.
Stefan J: I like to listen to “Fate”, “Chronicles of the North” and “World is dying”. The song that is most fun to sing is “World is Dying”.
Speaking of gigs: Sweden’s Metal scene is big, also from an international viewpoint. How easy is it for a band like LK to get booked?
Jimmy: Well, it’s not hard – at all – to get booked. The hard thing is the economics, since we are a new band, we have to plan the gigs so the financial side isn’t a problem.
Is there already international interest for LK to play abroad?
Jimmy: I think we’ve got at least one offer from almost every continent, but like I said in the previous question, it’s all about the money. We won’t go to America to play just a couple of gigs. But we are planning to go on tour as soon as possible. And hopefully we’ll get on the road pretty soon.
Are there songs that didn’t make it onto “Chronicles Of The North”? Things you’re saving for a next release?
Jimmy: We won’t have any problems getting songs to the next album. We have some great new surprises for you on the next album.
In general, how are songs written in LAST KINGDOM? By way of jamming or does someone come up with a riff or melody first and then you work around that?
Jimmy: Mostly someone comes with an idea or maybe a whole song, then we jam and put our heads together until it’s done.
Music or lyrics first?
Jimmy: Music, no reason really. We just work that way. But in some cases the lyrics come first.
Do you have set goals for LAST KINGDOM (a new album each [number of] years, playing gigs in/at [country, festival, …], and so on) or do you take things as they come?
Jimmy: We hope that we will never let a single fan behind, that everyone who wants should get to see us live, and we hope to get the chance to go around to world to make that happen. There are gonna be more albums but we haven’t got a timeline for them – yet.
How often do you practice, as a band?
Jimmy: A couple of days per week. More if we have got something important coming up.
The press text only showed three of you (line-up), although you’re, according to your Facebook page, with 6 members, 7 on your own website (if I counted correctly). What’s the current situation? And why the confusion?
Jimmy: We are now 7. We faced some changing in the line-up just before we entered the studio, and not all the guys on the album were official members at the time of recording. We pretty soon after the recording found the new members, but since they didn’t actually play on the CD they are not mentioned there.
Next to your jobs and of course LAST KINGDOM, is there time left for hobbies or special interests? (books, scuba-diving, sports, … anything else? :-))
Jimmy: We all have jobs and most of us families, so LAST KINGDOM is the biggest, and best, hobby one can get. We do though, hope that one day we’ll be able to make a living on the music, and maybe that day we’ll find some hobbies. But we all like to watch movies, hang out with friends and play video games. We also like to go to concerts and festivals.
One final question, also music-related: how has your musical taste evolved since you were a kid until where you stand now, also as a musician?
Jimmy: It hasn’t changed at all, but it have become wider. I listen to all kinds of music, but Metal in different forms has always had a special place in my heart.
Stefan J: I’ve allways liked Rock and Metal and above all Power/Prog-Metal. HELLOWEEN has always been my biggest inspiration. I still listen to a lot of Power/Prog-Metal bands, but nowadays I also enjoy listening to much heavier music.
I’ll stop here, so I can ask other things on a next occasion. 😉 Many thanks for taking the time to answer. Good luck with the band and of course this first album and if there’s anything you wish to add, fire away.
Jimmy: Thank you very much!