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Interview with Dynazty
15 June 2012
(Interview by Carl Buxton)
With the UK release of their third album 'Sultans Of Sin' scheduled for their May 22nd launch party in London, Dynazty were invited by Mark Alger to perform at the Z Rock festival in Bilston, Wolverhampton. With a couple of bands pulling out on the Sunday Dynazty were promoted to headliners which for a relatively new band to these shores was something quite remarkable. Unfortunately it turned out to be a poisoned chalice as the event struggled to run to schedule despite the herculean efforts of the few dedicated people running the show and Dynazty were left with too little time to show off their full repertoire, so what they did show in their all too brief performance made it more of a travesty. Thanks to my good friend who facilitated the interview the guys were more than happy to discuss all things Dynazty and it appeared that I had an exclusive on my hands as the band had done no other press for this show or their UK tour supporting Michael Monroe back in February. Here's what we discussed:
I believe at the last minute Mark Alger asked you to come over and headline for today?
JOEL "Yeah, after we came here. But there was one band, or rather two bands, who cancelled (to allow that to happen)"
Would you all like to introduce yourselves then?
JOEL: "I'm Joey, I play the bass"
ROB: "My name is Love (pronounced Luu-ver) and I play the guitar"
MIKAEL "Mikael, also guitar"
NILS: "Hey I'm Nils and I'm the singer"
GEORG: "I'm Georg, and I'm the drummer"
I understand you guys are from Sweden - whereabouts in Sweden do you come from?
Ah, the same place as Europe. So is the AOR/Melodic Rock scene big in Stockholm then?
JOEL: "I think it's big all over the country really"
NILS: "Just not mainstream big, but definitely underground"
I asked them if they happen to know H.E.A.T. who are also from Stockholm and are contemporaries of Dynazty and they all pretty much nodded and said they do happen to know the guys, so I enquired about what type of clubs and venues, size-wise, are available for the guys to play at - 1,000 seater venues perhaps?
GEORG: "No, not really. In Stockholm it's difficult because either you play a very small venue and then the next step is.really too big. There are no medium size venues"
ROB: "Small venues take about four or five hundred people"
Pretty much similar to this venue then (The Robin II) so how many albums do you guys have out then? You have this new one coming out in May, right?
NILS: "That's the third one"
JOEL: "It's already out in Sweden and Japan, but the UK release is May 22nd"
OK, so when did the first album get released and on what label?
NILS: "2009. It was on Perris Records. We signed a licence deal with them"
Was it a worldwide licence deal with them? Joel thought about it for a second before replying.
".I guess so. At least I know it wasn't released in Japan. Most of the European countries and the States"
Nils was in agreement with Joel about this release before one of the roadies gatecrashed the interview asking if anyone had a European adaptor plug. Upon being told that none of us, in actuality, had one, he proceeded to bang his head against the lounge door in apoplexy. Obviously things weren't going well downstairs.so the second album then was?
NILS: "Last year. It's called 'Knock You Down'"
JOEL: "It was on a different record label.called 'Stormvox Records'. It's owned by a famous Swedish actor called Peter Stormare"
GEORG: "He's in Armageddon."
At this point the rest of the band laughed. I guess it was some kind of Swedish in-joke so I left it at that and allowed Georg to continue.
".it's a really big Hollywood movie. He's a very big actor"
A bit like Stellan Skarsgard then?
NILS: "Yeah, they're buddies. They're basically on the same level making a lot of movies.support acting mostly (In Hollywood) Peter owns the record label that we're on and we somehow ended up on that label."
Did he put in a lot of promotion with this record?
NILS: "Not really. Maybe in Sweden and some other European countries"
Like Holland, Germany. I'm sure these territories would be popular for you guys?
JOEL: "Well we're getting popular but we haven't managed to get our albums out in a good way there, which is a problem."
Nils interrupted as his facial expression suggested he had strong feelings about this issue ...
".which is a shame"
JOEL: "We're really working on that as we get a lot of feedback from Holland, and the UK, and Germany.Spain."
NILS: "Basically from everywhere. We're trying to get our albums released but.somehow it's taking too long."
JOEL: "It's like the business is getting tougher and tougher to break into new markets and get the labels to really invest in you"
NILS: "There's no point in just signing any contract, you know, it just has to be a pretty decent deal"
JOEL: "It doesn't do much (for us) if it just sits there in the record shop, it has to be in the magazines all the time"
I was in agreement with Joel and Nils' sentiments as promoting an album is key to being able to sell it, especially in larger quantities as relying on word of mouth only takes one so far. I next wanted to find out who Dynazty's influences were, when did they start and what made them all want to be in a Rock 'n' Roll band to make them the band they are today.
ROB: "One of us at a time?"
NILS: ".I figure I can speak for all of us. You start listening to Classic Rock bands at a very young age where you pick up the drums or guitar, also the bass."
I guess you're all in your early to mid twenties so you must've grown up listening to the likes of Europe, for example, who were very popular at the time?
NILS: "No, no. Not at the time. We grew up in the 90's when the scene was dead. I was an outcast listening to bands like Kiss and Iron Maiden growing up so."
UFO, Black Sabbath, AC/DC?
NILS: "Yeah, sure!"
I guess a lot of British bands were an influence on Swedish musicians back then and maybe the same can be said now for you guys. There's a lot more International bands now and as you said Kiss and American bands like this. Sweden was important to a lot of these British and American bands. Would you say that that was right?
NILS: "Yeah, Sweden is a very.productive country and a lot of American musicians nowadays basically say that they take a lot of inspiration from Swedish bands and stuff. And I think that compared to Sweden and other countries a band like Deep Purple was more popular in Sweden than, for instance, Led Zeppelin, where-as in other countries around the world Zeppelin were far bigger than Purple. I think that has influenced a lot of the musicians in Sweden, actually"
An interesting point from Nils I thought, so I wondered then, how long had these guys been together as a band, since 2008 I proffered.
JOEL, NILS & ROB: "Yeah"
JOEL: "To get an album out was a real top priority. We had all been in other bands before and when we all got together in this band we said 'Right, we've got to get an album out'"
ROB: "Well actually we booked a studio, all five of us."
NILS: "Before they had a singer.before any songs were written"
There was general laughter before Rob admitted that that was indeed the case. So I asked if the guys already knew about each other whilst they were gigging around Stockholm before forming the band.
JOEL: "Yeah, pretty much. I and Georg were in the same band. We played in a band called Foxy"
ROB: "We booked the studio but didn't have any songs really. We didn't have a singer and then we found Nils through MySpace"
So the other four of you knew each other first?
GEORG: "No, Mikael is actually brand new; there was a different guitar player on our first album"
NILS: "Mike came into the band last year, so he's sort of the new guy. The band started sometime late 2007 and then I came into the picture early 2008 and that's when we started writing songs"
JOEL: "And we recorded 'Bring The Thunder' around September 2008"
So I wondered then, what was the catalyst for dissolving or splitting from their previous bands in order to form Dynazty. Joel takes up the story.
"This project started before our bands split up. We'd been thinking about it for around five months and then our bands split up which was good because we could then work full time on Dynazty. I didn't really know it was going to happen. It was actually the other guys in the band who wanted to break it up (laughs) It just sort of happened, but that's good because this (Dynazty) is much better"
As for you Nils, were you just singing on MySpace?
"Yeah, I had a song on MySpace which was just one guitar and my vocals and for some reason these guys heard about it"
JOEL: "We searched for musicians who were inspired by, say, Dio. We named a lot of singers we liked"
NILS: "That's right. And I had on my profile my favourite singers like Ronnie James Dio, David Coverdale, Rob Halford and some other singers:"
So do you say 'Dynasty' or pronounce it 'Die-nasty'?
NILS: "We were talking about that earlier. Do you know which areas that say what? (Pronunciation-wise)"
Americans say 'Die-nasty'. Do you remember a show by that name? We say 'Dynasty', Americans say 'Die-nasty'. And you've got a 'Z' in it which makes it different again.
NILS: "Actually, it's mostly because of the Google age. If you type in a search you're not going to get us if we didn't have the 'Z' in our name"
JOEL: It's because of the soap opera and things like this"
NILS: "Well it's also been a problem for us because of the 'Z'. People label us more as a Sleaze Rock band. We ourselves would like to label it as Classic Rock/Melodic Rock"
Maybe in any press releases you need to push that Classic/Melodic Rock angle. You have to insist when you talk to the press that this is what you want to be known as so that it ends up sticking in people's minds. With that in mind, who came up with the name Dynazty?
JOEL: "Yeah we had a lot of different names. One of them was 'Car Sick' (everybody laughs hysterically) No.I had some idea that one day I could call a solo project 'Joey Fox's Dynazty' and then I figured that we didn't have anything better (reference the band) so it became Dynazty"
GEORG: "We were staying up most nights thinking up band names"
JOEL: "We have a logo, this is not the usual one (shows me his Dynazty T-shirt) but this one is used on the T-shirt. The normal logo is without the skull and the capital 'D' in it"
I was curious to know who produced the new album and how many songs they had included on its release, so I put this question to Nils.
"There are ten songs on the album and do you know the guy from 'Pain'? Him! (laughs) That guy"
But there are two bands called 'Pain'. Jon Oliva's band and the Swedish band.
NILS: "It's the singer from the Swedish group. (Peter Tagtgren) He's known for producing mostly Death Metal acts. He's a funny guy"
JOEL: "We chose to work with him mainly because we want to get rid of this sort of sleazier 80's theatrical thing"
JOEL: "He was able to produce this really heavy stuff, without this cool influence to have on an album, because we still write really Classic Rock songs and we'll probably always going to do that. But he's the one that can say "No, this is too much 80's or this sounds too much like this" because we want to do it more modern"
But you don't play with down-tuned guitars though do you?
NILS: "Yeah, we do"
MIKAEL: "I think eight out of the ten are down-tuned to a 'C'. We want a more modern sound"
So for some journalists to label you as 'Sleaze Rock' is just plain crazy then.
NILS: "It's because of the name"
So in effect, they're getting the album for review, skipping quickly through it making the odd note and then labelling you without really listening to it. That's just simply bad journalism.
JOEL: "I've seen from the reviews of the new album people are starting to understand that this is really not what they thought it was. It's something different. So that feels good.that we're getting somewhere"
So you guys have heard about Fireworks Magazine. Have you ever read a copy?
JOEL: "We did an interview in 2009 but we can't remember who it was with (journalist)"
Which magazines have been labelling you as Sleaze Rock then?
NILS: "It's mainly on-line stuff. Most of the magazines label us correctly. Because they listen to the album, but.people booking us for festivals and stuff.basically label us and people chatting on-line"
GEORG: "Because of this Swedish Sleaze boom, press coverage increased, especially when they became known outside of Stockholm. "Oh, another one of those bands" and they didn't tend to listen"
JOEL: "They said they knew it was Sleaze.even though it's not, so I think it's spawned from there"
NILS: "Actually it's not mainly coming from Sweden"
ROB: "You know it's weird. There are so many different types of Hard Rock and Metal coming out of Sweden so it's pretty stupid, but I guess we're young and we have this 'Z' in the name"
NILS: "Yeah, yeah, that's basically why. People are lazy"
I think because there are so many bands around today. Magazines are getting like fifty CDs a week, from amateur bands to professional bands and they have to sift through them and decide which ones are going to make the magazine in print. If they don't know the band and don't like the album cover there's a good chance it won't get reviewed or get given a quick spin and given just a few lines. Do you guys get any information about how many copies of your first two albums you've sold?
JOEL: "Not really how many. We know however that this new one (Sultans Of Sin) entered the Swedish mainstream charts at position eight which is pretty good"
NILS: "And number one on the Swedish Heavy Metal/Hard Rock chart"
GEORG: "The last album was number one on the same chart too"
NILS: "And twenty-one on the mainstream chart. Europe's new album went straight to number one on the Metal chart and number two on the mainstream chart"
JOEL: "Europe have a big following in Sweden"
NILS: "They have a big following everywhere. Luckily it's a bit cheaper to record albums these days"
JOEL: "It's not really a problem producing and recording the actual album; I think it's a lot harder as a band to get good promotion. It's hard to get the interest from the bigger magazines because you don't have a label"
I notice that the bigger magazines don't tend to focus on new bands. They will focus on the whole spectrum of Rock but basically regurgitate the same old stuff. Robert Plant and Jimmy Page aren't doing much Rock these days, in fact Plant is doing bluegrass stuff, yet the magazines will still want to interview him. If you guys come along it's "Oh, maybe, if we've got space" This is what you're up against. Known names sell copies. But how do you become known if they don't feature you?
NILS: "The biggest magazine in Scandinavia is Sweden Rock magazine; it's the same kind of thing"
JOEL: "They feature the same bands over and over. Every year is the same. If you're lucky you get one page"
I decided to finish up the interview by asking all the guys who their influences were and got some surprising answers among the names. First up I put the question to Nils...but also asked him who he most sounded like...however, maybe that was a question better put to the other guys?
"A lot of people usually compare me to Sebastian Bach.but he's not my main influence. I mean I listened to him a lot when I was younger but I would definitely say Rob Halford has been a bigger influence on me"
ROB: "But you look a lot more like Sebastian Bach (smiles)"
NILS: "Yeah, that's probably why (I get compared to him) But I would say more today I'm influenced by Dio and Coverdale"
I put the same question to Rob Love and Mikael.
BOTH: "Yngwie (both laugh)
MIKAEL: "We haven't heard anybody else (laughs)"
What about John Norum? Or do you prefer the more technical neo-classical style?
MIKAEL: "No, we like others. John Norum, Zakk Wylde, Vinnie Moore.a lot of guitarists.Joe Satriani. We studied music at school"
And what about your drumming influences Georg?
"I like the older ones as well, Ian Paice, Cozy Powell.and also some new guys, Mike Portnoy, Virgil Donati.all the technical guys (laughs). They're a little bit over the top, not really my style, but impressive. I like watching the old style like Ian Paice but take in the modern style and try a combination to take it forward"
And your bass influences Joey?
"Michael Anthony of Van Halen. Probably he's the grooviest one. At an early age I was influenced by Justin Chancellor of Tool, because he created a new sound, actually I've been listening to bass players for their sound and their new thinking, rather than their ability to be tight. That's not really interesting (to me) I listen a lot to technical funk players as well. Billy Sheehan? I'm not a big fan of him. Of course he's amazing but I just don't find it very interesting. It's over the top for me. Not the way I want to play the bass"
It was left to the charismatic singer Nils to have the final word.
"Can I also add that we were talking about tuning down, but tonight we can't play any of the songs where we tune down because we couldn't bring our own gear, so usually we have two sets of guitars, switching between the two but now we only have one set of guitars to play the high end but there will be a few new songs from the album, actually three and we hope to play for about an hour"
As events unfolded at Z Rock which meant the band didn't go on until very late in the evening sadly that didn't quite go to plan and they were forced to drastically cut their set due to the local licensing curfew. But in the short time they were on stage they impressed most of the watching audience. This is a band we're going to be seeing an awful lot more of in the future, believe you me!