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Fireworks Magazine Online 53 - Interview with Eclipse

ECLIPSE


It’s been a long four year wait for ’Bleed & Scream’ – the fantastic new album from Swedish hard rockers Eclipse - which isn’t really surprising when you look at what singer Erik Martensson has been up to in the meantime. He’s also a full-time member of W.E.T. and power pop band The Friday Nights, and has been involved in albums for (deep breath!) Toby Hitchcock, Issa, Harry Hess’s First Signal, Giant, Kimball/Jamison, Sturm Und Drang, Seventh Wonder, AudioVision, Primal Fear, Swedish dance band Scotts, Erik Gronwall, country rockers Hicks, Smokie (yes, THAT Smokie!), power metal band Shadows Past, and he has written and produced the forthcoming Jimi Jamison record and second W.E.T. outing. Erik has taken a break just long enough to answer his mobile phone and talk to Phil Ashcroft.

“I’m In Denmark at the moment on vacation, out on the North Sea, so maybe the reception isn’t the best,” he apologises for the bad line. “Actually it’s the very first time I’ve ever had a well earned vacation!” laughs the frontman, “This year has just been so manic, this is the first time I’ve been out of my studio. It’s been one album too many if you ask me.”

The long gaps between Eclipse albums have been just as frustrating to the band as to the fans, and Erik refutes the idea that it’s all down to the guys’ workloads with other projects.

“It’s not really just that, we’ve had lots of problems with Eclipse,” he sighs. “We made our first record on Z Records in 2001 and then our first one for Frontiers Records two years later, and then the band almost split up and we didn’t know if we would continue after that. So in the end Magnus and I kicked everyone else out of the band and we started again to do ‘Are You Ready To Rock’, and then we said it wouldn’t take four more years to make the fourth album, but somehow it did. I’ve been really, really busy in the studio with all kinds of albums and mixing other bands, so time just passed. We did a W.E.T. album the year after ‘Are You Ready To Rock’ and then I’ve been working on a lot of other stuff and writing for other artists in melodic rock and Swedish pop, and even country rock and heavy metal too. I have to make a living and that’s how I do it.”

With ‘Bleed & Scream’ finally ready to hit the racks, Erik’s enthusiasm for the record is unmistakable, even over the crackly phone line.

“I think it’s by far the best album I’ve ever done, “ he says bluntly. “This is the music I really want to make and the music I love. I think that’s what separates this album from ‘Are You Ready To Rock, I think it’s more mature, I think the songs and the lyrics are better, and the production, everything is better and it really is exactly what we wanted. Now we have the experience we can make the quality album we wanted, I’m really happy with it. This is the first album I’ve ever made which I think has world class production and songwriting, and I’m really proud of it.”

‘Bleed & Scream’ features a couple of songs that are different from anything they’ve done before, the Celtic feel of ‘Battlegrounds’ being a prime example.

“Yeah, that one started with acoustic guitar,” begins Martensson. “Magnus and I had been working on a song for a whole day and when that happens you sometimes just have to take a break, so we had a break and then came back in and listened to what we’d done, and it was shit. So we threw it away and Magnus picked up his acoustic guitar and played some chords and I immediately sang the melody over it, and we knew immediately that it was good. We came up with some other riffs and other little bits but the main part of the song and melody are exactly the same as those first few minutes when we jammed it. We left the studio and came back the next day and listened to it, and we knew right away that it was a good song and would fit well on this album.” There’s even a ballad on this one, the sublime ‘A Bitter Taste’. “Yes, we’ve never really done a ballad before,” agrees the singer, “but we knew if the album was going to have one it would have to be a really good one. I really like listening to it so it must be good.”

His latest project is the new album by recently rejoined Survivor singer Jimi Jamison, which is much further along than has been reported.

“Yeah, it’s finished,” says Erik surprisingly. “I’ve written the songs on that with a friend of mine and I’m really happy with the way it’s come out. It’s really great, it’s my favourite album of all the other projects I’ve done. In fact we’re working on a tour with Jimi Jamison and Eclipse at the moment, just a few dates in Europe. He has his own band so I won’t be playing with him on the tour, I’d love to play with him one day though, he’s a great singer.”

With Erik so much in demand there must be other things he has in the pipeline?

“Yes, but I can’t really say anything about them yet,” he teases. “I’m booked up for the rest of the year with future bands and projects, some really good stuff that I’m really looking forward to. We’re working on a video for the Eclipse album for the title track ‘Bleed & Scream’ - just before I came away on vacation we did all the filming for that and it looks really good. I hope the tour with Jimi comes off because we’d love to do that, Eclipse is my main priority and I promise it won’t be another four years until the next Eclipse album,” he says. We hope so too!

To read the full double page interview with Erik, you need Fireworks 53.

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