The Swedish Keyboarder Richard Andersson is a real nature talent. A genius, which was responsible for some positive astonishment already with its breathtaking and furious playing on both albums of its predecessor band Majestic.
This exceptional artist is back with his new band and a new self-titled album: "Time Requiem". The release represents neoclassical Progressive Power Metal in the demanding composition style of such well known acts as Symphony X or Dream Theater. "Time Requiem" is surely presented in the noblest and most perfect form, which seems feasible at all.
Richard, your dedicated and as well possessed sounding keyboard work is sheer unbelievable. How old are you and since what age are you playing the keyboards? (Did you ever take lessons for that?)
„I was born in Ystad, Sweden, March 28, 1972. As a child I seemed to enjoy classical music such as Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart etc. I tried to learn music the traditional way, but lost interest due to the strict and non-improvisational aspect of the lessons. At the age of 7 I already was capable to play some advance classical stuff just by listen to the music. Organ and Keyboard became my biggest interest. Improvisation was my trademark. When I was 15 years old, I created my own special style with influences from masters such as Jens Johansson, Yngwie Malmsteen, Jimi Hendrix. Solo playing was the one and only way for me to express my feelings in a satisfying way. Early in my career I liked to compose my own music. I am totally autodidact! I have never been listening to other keyboard players, only guitar players. Why? Well! There weren’t any interesting keyboarders at the time I was developing my style as a musician. Most important is that I do not see myself as an instrumentalist or a great musician. I see myself as a composer and songwriter. My biggest passion in life is arranging music and sees if things could work out together.“
Your style seems to be massive influenced by classical music. Which are your favourite composers out of the classical area?
„Wow! There are so many. Johann Sebastian Bach is the greatest. Also Antonio Vivaldi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Bethoven and Nicolò Paganini.”
How much success did you reach with the both albums of your band Majestic in Europe and in Japan?
„Both records were extremely well accepted. They were released in a time when the record market were good. 20.000 units today was 40.000 three years ago.“
Why you decided to break with Massacre Records?
„I thought they did a crappy promotional job on "Trinity Overture". They didn’t go for it. They just put it out and hoped it would sell with no effort, no real promotional push. It was sort of the same thing with our management and production company; they also did very little for Majestic. The whole thing got stale. We didn’t reach the next level. I wanted to move on with more dedicated people, but was stuck in all those contracts. So I decided to put Majestic on ice and locked myself away.“
Which were the first main inspirations for your music in Time Requiem?
„I must say that it was when I first decided to put Majestic on ice and start all over again. Second, I got very inspired by Symphony X on the tour we did together in France. We stayed in the same bus for a couple of weeks and learned to know each other a bit.“
How much time did it take, to compose and record the songs for the new album?
„It took me three months to come up with the ideas and do the pre-productions. So basically I work full time during my inspiration period, which I normally goes into when I’m ready.“
Did you composed all the new songs?
„Yes all of them. It’s one mans vision and the rest of the band feels comfortable with my way of creating music and handle everything.“
Which bands out of past and present can be named as a influence of your style and sound? Mainly Symphony X and Dream Theater, I guess!
„Yes! You’re right. I do not have anything but one CD with Dream Theater and Symphony X’s (X). You see! I do never buy any CDs any more. I am not that interested in what’s happening around me. In fact I only listen to classical music. I get all my inspiration from that kind of music.“
Please describe yourself as a person and artist with a few words!
„Wow! That’s a tricky one! Basically I am extremely calm and focused on what I am doing. I already know in the beginning if something will turn out good or not. I do though have some hysteric sides like John Cleese in some moments.“
What means the bandname Time Requiem for you?
„It’s a classical term for death mass or soul mass, if you like. I think that suits the new band as I’ve been breaking away from the chains of Majestic and is now free and can finally do, as I like. It’s like one’s last journey. Maybe that’s sounds muddle, but that’s how I feel.“
Please tell a few of the inspirations for the music on the album!
„I do a lot of running out in the nature. Health care is important for me. I get most of the inspiration from these elements. To be with my family (wife and two children) is another inspiration source of mine. So! Basically be away from everything normally or should I say traditionally connected to Heavy Metal or Hard Rock music is my inspiration. You know! Sex drugs and … ! Other shit!“
Please let us know a few inspirations for the lyrics on the album !
„First I must say that the record is not any concept album. One and each of the songs stands alone. Normally I write about things happen to me in real life. It’s about life and death, good and evil and other problems we live with today. I try to put in these feelings in my lyrics but replaced by fiction stories.“
Please tell a bit about the song-titles and their contents! Mainly dark and mystic themes?
That was the first song I wrote right after the Symphony X tour. I was very inspired of them as I think they are one of the best bands coming from the last half of the 90´s. I wanted to write something along those progressive lines. I think it´s the best song I´ve ever written. It features do much.
"Watching The Tower Of Skies":
That was also the second song I wrote. I´m usually write the songs in the runner order of the album. I have an idea about what chord a song should end with and what chord the next one should start with. It´s all to create a special feeling. That´s also why the songs have interesting endings. A priest talking or some cool rhythmic thing. I can feel what tempo the next song should be, to create an atmosphere. It´s all very well-conceived.
It´s about a amulet which gives you access to heaven. I know it sounds a lot like Malmsteen, but taken one step further. It´s not easy to do keyboard solos and catch the intensity and energy of a guitar solo. The guitarist has distorsion and feedback, whereas the keyboards has a more buzzing synthetic sort of sound.
It´s about how to get into heaven. If you are naughty, you might not get in. If you are nice, you will get to heaven, but your life might be a bit boring. I look at it both ways. Which way is the best?
It´s Yngwie, actually. That´s an instrumental. It´s an extremely Bach influenced song the neo classical way. It´s dedicated to Yngwie, but I haven´t told him that yet. I regard Yngwie to be a genious and like I said, we have a lot of musical influences together.
"Visions Of A New Dawn":
A freedom song which started with such a silly thing as me watching a commersial for Michelin tires (laughter). They had this slogan "Visions of a new dawn" which I liked. It has a sort of Dream Theatre influenced intro. It´s based on a Paganini piece. Yngwie play that piece as well, but I´ve changed the melody so it´s not like the original one anymore. Plus I´ve added vocals to it, whereas Yngwie does it instrumental.
"Interplay Of The Matters":
It´s a twisted rhythmic thing, yeah. It´s a show off song. A "what the fuck was that" song. It´s for other musicians.
"Above And Beyond":
An advance look into heaven, to see what it is like before you get there. A sort of look into the future, to see if it worth to strive for.“
The high-energy drumming of Peter Wildoer on the album is truly excellent! Are you also very satisfied with his work?
„During the recordings with "Trinity Overture" I felt really satisfied with Peter and his contributions on the record. He is really professional and talented as well as he is a wonderful person to work with. As I said before I am sick and tired of working with amateurs and people taking far to long time in the studio at the same time as they are trying to rearrange everything!“
Plays Peter still in Darkane?
„Yes sure! He is creating extremely aggressive and powerful Death Metal. Great I suppose!“
How did happen the contact with bass player Dick Lövgren, formerly musician in Arch Enemy and In Flames?
„The reason why I picked Dick was because he is simply the best bass player for this record. He is extremely good in what he is doing. The bass tracks were made in one day I think!!! I have nothing but good to say about him.“
Which ones are the best Progressive Metal bands at the moment for you?
„As I said before I don’t really know what’s happening in the music scene nowadays. Symphony X is great off course. I think the labels are signing to many bands and particular to many shitty bands. Arjen Lucassen is a Dutch guy who is creating very, very good music. Ayreon for an example.“
How did you get a record deal with Regain Records?
„As it suppose to be in this sometimes stinking business. I called Per up and invited him to my studio. I played the new material for him and he loved it. We immediately began talking about doing the best with this record. I have delivered my part of the deal and Per is very, very good taking care of the other parts like, promoting the band in a great way. It’s a very simple business but usually the record companies are trying to make everything more complicated to the musicians. Money I think!?“
I guess, the high quality of your compositions was reason enough for Per! Be proud about this!
„Thank you very much! Per is a nice guy and we are personal friends. He also got two children so we are on the same level so to speak. I think it’s better to be on a smaller label were they do everything for you than to be on a big one were you only are one among others.“
Plans with the band for the next months?
„Japan tour February 2003. Before that we are going to do several shows in Sweden and Denmark. After the tour I really would like to do the rest of Europe as well.“
When do you will have a own band website for Time Requiem?
„I have my own website. You haven’t seen it? Its www.anderssonmusic.com - the reason why I not pick a timerequiem.com site is that I am involved in many projects and can not put up a website every single time I come out with something new. So I decided to collect and put together all my music under the same place for all future. I have created the site by myself. I have done all the layouts etc. It’s important for me to take care of everything and not let some one else destroy your vision.“
Some last words to your fans in this interview?
„As usual but for me extremely important and honest – see you guys on tour and: stay Metal!”
© Markus Eck, 12.11.2002
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