Interview conducted October 10 2019
Interview published October 17 2019
"Focus is always on making great songs."
Swedish hard rockers Eclipse put
out their new record Paradigm on October 11th. Metal Covenant met vocalist/guitarist
Erik Mårtensson one day prior to release
date at the band's release party at Hard Rock Cafe in Stockholm.
Tobbe: The new record is out tomorrow. What
may Eclipse offer their fans this time?
Erik: As usual the best record so far. Well no,
but it's great. Some new tricks, some new sounds, some new thinking
in the songwriting. It's still a whole lot of Eclipse, but to us it
feels fresh, you know.
Tobbe: As a listener and someone who knows
about Eclipse's catalogue, I see no huge surprises and you haven't exactly
Erik: No, we don't want to do that. We don't
want to make an industrial metal album. Focus is always on making great
songs. But strictly melodically, there's quite a few differences. The
thing is also to make different stuff, but try to get the production
to make it familiar.
If it's truly the case, what makes Eclipse's records a little bit better
than your so-called competitors' records? What do you have, that many
other bands don't, that makes people enjoy your music?
Erik: We try to not sound like someone else.
We always try to find little things all the time. Our influences are
different from what people might think they are. We never listen to
bands similar to us for influences, but influences come from kind of
like everywhere. And that's, I guess, to not
Well, I don't know.
But we do what we like ourselves.
And we're very tough to ourselves too. Nobody
comes through with something that's kind of good, but we immediately
tell each other if it's not good enough. Then you have a certain time
to make a record and these are the best songs we could make during this
time. We couldn't have made this record better, because we had this
certain time to write, and then it was like "Now it must be recorded,
and then it's over!".
Tobbe: You've released a couple of singles
so far and tell me about those ones.
Erik: Well, you know, my favorite songs aren't
the singles. There were long discussions about which singles to release.
We didn't agree within the band. When we each picked some songs, we
ended up with 8 in total and "How will we be able to pick 2 out
of these?". The record company [Frontiers] had a completely different
idea than what we had. So we sent out the whole record to 30 people,
in order to say which songs would be singles. But every song was chosen
by someone as the first single. But Viva La Victoria was a song that
stuck out, and I guess I like that one as well.
The album is pretty wide and there's quite a
few things on it, you know. From heavy to light, and to almost indie
rock and semi metal, you know. So, you know, the singles, like, "Well,
which side is going to be shown?". But at the same time: well,
whatever, it's just songs, and you don't have to take it too seriously
and just "Okay, let's just take these.". The record company
really wanted The Masquerade, but we didn't believe in that one whatsoever.
I was even doubtful about having that song on the record actually. But
it turned out good in the end.
was quite tricky to record. We rewrote it many times and when you start
rewriting stuff you get worried. Viva La Victoria: We finished that
one on the double. On the first day we wrote it, it sounds pretty much
like it does now. And that feels safe. But some songs are hard to get
United was a song like that and we remade it
a gazillion of times. I was happy with the first rough, but Magnus Henriksson
[guitar] wasn't happy with it at all. The chorus was a cappella at first.
That was the single, you know. If it would have stayed in its original
it would have been a really hot single. Now we destroyed it a little
bit. [Laughs] But we're a band, and we have to meet in the middle sometimes.
You have to compromise. And that's what makes a band great, you know.
Tobbe: You mentioned in the beginning something
about that this is your best record so far, and I respect that opinion,
but out of a fan perspective, can't this album just be as great as Armageddonize
 is and can't this album just be as great as Monumentum  is?
Erik: Absolutely. But I don't like the old, you
know. I like to do new things. I like to write new stuff. But I feel
that I'm very happy about it. The record was finished in January and
I still think it's really great to listen to it. I still like it. There's
something about these songs that makes them stick. They have some kind
of a length, which makes the record not so direct as the previous ones.
But I think this album will last in the long run.
If you give it a chance and listen to it a few
times, then you will discover that it's great. The goal with this record
was to make songs that crawl under your skin. That give you a feeling
of something. That isn't just great, but something more. And that was
the criterion for a song, you know.
Tobbe: You've written a lot of lyrics and
in what way does your lyrics develop over the years? Or don't they? How
do you look at this?
Erik: When we made Are You Ready To Rock ,
the goal was to make immature lyrics. But along the road it has become
more serious. And I like a little bit more serious subjects in my lyrics
and not only about party. But there's also tongue-in-cheek lyrics like
Mary Leigh, but it suits the song, you know. But it feels more serious
today. But what's most important is that they match the song. If it's
a serious song it needs a serious text, you know.
You have announced that your bassist Magnus Ulfstedt is no longer part
of the band, and I say, what happened? And no sweet talk now, okay?
Erik: We started fighting and he won and then
I thought that it wasn't fun anymore. [Not to be taken seriously.] But
it has been in the works for some time. It has been a long process.
To be in a band is like having an additional family and it really takes
a lot of time. It takes a lot from everyone to do this. It's a lot of
hard work, that isn't fun, but you have to stay positive and have a
nice attitude when you enter that period. No one wins if there's a shitty
atmosphere and negativity. Things became better for Mange when he had
to kind of take a step aside and focus on his life, you know.
Tobbe: But you announced it pretty late.
Just 3 weeks before the record is out.
Erik: Well, but it came to a critical point
there somewhere. And now this whole touring life starts and that takes
a lot from you personally. We felt that it didn't really work the way
it was. It would have just gotten worse and we didn't want to end up
being adversaries for life. So it was better to just part ways.
Tobbe: The tour starts on October 22nd and
who will play the bass?
Erik: Victor Crusner, who is [drummer] Philip's
little brother. He's playing with us tonight as well.
Tobbe: Is this a temporary or a permanent
Erik: Well, we will see. We will be out on tour
for almost a month and if it's still fun after a month together, then
we will know. This is his trial by fire. If it's still just as fun to
hang out after 4 weeks, then maybe he is the right guy for the job,
you know. Or maybe he will feel that it doesn't feel right, or maybe
we will feel that it's completely wrong. But he's a really sweet guy
and a good player. And musically he comes from a somewhat different
place, which is nothing but good. Different is always good, you know.
Tobbe: It's probably hard to become a member
of Eclipse, considering you and Henriksson is such a cohesive unit as
songwriting partners, you know.
Erik: Yes, we're like brothers, you know. It's
like we're two pairs of brothers in this band. Two real and two almost
brothers. Me and Mange have hung out for 20 years. It feels like it's
a lifetime. For my entire adult life I've been working with Mange, you
And to a really sad thing. Your partner in Nordic Union, Ronnie Atkins
[vocals], recently told everyone that he is being treated for lung cancer,
and how did you react to this sad news, as a person who knows him?
Erik: It's terrible. You know, I knew about
this a couple of weeks ago. Something happened to him, you know, when
he was out on tour with Pretty Maids. And then he has been examined
several times, but they didn't find anything. But now they found this.
But as he said "I feel well. I feel like I'm in super shape. They
say that I've got cancer and is seriously ill, but I feel really well.".
Of course it's really sad. I'm thinking about
him a lot right now. I really like Ronnie and we're talking quite a
lot on the phone, on and off, you know. He's fantastic. And he's a really
serious musician. Most artists are kind of nonchalant when they're over
50, you know. But he gives 110 percent. Really serious, and I like him.
Tobbe: What's the status of Ammunition right
now? Do you guys have any plans?
Erik: I haven't got a clue actually. Åge
[Sten Nilsen, vocals] has released a solo album. He seems to do a complete
TV race. He's been on a TV show in Norway. I don't know at all. It has
been a while since I talked with Åge actually. At the moment it's
total peace and quiet, you know. But we've been texting each other and
maybe we will start writing something soon.
Tobbe: Do you have something else going
on at the moment?
Erik: Yes! This is really fun: I'm working on
a new Sha-Boom album with Dag Finn [vocals]. It's becoming really great.
It's just so sick how great it is. We're just sitting there laughing
about it. It's so cool. It's undoubtedly the best Sha-Boom album really.
It's so damn good. We're so psyched. We have laid down vocals on almost
the whole album. It's almost finished. Thomas Broman from Electric Boys
[1993-1994] on drums, and Jonas Öijvall, a really great keyboarder,