Interview conducted June 04 2007
Interview published June 14 2007
Swedish band Lion's Share are about
to do a comeback with their fifth album ready to be released very soon.
With the album that is entitled Emotional Coma, the band has woken up
from six years of sleep, and many things have changed with Lion's Share
during that time. The founding and only remaining original member Lars
Chriss is here held accountable and is about to
explain why the band has been in a coma and why now is the time to wake
up in a new shroud. So why does the newly awaken lion come in the shape
it does, with a new musical direction and what share have the new members
in the den? Read on and find out.
Thomas: First of all, let me just start
with saying that I really appreciate that you are taking the time to answer
my questions and letting me and the readers of Metal Covenant know what's
up with Lion's Share. In addition, let me also congratulate you on an
awesome comeback album.
Thomas: Your last album with Lion's Share, Entrance, came in 2001.
That is quite some time away from the spotlight for a band. How are you
feeling now that you are about to present your new material, nervous about
how people will react or are you just psyched to tell the world about
Lion's Share again?
Lars: Of course we're a bit nervous, but we
are so pleased and proud of everything from the songs to production
to artwork, so we have done everything we can and now it's up to the
fans to decide if it will be a success sales wise as well. To us it's
already a success for the reasons mentioned above.
Thomas: What makes now the right time for
a comeback for Lion's Share? And what have you been up to all this time
in, as it has been six years since you last released an album?
Lars: After the "Entrance" album
I was totally burnt out after taking care of everything concerning
the band since the start. I needed a break to re charge my batteries,
so I told everybody about my decision and that was it. After a year
or so I came up with some ideas again and ran into Patrik Johanson
who joined and we started writing songs and planning for the comeback.
During the break I also went to sound engineering school, produced,
wrote for, played on and mixed an album project called AUDIOVISION
and ended up working for a record label. To me it feels like maybe
3 years, but everybody that have heard the album tells me it was worth
the wait and that it's our best album so far.
Thomas: Apart from yourself, there is all
new members in Lion's Share, with Patrik Johansson on vocals, Sampo Axelsson
on bass and Richard Evensand on drums. How did the pieces fall into place
with these guys and how did they get to become a part of Lion's Share?
Moreover, if you ask me you couldn't have gotten hold of a better person
doing the vocals.
Lars: Thanks! Yeah all the new guys are absolutely
great! They were all hand picked since I wanted to put together a
lineup that had both the musical skills, plus worked well together
on a personal level too. We are like a big happy family with everobody's
families hanging out together. In the long run this is important too.
Patrik I heard on the new right before his first album came out (Space
Odyssey) in 2003. Sampo I met when I did a show at Sweden Rock Festival
together with Sweden's most famous weather man Pär Holmgren in
Thomas: Are you not afraid that there can
be any interference with their other bands? Patrik Johansson for instance,
is apart from Lion's Share also involved in Astral Doors and Wuthering
Lars: Patrik only have two bands. Lion's Share
and Astral Doors. Everything else he was hired to do as a session
his statement). These days many musicians
are involved in several different projects, so with good planning
ahead, we hope it will work out for the best for all parties.
Thomas: Is this a steady setting with the
current members of Lion's Share, or do you set out to do this one and
see how things are going, but no major future plans in the making? And
what about Richard Evensand? As he won't be touring with you and as Stefan
Norgren will fill his place, how does the future situation for the drummer
Lars: That's correct. Lion's Share have three
members, me Patrik and Sampo. We are a band to 100% and will continue
playing and making records together. Richard will move to Australia
soon to get married, so it was no good idea to include him in our
touring plans. Stefan is an old friend and he was kind enough to help
us out with the summer festivals. Officially we are looking for the
"right" drummer, but we are in no hurry. Right now our focus
is on promoting the record with interviews and live shows.
How would you say Lion's Share today differ from Lion's Share back in
the days? Heavier is what I would say, and more direct. It strikes me
immediately with the opening song Cult Of Denial that this is much heavier
and darker than what I remember Lion's Share have ever been. Would you
agree on that? Moreover, you have thrown away most of the keyboards and
the progressive elements. Was this a deliberate decision or were these
elements something that you along the way found to be out of place with
the "new" sound from Lion's Share?
Lars: I totally agree with you here and would
say you got everything right. I early on decided that I wanted to
bring more energy to the songs and that I wanted a more "modern"
drumming style. I come from a metal background without keyboards,
so now that we didn't have a permanent person on that position, it
was more or less a return to the roots for me. In a way my songwriting
hasn't changed since I still write the same kind of riffs and melodies.
If you take away the keyboards and the instrumental more progressive
parts on the old records, it's actually not that different. "Fall
From Grace" is not that different from the new one if you take
away the instrumental / progressive parts, keyboards and the bigger
background vocals. "The Edge Of The Razor" from the new
album could have been from any of our old records. "Soultaker"
is like a sister song to "Waiting" on "Entrance".
It's just that "Emotional Coma" is more focused and I think
the change of drumming style has meant a lot too.
Thomas: When hearing the track Clones Of
Fate I find it to have quite some Judas Priest in it with the verses,
reminding me of their song Rapid Fire. Judas Priest is also one of the
bands that this album could be described to be in the vein of, along with
Black Sabbath and Saxon. These are not band that I would have compared
you with your earlier albums, although now, when listening to Emotional
Coma, it sounds perfectly all right to me. What is your opinion on this?
Lars: I grew up with these bands and I've always
been influenced by them. We have been compared to Black Sabbath, especially
with Tony Martin and RJ Dio since our debut so I would say these influences
was on all our albums, at least when it comes to guitar riffs and
melodies. I think the rawness of the riffs shows better on "EC"
due to the fact that there are no keyboards to smoothen them up anymore.
Thomas: The title of your new album, Emotional
Coma, what lies behind the choice of name, what does the title represent?
In addition, does the really great looking artwork for the album reflect
in the title somehow?
Thomas: My personal favorites on the album
are Trafficking and Hatred's My Fuel, these songs are really energetic
and have some nice heavy riffs and also an uplifting spirit. And along
with other songs on the album they have the feeling of that there is a
new sparked flame in the band. Does this feel like a new start for you
with loads of fresh energy in Lion's Share, and what songs on Emotional
Coma do you feel came out the best?
Lars: Absolutely! We feel great and full of
energy and I think it shows on the album. I can't stop listen to it
myself, so I just hope all the fans (and hopefully new fans), feels
the same way. We wrote over 20 songs, so of course we are extremely
happy with all the songs we finally put on the album, but I think
we agree on that the first 5 songs a little, little bit better than
track 6-11. As usual this is a day by day thing, so
There are also some guest appearances on Emotional Coma, first we have
Glen Drover (Eidolon, Megadeth) that plays on the title track and secondly
Bruce Kulick (Kiss) that plays on The Edge Of The Razor. How did you get
these guys to play on the album and what did they bring with them? Was
it important to have them to come in and to do a guest part on the album,
or was it just great to have them to play?
Lars: It was just a cool thing really. I'm
a KISS fan since I was 8 years old so it was a bit special to have
an old KISS member play on my record. He even played my guitar when
he recorded it and I have it on video. Afterward he had to sign all
my KISS records haha. Glen Drover is a friend that I met through my
job at a record label. He was kind enough to do this for no money
at all. Both Sampo and I are huge Megadeth fans, so we're very happy
to have these great guys on the record.
Thomas: Where do you gather lyrical inspiration?
And what kind of subjects are you dealing with in the lyrics? Are there
any subjects or opinions that you feel strongly about that you like to
get off you chest that you are incorporating in the lyrics?
Lars: Patrik wrote all lyrics, but I know he
gets inspiration from real life things he hear about on the news,
from novels or films etc. He though the riffs and music was so dark
so he went for a pretty dark and brutal lyric direction on "EC".
Thomas: Who writes the songs in the band?
Is there anyone that is to be seen as the creative force behind the band
or does everyone in the band chip in with material to the songs?
Lars: We have no set rules about this, but
for this record (like with "FFG" & "Entrance"),
I wrote most of the music and melodies. This was probably mainly because
most of the songs were written before Sampo joined. After he joined
he and I started writing the music and riffs together. Usually with
one of us coming up with the first riff and then we keep on writing
till we have a music background with guitars, bass and drum machine.
Thomas: What are your hope and expectations
on Emotional Coma? Or are you by now just eager to get out on the road
to see how the songs work live?
Lars: World domination of course! We've done
some small un announced warm up shows and so far it's been working
great. Obviously we want as many people as possible to enjoy what
we've worked so hard to create. It's hard to sell records these days
with all the illegal downloading and copying going on, but we hope
our fans are loyal and purchase our records so we can continue to
make good sounding high class records. After all it's costing a lot
of money to work in proper studios and with professional engineers.
Thomas: One thing that actually surprised
me was to see that Lion's Share are signed to AFM Records, as far as I
know you work as label manager at Escapi Music, so I kind of expected
to see Lion's Share being an Escapi release. Working for one company while
being signed to another, can't that be a cause for conflict? Can you please
shed some light over this matter?
You are returning to play at Sweden Rock Festival this summer, how did
you like it the last time and how do you feel about returning?
Lars: I love that festival. We are very much
looking forward to hit that stage again and it's of course a great
opportunity to get new fans interested in our cd and the new lineup.
We are playing the Zeppelin stage at 16.00 on Thursday and directly
after we will do a signing session (17.30), so be there!!!
Thomas: And while you are there, are there
any bands that you look forward to see yourself?
Thomas: Do you have any more festivals lined
up for this summer? What festivals are confirmed and are there any further
in negotiations? Can you give us a hint on what is about to come?
Lars: We were in the studio when most festivals
were booked, but we just did Fjongstock with Mustasch and The Kristet
Utseende. After Sweden Rock we will do Mälarrocken in Västerås
with Behemoth, Krux and others. Manowar wanted us to do something
with them in Germany this summer and then we'll do Metal Heart in
Norway with Queensryche, Testament, Dimmu Borgir, Candlemass etc.
I'm sure there will be some more dates so make sure you check out
our website www.lionsshare.org
Thomas: And how does the future look concerning
touring apart from the festival, any plans made yet? And what would you
like a tour to be, as headliners or as special guest to a band that is
more established and has a bigger following of fans?
Thomas: And to round this off I would like
to say a big thank you for taking the time to share this with us, and
if there is anything more you would like to add or share with the readers
of Metal Covenant, feel free to use this last space as you like