» Christian Rivel - Narnia
« back

Mat: Could you please start by giving a brief introduction to the band's history, formation and career up to this point?

  • Christian: The band was formed by me Christian Rivel and Carl Johan Grimmark back in 1996.
    We have since then released three albums worldwide Awakening(1997), Long Live The King (1999), Desert Land (2001) and now our new album The Great Fall( 2003). All our three album releases have been out through Nuclear Blast and Pony Canyon in Asia. The new one The Great Fall is out by Nuclear Blast, no deal is secured in Asia yet.
    We have been touring with several bands as Stratovarius, Black Symphony and Dio and other smaller bands. We have been to UK, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Germany and also done a promotion tour in Japan.

    Our line-up:
    Christian Rivel: Lead Vocals
    Carl Johan Grimmark: Guitars & Vocals
    Andreas Olsson: Bass & Vocals
    Andreas Johansson: Drums & Percussion
    Linus Kaase: Keyboards & Vocals

Mat: You've recently also have some changes in the line-up. Your keyboard player since six years back, Martin Claesson, has obviousy left the band. Can you tell us something of why he chose to do so? How did you get in contact with his replacement, Linus Kåse?
Has he been involved with the band before or was he a new acquaintance?

  • Christian: (from Martin:) "As You know by now I have decided to leave Narnia - a tough decision to make since I've really enjoyed being a part of the band and meeting the fans at our concerts. Despite all this I feel that it's time to move on. I want to thank all fans and promoters I have met during my time with Narnia. You have made this time unforgettable! I also want to wish the best of luck to Narnia and especially my replacer."

    I met Linus back 2001 and get in touch with his band Brighteye Brison where I released in January 2003 on my label Rivel record, Sweden. See www.rivelrecords.com .
    He is a great keyboardplayer and we asked him and he joined in.

Mat: You also have a new bass player, Andreas Olsson. What do you mainly think that he and Linus have brought to the band? Have they contributed with anything that has had an influence on the song-writing and recording of the new album?

  • Christian: Marin did all keyboardplaying on the album so Lius came after the album was done.
    Mainly it is Carljohan and I who write the material for Narnia but Andreas brought in some more progressive elements into the band.
    Andreas contributed on one song on the album.

Mat: In what ways do you think the Narnia of today has matured and changed the most since the beginning? Have things developed along the lines you wanted them to, or have there even been unexpected turns along the way? Both for better and for worse.

  • Christian: It has been the easiest album to record so far . Mostly of the material is recorded at our guitarist Carl Johan Grimmark´s studio Dreamfactory. Some sessions are done in Germany where we recorded Eric Clayton´s ( Saviour Machine) voice for the song The Great Fall Of Man. The choir part in the same song that is recorded in Tone Zone studio in Stockholm.
    The drums on the song Judgement day is recorded and handled in Malmo by Anders Johansson(Hammerfall, ex. Rising Force).
    We have been working in a good way without stressing sessions on this album and we are pleased with the result.

    The album is heavier than the previous ones and it has more of our own identity on this album and also some more progressive and symphonic elements but of course the melody is the most important element in Narnia´s music. It is also a concept album.

Mat: I'm supposing the name Narnia is from the great productions of C.S Lewis, since you have the lion Aslan as the band symbol and that several of your songs are titled with names and events from those productions. But do you just re-write a story from those books or do you intertwine it with other elements as well? If so, what topics and in what ways do you make them part of it all?

  • Christian: We like the Narnia theme but most of our lyrics deals about our daily life , as story not based on the books.
    The Great fall is a conceptalbum about a soldier and his experiences and journey through a war and his spiritual journey and struggles to find God for his broken soul. It is also how you and I take care of brothers and sisters when they are in need of help and not feeling well. Out time is very limited these days and many people don´t have time to spend for their brothers and sisters when they definitely need it.
    Listen to the album and you will see our points. I will leave this up to the listener to find out what it is all about. Treat each other as you want to be treated yourself!

Mat: What are your feelings concerning your new album, The Great Fall? What kind of new angles and developments have majorly taken place since your previous release? How has it been received up to this point and how do you suppose it will be received by the fans?

  • Christian: Everybody says so far that this is the best Narnia album and that we have developed as musicians, our songs, sound and production!
    It´s good to hear because it is a change on this album but I think the Narnia fans will love it. We have to go further as a band but we will not leave the melodic metal!

Mat: Could you list your three personal favourite tracks on The Great Fall and give a brief description of them. What do you think make those specific ones stand out from the rest?

  • Christian: My favorite song is Back From Hell. It is very dynamic, melodic and also very aggressive. I love the mix and arrangement of that song and it also shows the new direction Narnia are moving into musically.
    Two ther song is the Countdown Has Begun and Innocent Blood and the same reasons about these songs I mentioned above.

Mat: Drummer Anders Johansson from Hammerfall and vocalist Eric Clayton from Savior Machine have done guest-appearances on the album. How did it happen that it turned out to those two in particular? Do you think you will work with them again?

  • Christian: The are both friends of the band and we want to do something special and the reason they are on the album. They are both strong characters and that is good.

Mat: Which of your albums has been the most succesful one and what countries provide the best market for your music? Has different albums been more popular in certain countries or is it more a general and evenly spread issue?

  • Christian: The best selling album have been Awakening. All our albums have sold around 17-22000 units each album. Germany, Finland, Sweden and south America and Japan are the best markets.

Mat: What kind of feelings and emotions do you want to mediate with your music? What is the basic massage behind it? Do you think that you've succeeded in this area or is there even more to come?

  • Christian: Our mission and vision with the band is give good melodic metal with a good message and we don´t deny the impact of Jesus Christ in our lives. I got the vision from God about Narnia 1996 and I will follow his guiding hand with this band.

Mat: You also have your own record company, CL Publishing. When and why did you start this originally? What bands have you signed and could you also please describe them briefly?

  • Christian: My label is now called Rivel Records because of my name changewhen I got married last year. I release from melod to extreme metal.
    My visionis the same as with Narnia. I want to give good music with a good message to the people.
    Right now I have release 10 different albums withj bands like:
    Sons Of Thunder
    Wisdom Call
    Brighteye Brison and more will follow. See
    www.rivelrecords.com for more info.

Mat: You seem to be involved in a some side-projects besides Narnia, like for instance Wisdom Call and Christian's Powertime. Are both of these projects still "alive" and if that should be the case, what can we expect from them later on? How do you think the sound of those majorly differ from that of Narnias?

  • Christian: My self I am running my soloband Audiovison and right now in the writing process for the debut album. The musicians on the album will be Lars Chriss / Lion´s Share, Carljohan Grimmark/Narnia, Pontus Norgren/ Ex. Talisman Great King Rat, Andreas Olsson/ Narnia and other people. The style is very good melodic metal in the vein of Pretty Maids, Dio, Stryper, Impellitteri etc.
    I have also a symphonic rockband called Windy City in the vein of Styx, Queen and Kansas. This band I have together with keyboardplayer Linus Kaase. Hopefully a recording will be done with this band in 2004.
    I am also involved in Beautiful Mind who toured in Israel and released a single in April 2004. I have also released my first Swedish album with hymns and songs written by Jerusalem, Pelle Karlsson etc. I am performing in churches in Sweden with my wife who is professional dancer so she is doing correography and I am singing and the response in local radio have been overwhelming.
    Wisdom Call and in the first place Powertime is not exsisting anymore due to different musical goals.

Mat: I know your tour is due to start soon, but who will you tour with? Do you even have some festival gigs planned for the upcoming summer?

  • Christian: We do a lot of concerts in Sweden and Finland on every album and the response have been very good. We have done a European Tour with Dio and Black Symphony. We did a mini tour in Finland with Stratovarius.
    Our plans now is that we already started the 1 st of Feb in Finland and tried our new material then we co-headlined Bobfest 2003 with Leviticus.
    We have just returned from Owen Rocknacht in Germany where we just Headlined last weekend instead of Disciple( USA) that cancelled their appearance. We also filmed and recorded the whole show for a forthcoming CD and DVD release. Many fans of Narnia have been asking to see a video of the band. We picked the stuff from our 4 albums and it was great show!
    We have 2 more festival dates in Finland booked right now the 30th of April and 12th of May where we headline and hopefully the response is the same as in Germany. Where 1800 people showed up. We have requests on more shows but nothing is confirmed yet.
    We have done 70-80 concerts since we started the band back in 1997 and hopefully we will do more. It is tough these days for touring and we have family to raise so we can´t just play for free. Our Management MCM Music in Germany is also working on a tour together with Seventh Avenue and Rob Rock and we checking out the interest right now. It will be co-headlining tour with Rob Rock.
    I am very happy for the experience we have got so far as a band and that we got good respect among the audience to be a good live band.

Mat: And before we end this interview some short questions:

Nokia or Ericsson cellular phone?
A live-concert that was something very special for you?
-Uriah Heep magicians birthday Party in London 2001
Recently read book or magazine?
-Henning Mankell: "Innan Frosten"
Nostalgia: What band/artist did you first take to your heart?
-The Sweet, Kansas and Deep Purple
Interests besides music?
-Sports, fishing, spending time with my friends and my wife.
A vacation resort you highly recommend?

Mat: And finally - any words of wisdom or funny facts about the nearest future
you want to share with the readers?

  • Christian: Keep the melodic metal alive and take care brothers and sisters!!!

That was all I had for now, Christian - the staff at metalcovenant.com wish you all the very best for the future, and we sincerely want to thank you for keeping the spirit of Metal alive!

Related links: