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Interview conducted April 27 2018
Interview published May 10 2018

"I think the lyrics I write are always kind of the same."

Finnish melodic rockers One Desire came to Sweden for an appearance at the 2-day indoor festival Rock City Stockholm and Metal Covenant met up with the band's frontman André Linman.

Tobbe: One Desire's debut album did pretty well and did the reviews and the listeners' praises kind of exceeded your expectations for the record?

André: Yeah, definitely. I mean, sometimes you can get a 10 out of 10 review, like once or twice, but it's really not that often that you actually get mostly positive ones. It was of course really awesome. But it was surprising, I think. I mean, we knew the record was good. Of course, because we wouldn't release anything that we don't like. But I guess it was just a really nice surprise that so many people thought it was really good. I think we only got one, like, really bad review, and that was from Finland. [Laughs] Home country, so.

Tobbe: You guys have released albums with other bands before, so you're definitely not rookies on the scene, right?

André: No. I mean, I've been doing music on a professional level since I was 15. So that's 11 years now and actually Jimmy [Westerlund], our guitarist and producer, and I have worked together for over 10 years, because I released 3 albums with my previous band, called Sturm Und Drang, and he was the producer of those records and that's really how we know each other. But after that band, after we quit, there were a couple of years when I really didn't do anything, on the big stage, so to speak. I was playing, you know, as troubadour at weddings and stuff like that. So with One Desire it's nice to be back on the big stage, so to speak.

Tobbe: Considering you guys' background. What have you taken from your other bands and tried to put into One Desire?

André: That's a really tough question actually. I've never really thought about that so much, but I guess that all of us have tried to use our previous experience, like dos and don'ts. So yeah, I think that I have some experience from the old band. It's hard to buy that kind of experience; you just have to live it, kind of. And I mean, Jonas [Kuhlberg] as well, our bass player, has been playing with some really big bands. Yeah, like I said, you can't really buy that experience, but it's nice to have it.

Tobbe: Do you think that One Desire has something specific that separates you from all the other bands who's playing melodic rock music?

André: It's also quite a tough question, I think. Of course, we would like to think that there's something special about our music and our sound, but it's really hard for me to say myself. Yeah, I think a listener would answer that question better, like "Is there something that separates them from other similar bands or is there not?". I don't know, but I hope there is something a little bit special about it.

Tobbe: You have started working a little bit on a coming album and what can you tell me about that process so far?

André: Actually we've barely started with the new album. A lot of bands like to, you know, write 20 songs first and rehearse them and then go into the studio and take the best songs. With this band, we've been working pretty much on one song at a time kind of basis. So right now, I know we have two songs that I think are really good, but the rest, 8 other songs, I don't know what they're gonna be like. But I think we have kind of a good start.

But it's really hard at this moment to say in which direction we're gonna go, like "Is it gonna be heavier?" or "Is it gonna be more pop influenced?" or whatever. I think that we all wanna do something a little bit different, because if you have a good album, that people like, you can make a similar album and it's still gonna be quite nice, the second one, but when you're trying to do the same album, like, 10 times… But one thing I think we're gonna try to do is: When we recorded the first album we had actually never played live. It was more kind of a studio project in the start and then we were like "Okay, we're gonna start playing live.".

So now, after we've done a European tour and lots of festivals, I think we're gonna try to concentrate on stuff that's actually really fun to play live, because now, with the old songs, we've noticed "Yeah. This one sounds great on the album, but it's really weird to play live.", like a little bit too slow or a little bit too fast. Now we know which songs work better in a live environment, so that's something that I think we're gonna think about.

Tobbe: What can inspire you lyrics-wise at this early point of the new album?

André: I think the lyrics I write are always kind of the same. [Laughs] I mean, they evolve of course, but it's always some kind of bittersweet love story. Yeah, like lost love, kind of. I think that's the thing I like to write about the most.

Tobbe: Can you already now see any progress in your singing style or in your guitar playing style?

André: Yeah, I think so, and same thing with the songs. Now that we've been doing a lot of live shows, I think that I've evolved and also kind of knowing yourself better is good, like what you can and what you can not do.

Tobbe: You're playing melodic rock and not progressive metal, so maybe you can't do all the things you would wanna do in a certain way.

André: Yeah, that's true. I mean, I would really like to have some longer solos on the record. [Laughs] That's one of the… I wouldn't call it a problem, but since we're kind of always trying to keep every song as a potential rock radio single we don't really do any 7-minute songs. But actually I think we're gonna have a 10-minute song on the next album, but obviously that's not a single. But we're trying to kind of balance it between commercial appeal and something that's just fun for ourselves. So maybe some longer solos on the next one. [Laughs]

Tobbe: I think melodic rock has an older kind of fanbase and will there always be a market for this type of music, you think? Because, like, the fans are getting older.

André: Yeah, that's true. I think there will always be a market, but it's really hard to say what it's gonna look like.

Tobbe: The late '80s must have made a great impact on you, even if you're young, in regards to what you come out with musically.

André: Yeah. I think that the late '80s is what I've grown up with. I mean, I wasn't alive in the late '80s, but when I was a kid I used to listen to my dad's Bon Jovi LPs, like all the time. We had CD records when I was young, but still I used to listen to vinyls. So I think maybe that's what it's gonna take to reinvent the fanbase. If more younger people get more interested in the old greats, like Journey and stuff like that, then maybe there will be a bigger appetite for this kind of music. But we have great… I mean, H.E.A.T for example, who we are playing with today… There are new bands that are doing that kind of music. So I think there's a lot of hope.

Tobbe: If we look in a broader perspective. What can you guys kind of expect out of a career, like in the musical climate we have today?

André: That's a really tough question. I mean, things have changed so much. Like I said, I've been around for something like 10 years on a professional level and even in those 10 years things have changed really dramatically and I can't even imagine what it feels like for artists that have been playing since the '70s. Like, I mean, things have changed many times for them. I would say that what we're hoping for and what we're kind of expecting… Of course we hope to be as big as possible and of course there's this older dream of kind of crossing over kind of into mainstream music, but that's not really gonna happen any time soon.

Like my old record company boss told me "Well, rock is dead!". But I think it's gonna come back, you know, in a broader sense, and we really wanna be around when that happens, so we're just gonna keep doing our thing even though it's not so super popular with the mainstream audience right now. When things get better, then we're gonna be here.

Tobbe: If you look at the band's size today, I guess the big money hasn't started to come in yet, so how much time and effort could you guys really put into this before you hit the wall?

André: Yeah, I mean, that's always something you have to take into account. In Finland we're doing pretty okay, I would say. Like, there we actually get paid and stuff, which is something you can't really take for granted. But we're kind of lucky in that sense, that we can actually make some money in Finland and then we can afford to go out and do, like, European tours, where we don't get paid at all.

Tobbe: Considering the times we are in now, do you sometimes wish that you would have been active in another time period than today?

André: Yeah, definitely. If we sort of ignore all the improvements that's been made, when we're not talking about music I mean, like stuff like internet and phones and stuff which you wouldn't really wanna live without. I mean, the '80s is definitely something that I really wish I would have been around for. I have always said that I would definitely lose one arm if I could go back in time and see Judas Priest live back in '86 on the Turbo tour. Like "Yeah. One arm. You can take it!". Or Bon Jovi here in Globen [Arena in Stockholm] in '88. My dad and my mom saw that. The New Jersey tour and I'm so freaking jealous, man.

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