Interview conducted March 27 2022
Interview published April 8 2022
"There are still a lot of bigger bands that deny
that they are playing power metal."
Swedish power metallers Veonity
put out their new album Elements Of Power on February 18th and as the
band played in Stockholm on March 27th Metal Covenant got a chance to
talk to guitarist Samuel Lundström.
Tobbe: You're not a bigger band yet, so
start telling us who Veonity are and a little bit about the band's background.
Samuel: Veonity is what you could call a traditional
power metal band. We have always said that we play power metal and nothing
else. To people who are a little familiar and were there back in the
day it was always like "Symphonic, epic death metal with power,
prog influences." and stuff like that. But we play power metal.
Just like that.
There are not so many bands doing that, but we
felt like doing that and keep pretty faithful to what we perceive is
the heydays of power metal from '95 to 2000 or something like that.
You know, when HammerFall came out, and Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica,
and Rhapsody was at its biggest, Edguy. All those bands. Those years
are very important to us, so we have headed for such a sound, the Swedish/German
about who we are: We're from Vänersborg, a small town on the West
Coast. We have known one another for many, many years and we have appeared
in some different constellations over the years, like teenage bands
and so. But about 10 years we decided to keep it to one and try that
out, you know.
Tobbe: You mention bands like Sonata Arctica
and Edguy who used to play power metal, but aren't doing that now, and
haven't done that in a long, long time, but you show me great pride when
you're saying that you're playing that style of music.
Samuel: There are still a lot of bigger bands
that deny that they are playing power metal. Even if it's a matter of
definition too. But I always perceived it as power metal, because that
was what I was taught when I was 15 years old. That it was called power
metal, and that's how it was introduced to me.
Yes, I say it with pride. You know, when I grew
up it wasn't as cool to listen to other music. You didn't really listen
to Maiden, because you listened to Rhapsody instead, with some guy with
curly hair dressed in a ruffled shirt who is singing about dragons and
fairies and stuff. We still say it with pride and that's often difficult
in the reviews about the albums we release and they are like "This
is power metal and it comes out in a certain way and the lyrics are
what they are." and then they think it's bad, and we're like "But
we have told everyone that it is power metal.".
You don't go to the pizza place, order a pizza,
and then get upset when you are served a pizza. Like "Hey! This
isn't a steak!". - "No, it's not. You came to the pizza place.".
So we stand for playing power metal. That's just how it is.
Tobbe: Elements Of Power was out about a
month ago. It's a concept album. Tell me about the story over the album.
Samuel: Well, let's start by telling you that
we start writing the story before, you know, we make the songs. That's
usually the way we work. It's I and Anders [Sköld. Vocals and guitar]
who write most of the stuff. First we developed the story so we would
know how to write the songs. It's about a boy who reads a book and finds
himself in a parallel universe and realizes pretty quickly that the
world is out of balance.
There's a protective veil between the underworld
and the earth, which is about to break because the powerstone, the masterstone,
which is placed on the altar of power, has lost its power, and must
be recharged. So this young boy is given the power by a guardian.
goes through the portal, which fortunately is located beside the altar
of power, where he fortunately found himself, and goes down to the underworld
to find the different elements of power in order to be able to recharge
the masterstone with those elements so that the masterstone can protect
the earth from the underworld and the evil spirits that dwell there.
Tobbe: How do you make a concept album and
get everybody onboard. It's more extensive work.
Samuel: Yes, it's extensive. Of course it's problematic.
As I said, first we have to develop the story. Then we have to somehow
get the story idea down. And then we have to write the songs according
to the story, which means that we have to really know before we write
a song, like "This song should be number 6.". Because you
also want the music to be part of the story.
Like, we have a song, called Blood Of The Beast,
where he fights against the Kraken to get the element of water, and
there of course you can't have a super cheerful song. So you have to
rearrange the songs and the lyrics at the same time, and also adjust,
like, "Maybe this one actually fits better
", but then
you have to rewrite the lyrics and put it in a different order. It's
a little bit more work, but it's also more fun.
Tobbe: Do you ever feel like it could come
out contrived, because you have to change stuff and maybe do something
that you not really wanna do?
Samuel: I think it's the other way around actually.
We tried with the previous album, Sorrows, to just write songs and not
for a concept album. All our other records were different conceptual
albums with stories. And I think it was more difficult to write without
a conceptual album in mind, because it gives me clarity and guidance.
If I know that I have to write a song, then I can already picture it
and then I can have ideas on how to describe this in the music.
Tobbe: If you listen to the new album you
can really say that it's still on the Veonity path. Could you add anything
to this statement?
Samuel: We strayed a little bit on Sorrows. We
tried a little bit of a different direction, a little bit more progressive
and maybe a little bit darker, just to challenge ourselves to write
something new. But now we are a little bit back on track again, because
this is what we like and we also think that our fans also enjoy this
kind of sci-fi fantasy conceptual musical power metal.
Tobbe: How do you look at the band's development
from the first record to the fifth record now?
Samuel: I would say that we now write faster
songs, a little bit. A little bit more double bass drums actually. Then
we have added a little bit more keyboard arrangements. Not super much
symphonic, but it's just more keyboard stuff in there, while our first
album was more just two guitars. But other than that I think it's mostly
the same. [Laughs]
never liked bands that strayed too far. 'Cause you start liking a band,
two or three albums, and then they just go into weird styles, and that
always made me sad. So we promised ourselves that we would keep doing
the same style. If we don't wanna do it anymore, then we just don't
Tobbe: Like I said, this is the fifth record,
and is it sometimes hard now to find new melodies since you're in that
same vein most of the time?
Samuel: Yes and no. Yes: It gets more challenging
of course. I started to write music when I was 10. This is, what I think,
very early. So eventually you keep the good melodies. You write a little
bit and then you keep it somehow, like in a safe, or in a book shelf.
Then you pick up a few new ideas and then you mix it with old ones.
And now of course we still have to write new
ones, but you have to write a little bit more because we have used all
the ideas. So it is sometimes difficult, but it's also nicer in a way,
because now we can build on our own experiences and somehow try new
kind of melodies, that sound slightly different but still the same.
So I think it's more challenging, but also more rewarding, when you
really find those melodies there.
Tobbe: 5 records in 7 years now. I guess
you have to go all the way back to the early '80s to find such a frequent
record release schedule.
Samuel: Yes, we are very productive. We write
a lot of music. We have also written a couple of albums, that are not
on that albums. Songs that usually don't make it 'cause they are not
good enough. So we never had a problem with writing music. I always
write music, constantly, because I like to write good power metal. So
basically we just keep writing music.
Tobbe: A lot of bands back in the day used
to only concentrate and work just with their music, but today people have
different jobs and stuff, so where do you find time to have this frequent
Samuel: It takes a lot of our free time. We all
have families, and partners, and kids, and jobs, so it is difficult
to find the time. But I think the passion for power metal is just stronger.
So even though you don't really have the time you prioritize writing
music over sleeping 'cause eventually it's just more important to you.
Tobbe: About your touring schedule. The
only thing I've seen is that you will be out next spring. Is there anything
else in the pipeline?
Samuel: At the moment we only have a show in
our home town, Trollhättan. An album release party in April. We
were supposed to tour right now and that means we can't be away more
from our families, so we didn't book so much now. So we are a little
bit stuck in between. We will try to find something to do for the autumn.
We have some postponed shows that we might be
able to push in there instead. But it has been tough with the canceling
of all tours. We had, I think, three tours that was canceled before
they even got announced. You do all the work, and prepare, and do everything,
and eventually it just never happens.
Tobbe: And now with a new record out you
of course wanna play some songs off it live, but you can't. So maybe we
will have a sixth record in 8 years
Samuel: Could be. Who knows?
Tobbe: Have you already thought about it?
Samuel: Maybe we already have. [Laughs] The
story doesn't end with this album. He only finds three elements. So
there are still elements to find, to recharge, and put power to it.