» Samuel Lundström - Veonity
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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 school.

And 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.

He 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]

I 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 write anymore.

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 release schedule?

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.

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