Interview: Ivana Sataić
Photo: Ivana Sataić
Sonic Syndicate is young and very perspecitve Swedish band that is, inspite of the fact their music is really hard to catergorize, mostly described as melodic death / hardcore metal. The band formed in 2002 as Fallen Angels changed the name into Sonic Syndicate in 2005 and then relased the first album “Eden Fire” and went on the first tour. In 2007 is released the next album “Only Inhuman” and in 2008 “Love And Other Disasters” which Sonic Syndicate introduced to the European audience on just ended tour they played with their national Deathstars. Exactly during this tour in Vienna I had a pleasure to talk to Robin Sjunnesson about Sonic Syndicate and their actual album.
VENIA: I don’t know do you know that, but your band is pretty popular in Croatia, I checked in one record shop, you’re selling many records..
ROBIN: Yeah, I’ve heard that , but that is pretty cool actually, that is not what we expected, but pretty cool.
VENIA: But for the new fans, who didn’t hear anything from you before, would you like to introduce your band and give us like short history of it?
ROBIN: I would say we were one of those bands that have a lot of diversity in the band, and we are not additional band, we are not an emo band and we are not a rock band, we are like totally diversal, we have so much inspiration in our band it is just insane. On our new record we have ballad songs like “My Escape” and that should be like MTV almost and radio some of that, and also have like other songs we are very diverse band, we are much more then metal. It is so hard to put us in a genre, different style, because we are many different styles. We have heard many diverse bands, and everybody has some their own different favourite songs, I would say like that.
VENIA: What is the most interesting thing about (death) metal, what is the most interesting thing about metal music, what was the crucial thing that attacked you to it?
ROBIN: I think that a lot of people see metal, those people don’t listen to metal, see it as negative figure, like satan, all those, the fun thing is that metal bands have the most fun in tour, the thing is that everyone is so drinking and party every day and we are having fun, I don’t think that normal people realize that, they don’t say it is. But what got me to metal was, I was born 1989, my older brother used to listen Alice Cooper, and that was metal back then, in the 80ties it was like hair metal, so that whats got me, Alice Cooper, he was really like into death, sex and so and I wanted to be like him, then I started listen to In Flames and sort of, and it just got throught, and everybody see it from same position as me, the way it was found, there was Gothenburg metal scene, as it was called, so everybody is fall from that. We formed a band and that was basically yes, just because Gothenburg metal scene.
VENIA: For so many times I’ve heard the way you sound is described as a mixture of Swedish metal sound and American emo/core scene.
ROBIN: Yeah, everybody say that…
VENIA: What do you think about that?
ROBIN: They might be true, in a way, because we’re listening to a lot of Swedish metal, we have been touring with In Flames, Soilwork and so, so of course we are very inspired by them but also we are inspired by an American metal scene. I don’t know what is emo, I can’t say this band is emo. I think Deathstars is pretty emo, Bone, especially, like he is totally, he wears more make up then my Mum. (Bone is standing next to us and replies: Fuck you!). So, of course we are inspired by American metal bands. Those bands are called like emo bands, people call Trial emo band, and of course we are very inspired by Trial. Yeah, maybe, maybe they are true, maybe we are playing emo,I don’t know. We don’t care like, we play what we want, and people say what they think. If it’s emo, death metal, black metal, we are pulling our own thing.
VENIA: You don’t want to put your music in any box.
ROBIN: No, that is the thing, we are so diverse.
VENIA: Your latest album is named “Love and Other Disasters”, what you could tell about the concept behind the making the album?
ROBIN: This album was very special for us, because it used to be unique from the last album, it was in a fire of the last album, there was only one of us in the band who wrote songs. This time, everybody wanted to join, everybody should say their own things, create their own songs, and sort of stuff, so we just set together, all the six members and we start just record and write album, together, and that was really set for us, because we never done this before. And that is why everybody is so happy about new album, because everybody got to say their own thing, and it turned up to be exactly the way we wanted it to be, so that is why it is so special. Any constant by album like Richard, he writes everything personal, like he about old girlfriends, and new girlfriends. You know, he is also writing about the global, the world thing, that set of things, you know, the ice is melting what should we do, the stuff like that,he is very down to earth he is very deep in his lyrics. So there is no any special concept behind the album, no.
VENIA: If you should to suggest one song to get the point of “Love and Other Disasters” and also your bands music potential, which one would you choose and why?
ROBIN: Yes, I would definitelly choose “Fallout” which is the 5th song of the album, just because the music is so, it is typical song you can get. It has this screaming, and it has the clean hit, chours we usually do. And also the lyrics is about, a lot of people trash us because we have clean vocals and sound like maybe I don’t know radio hit, and I have this scream, because a lot of people see this as a negative thing, but we want to write songs about that, that we need to be a band that crossed a borders, building bridges between genres, that’s why we choose “Fallout”, that is an example.
VENIA: The internet is today very important source of information for music fans, how important is internet for you and your music?
ROBIN: I would say if internet wasn’t around, we wouldn’t be where we are now. We are never set to any yale, like tones downloaded our album, becuase it is so good for promotion. People get the album for free. Ok, I know it is bad from me to say that, like the label shouldn’t get the money, but it is a good thing, you can find everything in internet, you can find our album, our background or whaever it is so… I am doing that, I download other bands album and I will definitelly download Deathstars album when I get back. So…I see that as a positive thing, you can reach out so many different people. You don’t have to go to find a CD in a rightstore. Like, when I was a kid, when the new release was coming out, I couln’t sleep for two weeks, and I was like:”Ooh yeah I am getting this new CD”, but now ten years later I am getting this like, find it on the internet…
VENIA: You put it in the torrent….
ROBIN: Yeah, some albums are there like six months before the release so I am like :”YES! I have it before everybody else!”, so now we are just happy over it. I used to be against it, but now i am happy over it.
VENIA: You came up with a name after a video game?
ROBIN: Oh no, that’s a joke actually.
VENIA: So now you are in trouble! *everybody laughs* How did you come up with a name?
ROBIN: The thing was that we were changing our band, we were demo band…..Oh hello doggy! He wants his toy back (the dog that is barking at the background just entered the room and Robin threw the toy the dog brought him), whatever,he didn’t like it.
VENIA: No, he didn’t want the toy back. *everybody laughs*
ROBIN: The thing was that we said that in interviews like a joke, we never thought that anybody would catch it up like said that we got it from Sonic the Hedgehog and Syndicate from Syndicate wars, but that is not true like, ok we used to play those games, but thing is we wanted a name that was easily to say. So Sonic Syndicate, it is easy to say, it gets stuff, and it is not, you don’t forget it so fast like other band’s names. Richard he wanted to give something with Sonic, and I would like to have something with Syndicate, so there you have the band – Sonic Syndicate, so everybody were ok with it.
VENIA: So if you could choose to act any characters in a movies, video game, who would you be?
ROBIN: Sonic the Hedgehog! *everybody laughs*
ROBIN: I don’t know he has the same name as us, so probably. *laughs* He can run pretty fast, so he is pretty like squrrel, you know?
VENIA: I don’t know, i’m not that much in games, I know characteres but…
ROBIN: Yeah, he is blue and he is an animal, but I don’t know he is like a squrrel, but..
VENIA: I don’t know I have no patience to …
ROBIN: Yeah me neither, the only video game I can play is guitar hero.
VENIA: The last thing I played was Harry Potter *laugh*
ROBIN: Harry Potter? I don’t know, well I haven’t even tried it, some of the guys from band are pretty much into games like World of Warcraft, but I don’t get anything like that I can’t even sit down.
VENIA: I know how characters look like but….
ROBIN: Yeah, you can see this on TV or something.
VENIA: OK, you are on tour with Deathstars, what happen that you tour with them?
ROBIN: Um, the thing is that we have been fans, especially me, I have been fan for so many years, I started to listen them, I don’t know since the first record came out. So I know that I want to tour with the band I really listen to. We toured with In Flames, Nightwish as well, and stuff like that, and we have really been into those bands. And now we are talking about headlining tour here in Europe with Day, and they did release a new album so like maybe they would do co-headlining like play different nice, having liners and stuff like that. There was our manager who is contacted their manager and they thought was a great idea, and they said that tour is probably the best, like so good. Deathstars has their own fans, but Deathstars gaining our fans, and we gaining Deathstars fans so it is different. You can see a Deathstars fan, you can see Sonic Syndicate fan. Deathstars fan has like chours fains, and leather and chaines and stuff like that, very different people, and Sonic fan has like shorts, and skateboard t-shirt and cap on a side, so it’s perfect mix up thing, because it is like so different, that is why is so perfect and so far it has been really really good. Like I can really can see it on shows, it is really separated that way, but in the end everybody is toghether. I think this is a really good tour, and I am really enjoying it.
VENIA: And what are the plans after the tour? More tour?
ROBIN: Yeah, we can tour as much as we can, but now we go home, and we will do couple of shows here and there. We will do shows in Germany and in like upper north Sweden, then also like summer is full of festivals. A lot of full one-time sake, a lot of Swedish festivals that we have been playing before, then flying on to Hungary and Germany, having fun all summer, so that is the plan. After that we are trying to get everything clear with Japan and Australia because we really want to see it. Not just to play it but to also see it also personally. That is it, later we will try that.
VENIA: Ok, and the last question will be if you have some message to Croatian fans? Can we expect you there?
ROBIN: I didn’t really know there was that good, until I saw numbers on a paper, that was really, really amazing. So thank you for all the e-mails we get and we are coming there soon, and be patient you are getting the show soon!
Official website: www.sonicsyndicate.com