Just in time for the fantastic new Eclipse album, “Armageddonize” and their forthcoming appearance at HRH United (AOR 3) and headline tour, guitarist Magnus Henrikkson took some time to talk to Rock-Zone UK about the new record, startling prices for collectible CDs on Amazon, shepherd’s pie and English breakfasts (!) and his influences as a guitar player (which might come as a bit of a surprise.
Rock-Zone UK: Hi Magnus, many thanks for taking the time to speak with Rock-Zone UK. The new album, “Armageddonize” seems to be going down well with reviewers and fans alike. How difficult is it to keep things fresh and interesting?
Magnus Henrikkson: Thanks – it´s an honour talking to you. Yes, we’ve been getting fantastic reviews so far!
We’re quite surprised actually as we didn’t expect that reaction. It is hard to keep it fresh and interesting. That’s why we usually wait 2-4 years between every release. We´ve raised the bar unconsiously for every new album, and that’s just to keep it fresh for ourselves. We wanna have fun and challenge ourselves when we write.
We were actually a bit scared when we started writing for “Armageddonize” because we had the ghost of the successful “Bleed and Scream” hanging over us. But after a while we kind of forgot about it and just had fun with the new stuff.
R-Z UK: Will there be any surprises for the fans during the upcoming UK shows and do you think the sets will be different at your own shows as opposed to the HRH AOR show and what are you looking forward to most whilst you’re over in the UK?
MH: We haven’t decided 100% on the setlists for each show yet, but the HRH show is a bit shorter than our headline gigs so we´ll try to fill our slot with as many “greatest hits” as possible I guess. We have to be on our “A” game when it´s a festival gig.
Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing all these places and towns we’re gonna play in. And meeting all the fans of course. I look forward to have some nice shepherd´s pie as well. I like that, and the English breakfasts of course.
R-Z UK: The last two Eclipse records have proved very popular with the melodic rock/AOR fraternity, what do you think the future holds for you guys and which do you prefer – writing/recording or live performance?
MH: For me, I like playing live the most. I like the creative process when we’re writing songs but I hate being in a studio environment. I just wanna leave for the pub. But on the other hand, we have to be in studio in order to get out and play new songs live so you can’t have one thing without the other.
R-Z UK: As a musician, who are/were your influences and what/who was the reason you first thought “I need to play a guitar”? Coupled with that, what is the most recent album you have listened to and is there a current artist/band who has made you sit up and take notice?
MH: My first influences that made me wanna play guitar was the old American rock´n´roll from the 50/60s. Elvis, Scotty Moore and Buddy Holly. Later on came Ritchie Blackmore which I still hold as my number 1. I was looking at my Dad’s old vinyl covers and I had an unhealthy obsession for guitars from the beginning.
One of the most recent bands I really like is Bad City, from Chicago. They only released one album before the singer was convicted and the band imploded. Great stuff!
R-Z UK: I noticed recently that the first Eclipse “The Truth and a Little More” is available for £500! Any chance you guys would consider reissuing your first albums at a more “reasonable/realistic” price?
MH: I’ve seen it go for more money than that actually. It’s crazy. I wouldn’t buy it for 1£1. It’s a really bad album actually. We’ve had 3 offers from different labels to re-release it but we’ve turned them all down. We think it’s a crappy album and we don’t want to promote a crappy album which we don’t believe in. That’d feel awkward. It’s best if we just leave it to rest. Besides, if we re-release it, we’d ruin the value for the hardcore collectors who have paid lots of money for their vintage copy.
R-Z UK: How do you think the band has progressed and changed in the years since you formed and that first album? Also, what do you think the best thing about being in Eclipse is? Is there anything you would change if you could?
MH: We found the “Eclipse sound” on the 3rd album, ” Are You Ready to Rock”, I think. Before that we were just fumbling in the dark and didn’t know what we wanted to do. We’ve progressed a lot as song writers and musicians as well, and Erik production skills have improved a lot.
The best thing is that we are writing exactly the music we wanna hear and write. We got total artistic freedom from our label and they trust us 100% that we´ll deliver a kick ass album every time. They only thing I’d change is that we should have played more gigs the first 7 years of our career.
R-Z UK: Thank you so much for spending some time with us and I know that a lot of fans are looking forward to seeing you in March … me included
MH: Thank you, we’re looking forward to seeing you all too.
“Armageddonize” is available now on Frontiers Records, and the tour dates are as follows: