Power Metallers SYMPHONITY are headlining Power Metal Quest Fest tomorrow. Ahead of this, Rock Out Stand Out’s Lotty Whittingham spoke to keyboardist Johannes Frykholm about the band’s first appearance in the UK, the band’s latest album Marco Polo: The Metal Soundtrack, mental health and who would headline his dream festival.
It’s Power Metal Quest Fest this weekend, first of all how exciting is that?
I can’t believe it, I’ve seen the poster on Facebook and it always looks really fun. I saw that Memories Of Old played a few years ago, I’ve always wanted to see them. I saw that Veonity, friends of mine, were due to play but they couldn’t do it.
Am I right in thinking this will be Symphonity’s first time in the UK?
Yes, that is correct. This is the first time Symphonity will be performing. I am really surprised that given their long career, this is their first time but I am also please that I get to be a part of that.
And no better place than Power Metal Quest Fest.
What can we expect from a live Symphonity show?
We try to make our live shows as close to the studio version as possible. We bring a really epic, symphonic metal show to the live stage but without the symphonic part taking over too much. It’s still pure power metal with heavy epic symphonic metal elements. We want people to be there for the fast songs, epic melodic songs and the really catchy choruses as well.
Which bands that are part of the Power Metal Quest Fest line up are you looking forward to checking out?
Personally I am looking forward to seeing Fellowship, I really love their album The Sabrelight Chronicles. I have listened to it almost everyday since it came out. I am huge fan of it and for me, it would be really cool to see them live. Also looking forward to seeing Battle Born and Sellsword. Most of the bands, I am really looking forward to checking out.
Going back to keeping your live show as close to the studio recording. You’ve recently released Marco Polo: The Metal Soundtrack. Which songs are you looking forward to playing live the most?
I don’t want to spoil too much; we are going to play a few songs from the new album and fans will recognise them if they have been following the Symphonity journey. There’s going to be slow piano pieces, epic symphonic power metal pieces and extremely high falsetto vocals that are way too hard to sing.
Is there a plan to perform Marco Polo: The Metal Soundtrack as a stage show?
Performing it with an orchestra would be a dream come true, the whole thing with Symphonity is that we are a symphonic, power metal band. So, it would be important if all the orchestral elements are incorporated. When you compose for a digital orchestra, it doesn’t always translate well to the live stage. For example, I know Nightwish have never performed with a live orchestra which is surprising for some but at the same time, it’s not as they have a tightly controlled live show.
On Marco Polo: The Metal Soundtrack, what was the most challenging song to produce?
I don’t know what the other band members would say but, in my opinion, the most fun to play was I Found My Way Back Home. It’s fun to play but it was the most challenging to produce. Partly when I joined the band, Libor [Křivák] had already written a lot of the symphonic parts to the song so trying to create elements that would match his quality, that was a big challenge. Also trying to come up with a keyboard solo trying to fit that exact style was also a challenge because I wanted to make it as perfect as possible.
One of our missions at Rock Out Stand Out is to spread awareness around mental health. There are lots of changes going on at the moment, do you have any personal tips or advice for those who may not be coping with change?
From our band’s perspective, we don’t always eye to eye so it’s important to have patience and tolerance for one another. Also, try to understand each other and communicate as best we can so it doesn’t get lost in translation. I think a big part is also to get out of your political bubble if you have one. It’s not always a problem but it can be a problem if you have a few friends that all think the same and votes for the same as you won’t see other perspectives or the world enough, so you don’t actually get the training when you have those conversations with someone who has a different opinion to you. So I think it’s important to get out there and communicate with other people, you don’t have to be a dick to people on social media because they have a different opinion or because they’re a dick to you. It’s always a challenge but it’s an important exercise too.
Are there any lessons you have learnt about your mental health?
As a musician, it’s very easy to get stuck in that mindset that everything has to be perfect, and everything has to be of the highest quality. It usually results in a big creative block. So, advice to someone else would be, don’t be afraid to release something that isn’t perfect. Most people won’t mind that it’s not perfect, they just want to hear more of your music.
Which five people would you take on a quest with you and what would your quest be?
I’m going to be slightly boring and pick the rest of the guys from Symphonity. They fit the exact number you’re asking for, we have a great time and I can’t wait to play with them again. We have great times. We’re nations apart but we’re great friends.
And your quest will be Power Metal Quest Fest.
Exactly, a quest at the Power Metal Quest Fest.
Which three bands would headline your dream festival?
In terms of British bands, it would be a dream come true to see DragonForce and Power Quest. To add a third band I haven’t seen live yet is Heavenly. That would be great to see that line up.
Do you have a message for fans and anyone going to Power Metal Quest Fest?
We’re going to play songs from the new album and the two previous albums. It’s going to be the best setlist we have ever done. It’s going to be awesome; I can’t wait to have a beer with all of you.
Thank you, Johannes, for talking with Rock Out Stand Out and best of luck with the live show at Power Metal Quest Fest.
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