Evergrey vocalist Tom S. Englund was the final guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show following the release of A Heartless Portrait: Orphean’s Testamentthe band’s second album in as many years and 13th overall.
To help develop the concepts for the record, the band cut several music videos that followed a long story arc, which Englund enjoyed being able to direct.
While the pandemic was challenging everyone, the singer found a silver lining by having unprecedented free time and finding ways to keep his brain engaged through different creative pursuits.
Read the full interview below.
Bands releasing two albums in just over a year have been commonplace for decades. What did you enjoy the most in A heartless portrait unite quickly enough?
Having all the time I needed to write was something we never had for quite a while. The pandemic sucked, but, for us writers and creatives, we couldn’t have asked for more than that. We took the opportunity to really use our time.
The music videos for “Save Us” and “Midwinter Calls” are episodes from a three-part storyline. How does an elaborate visual component help give the songs and the album as a whole a much bigger impact?
It’s just fun to do something outside of music. Since we have such a good team (Patric Ullaeus and rEVOLVER Film) working with the visuals, we like to develop our audio ideas and put them into visual ideas.
For this video trilogy, we wrote a script after the album ended to make it sassy and cool. It also features our acting debut, but I don’t know how seriously you should take that.
Evergrey, “Midwinter Calls”
Evergrey songs tend to observe human nature, especially in the context of society. How does telling the ills of humanity really give people hope?
I don’t know if that’s the case. I’m just trying to tell a story – my story – and how I see myself in a world where I don’t feel like I belong or I’ve never felt like I belong so much.
Lately, the world has become more vile, hostile and brutal.
We released our first single “Save Us” the same day Russia entered Ukraine. This kind of just proved the point. I think we need to reset and go back to our human moral values and see what they are. That’s my main goal for this album.
Evergrey, “Save Us” Music Video
In addition to Evergrey’s new album, a Silent Skies album was also released earlier this year. Why is a constant state of creativity necessary for your personal well-being?
I’m glad you see it that way. My ADHD brain needs stimulation all the time. I also think I’ve discovered something during this pandemic – the more I use my brain, the bigger this type of area in my brain gets. The more I write, the more creative I become in one way and vice versa. It’s just something I need to do to feel stimulated.
Silent Sky, “Leaving”
When Evergrey hits the road again this year, you’ll actually be supporting two albums. How will the dynamic of the shows change with so much new music to play?
We have a problem [to contend with] with that. It’s our 13th album, but we have [amassed] our biggest fanbase of the last five albums. So 70% of our fans are people who arrived from 2014. We have to base our set on the last four to five albums. We’ve been around for nearly 30 years, so it’s impossible to play it all.
Thanks to Tom S. Englund for the interview. Get your copy of Evergrey’s “A Heartless Portrait: The Orphean Testament” here and follow the group on Facebook, Twitter, instagram and Spotify. Find out where you can listen to Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio show here.
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