INTERVIEW: Swedish Prog Supergroup SOEN

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

We’ve been okay! Trying to stay positive with how crazy the world is right now. But we’re excited to have a new album to unearth to the world, that’s keeping our spirits up.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Monarch”?

Monarch touches on what society expects out of a man, and how these expectations essentially turn these men into monsters. Feeling like you can’t show any weakness, or emotion is not healthy for any human. The result is unbalanced men who may resort to violence instead of just feeling comfortable being vulnerable. Being vulnerable and being a strong man aren’t mutually exclusive.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

Not one event in particular. It’s more the fabric of society that has this deep rooted idea of what a man should be that I think we all grew up with as well. You see the monsters these ideals produce, whether it be through their violence, their abuse, their exploitation, or what they do when they come into power.

How was the filming process and experience behind the video?

It was definitely interesting! Because of covid we had to do a lot of things remotely and send it to the videographer. We decided that we wanted to make this video as great as possible so we rented the python. Joel basically did all those shots on his own. We were curious to see how he’d do with a massive snake around his neck and it turned out great. Overall, given the difficulty of getting creative projects done and being so far from each other we were really happy with how the video turned out.

The single comes off your new album Imperial – what’s the story behind the title?

The literal definition of Imperial means “relating to an Empire.” I think the album narrows in on the sort of “empires” present in the world today. We put them under the microscope and see the injustice, the corruption, the greed, and most importantly the resilience of the people who are suffering.

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing was done at the end of the Lotus tours in 2019. Recording began early in 2020 and then the plan was to continue recording in between a busy touring schedule. Then covid hit and we had to cancel everything and get home to our counties/families. The silver lining about it all was that it gave us a lot more time to focus on recording the record. I think going into 2020 we were a bit stressed with trying to figure out how we were going to find the time to track everything. So although some of us were far apart and that is by no means ideal, we were fortunate to have lots of time to get everything right.

With all of you guys coming off these pretty huge bands within your scene – was this band and record meant to be a complete departure from your previous work or rather a continuation?

Both a departure and a continuation! A continuation in a sense that it still has all the elements that make Soen what it is, but a departure in terms of its evolution. It’s always important for all your albums to have a sense of individuality and I think Imperial definitely has a sort of character and feel that is different from Lotus. This one is far more powerful and driving.

With great reception your music was getting as you were putting this new material – did any of you feel any pressure while working on the new songs?

Not really. At the end of the day we’re just writing music that we want to play and that we’re passionate about. The fact that people like it is just a massive bonus. But I think when you stay true to yourselves and write the stuff that means something people are going to feel that and latch onto it.

What role does Sweden play in your music?

Sweden is simply the home-base of the band. Martin, Joel and Lars live there. So when it’s time to rehearse (and usually record) everybody is in Sweden and we get down to business! 

What were some of the emotions you guys got to explore with this album?

Triumph is the first word that comes to mind. I think when you analyze the state of the world there are a large amount of emotions that come with it. Anger, sadness, passion, deep understanding.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

The newspaper. The dire headlines. Watching history repeat itself. Seeing the struggles of many. The “real world stuff” if you will. I think Lotus was a bit more personal in it’s lyrical themes. Imperial is more of an album for/about the people.

What else is happening next in Soen’s world?

We’re currently just getting excited about having a new record out there. It’s definitely a time you live for as an artist – seeing your hard work manifest into something real. On the other hand we’re starting to get our live arrangements of the songs in order. We’re really not sure how this year is going to unfold. But when it’s time to hit the stage again we’ll be ready!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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