Party In The Paddock. Ricky Ponting. Cascade beers. The humble Apple Isle has gifted us …
Somewhere in the midst of a Soilwork tour in 2006, a concept was born. Björn ‘Speed’ Strid and David Andersson sought to reignite their passion for the lively worlds created by the cinematic scores of decades gone by…and so The Night Flight Orchestra came to be.
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Since its debut release in 2012, The Night Flight Orchestra has grown into a Swedish Grammy-nominated band that has captivated audiences in a whirlwind of retro-inspired musical escapism. Indeed, defining the NFO is part of the fun, as Strid chimes in…
“Well I think we’re sort of hijacking a whole era and made it into our own, we’re talking late ‘70s, early ‘80s and very often sort of inspired by film music, like soundtracks, I think that’s a good way of describing the band, super-melodic and dreamy, and we are more focussed on the early ‘80s sounds … I assume you could call it some kind of ‘film rock’, or ‘classic rock’ but [laughs] really hard to describe I think, that’s something that I’ve noticed.”
Now, with 2018’s forthcoming album Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough, the NFO again transport its listeners back through the mists of time to indulge in hedonistic early ‘80s sonic maximalism. So, we’re ready to suspend reality…where are we going, and how?
“The music is dreamy, and there’s a lot of esotericism running through the lyrics and music. With these two albums [2017’s Amber Galactic and 2018’s Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough] the setting is really ‘space’, you know, we’re really taking personal experiences and put them in a different setting, relationship dramas and journeys and road trips and all kinds of stories that are sort behind the lyrical themes and musical themes, these two albums definitely sort of connect in this sense. It’s a soundtrack of feeling and emotion more than anything, and I think that’s something that we want people to feel as well sort of being in motion and going somewhere.”
Hold up… personal experiences? Relationship dramas? The NFO is renowned for bringing the good times through its dance-floor-bait style of upbeat tracks, but I am curious about Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough…it does appear to have a more diverse emotional range, even some moments of melancholy. Strid ponders this one…
“It’s interesting you mention that point, and you’re the first one to bring this up. I think it has that sort of Swedish ABBA-esque sentimentality to it, that sort of melancholic feel to it. ABBA songs, they are uplifting, and even the ones that were sort of sad, were still uplifting. So I think that might have had an impact on this album as well, ABBA is a huge band for us, and for so many people obviously, I think also has to do with our backup singers, the ‘Airline Annas’, they’re also performing on some of the tracks on the album a bit, gives a kind of ABBA flair to it, a bit sentimental and melancholic, so that’s interesting you point that out.”
It’s a soundtrack of feeling and emotion more than anything, and I think that’s something that we want people to feel as well sort of being in motion and going somewhere.
Well, invoking sentimental ambience of early ‘80s pop-rock-TV-score may be a bittersweet journey down memory lane for some. Like a master provocateur, Strid revels in the idea of pulling people out of their emotional comfort zone.
“I mean, there’s so much love and passion behind it, it might be sort of provocative for people, especially coming from the metal world, the general reaction is people saying ‘thank you so much for starting this band, I didn’t even know I missed this music,'” he laughs. “It’s bound up with extremely over-the-top emotion running through the melodies and really speaks to you and its really genuine, there’s a lot of thought behind it, I think it comes out in a very natural way, because there’s so much knowledge behind it, and its not just a vanity project for a bunch of metal guys who want to be a bit provocative, like ‘lets put a band together, 70s/80s style rock’, you know, that would have been very easy to do, so I guess it becomes a bit provocative to people who have a hard time admitting they like it, like ‘no, I’m not supposed to like this…but I do’…if that makes sense. We are striking a nerve, that’s what’s so cool about it.”
Quite apparently, the NFO is remarkably different from anything pursued by its members in the heavy metal world. Strid is certain, however, that these two musical spheres speak to each other, in a balancing sense.
“I think my sense of melody sort of crosses over between the bands but other than that its totally different expressions. But also, we needed to do that long journey in the metal world to be able to do this, as a vocalist I needed a strong voice. Being in a metal band is something I’ve enjoyed, and still do, but I think this is something that has been burning inside and waiting to come out, and I feel way more balanced, and now it’s a perfect scenario where I don’t have to channel all my influences into one band because that was really hard, especially being a musical chameleon, so I think that’s why the NFO. Things are way more balanced, and becoming way more darker and melancholic and even more extreme [in his metal music] every since we started Night Flight. Without sounding too pretentious, it’s a yin-yang situation.”