We’re in a quiet, empty café underneath a Brisbane hotel, sitting across from Frank Carter …
Sometimes, we go through times that defy words. We need another language, another way to express the intensity of our feelings, the trials, the bittersweet joys and hard-earned triumphs of life.
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To find a way to ask the big questions about existence and its hereafter. For Swedish band Avatarium, music is the perfect manifestation for all that we seek to express. With their fourth studio album The Fire I Long For, the waters run deep for Avatarium, and the result is a profoundly dark, beautiful and richly empowering offering.
“I think it’s important to me to try to get these emotions out,” says guitarist and producer Marcus Jidell, “sometimes you feel something but you can’t put words to it, so music is a good way to deal with these kinds of emotions that are hard to describe in words. So for me it’s been more and more important to do this. One way for me to do this is of course to write more music … it’s not enough to just arrange and produce, for me to be able to feel these emotions. Writing gives so much more, and it takes so much more, and challenges you so much more, you also need to be able to confront things, I have to give stuff out, it’s more of a challenge, but also more important.”
To me it’s always important to be honest with both dark feelings and bright feelings in life. In Avatarium, we have got the dark thing, and the sun coming through the clouds, we want to bring the light. There is a lot of dark stuff as well.
[ Marcus Jidell ]
There are definitely musical moments on The Fire I Long For that scream of emotional expression, such as the powerful extended solo on the title track. “I think for me playing guitar is the same thing,” Jidell agrees, “I’m trying to express things I can’t put words on, some music and some notes move me, so to me to work on a solo like that I need to be totally honest, forget about all the technical aspects and try to do something that I can connect to and moves me. So it’s the procedure with such a solo is just some days, I am in contact with some kind of other spirit and it happens, some days it doesn’t, and that day it did [laughs]. It’s a bit like meditation, you open your mind and try to just be in contact with something that is bigger than you. I am very interested in the human mind and how the brain works, because everybody knows we only use a small part of our brain. Sometimes in music it feels like we open up parts of our brain that we don’t use otherwise. I can’t explain what is happening, that is one of the reasons I like to work with music and why it’s important, and life changing for me.”
The Fire I Long For certainly is an album seething with passion, with indeed more of a blues focus than Avatarium’s previous album, Hurricanes and Halos. On the soulful turn, Jidell says, “That was one of the things we wanted to implement, the blues and folk and also like gospel vibes. I’m a big blues fan, for me as a musician it’s important to implement these elements in my music because it is so much of who I am as a person, so its kind of a logical thing for us to move in this direction. Also one thing that I always wanted to do was bring in some kind of gospel, like the old gospel church music vibe, maybe not like the ‘happy happy’ gospel but more the dark gospel music, the afterlife and stuff, not in a generic Christian way for us, but talk about life and afterlife and how what you do in life, how that will affect the life you live now and might affect if there is an afterlife, I don’t know about that, but these issues also both lyrical wise and music wise, we want to bring that in. You can hear some gospel vibes if you listen closely, but in our own way. Always in our own way. We have our sound, our way of writing and recording music, and we have our way.”
Avatarium grew from a collaboration between Jidell and Candlemass’ Leif Edling, and as Jidell explains, the doom influences remain strong for him. “Working with doom,” he says, “we called it doom the style that we worked with, it’s a very good thing for me, because it’s very open, you can get all your emotions out. The aggressive stuff, the dark stuff, it’s like therapy sometimes, dealing with your inner demons, and put them out there and you look at them, and sometimes when you do that you’re able to maybe learn to deal with them. To me it’s always important to be honest with both dark feelings and bright feelings in life. In Avatarium, we have got the dark thing, and the sun coming through the clouds, we want to bring the light. There is a lot of dark stuff as well.”