Swedish metal band Scar Symmetry have just released their latest album ‘Dark Matter Dimension’s and we caught up with drummer Henrik Ohlsson to find out what he’s been up to.
Could you please state your name and role in the band?
My name is Henrik Ohlsson. I beat inanimate objects and unveil strange secrets…in other words I play drums and write lyrics in Scar Symmetry.
Scar Symmetry has recently released Dark Matter Dimensions, which marks your fourth studio release in almost as many years. How do you go about writing and releasing quality songs in such a quick manner?
We just do it. It`s not something that we think about that much, we`ve never had problems coming up with material in this band. Jonas writes songs every now and then during a year and Per can write like five songs within two weeks. Jonas usually has around twelve songs when it`s time for us to record an album, so we tend to choose about seven of his tracks and then add Per`s songs. After that Per and Jonas creates the vocal lines and I write lyrics according to those vocal-rhythms and melodies. It`s a quick process and it comes naturally.
Many would have pinned previous vocalist Älvestam as the linchpin of Scar Symmetry. Did you initially try and find one frontman before finding two?
We had been thinking about using two vocalists for a long time, even before we asked Christian to leave the band. The reason was simply that it tends to be too much work to be a single vocalist in Scar Symmetry, especially in a live-situation. So we wanted two guys to take care of the vocals but we also auditioned single singers. But when Roberth and Lars came to the studio it was quite clear that they were the right guys for the job because they have awesome voices and personalities. We clicked with them on every level.
Dark Matter Dimensions has some interesting, SCI FI related song titles. Do these names tie in with the album or just sound cool haha?
They tie in with the album AND they sound cool, how about that? I put a lot of work into the lyrics to make them as good as possible so I would never use titles and lyrics without substance. It`s not really sci-fi either, the lyrics are related to new science, alternative science and also occult principles and philosophies that has been around for a long, long time.
A vast majority of the songs seem to be vocal driven. Do you write songs in an unorthodox manner focussing on how certain melodies would sound or play with riffs and incorporate the vocal lines last?
The riffs are created first but there might be an idea for a vocal line when the riff is being put together. In that case the creation of the riff and vocal line goes hand in hand. But I think for the most part the music is created first and the vocal-arrangements comes in when the music has been put together.
The album was once again produced by guitarist Jonas Kjellgren. Is it easier having high class recording equipment at hand or is it slightly overpowering having one band member has most of the control as to how songs will sound?
Per Nilsson co-produced this album with Jonas Kjellgren, so this was the first time both of our guitarists collaborated in producing an album. Jonas produced all the previous albums on his own. But I think that there are only positive things to say about having a band-members produce our albums, they really care about the outcome and we can be really relaxed during the recording-process. We trust Jonas abilities as a producer and it feels like if someone should be in control of the sound of the songs- it should be him. If you know what I mean. But everyone in the band has the right to step in with suggestions when it comes to the production. Most of the time it isn`t needed though.
I can only imagine how massive the scene for Melodic Death must be in Europe, but how does the crowd response go in North America and the US?
We have a lot of American fans, we get mails and messages from them all the time. And when we tour over there we always get a good response. I think that the American fans are just as passionate and supportive as the European fans. Scar Symmetry has always done well over there.
Also, how different are the fans in each country? I’ve heard the American fans can come across as a bit snobby and elitist.
The fans are pretty much the same everywhere, they`re really into the music and they support our band and what we try to do musically. The cultures are different but you only notice that during day-time, in the "ordinary world", when you visit a country. Once you`re in the venue everything is pretty much the same, everyone is focused on the music and the love for the art. Snobs and elitist are present everywhere, but they`re few. Generally we only meet cool people when we`re out touring, we don`t care about the minority that has attitude-problems!
Scar Symmetry seems to have a unique sound amongst the Melodic Death scene. Where would you say you draw your influences from?
We have a wide spectrum of influences, everything from death metal to heavy metal to progressive metal and even non-metal stuff. We use everything that we like and we don`t care about genres because anything we use ends up sounding like Scar Symmetry anyway. We have everything from fast death metal-songs to almost pop-sounding songs, in a metal kind-of-way of course, and that`s what makes our music diverse and interesting.
Dream tour to be on?
Touring with any of the old 80`s giants would be awesome. Just imagine being on tour with Judas Priest, KISS or some huge act like that! Awesome.
Worst aspects of being on the road?
Ehm, I don`t know. I like almost every aspect of it. I guess being away from my family for a long time makes me a bit melancholic at times. But alcohol is a good cure for that. Ha ha.
Most memorable tour thus far in your career?
The first US-tour was really special. That was a dream come true! I love being in the States and the first time was magical. We shared the bus with Dark Tranquillity on that US-tour back in 2007 and we had a blast from start to finish.
Any exciting new bands coming out of your area you have heard recently?
FKU, they`ve been around for a long time but they`re worth mentioning. Terminal Function and Loch Vostok, great prog metal bands. Propane Headrush is a great band from my area. There are loads of bands but those are the ones I come to think of spontaneously.
Can we expect a Scar Symmetry tour in Australia soon?
Hopefully. We`ve planned to go there for the last couple of years or so but for some reason it hasn`t happened yet. But we`ll come there eventually, that`s pretty much all I can say without lying. As soon as we get an offer that actually happens we`ll come to Australia!
What lies in store for Scar Symmetry in 2010?
We`ll record another video around New Year`s Eve, our third video for this album, and then we`ll tour Sweden and Finland in the beginning of the year with Hypocrisy. Then we`ll do a US-tour in the beginning of the summer, Hypocrisy will join us on that one too. We`ll probably do another tour after that in support of "Dark Matter Dimensions" and then we`ll start recording a new album.
Thanks for your time, any final words or messages for your Australian fans?
On behalf of Scar Symmetry I want to thank each and every Australian Scar Symmetry-fan out there, your support is VERY appreciated! Hope to see you in the future and keep it metal! Cheers!
Scar Symmetry’s latest abum ‘Dark Matter Dimension’s‘ is out now via Riot. You can find out more info on the band here.