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WEBCounter by GOWEB    

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   TAD MOROSE
Urban Breed © Håkan Grav Urban Breed
November 2003

http://www.tadmorose.com

Tad Morose have just recently released their 6th regular studio album entitled "Modus Vivendi". Since I'm following the band's carreer for a quite some time now, I was happy to have the chance to do this interview with vocalist Urban Breed.

Urban, before we start talking about the new album I'd like to go back in time a little bit. You guys got to tour in Europe in support of your last album "Matters Of The Dark" together with Demon. Did the tour go well?

I should like to think it did. We may not have filled every venue to the breaking point but the crowds seemed to like what we are all about. Personally I thoroughly enjoyed myself at all times. Except maybe for when my mobile was stolen. Apart from that I must say we had the best of times. Even with heating systems malfunctioning and such. Mostly because everyone on the tour was so great. So here's a great big hello to the Demon and Chinchilla guys!

I attended the gig in Bochum and my recollection of that gig is still quite vivid in some aspects. It was your birthday and you were given a half-naked chick as present on stage during "Corporate Masters". I will never forget that, hehe.

I remember too. I was expecting something a whole lot worse.

You have also been playing single shows in Sweden and Sweden Rock Festival this year...

Yes, how did you know? Seriously, though. Sweden Rock was sort of this years high-light. Strange as it may seem it was my first visit there and I can only say I regret I didn't go there earlier. We stayed for the duration of the festival. Good for me since got to see some favorite acts I've never seen perform live before.

What acts would that be then and what did you like about their shows?

I made absolutely sure I got to see Jethro Tull and to me it was an absolutely brilliant show. ...and Yes, Chris Squire is downright hoppin' mad. That and a brilliant bass-player.

How's the general response been after the release of "Matters Of The Dark"? I suppose Germany or your homecountry are one of the bigger markets for you but looking at the entries in your guestbook and forum there are reactions from fans all over the world, a couple from Brazil actually.

I think it's been most favorable. As always you have fans that will dog-heartedly claim that the older albums are the only albums you will ever need, but I think it went down well. Most people I talk to thought "Matters of the Dark" was a step in the right direction. And as to the demographics, it seems our fan-base is scattered all over the world. I never did check up on the numbers but I think you might be right. Germany and arguably Sweden might very well be where we sell the most albums 'per capita'. I don't know which albums, if any, were released in Brazil but like you said we do hear from them from time to time. I wonder if we might be able to go there some time soon. Would be nice.

While we're at it and for obvious reasons (we're a webzine after all): what are your thoughts about the internet, the positive as well as the negative sides (if you see any)?

Tad Morose © Håkan Grav First of all, the internet is in itself a good thing. Many good things come out of it. Just yesterday I got to talk to someone very special and dear to me that I had lost contact with. That more than makes up for the not so good things. I think that the internet merely reflects the moral and ethics of its users. If you're hinting at, which I believe you do, the file-sharing, our songs and others, I am personally of the opinion that it is not all bad. Seriously, I don't mind people using these tools. However, if it's up to me I recommend you use them pretty much as you would listening in the record store. Sort of, listen before you buy.

I actually didn't intend to hint at anything with this question even though I do see why you were thinking I was. That's where the internet discussion always ends, I should have known that ;) Personally I'm a little tired of the discussion. I see it pretty much like you described it and I still like to believe that the majority of the metal community also does. Maybe I'm naive, I don't know.

Not naive, but we both see why I automatically assumed you wanted that angle. Still the internet is a tool, and as with almost any tool you can either kill with it or use it constructively.

I have another burning question regarding the "Matters Of The Dark" album. I've actually asked Anders about this once but I only got a vague answer and he basically told me to ask you. I'm sure you have been asked this before but what the hell is the deal with the track "New Clear Skies" or "Nuclear Skies"? Not only did it appear spelled differently, to make it even more mysterious the lyrics were not printed in the booklet. Is it really nothing but a pun and the missing lyrics an error or is there something more behind it?

The reason is I thought some might need the extra key for it to be deciphered. The spoken intro is titled "nuclear skies" it's not printed anywhere, but if you look at my original manuscript you'll find it IF you can read it, heh... oh, wait, I think I put it on my website but I'm not sure... Still, if you listen to it you will hear phrases similar or even identical to those in "New Clear Skies". I was asked directly about the meaning of the lyrics in an interview with someone at hard-radio back when "Matters..." was released so if you don't like interpreting the lyrics for yourself you might head over there and have a look. I recommend doing the interpretation for yourself. It's really what you hear that matters. So, why didn't we print these lyrics? I'm sorry to disappoint you, but THAT was all an accident. I think it was a happy one though. I knew it would generate some interest, and some people have been mightily upset about it too. I just love when that happens. I never did ask but I have a theory. They were confused about the title appearing in different versions so they made the layout without it in wait for a confirmation, and then simply forgot to add it to the booklet.

Hehe, nice theory. Are you aware that in the end we can blame you for the missing lyrics? You caused the confusion after all ;)

...and to make things absolutely clear, the spoken intro I was talking about is on Undead. :)

Ok, on to present happenings. First of all congrats on the new album "Modus Vivendi", definitely yet another strong album. What are your thoughts about the album and how would you compare it to Tad Morose's previous albums?

Tad Morose © Håkan Grav Thanks. I think this is our finest to date. It's so good, in fact, that when I went back to the album to decide which songs I would like to include the setlist. I wanted to do all of them. That's never happened before. When I compare this to the earlier albums it sounds like I'm repeating myself from the last comparison between Undead and Matters. But I do feel that the songs are more to the point. The album as a whole is slightly faster It has a better mix between different types of songs. Some people say that they feel we brought back some of the finest elements from "Leaving the Past Behind" and "A Mended Rhyme". I'm not sure, particularily since they normally don't tell me exactly what those parts are. It might be true, or it might not. I can tell you this, we did not go looking back when we did this album and I think most people will agree with me if I say that this is the natural successor to "Matters of the Dark". This, I think, is one of our strengths. We do not go looking for a completely different way to do things. That seems a very unnatural way to do it. It might be fun, but it's not really what I expect us to do in the future either.

Hm, I can't say I've found any parts that particularly reminded me of "Leaving The Past Behind" either. "A Mended Rhyme" might be another thing. To me it's pretty much the hybrid of "old" and "new" Tad Morose if you allow me to divide the band's career into these two categories. It still features the keyboards to some extend and you made your first appearance with Tad Morose on this album. Would you agree that this album sort of paved the way for the sound that Tad Morose stands for today?

I agree as to the fact that it was, at least, the first step on the way...

And could it be you had a huge impact on the -let me for simple reasons call it- "new" sound?

That sounds plausible. My singing is different from Krille's and that in itself makes for an alteration of sound. It might also be that even though my initial plan was to take sit back and not engage too much in the writing for that album I quickly realized that wouldn't be possible so I wrote whole chunks of that album, in fact when it comes to the title-track including the guitar solo it was all by my pen. So, I guess you are right...

What's the process of songwriting like? Is everybody doing their part at home and you try to put it together later on or do all of you work together in the rehearsal room? And what comes first: music or lyrics?

Most of the material has been written by Daniel and myself. We both work at the computer and when the songs reaches completion or near completion we swap files and edit/add to each others work. Naturally, when the initial idea/song is written by Daniel the lyrics come in second, and then always after I've come up with a concept and the melodies and harmonizations are planned. In contrast the songs I initiate are more often than not built with the lyrics and the melody created simultaneously based on whatever concept I have in mind at the time and then I build from there. I only add guitars once I have everything else in place. Might be because it would slow down the process. I'm a terrible guitar player. Then we try the arrangements in the rehearsal room. It's a good thing to do because it can sometimes save you. Then we always have the odd song that's composed in the rehearsal room.

How often do you guys rehearse then usually?

It varies, right now it's sort of like 2 days in the week.

I'm particularly impressed by the choirs. I saw you once again have Stefan Zell from Wolverine singing backing vocals but you don't have as many guest backing vocalists listed as on the previous album. How come you got Stefan to do it again? And was it really only you and Stefan doing the choirs or are there some more hidden vocal talents in Tad Morose as well?

I asked some others as well, like Charles Rytkönen and Daniel Jonsson, but they were both unavailable. Daniel in particular, he was just about to get an addition to his family. However, Stefan was my first choice since he's a good friend of mine even though we haven't known each other for that long. If I remember correctly we first met at the Undead sessions. Also I think our voices blend nicely together. Yes, Stefan and I are the only contributors to the album. I think it's a shame since I know that Peter, with a little disciplin added, could even perform lead duties if he wanted to. Anders should do some work to, he does all the nice vocal fx-screams live. Great!!! Daniel could be considered an excellent carrier for the harmony vocals but there seems to be no way I can make them do this in the studio. Too bad. Christer? Heh, he thinks singing makes you a poser. Nah, he has this policy to do as little singing as possible.

At least you got Peter to take over Charles' parts in "Matters Of The Dark" live :)

He won't admit to it but I think he loves doing it too.

How much time did you spend in the studio recording? Considering you were recording in your hometown I guess you had plenty of time and were probably recording it piece-by-piece whenever you had time for it? I remember you originally wanted to try out a different studio and didn't want to produce the album yourselves though.

Tad Morose © Håkan Grav We spent three weeks recording the album. That's even less than the recordings for "Matters...". The studio is situated in the same building as our rehearsal room but that does not mean we get to come and go pretty much as we please. No, Per is normally a very busy man. We have to let him know in advance when and for how long. Even so he has been very supportive. He's been more than helpful, to the point where he has actually asked people to rescheduel so we could have their studio time. The only thing we did save a lot of time, and vocal chords, on was that all the backing vocals were recorded at my place. That's right we didn't want to produce it ourselves but a talented producer does not come cheap.

And it was mixed in the famous "Studio Fredman" in Göteborg....

Yes, what can I say. Fredrik is a madman. I don't mind doing it again.

I find the title "Modus Vivendi" a little odd. How did you get the idea for that title? I remember the first working title being "Life In A Lonely Grave" (which still sounds very much like a Sentenced title to me ;)), so I suppose for some reason you reconsidered the title during the work on the album.

Not really, we never thought we would use it for a title. I guess Christer when asked had a quick look through the songs and found only he thought sounded like an album title. Not a bad one but it wouldn't be representative for either the band or the album whereas "Modus Vivendi" covers both positions. Modus Vivendi, literally, way of life, representing metal as a life style/philosophy and Modus vivendi as an expression you can use when you come to a situation where you have to work together toward a common goal even though you are of opposite or very differing opinions. Sort of, we agree to disagree. That is very representative for Tad Morose. When it comes to the creative process, writing for the album, recording , picking songs, mixing, you name it. It's not easy because it would seem we don't agree on anything. To the extent that during the Undead session there were rumours about me smashing up a mixing-console. Naturally, that never happened, heh...

Of course not ;) Still wondering where these rumours came from then. There's often a little truth in rumours I think, hehe.

Who told you about the fx-rack? :)

Err....ok, haha ;) Anyway, I can imagine it's not always easy to find a common way with five different people in the band. Each of them has a different personality and sees things differently..........I wouldn't want to be in a band ;)

It's not always easy to be a solo-artist either I think.

Tell us a little about the lyrics. Where do you get the ideas from? Would you like to comment on a few lyrics in particular?

Where do I begin? Well, I get my ideas from everyday life, lots of it from fiction, news and even computer-games. What do you want to know? Personally I enjoy interpreting lyrics all for myself so I'm inclined to believe others do too, but so many people ask me what they're really about that I'm beginning to think I'm wrong. If I pick only one song to comment on it would be my personal favourite. It's got a particular brand of lyrics I've never done before. You know, we're the metal movement, lets fly our banners high. Comquer the world once again...

Since you mentioned fiction: what kind of stuff do you usually prefer to read? Any favourite authors?

I don't think I have a favourite genre of some sort. Favourite authors? Several. Ken Follet, Anne Rice, James Herbert, just finished reading one, and so many others. I'm just about to check up on Terry Pratchett and the discworld series...

The artwork was once again done by Jan Meininghaus. Did you tell him what you wanted for the artwork or did he have free hands?

A bit of both, we supplied him with the music, the lyrics, the title, and an explanation as to what we meant by it and he produced some drafts with comments for us to pick from.

Modus Vivendi How's the cover painting connected to the content of the album?

The album cover is somewhat broader in its scope than the title. It represents the fact that we as a band have several decisions to make and as you can see the choice is biased towards the main doors it represents that we are a democratic band. We let the majority decide, for both good and evil. Following the majority can sometimes be a dangerous path but pretty much any choice you make has potential dangers To symbolize this Jan shaped the portals in the likeness of "Jaws". And to accentuate that the choice is not always clear he placed the Angel on the dark side and the reaper on the bright side of the cover. There are more things like this but let's not spoil things for those that like me like the detective work.

That was already pretty interesting. To be honest, I'm not that good at this kind of "detective work" how you call it. If you like "discovering" album artwork yourself you must be very disappointed with the small format compact discs only provide.

True, I always felt that the old format was better. Not for storage purposes but for all artistic purposes.

What's your favourite track off "Modus Vivendi" and why?

My favourite is without a doubt "Take on the World". It's probably got something to do with the arrangement and the different type of drive this song has to it. Or maybe it's just that I originally had this one slated for my solo album. I think I sing it fairly well too... So far it seems I'm the only one, not counting band members or very close friends, to pick this as a favourite track.

Now that the album is released the next logical step would be touring. Any plans in regard of a tour at this point?

Yes, it's the ever dragging, slow in the start, pleeeeease do happen Swedish tour with Lefay and Nocturnal Rites to begin with, then we're hoping to hook up with a decent tour as a supporting act. This goes for Europe as well as the US. The European tour would be priority number one since the US release won't happen until February 10:th.

I have heard rumours about Tad Morose and Lefay planning to tour together and I must say it would be a dream coming true for me to see that happening again.

Yes, that's true, it's a tour in the making with the same difficulties as always when it comes to Sweden.

So what makes arranging a tour in Sweden so difficult? Or at least more difficult than in other Eurpean countries?

I guess it's just that no matter where you go, people are always more interested in foreign acts. Still, it's not impossible, it's not that...

I've seen you guys on the road together back in 1995 (in slightly different line-up though, but still).

I wasn't in the band at the time but I hear they had a good time back then too.

I heard "Modus Vivendi" will also be released in Japan. Maybe you even get to play a few dates there, who knows!?

That's what we're hoping for, yes...

Is Bollnäs still a breeding town for metal? I've been to Bollnäs once briefly on a sunday afternoon. It's been very silent on the street but the few people I saw were mostly longhaired guys, I'm not kidding! Perhaps just coincidence, but certainly a cool one ;)

Not so much of a coincidence. There's a reason why Bollnäs Metal Rules! It's simply because it does.

Do any of you guys have any side projects? The only thing I'm aware of is Sefer Jezirah, basically a band consisting of members of Bollnäs' finest, Tad Morose and (former-Morgana) Lefay. I am dying to hear some of that stuff!!

They haven't recorded anything yet, but they keep saying they will, so hang in there. Other than that I'm not sure, I'm writing for a solo-project. Have done some recordings already, but as it it Tad Morose does take up most of the time right now. It'll happen when it happens. Give it another month though and I'll bet you'll find at least one track on my website.

Tad Morose © Håkan Grav I didn't know you were planning a solo-project. Any more details you can reveal yet? Who's going to play with you, what kind of style will it be?

Not too many details. I will probably use Daniel on guitar, and the rest will be hired help. It will be similar to Tad Morose, but with a wider scope. A few extra keyboard parts. As soon as there are any news about it at all you can find it on http://www.urbanbreed.net

You guys have also recorded a couple of cover versions over the years. ABBA's "Knowing Me, Knowing You", Accept's "Losing More Than You've Ever Had", Savatage's "Power Of The Night" and not all too long ago Manowar's "Hail & Kill" for a Manowar tribute album. This is actually the only song of these four I haven't heard so far and when I read you did this cover version I was like "oh my dog......why did they do THAT??" Don't tell me you're Manowar fans!?

The Manowar cover never happened. I dug down my heels firmly in the ground and refused to take another step. It was not a whole hearted undertaking in other words. We had someone very anxious to do it, another one totally indifferent to the project, and another two opposed to it and unortunately there was no time to discuss it when we were asked and the positive guy was the one picking up the phone. Too bad word got out already.

I suppose you're not giving away the name of the anxious guy? *grin* Fair enough. But let me add that I think it's good you didn't do it. The world would not have stopped turning but I guess there are other bands that are more worth to be covered or even paid tribute to (hate mail from Manowar-fans to my address ;))
So, what kind of stuff have you been listening to lately?


Yes.

Huh? Haha, I see, you mean the band Yes. I didn't figure it out immediately.
So, famous last words?


This album it definitely worth the effort! If you're into metal, do yourself a favour and check it out. Oh, and by the way, if you're a talented computer-animation artist and feel like making a video, contact me at video@urbanbreed.net

Thanks for the interview, Urban. And I hope to see you all on tour soon!!! :)


submitted by Cora 03.12.2003

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