The Winter Ward - out 23rd January
The Nordic winter changes people in different ways. During the darkest months of the year we tend to isolate ourselves. We lock the door, takes a deep breath and dream of a warm spring, of a time when we will be living our lives as we should be living them again. Some of us damn our disability to leave this part of the world behind and end up feeling sorry for ourselves. But there is a different side to the involuntary isolation of the dark and cold winter.
– When the bitterness has faded out, a calm emerges. You get time to reflect, process and get things done. There is something positive about being locked up by snow and coldness. It is a kind of involuntary isolation that you love to hate but in the end it does something good and helps you appreciate the rest of the year so much more, says Peder Bergstrand from Stockholm-based I Are Droid, who actually wrote a big part of the album during the winter.
Together with bass player Jens Lagergren and drummer Fredrik Okazaki Bergström Peder have recorded a collection of grand and bittersweet songs that capture the well-known Swedish melancholy. The songs manage to be both sad and uplifting at the same time and will work as good in a sweaty club as in the biggest arenas. The first recordings for the album took place as early as in 2009.
– This album is so much more “finished” than our debut. Sure, it has taken some time, but I think it was necessary. The songs have become so much stronger when given this much time to mature. We have really done the best we could, says Peder Bergstrand.
Another instrumental reason for the amazing outcome is producer Daniel Bergstrand (In Flames, Meshuggah). He has a big part in making “The Winter Ward” sound as fantastic as it does. The prestigious producer in Uppsala even managed to loosen up the well-known control freak Peder Bergstrand.
– Daniel is so amazing at what he does and he really gave the album everything he got. I could call him at four in the morning and he would be in the middle of mixing one of the songs. He fully understands where we come from and where we are heading, he knew that we did not want to do an album that sounded like the last one, Peder Bergstrand explains.
Would it not be nice if we could be slightly more grateful towards the Nordic winter? Without it we might never have been given the chance to hear outstanding songs like ”Given is given (part 1)” or ”Constrict/Contract” and the world would definitely be a colder place.
Better light therapy than “The Winter Ward” does not exist this long and cold winter.
The Winter Ward out January 23rd, 2013. More info here.
About I Are Debut
Maybe you've already heard "Time on time" on the radio or seen the video on MTV or Youtube. It's the first single off I ARE DROID's debut album, "I ARE DEBUT". The first time you heard it you probably stopped for a second and reacted to the sound. You thought, 'This sounds big. Huge. Ferocious. And still it makes me feel... mellow?' You thought It's like being run over by a freight train made of cotton candy.
Or maybe you just thought it was a killer track. Ten repeats later and you realize that this is a track that just gets bigger by every listen.
It all started 3 years ago:
"My old band Lowrider faded out into nonexistence, but I kept on writing music, without any definite end purpose or goal - the only thing I know was that I wanted to do something different." says Peder Bergstrand, I ARE DROID's guitarist, singer and song writer.
A late winter's night after a show in the outskirts of Stockholm, Peder ran into an old childhood friend, drummer Fredrik Bergström. "We hadn't seen each other in ages, like 6 years or something. But after a minute we were right back where we left off. It was just one of those things, you know?" smiles Peder.
Pretty soon the two realized they should be making music together. There was only a tiny catch: Fredrik was moving to Tokyo.
- We started sending ideas for songs back and forth from Stockholm to Tokyo. It was like that type of juvenile, naive teenage thing like when you where a kid and you met a girl on your vacation. It's like "We're gonna make it, I'll write you every day! I'll come visit you in six months!" laughs Peder.
Except this time it actually happened. Peder went to Tokyo and the two-piece started rehearsing. And when Razzia Records heard what they were up to and wanted to sign the unit, Fredrik decided to move back to Stockholm so they could pursue I ARE DROID full on. When Konie Ehrencrona (Konie, Don't Be A Stranger) joined on guitars and vintage synthesizers and bassist Jens Lagergren (Thunder Express, Hello Saferide) became member no 4, I ARE DROID was complete.
- It's heavy and direct, but at the same time light and soaring. The songs balance in that undefinable zone of melancholy between major and minor key... it's a Swedish thing they say, chuckles Peder.
The album was recorded in Decibel Studios and Studio Cobra in their hometown of Stockholm. It was a long process, finalized by I ARE DROID mixing the album themselves to get just the sound they sought.
- We've recorded, produced and mixed the album ourselves, plus we do our own record covers and music videos. We like to keep it in the family, y'know? If you want it done right - do it yourself, smiles Peder.
Peder Bergstrand works as a graphic designer and director on the side of I ARE DROID, and have directed promos for Turbonegro, Timo Räisänen and Hello Saferide and sleeves for numerous swedish and international acts. That means graphics and the overall look is a big issue for I ARE DROID. It comes across on a big scale when I ARE DROID are playing live, backed up by a live visuals show.
- We've been working in the club scene for the past couple of years as DJs and VJs, and have seen what a VJ set (visuals set) can do for the total live experience. In a club VJs and visuals are a natural part of the experience, and that's something we want to incorporate in our live show.
When I ARE DROID played live in Tokyo at the ultra hip Le Baron de Paris, they did so with a VJ set of custom made animations and graphics.
- So, expect big sounds and big visuals from the live sets to come, says Peder.
- Right now, after being locked into Konie's Studio Cobra for 6 months finishing the album, we can't wait to play the songs live. That's what we're all about, finishes Fredrik Bergström.
More info here.
Check out In Flames' website for more information.