Regarding the new amazing album Leprous released this year, and since they had two live shows in Greece, I thought it would be awesome, at least, to have an interview with Einar Solberg and discuss a lot of things about “The Congregation” and Leprous in general. What a prog moment in time!
On behalf of JustIn Case Prog Radio, I would like to welcome you in Thessaloniki.
ES: Thank you very much!
It’s your third time in Greece and your first time as a headliner. Yesterday you played in Athens. How do you feel?
ES: So far the response has been overwhelming and considering it’s our first headliner show in Greece I’m very satisfied that we had, yesterday, a more or less sold out show and very good feedback from the audience. It’s really awesome to be back here again.
Moving on to your new album, “The Congregation” I would like to congratulate you on it. I think it’s been very well accepted by the audience. It seems to be the darkest album you have released so far. What inspired you to write such a dark album, both musically and lyrically? What were your feelings?
ES: Firstly, let’s just say that regardless of how I feel, I always prefer dark and depressive music, so regardless ofmy mood, melancholic music appeals more to mein general. That being said, it was a very tough period for me, lots of things were going on, and during that period I literally forced myself to write a lot of material. I guessit was a natural step for it to take a dark approach, even though I think “Coal” has some of that same dark darkness in it.
So, is there a concept behind this album?
ES: I wouldn’t call it a concept. There is a kind of a theme which is the dangers of following something blindly which is why we are using a metaphor like ”The Congregation”.But all of the lyrics are different branches of that main tree.
Is the artwork related to it, and generally what’s with the artwork? It’s pretty dark as well.
ES: The artwork, it shows the deformation and the destructiveness that’s gradually happening in a way, with our self-comforting and short term way of living.
It is noticeable that in this album, you have changed your sound a lot in comparison with your previous releases. For example: there are more melodic parts, and "cleaner" vocals. Do you feel that this was part of the band's natural progress or was it a change that had to be made?
ES: I don’t think I see more clean vocals on this than on the previous. I think it’s pretty much similar. There was more screaming on “Tall Poppy Syndrome” but that was a long time ago. Maybe what you are referring to is that “Coal” and “Bilateral” both had one song that was primarily with screaming vocals but the rest was pretty melodic stuff, actually. I would say that, for example, “Bilateral” is a much more melodic album than this new one. But I think the new album is catchier though.
Yes that’s true! So how do you approach writing and recording an album? Do you work as a band together and compose or everyone by himself?
ES: We had different approaches, but in general, this time it was me who wrote “sketches” on the computer and then sent them to the others. They learned them and then we tried to play them and we selected the best ones.
Now let’s talk about shows. What’s your routine, in personal level, before a show? How do you prepare yourself for each night of a tour?
ES: It depends on my shape. Like today, I would warm up for an hour at least since I have a very rusty voice today so I’m struggling a bit with that. It needs more than twice as long to warm up than it normally does.
How did Leprous go from corpse paint and silver pants to black suits? What changed throughout the years of band's existence?
ES: We started as a young band and the youth is the period of your life you figure out who you are. Lots of things going on around the camera right now…
[And indeed, lots of things were going on. At that moment, since the interview took place outside the venue, a little girl interrupted our interview by coming to us and playing her accordion…] Sorry about that… Anyway, you were talking about the silver pants!
ES: Yeah! I guess most people who are a bit alternative, they try out different stuff and they land on something. I wouldn’t put so much significance in those silver pants (laughs!).
But surely it was a fun picture to see! Moving on, what do you expect from today's show? What are your expectations about the tour in general?
ES: In general, things are going really well on this tour. Now, we are on a kind of small pre-tour to the main tour so we are travelling light, without the full production, in a way, because we are flying and there are limitations to what we can bring. If it’s going to be anything like yesterday, I expect a lot from today’s audience.
What are you planning to do after the tour?
Write music again!
Last question. Any hints for struggling musicians or bands out there?
ES: Never give up! Always evaluate yourself. Don’t be afraid of analyzing and throwing away ideas and don’t be too proud to admit that what you are doing can be better. That’s one of the main things to do to get better: to be humble towards the fact there is always something you can do better.
So that’s all I had, maybe you would like to add something?
ES: It’s fantastic to be back in Greece again, and it will definitely not be that long before we come back again.