Woah! Swedish classic/progressive rock supergroup THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA (featuring members of SOILWORK and ARCH ENEMY) have their third studio album, Amber Galactic out and it is an absolute ripper. Hi Fi Way: The Pop Chronicles had the absolute privilege speaking to the legendary Bjorn “Speed” Strid (who also fronts Soilwork) in detail about the new album.
How are you?
I’m good, I woke up a half an hour ago, it’s 10.20am here, it’s all good man!
It must be a really exciting timer leading up to the release of Amber Galactic?
Yes it is, there have been a lot of interviews and interest which I’m really happy about.
How do you handle that limbo time waiting for the album to come out and knowing there’s not much else you can do except to promote, promote, and promote?
Yeah, there has been a lot going on even though we are slowing down a little bit. We’re pretty much done with the touring but it is still intense.
Do you enjoy swapping between Soilwork and Night Flight Orchestra?
I do, the switch is fairly easy both vocally and mentally because I feel that I have the best of both worlds now. Night Flight Orchestra is completely different obviously from Soilwork and something I have always been curious about doing. It is like yin and yang in that I have Soilwork and Night Flight so I feel complete in that sense musically. Therefore, the switch I think is very easy for now.
Have you ever forgotten what band you’re in or lyrics to particular songs from either band?
Not really, there have been times when you have been working on a melody and thinking hmm that’s a great melody. Is that a Soilwork melody? Is that a Night Flight melody? Usually they are pretty easy to separate.
When you write songs do you put the Soilwork hat on or the Night Flight Orchestra hat on or do you let the creative process take you to wherever it goes?
Yeah I guess so! I try to be spontaneous about it and good music is always good music. I don’t care what it is, it is all about the feel. So far it is working out really well and with things slowing down for Soilwork there will be plenty of time to focus on Night Flight because it is a real band and means as much as Soilwork now. It is something that started as a project then turned in to something really interesting and really refreshing somehow even though you can throw a reference of bands from the late seventies and eighties around. It still sounds refreshing to me and something I’ve wanted to do for a long time.
Has it been hard changing fan perception that this is more than a side project?
Most people when you talk to journalists they consider as a bit of a project because it might seem like that. It has people from Arch Enemy, Soilwork and people getting together to create something and capturing an era. It is more than that, there’s so much love behind it and so much knowledge as well and you can hear that. We’ve had so much fun putting it together and we’ve had two albums before this one which sort of went under the radar because it was released on a small Italian label with minimal distribution. People have picked it up so we do have a fan base but it is now that things are starting to happen which is really exciting.
How do you see the band’s progression over three albums now?
I think so, the first album was an experiment. I love the first album but it was all over the place and very diverse. It was also like a learning period and as musicians we were finding out what we wanted to do because there are so many bands that we like which at the same time is a way of composing this music. It’s not only nostalgia it is something that’s missing out there, it’s a lost art in that sense of composing and producing. Not having that organic sound, using different keyboards that all fell in to place more on the second album and definitely now on Amber Galactic. It sounds more focused and there’s a theme running through it as well.
What sorts of bands and albums inspired Night Flight Orchestra?
Wow! There’s so many bands! When I met David in 2007 I didn’t know him before and started bonding over music. We sitting in the back of the tour bus every night getting drunk with all those records, everyone else in the band was getting sick of us because it was a five week tour. There was a lot of Fleetwood Mac going on, a lot of Steely Dan, there was also Abba, Foreigner, Journey, Boston, Genesis a lot as well and everything Phil Collins. There was Hall & Oates and I know the Eurovision is really big in Australia as well I’ve learnt. In the seventies and eighties there was a lot of great music coming through Eurovision so we are inspired by many Swedish artists that did the Eurovision thing back then. There was great music and great composing back then as well. It is all over the place but we were able to channel all those influences and made it our own as well even though we can throw out all those references.
Was it a challenging album to make?
I think it always need to be a bit of a challenge and I think it has been like that with Soilwork. Every album we try to top ourselves and myself as a singer I always try to evolve and find new ways to express myself vocally. Amber Galactic was so much fun it was easy in that sense but was tough singing on there for sure. It wasn’t easy to create the music and get it right and making it sound the right way. We have two producers in the band who have their own studio and that’s where we have been recording. Basically everything is set up and we jam, arrange and rehearse then press REC right away. Some of the stuff is recorded live so that was very interesting to do it that way.
The artwork is really cool, which designer did you go with?
No, we have everything in this band. Sebastian who is one of the studio owners and guitarist/ percussionists in the band did all the artwork as well. It is an extremely creative unit so we have everything within the band.
What are the tour plans for Night Flight Orchestra?
Like I mentioned before we are slowing down with Soilwork but the album needs to come out so promoters can pick up on it because we really want to take this on the road. It is going to be very interesting to see what is going to happen. Our first two albums went under the radar and people are only starting to discover us now. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we can maybe come to Australia.
Interview by Rob Lyon
Night Flight Orchestra’s new album Amber Galactic is out now through Nuclear Blast