The Night Flight Orchestra Are In Full Flight With ‘Aeromantic II’

THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA are back in a big way! Sweden’s most famous cabin crew is proud to release the second part of the Aeromantic saga. Aeromantic II is another thrilling journey to the band’s core and their passion for traveling and being in motion – accompanied by the balance act of bittersweet sadness and pure joy of life. It was fantastic to be able to speak with front man Björn Strid about the album.

Congratulations on another album, you must be pretty happy with getting the album over the line with all things going on around the world at the moment?
Absolutely. I mean, it’s definitely something that’s pretty uplifting. I’m just really proud that we managed to stay within our bubble, even though the tour for Aeromantic I gets cut short and then we managed to just continue to write music, at least, and here we are with Aeromantic II. That was not in the plan to raise an Aeromantic II probably wouldn’t have happened without Corona, but now we have two albums that we tour with, once everything opens up again.

Being a fairly big band, it must have been a bit challenging to change the way that you’d normally go about making an album?
Well, it’s been pretty much the same. I mean, we came home from the tour and we all had Corona. I mean, everybody who was on that bus, going through Europe in a tour bus and came home and everybody got sick, and then once everybody got better, we took the test and see if we had any antibodies. Then after for that, we just booked a lot of studio time. So we actually, we were together and there was no complete lockdown in Sweden, so we were able to do it pretty much the same way as usual.

Did you end up getting quite sick yourself?
No, I didn’t feel anything, actually. There was one morning I woke up, I felt a little feverish, and then it was gone in the afternoon. That must have been it. But then we had other members who got pretty sick. Nobody had to go to the hospital though, so I guess we were lucky in the end. But I mean, at the time you, we didn’t really know how serious it was. You’re looking back at March, like “How stupid were we?” Nobody really knew. I mean, it was definitely, people definitely knew it was serious, but how serious, and what you’re supposed to do, and what is the right strategy, and this and that, nobody knew. So it’s weird to look back.

Did you start worrying a little bit about the longer term future? I guess all bands are in a very similar position, but I guess with a band like yours that relies a lot on touring around the world, does that make you a bit concerned about what the future looks like?
It definitely does. I try to not think too much about it because it’s going to drive me nuts, because this is probably not the last virus that we’re going to see in our lifetime. Let’s be realistic. It’s feels like life before Corona, and after Corona, at this point. I mean, Corona’s not done yet, but you know what I mean? It’s like that’s what it feels and kind of scared to think that are we ever going to go back to normal? Are we ever going to be able to tour the way we did? Or is it just going to have to be in a different way, or I don’t know. It drives me nuts when I start thinking about it.

After you made Aeromantic, the first album, did you have a clear idea that there would be an Aeromantic II or were the songs that were left over that didn’t necessarily fit the first album, but put together would fit album number two?
Well, I mean, what you hear in Aeromantic II is ninety percent new stuff. That’s pretty usual, I was going to say, so it’s definitely a new album. It’s no leftovers. Like I mentioned before, I mean, there was no plans to recording Aeromantic II. There was not a plan to record another album, but since Corona hit and we were supposed to do a lot of touring, but that didn’t happen obviously. Then we went into the studio and we just recorded songs. We actually didn’t plan to make another album right away, but it’s like it just shaped up to be something really, really positive. I think that’s exactly what we needed as well, to write something very uplifting and so I think we channel all those emotions through this album and a lot of good songs came out. We also felt that, “Wow, this is really shaping up to become an album.” But we also felt like, “But, I mean, we’re not done with Aeromantic I. We haven’t toured it, but here we have a new album, so let’s just call it Aeromantic II, because I mean, since we’re not done with one, we need to connect these two and perform them, when things open up again.”

Do you think there’ll be an Aeromantic Three? Maybe continuing on in that chronology?
Yeah. Yeah, who knows? I mean, it’s like if this corona drags on, it’s like, “Here its is. Aeromantic 57.” It’s just going to drag out. I would hope not, but I don’t think there’s going to be a three. I don’t know. I doubt it but who knows.

It must be a really exciting band, creatively, when you just get together and start writing new music. Do you think that the Night Flight sound has changed much between albums?
I think it’s constantly changing. I mean, we have so many influences, but I think we also managed to create something really personal at this point. I mean, we’ve definitely been working on our sound and it’s really all over the place as well, and I think that’s pretty cool, that it’s on one album, you can have so many different genres, I’m going to say. You feel the Night Flight trademarks throughout the whole album, but it’s like from song to song, it can be very different, different music styles, which I enjoy. That says a lot about there’s really no boundaries with this band, and since it’s a very creative unit, I think we manage to develop our sound for each and every album, but I think it’s been taking some time to make it really personal. I think at this point you can hear right instantly that it’s us, at least that’s what I hope that people feel.

Did anything in particular stand out as being significant as far as influences are concerned? I know you said that you had some quite significant influences earlier in the chat, but does anything on reflection stand out for you?
I think it’s hard to name bands. I mean maybe the ghost of ABBA has been even more present than before. It’s funny that we talk about ABBA because we all know what happened when they released two new songs, so that was pretty cool. There’s a lot of competition today. It’s like Abba released new music, and Iron Maiden released new music and then we released as well. ABBA’s be more present than before, and I think we also been working a lot with the keyboards in general to make it even more of a cinematic feel. I think it’s very cinematic, and also has a soundtrack feel, more than ever. I think that’s been what we’ve been working towards.

What did you think of the ABBA new tunes that were released?
Well, I was quite touched listening to it. It was just almost like a surreal feeling, that they got together again. I mean, we all knew that they were going to release a couple tracks, one or two, but nobody knew that it was going to be a full album, so it made me very happy and I think they sound pretty good too. I like the songs, especially the ballad, I thought that was quite touching. When they’re singing, “Do I still have it in me?” Or something like that, I don’t know, there’s just something, very honest about it and really beautiful.

With Aeromantic II, did everything go to plan when recording and producing the album?
Yeah, I think the production is fantastic. That’s also one thing, I mean, Sebastian, the guitar player in the band, he’s been doing all the mixing for all of our albums and I think he’s grown a lot. I think this is definitely the best production to date that we released. I don’t know, it’s just there’s so much tone and the whole album just sings. It’s sounds so melodic and very detailed, I think. So I think it was a pretty smooth ride overall. Everything went really well and their soul, it’s just, I love it, how it sounds. It sounds very organic without being boring, I think.

When you raise the bar so high, do you feel the pressure, even just thinking about what the next album might be, just with how much you’ve achieved with this album and all the others to date, which are all exceptional?
It definitely puts a pressure, but I think it’s really a good pressure, and I just feel very confident with this band that we’re able to develop our sound and always find ways to write really good songs, and so I’m not too worried. I think that the pressure that we feel is only natural and healthy, in a way. I think we managed to put out everything, Amber Galactic especially, I think we manage to put out albums that have really been on a really high level, and I’m really proud of that. Sometimes when you make an album that everybody seems to like, which was Amber Galactic, it’s really hard to keep it up. You might be able to keep it up for another album and then it might die, but this has been different. I’m really proud of that. We’ve managed to keep it on such a high level, all the way through.

It must be a tough job working out what to play live now, with so many great songs to choose from?
I know. It’s going to be very interesting to make a set list. If I could choose, I would like to focus on Aeromantic I and II, and then obviously have some old gems as well in the set list. But, we’re so excited about these two albums, I don’t know how the fans would feel about it, but I would like to really focus on Aeromantic I and II, firstly.

Do you start to feel a little bit more optimistic about, whether it’s some point next year, about getting back and touring overseas and maybe even Australia, which has I think, been on the cards for a while, but just hasn’t quite worked out?
I really hope so. I mean, we had some plans this fall, but I don’t think it’s going to happen. I mean, some countries in Europe are planning to do lockdown this fall as well, and who knows what’s going to happen in the winter. I really hope we could start touring in the spring, or the beginning of next year, and coming to Australia would’ve been absolutely amazing. I think that I would love to play in front of the Aussie crowd with this band. I’ve been through Australia so many times with Soilwork obviously, but not with Night Flight. I would love to do that.

Have you started thinking about that and what you might do with the next album?
There’s already some songs, but we haven’t planned the next album. I mean, they’re all focused on getting these two albums on the road, and waiting things out. There are chances that it’s going to drag out even more, and then we’ll probably enter the studio again. That’s all we always do, whether there’s an album planned or not, we like to have these recording sessions. It’s usually a long weekend, or sometimes a week, and we make it like a hangout. We hang out in the studio, it’s not just going there to just record the songs. It’s a nice hangout for sure, we cook, we drink and we record some good music. It’s a really good time, so we’ll probably do that pretty soon again.

Interview By Rob Lyon

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