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AMARAN (RONNIE BACKLUND)

AMARAN STARTED OUT AS A BAND IN THE SPRING OF 2000, IN STOCKHOLM SWEDEN, AND HAS SINCE THEN DEVELOPED A DYNAMIC AND ORIGINAL WAY OF WRITING SONGS, COMBINING HEAVY METAL GUITARS WITH CLEAR FEMALE VOCALS. GUITARISTS KARI KAINULAINEN AND RONNIE BACKLUND STARTED WRITING SOME MUSIC TOGETHER AND DECIDED TO FORM A BAND. THEY FOUND THE REST OF THE MEMBERS IN BASS PLAYER MIKAEL ANDERSSON, VOCALIST JOHANNA DEPIERRE AND DRUMMER ROBIN BERGH. ALL OF THE MEMBERS CAME FROM DIFFERENT MUSICAL BACKGROUNDS AND WERE EAGER TO PUT SOME GOOD MUSIC TOGETHER.

HI! HOW ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU? Hi this is Ronnie Backlund speaking. I’m sitting in my home in Stockholm with a fractured arm while the other guys are out touring! I injured the arm just a few days before the tour, but fortunatly we found Esa Orjatsalo of finnish band Dreamtale who could fill in for me even with such short notice! HOW DID YOU COME TOGETHER? ARE YOU FRIENDS OR JUST PEOPLE PLAYING TOGETHER AND HAVING FUN? Kari and I met when we studied at the university here in Stockholm. None of us were in a band by that moment but we were both very eager to start playing again. So we took our guitars and tried to write some tunes together. Since we thought it turned out quite well and since we worked well together as persons we decided to form a band out of what we had written. All the other members were found through adds. WHERE DO YOU COME FROM? WHERE DO YOU LIVE? We all live in Stockholm but it’s only Johanna who is born here. The rest of us have moved here for such reasons as studies and work WHAT DOES THE NAME AMARAN MEAN? Amaran is Hindi and the word has the meaning “undying” or “everlasting”. HOW WOULD YOU CALL YOUR MUSIC AND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE? I would like to call it melodical metal, but that might probably not give you much more than just a hint of what it’s all about since it’s such a wide definition. Our songs could be described as having a quite rough and heavy musical bottom topped with clean female vocals. We always strive to write songs containing a lot of dynamics. HOW DO YOU WRITE MUSIC? WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN THE CREATIVE PROCESS? For the new album the process can be seemed as Kari writing the music, recording it on his computer and gives the demos to Johanna who writes the vocal-lines and the lyrics to the song. Then we take the songs to the rehearsal room were we do the final arrangements on the music. WHICH ARE THE INFLUENCES IN YOUR MUSIC? DO YOU HAVE ANY IDOLS? Since all members have such different influences and musical background, I guess you can find a wide spectrum of different influences in our music. I don’t think you could point out a number of bands who have been specially important for us, because no one has. It’s rather a mix of hundreds of band who’ve influenced us. WHERE DO YOU SEE THE BIGGEST IMPROVEMENTS TO YOUR FIRST STUDIO ALBUM? Quite many things actually. Our first album feels quite much as a midtempo album all through, while the new one, “Pristine In Bondage”, has much more variation in tempos and dynamics. I also think that Johanna sings a lot better and with more confidence on this one and the overall technical level on the instruments are a bit higher. On top of this the sound on the new album is a lot better also. WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DO YOU PREFER PERSONALLY? WHAT KIND OF MUSIC DO THE OTHER MEMBERS LISTEN TO? Personally I prefer music with a melancholic touch, which doesn’t have to be metal music at all! Katatonia and Opeth are two bands though who always will be close at heart and bands I gladly promote! :-) As I mentioned earlier the others are listening to a wide spectrum of music, from singer/songwriter music to grindcore and blackmetal! WHAT DO YOU DO BESIDE THE MUSIC? HOW DO YOU EARN MONEY? WHICH HOBBIES DO YOU HAVE? We all have ordinary daytime jobs, except Johanna who is studying, since Amaran is not generating any money. The music takes a lot of time for us all so I don’t think there’s is that much time left to other things. But beerdrinking is a common hobby in our band J and some of the guys enjoys gaming on their computers. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF OTHER METAL-BANDS WITH FEMALE VOCALISTS LIKE NIGHTWISH, WITHIN TEMPTATION OR EDENBRIDGE? DO YOU LIKE THEM? DO YOU KNOW THEM PERSONALLY? AND HOW IMPORTANT BESIDES THE “METAL AUDIENCE” IS THE “GOTHIC MARKET” FOR YOU? Well, unfortunately I can’t say that I’ve been listening that much to any of the bands mentioned above. None of them have a style that fits my personal taste. When it comes to the question about the gothic market, we’re writing the kind of music we enjoy playing ourselves without thinking about what kind of people it will attract. Personally I don’t really see the connection between Amaran and gothmetal, but if we attract audience from that genre as well it’s a bonus. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT COPYING MUSIC OR DOWNLOADING IT FROM THE NET? I think it has both positive and negative sides. It’s positive that people can discover new bands they would never have heard about otherwise. But on the other hand, if this means that no one buys the records it will soon strike back at us. It could come to a point were the record labels only dares to release music they know will sell a certain amount, which in it’s turn will lead to many great bands never getting a chance to release their music at all. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR GREATEST LIVE EXPERIENCE? WHERE CAN AMARAN BE SEEN ON STAGE? ANY POSSIBILITY OF ENJOYING YOU IN GERMANY? WILL YOU PLAYING BE PLAYING ON FESTIVALS 2004? For me is the dutch gigs with Sun Caged my greatest live experience. We had really fun doing them! But if you ask me/us again in a month or so it’s possible you get another answer since we have so many shows in front of us. :-) We don’t have any gigs booked in Germany for the moment but it would be really nice to play there. I know you guys a great audience! When it comes to festivals we only have a couple of swedish ones booked yet. IS THERE ALREADY ANY NEW MATERIAL, NEW SONGS OR NEW IDEAS? I have some new ideas recorded on my computer and I can guarantee Kari have a bunch of them as well, but we haven’t started rehearsing any new material yet. IF TOMORROW WOULD BE THE LAST DAY OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD YOU DO? I would probably start with contacting the ones I keep close to tell them that I really love them and to thank them for always being there. I’m that kind of person who are really bad on telling people this. Further I would probably grab myself a bottle of wine and go out to watch the sunset one last time. WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR THE FUTURE? WHERE DO YOU SEE AMARAN IN 5 OR TEN YEARS? Oh a really difficult question. I prefer to take things as they’re coming so I don’t really have an answer on that one. You never know where the future takes you, but hopefully we’re all still playing together and can make a living on it! :-) THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND A BIG THANX FOR THE ANSWERS!

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