The debut album from the Norwegian hard rock band Snowfall, is scheduled for an April 19th release.
The guitarist Tore Meli was able to answer some of my questions about this new melodic hard rock band.
POM.dk: Can you give our readers a short story about Snowfall. How did it Began and your journey to 'Cold Silence'?
Tore: Hey Patrik, and thanks for contacting us, and also for giving us such a great review of the album!
Long story short, Snowfall began in 2009, when PB contacted me after his old band Winter Parade had dissolved. We then started writing songs with the WP singer, Bjorn Westum, but it came clear quite quickly that he did not have the time to commit to Snowfall to the extent we felt was needed, so we kept making songs for a while without a singer.
Myself and PB thought the demos we had recorded sounded good, so we did not want this band to end before it had even started. We had to twist our brains for a while to see what could be done to the stuff we had recorded. Luckily PB knows a lot of people in the business from his WP period, so Lee was suggested to us by George Thatcher, who runs the Glory Daze website. We had a drummer, but when push came to shove, he couldn’t commit to the band either, so Perra Johansson was suggested by the producer Martin Kronlund at JM Studios in Gothenberg, and he did a killer job with the songs. Actually, we were supposed to use Imre Daun, but he had other commitments at the time when we needed the drum tracks. Perra had to be flown in to Gothenburg to record the drums, and he was really professional about it. There were a lot of things going on, rhythmically, in our demos, but he managed to capture the vibe and direction we were going for, and I think you can tell that by listening to the album.
Tore: We got involved with Martin before we inked the record deal with Escape Music. We were tipped off about a number of capable guys to do the mix, and Martin was our first choice, and as luck would have it, he was also available around the timeframe we were looking at. It’s such a treat, working with someone who actually knows what he’s doing, you know. Martin has to take a lot of credit for the way the end product turned out. He brought in, and recorded, Perra’s drums, and then he mixed the hell out of the songs themselves. We’re super happy with the result, and we’ll definitely be using JM Studio again for the next album, if our time schedules align.
Escape was the last piece of the puzzle, actually. They are in contact with Martin all the time, as he’s done a lot of albums for them lately, but in this instance, it was the other way around, actually. Khalil from Escape heard the first mixes of the album, and combined with us having Lee on vocals as well, he came up with an offer to us that we accepted. I want to stress that we were a band for more than a year before Escape came into the picture, so this is not a record label run project, or us being just a backing band for Lee.
POM.dk: How did you get in touch with the vocal powerhouse Lee Small?
Tore: As I mentioned earlier, Lee was contacted by Georg Thatcher, the Glory Daze editor. He sent Lee mp3s and info, and really put some effort into matching us together. Lee contacted PB a week after, and what a catch!! We started sending mp3s of the demos we had done back and forth, so Lee could put his personal touch to the songs as well. Then we wrote the rest of the songs together with Lee. I think the co-operation is reflected in all the songs and how the arrangements are done. And boy did we like getting stuff back from Lee to check out what he had done to the songs. That man is amazing, both a great vocalist and a great guy! .
POM.dk: Are there any songs on the album that gives you any special feelings?
Tore: We have put in so much time and effort on the record, so I don’t think I can put one song as THE song. But there are a couple which mean more than the others on a personal level.
We wrote Heaven’s Not Up There as a tribute to a mutual friend of ours who died in an accident and left his wife and children without a dad, so that song has a deeper meaning to me personally. It’s also the first song I started on after I met my wife five years ago. So both good and bad feelings there!
There are also a couple of songs where the end result turned out a lot different from the demo mixes. Stampede is one song that blew me away after Martin Kronlund had put his fingers on the mixing and producing part.
Don’t Drive Me Home Tonight has some amazing vocal arrangements in my ears, so that is a killer tune to crank up when you are out driving in the summer time, wind in your hair and all that ☺.
POM.dk: Do you have any musical sources of inspiration or role models? Which bands or persons has meant anything special for you?
Tore: As I am born in the early 70s, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Whitesnake, Journey and all the great bands from that era has had a big influence on my musical taste. I also have to mention Extreme with Nuno Bettencourt in the 90s, who was a big influence for me and my playing. These days I still love Whitesnake with Doug Aldrich, who I think is a fantastic guitar player with loads of bluesy stuff going around.
POM.dk: Who wrote the music and the lyrics on ’Cold Silence’?
Tore: It was a collaborative effort, where PB and I would bounce ideas off each other, and Lee would map out the melody lines and work on lyrical ideas together with PB. In my opinion, Cold Silence is a prime example of the sum being bigger than the parts. The contributions made by everyone enhanced the quality of the songs significantly, and it feels like we’ve struck gold, in terms of songwriting partners .
POM.dk: Do you have any plans for gigs or shows this year, or what’s the plans for the band this summer?
Tore: There are no major plans at the moment, but we hope to get this machine out on the road. One of our goals would be to play festivals around Europe, but it’s too late to start booking for that now, and we couldn’t start shopping for gigs before we had the album, so we had a catch 22 situation there. Hopefully, we’ll be able to release our 2nd album next year, and that we’ll be a sought after entity at that time. We really want to play live with this band, but we need to get people to hear this album first – we need to build the house brick by brick.
Tore: Good question – I really dig the artwork myself. It was done by Carl-André Beckston, and we asked him to do a cover that was simple and stylish. We were not looking for yet another melodic rock cover, but something a little more timeless and not so genre distinctive. We wanted people to be looking at the cover, liking what they see, regardless of what musical genre they were into. I’d really hate it if the album was neglected because of the cover.
I grew up with all these great LPs with fantastic artwork, and I wanted this album to both sound and look good. The inner sleeve is also a treat. Browsing the lyrics does wonders for my mind – the inside panels have a really soothing feel about them. It’s been a pleasure to work with everyone who has contributed to this album, and that definitely applies to André as well. We made a few changes and adjustments to the artwork, but he never lost his cool, but came back with improvements all the time.
As with Martin, we hope André is available when the time comes to create the artwork for the next album. Never change a winning team, and the team we’ve surrounded ourselves with is stellar in all respects! .
POM.dk: I describe Snofall as a melodic UK hard rock band with Scandinavian AOR touch, do you agree with this description, or how would you describe Snowfall’s musical style?
Tore: I agree, because you basically describe the band as unpredictable. I think you can hear elements from Scandinavia and the UK in our music, but also the US. We’re both bluesy and ballsy, and sometimes I think it’s just plain difficult to put a sticker on what we’re doing. The listener never really knows what to expect for the next song, but we hope they’ll enjoy the ride nonetheless. We’ve also put a lot of effort into adding bits & pieces that are musically outside the box, but they wouldn’t know about them unless you listened very hard. Besides, I’m not really sure what scandi AOR sounds like, so I think the description fits well.
POM.dk: Is this an ”one-album project" or is it possible to hear more from this interesting constellation in the future?
Tore We’re definitely in for the long haul. If there’s a market for us out there, we’d like to do more albums and play live. Making this album has been such a joy, and Lee, PB and myself gelled really well, as far as song writing goes. We’ve also become good friends over the course of recording this CD, and it’d be such a shame if we didn’t make the most of what we have here. Snowfall was never meant to be just a project.
We are indeed a band, and we want to do the things that bands do – gig and record! We’ll be promoting this disc as long and hard as we can, and when there’s nothing more to be gained, we’ll start looking at the next album..
POM.dk: Which 5 albums are your personal favourites from last year?
Tore: Oh, that's a tricky one!
But number one I have to say Flying Colors with Steve Morse on guitar. Great album, and great musicians.
I don't think I can rate more albums from last year without stepping on someones toes, but Flying Colors is a strong number one.
POM.dk: Tore, thank you for taking the time answering my questions. Do you have any last words for our readers??
Tomi: Denmark has a lot of sworn rock fans, and we hope that you show your commitment by supporting us.
Hopefully, we’ll be playing in the Parken one day for you all! Until then, enjoy the record and tell your friends about our existence!!
Interviewed by Patrik Skoglund