Interview with Chris Rehn, Angtoria (August 20, 2005)

Hi, Chris – Angtoria is a new band from Sweden, which has so far only released a promo CD and not many might know your background, so if you could fill us in on the history behind it all? I know you’ve all have a metal background, but the 3 of you have somewhat different backgrounds …
Chris – Hi Kenn! Sarah and I met each other on a tour back in 2001. We became good friends and soon started talking about working together. After doing a completely orchestral movie score type project together, we idea came up to also do a band oriented metal project. We asked my older brother Tommy to join the project, and Angtoria was born early 2004.

Sarah has been the backing vocalist for many various bands extreme metal bands like for instance Cradle of Filth, Therion, and Mortiis etc. I myself have been a part of several various bands myself thru the years, most of which have also been within the extreme metal scene with bands like Abyssos that I co-formed. My brother Tommy has also been working with music all of his life, but more in to the symphonic rock scene. 

How has your music been received by the media? And what were your expectations?
Chris – We’ve gotten extremely great reviews for our demo from magz, radio stations and the media all over the world, which we are of course extremely excited about! We didn’t have any expectations at all basically when we formed Angtoria, so we are of course very happy to have gotten so much good response already for our work.

I know artists don¹t like to put a label on their music - but a spaceship from outer space has just landed in your backyard, and is demanding an answer - so how would you describe your music to an alien from another galaxy?
Chris – Yeah, I hate putting a label on my own music, in my mind that is up to each and every listener to decide. But the easiest way to describe Angtoria is simply to say orchestral metal with female vocals. That is of course a very wide label to put on a band, but it’s also extremely difficult for me to put any other label on ourselves...

You are bound to be compared to bands like Nightwish and Within Temptation, do you take that as a compliment or how do you deal with such comparisons?
Chris – I take every comparison as a compliment, and if anyone were to compare us to bands like Nightwish and Within Temptation, both of which I like and have a great respect for, I take it as a huge compliment.
It’s impossible to please everyone and we’re most certainly not creating music to please everyone either. We create the music we are happy with and we’re extremely grateful if there are some people out there who appreciate what we’re doing and support us.

If your music was an emotion, which one would it be?
Chris – Every emotion a human being can have. Our music is all about emotions, all the way from the most wonderful emotion you can think of to the most horrible one. It’s up to each and everyone who listens to us to decide which emotions fits them and the views they get of our music.

Who and what inspires you when you write a song? Walk us through the creation of a song?
Chris – I don’t have any specific source of inspiration I turn to when it comes to finding inspiration to write music. I get influenced and inspired by everything that happens around me every day, from good to bad. I get inspired by everything from standing in line at the store to buy groceries to playing with my daughter to watching a horror movie to flying among the clouds when I’m skydiving which is my main hobby...

I know the lyrics have been written by Sarah, but can you tell us a bit about the subjects and why she’s chosen to write about those things?
Chris – Yes, Sarah has written all the lyrics and I and my brother write all the music. The lyrics are about the most cliché subjects you can think of actually, love and hate. But Sarah writes in her own very unique way, and a lot of her writing is self experienced which gives it extremely good and emotional depth.

On the CD there is a cover-version of Kylie Minogue’s “Confide in Me” – why did you choose to have a cover-version on the CD and why that song?
Chris – Sarah and I discussed early on to do a cover version of some song simply because we thought it would be fun. We discussed various options of which song to choose and Sarah came up with the idea of doing a cover of “Confide in Me”. I also really like that song and Kylie as an artist, so we simply decided to choose that song.

Who has produced and mixed the demo, and are you pleased with the end result, and what could have been done better?
Chris – The demo is recorded in our own studio owned and operated mainly by my brother Tommy. Tommy and I have recorded, produced and mixed the songs ourselves, and there is of course always something that we as composers/producers would have wanted to have done better if only we were to have access to better equipment etc.

On the other hand our demo is not an official release and is not for sale to the public. Our demo is mainly meant as a pre-production of some of the songs that will be included on our first album, and is meant for business purposes only in our search for a record deal. So even thou we as composers and producers always wish to improve the quality of our recordings, we haven’t put the effort and money in to this recording as we would have done if it would have been an official recording that we would sell to the public. So for the purpose of our demo, we’re quite happy with the result.

The artwork for the “Unofficial Demo 2004” is sort an info-cover and not your regular CD cover, how come? And don’t you think it’s important to have a great cover?
Chris – The reason for the info-cover is also because of the fact that this demo is meant only for record labels, magazines and radio stations etc. Since we are financing everything ourselves and aren’t selling the demo to get some of that money back, we simply can’t afford to make a real cover and also send an info pack along with the CD. So to be able to send out our demo to as many labels and magz etc as possible, we decided to simply combine the cover with the info pack to reduce the cost for each sent demo.

What are the immediate plans for Angtoria, can we expect another demo or maybe an album?
Chris – We’ve signed a management deal with a Dutch management company called Fortress which is working with us to mediate between record labels in order to try and secure a descent deal. We are also currently in the studio recording a pre-production on the rest of the songs that will be included on our debut album. We don’t have any plans at this stage to release any of our pre-production material to the public since our main goal is to secure a record deal and record and release our debut album soon.

Do you have any touring plans, or is it only possible to play shows locally?
Chris – Our main goal is to treat Angtoria as a full member, album recording and touring act. If that will be possible or not is simply up to the label we sign with. Our full intentions thou are to tour worldwide with Angtoria, and we have our minds set out to do so. So now it’s all up to the record labels who are interested in us, and of course if they audience likes us enough to buy our albums and want to see us live...

Let’s speculate – you have been granted a free slot on a tour of your own choice – who would be your ideal touring partners?
Chris – Oh, that’s a tough question... Personally I would have to say Metallica, Ozzy, Iron Maiden or Madonna. I don’t know how good that match would be, but you asked for a tour of my own choice.

What kind of wishes and expectations do you have for a record label and management?
Chris – The wishes, goals and intentions we have with Angtoria are to be able to produce professional high quality products in our albums and merchandise, and to be able to tour worldwide with our music. If any of this is going to be a reality is of course totally up to a possible record company, management and the audience. We are ready to start this journey, and it’s now only up to the record labels how much effort, time and money if any they wish to invest in Angtoria.

The internet is a very important source for many metal fans – how do you use the internet and how important is it for you and other bands?
Chris – The internet is extremely important today and is a great way of communication and to market yourself and make you heard. Having an official website is something that is basically as important for a band as releasing an album is. Thru a website you can reach out to basically anyone anywhere in the world at the same time with no delay. 

And how do you feel about the Swedish metal scene at the moment?
Chris – The Swedish and Scandinavian metal and music scene overall has always been great with many many great acts and musicians. Several great quality acts all the way from pop music to metal music comes from here which of course is great. Bands reaching all the way from Abba to In Flames come from here which makes for a really good variety in music to choose to listen to, and it’s great that we have so many talented people here.

Which song do you consider to be the best one you have ever written?
Chris – That’s a very difficult question... I don’t really think of it that way when it comes to my own work. Everything I do is of the best of my capacity at the time of the composition. When I look back at what I’ve composed earlier on I of course hope that I’ve learned more and evolved as both a person and a musician/composer, but at the time of the composition I did the best to my knowledge and experience at the time. So I don’t really consider anything I do to be better or worse than something else I’ve done, I put that up to others to decide what they like more or less...

Which song do you wish you had written and why?
Chris – Well, that’s also a really tough question... There are so many excellent compositions out there that it’s basically impossible to choose which one I would have wanted to have written... But just to name one composition I’m really impressed with is a composition by movie score composer John Williams, and it’s the classic score for the Darth Vader march in Star Wars.

Name an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your life … and why?
Chris – I can name a band that’s had a real influence in my life, Black Sabbath. I grew up listening to them and all the other bands of that time like Rainbow, Deep Purple etc. My two older brothers listened to these types of bands, so I’ve been exposed and influenced by them ever since I was a really small kid. I’m extremely happy and grateful that I grew up the way I did and wouldn’t have changed it for anything in the world, even thou my childhood may have been a bit different from most other kids... 

Which music do you personally listen to at home?
Chris – I don’t have any specific preferences when it comes to music. Obviously any type of metal and rock music is to prefer, but I like all music that is well written, produced, composed, recorded and performed. I don’t care which type of label that music or a specific song may fall under as long as I simply find it to be good. I like everything from Kylie Minogue and Britney Spears to classical music to black metal. Labels doesn’t interest me in any way, the only thing that interests me is good music.

Vinyl has had a small comeback lately – do you still prefer “the old sound” or are you a CD/DVD kind of guy?
Chris – I’m a strictly CD/DVD and as new and as innovating technology as possible kind of guy. I can of course enjoy listening to a vinyl from time to time just to get some flashbacks from when I grew up, but I wouldn’t buy an album on vinyl nor do I own a vinyl player or have any intentions of ever purchasing one... To me they are too big, slow, and it’s too much work if you want to fast forward or rewind to a certain part etc.
But I’m glad that vinyl still exists and is coming back a bit to those who enjoy it. I grew up with listening to albums on vinyl and tapes, so they have a very sentimental value to me as well, and I wouldn’t want them to disappear.

Last question - do you have any famous last words for our readers?
Chris – First of all on behalf on Angtoria I would like to thank you Kenn for supporting us by doing this interview with me! To all of you out there, take great care of each other and don’t ever give up on your dreams and goals!

A huge thanks to Chris and Angtoria, and all the best of luck in the future to them.

Angtoria - Unofficial Demo 2004

Click on the album to see more info on Angtoria

See my review here.