Interview with guitarist Henrik Flyman, Evil Masquerade (May 27th 2006)

Evil Masquerade, (Henrik Flyman, (guitar), Apollo Papathanasio (vocals), Thor Jeppesen (bass) and Dennis Buhl (drums) are about to release their third album called “Third Act”. Their debut album is called “Welcome to the Show” and was released in 2004 and was followed by "Theatrical Madness” in 2005. Both albums are awesome in my humble opinion, so my expectations for “Third Act” are high… very high! So while we wait for “Third Act” to be released I did an interview with band leader Henrik Flyman.

Hi, first off all I just want to congratulate you on your new album “Third Act”.
Are you satisfied with it?
Henrik - Thanks a lot Peter. We would never release an album we weren’t satisfied with. But “Third Act” has something special that makes it stand out from any album I’ve done in the past. We’re all very proud of this one and I still personally listen to it now and again, even though I’ve already heard it thousands of times during the writing and recording process. It still has a freshness to it that makes me want to hear it.

- Where do you see the main difference between your first two albums, “Welcome to the Show” (2004), “Theatrical Madness” (2005) and your new album?
Henrik - To begin with, as an explanatory side note, I must say that I actually wrote music for two albums when I set out to write “Third Act”. I decided to make one album to be released, and one album to keep for myself that would never be released. I was in a good song-writing period and it took some 5 months to realize. I would say that “Third Act” is the natural progress of the band, taking in consideration that it’s in fact the 4th album I wrote for the band even though it’ll be our 3rd release. Therefore I think it sounds like we have made a huge leap from our 2nd release. We’ve gone through many changes the last year, so we thought it was really necessary to make something extra out of this. The most noticeable change in the line up is of course our new singer Apollo Papathanasio. We had a great time recording the vocals and Apollo delivers some awesome stuff on the new album. He’s a true pro both as musician and on a personal level.

- You wrote all the music and lyrics for the first two albums. Did you involve the other guys this time around?
Henrik - It’s still the same egoistic self. But I must make it very clear that without the other guys amazing musicianship we wouldn’t be able to perform this kind of music. I think one of our strengths is that we have pretty defined roles in the band. Everyone is very skilled at what they do and we have great respect for each other’s talent. The current constellation is still a bit fresh and I’m sure things can only go even better from here. Let’s see what the future brings. I’ve never had the opportunity to be in a band with such a strong line up before.

- Are there any songs on the new album that are special to you?
Henrik - This album has only strong songs. It’s the first album I’ve recorded where everything in the process has been perfect. The songs are great, the arrangements are interesting and support the music perfectly, all performers shine, the production is crystal clear and heavy as led, and the artwork is top notch and fits the album like a glove. Everyone involved has outdone themselves. From an artistic point of view I could really never ask for more. This whole album is special to me.

- How long do you need to practice to feel comfortable with your songs before you record them?
Henrik - It all depends on the complexity of the individual songs. But not that long I think. If I got one of our albums dropped on my head, without ever hearing it before, I guess I would need about a week to be comfortable enough with it to be able to record it to my full satisfaction.

- Do you have any formal or classical musical training in your background?
Henrik - Not really. One year of flute in the 3rd grade and 5 years of piano between the ages of 10-14. But the teachers sucked and I lost interest. The good thing was that I got my ears opened to the rock ’n’ roll side of music, which seemed a lot more appealing compared to boring classes.

- How did you get your name Evil Masquerade?
Henrik - The idea was to have a name that gave a clue about our musical direction and that was easy to pronounce. It can be seen as a purely fictional name, or related to the real world, or both, or none of them two. There are many evil masquerades going on right before our very eyes. It’s totally up to people to decide what it means to them. I have my personal idea.

- In what words would you describe the music and moods of Evil Masquerade for someone that has not heard you yet?
Henrik - The genre is metal and the ingredients mixed by the 4 gourmet cooks are:
- A lot of melody
- 15 heaped tablespoons of evil atmosphere
- A full plate of concentrated power.
- Sprinkle with speed, heaviness and some odd time signatures.

Put in the oven on 666 degrees for 45 minutes and… bing(!)… the album “Third Act” comes out. Best served with a full bottle of red wine or a good beer.

If you are hungry for well-prepared metal with a twist to it, Evil Masquerade might be what you crave.

- Any plans to go on tour? If so, when and where?
Henrik - We really want to do more gigs than we have before. Let’s see if someone wants to have us. Nothing is scheduled right now because everyone is working with the release arrangements as we speak. Next up is to shoot a video for the song “Black Ravens Cry”.

- Let's speculate - you have been granted a free slot on a tour of your own choice - who would be your ideal touring partners?
Henrik - The Pussycat Dolls or Black Sabbath.

- What are you doing besides Evil Masquerade, job wise as well as hobbies?
Henrik - Evil Masquerade is my job and hobby. It’s anything but profitable but this is what I focus all my time on right now. The band has great potentials and deserves my full attention. Occasionally I might do some session work in my studio but it hasn’t been much of that lately.

- What albums or bands do you believe have had the greatest impact on the history of Metal?
Henrik - For me personally it is bands like Rainbow, Black Sabbath, DIO, Deep Purple, Queen, Iron Maiden and a couple I probably forgot. Albums must include the 3 first Rainbow releases, the DIO and Tony Martin era of Black Sabbath, all DIO albums before Lock Up the Wolves, Iron Maiden’s album between The Number of the Beast – Seventh Son; A Night At the Opera, Innuendo (Queen), Machine Head, Perfect Strangers (Deep Purple), Ride the Lightning, Master of Puppets (Metallica), Back in Black (ACDC), Heavy Horses, Roots to Branches (Jethro Tull). There are many great albums out there and these are just a few of them.

- What albums have you been listening to lately? Any recent releases catching your ear?
Henrik - All Blackmore’s Night album including their latest release “The Village Lanterne”. Tony Martin has a new album out called "Scream". Cool stuff and at times a lot more Sabbath than what good old Iommi creates nowadays. Angra’s latest album “ Temple of Shadows ” is good. And of course Evil Masquerade’s upcoming “Third Act” :-).

- Thank you very much for participating in this interview and sharing this information and your thoughts with us! So, finally - any words of wisdom or funny facts about the nearest future you want to share with the readers?
Henrik - You should not drink large quantities of alcohol on an empty stomach. Neither should you download your favourite band’s music, because that will gradually prevent them from releasing more of the music you love. Remember those 2 simple rules and the world will stay as metal as you want it to be.
Thanks a lot for doing this interview Peter. CHEERS!

Peter Laursen

Evil Masquerade - Third Act

Album to be released on Escape Music, July 21st 2006.

Click on the album cover to see more info on Evil Masquerade.