Interview with Thomas Bodin (August 1, 2005)

Hi, first off I just want to congratulate you on your new album “I AM”. This is your 5th solo album, but to fans who doesn’t know your background could your please fill us in on the history behind it all?
Thomas - I guess I'm best known through my role as a composer and keyboard player with The Flower Kings. As well as this, I have also worked within film and theatre as a composer, conductor, scriptwriter and actor both in Sweden and abroad. I have released 4 previous solo albums.

  • “An ordinary night in my ordinary life” (1996) (InsideOut Music)

  • “Pinup Guru” (2002) (InsideOut Music)

  • “Sonic Boulevard” (2003) (InsideOut Music)

  • “Swedish Family-Vintage Prog” (2004) (Helikon House Music)

The reason for working with this kind of music is simple, I just love it! I have a lot of influences from both rock and classical music. So I guess the symphonic/progressive rock suits me just perfect!

How has your new album been received by the media?
Thomas - I'm very pleased with the response so far. Also it feels great to get in contact with new countries such as Denmark . Actually, The Flower Kings have never played there. So I hope to meet some new fans now!

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?
Thomas - Ha ha ha, well Mr. Alien I would say my music is a mix between traditional progressive rock (I.e. bands like Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis, Emerson Lake & Palmer) and the blues based hard rock they used to play during the 70ies. (Bands like Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath).

If your music was an emotion, which one would it be?
Thomas - Sadness!

Who and what inspires you when you write a song? Walk us through the creation of a song?
Thomas - First I need to get a “pictures” in my head. From that inner picture I can create an emotion and from there I go on to the music.

I always compose the melody first. For me the melody is the most important part of the music. If you have a good melody, you should be able to play that song with just an acoustic guitar. Today it's easy to produce songs based on rhythms. Get along with a groove and do some hip sounds, put in a lot of attitude and crown it with style.

Probably you will sell a lot but back to the acoustic guitar… Can you play it? For me that's important. 

The songs on this album are they written with this project in mind, or are they sort of songs that didn’t fit into the Flower Kings style?
Thomas - No all the songs written on this album was composed for its purpose, so no leftovers.

I know the lyrics on this album have been kind of a therapeutic experience for you - why is that, and how come did you choose to deal with so deep topics? I think they can be interpreted both from a philosophical as well as religious stand point, do you agree?
Thomas - Yes, you're right. This trip has been very important for me to do. The thing is that I was using drugs & alcohol a lot when I was younger. I started when I was 13 and kept on going with this for 15 years. Then I felt I needed to change my lifestyle completely. And so I did… Now I have spent a lot of time, looking for answers to a lot of existential questions. I would say the result is very much this album.

Who has produced and mixed the album, and are you pleased with the end result?
Thomas - I produced it myself. I guess I had a pretty clear picture about how it should sound. Also and for the same reason, I mixed it myself but I was assisted by Petrus Könningson. (The Flower Kings engineer) .

Who has done the artwork? And how important do you feel it is to have a great cover?
Thomas - The artwork was made by Thomas Ewerhard after an idea I had. I believe the artwork is very important. It all has to be as one unit. I have seen example of artwork when the music is going in one direction but the cover shows another. Besides, I think there is dangerous to get stuck into stereotypes. I.e. you can easily find certain colours that are frequently used in let say the metal music. The same goes for the motive itself.

Is this strictly a project or do you have any touring plans?
Thomas - “The I A M” is a band and we are going to play this music live! I still don't have any dates and places but we are having discussions with several promoters. Also, “I A M” is the first CD in a trilogy. The second album will be YOU ARE which will be a closer look at certain behaviours among people of today. ”I A M” is a "take a look at myself" kind of album. ”YOU ARE” will be more like an extrovert experience! The third album in the trilogy will be HE SHE IT. This album will deal with different aspects of love. (I hope that love will override the madness in the today's world).

Let’s speculate – you have been granted a free slot on a tour of your own choice – who would be your ideal touring partners?
Thomas - Could it be YES?

How do you feel about the co-operation with your label, and are you satisfied?
Thomas - InsideOut have grown very fast lately. This of course very positive since the label will get better contacts / distribution worldwide. I feel I have had a great support from the InsideOut crew thru the entire production of “I A M”.

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?
Thomas - Well the importance is equally big! There is a lot of webzines that are reviewing albums, making interviews and are in a close contact with both fans and artists.

So the internet is a living thing in the today’s metal/progressive scene.

And how do you feel about the progressive metal/rock scene in general at the moment?
Thomas - I think people should take bigger steps finding there own style. During the 70ies you could listen to a band for a couple of seconds and instantly recognize the band. So I think each band used to have more personality in those days. Sticking out is of course a big risk. Still you need to risk in order to win!

Which song do you consider to be the best one you have ever written?
Thomas - I think that is found on “I A M”. Perhaps part 2; “A” is a good candidate. Still I don't know if this is “one song”.

Name an album, person or event that has had a huge influence on your life … and why?
Thomas - The album “Jesus Christ Superstar” was something big in my life. I was totally hooked on that album. I believe I was strongly coloured by its impact!
Good music, good musicians, good concept!

Which music do you personally listen to at home?
Thomas - Right now I listen to MUSE. I like them lot!  They have this sadness thing…. There is something in it that goes into my heart.

But I know I'm very broad in my musical taste. I like Korn, Burt Bacharach, Joni Mitchell, Led Zeppelin, and Prokovief…

Vinyl has had a small comeback lately – do you still prefer “the old sound” or are you a CD/DVD kind of guy?
Thomas - Hmmm, it was more physical with the old vinyls. The artwork was great! But I still must confess my self to be a happy victim for the digital revolution!

Last question - do you have any famous last words for our readers?
Thomas - Well I'm a man of many sayings…. “Perfectionism is lethal, progress is good”!

A huge thanks to Thomas Bodin, and all the best of luck in the future to him.

Thomas Bodin - I AM

Album out on InsideOut Music.

Click on the album cover for more information on The Flower Kings & Thomas Bodin.