Power of Metal.dk Interview

Interview with Efraim Juntunen - Persuader.  January, 2014

An excellent and very powerful metal band from Umeň, Sweden. 

PoM: Can you tell our readers shortly about the history of Persuader, how did it all begin?

Efraim: We started out in 1997, just getting together and playing for fun, trying to create heavy music with strong melodies. We rehearsed quite a lot, leading up to the demo Visions and dreams which we recorded at Garageland Studios. Actually the same studio that we chose to mix The fiction maze at. So we're sort of back to where we started in a way.

PoM: Is there one main songwriter in the band or how have you divided the work with the writing in Persuader?

Efraim: It's usually me and Emil who write the main parts of the music. We work seperately and share ideas and basic recordings between us, adding to the other ones parts until we have a skeleton of a song. Then I sit down with Jens and write some rudimentary lyrics and vocal lines to see what works and not. Then it's off to our rehearsal place/studio where we make a proper demo with harmonies, choirs, full lyrics and so on. We've done it this way for many years and it seems to work quite well.

PoM : How media has responded to the new album so far?

Efraim: Very good, the reviews have only just started to pop up but they've all been positive which feels great. We didn't know what to expect really, being away for so long. But it seems some people still remember us, thankfully.

PoM: Why the long time gap (8 years) since the last album ‘When Eden Burns"?
Efraim: Our label Dockyard 1 went out of business and we kind of lost momentum there. We had a few new songs written but motivation was lacking since this was the third time the company breakdown hit us. It happened after 'The Hunter', after 'Evolution Purgatory' and now again after 'When Eden Burns'. Also, at this point in time we had a lot going on in our everyday lives. Getting married, starting families, having kids, building houses...that sort of things. So we had less and less time to spend on the band, getting all the members together for a meeting was impossible for a long time. A few years went by, us working sporadically with the new material. We didn't have a label or anything, for a few years we didn't even have a proper rehearsal place, this of course didn't help either. Finally when things started to calm down with the personal stuff we could get things done.

PoM: I personally like the opening song ‘One Lifetime’. Can you tell us more about that song?

Efraim: It's a good representation of the band I think. Good rhythms, strong chorus and the right amount of aggression. It's one of the first tracks we finished for the album. Emil came up with it but it needed a refrain. I recorded a suggestion and sent it to him, and the basics where done. I think we changed the verse, solo and break around a few times but it was more of a straight forward collaboration. The lyrics are about life, the only one you have on this rock. What do you do with it, do you use it in the best possible way? And does it matter if you believe in an afterlife or not?

PoM: The title track ‘The Fiction Maze’ is also one of my personal favourite tracks, what can you tell us about that song?

Efraim: An idea of mine that I started working on even before 'When Eden Burns'. Finally got it right to the point where every one of us was satisfied, probably my favourite track of the album. It starts out with an acoustic intro that returns later on with full force, I really like the way it twists and turns from soft to blast beats. The verse in particular was tricky to get right, we changed it many times during the years. Some fun double bass in there too!

PoM: 'Heathen” is one of the top songs on ‘The Fiction Maze’. Can you tell us something specific about the work with that track?

Efraim: Groove oriented song, another one that's been worked on for quite some time. It ranges from Eye of the tiger to newer In flames, sort of. A future live favourite for sure. Lyrically it's based on the Cthulhu mythos, the old ones influencing mankind to their favor. The next two tracks Dagon rising and Worlds collide follow the same (lyric) theme.

PoM: Are there any other track/tracks that means something extraordinary or mean anything special for you?

Efraim: I think they all have their strengths and flavors. The bonus track, Aftermath, is another of my personal gems. We had a hard time deciding which track to pick for the Japanese release, me I would have loved to include it on the ordinary version, but... It has some really cool drumming on it and wicked guitars. If you have the opportunity, check it out.

PoM: How has the work been with your new label Inner Wound Recordings?
Efraim: Very smooth. They're big fans of us and have shown a great deal of patience waiting for us to make this album just the way we want it to be. They also give us deadlines and kick our butts if we tend to get lazy, which is a good thing, haha.. !
PoM: Are you still living in Umeň? Has the support to the metal music changed, now then the town is the European Capital of Culture in 2014?
Efraim: Yup, we all live in or around the city. I haven't seen any changes so far considering the Capital culture deal. There are a lot of debate about the costs of the whole thing. Big money is being spent on new flashy buildings that has gone way over budget before even opening. There's fear that health care, school system and culture organisations themselves will take the financial blow for this. Hopefully there will be means left for the music scene, we have for example a really nice indoor festival called House of metal that could use the support. We'll see what happens.

PoM: How does the future look for Persuader? Any live shows booked so far?

Efraim: We're working on it right now. We'll probably first have some sort of release party here in our hometown, then try to play as much as we can in Sweden. We're also trying to put together a European tour after the summer. It depends a bit on how the album is received, but it's looking good so far.

PoM: Which bands or persons has been the biggest musical inspiration for the band?

Efraim: Growing up, it was bands like Europe, Iron Maiden and Uriah Heep for me. Later on it was all death metal, groups like Edge of Sanity, Death, Dissection and Entombed. My all time hero would be Devin Townsend, hearing 'Strapping Young Lad' for the first time just blew my mind to bits and pieces. I'm a huge fan of his work and buy all his stuff no matter what.

PoM: Tell us something about the cool artwork - who made it and is it important for you with a nice artwork?

Efraim: Artwork is of course important, it sets the vibe for the album, like a visual intro. This time it was made by the talented Felipe Machado Franco. He's known for his work with bands like Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, Rhapsody etc. so we knew what he was capable of. For the cover we wanted to incorporate the "Persuadagram" symbol with a maze-like theme. We sent suggestions back and forth until we settled for this one and I think it turned out really cool in the end. For the inlay artwork we gave him free hands to interpret the lyrics in his own way and I must say he did an amazing job.

PoM: Thanks a lot for your time and good luck. Do you have any last words to our readers on powerofmetal.dk?

Efraim: Thanks for your attention! If you like heavy music with strong melodies, make sure you check out The fiction maze, you won't be disappointed. Cheers!

Persuader - The Fiction Maze

Label: Inner Wound Recordings

Link: facebook.com/Persuader


Jens Carlsson - Vocals
Fredrik Hedstr÷m - Bass
Emil Norberg - Guitars
Daniel Sundbom - Guitars
Efraim Juntunen – Drums

The Hunter (2000)
Evolution Purgator (2004)

When Eden Burns (2006)
The Fiction Maze(2014)


Interviewed by Patrik J Skoglund