Danhage, Henrik (Evergrey) (October 2004)

An Interview With Henrik Danhage

Sweden's Evergrey have, to date, released 5 five albums, the latest, this year's Inner Circle. Contributor Joshua Turner recently spoke with guitarist Henrik Danhage.

Joshua Turner: I hear you were recently on tour with Iced Earth.

Henrik Danhage: Yeah.

JT: How did that tour go?

HD: I would say it was the best tour ever so far that we done. Er, we shared buses and that was great. The shows were sold out and we had a very good show up every night as well. It was all good. We saw a lot of American guys and Iced Earth liked us so much they asked us if we wanted to do the whole European tour as well, which we are going to do. Yeah, it was just peachy.

EvergreyJT: That's great? I'm seeing in one of your latest albums Recreation Day that you also did a Swedish Rock festival. When did that take place and how did that go?

HD: When was that?

JT: Actually, it says here December 12th, 2002.

HD: Yeah, we did Sweden Rock in 2002. That was good. We went there two times. I really thought that we were going to play there this year, because we were one of the biggest metal bands in Sweden. It kind of bummed me out, but on the other hand, I'm in here in Europe now, so I really don't give a fuck. It was a good festival and it keeps getting bigger and bigger and yeah it was good. It is nice to have those things in Sweden.

JT: I'm wondering, how did you meet your band mates.

HD: I wasn't present on the first two CD's and at the time Tom [Englund, vocals/guitar] was working this big music store in G?teburg. I bought a lot of shit there and you know hung in there. We just hung out, smoked some cigarettes, took coffee, and shit like that when he was working. We just became buddies. He told me at one point that they were having problems with the band and they were going to give me a call.

I said, okay, whatever. I had my band at the time. It wasn't really going anywhere, so when the former guitarist [Dan Bronell] decided to quit, he phoned me up, I went over, and we just clicked musically as well. So it started off as a buddy band. After that, we had, when there was line-up changes, we replaced them with people we don't know to start. As far as Rikard [Zander - keyboards], we didn't have a clue. He just turned out to be a very cool guy and an amazing keyboard player, so we kept him. Jonas [Ekdahl], the new drummer, he was the drum tech. He was like Patrick [Carlsson]'s drum tech. By the time he was 18 or something like that, I think he had done like over 45 gigs with us in the drum section. That was a really smooth transition. Patrick just phoned up Jonas. Do you want the gig? Just show that you can deliver it we asked, because we already knew that he was a great guy even though he's so much younger, like 10 years younger than me. Yeah, that's basically about it. Tom found Michael [Hakansson[, the bass player, because he thought he looked cool. [we laugh] He turned out to be a cool guy. He's good. It's a good line-up now, it's very solid, and hopefully it will last.

JT: You have any plans for another album now or is it too soon to think about it?

Inner CircleHD: I don't want to see a studio now, but a live CD should be the next most logical thing to do. Inner Circle was the like the last CD on InsideOut as well and all in all in our contract, so we'll see what happens.

JT: Who would you say are your influences?

HD: Personal?

JT: Yeah, personal or musical.

HD: I started out with Kiss, probably like all fucking kids. Kiss is still very big. As far as metal, the next band that I got into was called Loudness, a Japanese band. Then I had a wild era with all the shrapnels, the guitar dudes, we hung out. I really enjoyed that for awhile there. Basically, I really like the extreme metal, more aggressive, really like Pantera when they were out, Machine Head, Meshuggah is one of my all-time favorite bands. I always liked a lot of those Punk Metal bands like Ratt and Lynch Mob, then I have all those, the others, like Jeff Buckley and Sting. People with good songs. I like good riffing, but focusing on songs.

JT: Looking at the album Recreation Day again. It is a very interesting mix of ideas with some metal. There is a dichotomy of ideas between some of the heavier stuff along with some of the lighter stuff like the title song "Recreation Day." Can you explain your songwriting process, who does what, in terms of lyrics and the music, and how your music is actually put together?

HD: Tom does all the lyrics. We've done very, very, very few exceptions. He is like, totally, 98% is Tom. We like to shake it out so it is cool with everybody, but he has total freedom there. I really connect to what he is writing, he is the best man for the job. For the music, it all depends. I'd say basically it is about riffs and parts. I present the best riff or part to the band, we're using the software Pro Tools and we all work on it in the band. It is very easy to synthesize the album, put up some drum patterns, and whatever, an electric bass, and the guitarist. It is much cooler to present an idea that way instead of learn my riff to four guys. If they don't know the riffs, they are not going to, it is not going to be justified. You know, it is not going to be presented the right way that I want it instead of I just sit the four guys down and I have a finished idea. Because they can say this is good or this is not good. If four guys say it is not good, then it is not good for everybody. We have a very brutal, but easy way to work, especially if we get outnumbered. If three say yes and two say no, it is yes. It doesn't matter which say yes or no, we are all equal. We are not the kind of band to sit and jam. We never do that. We don't even rehearse. We hate to do that, you know, it is a fucking drag. We only rehearse when we have to rehearse, prior to a gig or whatever, because we've done it enough. I love to play music, but I hate to just practice for the sake of practice. When we do that, we always break go. It is not like we meet on a Thursday, drink beers, and jam. We not do that at all.

JT: Speaking of the album Recreation Day, what is that album all about. I'm looking at the lyrics and it has a spiritual take on things. I'm wondering what are some of the ideas that are trying to be expressed in that album?

HD: On Recreation Day?

JT: Yeah.

HD: The main theme is based on loss, different kinds of loss. It can be love, it can be somebody close to you. Basically, get up and get on with life. That is like the main theme I would say with the exception of "Unforgivable," the last song, which is all about Catholic priests molesting a child. That's basically the theme of that CD in my world.

JT: How did you come up with the name Recreation Day for that album and what is that particular track specifically about?

HD: It is like re-create your soul.

JT: Oh.

HD: We are getting to the point in our life, guys who are starting hitting the thirties you know.

JT: Yeah.

HD: This is when a lot of things start to happen. A lot of friends get married. It is very usual that one of the grandparents and the older people around you starts to die. You go into another step of your life when you really have to deal with loss in a natural way. There are a lot of people out there that have lost a lot of people even before they are twenty, but like if life has a natural way, this is the time when all that shit starts to happen.

JT: True.

HD: Parents are going to pass away and it is hard. It is hard to know that. One day my mom is not going be here. It is [phew] hard. I freak out when I think about it.

JT: Yeah.

[long pause]

JT: So, how did you come up with the name Evergrey for your band?

HD: That was back in the days when the guys didn't have any jobs. We just, like, went off to the store and stole some food you know, just to have something to eat. As Tom describes it, it was just a big grey void of nothing. Not like surviving the day, but just take you through the day so you can fucking go to sleep and wake up and do the same shit the next day. It was all grey, so we came up with the name Evergrey. It's good and now we're stuck with it.

JT: How did you learn to play the guitar and when did that start? Can you just tell me about that, how you chose that instrument?

HD: We started when, uh, I think I got my first guitar from my biological dad's stepson when I was seven. I got one home, an electric one. I just had it. The first thing I do was chop off the strings because they were in the way. I was just playing to, especially to Kiss Alive. The first one. That was a good CD to play along with, you know, when you didn't have any strings on the guitar. When I was nine I started in this band with some buddies in my class. So we rehearsed one hour every week. I think we did it for three to four years. We didn't get that good, because I've never been the one who likes to practice. It is much easier to do the playback stuff at home with the Kiss CDs. When I was fifteen, I started to get into guitar playing and actually start spending time with the instrument. I have been playing forever, but I've been a lazy fuck. I mean, in my whole life, I think I've been in three bands. Evergrey is my fourth. I've never been, like, a band whore, jumped around for any that looks better. I was never one of those guys who jumped on another band just to record or demo or whatever. I always stay very loyal to all the friends around me. When I got this chance to, I always wanted to work with Tom, especially since his voice. I really felt we could be doing something great with bands. He has a voice that really sets us apart from all the other bands. Our strongest weapon is Tom's voice. I'm really glad to have that in my band, a great singer.

JT: What's the last CD that you purchased?

HD: Oh, what was that? Actually it was this, I think they are from Belgium or Holland. A band named Kay's Choice. I bought that one like two to three days ago. No, actually I got it... I got that one and the latest Therion as well. The last that I bought, I went to a record store and bought the latest Machine Head and I bought the latest Deftones. That was two very good CDs. The Deftones definitely is a big influence. Oh well, I feel ashamed I forgot them. White Pony is a great CD. I don't like when they were doing the Adidas rock stuff. As far as a moody band, fucking Deftones rule in my book.

JT: What's the last concert that you attended as a fan?

HD: Opeth, G&oum;teburg, a couple months ago. Opeth is great as well. Yeah, Opeth.

JT: Could you say you recall any Spinal Tap moments?


JT: I find this comes to somebody right away or they just don't understand the question.

HD: Yeah, I understand the question. I mean, [when] we were playing in Anaheim [, that] was kind of Spinal Tapish. They woke me up like 25 minutes before the gig. I was all fucking bombed out. I got up. I didn't have time to do anything. I just got in my street clothes. I grabbed some smoked salmon. I rushed down, because I was the last one I thought. I'm coming down and fucking Rikard isn't there. He isn't even in the fucking venue. The intro kicks off, you know, and we were like "What the fuck are we going to do?" I mean, he's not here. He comes down running. He barely made it. That felt kind of Spinal Tapish. Within 24 minutes before the gig, two of the guys aren't even there.

JT: Wow! That is close.

HD: Yeah. The other guys, they weren't happy. [he laughs] We had to buy them beer the whole night, me and Rickard, and drinks and shit.

JT: I'm going to ask you some of your favorites. What would you say is your favorite movie?

HD: Oh, I was thinking I'd go for The Game. Michael Douglas, Sean Penn. I really like that one a lot. Lord Of The Rings and The Godfather. Just a single movie, I really like The Game. I think it is kind of creepy.

JT: That is a good one. Also, what would you say is your favorite book?

HD: The Dirt. Motley Crue's, the biography of Motley. That was really a book that had all the things from just laughing and showing the guys, to the whole incident over Vince Neal writing about when he lost his daughter and father. The Dirt.

JT: What would you say is your favorite album?

HD: None by Meshuggah. A second I would say is Grace by Jeff Buckley.

JT: What would you say is your favorite band? I know it is hard to narrow down to just one.

HD: My favorite band would be Eat Them And Smile - the first lineup with The David Lee Roth Band. As far as a band, they looked like a fucking band. They had the chops. I mean, that was a great band.

JT: I actually ask this of everybody just to kind of have an original question. Do you have any pets?

HD: Any?

JT: Yeah.

HD: Any pets?

JT: Yeah.

HD: Yeah, I have a little Mexican pet hare named Sarah. He he he. No. I don't have any pets.

JT: [laughs]

DH: If I would like be home more and living somewhere out of the city, I would like to have some dogs. I really love dogs.

JT: Yeah that seems to be the pattern with a lot of artists. They are on the road so much and the studio so much that they just don't have the time, but it seems to be the kind of personality that would like to have them.

HD: It would be really nice having a big ass aquarium as well. Check that out instead of just looking at the stupid TV all the time when I have the time off. An aquarium would be nice as well.

JT: Is there anything you would like to say to your fans at this time?

HD: I'm just glad that they took the time to check this out. I and the rest of the guys are grateful for people taking the time to find out things about us. I hope you like the new CD and check it out if you haven't. There's some, a lot different things, probably something for everybody there. Check it out.

The Dark Discovery (1998)
Solitude*Dominance*Tragedy (1999)
In Search Of Truth (2001)
Recreation Day (2003)
Inner Circle (2004)
A Night To Remember (2005)
Monday Morning Apocalypse (2006)
Torn (2008)
Glorious Collision (2011)
A Decade And Half (2011)
Hymns For The Broken (2014)

A Night To Remember (2005) (DVD)

Added: October 19th 2004
Interviewer: Joshua "Prawg Dawg" Turner

Artist website: www.evergrey.net
Hits: 1561
Language: english

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