Infinite & Divine – The Power PositionTuesday, 7th February 2023
Active since 2019, Infinite & Divine is a melodic heavy metal/ hard rock act featuring multi-instrumentalist Jan Åkesson (known for his work in StoneLake) and vocalist Tezzi Persson, who also sings for Venus 5. Their debut album Silver Lining came out in 2021 to decent fanfare – resulting in the band playing their first show the following summer in 2022. We now have the follow-up album Ascendancy, another strong outing that showcases the diverse songwriting and talent present within these musicians. Combining influences from 70’s/80’s-oriented classic metal with a bit of a modern, groove-oriented template, Tezzi’s voice possesses the right depth, heart, and passion to pull off her melodies with total conviction
We reached out to Jan for a quick chat about the new record, the songwriting process, the background behind their “LARP” video shoot, thoughts on his development as a guitar player, favorite albums by Deep Purple, Thin Lizzy, and Van Halen, as well as future plans.
Dead Rhetoric: Ascendancy is the second album for Infinite & Divine. Where do you see the major differences in this set of material versus your debut Silver Lining album?
Jan Åkesson: I think Silver Lining was myself – I had a lot of tracks already written when I met Tezzi. But for this album Ascendancy, she had written all the melodies and lyrics for this (album). Outside of one song that was co-written with Jake E from Cyhra. Tezzi did the rest, and I write the musical tracks and produce.
Dead Rhetoric: When it comes to the songwriting for the collaboration, is she working on lyrics/melodies off your music first, or is it a little bit of both happening at the same time depending on the song?
Åkesson: No, I send her the backing tracks. Sometimes we tweak it. When she sings it, maybe I work with the track after that. That’s usually how we work.
Dead Rhetoric: Was there a certain level of confidence going in this time around to push each other in the right direction to get the most out of these songs?
Åkesson: We want the songs to be different from each other. Even different from Silver Lining. We don’t want to repeat ourselves too much, even if it does happen sometimes. We work on that – you listen to the material as an album, from song one to song eleven. Like in the old days.
Dead Rhetoric: Definitely. Some of the standout tracks, one of the best songs on the new album to me is “Silent Revolution”. What can you tell me about this track?
Åkesson: Thank you so much. I did the backing tracks, when I start I thought about this groove, we didn’t have this on Silver Lining. I sent it to Tezzi, and she liked it. She did her thing. It’s a little bit different from the other tracks.
Dead Rhetoric: How did the guest keyboard solo come about with Mikael Hylén in the opening track “Ashes to Ashes”?
Åkesson: We did a gig in August of last year, at a festival. And he was the keyboard player at the gig. I didn’t meet him before. I thought this was great, and I love the old Rainbow sound, from the Rising album. I asked him if he wanted to do a solo, and he wanted to do that. I think it turned out great. He’s a really great keyboard player.
Dead Rhetoric: Tell us about the video shoot for “LARP” – as it seemed like a very fun balance between performance footage and the first-person narrative action sequences that take place? Any interesting stories that took place behind the scenes?
Åkesson: Yeah, it’s David, Tezzi’s boyfriend, who shot the video. It’s both Tezzi’s and David’s vision, how it all should be. And it looks great, I think. They shot some things from a first-person perspective with VR-equipment. I wasn’t there for those scenes; I was only there when we did the live performance.
Dead Rhetoric: What makes an ideal, great song for Infinite & Divine? Are there certain qualities that need to be present from that initial spark that carry through to the final product – and do certain songs come easy to you versus others that just have to be refined for longer periods of time?
Åkesson: Songs like “Silent Revolution” took a longer time for me to do all the musical tracks. “Ashes to Ashes” and “LARP”, those are songs and styles that are more familiar to me to create.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel about the work of Frontiers Music and their promotional team in spreading the works of Infinite & Divine on a global scale?
Åkesson: I think Frontiers is doing well. I have nothing bad to say about them. They are doing what they said they shall do. So, it’s great.
Dead Rhetoric: You played your first gig over the summer last year – what are your memories surrounding this performance, and are you hoping to be able to play out a bit more for this album release schedule?
Åkesson: Yeah, it was great to play our songs finally. Because of the pandemic, it was meant for us to play the year before in 2021, but it was cancelled. It was very nice. We want to play more live, but we haven’t had time to sit down and discuss finding the gigs.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you enjoy most about Tezzi’s voice? She has a very eclectic range in her delivery of rock, metal, and bluesy tones?
Åkesson: I think she’s amazing. I love her soul, and the flow when she sings. I think it’s really, really great. She’s great to write melodies and lyrics as well. It’s nice and easy to work with her.
Dead Rhetoric: What are some hobbies, interests, and passions that you have away from music when you have the free time and energy to pursue them?
Åkesson: This is my hobby. I like to take a walk, hang out with my kids and my friends. That’s what I like.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you consider three of the most important hard rock/heavy metal albums personally to you? And what’s the best concert memory you ever had taking in a show, as a fan?
Åkesson: I think Deep Purple – Machine Head. Thin Lizzy – Renegade. Van Halen – Van Halen. There are so many albums, I have to save some. My concert memory is Whitesnake – Slide It In tour, in 1984. It was very cool. I remember that tour like it was yesterday.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you think your guitar playing as evolved from childhood to how you play today? Is your approach different now that you’ve had more seasoning and experience?
Åkesson: I have thought a lot about this. Playing for some years, but now I play as I play. I don’t think so much about it. There are great guitar players that are much, much better than I am. I don’t want to copy, because there are so many players. We don’t need one more in that regard. I like all the modern guitarists, but I can’t play like them. Sometimes I can practice and learn that stuff, but then I think, why? If you know what I mean? I am struggling with it, but now what comes out, comes out.
Dead Rhetoric: What’s on the horizon for Infinite & Divine or any other music-related activities that we can expect from each of you over the next year or so?
Åkesson: Hopefully, we can get gigs and out to play. I have started working on tracks for the next album. Tezzi is in Venus 5 as you know, she’s much busier than I am. We will do a third Infinite & Divine record.