Manimal – Breaking FreeTuesday, 19th January 2016
Dead Rhetoric: What type of rituals or exercises do you use to warm up your voice- as I’d imagine you aren’t belting out the highs within the title track after just waking up…?
Nyman: (laughs) No, not actually after waking up. I know that as a singer I should do something to warm up, and when I do go on stage I do something before. I try to warm up by just singing, but I don’t have any special exercises that I use. Before I tour now I will meet up with a vocal coach, I have met her a couple of times before. I will try to have her teach me some serious warm up exercises. Especially on tour it’s more important when you have to be on stage every night 17 nights in a row.
Dead Rhetoric: In one of your studio reports we saw you explain that it’s important to not have cold feet when recording vocals. Any other superstitions that you or the other members of Manimal have to achieve optimal recordings?
Nyman: (laughs). No, I don’t think so. It’s always a struggle to find that special take when you record. The more you record, the danger with doing many takes on maybe one small part of a song is that for each take you tend to lose the magic. And then it’s important to come back to that part later on if you can’t find the feeling. In my studio I often turn the lights down, because I want to get that dark feeling. Even though my bear footwear was more of a joke in the video, but the floor in my home studio is really cold so I have to use some sort of footwear to keep myself warm.
Dead Rhetoric: Between the two album covers a heart theme appears consistent – coincidence or special significance to Manimal as a whole?
Nyman: Both album covers, none of them was a coincidence. The first album with the four hearts hanging on with hooks, actually was symbolic for the four of us in the band. When you release an album, you flash yourself for the audience. The heart on a hook is like we are giving away our hearts for the audience to look at, revealing a part of ourselves. At some point we were afraid that it would be too ‘gory’ or maybe black metal, it ended up really nice though. For the new album Trapped in the Shadows, we wanted to establish some kind of mascot for Manimal. So we thought around this, we didn’t just want a figure that was cool looking, we wanted something symbolic. We made this figure our own Manimal, half man, half jackal, just like the old Egyptian mythology. This Anubis, the guy who is breaking the death to Osiris to be judged before entering either heaven or hell. So the heart and the feather is symbolic for waving both in his hands to see where he will enter when you die. There we use one of the hearts from the first album, we thought it was cool to have this red line between the albums. We wanted to have less colors if possible to have the red heart stick out a little bit. We spent several hours discussing the ideas- it was illustrated by Mattias Norén, who has done artwork for Evergrey plus Kamelot, and we love his work. He has a lot of progressive touches in his illustrations. He helped us to realize this vision we had of this figure. Our figure is not exactly like Anubis, we wanted him to have these worn wings, bat wings or dragon wings.
Dead Rhetoric: You’ll be touring across Europe in a couple of months with Orden Ogan and Mystic Prophecy – what can the fans expect from Manimal and are you familiar with both band’s catalogs?
Nyman: I’m familiar with Orden Ogan, Mystic Prophecy I have listened to but not the whole catalog. I like both bands, I think that Orden Ogan is a very interesting band- a mixture of power metal and folk music. I like them both, Mystic Prophecy has a progressive touch that really appeals to me. The combo here with the three bands is great, the Orden Ogan audience will appreciate our music as well. It’s a perfect trio without being three similar bands- we are in the same genre but sound different. All three bands have sounds that fans of each band can appreciate. I think it will be great on this tour, we will gain many fans and I hope we will bring some fans to discover Mystic Prophecy and Orden Ogan as well.
Dead Rhetoric: Did you also have the support of your family when it came to your music career? And is it difficult to balance a band life with a work/personal life trying to build Manimal up?
Nyman: Yes, of course. Ever since we released our first album the music is taking up more and more of my spare time. It’s a must to have backup from your family, if my wife wouldn’t agree to what I do it would be impossible. I know many colleagues and friends who are musicians have quit their bands because it takes too much time and may not have the same back up from home. You always struggle with this putting down too much time on music versus family. Myself and Henrik have found a balance, Kenny has a daughter too so we find some sort of balance in life. If it takes off now with this album we may have to decide if we will continue our day jobs or hold back on a music career. It’s a never ending struggle to combine your life with a music career.
Dead Rhetoric: Can you give us your top three metal albums of all-time, and what concert(s) as an audience member left a lasting impression upon you?
Nyman: Judas Priest – Painkiller. Every song, I don’t skip one song. There isn’t one guitar solo I don’t want to listen to. It’s a piece of art. Second I would say Dream Theater – Images and Words. That’s a great combination of melodies and vocal harmonies- metal riffs and rhythms. And third I would say Queensrÿche – Rage for Order. I’ve spent many hours listening to that album in particular. I loved also The Warning and Operation: Mindcrime of course, but that album has a special place in part. When it comes to live shows- when I saw AC/DC for the first time here in Gothenburg. It was on their Ballbreaker tour – it was my first big arena concert. I can’t remember how old I was, that had a big impact on me- the wrecking ball on stage, that left an impact on me and big impressions.
Dead Rhetoric: Where do you see the current state of heavy/power metal in the world? Are things healthy considering the number of bands and outlets available to promote your efforts – or is it tough to see the cream rising to the top?
Nyman: It’s hard to reach through. There are so many great bands and everyone wants to get heard. I think it’s as long as it’s quality, there are so many people on this Earth I think we have even more room for bands. The business is trying to adjust to how people consume music nowadays. The albums will probably be less important in the future. I am one of those who still listens to complete albums, but (most younger people) pick their favorite songs and make playlists. The metal scene of today is awesome, so many great bands. When I was younger I saw those bands as competitors, but I don’t do that anymore. I see them more as colleagues and I am happy for the bands that make it- especially the ones who work hard. You hope that someday it will be your turn, maybe with this album we have put so much heart and soul into it this could be our chance to break through the swirl of music out there.
Dead Rhetoric: Within your own country the extreme/melodic death metal scene got the lion’s share of attention in the 1990’s, is it hard to establish yourselves as a straight, more power metal oriented band in Sweden?
Nyman: No, because I think the scene in Sweden for heavy and power metal is as big as the scene for heavier metal genres. The German market is the biggest market for our kind of music, but there is a major interest in Sweden for the music that we make. Sweden has so many great, heavier metal bands- it just makes us stand out more when we come with our more traditional heavy metal music. At any of the Swedish metal festivals, people will stop and say ‘hey what is this? This is not death metal!’. So we stand out from the average Swedish metal band.
Dead Rhetoric: Tell us what to expect from Manimal over the next 12 months?
Nyman: You can expect some major touring, we will support this with a show that’s special in a theater. We will do this with Circus Maximus, and then we will do a March and April tour with Orden Ogan and Mystic Prophecy. Hopefully there will be some summer festivals, and after that we will focus on our next album so it won’t take another six years to finish it. We will mainly be on the road this year. USA and Japan are two childhood dreams to someday come over and play. Especially we have heard so many great things about ProgPower USA in Atlanta. It would be awesome to do a tour in all of the USA as well.
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