Raymond Westland of The Midlands Rocks recently conducted an interview with bassist Johan Niemann of Swedish metallers EVERGREY.
A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
The Midlands Rocks: Things haven't been easy for EVERGREY in the last couple of years. What happened?
Johan: For starters, Hannes Van Dahl [former drummer] received an offer he couldn't refuse. He was approached to join SABATON and he turned to us and he asked what he should do. He was 23 at the time and he still his whole career ahead of him, so, of course, he should join them. SABATON is very much on the up and up and we weren't doing much at the time. We told Hannes to join them, otherwise we could kick him out. Marcus wasn't very much into our kind of music anymore in the end, so he left as well. He had a lot of other side projects going on, including AVATARIUM. For us it was time to get back to the drawing board, so to speak.
The Midlands Rocks: At some point Henrik Danhage and Jonas Ekdahl rejoined the fold again. How did this come about?
Johan: Actually, we had some festivals lined up, but we didn't had a drummer and a second guitar player. Those two festivals were booked when Hannes and Marcus were still in the band. Since Tom was still in contact with Henrik and Jonas it was a no-brainer to ask them to help us out. They knew the material, so it was an easy fit, but they were only there to help us out during those two festivals. It felt really good having them in the band again and it all worked marvellously. This also opened this small window of opportunity for them to rejoin EVERGREY on a more permanent basis.
The Midlands Rocks: So what was the pivotal moment when they actually said yes?
Johan: That was much further down the line. We already had a couple of new songs written and we were entertaining the idea to hire Jonas as a session drummer and Tom handling all the guitar duties. Basically, anything to just get a record out. Tom had a lot of talks with him and Henrik as well which resulted into them rejoining the band again.
The Midlands Rocks: This brings us to "Hymns For The Broken", the new album. It's an intensely personal record as it reflects Tom Englund's personal struggles. Can you share some light on that?
Johan: Tom went through some very rough times. He hit the proverbial wall; he was more or less burned out. The lyrics reflect all the thoughts and emotions he went through in order to get his life on track again. It also handles about losing your identity, the person you thought you were and what happened when you lose that sense of security and how you slowly rebuild your own persona again one step at a time. Like you said, "Hymns For The Broken" is a very personal and intense record.