Having just released a new album after 5 years of absence, Swedish melodic death metallers Skyfire are finally back. Time to get to know this band a bit better and to hear them out on why it took them so long to release a new album (be sure to read the review on that one on our website soon!). For now, here’s what bassist Martin Hanner had to say.
Hi there, how’s life?
‘Everything is just fine thanks and it feels great to finally be back on the metal scene.’
Please introduce yourself and your band.
‘My name is Martin Hanner and I am the bass player of Skyfire. We released our debut album Timeless Departure in 2001 and now we have just released our fourth full-length album Esoteric.’
How did you guys come up with this band name?
‘It was our former member Tobias Björk who came up with that name. I am not sure how or exactly when he did, but we all liked it. We wanted a short, cool sounding name and a name that we thought in some ways reflected our music. Skyfire turned out to be that name.’
If you had to compare your musical style to any other band, what would it be?
‘It’s always difficult to do a comparison like that, but I guess I would say that we are a mix of Dimmu Borgir, Embraced, Arcturus, Bal-Sagoth and Symphony X. Often we get compared to other melodic death metal bands like Children of Bodom and Norther, but I think our sound has more in common with the bands mentioned above than these last ones. Sure, we too use melodies and death metal vocals, but there is a huge difference between the style of melodies we use compared to these bands. And that’s what a lot of people don’t seem to understand that even if bands play music of the same genre, there can still be a lot of stuff in the music that separates the bands from each other. I mean, there isn’t just one type of melody, there are thousands of them. Same thing goes for orchestral arrangements and rhythm guitar riffs.’
What instrument do you play (brand & type)?
‘When I write music for Skyfire I usually use the guitar or my keyboard. I have to two guitars; one Peavey Tracer and one Schecter (Demon). Both 6-strings. The keyboard I use is a Korg X5d. I also have a 4-string J & D Brothers bass guitar, but I usually use a 5-string bass guitar when we play live.’
Tell us about writing and recording Esoteric, did it turn out the way you wanted?
‘Well, yes and no. After releasing 3 previous albums we have learned that it almost never turns out exactly the way you want it to and that is both good and bad. But I have to say that we are pleased with the end result of Esoteric. For me personally, this is the first album we have released where I don’t want to change anything in the songs. With earlier releases, sometimes I have felt like maybe we shouldn’t use that riff in there, but then there wasn’t any time to change it. This time we used our own studio and therefore we had time to write songs without the pressure of feeling that we had to get the songs done before we entered the studio.’
How did you come up with the title for the album?
‘I think the name Esoteric came up pretty early but it was first when Joakim Karlsson (vocals) had finished some of the lyrics and we had the idea for the cover set, as we decided that we should go with Esoteric. It just felt right in relation to the music, cover art and the lyrics.’
Why did it take five years for Skyfire to write a new album?
‘That has to do with the fact that two of our former members decided to quit the band and move on with their lives so we had to start searching for replacements. During this time we also got the news that our current label at the time, Arise Records, had gone bankrupt. So not only did we have to find two new members, we also had to start writing new material so that we could send out promos to new labels. When we signed with Pivotal Rockordings it more than anything felt like a fresh start, so we decided not to rush anything and instead take it slow and do things right.’
What steps in your career are you most proud of?
‘I remember that we were really proud after releasing our debut album Timeless Departure. But I think that is something special in every band’s career, the first time you release anything. Another thing that we are really proud of is when we got to do the gig in South Korea on Busan Rock Festival in 2003. It still feels like a dream when I think back to that.
What goals would you still like to achieve?
‘We have a lot of dreams that we would like to achieve. For example to play at more festivals, tour the US, to be able to live of the music and so on. But when it comes down to it, either of those things don’t really matter if you don’t succeed in your strive to become a better musician, have fun and to write better songs. So I guess those things are the real goals, everything else that comes along with it, is just a great bonus.’
What’s the most precious thing you would give up for landing a great record deal and/or lots of publicity?
‘To be honest I don’t think we would give up anything at all. Except for the fact that we usually dress in black, love parties and music there isn’t that much more to us. And to give up something of those things would be insane, because that’s what makes us the ones we are. To work really hard is one thing, but to change things so that you become something that you are not is something completely different and not anything we are prepared to do.’
Please share your touring/future plans with us.
‘We have a UK tour coming up in November and after that we will try to confirm some gigs in Sweden before the end of this year. Hopefully we will be able to do one or two additional tours in the beginning of next year before we start focusing on the next album.’
Anything left to say to our readers? Here’s your chance!
‘I hope you will dig our new album, Esoteric, and that I will get to see you guys on tour!
Thank you very much for your time and good luck in the future!
‘Thanks a lot!’
Martin Hanner of Skyfire