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From TRANSATLANTIC to THE FLOWER KINGS: A Day In the Life of ROINE STOLT

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Although he is credited with helping to initiate prog’s resurgence in the 90’s with his band The Flower Kings, Roine Stolt first made his mark in the mid-70s by joining Kaipa as a teenager. His vast wealth of experience has come full circle this past decade as he has recorded and toured with some of his heroes such as Steve Hackett and Jon Anderson, while also being a key player and instigator of other bands like The Sea Within, Agents of Mercy and Kaipa de Capo. His celebrated band Transatlantic, with band mates Neal Morse, Pete Trewavas and Mike Portnoy has released four epic albums since 2000 and is currently preparing their fifth recording.

In this article we discuss Stolt’s return from the initial 10-day Transatlantic writing and recording session, and delve into the “Waiting for Miracles” album that The Flower Kings are set to release on November 8th. Always a delight to talk with amidst this whirlwind of activity, Stolt gives insights to the current state of his bands, as well as the state of the world. There’s a lot on the horizon for fans of The Flower Kings and Transatlantic, and this interview will help prepare you for what’s to come.

You can read the transcription below, listen to and watch the streaming audio slideshow, or enjoy the audio in your favorite podcast player. And as usual remember to subscribe our social media channels to be notified about new interviews and contents we publish on a daily basis.

Slideshow photographs by Rock en Fotos – Víctor Spinelli Fotografía and Isabelle Sanchis

INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT

Welcome everybody. This is Scott Medina for Sonic Perspectives. We’ve got a new Flower King’s album coming out later this month. And so it’s the perfect time to talk with Roine Stolt about this new album and everything else going on in your world. Welcome to the call of Roine!

Thank you! Thank you for having me.

Are you back at home right now…are we talking to you as you’re at home?

Oh, absolutely, I’m at home! I actually arrived about an hour ago from the southern part of Sweden where I spent 10 days recording…again! [laughs]Not with Flower Kings this time, but with Transatlantic. We’re working on the fifth album and I just finished that today and just arrived home. Only to start new interviews!

Welcome back! Wow, from one project to another.

Yeah, I know, I know. Crazy! It is crazy.

So how did those sessions go? You said 10 days you were recording?

Yeah. Or I would say it was probably more like a writing session, per se, because we get together and we throw all these ideas on the table. You know, we play a little bit, we jam a little bit and like magic after 10 days we have like 70 minutes of music! It’s a different way of writing music or communicating. I mean, normally people would send stuff on the internet but there’s something happening when we actually get together and we’re in the same room. I think that’s more like in the old days; we actually like to be in the same room because there’s something happening, the chemistry is different being in the same room, than sending files back and forth.

So you really didn’t send material out to each other ahead of time?

Well, I did. But I think I got something from Neal just one day before I left here to go to the studio. So I didn’t hear much, you know. And Pete may have sent something a couple of days before we got together also. So there hasn’t been an awful lot of time for us to digest the music, really. So it’s another way of working. Whatever works, you know, if there’s music coming out of it, it’s all good.

Oh, absolutely. And you guys have quite the track record already for succeeding that format. So what does that actually look like? You’ve spent 10 days together, you’ve been writing…and at the end of that do you have a certain amount that’s actually been recorded? Has the whole album been written at this point and maybe only parts of it recorded or where are you at?

Well, the album is the written. But then possibly Mike will re-track some of the drums. Pete may re-track a little bit of the bass. Neal will get home and he will probably look over what kind of keyboard sounds will be used for certain sections. And basically the same thing for me. I go home and then I pick whatever guitar I think would work: acoustic guitars, electrics, or different kind of sounds and electric sounds that can be used for certain sections. And then we start building the dynamics of the album, because sometimes it’s small, sometimes it’s super big, sometimes it has one voice and sometimes we are thinking of many layers of voices or choirs and stuff like that. So it’s sort of a template that we can work from. I know it’s a strange way of working, but this is sort of the skeleton or the steel construction that we will build on top of, where we’ll put all the glorious marble or, woodworks on top of it, or the feathers or the colors. So that’s the way we work and today you can do that because of computers and stuff like that.

So you have the album pretty much written now and maybe the skeleton of the drums and the bass are already recorded and now you just go in and add from there. You build it up from there.

Yup! Yeah, I mean, even the guitars…I bet there’s probably like 30% or 35% of the guitar that I’ve already put down that will be used. I will sit down now and listen to what sounds I like and if I maybe want to put the Stratocaster on that one, maybe there’s gonna be some acoustic or some 12 string or some slide guitar, lap steel or ukulele or whatever! All different kinds of stringed instruments. And even I play some keyboards too, so there’s going to be mellotrons and stuff put in there once we have the song structures that we have now constructed in the studio.

So how did it feel to be in back with the guys or are you excited? Is this a regenerate rejuvenating for, for you guys now?

It’s exciting and it’s kind of strange because you can feel the pressure to come up with something that’s, you know…I personally feel like “The Whirlwind” is probably our best album and would be sort of the benchmark album for me and I’m kind of scared to see if we can come up with something that is equally great as “The Whirlwind”. Maybe we can, but it’s too early to tell. And that sort of the goal: to make something that’s even greater. I mean, for every band that’s the way it works. Step in and try your best. That’s all you can do.

Do you have hopes that that this fifth one might reach that bar of “The Whirlwind”, from what you’ve heard already?

[think for a moment]I couldn’t tell. I’m always very careful to say too much. And, I mean it goes for Transatlantic or for Flower Kings or anything I’m working on. Some people will say, “Oh, this is the greatest album we have done ever!” And I hope it is, but you never know. So it’s like, then you’re looking back and then you can maybe say in the case of the Flower Kings, I’ll say, “Okay, maybe ‘Stardust We Are’ is my favorite album or ‘Unfold the Future’. Those are sort of the peaks. And then there’s some other really good albums as well.”

So I’m curious, I know that most of you in Transatlantic, except for Pete, got to play on Cruise to the Edge last February. Did being together there help to inspire you to maybe finally start moving towards recording that fifth album?

I don’t know, really. It just happened to be that we were all on the boat. It was Mike‘s idea. If I’d be 100% honest, I think things like that are not really what I think is… Well, I always want to go in and I want to be really prepared with a sound crew that knows the band because it’s kind of complicated with all the setup with guitars and voices and keyboards and so we need a good monitor system. To just go up and play something like that doesn’t really come off the way you hope. I mean, it’s fun. I understand it’s great for the audience, but I think as far as the quality of the music…If you go up as a band like Transatlantic, then I think it should be well-rehearsed. But that’s just by my personal view. It’s always nice to meet the guys and play together, but I’d rather do it under very sort of controlled forms of rehearsing and with the sound crew. So you can actually play the music well, that’s all.

Sure. And so for this new recording, do you have a sense how long it might take? When are you aiming for a release date? And I know all of you are on board that Cruise to the Edge again next March.

We hope to finish up the recording this year. But then there’s gonna probably be mixing over the beginning of next year and that means possibly a release sometime next summer or end of next summer. That’s what I think is realistic.

So let’s dive into the new Flower Kings album that’s coming out “Waiting for Miracles”. So it seems like this phrase ‘waiting for miracles’ is woven throughout much of the album. What’s behind that phrase and using it as the album title?

Well using it as an album title was something that, uh, when you have a collection of songs and in the middle of making of demos and backing tracks at the studio and just trying to get these tracks done, every now and then over dinner or something you’re having talks about anything from artwork to the album title or what should we name the songs. Because the song titles that you have on the album are actually not the song titles that we have as the working titles. Those could be something else, you know? But then someone in the band just suggested a few possible album titles, and it seemed like the majority felt like ‘waiting for miracles’ (which was probably taken from one of the song lyrics) was something that was fitting. If you look at the album as a whole you could say that a lot of the lyrics are kind of pessimistic and like a reflection of the state of what we see today in the world in many places. And so, in a way, we’re sort of waiting for things to get better, maybe we’re waiting for miracles. I think that was the basic idea.

And then we have the track “Miracles for America”.

Yeah. Do you think…do you live in America?

I do, I’m in Colorado.

Colorado. Yeah, yeah. Colorado is nice. I love Colorado! But I mean, how do you feel? I mean, without getting too much into politics, how do you feel about the state of things? Because it was interesting now with bringing in Transatlantic again, because we never talked politics before in this band. I thought the guys were completely uninterested in politics. But now it seemed like one of the first things we talked about when getting together! We talked about politics and of course American politics and the guy in the office, you know. So that seemed to be interesting to them also now. We’re all watching, and we’re very aware of the situation and so you can’t really look away. Even if we’re in Europe, you know, and even if we’re in Sweden. And Sweden has been saved from conflicts for the last couple of a hundred years, whereas other parts of Europe have had problematic times, with a world war. We did stay out of the world war, for the first and the second one. And even even before that. So Sweden hasn’t been really involved in any conflicts. And it’s a good place to live, but we can sense it even here. You know, it’s like things are changing and the world is a little bit colder now than it was even like 30 years ago. So we’re just watching from here, you know.

Yeah. It’s telling that you guys in Transatlantic did start talking about that immediately. And of course you’ve woven some politics into your music all along, but people like Neal don’t really do that though in Marillion they do to an extent. But yeah, it’s very much at the fore and I like that phrase, actually. I think at this point we are waiting for a miracle. We do need some miracles in America for sure as things are getting more and more ramped up.

Yeah, yeah. We’re certainly waiting for something to happen, but something’s got to happen very, very soon, rather sooner than later, if you know what I mean, before everything is lost. And I think it will, but we’re just hoping. Even if you look now at the album cover, you see this elephant and I think it was interesting because this is actually a guy from Colorado that made the album cover (Kevin Sloan). And I wasn’t aware of him. I just happened to go online and search for things and then suddenly you find something and say, “Oh, that’s nice. That’s nice.” And I started looking at his page, his paintings, because he’s someone that paints with a brush on canvas. So it’s not like he’s making stuff up on a computer. So my aim was to have something that was sort of handcrafted that was real. Because many album covers now are computer generated. You can do fantastic stuff. But I like the handmade approach of someone who could actually paint and is a real artist in that sense. So I found all his elephants and the other stuff he does with butterflies and fish, lots of animals. Sometimes you get stuck on certain things, you know, but he has some favorite motifs that he comes back to. So this elephant you can find in different environments and different shapes and forms. But I found this one with the elephant standing on the house of cards. And I felt: this is what’s happening right now with like with global warming and everything. This elephant is standing on the house of cards, but it doesn’t work out, really! It works out for a couple of seconds. But soon the cards are gonna just fold! The other painting that’s inside the album cover is like a globe, our planet and it’s hanging on a very thin thread and there are swirling butterflies around it. These are beautiful paintings, but also there’s something about them that goes well with the lyrics I think. So I tried to pick from what he had. I tried to pick certain things that I felt like matched the theme. The other one is an octopus watching this treasure trove. So it goes well with the pirate theme for “Black Flag” but also as someone watching and guarding this treasure trove, you know, the money and all that. So we tried to pick a few things that sort of did work out with the lyrical content of the album, but still they’re great paintings and there’s like a certain vibe and they’re actually hand painted. So that was the aim, to try to be a little bit different than what we have done and what other bands do also.

Looking at the music on the album, there’s many gorgeous pieces of lead guitar as usual, on tracks like “The Rebel Circus” and “The Bridge”. Do you approach your guitar playing differently depending on who is in the band?

It’s all very spontaneous and I don’t think much about it really. Every now and then maybe I can think, Oh, maybe I shouldn’t go too heavy here or maybe I shouldn’t play too fast, or maybe I should have this kind of sound that would fit the song, you know? But generally I just plug in and play whatever comes to mind because I think it works that way. Not a lot of thought goes into it. I think it usually works best to kind of have the subconscious working for me. It doesn’t matter if it’s this band or The Sea Within or if I’m playing with Jon Anderson or whatever. I try to just go with what feels right at the moment and then hopefully other people like it, too. So that’s the approach I had recording these songs too. And sometimes I may look back and I think, “Oh wow, there’s not a lot of guitar in there, it’s kind of keyboard oriented.” And I tend to indulge in the keyboard layers and stuff like that too and then I think, Oh, where did my guitar go? Oh, come on, I’m a guitar player. I gotta put some guitar in there, you know. But, we try to find the balance that’s nice and that works. The signature sound lies in the orchestration, but also of course in my guitar playing and also in our voices, mine and Hasse’s. So, that’s part of the sound, too.

As you’re writing the material, at what point do you know whether you are going to be the lead vocalist or Hasse?

Ah, that’s pretty spontaneous, too. I just write the songs. I think of certain things, like Oh, this will be him because Hasse has a higher range than me, quite a bit actually. So he can hit those really high notes. I can’t, but I can sing the lower notes with more power than he can. So in a way it’s a perfect match for covering the lower register all the way up to the super high. Usually he just comes here to my studio and I just play the songs to him and I may suggest, Oh, what if you sang this? You know, how does that feel for you? And he tries and says, Oh yeah, that works. That’s a perfect key. And it sounds right. And it, uh, it feels okay for him to sing as far as the lyrics and everything. So we’re not a band that plans everything, really. I wouldn’t say we’re jamming because there’s an idea, but we’re trying to go with the impulse you get. I put on the tape, run a song, we hear it, I point out maybe What if you did this, sing the verse or sing the chorus here? A he sings it and we just look at each other and we’re just nodding and say Okay, let’s do it. And I just press “record” and we go! Then you can hear it back and say, Oh yeah, this is great. Or maybe you hear it back the next day and say, Hmm, that didn’t really work out, you know. So it’s very spontaneous, I would say.

With this lineup for the band, you and Jonas and Hasse are now joined by Zach and Mirko on drums. You were all able to tour for a while in the past year. Did being able to do a lot of live gigs together benefit you when you came into the studio? Did you feel strong and tight as a unit, as a band?

Yes, I think so. I mean, there’s a really good vibe going in the band right now and I think I have to give credit to the two new guys because they bring in all the enthusiasm, and maybe what has been lacking for a while. You know, they come in with lots of ideas and they write music and they are enthusiastic about just being here and playing the music, even playing the old songs. But on the new album, they contribute quite a bit. So I think that helps the rest of us, for me and Jonas and Hasse to sort of sharpen our skills and to be alert and trying to make the best possible album and taking chances and trying different things. And so I think it’s a very good time for the band. The touring definitely helped to sort of gel as friends because you have to be friends too, you know. You can make music together, but there has to be a good vibe and you have to be on friendly terms and simply, you have to like each other. You have to like your contributions as far as the music, you have to like each other even as people, you know. So I think that’s where we’ve arrive now. We’re just lucky to be right now. Maybe it doesn’t go on forever. I don’t know. I can’t tell. But right now it feels really like the band is creative and we like to play the old songs, we like to create this new music, and we like to look into the future and plan things and go elsewhere and play. And so I think it’s a good time for the band actually.

When we, when we spoke last year, you explained that the “Manifesto of an Alchemist” album was credited as Roine Stolt’s The Flower King, largely due to the record label’s request at the time and then you guys went out on the road as The Flower Kings Revisited and now you’re fully called The Flower Kings again. Are these slight variations just semantics as far as you’re concerned, or is it important to you?

No, it’s not the least important to me. To be honest, I simply don’t care. I, I just wanted to make it smooth. I just wanted to not upset people. I just wanted it to work out with the record label and everything. And, I think in reality, this is just another version of the Flower Kings, there’s no doubt about it. It’s not like it’s suddenly Roine Stolt‘s band, it’s The Flower Kings. Hasse is there, Jonas is there. Yes, there’s another drummer. We had many different drummers in the band before. And there’s another keyboard player, yes. But we also had another keyboard player filling in for Tomas. You know, we’ve been to South America, we’ve been to America, we’ve been touring in Europe with another keyboard player before. So I think in some strange way it seems like the music itself just lives on even if changing a few members. And I usually say, Oh, you can probably change every member, including myself! But then someone will protest, Oh no, no, you can’t do it with or without you. And maybe that’s true, but I dunno. In reality, I think every member can be changed. It will sound slightly different. But then again, certain things have to be there maybe to create the specific sound of the band. And I think in particular it’s the vocals. I think the vocals are me and Hasse. So I think even if there was another guitar player, if Hasse‘s and my voices are there, I think it would sound like The Flower Kings. And of course the songwriting part of it.

I would think most people would name your guitar playing as being pretty essential to the band. It would be hard to imagine that not being there and still called The Flower Kings.

Yeah, maybe, maybe so. But we don’t think much about it. I mean, the band is working out and we’re happy and people are very enthusiastic about playing live, about rehearsing, about recording new music, about writing new music. And that means we’re in a good spot, so we just thank whoever we should thank, but we just give thanks to the fact that we can do this right now when after whatever 20 almost 25 years and it’s still fun. And even go out and play the old songs! I mean, the two new guys, they’re playing new music, but for me and Hasse and Jonas, we’re playing songs that we played 20 years ago and it’s still fresh and fun to play it.

In some Flower Kings fans’ minds though, of course, they will think that a Flower Kings are, are primarily Roine and Tomas. And so the absence of Tomas will still be a question mark for some people. Is that just that you two are going in different directions at this point?

Yeah. You can say that. That’s probably what it is, and I would say sometimes you grow to be more together, better friends and sometimes you just grow apart as musicians or people. And, it’s not the end of the world. I mean, there’s no doubt of Tomas‘ contribution to the band over the years. And as I said, we had another keyboard player too, but I think sometimes fans read too much into it, saying, So this guy isn’t there anymore and then it can be The Flower Kings, etcetera. And I think that was never the case. Because I would say the voice of Hasse is equally important. Over different times certain members have been more involved, and we had like, whatever, five, six, seven different drummers, sometimes they’ve been involved in the music, but sometimes they have been more like a studio session drummer. So I think it’s shifting all the time. It’s a very romantic thought that it should be like these guys, Paul, George, John and Ringo, and no one else! Or Mick or Keith or Brian Jones or whatever. I mean, even look at all the incarnations of Yes and they’re going on and on and on with different people and different music. Sometimes it’s more Yes and sometimes it’s less Yes, you know, but it’s the way it works in reality in life. That’s where The Flower Kings are right now. And for me personally, the energy that you feel when you’re recording or you’re rehearsing or you’re playing music live on stage is super important to me because that’s why I stopped a couple of times with The Flower Kings because I felt there wasn’t a vibe really. It was just a good band playing, we sounded fine, but there wasn’t a vibe. There was no friendship, there wasn’t a vibe. And, and if you can get to a point where everyone is sort of aiming in the same direction, I think that’s a good place to be. And it goes for everybody. It doesn’t matter. It happens to everyone. It’s not like The Beatles are gonna last forever. It’s not like any band is gonna last forever. There’s a Grateful Dead out there playing now, you know. Jerry Garcia is gone, but other people play and it will sound different, it will be different. And, um, and here we are with The Flower Kings almost 25 years later. And, uh, and, uh, I mean in all honesty, it’s, a lot of it is based around my writing, etc. As well as my playing of course, but I think the writing in there is coming from me a lot over the years. So that means like, yes, probably I’d be the last member to go because without me, there probably wouldn’t be the band. Which is fine. But I mean, there’s been people coming in and out. It’s interesting now because on this new album, my brother who was the bass player in the band from the beginning, he’s playing on I think three or four songs on the new album. He came back for fun because he was there in the beginning and now he’s back helping on this album because Jonas had other commitments for some time. And, so he just came in and helped a little bit with the bass and singing a bit, you know, and so it’s an ongoing story.

Hey, you mentioned The Beatles there and I was just curious…I’m sure you guys were too busy recording, but since you were all together in Transatlantic and you’re such Beatles fans, I’m wondering if you’ve listened yet to the new deluxe edition of Abbey Road that came out?

I have not. I will do. Probably Mike has it already! I bet he has! But I haven’t. I think I have to listen to it, but at the same time sometimes you prefer the old recordings and we will see. We will see. I mean, I’ve heard some remixes of other bands and I’ve heard “Let It Be” naked, which I kind of liked the way, you know, it was stripped. And I’ve heard some of Steven Wilson‘s remixes of Yes albums and King Crimson albums, which sounded fine to me. I wouldn’t say it’s a priority, but it’s another way of sort of taking them into the spotlight again, I suppose making some more money and all that. And for fun. I mean, it’ll probably be sanctioned by Paul McCartney and, and Ringo I suppose. So I will check them out.

So you guys will be going out on the road this December with Kayak. How do you decide how much of the new album to play in your set considering you have such a long discography at this point?

Yeah. I would say you have to be realistic about how many people will hear the new album before we go on stage and play these shows and also how the album will be received and the fact that I think there’s something about playing old songs that just works really well. I think people buy concert tickets so that if you’re going to see Roger Waters, you probably don’t want him to play all of his new album. I think it is a good album. But I think when I went to see him, I think he played three songs from the new album. The rest was maybe something from his solo Hitchhiker album, but I think it was mostly old Pink Floyd songs and that’s based on the fact that I think most people in the concert hall will want to hear songs they know really well that they have connected to for 40 years, you know. And in the case of The Flower Kings, yes we have some songs that like “Stardust We Are” and “The Truth Will Set You Free”. These songs have to be played, you know? Then we bring in a couple of songs from the new album and then bit by bit you can sort of change around the set list and see what people like and see what the band like to play. And over time, we’re probably gonna change it. We’re going to change the old songs to take from some other albums. So there’s a lot to pick from. There’s like these 10 or 12 studio albums up till now. So, we’re not short of songs really to play!

And then next year, hopefully some more touring with the band?

Oh, definitely. There’s a lot happening right now. So we’re doing this Transatlantic session. We’re going to Japan in late January, I think. And we’re going back to Canada. We’re probably going back to South America, we’re doing more in Europe and the Cruise of course in the end of March. So, yeah, there’s stuff coming up and we’re in the planning stages for all of next year, really. And in between all that, we are gonna sort of try to find time to record yet another album. So it’s just, business as usual [laughs]. I don’t like the business side, but you know, you got to have a plan. It’s not like we’re sitting here waiting, but there’s offers coming in and then you need to start looking into it and do all the deals and get all the proper visas for going places like Japan and whatever. So we’ll see where Transatlantic goes. Maybe there could be possibilities of touring there also next year.

So with all that activity, do you have any space in your life for some of the other things, whether it’s The Sea Within or Jon Anderson or Nad Sylvan and, or Kaipa de Capo?

Well, Kaipa de Capo has been on rest. We played a show a couple of weeks ago, but we were not planning…there’s maybe some writing, but the other guys probably will be in charge of that and then I will add my stuff later on. The Sea Within, I can’t really see anything happening right now. Not this year and maybe not next year, but I wouldn’t rule out something happening in the future. Tom Brislin joined Kansas and Jonas is out with Steve Hackett and so I think there’s not really time for anything. And with Jon Anderson, there’s album number two in the works, we’ve got maybe 35 – 40 minutes of music that we’re trying to do some kind of a proper demo. I think in there is some really, really strong melodies and really good music. So it’s just having the time. Because everything takes time, you know? And when you’re into some project, like now with Transatlantic and just recently this summer I was mixing The Flower Kings album, you can’t really juggle much more than that. If I even started listening to any of the stuff that I did with Jon now, the new stuff, that would sort of just be frustrating to not be able to start working on it. So it’s just finding the right time when there is nothing, when The Flower Kings album is out and we’re not on tour and I’m not working on Transatlantic, then I have maybe a couple of weeks, so I can start looking into it again and see where Jon is at the time because he’s probably working on stuff too. So we’ll see.

Well, no lack of great projects and great music and great people to collaborate with. You’re blessed to work with so many amazing people.

Yeah. Yeah. You have to remind yourself, it could be very different. It could be something else like I could be in a, in a pub band or a bar band, you know, somewhere. I could be on a more regular job or as a music teacher or something. So that’s something you have to remind yourself all the time that it’s a blessing to be able to travel and see the world and play with these great musicians, collaborate with people, you know, that have great ideas and some of them are, I mean like Hackett and Jon Anderson. These guys were my heroes when I was a teenager, and then suddenly I’m there working with them, so that’s great. And being able to record and write all the music with people and new projects coming up all the time. It’s something you shouldn’t take for granted because it happens to very few people. So I’m trying to be grateful every day for this possibility.

I’m sure you are. And you live in Sweden! So, things might be getting a little darker, but not too dark there, hopefully.

No, no. I mean, America is not lost. So I think we need to wait a little bit and see if things change and I think it will change.

And since you are in Sweden, I was curious, how did you woo the other three guys in Transatlantic to come out there to you and record out there? It sounds like Mike has hardly ever recorded outside of America before!

That’s what he said! He said that he never recorded an album outside of United States. Well, the reality is, again, thanks to the way that America is run now, it’s difficult to actually get a proper visa. Because a couple of years back you could, but now getting a visa can, well…I don’t know how to put it. You can apply for it, but there’s there’s no guarantee that you actually get it. And then you have to invest a lot of money in it. So for me and Pete to try to get the visa to go into United States to record, because you need that too, it’s not just for performing. Once you go into United States and you do something that will generate money – and they will find out, you know, because you’re playing on a record recording a record that’s going to be released worldwide by Sony – they will find out. So there is the possibility that you go there and then they stop you at the border and say, Go home. And then we have set up a recording session already but we can’t get there. And so I tried to explain this to the other guys. And finally we saw that the coin dropped and so we knew that we need to find somewhere else. We looked at England and we looked at Sweden and finally we found one in Sweden that was nice and a decent price. And I knew the studio because I’d been there before. So that was the reason we had to record in Europe actually. It was the only safe guarantee that we actually could get together, the four of us, and write. And there is no time because the other guys, Mike and Neal, they’re going out now doing some shows with Flying Colors. So there’s like a schedule and this was the only time. So we ended up in Sweden, which was nice for me. And I think, I hope, hopefully they found experience nice too, because it’s different than a super nice studio.

If you go to America or if you go to London for instance, a studio like that, you can’t really afford it. But this happened to be in the countryside and this guy has this fantastic studio with the biggest desk you can imagine and all the finest microphones and everything is absolutely top notch. And so it was a possibility for us to go to a really nice place and create the music and do backing tracks. And here we are! I think the general feeling now is that we came up with something that will grow over the weeks now to something really good. And, uh, another great Transatlantic album.

Roine, thanks so much for talking with us today. I’m really excited about where Transatlantic’s going. I’m excited to hear about the energy in the band of the Flower Kings now and the new album sounds great. I’m sure fans are going to just love this as it comes out. We’re going to close the interview by playing Black Flag. Is there anything you’d like to say about that as an intro to the song?

Well, there’s lots of other people talking in the song. These are mostly pirates, I think. Now the funny thing is I would say the only thing – as far as the music, I couldn’t really say because I’m probably too close to it – but the funny thing is this theme of the pirate theme came up for whatever reason. I can’t really tell why. I wouldn’t write a song like that 15 years ago, but probably there was something in my mind telling, Oh, you should probably try something different. And I just came up with this fiction…the pirate thing happened back in the 1700’s or 1600’s, it happened because certain people that were outcast, you know, in England for instance, and they had to go somewhere and then suddenly they had to survive. So they go robbing other ships at sea. Or they take from the Queen. That was just seemed in a way like a fitting theme that goes well together with the other songs on the album. I wouldn’t say political, but it’s a story and you can make whatever you want from it. It was like a pure fiction fantasy pirate thing. I think it connects in a way, with what we’re seeing right now. There’s actually pirates right now too. I mean, in Africa you can actually get your ship boarded by pirates, but they don’t look that way anymore. They don’t have the black flags and stuff like that. But so anyway that’s kind of the odd song on the album. Musically speaking, it’s a probably a little bit different than the other The Flower Kings songs, but also has elements of of well known sounds and playing that you can hear him from way back also.

I think it’s a great opener and a great first single to release to the public. So thank you so much and all the best to you and welcome home!

Thank you! [laughs]I will enjoy a quiet evening now, I think. I hopefully will. We will see. Thank you, bye bye!

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4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Nice interview. Thanks! Huge Flower Kings fan. Very much looking forward to the new album. I really enjoyed the last 3.

  2. Avatar

    This conversation with Roine Stolt was very interesting. BUT, you didn’t ask Roine what about re-issue all of TRANSATLANTIC albums ON VINYL?

    • Avatar

      Eugene:

      Bands seldom times have a saying regarding vinyl reissues, it’s usually the label’s work. In the case of TRANSATLANTIC, all their albums were released on black vinyl (and clear vinyl for Europe only) a long while ago.

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