ENBOUND – And She Says Gold
Certain countries continually export high quality music, as if the youth learn from the masters and then go on to create something that much more special for future generations to savor. The debut album "And She Says Gold" from Sweden’s Enbound is one of those records that may strike you visually at first but then sink deep into the songs and you’ll soon discover this power metal troop have a seasoned musical style at their hands. I felt the need to learn more about the group so I got in touch with drummer Mike Cameron Force who willingly answered my queries with enthusiasm and a decent sense of humor.
Please tell us your personal background when it comes to music- your earliest memories as a child, favorite artists and at what time in your life did you pick up the desire to play an instrument? How did you evolve into listening to and appreciating hard rock and heavy metal?
The first memory from my childhood I have is when I went to kindergarten and I was maybe 5 years old. I told my teacher that I wanted to be a drummer. I remember that they said that drums were not enjoyable to listen to, haha I enjoy it as much today as 24 years ago! But the first instrument I started to play was the piano. Since there was no room for me in a drum section I had to play something else, even though it was a long time ago, I’m grateful knowing a few chords on the piano. I listened to a lot of Swedish rock bands on the radio since I didn’t have a CD-player. A few years later I remember hearing "Poison" with Alice Cooper. Damn what a killer track, this was about when we were still young enough to play around outside in the mud. And a few years later Metallica released the black album and I was sold. We use to watch them on TV, stunned over the head bang of Jason Newsted. It was so heavy and solid.
Metallica is your favorite band, with And Justice For All your album pick quite unusual for most ardent Metallica fans pick earlier efforts like Ride The Lightning or Master Of Puppets as the quintessential Metallica effort. Defend your case for AJFA and how many times have you seen the band in concert in your lifetime? Favorite show memory of Metallica too would be nice?
Hahaha you have done your homework! Yes AJFA is my favorite album cause it has so much energy. You can really hear James blood in his mouth. I also like the extreme dry snare and the kicks with no bass at all, just a sweet clicking. I like their videos from AJFA also. I can just imagine the rough period. Of course I like all the albums Metallica have done but AJFA is really the shit for me. I have seen them only five times, still hoping to get a backstage pass, hahaha but my favorite show was in Roskilde 2003. They had a very good set list, and I became four picks richer.
How have you applied your previous studio experience and live efforts with Zonata to Enbound? Are you proud of your early recordings or are there some things you cringe hearing now?
You always learn from your mistakes… That’s also how it works in the studio. I think we were a bit too inexperienced in the "Zonata era". Or at least I was. I was 16 when we signed with Century Media. On the first album I had to record every song with just a click, all the way through only having the melody in my head. It’s not easy to get a proper feeling about the song when you are just hearing pip-bob-bob-bob. You can actually hear me growing up on those three records we made. Buried Alive is a bit more mature than Tunes of Steel for example. I don’t listen to those records today. I’m very busy writing new songs for Enbound! So you can say I have in my mind what went wrong back then and I make sure we don’t do the same things in Enbound.
Can you tell us how you were able to pull together such a professional lineup for Enbound? How long did it take to find the right musicians and from there how much time was spent in rehearsal crafting the And She Says Gold album?
It took some time yes, haha I met Swede out one night, we have in common friends so I knew him but I saw a tattoo on his arm of a 5-stringed bass, so I asked him if he really could play so he ended up in the studio and the bass was safe. Marvin and I grew up in the same neighborhood so I knew he could play, even though he has not so much life experience, he compensates with it on the guitar. So instruments complete…but no singer. What do you do about that? Well, we started to record the record anyway!
Haha! I found Lee on MySpace while just randomly searching for singers, I think I typed "available singer" and there he was. A pop singer with an amazing voice. We have never rehearsed with this current lineup so we are looking forward to do it. The first time we were in the same room with instruments was when we shot the video for "Combined The Souls".
Theres something special about Lee Hunter’s voice that transcends the normal boundaries of power metal. What can you tell us about Enbound’s vocalist and what do you think makes him so special? Were there any unique vocal moments while recording this album that just knocked you out?
He is not a metal singer from the beginning; he sings rock and pop music. But he really can sing anything because he is so talented. He is the only one in the band who is a professional musician. He does a lot of backing vocals for artists, and tag along on fun and strange projects.Every time in the studio with Lee is a knock out session. But one of the coolest things was the end of the song called "Love Has Come" When I thought he was tired in his voice, he "made a wheelie on the bike and blasted off", really pushing his voice into hell just like that, I sat next to him and just smiled.
The gold theme as far as the cover art and some of your promotional photos- is this something you plan to carry out as an Enbound tradition possibly in a live setting- similar to old Metalium during their early years?
Since it took me 8 months to prepare my pants, YES! hahahaha. It’s actually a black and gold theme. It’s very hard to get good gold paint and neat gold accessories but now when we have some I think we need to use it!
You also work as a producer for acts like Axenstar and Draconian among others. What do you believe you bring to the table behind the boards to develop the best out of the acts you record?
What I’m about to say has nothing to do with the bands you mentioned, it’s a general tip I’ve picked up many times through the years, but the problem with recordings today is that you can record and edit a lot until you’re happy… The thing is if you will be able to do this in a live situation? The listener doesn’t really care if you got that killer fill on the
drums that took 3 hours to record, if the song isn’t good anyway? So my tip is, work more on the songs and later add the cool stuff.
Why do you think the Scandinavian metal scene continues to thrive into the current decade? Music has always seemed to have a special quality from the Norway, Sweden and Finland countries at least to these ears.
There’s nothing else to do here in Scandinavia, so we sit with our instruments until we succeed hahaha. The music export has been huge in Sweden so it feels like it’s all we have got left since all the big companies moved away.
Where would you like to see Enbound go over the next 3-5 years? Do you think you’ve established a core style and direction for the band or can you foresee the possibility of new influences and nuances to add to the sound?
I think we’ll continue to play the music we want and love. And of course we will have new influences to the sound otherwise it wouldn’t be Enbound.
Beat It from Michael Jackson gets an Enbound heavy interpretation on the album. Were you familiar with Italian melodic death band Raintime’s version a few years earlier- and was there a particular reason you chose a non-metal song for a cover?
Oh was it Michael Jackson? No, we made a cover from my cover band Mike Jackson! Hahaha sorry about that! But no sorry I haven’t heard Raintime’s version. We started to record the song when MJ was still alive, and I think it’s a hard rock song. We just added some extra notes and more power. We didn’t know if we were able to have it on the album but now it’s there, but we will not record any more covers with Enbound. But we stand for it and we like it, otherwise it wouldn’t be on the record.
Do you enjoy the instant communication accessibility musicians and fans can have in modern times- between cell phones, computers, and social media in general? Is it tough to keep up with the 24/7/ 365 fast paced world we seem to be living in?
Not yet. But I hope it will be. I think it’s great to be able to find info and stuff on the internet, but it is big and every band wants to be in the lead. So it can be a bit messy. But hey, find us at Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/enbound
What do you like to do when you are able to get away from music to give you a breather or a renewed sense of energy?
We do a lot of different stuff in the band, Swede is a parent of two girls and when they’ve finally fallen asleep he likes to watch soccer and drink beer. Marvin has no life outside music… he even sleeps next to his guitar! Lee crashes his radio controlled cars with the help of his two sons and I like to take rides on my motorbike, and get beat up in Thai boxing.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received from either your family or friends regarding your music? What type of advice would you offer to the youth who want to follow in your footsteps?
Play until your fingers bleed! You can NOT download a 2 day course on "how to play" and then think you magically can. Mix playing for teachers and in bands, play with other people! Practice!
How much of your time do you believe Enbound spends on the music versus the business aspects currently? Is it tough to be making a living solely as a musician in Sweden?
It’s hard to say, but we all except Lee need other jobs, and still the music costs ten times more than what we get in return, money-wise. But it fills our soul with warmth- and that’s what really matters.
You are the host of your own hard rock/ metal festival. Assemble your best 8-10 band lineup, from any era in the history of metal.
Metallica, Dream Theater, Symphony X, Iron Maiden, Ozzy, Rage, Angra, Avantasia with all the guests. We could go on and on about this since there are so many really great bands out there!