Fireworks Magazine Online 69 - Interview with Outtrigger

OUTTRIGGER

Interview by Mike Newdeck

At the back end of 2014, Swedish band Outtrigger put out one of the years finest hard rock releases.

Combining dynamic songs, genre crossover, melody and exquisite musicianship, 'The Last Of Us' offered something new and fresh with a welcome dose of familiarity. Modern rock music it seems has a new home in Sweden and as the usual suspects from Canada and the United States churn out unchallenging dross with one eye on survival and one eye on chart success, the likes of Outtrigger seem unaffected by the pressures of commercial success, happy to front up with their brand of aggressive modern rock and keep away from the temptations of mawkish pop.

Mike Newdeck caught up with vocalist Simon Peryon to find out more about the band and their debut album.


Outrigger-Interview-Fireworks


How would you describe your music?

I wouldn't really go that deep into the specific genre. I think that bands sometimes dig a huge hole describing their music based on all bands and musicians they are inspired by. Our music is a combo of metal elements and rock and we really like to play with the arrangements. I am also a huge pop fan so the melodies are often inspired by pop songs, but for the genre I'd say we play a combination of rock and metal.

How did things all start for the band?

The band started in Helsingborg, officially in 2009, and by that time we had already been looking for the right members that would make Outtrigger complete. When we started we had our mind set on one goal, and that was to be the best band in our city, playing great shows with a steadily growing fan base. Since then the goals have gotten bigger and that has always been the main goal, to set the bar higher for each step.

How has the style of your music changed over the years since you started out?

When we first started as a band we didn't really have all the technical skills as separate musicians to be able to make the music we wanted to do. So that was the first ambition, just figuring out how to gain experience in our individual instruments. After a few years playing shows around Sweden and a lot of time in the rehearsal studio we finally came to a point where we actually were able to play the music we had listened to for many years. Back then the techniques and riffs were more of a lead to determine if it was a good song or not.
After working with 'The Ultimate Song' for a whole year in writing, producing and finally mastering, we got to a point where we had to ask ourselves why we were playing music? It had gone so far that all the focus on playing live shows was to just manage all different parts and keep in pace with the other guys.
Instead, we decided to simply play the music based on how it made us feel, not based on how it should be played by a norm of "Metal Experts" ,including ourselves. If we couldn't play it 'til we felt it, we wouldn' t play it. And if it were too hard to play, we'd make it easier. As a result of our musical discovery, 'The Ultimate Song' actually ended up in the trash.

Having such a good voice why didn't you handle vocals from day one?

When we started out as a band I can't say that I was a fantastic singer. I loved the thought of being able to express my emotions though my vocals but it took me a few years of practice before I actually became a confident singer. When we started the band we were very young; I was 14 years old, and when we started picking members the references were more based on friendship and attitude. Niklas, who was the first singer, had just the right attitude for the job. During our growing process it became clear which of the members was fully committed to do this all the way and which did it for other purposes. When the gap between our old members was to big music wise I think it was a natural step to continue on separate ways, and this was the case with Niklas.
At first I wasn't fully sure if I was the right man to enter the band as a front figure, but during this time I played in a lot of different bands. Within a six month period I became vocalist in all the projects. It was time ... I realised that I would never play guitar like Paul Gilbert, Yngwie Malmsteen or Steve Vai, so I settled with being "good" to work fully on being a great vocalist. I just loved the thought of not having to compete with any one. All vocalists sound different and that drove me to become the best vocalist I possible could be, with myself as the opponent.

Was it hard to drop the guitar playing?

I haven't really dropped it yet. Today I get the best of both worlds. When we write music I often tend to record a lot of the guitars together with Adam. When I write riffs it's often easier for me to record it because it sits more natural with my hands, vice versa with Adams riffs. On live shows I play it when it's needed, often the acoustic parts. But mainly I focus on being the front figure when playing live. It's important that it gains something extra, otherwise I won't play it. We have a fantastic guitarist that handles that role better than me. I said from day one as vocalist that I didn't want to compromise my role as a front figure with having to play guitar parts. I want to be able to talk to the audience throughout the whole concert and instruments can sometimes block the relationship created in that moment. But with that said, it is a fantastic tool to go deep down in a sort of creative vibe that can be transferred live and enhance a feeling of being in the moment, which I love!

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine for Melodic Rock Music


Helsingborg is hardly the rock and roll capital of the world or even Sweden. Was it difficult to establish a rock band there and grow?

Helsingborg has actually been the home of some great metal bands, one of the bigger examples being Soilwork. I think that growing as a band is hard either way – it's never about how many people in a particular town that appreciates what you do. If that's the case, go somewhere else! Nothing comes easy in the industry, not even the talented can avoid the long road of working your way up. If you wanna do it, you've gotta do it fully!

How did you get signed by Gain?

Gain is a side label to Sony. They handle most of Sony's rock bands such as Hardcore Superstar, Europe and H.E.AT amongst others. We were introduced to Gain a few months in our collaboration with Sony. Gain opened their loving arms for us and we decided to sign a full-length record deal with them at the end of 2013.

Why has it taken you almost five years to make an album?

There's a lot of different things that has led to a five year long wait until the full length album. The biggest factor was simply that we weren't ready for it. We didn't have the right material to make a great debut album and we had focused for so many years on being a great live band that it would be pointless doing it earlier on in our career. I'd rather release singles all day than putting months of work into an album that nobody would listen to. For me an album is like a book. It's not a novel that could be centered in just one subject or one feeling, it has to have its own stories and organisms that still holds on to a strong red line throughout the whole album. We took it step by step, ensuring that we could play great live, perform and speak out to the audience professionally and musically, create creatively and make good songs. We felt like it was time to do that full-length album last year, and it took approximately seven months of active recording, writing, arranging, producing and mixing the album and now when it's done I look back at it and laugh at how some of the things were made, but I'm damn proud of the result!

Who writes the songs in the band and how do you do it?

My role as member of Outtrigger, besides playing, is mainly being responsible for the writing. I don't want to take credit for all that's been done on the album, everyone has contributed to the final product, but my role ended up being bigger than expected which I loved!

Did you find it a little odd that Echo was selected for the Eurovision song contest? Were you trying to follow in the footsteps of fellow countrymen Abba?

Well, at first it came as a shock! We had never thought that the song actually would qualify for the contest. Every year there is approximately 2500 songs that is sent in to the jury, so getting in is hard even for the most experienced and well -known artists. We wanted a new challenge and continue evolving, and if we could in any way follow the footsteps of Abba, we'll do it.

Your music mixes different genres, do you think this is the way forward if hard rock is to survive and flourish?

I don't say that our way is the right way, but hard rock definitely needs new approaches if it wants to survive, or even better, flourish as a scene in the long run. As for today the rock crowd however is amazing, with all the dedicated fans showing up on each given opportunity. There I think other genres and crowds have a lot to take advantage of and inspiration from. In the best of worlds, all genres would have equal amount of interested for the consumer, but we all have different tastes, and different scenes will have their heydays throughout every decade.

The album is accessible but has a hard edge to it and the growling vocal is kept to a minimum. Was there ever any thought to add more growling and screaming to the songs?

When we released 'Echo – EP' we had already decided that those songs would be included on the upcoming album. When it was finished we realised that most of the songs were quite edgy and there was a lack of dynamics within the EP. This wasn't a mistake during the writing process but with a CD of five songs it's hard to get every type of song included. Dynamics was something we definitely wanted to add to the full-length album and I think that led us to having less growl and more melodies in the vocals. For me growl has always been an effect. If you add, for example, a flanger effect on a guitar throughout the whole song it'll sound kind of boring. It was important not to have too much growl, but when we felt that it should be there, we added it!

Can we expect some concerts outside of Sweden in the UK?

We are currently looking for bands to tour with in Europe. We've had a few offers so far but haven't jumped on any trains yet, it has to be the right band. We want to do a support tour for starters, and later on we hope to do our own headline tour. You can definitely expect some concerts outside of Sweden. This year we'll mainly focus on the fans in Europe! I'll let you know when we're close by!

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