Fireworks Magazine Online 70 - Interview with Reach

An interview with REACH

by Bruce Atkinson

Emerging from one of the top countries in the world for no-nonsense Hard Rock music, Bruce E.J. Atkinson caught up with the latest Swedish export, Reach... and here with guitarist Ludvig Turner and bassist David Jones, is their story...

Reach Fireworks-Interview

I would like to begin with the actual formation of the group. How did you all come together?

Ludvig Turner: Everything started with the idea of me and Marcus Johansson working with a song-writer and creating a "studio band" but as soon as we started working we realised that we could actually write our own material instead of using an additional song-writer. A weird idea from the start perhaps, since I'd been writing songs for my previous bands, anyhow...we began auditioning singers to be the front-man of Reach and after several auditions with singers coming and going Alex Waghorn came in to the studio. He sang a H.e.a.t tune and some of our stuff and we thought, "hey, this guy is as bad as he looks"! No, just kidding ha-ha. He Rocked! So we decided to keep him, like a pet owner chooses a new dog, you know the one with the biggest bite wins! Jokes aside, we thought he had a lot of potential along with good looks so we told him the spot was his to take if he wanted it. He did. As for our beloved bass player here, David, he is an old friend of both me and Marcus and when we thought of a bass player under the label "Rock Star" he was the obvious choice! That's how we got together. The process of starting the band really was not that difficult because 75% of the band already knew each other. We already had the "Brothers In Arms" chemistry.

Let's talk a bit about your first project together, that being the cover of Avicii's song, 'Wake Me Up'...what made you select that particular song to cover?

DJ: Well first of all, it's a Swedish guy who wrote it! No, but honestly it was Marcus who had this brilliant idea of how we could make ourselves known to the public. He talked about doing a cover, but instead of doing the typical tribute to some of the greatest Rock 'n' Roll songs he said "let's do a cover of Avicii's latest song!" First it was like "really?" but you know, we tried it out when we rehearsed and it sounded pretty badass! The rest is history.

For our readers who haven't read about you or heard your music, what are some of the influences in your sound and where do they come from?

DJ: Our influences that sparked our debut album 'Reach Out To Rock' are bands and musicians such as Gary Moore, Scorpions, Whitesnake... the list could go on and on. But I think that all of our individual influences – combined, really gives Reach it's specific sound. We try to pay tribute to all of our heroes from the early 1970s and 1980s but we still try to keep a fresh youthful sound for our younger audience. So within the band we got influences all over the music scene. It's all about how you get your kicks, one day it could come from Led Zeppelin's first album and another day you find yourself listening to Tower Of Power. We're not bound by any styles or "laws" and we're not afraid of new music and I think that's what makes Reach sound like Reach.

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Moving forward, you have polished your skills, doing live gigs and being very selective in what you record and release. Having previously released only two singles, were you waiting for just the right time to release 'Reach...' or was it just the matter of finding the right label?

DJ: The tour we did with Eclipse really opened our eyes and we learned so much from watching them and from playing live. We really grew a couple of inches during the tour. Why we released 'Reach...' when we did is a result of many different choices and events that echoes back to the start of Reach. 'Black Lady' was our first single after 'Wake...' and it was our first self-written song. At that time we were signed to a small record label from Stockholm that mainly worked with Pop, RnB, singer/song-writers so they didn't have the experience needed to work with a Rock band and recording a full-length album. I won't go into details but we decided to split with the label, write our own songs and record an album by ourselves. We got in touch with a management company here in Stockholm, Sun Hill Productions, and then we reached out to a couple of old friends. With their help we recorded the album and with Sun Hill's help we got in contact with Pontus Norgren who mixed it. Pontus really pulled through and made 'Reach...' have that edge you search for when you record an album but when it came to the actual recording of 'Reach...' we did like 95% of the work ourselves.

Let's go a little deeper in the recording and creative process. Pick two examples or two songs that stand-out in any way when you were putting them to tape and what is the reason they stand out?

LT: I would say 'Make Me Believe' and 'The Beast'. I'm proud of the whole album of course but many of the tracks you've sort of, you know "heard before"... Not a bad thing but for example, 'Tell Me' could have been recorded by Bon Jovi for instance. It's not something no one's ever done before but both '...Believe' and '...Beast' are a bit different in that way. They're not as obvious and they both tell their own story, especially '...Beast'! I would say those are the tracks I go back to and think; "hey... This is different, this is interesting."

You recently went out on the road in the U.K. with Eclipse. Now, that must be like going to Rock University! What are your fondest memories from that trip?

LT: We did eight gigs plus the HRH Festival with Eclipse. We could not have done our first tour with a better band. They really know how to perform and Erik is a brilliant front-man. All of the other guys in the band are amazing musicians and blend perfectly together in Eclipse. We grew a lot as a band during that tour and a lot of it is thanks to Eclipse. They looked after us and made it so much easier than it could have been by lending us backlines and just being good guys to us.

DJ: It was like being under the wings of a dragon, an awesome Rock 'n' Roll dragon with the power of Swedish flames! Ha-ha! Too much Metal? Jokes aside, we're so thankful for the chance Eclipse gave us with this tour.

So, are you planning to take what is left of 2015 and tour, or do you have plans to begin your follow-up this year?

LT: We will keep working while the flame is hot and head out on a tour with Eclipse again! This time it's throughout Europe for fifteen gigs. It's going to be amazing and we can't wait! As of the second album, it's going to happen. Hopefully this year but first we got to deal with some "stuff" before going back into the studio again. We have been working on some songs and we still know how to write, thank god! Ha-ha!

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