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Fireworks Magazine Online 78 - Interview with Eclipse
19 March 2017
Interview By Brent Rusche
Founding member and principle songwriter for the massively successful Eclipse from Sweden, Erik Mårtensson is a jack-of-all-trades capable of writing, recording, playing and singing on everything he pens. Eclipse's latest album, entitled 'Monumentum,' shows he has absolutely no plans of slowing down. The album features eleven high-octane tracks which possess all of the characteristics that fans have come to expect from the band: intense rhythms, massive hooks, world-class production and lyrics which promote a positive message. Sitting down half a world away in NYC, Fireworks had the pleasure to speak with one of Melodic Rock's shining stars.
Congratulations on being chosen to open up for Aerosmith and Alter Bridge when they play Madrid this summer. How did you manage to secure such a coveted opening spot?
The whole thing started with fans in Barcelona, Spain. We had been playing in Barcelona for quite a few years and each year we played, our audience grew. Last year, the fans in Barcelona asked the promoter responsible for the Barcelona Rock Festival to book us over, over and over again until he simply couldn't say no. He booked us for the event in 2016 and the gig was a huge success. The agent responsible for hosting the entire festival ultimately booked us on the Aerosmith gig as well.
That gig stands to be the largest audience you will have played to date. With such massive exposure, will the band prepare any differently for such a high profile gig or will you use the same conventions as when preparing for any other show?
It would be the same preparation that we would make for any show. It is to go out there and do the best that you can possibly do. Under the circumstances that you have to work with, you have to perform the best that you can do while having a good time. If you think too much about it, then I think you are screwed! [Laughs]
I have always loved the immense energy and fast paced flow of each Eclipse album and 'Monumentum' is no exception. Besides 'Hurt,' which is really a power ballad, do you consciously refrain from bringing a softer side to Eclipse and save those softer moments for other projects?
No, not really. When I write for others I am focusing more on making just a great song. Like the Nordic Union album...you can of course hear the Eclipse references because I composed almost every song but I am always trying to do something different. I don't want to sound like Eclipse when working with other artists. Eclipse is expressing my personal taste in music and the style I want to do. We always write for ourselves and don't think how people will react.
Who are few songwriters that you have admired that you would say have influenced your writing?
For main influences as far as writing goes, they are bands and not necessarily individuals. I'm a "band" guy but if I needed to pick individuals then I would say David Coverdale since he has been the main songwriter for Whitesnake, the Young brothers from AC/DC and Bryan Adams have all been huge influences. Blackie Lawless from W.A.S.P is also a great influence. I've also been getting a lot of inspiration from Dave Mustaine from Megadeth. It may seem far from what I'm doing but is not that weird when you think about it. The guitar work of Dave, the melody and chords from Blackie and the "cock and balls" singing style and attitude of Whitesnake combined with melodies that I like. I think it actually makes some sense.
As the lead singer, what frontmen have been inspirational to your vocals and stage presence?
For the voice, it would be Joey Tempest (Europe) and Eric Martin (Mr. Big). For the stage presence it is without question David Coverdale.
If you do not want to comment, I completely understand. How has the passing of your father changed you both as a person and as a musician? What life lessons did he impart to you that informs every decision that you make?
I am going to give a cliché answer to that and the reason it is a cliché answer is because it is probably the way everyone thinks when people lose someone or if they have an illness themselves. You need to enjoy life. Life is now. Make the changes you want to change. For me, one radical decision we took was moving our family from Stockholm, where it didn't feel like home, and back to the village where I grew up in the countryside. Before he passed away, we had all of these reasons why we shouldn't do it. Where we were, there were all the cinemas, the restaurants and the people. When something like that happens, it takes away all of those small, silly things that really don't mean anything and you start to focus on the big picture of what's important. Family, enjoying life, doing what you want and stop being so cowardly about making big changes. Musically, I don't know if it has changed anything but I don't think that I am as scared about anything anymore. You go for the big thing and you go for the stuff that you know is really important.
Since you always seem to have your hands in multiple projects simultaneously, what other artists are you currently writing for and/or in collaboration with?
At the moment I'm currently mixing the new Ammunition album. I am mixing a Swedish band this week and next week I am mixing a band from Spain. There will be a lot of touring with Eclipse coming up and there are also some really interesting productions coming up but nothing is official yet so I cannot say which ones they are. Three or four really interesting projects are on the horizon. My plate is full until late 2018 or the beginning of 2019.
Being booked out for the next year to year and a half is a wonderful accomplishment.
When you are in the middle of it all you really don't enjoy it since you are so stressed and think it is too much. But it is truly a privilege to be able to do this. I've be fighting for it for so many years and I know there are so many other people out there who are also fighting every day to make a living in this music business. For me to make a good living out of doing it is truly a privilege and I'm fully aware of that fact.