Updated: 09/24/02

Nocturnal Rites is an awesome power metal band from Sweden who have been thrilling audiences for over a decade. With their just released album Shadowland on Century Media receiving great notices worldwide, it was time to find out more about this venerable outfit. Our interview with Nils Eriksson took place a few days after the guitarist caught himself a big ass pike during a summer rock festival.

Give me a little background on how long Nocturnal Rites has been together.

Fredrik formed the band back in 1990, so I guess it's been 12 years.

You guys started out as a death metal band in the beginning…

When we started back in 90, I wasn't in the band, but it was kind of death metal. And in 91 when I joined, we made one demo, and that was kind of death metal. From then on, we progressed and changed our sound over the course of years. I guess sometime in late 92, we started sounding kind of what we do now.

What do you think of death metal these days?

I think there are some good bands. I still love the old bands I use to listen to when I was a kid. Starting in Nocturnal Rites, I liked Unleashed and Autopsy and Benediction and all those great bands. There are a few new bands I like, like In Flames and Dark Tranquillity.

You guys just got back from some festival over the weekend. How did it go and who caught the fish they listed on your website?

I'm the one! This is strange, because normally you don't fish at festivals. It's all metal and that's it. But some guy came along who had a boat and said, "Do you guys want to come along and fish?" And it was like, "Yeah sure, I love fishing." So we went out and he had some rods with him. So we went out, and after ten minutes I caught this big pike on, and it was great! And it was the first time I caught a fish at a festival!

How did the rest of the festival go - you know - the non-fishing stuff?

It was good. The show was alright. It was sort of a mixed festival with all kinds of bands. It was still cool.

The name of the new album is Shadowland. Any story behind the title?

I think Fredrik came up with the title. We wanted the songs from the album to sort of bare the title of it, and I think Shadowland sounded like an album title actually. We tried out Underworld and all the other songs on the album, but Shadowland just clicked from the start. It sounded like an album title.

One of the songs on the album is Invincible. Good think you didn't use that. Michael Jackson would not have been pleased. And Underworld might have been too obvious. So, what do you think of the current Swedish metal scene?

Sweden is such a great market right now for our kind of music. We've got Hammerfall - they went gold last year with their Renegade album. It's a great scene right now and it's a great market for us to have an album out right now, and to tour and play festivals.

How does the Shadowland album compare to your previous efforts?

I guess when you look at our back catalog and you listen to it, you're never going to find two albums that sound exactly the same. I think we've always been able to disregard old albums and write from our hearts and try to look ahead - instead of looking back and trying to do the same thing twice. On the new album, I think we've managed to get some more melody into it. We spent more times on vocal lines and arrangements, and we also have some more guitar arrangements on this album compared to Afterlife.

Did you write any of the lyrics on this album?

I wrote all of them actually.

Really? Okay, well where did you get some of the ideas for your lyrics?

I have no idea, actually. (Laughs) I'm not the kind of guy that gets different kinds of books - I never look for topics or stuff to write about - it just comes to me. In my mind, lyrics are meant to be continuations of the song. I always listen to the song, and see what it has to says to me. The first idea that I get, that's what I'll go for. It usually works out - it goes fast. I think all the lyrics are different from each other - and it's a nice way to write lyrics.

What is a live Nocturnal Rites show like for those of us in the States who haven't seen you play yet?

It's like they let loose six psychos on a big stage. It's just us going completely nuts! It's a lot of fun and it's what we love to do. All the hard work, writing songs, recording, practicing - the minute you're on stage, that's the big payoff for all the hard work that lies behind an album. And that's what motivates us to do this - to be able to tour and meet people from all over the world. I think it's the most rewarding gift of all.

Is there any chance of the band coming over here to States to play?

I would love to actually. Our goal for this album is to come to and visit continents we still haven't been to. The U.S. is one of those, so we'd love to tour the States. Whenever the right tour comes along, we're going to jump on it like crazy. So hopefully you'll see us this year or maybe the next.

If you weren't in Nocturnal Rites right now, what do you think you would be doing?

I'd probably been working in some factory somewhere making hangers or something.

Well, that's depressing…

(Laughs) Well, I've spent the better part of my life in this band. I started when I was like 12 or 13 - I'm turning 26 now. So it's half my life in this band, so it obviously means a lot of me and it's what I do.

Do you guys have jobs outside of the band or are you rich rock stars by now?

No, we're not rich rock stars - we're probably very far from that. But I personally don't have a job. The other guys have jobs periodically I guess, but I don't.

If Abba was doing a tribute album and invited you guys to contribute a track, what song would you do and why?

They are probably one of the greatest bands in the world, and it would be hard to chose one song. I can't think of a specific song I would do right now that I would like to do - I would do any song.

How many Abba albums do you have in your collection?

I think my mom has some albums. I was very young when those guys started out. That was way back in the 70's. I don't have any albums myself, but I love them.

Have you guys participated on any tribute albums?

We were on an Iron Maiden tribute album five or six years ago in Japan. That's the only one we've done so far. We did Wasted Years.

So if Britney Spears asked you come and play bass on her next world tour, would you put Nocturnal Rites aside for the time it would take to play bass with Britney?

What do you think? Well, maybe not. I don't know. It would be cool to do one or two shows, but I don't know about the whole tour. Just to see her in her pajamas on the bus - that would be cool.

Are any of the members of Nocturnal Rites in any other bands?

Not right now. Fredrik and I use to have a band called Guillotine. We did an album in 96 - it was kind of a retro thing that sounded like Kreator or Destruction. It was a tribute thing - being kids we bought Kreator and Destruction and all those great thrash bands.

Do you have any messages from Nocturnal Rites fans in the States or people who might be interested in checking out your music?

Just give the album a shot - you're not going to be disappointed. If you have other albums we did - in my mind it's probably the best one we've done so far. It's the one that I feel the most content with. So try it…


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CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS: The Record Label for Nocturnal Rites!
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