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INTERVIEW – Erik Martensson, W.E.T. – February 2013

| 7 February 2013 | 1 Reply

When I heard the latest from W.E.T., I couldn’t wait to see what press opportunities awaited me.  To say I was ecstatic with the opportunity to speak with one of the masterminds and writers behind the great melodic rock is an understatement.  Here are the results of my short time with Erik Martensson…

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ToddStar: Thank you so much for taking time out for us today.

Erik: No problem. It’s a pleasure.

ToddStar: I’d love to jump into the disc and discuss Rise Up from W.E.T. Since I heard this thing I can’t stop listening to it. It’s been in my normal rotation of albums, and when we did the review it got 10/10 stars.

Erik: Oh great.

ToddStar: I didn’t think anything could top you guys’ debut disc, and you did it.

Erik: [Laughter] I’m glad we did. All of us in the band, we actually prefer the second one much more.

ToddStar: Really?

Erik: Yeah, the Rise Up album. We all love that. We think that’s better than the first one.

ToddStar: What do you prefer about it more than the first?

Erik: I think it sounds more W.E.T. I think it has a lot more identity. It makes us even more shaped. We sound more like a band on this one. I think that is one of the main things I love about this album.

ToddStar: In discussing the disc, what can you tell us that most people won’t know at first glance, or the first time they listen to it? What kind of titbits do you know about the album that we don’t? What kind of cool things went into making it that we might not know just listening to it, was there some good writing? Bonding? Was there more of a group effort?

Erik: Yeah of course, the first album we did we didn’t know Jeff. I’d met Jeff a couple of times before, but now we know each other pretty well, so when it came to writing an album everything was really smooth. Everyone in the band knows each other really well, so we kind of took over where the last one ended.

ToddStar: So do you think this was truly more of a band effort, whereas the last one was more of a label saying here, let’s put you guys together?

Erik: Yeah. The first one was a label thing, but it evolved into a band during the process of writing it and creating it. It started out as a project but when the album was released we all felt that this was a band effort, and it had something special about it. That’s why we changed the name to W.E.T. We had another name for the band in the beginning, but we wanted to put our own names on the album as well.

ToddStar: What was the original name?

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Erik: I think it was something terrible like Lost in the Shadows. Really bad. It’s a terrible name.

ToddStar: It would be good if it was really heavy or dark metal or something, but you guys are so far from that.

Erik: Yeah.

ToddStar: In listening to the songs, I think the whole album is very strong and there are several songs that I really like, but there’s a song like “Bad Boy” where you’ve got that chugging guitar, and the vocals just take over, and the drumming is excellent. Other songs, like the title track “Rise Up,” or “Love Heals” has a cool vibe to it. Are there any that you find that you’re going back and listening to saying, man, that’s a really good song?

Erik: The album is so fresh that I haven’t really had the chance to have a listen to it yet, I like all the songs on the album. I don’t think there is really a weak track on the album.

ToddStar: Are there any you wish sounded different?

Erik: No, we made them as good as possible.

ToddStar: I didn’t know if maybe in the production end you thought, oh, this should sound different.

Erik: When I produce an album, if it doesn’t sound the way I want it I redo it, throw away what we’ve done and start all over again. If I feel that the rhythm, or the sound, or the guitar playing, even the melody…if I don’t get interested by listening to it then I throw it away and make a new one. Everything is… we work hard on the tracks.

ToddStar: For the album, Rise Up, were any of the songs easier to write than others? Did any of them almost write themselves?

Erik: Yeah, “Bad Boy” I think I had the whole song in my head. I think I had it in my head. That just popped up in my head. But some others, I don’t think we worked so very hard on all the songs because if the song isn’t good we have to throw it away and start making a new one. So if we feel that we’re not getting anywhere with it, I think it’s better to just go ‘okay, we’re not getting anywhere with this one, throw it away and start all over again with a new one.’

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ToddStar: You’ve been involved in a lot of projects. You do a lot of producing, you’ve got your own project with Eclipse; how do you find the dynamic is coming together with W.E.T as opposed to all those other projects?

Erik: It’s not a huge difference. When I write for Eclipse I write everything with my friend Magnus, the guitarist. We just write stuff that we love ourselves. We don’t think about what anybody else in the world thinks about us or the songs, we just write for ourselves, and with W.E.T there are more people involved in the making, so we have different input from different lyric writers and we have Robert (Sall from Work Of Art) as well, who is contributing a lot to the songs.

ToddStar: If you had to describe the sound of W.E.T to somebody, how would you do that, if they hadn’t heard of you?

Erik: Heavy melodic rock, I think.

ToddStar: I’d agree with that. You guys are kind of spearheading the charge of melodic rock coming back. Is that something you guys, when you started this project, and even Eclipse is a great melodic band, you seem to surround yourself with a lot of melodic rock. Is it a flag that you personally carry, that you want to see melodic rock just be more popular than ever?

Erik: I think it’s been around a long, long time and over the last couple of years it’s gained a lot of popularity, but I don’t know, I don’t think that it will ever come back big on the charts. There are melodic bands on the charts. In America you have a lot of melodic rock bands, but they won’t sound like you expect. Every rock band you hear on the radio is kind of melodic rock. It’s just taken a new form.

ToddStar: I just think with what you guys have done, and again, I know we’re pushing W.E.T and Rise Up, but even with Eclipse, there’s something about the sound and the songs that you write that just really bring it back, and those of us who are a little bit older than others, we remember melodic rock, and you guys have just taken it to that next level.

Erik: Thanks. I think that’s it and I totally agree that since back in the day when melodic rock was really big, they were really pushing the bands and they had real producers, and good song writers and in the popularity I think, the desire to create those albums were lost and people didn’t pay attention to writing, producing and recording good enough so that there has been a lot of really bad melodic rock in the last ten to fifteen years. There’s a bit difference. The bands now, the new bands coming, they start to sound good again, kind of.

ToddStar: I would agree with that totally. So what’s next for the band; are you guys going to put together a tour, or are you branching back off to do your separate things?

Erik: I think a little of both. Jeff is going on a European tour and Eclipse is having gigs in Europe as well, and they’re actually working right now, setting gigs with W.E.T. Last time we didn’t do any gigs, so we just want to go out and play the songs live, because we’ve got two albums with great songs and we’ve never toured. We want to see it and promote our sound. The fans are really asking for us to go out on tour.

ToddStar: Is that something you might cross the water and come to the US with, if given the opportunity?

Erik: Yes.

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ToddStar: [Laughter] If you had to pick other bands that you wanted to tour with that you think would enhance W.E.T, who would you want to go out with?

Erik: Oh, I have no idea. There are many good bands. There have never been so many good bands in a long time. Even here in Sweden there are at least ten bands that it would be cool to have on tour. It’s the same in every country. I’m not too sure which one.

ToddStar: Are there any bands out there right now releasing music that you really love?

Erik: Yeah we’ve got a band called H.E.A.T., they’re releasing albums and they’re really popular here in Sweden. There are so many bands.

ToddStar: What’s the last album you listened to?

Erik: It was actually Def Leppard.

ToddStar: Which album?

Erik: It was actually a lot of fun. I have agreed to play tonight in a tribute band playing Def Leppard songs. Yesterday I learned ten Def Leppard tunes. They gave me the songs like three months ago to learn, but it’s the last day.

ToddStar: You’ve been a little busy.

Erik: Yeah, I have.

ToddStar: Erik, if there was one piece of music in the history of time that you wish you had written, what would it be?

Erik: I would go for something like Bach or something. That would be cool. That is music that stands the test of time.

ToddStar: Okay. Other than making sure everyone buys this album and gives it the spin, is there anything else you’d like to let us know about that you’ve got coming up, or getting ready to push?

Erik: No not really, we have to do interviews and planning to get out on the road and play, see the reaction to the album… but other than that, I think we will start writing a new album with Eclipse as well. It takes a long time from first idea to the final product. You’ve got to keep going all the time if you want to have albums out.

ToddStar: Sure.

Erik: Stay creative all the time.

ToddStar: Anybody who likes W.E.T is definitely going to like Eclipse as well. It’s the same vein, same great rock.

Erik: Yeah, Eclipse is more guitars, and W.E.T is more melodic.

ToddStar: Good analogy. Well, I know you’re busy and I want to thank you again for taking time out. Before we go, I’d like to ask you Erik, what’s the meaning of life?

Erik: Enjoy the moment. That’s the meaning of life.

ToddStar: Excellent.

Erik: Think about today.

ToddStar: Awesome. Thank you so much for your time, Erik, we really appreciate it and we wish you well with your upcoming dates with Eclipse and we look forward to seeing some W.E.T dates, both there in Sweden, then in Europe and then here in the US hopefully.

Erik: Yeah, thanks. Thanks for having this interview.

ToddStar: We’ll talk to you soon.

Erik: Cool, take care.

Hopefully my interview with Jeff Scott Soto in a couple hours will be this fun!!!

Link to W.E.T. Rise Up Review

Link to Jeff Scott Soto Interview

Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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