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Candlemass Interview

Napalm Records

Candlemass just released the EP The Pendulum, made up of some unreleased material from the sessions for last year’s well-received and Grammy-nominated The Door To Doom. The band’s bassist and songwriter Leif Edling fills us in on their latest release.

Chad Bowar: You’ve had some health struggles over the past few years. How are you doing now?
Leif Edling: Better and able to tour now, so the year was very busy for us. Played all over the world. The burned-outness has developed into something called fatigue syndrome so I have to watch it a bit. I take breaks whenever I can, rest before and after gigs, etc. But I can fly, play, record, so I’m very glad for that!

Were you satisfied by the response to The Door To Doom by fans and critics?
Oh yes. Very happy The Door To Doom was received so well, even beyond the expectations.

Were you surprised by the Grammy nomination? What was the whole Grammy experience like?
Shocked, surprised, overwhelmed. The whole thing was a bit surreal, in fact. From being nominated to the Grammy weekend in LA, the parties, walking the red carpet. Five old doomwrecks from Stockholm fraternizing with the beautiful people! (laughs) But we had fun, played along, had a great weekend in Los Angeles.

You also won a Swedish Grammis award, your second. Is it important to be recognized in your home country?
We got tons of invaluable worldwide promotion out of the U.S. Grammy thing, even if we didn’t win. And the fact that we won the Swedish equivalent was icing on the cake for us. A super end to a great year! We’re a household name in Sweden, but it felt great nevertheless to actually win the Grammy here and everybody in Sweden was also impressed by the U.S. Grammy nomination, so it was on the news and in all the papers and magazines which equals fantastic promotion that money can’t buy. We’re not over the hill yet!

What inspired you to want to release these tracks from those sessions as The Pendulum?
It’s good songs. Simple as that. If it was second-rate we wouldn’t release it. During the year I have played the material to several friends and they all said the same thing – “You must release it.” So why not? The title track “The Pendulum” could easily have fit on the album. Maybe the other two as well. The procedure of choosing what song stays and what song goes is pretty vague sometimes. I do think we made the correct choices, though. But feels like the right thing to do to release this EP with the rest of the DTD material.

Were the tracks on The Pendulum finished and ready to go during the Door To Doom sessions, or did you have to go back and do some work on them for this release?
The title track “The Pendulum” was not finished. It was the last song I wrote and Marcus the producer thought we had enough material already so I decided to close the song writing factory for the time being. But we all liked it, so it felt great to finish it, mix it properly for this EP. Nice uptempo track.

What went into deciding that these tracks would not be on the original album?
Have no idea. It’s like choosing between your children. Guess you have some thought in your head of what the album should sound like, maybe. I honestly don’t know. Probably gut feeling. After all these years of doing this I tend to follow (and trust) my gut feeling more and more. Have to make decisions, both important and not so important, every day more or less and you can’t let it take a lot of your precious time. I wish I had 90 minutes on every hour but you don’t, so rule number one is, don’t waste my time. (laughs)

What is your favorite part of touring in the U.S.?
The gigs of course! (laughs) But apart from that I really like American culture, the food, the people, and your record shops! Try to catch a used vinyl shop or two at all the places we play over there.

What’s the most unusual venue you’ve ever played?
We’ve played in small pubs, in somebody’s garden, a living room (I think anyway) and another place that was a bit unusual for was a country and western club somewhere in the U.S. Really small stage, lightbulbs everywhere, mirrors, fringes and curtains. Looked like a whorehouse. Perfect!

Have you been the instigator or victim in a memorable end of tour prank?
We don’t do tour pranks any more. It is childish and can ruin a show for a band. It happened here and there back in the day but to be honest, it wasn’t very fun then either. Once we had a support act sitting on the stage playing cards and once somebody in another band played a big piano behind us that he/they somehow must have lifted up on the stage. You always get complaints from the crowd when these things happen. So we stopped doing it…

Have you begun working on The Door To Doom’s follow-up yet?
Nope. It’s way too early.

Do you remember the first album you ever bought?
Got Paranoid from my parents when I was 8 or 9, but the first record(s) I bought weere one of “BTO’s Not Fragile or Sparks’ Propaganda. Great albums that I like and listen to even today!

While there has been a resurgence of vinyl popularity, streaming has become the dominant way people consume music. Financially it has not been as good for artists, but exposure-wise, do you think more people are now discovering and listening to Candlemass music because of streaming services?
Absolutely! YouTube, streaming, social media, etc., all that helps to promote you. There are music lovers everywhere around the globe; some buy records, some don’t, some go to shows, some just sit at home. There you have the Fun Box, right in front of you. It’s all in there. You never have to leave the house! (laughs) And yeah, I think loads of people discover us this way.

What’s the biggest misconception your fans or friends have about you?
That we are difficult and hard to reach. Have heard this a few times. But we always meet fans, sign, take photos, never say no to anyone, so I think this is completely wrong. We do have integrity, but that’s something else.

Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Stay healthy in these difficult corona times.

(interview published March 31, 2020)

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