On March 8th, the Swedish symphonic/melodic death metal band Meadows End released their fourth full length album titled The Grand Antiquation. Almost two months have passed since the release and Goth Mark has already given his good word on the album, and so it felt appropriate to sit down with one of the members for a little chat. The drummer, Daniel Tiger, kindly accepted the request of answering a few questions and invited me into his world filled with drum kits, metal, hard work and most importantly – some fun and juicy information regarding their latest album and what is ahead.
-Welcome to Blessed Altar Zine! Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for us.
Tiger: Thanks for having me
-So why don’t you start out by telling our readers a little bit about the members of Meadows End?
Tiger: Meadows End, the bearded bastards! We have the man in charge of this whole operation, JD (Jan Mehle, guitars) who mostly keeps it all together and makes things happen. Without him, there would be zero Meadows End, for sure. We have the Brute (Johan Brandberg, vocals) with his wonderful growls, Rob (Robin Mattsson, keys and orchestrations) who composes all the orchestrations and keyboards that creates that Meadows End-sound that many seem to associate us with. Hel (Mats Helli, bass) on the bass, aka one-take-Mats because of the fact that he never ever plays a wrong note, ever. And then there is me, Daniel Tiger on drums, who never seems to be able to not play between songs when we rehearse, to everyone´s annoyance, of course. In private, a very diverse group of guys with very different backgrounds and lives but who really work awesomely together. We have been playing together for quite some time now! I joined the band in 2002 and still consider myself to be one of the new guys, so you can imagine how long this has been going on.
-The new album The Grand Antiquation was released in the beginning of March 2019, how have the responses been so far?
Tiger: It has been very good I must say! It is our most grand album up to this date for sure, we really worked our asses of making it, so we are really proud of what we have accomplished with it and the public seems to agree that it is quite an album. Most of all there seems to be a lot more interest in this album then with our previous releases, which is really cool! And this will be our first ever release on LP, which I personally really are looking forward to! I love the vinyl format and getting that virginity taken with this album is really something. The interest for that one seems to be quite large as well, so hopefully that will make even more people check us out when it comes out.
-Your previous three full length albums have all had quite the longer playtime; however The Grand Antiquation is just around 38 minutes, is there a particular reason behind this?
Tiger: The main reason is basically that we wanted to keep this album as good as possible, meaning that we wanted every song to really have a defined place on the album. Sort of keeping the typical fillers out of the picture, more or less. And that ended up becoming the album as it is today, the amount of minutes wasn’t something that we planned on, it just came to be that length. We think that it turned out really well, because almost every time when we ask people about what their favorite song of the album is, they say different ones and I am pretty sure I have heard every single one of them being mentioned. That is really interesting, since we who are in the band seem to like one or two particular songs the most, and then the rest of the world thinks differently. That is really cool and I suppose we kind of succeeded with the plan we had for the album to begin with. Rather have 38 minutes of really good songs then 68 minutes with some so-so songs baked in there just for the sake of it.
-The new album has quite a heavy symphonic element led by maestro Robin which is quite different from the other three previous albums the band has done, was there a particular inspiration for this new direction?
Tiger: Not really I guess, but the songs are quite different from our previous work so maybe that is one reason for it sounding different. Rob did an awesome job as always with this album, there are so many layers of things going on that most of us wouldn’t even hear all of it if we didn’t know it was there. He has always been a huge part of the way we sound and for every album he has stepped up his game a notch. It’s probably just that, Rob really knows his trade.
-In one of the videos that Meadows End has on the band´s YouTube channel, Jan speaks of having finished recording the album, and 10 songs have been recorded and yet TGA only has 8 tracks, so what’s up with that?
Tiger: Yeah, odd, isn’t it? What is he even talking about? Well, ok, we recorded ten songs there at Crehate Studios (Gothenburg, Sweden) because we went there with our best material and yet we have eight songs on the album. Something must have happened along the way, because as far as I can remember we didn’t record any crappy songs. Maybe there are two really cool songs out there waiting to be released? Exciting times!
– So no more details about that whole deal?
Tiger: Let’s just say that I am really looking forward to the vinyl! I think you should be too.
-The cover of the album is fairly interesting, a female figure with one angelic side and one devilish, could you inform our readers a little more about that image?
Tiger: Up to this point we have been using the awesome artwork provided by the very talented friend of ours, Fredrik Burholm, who sadly passed away shortly before we were going to discuss this albums artwork. At first it felt like we could never find anything worthy of replacing Fredrik as our go-to-guy for these things, but eventually we had no choice but to find someone who could provide us with artwork. We looked through a whole bunch of potential artists and came to find out about this great artist called “Xenoyr”, who had made some really sweet stuff that caught our attention. We shared our thoughts of the meaning of the album name with certain suggestions and he went to work and did an amazing job landing the TGA cover art. The art itself is an interpretation of the name of the album.
– “The Grand Antiquation”, what would you say that stands for?
Tiger: It stands for our view on the world of today; that we should all wake up and clear out all these old and obsolete values, like the meaning of good and evil. Not only values, but also standards and authorities. Even on a planetary level, we tend to overestimate our own meaning of existence. So to simplify the cover artwork, what if good can be evil and evil can be good, maybe we don’t need these religious believes to guide our lives, maybe we should look into ourselves and take control of our lives that way and start treating each other like equals. I think the world would be a much better place for everyone if we all did.
– So you can safely say that this album is not to be considered a religious album then, despite the religious tendencies in the artwork?
Tiger: Not at all. It’s a wake-up-people-album if anything; I think that all our albums are. They follow the same formula; you can see the same theme going on on the Sufferwell too for example.
-So in the opening track of the album, Devilution, you have Tommy Johansson from Sabaton and now Majestica, performing a solo with you, what was it like to work with him? Was there a particular reason for why you wanted him to do it?
Tiger: It was very fun to have Tommy onboard for that one; he did an amazing job with that solo. Some of us in the band have actually known Tommy for quite some time, because he used to live and study here in our home town of Örnsköldsvik, so we usually met him out at the local bar where he used to hang out, being that guy doing falsetto screams between the sips of a beer. So when we thought about having a guest solo on the album, his name came up. So we asked if he would be interested in doing a solo for us and, BOOM, killer solo – straight into song nr.1 of the album. He is a really cool and fun dude, it’s really something to see him killing it with Sabaton and his own band Majestica these days! Well worthy of the success he has.
– Since Rik (Rikard Öqvist, ex lead guitar) left the band prior to TGA, how was the thought on having solos on the album being handled now when you were lacking a solo guitarist?
Tiger: We were thinking back and forth about whether we needed a replacement for Rik’s position prior to recording the album, but sort of left that question open for another time since we were in the middle of the process of making the actual record. At some point, JD decided to give it a go himself, which turned out to be really cool! He must have been busting his ass off writing and recording those solos, since it is not a side that he has been showing off before, so that was a cool surprise for the rest of us and I really dig the solos, they have sort of a video game vibe going!
-Speaking of videos, the video for the fifth track, “Non-dreaming Eye”, was filmed in a sauna, what inspired you to do that? Was the sauna on? How was it for you as a drummer?
Tiger: Well, having our Finnish blood in the band in our bass player Hel, that sauna thing was bound to happen at some point. Actually, it all started as a joke several years ago, how funny it would be to do a music video in a small, more regularly sized sauna that people here have in their homes. You know, cramming our instruments in there, goofing away. But when our label, Black Lion Records, approached us about making a video, we wanted to take it a bit further and make it more grand and professional, so we ended up in this big ass sauna at the local bathing house here in town, with a crowd and everything. I can assure you that our plan was to do this with the sauna turned off, of course. But no, apparently the sauna had to be on to some degree because otherwise, it would take forever to heat up again. So there we were, giving our all in some 60 degrees Celsius. As a drummer, playing through that song a shitload of times in that heat sure was exhausting. I think I drank like 4 liters of water that morning.
– So would you say that playing drums in that sauna was the hardest thing you have done musically up to this point?
Tiger: No way, that was recording the drums for The Grand Antiquation – by far! Oscar Nilsson (Owner/Producer, Crehate Studios, Gothenburg) has this philosophy that the drummer should play through the whole song in its entirety for like ten times, then he finds which one he likes the best out of those takes and that is what ends up on the album. Recording ten songs ten times, that’s one hundred freaking takes! I was so exhausted when it was over, you have no idea. So playing drums in the sauna wasn’t that much of a problem really. It was a very fun video to shoot! Even our metal-brother Ed Veter (Youtuber, Infidel Amsterdam) ended up flying his ass up here all the way from Amsterdam to be a part of it, which was really cool. And working with Ted at Bullsize was a blast for sure, he has more energy than anyone I have ever met before and really made a great job with the video, he is a really talented guy.
– I understand you thanked Ed for his hard work and effort by feeding him something unpleasant?
Tiger: Oh, the surströmming? I think he liked it actually, he seemed quite eager to try it out. He was going on and on about having it, he seemed almost obsessed. And as you probably have seen in that video of his, he salivated quite heavily during the whole meal. From pleasure, I’m sure.
-The third track of the album sort of stood out lyrics vice, “Svept i Sorgepläd” tells a story of a man that attempts suicide, is there something more behind this song that you can tell our readers?
Tiger: Mental health is something that often occurs in our lyrics, it is a topic that we really care about and wish that more people would take seriously. It exists everywhere around us and even within most of us at some point during our lives. The video we made for it, some find it strange that we did a nature filled video with us hiking the beautiful scenery around where we live, making a fire and drinking coffee, having a good time. Yet still, there is anxiety and depression around us all even in such a seemingly beautiful and happy situation like in that video. It is there and it should be taken seriously, it should be talked about a lot more. People who suffer from these things shouldn’t feel alone and having to feel that society is working against them. That there still is taboo regarding this topic is beyond me. It’s time to wake up, people! Be a friend, help each other out.
– Is there a specific reason that this song is written in Swedish regarding the topic of the song?
Tiger: Hel wrote the lyrics for this one, I don’t know exactly; maybe it felt more natural to write about something like this in our native tongue. Sweden can be quite depressing since we have such long periods of darkness during the fall and winter. But hey, a perfect time to cram up in the basement and play death metal, right?
– Indeed it is! So what is ahead for Meadows End in 2019? New songs perhaps? Will we be lucky enough to get a new record maybe next year?
Tiger: Right now we have our mindset to get the vinyl out and make sure that as many as possible get to hear our music. We really appreciate people like you for giving all these awesome bands out there some well-earned recognition; we salute you for including us! Other than that, in the nearest future, we have the Gamrocken Festival and some shows planned later this year. What the future brings beside these things, time will tell! But no, no new music is being written at this point.
Interview by Julia Katrin
**Please support the underground! It’s vital to the future of our genre.