AVIANA released their sophomore album 'Epicenter' on August 23rd 2019. This was the first release to feature the bands new vocalist Joel Holmqvist. In the year since AVIANA has seen some real changes and now Joel remains as the sole member of the band.
We recently caught up with Joel to discuss being the sole member of the band, life for him in lock-down, new music and his love/hate relationship with his pet bird...
"When Covid-19 hit Sweden I was already sick, I was diagnosed with reactive arthritis back in October and it really fucked me up... But it has given me so much free time to sit down and write on album #3 so that's nice."
Firstly, I have to ask this at the moment, how have you been coping in the lock-down, what kind of things have you been up to since the lock-down came into effect.
When Covid-19 hit Sweden I was already sick, I was diagnosed with reactive arthritis back in October and it really fucked me up. So I was already staying at home, not being able to move that much haha. But it has given me so much free time to sit down and write on album #3 so that's nice.
Let’s be honest 2020 has been a weird year so far and things will probably be weird for a while. As an artist, especially an artist recording new music for a new album. How has this affected your rhythm?
It’s been both a blessing and a curse. Like I said I’ve had a lot of free time. But when there’s too much free time and no deadline you kind of slack. Or at least I do haha. But since I’m in Sweden and Sweden didn’t really mind the pandemic the same way other countries did, I’ve been able to hang out with my team and actually get back on track when I slack.
How did you get into writing and creating music? Was there a decisive moment or event that you remember that made you stop and think, wow, THIS is what I want to do with my life?
Absolutely, I had bought the record 'And Love Said No' by HIM. I think I was twelve at the time and my mind was blown by Ville Valo’s vocals. So I decided I wanted to become a vocalist at that moment.
"I was super scared at first to be honest. Having friends that you call family that you rely on dropping a bomb like that was tough and scary. But it took me about a month to start working again and start to feel confident that I can pull it off."
In March it was announced that ¾ of AVIANA were leaving the band leaving Joel Holmqvist (Vocals) the sole member. How hard was it to continue the band by yourself?
I was super scared at first to be honest. Having friends that you call family that you rely on dropping a bomb like that was tough and scary. But it took me about a month to start working again and start to feel confident that I can pull it off. A huge shout out to everyone who’s been sending me emails and DM’s. It’s been helping me heaps getting back on my feet.
Are you creating ALL the music for the upcoming album solely by yourself?
No, I’m working with producers. I’d hate to work only by myself, not throwing ideas back and forth with someone else. I’d loose my mind.
Your latest release, ‘Epicenter’ was released on August 23rd, 2019. Can you go into the creation process of the album a little? When did you start writing the album?
Most of the instrumentals were already written by the time I joined AVIANA. And I really didn’t bother trying to add anything on the instrumentals since I loved them since day one. The vocals were a lot of back and forth trying to find the right style for the instrumentals. Since the lyrics was personal to each member it had to fit in a good way.
‘Erased’ is an absolute belter of a track and has already received massive critical praise. Is it always the ambition of the band to always push the limits of what the definitive AVIANA sound can be?
Yes. And I’m going even harder on the new songs.
"I’m trying to look at the pandemic in a positive way. Working on the new album will be the main focus until 2021. And hopefully we’ll be in the clear to start touring next year."
With everything still up in the air regarding the pandemic, what do you think the rest of 2020 will look like for you as a band?
I’m trying to look at the pandemic in a positive way. Working on the new album will be the main focus until 2021. And hopefully we’ll be in the clear to start touring next year.
If you had to choose one song from the AVIANA catalogue that you feel encompasses the bands signature sound, which song would you choose and why?
I’d say “My Worst Enemy”, since AVIANA went from this kind of Djent band to more of a Metalcore band and it’ll keep going in a more heavy way. “My Worst Enemy” is a song that has a nice middle ground.
Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
I have a pet bird that I hate with all my heart but can’t get rid of cuz I’ve had him since I was 12 and feel some sort of love towards him haha.
What is on your playlist at the moment?
It’s a really mixed playlist haha. Mostly pop and soft stuff. I’ve been listening nonstop on the new Noija singles though. Absolutely love their new music.
Finally, as we are called Not A Phase, were you a scene kid when you were growing up? If not, what kind of music were you rocking out back in your formative teenage years?
Yeah, dyed black long hair, eyeliner, the tightest jeans you could possibly find. I was the whole package haha.
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