Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?
Lee: We are a rock/hit/arena band with the influence of metal. We create big songs/music that belongs to the big stage – we are gonna get there.
Evan: We both are extremely passionate for our music and the will to succeed. There is a fire burning inside that will never end that keeps us moving forward in every possible way.
PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.
Lee: I come from a music family, and I have always performed and wrote music. So, it was always the plan to do music. I had a break after high school when I started working and found out I am really good at sales. But the love for music pulled me back.
Evan: When I was 4 years old. I had the opportunity to play my cousins’ Yamaha electric organ, which I did, for hours. From that moment I knew music was my call. Both my parents are also interested in music, with choirs and stuff and my sister is an educated violin player so music is in the family.
PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?
Lee: I have always had melodies in my head. Never a quiet moment. So, I always wanted to be able to perform the stuff I had in my head, but it was really hard, specifically singing-wise. So, I started to train my vocals like a machine. I used to listen to Jon Bon Jovi and Steven Tyler and they could sing extremely high without a problem. But their way did not work for me. I had to find the right technic for me, and that took maaaaany years, but I got it. 😉
Evan: When I was young, I was a bit into instrumental electronic music like Vangelis and Jean Michel Jarre, then I had Freddie Mercury as my big influence for many years. One of the greatest live performers ever lived.
PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?
Evan: When making music the ultimate goal is to make the world a better place for as many people as possible. To have them smile, want to listen again and again. If we could reach out to so many people that there will be a demand for us to go on tour, especially big tours, it would be a dream coming true.
PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?
Evan: I had a solo career a couple of years ago as a pop singer and the peak was when performing live at the biggest tv-show in Sweden with 4 million viewers in front of their TVs and 15.000 people in the arena. That was amazing of course!
Lee: Oh, must have been two things. First: performing live on Swedish radio. Second: see Evan’s smile when I sang the first melody and lyrics that I had done on one of his tracks.
PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?
Evan: You said it, yes that is a challenge! However, we have just started and we believe if something is really good the music should in some way get a life on its own and be shared and spread. At the moment we are not looking for a big label to help to promote us, but if we feel we are still on square 1-3 years from now, we may consider selling us to a label… 😉
Lee: One day at a time. If it meant to be it will be. But we keep working and doing awesome music and hopefully one day the right person hears us and we can live on it.
PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?
Evan: We started the band almost exactly when the pandemic started so touring has been a no-go so far. We are trying to build up a fanbase before going on tour obviously, but sure we may contact Sweden Rock or something to see if there will be available slots for us.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?
Lee: Spotify is great. Everybody should get it. Downloading would disappear so than it’s better just to use Spotify. Then we get a little bit at the end.
Evan: In Sweden, the CD died already 10 years ago so Spotify is actually the savior of the whole music industry. I keep hearing artists complaining about Spotify regarding low or no royalties. However, it is the labels giving the artists bad contracts regarding digital streaming. As we act as our own record label we know exactly how much Spotify pays the labels. Spotify does not pay the artists at all. Spotify pays the labels, the labels then pay the artists. At the moment Spotify is everything in Sweden. There are no ”album charts”. It is only the Spotify charts that decide who is the biggest artist, most streams will show who is the biggest artist, it is that simple, in Sweden at least. I know CDs are still selling in many countries so we will of course always distribute our music on CD as well, maybe vinyl if the demand is high!
However, I think live performances are more popular than ever and especially when the pandemic is over and restrictions are gone. Wow, there will be 10 years of party ahead of us!
So, I believe the whole music industry will have a really bright future!
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
Evan: It will be a rather pretentious answer, but the most beautiful song ever written is Adagio in G minor by Tomaso Albinoni. However, it is questionable if it was really Albinoni who wrote it as the piece was “discovered” by Remo Giazotto 200 years later and he first said it was a lost and found score by Albinoni but later said he composed it himself! However, Albinoni is still credited as the composer. I wish it was me 😉
PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?
Lee: Yeah, in Sweden it’s extremely hard. You have to have the right connection and you have to be a special kind of person that thinks in a special way. Not every time, but if you look at the people that are played on the radio now, they are mostly the same… I would give more power to the audience, what they want to listen to. Not what the guys in a suit make the most money on…
Evan: As soon as you have learned the rules it is not that bad. For example, artists are pretty sensitive human beings and they really believe labels love you because they love your music – no, they don’t. They love you because they think they can earn money from your music. That is the only lesson to learn. Don’t be naive. The music industry can be a really hard place.
The change to digital distribution in the last 15 years has been great for small labels as they can compete almost on the same conditions as major labels. Let´s say you have written the most fantastic track that everyone you play it for will honestly tell you it will be a hit. It will be a hit. Upload to YouTube and it will spread itself, I promise you. However, even 30 years ago small labels could get hits from great songs, but now it is easier than ever!
I love the Wheat and chessboard problem. You double the grain for each square, in square 64 you will have 18 quintillion grains (18 zeros). So if every listener who likes your song, plays it for two more friends and so on. It will spread and spread…
What big labels can do for you these days is to make a big hit from a mediocre song. That is the difference.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
Evan: We are working on a new album which will be released in early 2022 with two more singles released prior to that. The sound will be a little more metal-oriented than the first album and it will be interesting to see how the public reacts to that, but so far our first single, The Grim Reaper has been welcomed really great and added to a lot more Spotify playlists than we are used to, so very exciting times!
PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?
Lee: Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Youtube – and merch is coming soon!
Evan: We are pretty active on social media and our official website has links to all of them, Instagram, Facebook, etc: https://symphonyofsweden.se/
Thanks a lot for inviting us to this interview!
Symphony of Sweden links:
Band/Artist location – Sweden
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Check out our page for Symphony of Sweden