Candlemass are one of the giants of Doom Metal. On their 12th album, The Door to Doom in 2019, and having just followed this up with a fresh EP, The Pendulum, they show no signs of stopping. This interview was conducted with Leif Edling via email.
Noizze: "The Pendulum is entirely made up of extra tracks from the recording sessions for the previous album The Door To Doom. These must have been extremely productive sessions to have so many unused tracks – is The Pendulum EP the last of the material from these sessions, or is there still more to come?
Leif Edling: "Isn’t 6 extras enough?, hahahaha! This is a bit strange actually. In several interviews they ask about this, “is there more to come?”, than ask about the actual songs and the EP itself.
But we have actually had great response for the EP and especially songs like the title track and “Porcelain Skull”. I’m very happy our fans like the EP."
Noizze: "In terms of the creative process, how does it normally work for you? For example, do you create your songs together in jam sessions or do you come up with ideas individually?"
Leif Edling: "Candlemass never jam. I record demos of the songs and the band learn the songs. Then we rehearse and record. The best and easiest way to do it"
Noizze: "This is the second release since Johan Längqvist re-joined the band in 2018, how did it feel at first to have him back in the band?"
Leif Edling: "Like a long lost friend has come back. And it is! Hahaha! Johan is a great guy, and a super singer, so it is wonderful to have him back. He has absolutely brought back new lust for playing and the overall feeling for something like being in a band. Quite an achievement."
Noizze: "The band has announced previously that The Door to Doom was intended as a return to the roots and essence of the band’s early material. Aside from reaching out to original vocalist Johan, did you do anything else differently from usual in the recording of this album and The Pendulum EP in order to return to your roots?"
Leif Edling: "The album is the album, and it was done with Mats Levén originally. We didn’t try to sound like 86 or anything. When Johan came in, he made the record HIS record by putting his vocals and stamp on it. At the live gigs we also play more old songs from tex the first album than what would be the case if Mats was still with us. This way it Really feels we're back to the roots of it all."
Noizze: "Was it challenging to recreate that old-school sound and atmosphere of your early material in 2020, particularly with regards to production?"
Leif Edling: "In a live situation we just plug in and go for it. If we speak about the album, Johan is the secret ingredient. The link between the past and today. With his voice we can easily travel back to the days of Epicus and even Nightfall."
Noizze: "Have your influences changed or seen any additions since the band’s inception in 1984? Are there any bands from the past 4 decades you particularly enjoy the work of?"
Leif Edling: "As you know, Candlemass was based on Sabbath and metal, especially bands like Angelwitch, Accept, Anvil, Manilla Road, Trouble, Pentagram etc etc, and today the spectra is severely wider because if enjoy the work of f.i. Crosby, Stills, Nash (Young), 16 Horsepower, Zeppelin, Porcupine Tree, Ghost etc etc etc…but I wouldn’t say that these groups necessarily are influences to C-mass….maybe more inspiring to me personally, and not only music-wise.
Noizze: "Your song from The Door to Doom album ‘Astorolus: The Great Octopus’ featuring Tony Iommi, was recently nominated for a Grammy. How did that feel and what was it like working with Tony Iommi?"
Leif Edling: "I have no idea. We never met him. Our manager contacted his manger and some weeks later we got a file sent via the computer. But hats off to Tony Iommi for doing it and helping a smaller band out. The solo is great too!! Cudos!"
Noizze: "You have plans to tour this year, what impact do you think the virus will have on the live music industry, and in the long run?"
Leif Edling: "We had lots of plans for this year. Many cool gigs were booked but are now either cancelled or moved to a later date. Sucks…but I do think that everything is just paused actually. I think next year it will be business as usual. The hard thing is to survive from now up to Christmas.
Then 2021 will be packed with gigs and hopefully some financial income too."
Noizze: "You've stated previously that 70-80% of the lyrical content on The Door to Doom tackles his experiences with chronic fatigue syndrome, does this lyrical theme also feature on the EP? Are there any other themes the lyrics were inspired by on this EP?
Leif Edling: "The song 'THE PENDULUM' is more inspired by Umberto Ecco, but there’s also Conan influenced lyrics on the EP (Snakes of Goliath). Maybe “Porcelain Skull” have more to do with your question Had lots of terrible nightmares when I felt crap during those years after hitting the wall completely."
Noizze: "Do you have a favourite Candlemass album or song? If so, what would you pick and why?"
Leif Edling: "Right now my favourite song is “THE PENDULUM”. It has a great riff, is catchy, Johan sings it like a beast, and I also love Lars guitar solo on it! The production really rocks too."