eclipsed: Your new album is named after a strange ritual from ancient Greece in which young men supposedly turned into werewolves. Is there anything current in the werewolf motif?
Martin Lopez: We are fascinated by the great old themes of humanity, because these basic themes are ultimately timeless: religiously based wars are an example. Against this background it is not difficult to relate our songs to the present. If one refers to past epochs, it becomes all the clearer that the main problems of mankind have not changed much. It is probably instincts that prevent us from carrying each other and supporting the weaker. In the end, the inner predator prevails, subduing or killing others. Even if we walk around with suits and smartphones today, we are doing the same thing as people 3000 years ago, when there were slaves and kings ...
Joel Ekelöf: At the moment, the times seem particularly extreme to us, because much is suddenly in flux. This makes people insecure, and they begin to yearn for strong leaders. The wolf stands for such people who profit from turbulent times because they know exactly what they want and what they have to do to get to the top.
eclipsed: Are there also positive aspects about the wolf?
Lopez: It also stands for strength and community, which is what we also find in music. And don't forget: Aggression or, in the case of our music, anger. It's an important part of our music. However, we don't necessarily express this in a musically extreme way, rather via the lyrics. Heavy music has always been a wonderful outlet to get rid of such strong feelings. It doesn't have to be loud, even if we all grew up with this music and my own musical roots are in a band that played extreme metal.
Ekelöf: Growling (the genre-typical orcish roar singing especially in Death Metal, editor's note) was never an option for me. I have always oriented myself towards singers whose voice is melodic. We actually feel quite comfortable with Soen in the progressive field, because our music does not only live from one or the other emotion, but we are interested in the contrasts: the ugly and the beautiful, the gentle and the hard - and what happens between the poles.
Lopez: Our song "Lucidity" is a good example of this. It is harmonious and radiates pure beauty, but the theme is dark. It's serious experiences from my past that I've dealt with in the lyrics. Topics that I have kept to myself so far, whether it's about drug experiences, psycho things or people close to me who have ruined their lives.
Ekelöf: We went a new way with this album: It's much more personal than before. Martin and I have partly plunged into our own abysses in our lyrics. This is what distinguishes "Lykaia" from the two previous albums, in which we proceeded more conceptually and dealt with philosophical questions.
Lopez: Ultimately, this approach has led to a more direct musical language. We have recorded the songs consistently analogue. We didn't want to get lost in details, add nothing that isn't necessary.
Ekelöf: You can't control everything, even if many people believe it and we live in a seemingly mechanized world. That's why we were so interested in analog recording, and we've never done it as consistently as we have been this time. We took the time to practice and record the takes live. And we also accepted to keep "irregularities" in as long as the take as such was strong. With songs like "Paragon", for example, only the basic structure was clear beforehand, while many moods and sounds only emerged spontaneously in the studio.
eclipsed: You have already indicated that you feel quite comfortable in the progressive field. Apart from that, are there any sources of inspiration that Soen might not have on the piece of paper?
Lopez: I find a lot of exciting things in South American music or also in the Arab world, for example with the Kurdish-Turkish singer İbrahim Tatlıses.
Ekelöf: And I love Kate Bush and Björk!
*Interview: Ulrike Rechel