Ever wanted to find out what inspired a particular song?
Was it based on personal experience or simply passive observation?
What happened in the recording studio or on stage to make one song sound different from the rest?
These are just some of the question bands and musicians attempt to answer in Line 'em Up - the newest page of The Power Of Metal.Dk.
This is where your favourite bands comment on their albums, track by track, because as someone once said, “Ideas are the building blocks of ideas”.
Of Finnish birth, Lars Eric Mattson was discovered by guitar guru Mike Varney in 1985. Thereafter he went on to forge a prolific musical career, releasing 8 solo albums, the latest being “Epicentre”. He also released another 5 albums under the Mattsson moniker and has recorded with countless bands, such as Vision, Condition Red, Eli, Book Of Reflections and Astral Groove. Throughout his career Lars has collaborated with other highly respected musicians, such as Alex Masi, Derek Sherinian, Patrick Rondat, Vitalij Kuprij, Erik Norlander and Mark Boals.
In his latest “Epicentre” album, Lars Eric Mattsson played almost all instruments (including lead vocals). The drums were recorded by Christer Jansson, who is a long-time collaborator of Lars.
Here’s a chance for you to tell our readers about “Epicentre”. But first, what was the inspiration for the album’s title?
This is a very personal album and very true to where I am both musically and as a person today, so I guess the music comes from the Epicentre of my soulJ I decided early on that I would make shorter songs and try to let each song have it’s own personality and tell it’s own story. There are 18 song but I don’t think I should have left anything out as that would have made the whole picture incomplete.
It could be said that your previous album - “Aurora Borealis” – was more complex, musically speaking. Do you agree and how much did the work you did for that album influence the direction you took with “Epicentre”?
Yes, I guess you could say that but that does not mean I worked less on this album. I try to never do the same album over and over, so I just had to find a new direction. I was also thinking of making even shorter songs from the beginning but that proved to not really be useful. Even though some of the songs are not very complex on it’s own I think everything together is showing a quite complex picture.
And now onto “Epicentre”… track-by-track, what inspired you, what topics are you dealing with, what do you want to express within the songs, etc..
01. Wait for the Sunrise
This song is about the feelings one may have on the eve of a huge disaster when it’s yet too soon to estimate the damage. This is perhaps the most progressive track on the album.
The rhythm is alternating between 7/8 and 6/8 and there are a few very challenging passages. I played the Boel MC 7-string and my custom modded Stratocaster, as well as a detuned 1974 Rickenbacker bass.
02. A New Devil
This song is about a very hot but also very bad woman. Lyrically I would say that this is almost like a modern version of the blues. On this song I played my modded Stratocaster and the 1974 Rickerbacker bass as well as an old acoustic and a Fender Dobro.
One of the first songs I wrote for this album, a song about love lost. I had a very different arrangement is mind originally but decided that keeping it simple was the best. I am playing an old acoustic guitar as well as the Fender Dobro, a 1967 Coral Electric Sitar and the Rickenbacker bass again. The whole song is in 5/4.
04. Land of Dreams
This is the first song I did for this album. I was not even sure I was gonna do a full album at the time, I just wanted to try out some new ideas. This song is very short (under 3 minutes) but there are quite a few different things going on here. I am playing a few acoustics, the Coral Electric Sitar, the Boel 7-string, a Fender strat and a 12 string Rickenbacker clone. And the detuned 1974 Rickenbacker bass… There are no keyboards on this one.
05. Melting Down
A simple ballad with a lyric inspired by love and desire. A short bass solo in the middle of the song that is more of a melody thing than a ”show off”. All guitar parts were done with the Strat. I am using a Roger Mayer distortion pedal on the solo.
06. No One Else
This is the last song I did for the album, I felt there was something missing to the mix of songs even though the album was definitely not too short without this one. This song is in the style of what I did way back in the 80-ies, except that I am now playing a 7-string. There are also the Strat and the 12 string on this one and a very dominant organ part.
07. South of the Border (Instrumental)
The album’s first instrumental. The lead guitar was done with my old Valley Arts Custom Pro and as you can hear it was recorded quite loud, the guitar is on the verge of total feedback all the time. The rhythm guitar on the other hand was done with the Strat.
08. No Way, No Surrender
A song about staying true to yourself in a world full of liars. The Strat and a Bass Maniac fretless bass. A 70-ies flavoured boogie with an 80-ies update...
A song about someone who is changing her ways all the time, just to fit in. I was not sure I would keep the vocals I did on this album until I started working on this one but at one point I simply felt I had to do sing these songs by myself or the feeling would totally go away. I also slowly started to find my own voice by working on this song. It’s not perfect but I would not want to have it any other way.
10. So Far Away
A love ballad from the perspective of someone who is away from home way too much. A 1961 Strat as well as a new modded strat, a 12 string Rickenbacker clone, Valley Arts Custom pro, Coral Electric Sitar, Rickerbacker bass…. I played a lot of instruments on this song but there are no keys…
11. Freedom Fighters (Instrumental)
the album’s second instrumental and perhaps the most intense track. I really don’t expect to ever hear this one performed by a cover band. A full 7/8 prog metal attack with some cool bass/guitar tapping interplay. Dedicated to the people fighting for democracy and freedom around the globe.
12. Too Late
A not to be taken too seriously jazz influenced shuffle. I did the rhythm track with a Telecaster and the wah wah stuff on my modded Strat. The bass was done with the Fretless Bass Maniac.
13. I Don’t Know
What is it all about? One thing is certain: there is no simple answer. A 70-ies flavoured funky track with tons of feedback. The solo is 2 guitars 4 bars each twice, the Valley Arts Custom Pro on the things with the more extreme whammy parts and the Stratocaster on the other half. A little bit Hendrix influenced I suppose…
14. Cold Inside
A bluesy ballad about love gone bad. Only the Stratocaster and the Rickenbacker bass plus some Organ. There are also some slide guitar fills here and there. Some cool guitar feedback giving this ”less is more” track an additional flavour…
15. Andalucia (Instrumental)
The album’s final instrumental and something I have not really done before: a bit of jazz fusion with acoustic guitar and violin. Inspired by the beautiful south of Spain which I love. I wrote it with the electric guitar in mind, but decided to try it on an acoustic instead and I am glad I did.
16. No More War
Lots of different things going on in this track which is about making a change in your life and leaving the past behind you. Quite a few guitar tracks on this one, the Boel 7-string, Valley Arts Custom Pro and a Strat. Rickenbacker bass again.
17. Scratch My Back
Well you can say whatever you want about the blues but this is the music I started with and it will probably never go away. This music is all about not trying to do too much and certainly not to show off, just keep things simple. Fender Strat and Rickenbacker bass.
18. Clouding My Eyes
This short closing jazz ballad is really very simple, one rhythm guitar: a Fender Telecaster, a Fretless bass and one vocal track plus the ending solo which I played on a Fender Stratocaster.
The artwork is mysterious and vague – this leaves it prone to endless interpretations. Was this the intention?
Yes. That is correct. There is something there in front of you but you can not really see what is happening.
Are there any plans to perform these songs live?
Maybe. I am quite prepared in case something interesting comes up.
Chris Galea, September 2013