Fawkes: I know you are going to feature in Headbanger's Ball this Saturday...
Michael: Yes, we all have watched Headbanger's Ball for I know not how many years when it was broadcasted in Europe, and you know it is a real honour for us finally to be guests ourselves in a show. It's fantastic.
Fawkes: A big step for a band, I guess?
Michael: Yes, absolutely. It's really a show through which media gives you aknowledgement for what you're doing. It's a fantastic opportunity for us to get our name out to a lot of new listeners. It's a big chance for us.
Fawkes: The shooting will be done in America. Would it be your first coming across the ocean?
Michael: No, we've already done four festivals there on tour last September, so this time it's going over. We have a very stong fan-base there that continues to grow every day. And I know that this tour will make a bunch of new listeners.
Fawkes: OK, wish you a nice trip and make a good show there!.. Let's go on. Your the newest album is called "The Inner Circle". Maybe you'll be laughing, but the first thing that comes upon my mind, it is Norway, early 90's, ugly kids setting churches on fire and all that wicked stuff. But what does lie beyond this title actually?
Michael: "The Inner Circle" is a concept album about being corrupted by a religious cult. The Inner Circle itself is the highest level you can reach within a cult. There is nothing to be with that specific thing in Norway. This album is concerning, just in general, religious fanaticism. We've made a fiction story about how the person deals with all that and how people around him deal with that, from everyone's point of view. We've taken a concept from a fact that in today's society there are so many acts being done in the name of religion or certain god.
Fawkes: The album is set to be released later in April. I think you've already got a dozen of reviews. So, what people say?
Michael: We have very good reviews, we've been received very well everywhere. We are happy that people appreciate all the hard work we put down on the album. We are very proud and happy about it. It's truly nice to see that, you know, in magazines when other people say their opinion.
Fawkes: Haven't heard your album yet, but do not give up hope to get promo from Soyuz-Music...
Michael: From these guys who gave you that interview?
Fawkes: Exactly! Now tell some words about new material. What differences, compared to the "Recreation Day"?
Michael: Well, I think it's not as intent as "Recreation Day" was. That entire album has been really intent, and the new album is a little bit calmer. There is a great variety of different songs. It is a mixture of different elements. It's really powerful and emotional album.
Fawkes: Most of journalists define your style as power/prog metal…
Michael: I don't really see us as a prog band or a power band. Sure, we have some progressive elements in our music, but we are not as progressive as DREAM THEATER, SYMPHONY X or groups like that. I usually call our music melodic metal, but I know that people don't get content with that definition. They need more information. But I don't really think we belong to the power/prog scene.
Fawkes: Two previous albums were forged in Los Angered Studio, with Andy LaRocque behind the mixing desk. Does the new album give a course to this collaboration?
Michael: No. This album is recorded in our own studio. We've just built a one past summer, and "The Inner Circle" has been recorded and produced by ourselves. This way we had no time constraints and could work a little more both on material and sound. The production is really fantastic! We couldn't do better today.
Fawkes: Yeah, the own studio is a very useful thing…
Michael: (chuckles) It's true…
Fawkes: You all are perfect musicians. Perfect to that point that when I came to your website, to The Band section, and started subsequently clicking on your names, I've found no bios but some dry technical chars instead. All these models of guitars, poweramps, processors and other complicated stuff you use creating your music. What's this? Some sort of joke or what?
Michael: No, I don't think this actually is. When we had a previous website, there was some information about us. But also we always got many questions about what kind of equipment we use and all such stuff, so we decided to put it all down when started the new page. For people who are interested in these things could easily get this info. We are currently working on our page and more bios are to appear in the future.
Fawkes: After a long look at your photos, I must notice that you are looking like the most rock person in the band…
Michael: (giggles) Alright! Thank you very much!
Fawkes: Worth not a penny. A bass man is usually the merriest man in a group. What do you think about this?
Michael: Eh (chuckles), maybe that's true.
Fawkes: And what could you say about the rest of the band?
Michael: We five are all different persons, working the same way, having the same goals and same ideas when it comes to music. We are all equal. There are no some specific roles in the band. Tom and Henrik are the main composers, but… I don't think there are specific roles indeed.
Fawkes: Could you remember a funny story from EVERGREY's life?
Michael: Oh, we're out playing quite a lot so funny things happen all the time. We have tended to get lost whenever we get out together. We're always walking around and watching a town we're in and we never ever find our way back. We always need to get taxi to get back. It is ridiculous, indeed. Everyone considers: "I'm 100% this is the way we came…" And noone is ever right.
Fawkes: EVERGREY is based in Gothenborg. What do you think about a Swedish scene today?
Michael: I think it's still really good. I mean there are still a lot of fantastic bands and new ones coming up so. I think it is the strongest scene in Europe. We have there a band called PAIN OF SALVATION. These guys are really fantastic musicians. We have the bands like IN FLAMES who are really big all over the world. They're changing their sound but still getting bigger and bigger and I think that the thing they're doing is a step in right direction. We have a new band here in Gothenborg called WITHIN Y which is really-really good band. They're playing in the old Gothenborg style. So, that's it.
Fawkes: OK. Let's step away from music. Let's talk on the adjacent stuff. On women, for example. What do you think?
Michael: Oh, they're wonderful creatures… (they are!!!)
Fawkes: Tell me, what is the most attractive thing in a woman?
Michael: Eh, well…. Mmm… I would have to say that intelligence for me is very important. A beautiful intelligent woman is an ideal of mine…
Fawkes: Are you married?
Michael: No, I'm not. I'm living with my girlfriend for some years but not married yet… Probably, some time in the future.
Fawkes: And what about kids?
Michael: (chuckles) Not really right now - music is taking all my time…
Fawkes: How does your girlfriend tolerate your long vacations?
Michael: I must say, that it's very hard for both of us. But this is what I always wanted to do, so it's just what we have to work on together.
Fawkes: Are you religious man?
Michael: No. Definitely not.
Fawkes: So you do not believe in all that paranormal stuff like ghosts, UFO's etc?..
Fawkes: A practical state of mind, yeah?
Fawkes: I will call you five names. Don't think just say what first come upon your mind, OK?
Fawkes: Let's go. Pavel Bure…
Michael: Oh yeah, the hockey player! I love him!
Fawkes: George Bush…
Fawkes: Astrid Lindgren…
Michael: She was a very-very nice lady who made really fantastic stories. She's immortal…
Fawkes: Michael Hakannson…
Michael: Eh, pretty guy who just gets some fun.
Fawkes: Jesus Christ…
Fawkes: Well, a little bit serious question. What do you think, could be a man justified for committing murder?
Michael: No. I don't think the man who has committed murder could be justified.
Fawkes: With no exclusions?
Michael: Maybe, when it is self-defence or an accident. Anyway I think that murder must be punished hard…
Fawkes: I'll tell you a story. It's about one Russian man, who has lost his family - a wife and two children - in an air-crash happened year ago. Maybe you've heard about - it's when two planes have collided right in the sky?
Michael: No, I haven't.
Fawkes: So, the crash's been caused evidently by failure of Swiss air dispatchers. And this man, he borrowed many from his neighbors, took a plane to Switzerland, found there one of these dispatchers and murdered him down…
Michael: Mmm… I know what you're trying to say but it was just stupid. It was some kind of revenge but for me revenge is cannot be justified. It's my opinion.
Fawkes: I remember one interview, with Chris and Henrik (respectively, drummer and guitarist of EVERGREY), which in they said that Sweden is a boring country. Good to visit, but choke to live. Could you comment this?
Michael: Well, I don't know why it's boring. For me Sweden is a fantastic country to live in. People are nice here, we have fantastic nature and in the big cities there are many clubs and night lives. So, for me it is very good to live here.
Fawkes: Could you describe a simple Swede in three words?
Michael: Eh… Mmm… Shy…. … Quite… Mmm… (creating funny sounds, like rapid 'phh-phh')
Fawkes: OK. Let's stop on two!
Michael: (with relief) Yep!
Fawkes: Maybe you know something about Russia?
Michael: I've actually been to Moscow…
Fawkes: Wow, (interrupt him) I'm speaking to you from Moscow!!!
Michael: Great! It's very beautiful town and I really like it. I have been there for two weeks, playing in CSKA Moscow hockey school (!!!). It was back in 1992… We (EVERGREY) have been trying to be able to go down and play there but had not enough luck before. We definitely would try to make it this year. Other guys haven't been there so they're much eager to see Moscow.
Fawkes: Hope you'll come here and play for us!
Michael: Hope too.
Fawkes: You must know, that the Russian fans are much better that the American fans!
Michael: (chuckles) Yeah! We'll come and try you out!!!
Fawkes: OK. I think that's all. Bye Michael!!! Thank you for good talk!
Michael: Thank you very much too!!! Bye-bye!!!