Henrik’s answers to some common and less common questions asked in interviews and private messages.
Where are you from?
I was born in Sweden, but these days I live in Denmark.
What instruments do you play?
A little bit of this and a little bit of that. My main instrument is guitar.
What band(s) do you play with today?
Evil Masquerade and Lacrimosa.
Which Evil Masquerade album is your favourite?
Always the latest release. But I like the others as well.
Are you a permanent member of Lacrimosa?
Lacrimosa is Tilo Wolff and Anne Nurmi. I play guitar for them.
What happened with Moahni Moahna and ZooL?
Too many business related problems made us lose the drive.
What brand of guitar do you play?
I've been playing the same Aria Pro II PE-1500 on all albums and shows.
What brand of amp do you use?
I have tried many different amps throughout the years, but after finding ENGL I see no point in looking further. I use the E 650 top through E 412 cabinets.
What brand of strings do you play?
I still haven't found my favourite brand. Thickness from bottom to top: 9 - 11 - 16 - 26 - 36 - 46.
What kind of guitar effects do you use?
I don't use much. Something to boost the signal for leads, which can also be just the lead channel of the amp, and I like to use a slow delay with a treble cut-off for melodies and slow solos. I don't have any favorite brands yet. An octaver (down) and a wah-wah can be fun toys, but nothing essential.
COMPOSING, PRODUCING & PERFORMING
Do you give lessons?
Not any more. I did a lot of teaching in the past but I've lost interest and motivation.
Do you still compose music for theatres?
Do you want to produce my band?
Probably not, but you never know. Feel free to ask.
Do you do guest performances with other bands?
Do you write music for others?
I have done it in the past, but not so much recently. I'm not opposed to the idea if the project feels interesting.
Do you have any advice for songwriting?
What’s most important to me is to feel good, or I can’t do it. Another significant thing is to be persistent. Even when I’m empty of ideas I spend that time in the studio with my instruments ready to embrace any melody that comes around.
How do I get faster on the fret board?
What's the pros and cons about being in a band?
The good thing is the strength of being many. The downside is probably coordination issues related to that.
How did you acquire your knowledge as a producer?
Trial and error I guess [laughter]. I’ve always had a pretty clear view for my music. I don’t like writing songs without having control over the final result. Every recording has its possibilities and limitations. And that’s very much what producing is all about; making the right choices. But it’s also a social psychological thing when it comes to getting the best results out of every musician. I learn along the way and pick up new ideas that I want to try next time. I think my motivation lays in the desire to develop and improve.
Have you ever admired a certain guitar player and took him as a model?
I never had an instrumentalist idol. I have some favourite guys that I enjoy a lot, but not in a way where I try to learn their licks and tricks. I'm more drawn to the atmosphere a musician creates than to some specific notes or licks. I don't find it interesting to figure out what other people play. Music is much better listened to than analyzed. I'm more intrigued by talented composers than guitarists.
What was the worst and the best show in your career and why?
I have had many great shows. One of the most memorable ones was the release gig for my first album back in 1994. It was "Temple of Life" with Moahni Moahna. We played at a sold out Hard Rock Café in Stockholm. We had additional musicians on stage playing violins and accordion. Richard Andersson and I did our first gig together that night as well. The concert was a total blast, so it was quite special in many ways. The worst show ever was probably the first show I ever did with a rock band. I was 14 or 15 years old. Everything went wrong as far as I can recall. Even the bombs that were supposed to explode on the first chord blew up too late. A total Spinal Tap. Our ambitions were enormous and we failed miserably.
What title in every different style would you have liked to compose?
There are many songs I wouldn’t mind have written. Vivace from “Concerto For 2 Violins and Orchestra in D Minor”, Air, Badinerie, Toccata (JS Bach); the complete Hall of the Mountain King (Edward Grieg); the complete Les Miserables (Alain Boublil/Claude-Michel Schönberg); Temple of the King, Gates of Babylon (Rainbow); O Fortuna from “Carmina Burana” (Carl Orff); Perfect Strangers (Deep Purple); the complete CHESS (Benny Andersson/Tim Rice/Björn Ulveaus); Money Money Money (ABBA); Killer Queen, Death On Two Legs, Bohemian Rhapsody, Innuendo, The Show Must Go On (Queen); Solo in Soho (Phil Lynott); Back in Black, For Those About to Rock (ACDC); Hårgalåten, Ack Värmeland Du Sköna (old Swedish folk music)… I could probably go on forever.
What do you think takes more skill and overall talent to write? Hip Hop/ Rap songs? Or Rock songs?
A good melody is a good melody. It's up to the listener to decide. If it passes the merciless test of time is just a matter of wait-and-see. Only the strong survive.
What's the best atmosphere for writing a song?
The absolute best atmosphere for song writing is found in solitude late at night. Preferably after midnight. The main reason for that is the silence and the very few interruptions. No telephones that need to be answered and no sudden important situations that need to be dealt with. This, together with some black coffee, offers a nice harmonious sanctuary ideal for creativity.
Are all the lyrics you write for Evil Masquerade just fictional or do they have a special meaning to you?
I usually try to give the lyrics at least two layers of meaning. I prefer for them to sound a bit timeless and take place in a paralel imaginary world. But I think it’s intriguing to deal with reality below the surface.
Who is Bozo?
He can be anyone you want him to be. I had a specific, very well-known, individual in mind when I wrote the song "Bozo the Clown".
Who is Crimson?
The guy on the Evil Masquerade albums.
What do you mean for 'evil' - and who is Lucy?
Interesting question. In the real world, evil is something really terrible. I would be delighted to see it wiped off the face of the earth. But there is also the good kind of evil. That’s the evil appearing in fairytales. Imagine how many entertaining stories we would lose without a good share of pure evil. When it comes music I usually like to keep it in fictitious surroundings. Lucy... she might be the Devil.
What kind of ring tone do you have on your mobile phone?
The most alike an old stationary telephone I could find. I never understood the meaning of why cellphones should play songs or just be plain annoying. That´s two things I can manage myself as a rock musician [laugh].
If you could choose any period of time to live in, which one would you choose?
The present. But I would be absolutely delighted to survive the present and make it into the future as well.
Truth is that you’ve been highly praised by most of the media. Did you expect a reaction like this?
I try not to expect much. The music we play doesn't follow the latest fashion so I really can’t predict media's reaction. We just try to do our absolute best every time and push ourselves to make it better than before. As long as I'm satisfied with what we have accomplished, I don’t listen too much to the critiques. It’s of course flattering to hear all the kind words being said, but it will never affect the sound of future albums. I will continue to do exactly what I feel like.
It´s the last moment before a live show. How will you react if you discover that you are billed between two boybands?
Good for them!
I take it you're into the classical music wholesale. Do you think Beethoven and Bach would have dug metal, if they had been alive today?
Yes and they would have played it as well. They were the metal musicians of their time. They even had long hair [laughter].
If you became so famous that Weird Al (I hope you know who he is) decided to do a tribute/spoof of one of your songs, would you consider it an honor? If so, what song do you think he would do and how would he spoof it?
You have the most amusing questions. I would see it as an honor. Hmm, so many to choose from. It could be a song about venereal diseases: Juicy and Evil (Lucy the Evil). Or about perverted flashers: Surprises in the Park (Surprises in the Dark). Maybe a Hells Angel tribute about themselves: Oh Harley King (Oh Harlequin). And the declaration of love for beer: Oh Heineken (Oh Harlequin). There's of course the song about annoying telephone marketing: When Satan Calls (When Satan Calls). I won't go into the countless possibilities for: Bozo the Clown ........I could probably keep going. Soon there's a new album and that will only make things worse.
Do you consider that Evil Masquerade can be defined in any way, or do you prefer to be considered as an original band? Would you mind being reduced to a stereotype that conforms an etiquette?
That really doesn’t matter to me. We're certainly an original band, no doubt about that, but feel free to call us anything that is helpful for you to explain what we are. Our music has been described endlessly. One of the most frequently used etiquettes is “theatrical metal”. The most amusing comment I've heard was made by a really angry German guy who called the first album “boring gay ass metal”. He really made our day [laughs].