Pontus, you have been involved in just about every aspect of the rock scene in Sweden. What part do you enjoy most - producer, engineer, guitarist, live performer, song writer...?
- I have to say everything! Guitar playing I have to say is still closest to my heart, but what can you say when you get offered to do sound for bands like Thin Lizzy, Y.J. Malmsteen etc. Also traveling around the world gets you to meet a lot of people in the same business.
The last few years have seen you release several projects under several different names, including a solo release, how do you see Humanimal fitting into all of that?
- I see Humanimal as a good opportunity to take my guitar playing/song writhing to a different level, and I think I can back it up with just saying, Listen to the album!
I guess what I mean is will Humanimal be an ongoing concern - more records and maybe some live appearances?
-There will for sure be a second Humanimal album! We are more than ready to play live, but it depends on the backup from our label if they think it's worth it. As we all know it is very expensive to tour, and for that you need tour support.
Let's go to the album itself - congratulations on a bloody marvelous hard rocking album!
- I'm taking my hat off!
Where did the idea for the album come from?
- I came up with the idea, and asked Marcel if we could write an album together. We meet up around Christmas last year, I had a couple of days of from the Lizzy tour. We wrote the whole album in only 12 days.
And the line up - did you have to give it much thought, or was it a natural decision to involved Thomas & Marcel?
-Actually, I knew Tomas would be the perfect drummer when Marcel and me started to write the songs. And also, he's the best drummer you can find!
Did you always have Jeff in mind to do all the vocals, I recall there was some confusion first up as to whether he would sing all tracks etc.
-No, from the beginning we planed to do a theme album with different singers. But after we recorded the first couple songs we heard that it would sound better with only one front man, so we contacted Jeff and he said yes.
And what can you say, it came out to be fantastic.
I am glad he did, as this for me is one of the best examples of Jeff's hard rock vocal ability. We all know he can sing anything, but this is the hardest and toughest I have heard his vocals in years!
Over what period did you write the songs for the album?
- The hole idea came up when Marcel and I met up for mixing some old Human Clay sons, that he wanted me to remix. I asked him, shouldn¹t we do an album together. This was early summer 2000. I went on tour with Thin Lizzy, and stayed out to late December. When we where about to finish the European tour Marcel called and said, we have to write an album now. so when I got back home for Christmas I had 12 days of, and you know the rest.
Was there ever a choice to call the band Talisman again, or in this case, with you as the man behind the project, was it better to start fresh?
- I wanted to try to do something new with some one I've never worked with before, and Marcel and I had never written together. So why use a name that's not related to a project.
I found the production style and song quality and especially the very strong harmony vocals with this album to be even better than Talisman!
- I think that can be because I'm a huge fan of strong harmonies as you can hear on that Great King Rat albums.
I arranged all the backing vocals on both GKR albums, and also on all Jekyll 'n Hyde albums.
So I think it came natural this time, and working with Jeff is so easy.
Any live appearances planned yet?
-No, we have to wait for the release first.
And any plans for another album on the drawing board yet?
- Not right now, we have to finish the Talisman Live album mix first. They recorded us at Sweden Rock Festival last summer, and we want to get it out in the stores a.s.a.p. Check it out!
What are your personal favourite songs on this album Pontus?
-I think it's too early to say, you have to be away from it when you have produced it.
I enjoyed your solo album from last year, Mats Levin is one hell of a singer!!!
Any plans to perhaps work with him again?
-Sure!!! But I'm to busy for the moment with all this, but it in my schedule. I hope it'll be out early 2003.
Great King Rat was of course your first release back in 1992 and with an album of unreleased tunes in 99...is there any discussion to record an album of all new material with the original line up?
-Yes it is, but you'll have to wait.
And then there is Jekyll & Hyde!
I enjoyed both releases, there was some interesting songs on both albums, but I feel that the general public didn't accept this band as much as others you have been involved in.
Would you agree/disagree and do you have any thoughts on that?
- Jake and me has been friends sins 1984, and he asked me to join the band cause they wanted more guitar based sound. I recorded the "Heavenly Creatures" album long before it got released, so my involvement in J 'n H was more or less as a backup guitarplayer/ producer, cause I was never a big part of the song writing.
Tell us (for those that don't know!) what albums you have produced/mixed in the last few years...
-House Of Shakira's three albums except the new live album
-Human Clay " U 4 I a"
-Pontus Norgren "Damage Done"
-Jekyll 'n Hyde "Heavenly Creatures"
-Great King Rat "Out Of The Can"
-Gallery "Still here"
-Four Sticks "Electric Celebration"
-Also involved in Clockwise, Lion Share etc.
Any of those stand out as particular favourites?
-Don't know right now, but ask me in about ten years.:-)
Now I know that you will have other things on the go - can you tell us what projects you are working on right now and coming up next?
-I'm just about to start mix the Talisman Live album, and after that I'll start writing with Marcel for the forthcoming Humanimal . And then my solo one, and then, and then.....................:-D
Anything you would like to add to the fans out there in Net land?
BE WHERE OF THE HUMANIMAL, IT'LL KICK YOUR ASS!!
Thanks Pontus for taking the time to answer these questions.
All the best!