Solli & Sons Of Angels - Interview

Hey Solli,
Thanks for answering some questions for me…
I'll start with you back in 1990 when Sons Of Angels first hit the scene.
You are obviously a European band, but how did you come to be signed to Atlantic USA?
The signing basically came out of a 10 day trip to LA with a demo, we call it the gold digger-trip!! We only had one name in our pocket when we came to LA but the response we got was so immediate and overwhelming that it seemed like everyone who heard it called everyone they knew!
After one week, there was a rumour in the record-business in LA saying "There's three Norwegians in town with a tape that burns"!! This is the plain truth, so you can imagine that was a fantastic experience. We figured that the really interested labels would come to Oslo and see us live so we put up a gig in Oslo and MCA, Atlantic and Warner came. MCA were represented by the president himself, Al Teller, together with 3 people from other territories! The people from the Norwegian record-industry who attended the show were stunned when they saw who was there.

You certainly looked American - how long did you live in LA for?
We were only in America for the recording of the album!

Wow, ok, that was brief! Was the city a culture shock for the whole band?
No, we all loved being in LA and looking back I think we regret that we didn't even spend more time there. LA is party!

As I said, you LOOKED American, or at least as part of the hard rock scene at the time, but you certainly didn't SOUND American! Did that help you stand out as something different, or work against you as far as what labels were then looking for?
It certainly helped us to start with, it made our tape stand out from all the other acts seeking deals at the time.

What were your musical influences then and have they changed at all?
I think our influences are pretty much the same, of course, the music scene has changed a lot since then and there's been some really good rock bands in the nineties as well. But when we come together making Sons of Angels music we kind of get back to the original influences we had when we first started out.

Well, you got a release here in Australia, so things must have been going ok, how many units did your debut album sell?
I think worldwide it was about 150,000.

Favourite songs from that album?
Cowgirl is very special to me, because it was the very first song we did and it became kind of our anthem. I also love the sadness of Lonely Rose.

I love Lonely Rose, Look Out For Love...Fight....!
Thanx, nice of you to include Fight, I wrote the chorus on that one!

Tracks like Trance Dance were highly original for the one else was really doing anything like that....
Funny you're saying that, because when we first started out Lars, who is a big Prince-fan by the way, kept saying that the hard rock-scene at the time lacked groove, so he really wanted to make hard rock with a groove. Thus it was fun for us when journalists came up with lines like "funkin' and frenzin' from the fjords"!

How was it working with a big name producer in Kevin Elson?
It was great, he was a soft spoken and humble kinda guy, so we had no problems in working with him. Simply a true professional.

When did the ride with Atlantic end and how?
It ended in April 1991. We wanted to get out of the deal because we were not satisfied with the way they handled the album. Luckily we had a really good lawyer so it wasn't a problem.

I thought maybe that the album Slumber With The Lion was an album started for Atlantic but never this correct?
Some of the songs may have been written at the time......

But I read the Bio and it says you recorded the album in 2000. If so, congratulations for making the comeback - it's a brave move, but I know the fans will be happy to hear this!
Can you fill us all in on the details of the Slumber album...when it was written, recorded?
This is a bit of a secret, because the album is written and recorded over a long period of time. What I can tell you is that the bonus tracks are original demo tracks. The Japanese version has got a song that I'm especially found of. It's called Wallflower's Heart and was recorded way back I 1989 together with Lonely Rose and Could It Be Love. All three tracks were very strong but we couldn't have all three of them on the first album so one had to go...

And who produced the album?
Ourselves, meaning Torstein and Lars K.

To my ears, the album almost picks up where you left off, but is a heavier and darker album.
Is this due to the fact you have more control over the sound/content, or merely the band naturally growing?
The last, it's just a natural development.

Of course, you can still supply a great ballad, with tracks like Hopeless Kind.

What are the plans for the band in the coming months and for the future?
In the new year we'll obviously do as much promotion as we can. We will also get the live act together and start doing gigs.

How have the experiences the band have had between the debut album and now changed your out look on things?
We are older, of course, and more laidback. We just think it's big fun to be able to release this album. What may come out of it we will take as it comes.
World domination is not our goal any more, but we do think that the music we make deserves to be heard!

Can you offer a few thoughts about each song on the album, a brief description?
Burning Childhood
I love the energy of this one.

No Sorrow
Probably my best vocal performance ever.

Great groove, a twisted lyric, read girl-friend!

Slumber With The Lion
Love the lyric and the dark atmosphere.

Hopeless Kind
The only song with an outside co-writer, still very much SOA.

Lazy Stacey
One of those american girls, you know...

Love You Too Much
Typical SOA-song, I think.

Gimme Lovin'
I just love those twin guitars, a bit Lizzy, you know..

Talk About Girls
Not really girls....

Kind of Aerosmithish-ballad.

Hunger For Love
It's kind of a jam there towards the end...

Baby Wanna Ride
Original 1990-demo, written for the Days of Thunder-soundtrack, got dropped in the last minute.

Now Solli, you haven't been sitting around for the best part of a decade have you?!!
You have been involved in several projects - the main one I guess would be filling in the vocalist position with 21 Guns.
How did you get involved with the Nothing's Real album?
It was a bit weird because I ran into Leif Johansen in a studio when I was looking for someone to mix a demo-project I did right after SOA.
He said that he would come down and mix the stuff the next day and when he came I told me I just got to know that Tommy (first singer) was leaving the band. We finished the demoes but I wasn't pleased how it turned out so instead we started talking about maybe working together....

Did you enjoy the process of recording with another band/artist?
I was a great thrill working with Leif and Scott. They are very dedicated and hard-working, and you know Scott has been in that band......

Was it good to finally get a European release of that album last year?
You bet!!

You also sung on an album with Iron Maiden's Adrian Smith! What was it like working with him?
Another fine man (otherwise I wouldn't have worked with him of course!) I had a lot of good time staying at his beautiful home in England, writing, recording, playing football! and having nice meals.

Where was that album recorded?
It was recorded in a small studio I can't remember the name of, but we also worked in AIR STUDIOS, and that was just amazing.

Was there any other Psycho Motel material recorded, or was the one album it?
We did 16 tracks all together, 10 were on the European version, 12 were on the Japanese version and 4 has never been released.
Of course PM did another album called Welcome To The World after I quit.

And of course I must mention your solo recordings! I believe at this point they have still not been released - is that correct?
No, you're right. How did you know about it?!! There's been one single released though, called The Fool, in Belgium and here in Norway.

You have a solo album almost in the can though don't you? I heard the track Under A Bluehearted Moon at think it was great!
Thanx, that will probably be the title-track when/if it gets released.

It sounds like it is a very stripped back, acoustic driven project. Any plans for this album in your future?
I hope that if SOA does well, there will also be interest for this solo-album. You never know what might happen…

Is there anything that I haven't covered or asked you about Solli, that you would like to add?
Wow, You must have covered pretty much everything!!

Anything that I can print to the fans of Sons Of Angels out there?
If you wanna have more SOA-music it's up to you, because if this album does well you can be sure that we would like to do another one!

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions!!
Thank you too!!