Token: An introduction to....
Token keyboardist Mikael Rosengren talks about the bands new studio album.
Introducing: TOKEN - interview with Mikael Rosengren.
The new Token album is in stores now. It's far more diverse then the debut.
Are you happy with the result?
Absolutely. We feel we have kept the good and traditional stuff from
Tomorrowland album and added some influences from today's metal. Also we
feel that the sound and production has improved on this album.
When did the band form and how did you guys all know each other?
The original Token is from Bromma a part of Stockholm, Sweden. All members on Tomorrowland album, except for H.B Andersson, are from Bromma. H.B was playing together with me in Scudiero, also from Stockholm.
You have moved onto a new singer for Punch. What happened with original
singer H.B. Anderson?
He and his wife got a son and moved back to Hudiksvall, in the north
part of Sweden, where they come from. He has kept on singing though. Now
you can hear him in Fatal Smile, also a Stockholm band, where he has
just recorded all vocals on their second coming album.
What are your personal influences as far as music goes?
Oopppss.. I guess we have a lot of different influences. I like traditional hard rock and also some of the more progressive bands of today. But I guess you also find influences as for example Toto and Audioslave..
What are your favourite ever albums from the past?
Good question. And a difficult one.. Spontanous I say Images and Words -
Dream Theater, Highway to Hell - AC/DC and Divine Wings of Tragedy -
How would you describe the music of Token to those that don't know you
yet...and how does it differ from the debut album?
On the debut "Tomorrowland", you find a great mix from the best of the 80s.. Influences like Yngwie Malmsteen, Europe, Ptretty Maids, Bon Jovi etc. On Punch album you can still find some from these 80s influences but with some more attitude and with a touch of more modern metal on some of the songs.
Where did the band's name come from?
Ha ha! That's a funny name actually. In Swedish, Token means "funny guy"
or "crazy guy". And in English we think of it like a symbol or a lucky bringing amulet. But it could also be a Token that you use in the subway or at the casino on the roulette table... The mix between all this sounded funny and great! It means something special for us and in the same time it's easy to remember. Don't you think?
You are all musicians with solid credentials from other bands - how
have these past collaborations influenced the sound of Token?
Perfect or nothing. I don't know *laughter* It's hard to say, since you always keep influences inside you. It's hard to say where they come from, if it's from your own music or from other bands you've heard.
Speaking for myself, I guess Token's music is a little bit separated from the music I have played and written in Scudiero, Damned Nation and at home in my own studio.
You recorded a video as a bonus for the CD - tell us about getting that done....
That was cold! *laughter* We recorded it outside, in Stockholm in the middle of the winter. Standing there in t-shirt was freezing cold!! But funny! We wanted to add something more to the listener than just the songs on the album. I say poor Linda! Linda is the girl you can see in the video, being chased by Mattias. She had to be laying on the ice-cold ground for a long long time.. :-)
How do you work on songwriting - what's the band's preferred method?
Very variated. Sometimes sitting with a cup of coffee in one hand.
Sometimes together, sometimes alone. Every idea is welcome. Every way is ok. I think this way of free song writing makes us more creative.
Are there any lyrical messages within your songs?
Well, you better ask Mattias this but I guess no generally. But there is two songs about all those - what we call - soap operas and documentaries. People who do everything just to be seen on TV. We give them a little kick in the ass.. :-)
Do you get to play live very often and do you have any shows planned for the near future?
We had a release party for Punch. Thanks all of you who came! It was a great party. Now we are focusing on doing interviews and making us known. Hopefully we will be able to come out and play both within and outside of Sweden.
Is there one thing you would realistically like to achieve with the release of this album?
Well, that would be to reach a higher level. To be respected as a great band who is here to stay and not just a project that comes and soon disappear again. We look at the first album as a business card. You can't expect too much from a first album, no matter how good you are.
But now, more people know about us and if we therefore reach out to a lot more people than after the first album, we find it reasonable to get out and play live. And a tour or play on festivals would really be great fun! That, we would like to achieve.
What advice would you offer to other new bands that are looking to write good songs and secure a record deal?
Have patience. Have a music direction you all agree with. Like to be friends and spend time together outside the band. And ask yourself if you can work together in business. You need to spend so much time together. Both funny time and hard times.. And don't give up if you really can look at yourselves from outside and say that you REALLY are
good. Be sure to find the right record label for you kind of music.
Don't just send them your demo. Send it, send them an e-mail and call them.
Tell us about life within the Swedish melodic rock scene?
An endless line full of fantastic musicians. I never stop being amazed by all good musicians and bands that all the time keep on coming up like swamps in the ground.. Then it depends on what city you live in and what music you play. Some cities really has a lot of live performance clubs. Some less.
In your opinion - what makes a great rock n roll record?
A record where 90% of the songs are good. And then I really mean good. I think it's very hard to find a record like that.
Any artist you would really like to work/write with if you were given the chance?
If you give me a really great AOR singer, whom ever you feel like, that has done some records before, I would be happy to chare my un-released album with him. I would ask him to write the lyrics and finish the arrangements and production with him. That would be great fun. So, if you know any, give him my number or address!
Do you have plans for the next album yet and how do you think that will sound?
He he, a secret so far. But I can tell you that the song writing for Token's third album already has started..
I always ask if there is anything you would like to add to finish up?
Not more than it was a pleasure doing this interview with you! And that I would like to strike a punch for heavy metal music and people all around the world. See you out there and keep on rock in peace!
Please plug your website. Where do fans find/contact you?
Thanks for taking time out to answer the interview questions. Best of luck for the future!
Thank you and keep up your good work!