HYPERIONS   MELODIC DEATH BLACK METAL FROM SWEDEN Band Questions answer by ERIK MOLNAR    
Please introduce yourself and the band members briefly? Molnar: My name is Erik Molnar. I am one of the 3 guitar players in the Swedish Melodic Extreme Metal band Hyperion. The complete line up of Hyperion is: Harry Lauraéus – Vocals Erik Molnar – Guitars Anders Peterson – Drums Raul Vicente – Bass Mikael Malm – Guitars Joel Hagroth - Guitars   What does the band name mean and how do you get it? Molnar: The name originates from Greek mythology. Hyperion was the titan of the sun before the Olympian gods came to power. Some of our lyrics deal with Greek mythology and they also contain loads of references as well as abstract metaphors that relate to ancient Greece. The name also portrays a very powerful, epic and majestic atmosphere, but with a touch of darkness to it. Seeing as the titans were obviously not protagonists to the ancient Greeks, this dark aspect of the name blends very well in with our music. All of these factors combined make the name Hyperion a very suitable name to describe our music.   Where and how was the band founded? Molnar: The formation of the band stretches back as far as 2007. However it was in a constant state of line-up changes for a long time, as is not uncommon for bands in their infant stages. The band has always been a Stockholm based band. Mikael was at one point absent from the band for a period because of a decision on his part to study in another city called Linköping, but other than that, the band has always been a Stockholm based act. The vision of Hyperion has always been to create melodic, epic and grandiose music that is still brutal and extreme. I could go on for another 4 pages about the formation of the band, the very early years, the events that transpired and the various members we’ve had throughout our existence, but this is essentially the gist of it.   Have you played in other bands before? Molnar: Pretty much every member of Hyperion has had experiences of other musical outlets prior to joining the group. Though some members were very young at the time of joining the band, this has still been the case for all the members.   Was it hard to find suitable band members who fit musically and humanely with the band? Molnar: Yes, it was a difficult and arduous process to say the least. We went through countless line-up changes in the early years and I seriously had my doubts at one point whether we would ever have a complete line-up. With time however, we managed to find the perfect musicians for what we are doing. Some of us have even grown up together musically in a way. Each band member is a vital keystone of the entirety that makes up Hyperion, contributing with something unique that ultimately make up what we are.   What does the band name mean? Molnar: I feel that I have already answered that in one of your earlier questions.   What are the lyrics about and who of you is writing them ? Molnar: The lyrics mainly revolve around a lot of semi-spiritual/philosophical subjects as well as mythologies and tales of ancient warlords. We often wove the true meanings of the songs in layers upon layers on metaphors. So much so in some cases that the only ones who can truly comprehend the lyrics are the actual authors of it. The main lyricists of the band are myself and our drummer, Anders. Although anyone is welcome to contribute with lyrical ideas at any time and some band members actually have done just that on a few occasions.   Which bands inspired you and how would you describe your music to someone who has never heard a sound from you? Molnar: I could write an entire essay on what inspires me personally and all the band members, but a couple of rather obvious ones would be: Emperor, Dissection, the old In Flames albums, At The Gates, Ulver, Decapitated, Morbid Angel and Blind Guardian. We have countless of other inspirational sources, however and scores of other musical influences seep their way into our music in one way, or another, especially in the newer material that we are currently working on. Many people have different opinions and labels that they put on the band and we even have different variations of that within the band itself, but I personally always define our music as simply Melodic Extreme Metal. It is Extreme Metal in its very foundation, but the strongest root in our music is the melodic side of our music. Even in the most hysterical and chaotic moments of our music, there is always a melodic undertone which I believe is an extremely important part of our sound.   Why should people listen to our music? Molnar: Well only you could answer that question now, wouldn’t you say? I’m going to be a bit egocentric here and assume that you are referring to our music instead and provide you with a simple answer: Because they are in for one hell of an experience ;).   In 2010 you released Blood of the Ancients a demo. How long have you been working on the three songs? Molnar: The music of these 3 songs was mainly written during a period of about 3-4 months in the year of 2009 I believe. The lyrics were written a later stage and the demo was not released until 2010 as you say. All in all, I think we began working on these 3 songs (and many others for that matter) in 2009 and it was finished in 2010 at its release.   In 2015 you released the singel Novus Ordo Seclorum with a song. How long have you been working on the song? Molnar: I think the first time we played Novus live was in 2012, and so I think we would have completed the composition of that song in a not so distant time period prior to that. The first few riffs of that song were written as far back as 2009 I think, so that makes it about 2-3 years. We always work on other songs simultaneously, so it wasn’t a case of just working on one song for 2-3 years.   In 2016, your debut album Seraphical Euphony was released. There are eight songs incl intro. You can hear the four old songs and four newer songs. Why are you listening to only four new songs? Have not you written more songs for the album yet? Molnar: Wrong. The album features 5 new songs and 3 old ones from the Blood of the Ancients demo. The single Novus Ordo Seclorum was released to promote Seraphical Euphony and to function as a teaser for its release. Zephyr of Grace followed shortly thereafter as a second promotional single for the album. Regarding the second part of your question, we decided to re-record the 3 songs from the demo to give them a more worthy soundscape and to truly make the old songs the best they could possibly be. At that point, we had shitloads of ideas, half-finished songs and innumerable amounts of riffs lying around, as is the case today as well. These songs were the only complete ones at that point with completed lyrics and music. We’re not very fast when it comes to composing and recording, but every note we put out is there for a reason. We don’t have any filler material and we don’t take time into consideration when it comes to the creation of our music.   With Sverker "Widda" Widgren, have you been able to win over a well- known musician and producer since you came into contact with him and how was working together? And why did not you immediately persuade him for a guest appearance persuaded for the album? Molnar: Sverker did not appear as a guest musician on the album, but I am guessing that you are referring to his mixing and mastering work. When it was time for the mixing of Seraphical Euphony, we contacted several producers and received different proposals from them as a result of that. I was familiar with Sverkers earlier work at Necromorbus Studios as well as his unparalleled experience with both Black and Death Metal. Since Hyperion incorporates influences from both of these musical dimensions (and much more) he was high up on our list of prospects right from the start. This in combination with the fact that he offered us a reasonable price and that his studio was located in the same city as us made him quite the ideal choice. Working with Sverker was a great experience; if a bit slow at first. He is not the best man when it comes to staying in touch and he can disappear for weeks on end without a word of warning, but when he finally goes to work on his craft, his skill and determination is unwavering. He made a phenomenal job and the chances of us working with him again are quite high.   Christophe "Volvox" Szpajdel a famous logo artist (he designed about 10 000 logos) has also designed your logo. How satisfied are you with it and how did you win the artist and how proud is the logo of him? Molnar: Christophe is a proficient logo designer indeed. We got in touch with him through a recommendation from Johan Nephente, the vocalist of the band Netherbird. He had drawn their logo and of course the famous Emperor logo. He appeared to be very effective, fast paced in his work and charged low fees at the time to design our logo, so it felt like an excellent choice to have him design out logo. We are very satisfied with the logo as it represents our music in a very strong and radiant way. I couldn’t be happier about it to be honest. He has a very distinctive style and when you’re working with him or any other designer, or artist in general, you need to be very specific and provide him with minute detail to get a good result, which we indeed provided.   You've been under contract with Black Lion Records. What do you expect from the cooperation? Molnar: We have been working with Black Lion Records since 2015 and we officially signed to them in 2016 for the release of Seraphical Euphony. In all honesty, the cooperation has been a bit shaky at times, mentioning no particular reasons why. Oliver, the founder of Black Lion, can be a bit impulsive and rash in his decision making, but he has my full respect. He is a true supporter of the scene and a passionate networker that wants to see worthy bands rise in popularity. From a practical standpoint Black Lion has done an immense amount of promotional work for us and I don’t think we would be where we are today, had it not been for the zealotry and unrelenting work ethic of Oliver.   How far have you been with new songs and what are the plans for your second full album? Molnar: We have composed a lot of material for the next album. At this point in time, we have about 6-7 completed songs musically, 2 of which we are including as a part of our setlist. I don’t want to reveal too much of the material on the album, but I think I can speak for everyone in the band when I say that it is a worthy successor to Seraphical Euphony. We are delving deeper into what we started in 2016 and this new album I think will take us to a whole other level.   What was your first concert as a fan? And what memory do you have of it? Molnar: The first concert I ever went to was in my hometown of Stockholm. I went to see Slipknot at the Unholy Alliance tour that they did together with Slayer and some other bands that I don’t remember. I went there mostly because Slipknot was one of my friends at schools favourite bands and he absolutely had to go to see them. Ironically enough, I watched Slipknot that evening and then left when Slayer hit the stage. Quite a true metalhead thing to admit, huh? Haha! Of course in the years that followed, I redeemed myself and bought a whole bunch of Slayer albums and saw them live at least 3 times.   What were your live highlights and with which bands did you play? Molnar: One of the highlights has to be the gigs that we performed together with Batushka in Estonia and Latvia. It was by far the biggest crowds that we have ever played in front of and the right audience to absorb our music. I was a bit shaky to say the least when I saw so many hungry people in front of the stage. I hope to experience more shows like that in the future.   Have already resulted in friendship ? Molnar: I’m assuming that you are asking me if those concerts resulted in us befriending Batushka. The answer to that would be no. Some of us exchanged a few words with the band members, but they kept mostly to themselves during the tour. Who knows, considering tumultuous events and tensions within the group that surfaced recently, maybe their morale was a bit stricken. It was also towards the end of a long touring cycle for them, I believe and we were yet another buy-on band that the promoters had arranged, so maybe they felt drained and homesick, who knows. Although, we must have left some sort of impression on them at least, since the guitarist traded an LP from us for a Batushka T-shirt for each band member. That was a positive surprise. At any rate, I bear them no ill will. Batushka is one of the best Black Metal bands to have emerged in recent years and they deserve all the success that they have achieved. I hope the legal issues they are having gets sorted out, so that the founder of the band can get back to doing what he does best.   Which band would you like to play live with and why? Molnar: Oh, there are a myriad them… I would love to play together with one of my favourite bands, Bal-Sagoth if they ever re-unite under that banner. If not that, then certainly with Kull, which might actually come to pass at some point in the future, since we are on the same record label. Other than that I would love to play with Blind Guardian, Iron Maiden, Marduk, Wintersun…. The simple reason for those particular bands being that I enjoy their music and it would be a thrilling experience to share the stage with bands that you genuinely respect and admire. Other than that, I wouldn’t mind performing with bands who’s music differ vastly from us to make for an interesting and dynamic package. 2 bands that come to mind would be Dead Can Dance and Fields of the Nephilim.   With what do you earn your money except with the music? Molnar: We don’t earn any money for private use from the band as of yet. I make my living as a full-time software developer.   How important are social media for you as a band? Molnar: It is of paramount importance when it comes to communicating with your fan base, that’s for certain. We’re not the kind of band that posts selfies every time we rehearse or expose our entire private lives to draw attention to ourselves, but we do recognize the value of digital communication in the hyperconnected world of today. Social media is a strong tool that you can use to reach your fans directly and should be used whenever something of importance needs to be communicated, thus with a healthy dose of moderation.   What would you (her) want to achieve with the band? Molnar: My personal written goal for the band is for us to have released at least 5 studio full length albums that we can stand behind 100 %. These 5 albums (and hopefully more of them) should be a perfect reflection of our musical expression. I also want us to venture deeper and deeper with every release and to go where no band has ever gone before in terms of stretching the boundaries of song structures, technicality, melody, epicenes and diversity while still retaining a very solid backbone that is the foundation of Hyperion. I want us to perform concerts in front of hundreds of thousands of people all around the globe and to make this not only our full time jobs, but a lasting legacy that will have made an impact on the scene, as well as reaching as far as we can in our artistic goals and not compromise one inch with our vision.   What do you think about the Sweden Metal scene in general? Molnar: Magnificent. Sweden has some of the best bands around when it comes to Extreme Metal. Of course there are a lot of bands that aren’t particularly interesting and quite frankly very boring, but so is the case with all scenes. I think it will take a while for any country in the world to match the bands that came from Sweden in the 90s for example if you want to look at it from that perspective.   Maybe you can recommend some bands from your area? Molnar: Yes, I can. I will leave out a lot of obvious ones and focus on the ones that are rather unknown or that I know personally and consider worthy of mentioning: Funeral Mist, Malign, Netherbird and Descend hail from the same city as us, Stockholm. The old Vintersorg albums are really phenomenal and Dawn is a much underrated band that I think every fan of Melodic Black Metal from the 90s should give a go.   PERSONAL QUESTIONS !    
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