Crownshift  officially formed and signed with Nuclear Blast Records in late 2023, featuring members from some of Finland’s finest bands, including Nightwish, Children of Bodom, Wintersun, and Finntroll. The initial announcement of the band’s formation and signing generated significant anticipation. Crownshift blends various styles, from moody mid-tempo songs to intense prog-death executions, showcasing their unique sound. Their debut self-titled album, released on May 10th, has captivated fans and critics alike. Recently, Metal Insider caught up with guitarist Daniel Freyberg to discuss the project, the record, and more.

What inspired the formation of Crownshift and how did everything come together?

Well, it started a long time ago.. Probably talking about 2011 or 2012. When me, Heikki (Saari – drums) and Jukka (Koskinen – bass) were playing in the same band called Norther. Already back then, we knew that that band was going to retire. We were already talking about someday we would do something together. Yeah, it took about a little while, but, the day has finally arrived, So that’s probably the first talk about Crownshift.

I mean, sometimes ten years feels like two months. So.

Exactly. And, yeah, there was never really a right time. We had these conversations back and forth during the years because we always stayed in touch. But then we got, you know, thrown in different bands and there was never really a proper moment to push this band because we didn’t want to have some side project or anything like that. We wanted to make it as a real band, so that we could be active.

Now that everything’s finally together, what was it like to put the album together?

Well, that was quite a lot of work. Probably the hardest, hardest, session I’ve ever had. And the longest, because we did, like tiny little pieces here and there. So it took like years to complete because we didn’t have anything. We didn’t have any rush. And so we really made it like a little bit here and there and took all the time turn every stone we possibly could to make it sound as it sounds.

What was it like writing the song “My Prison?”

It’s a while ago, I have to really think about it. I think it came together like the other songs. The songwriting, I did the core song, then I demoed it, did all the guitars, programmed drums, synths, and then I usually sent the files to the other guys and they can tweak it from there.So that’s how our songwriting process was. And my position, it wasn’t any different than the other songs.

After a decade or years of getting this together, once everything was nearly finished, were there any challenges to get the final recording done or finding a label, signing with Nuclear Blast?

Yeah, there were a lot, you know, first of all, we got the record. The record was already done with, before the signing. And, then we were pretty close to finishing the record before, I mean, during the Covid. But then when we saw that everything was on hold and labels are losing money instead of making money, their interest for new bands was like very limited, you know, and we we decided that we need to put this on hold for a while and wait for the right moment and we get signed and, everything there was also, you know, getting management behind us.That was a little bit of work too. So these things took, surprisingly, a lot of time to get it in place.

You mentioned our dire reality is that there’s a lot of money being lost these days. You’re not just artists or publications or, you know, now that the U.S. just raised visa fees and it’s getting really difficult for all aspects in this industry.

Yeah, exactly. And, it already was difficult before and now it’s just getting even more difficult. So yeah. What can I say? We keep trying still.

Crownshift is a very high interest band in the metal community because of all the bands surrounding it (Nightwish, Finntroll, Children of Bodom). And, the fact that there was difficulty for you guys shows the difficulties there are within this industry.

And despite our history, we were kind of starting from scratch. So we really have to, you know, find our way and try to establish the band like everybody else is. We’re not really any different. Of course, we had a little bit of connections and we knew people because of our past. So that kind of opened certain paths, but it wasn’t easy. Still, you need to convince people and, you know, convince why they should take you. Why should they sign you? How is your music better than others? So, yeah, it’s a lot of a lot of work behind that.

Are there any messages you want the listeners to take away from the music?

I don’t know. I just hope that they enjoy the album and maybe they can find something from the lyrics that can help them, but I’ll let people figure out what the lyrics mean to them, because usually it can be, different things to different people. I just hope they join the album.

As we were discussing the difficulties, how do you see Crownshift evolving as a band in the future and what plans do you guys have moving forward after this album?

First of all, our next plan is to play like a live show. So we’re not going to focus on any new material for a while. But when the time comes, we do want to keep this band going and push it as far as it can go. So we don’t really have any style limitations or anything, but it’s really impossible to say at the moment how the second or third or fourth is going to sound, because it depends on the mood when you write the songs in the future. But yeah, there’s definitely not any, you know, limitations in our genres or anything we can explore, like whatever we want.

Touring is becoming more and more expensive these days…

Tell me about it. Yeah.

Are you guys planning on a full tour, or do you see more festival appearances or going on metal cruises…

Hopefully all of them, but, we’re starting from the festivals. We do have our album release show, club show in Finland, but after that it’s going to be festivals the whole summer. The summer is probably not as good of a time for touring as maybe fall or spring because there’s a lot of festivals. It makes sense to play those But we are looking for options like longer touring next fall or even further. But, we need all the stars aligned for that. Because like you said, it’s becoming really expensive especially for, little like we are, not the established bands so much maybe.

Here in the States, we see a lot more bands getting declined for visas and things like that just for a festival appearance.

Yeah, I heard that it’s more difficult to get into the U.S. than it was before Covid, am I right?

Yeah. Based on what I’m seeing and the increase in visas, it’s probably going to just change the format, ticket sales are likely going to cost more as a potential attempt to even out the costs. But it’s challenging, feels like art and this entire avenue is being cut out. Obviously, as you said, a major band or artist will be able to cover these fees. But for emerging artists, its becoming more difficult.

Yeah, exactly. And, you know, getting to the US is very difficult with all the visas and flights. So you have, like a pile of money before you can even start booking tickets there. But it’s also not cheap in Europe while we don’t have the visa thing here, but, well, we do if we go to the UK, but, I’m not sure then probably not that expensive. I’m not really sure, but, yeah, I wish it would be easier to tour across the world without all these extra hassles and costs.

Yeah, I hope something gets worked out for the better for everybody.

Yeah. And I actually heard that the US visa line is pretty, pretty high. And you have to wait, like six months at least, or even more. Something like that. I’m not 100% sure, but that’s what I heard.

I wouldn’t be surprised, that sounds familiar.

You have to really, really plan ahead a lot if you’re going to go to us or trying to go U.S. from Europe.

Now that the album is out, how do you feel about it finally being finished and you can move forward with promoting it?

I’m actually relieved and happy. It’s probably a mix of those feelings because we finally got it out. It was a lot of work, but, at the same time, I feel really good about it. And there’s the good sign for me is that, when the album is coming out or close to coming out, and if nothing bothers you by then, it’s going to be a good album. Because for us, it’s an old album already, you always kind of find something that you could improve afterwards in hindsight, but I don’t think I don’t have anything that bothers me. So that’s a really good sign.

Is there anything else that you want to say or add to your listeners about the album or the project in general?

Well, I hope you guys check it out. And, hope you guys come to our shows as well. Yeah, that’s about it. Enjoy the album.