Sweden’s The Night Flight Orchestra have returned with their latest offering, Aeromantic II, which was released on September 3rd via Nuclear Blast. The second part of Aeromantic, brings listeners to a bittersweet joy ride adventure exploring sadness and some joyous moments in one’s life. We caught up with David Andersson to speak more about the album, the tenth anniversary of Internal Affairs, and an update on the next Soilwork record.
How would you say where Aeromantic ends and hAeromantic II begins?
That’s a really good question. I think personally I see every record we’ve done so far as just being one long body of work, because nothing really ends and nothing really begins, it just continues. I guess we always try to end on a hopeful note with a bit of a mystery thrown in and then pick up the pace again when we start the next album. It’s different for each album and the thing with Aeromantic I and II it’s that we’ve been doing things in pairs for the past four albums. The albums before Aeromantic I, Amber Galactic and Sometimes The World Ain’t Enough, they had this space theme in a way, a very loose space theme whereas this time we’ve gone down to earth a bit more. We still haven’t landed but we’re still in the stratosphere somewhere circling around the earth, so we’re more looking down on the earth rather than trying to escape into space. It’s a very, very loose concept, but I guess that’s the feeling we got from the music and that’s how we tend to assemble the albums. We always have tons of songs lying around and we just try to find pieces of music that stick together naturally.
The first part was recorded before the pandemic hit. And the second must have been during the peak of it. How have these two different experiences affected the overall writing process?
I don’t know really, to be honest. I guess for me, I’m probably the major song writer. I write at least 60 something percent of the songs and the lyrics and then that’s what I do, it’s my favorite thing in the world, basically. So I don’t know how it has affected my songwriting, but of course it has. It’s been difficult having to stay away from loved ones and having this isolation being forced upon you. But at the same time, I’m always writing songs anyway. And for me songwriting is a very subconscious process. It’s not like I sit around and calculate or come up with songwriting strategies, it’s just whatever I come up with that day, if I get an idea and it could be a guitar riff or I sit down at the keyboard and play something, or I read a book and find a sentence or word that I like. For me anything could be a starting point for a song. And obviously the pandemic must have affected my songwriting in some sort of way but since it’s a subconscious process, I can’t really say how it has affected it. But I guess I’ll always be writing songs as long as I have bands to write songs for and I guess just like everything else with this pandemic, we still know so little and it’s probably going to take a few years more until we fully grasp what really happened and what we could have done differently or then I guess it’s always like that. Sometimes I can listen to songs I wrote 10 years ago that reflect upon my life right now, it sounds a bit supernatural. It’s just sometimes when you are asleep you’re dreaming and you make up stuff that doesn’t exist, but at the same time it must come from somewhere. I’m really interested in psychology and the subconscious and how it affects us and I try not to analyze it too much, I’m a bit afraid of losing my touch.
Speaking of subconscious and creating new worlds, I do have a fun question. Night Flight Orchestra seems to always take listeners to another universe. So I wanted to ask, what alternate reality from either a science fiction, film or book would you wish you could travel to?
There are so many. I’ve always been a great fan of science fiction, fantasy and urban fantasy. There are so many alternate realities that I would love to explore. I guess for me I’m quite a depressive person in a way. I get easily bored by reality. I’ve always been daydreaming and fantasizing a lot. I read horrible amounts of books, I read five or six books a week and a lot of it it’s stuff like urban fantasy and science fiction. I’d like to have a world where magic was real and you had all kinds of supernatural creatures that you could hang out with and that you could develop your own superpowers. Sometimes I’m depressed but I’m constantly bored with reality. I’m always looking for that magic and sometimes you experience it when you write a song or when you do a good show or when you fall in love or when you spend time with someone you really love or you experience something new. I guess I’ve been blessed in that I’ve experienced a few magic moments in my life and I want to experience much more than that. It sounds a bit pretentious but there’s not a specific world, but a mixture of everything I’ve read about. And I just like the world to be a bit more interesting and I’m trying to create my own world.
I understand that very well. And speaking of creating a different world, the music video Burn For Me takes you to a different place. Can you talk about the experience bringing that video to life?
It’s a really fun video to do and love our choreography and the whole party feeling. At the same time, I wrote the song and if you listen to the lyrics it’s actually a sad song in a way. You meet this person that you’re really passionate about and everything just falls into place and you’re happier than you’ve ever been. At the same time you’re aware that this can only last for perhaps one night and just trying to make the most of that fleeting sense of magic. I guess that’s a theme at least in my lyrics. That’s that Swedish melancholy streak, it’s like you’re at the best party you’ve ever been to and you’re having more fun than you’ve ever had in your life, but at the same time in the back of your head you’re painfully aware it’s going to end.
Unfortunately, that happens to a lot of people and how you presented it as a “happy” song. I love it when sad songs can also be uplifting, musically. It’s deceiving but in a good way. Now creatively, what is it like going from light to dark with both Night Flight Orchestra and Soilwork?
The older I get the less I think about genres and music. I just think I’ll go with the music, I guess. And of course, the simple answer is if I want to write a Soilwork song I take one of my guitars that are tuned down to B, or if I want to write a Night Flight song, I take one of my guitars and standard tuning but it’s not that simple, it’s more like you… Songwriting is always the same, I’ve written songs and all kinds of styles over the years and it still eludes me why some turn out to be good and some are not. Sometimes you just feel that, “Oh, this is a good song, it doesn’t have to be a super catchy chorus or super heavy riff or what have you. Sometimes you just feel that this is a good song and then I guess the thing about developing as a songwriter, anyone can come up with a good idea but as you develop as a songwriter you learn to make something… you learn to develop that idea so that it comes across and that people can hear what you really mean with the idea. So the actual process and also with Soilwork where you still need to stay within the metal idiom or metal context in some way, even though we try to shake things up a bit and do things a bit differently for each album. Whereas with Night Flight, you can pretty much do whatever you want because it’s not like we are stuck in a specific genre, but the actual songwriting process for me it’s pretty much the same. It’s more like you get an idea. If you get a good idea, I get this urge to just I just want to finish it and I just want to work on it. And when you get the feeling this is worth spending some time trying to finish and develop then you know you’re onto something and it’s the same writing for both bands. I come up with tons of ideas every day and most of them are… you feel it straight away if it’s worth pursuing or if it’s just blubbering about.
Next year marks the 10th anniversary of Internal Affairs. Looking back, what was it like putting that debut record together?
For me it was a dream come true, really. No one else was doing… At least I don’t know about anyone else who was doing that kind of stuff back then. And I’ve always wanted to be part of a band where you could play pretty much whatever you want to play and you could do classic rock songs or pop songs or progressive songs or whatever. And since we had a really hard time even getting a record deal, we finally got a record deal with a small Italian label called Coroner Records who took us in which we’ll always be grateful for. And so we had a very limited budget but we had this chemistry and we had so much fun. For me it just felt very natural. I think for Björn, it was a bit scary because it was his first album only singing clean vocals for an entire album. But looking back, we were just trying to find ourselves as a band and try to figure out what we want to do. There are still stuff on that album that I’m really happy about. And to me every album is a bit of an outdated thing these days, but I still think of albums as albums. And to me an album is about capturing a moment, it doesn’t have to be perfect but it should capture a moment, Internal Affairs, captures that moment. You can hear that we’re treading a bit lightly sometimes because we don’t really know what we’re doing. But at the same time you can hear the enthusiasm and how much fun we were having at the same time, so I wouldn’t change it even though there things we would have been doing differently now, I think it’s nice. As a listener I like to hear the progress of bands, how they develop and find their feet and go in all kinds of various directions.
It’s great seeing the evolution of certain bands and projects and some change completely. Are there any plans that you can reveal for both projects, Night Flight Orchestra and Soilwork?
We released our new album with Night Flight Orchestra on September third, we’re working on a new Soilwork album, which will be released sometime next year. I don’t know when yet we’re still not finished, but we’ve recorded most of the songs. With Night Flight Orchestra we’ve always had because of everyone’s busy schedules and we always had short sessions, one or two weeks in the studio at a time and just record some songs and then come back a couple of months later and do another short session. Whereas with Soilwork, in the past we’ve done the more traditional thing like gone into the studio for a couple of months and just finish the whole thing in one go, this time with Soilwork we’ve adopted the Night Flight Orchestra method, so we’ve done a couple of sessions that have been a couple of weeks at a time. And it’s kind of refreshing because you can still have that enthusiasm going and you have some time to think about what you recorded, and you can have time to get some inspiration in between the sessions and you don’t get… If you’re stuck in a studio for two months with the same people and you don’t see anyone else it can be a bit not that we’re fighting, but it gets a bit tiresome in a way. But this time we’ve decided to split it up into three sessions and so we’ve done two of them and we’re going to do one more later this year and hopefully the album will come out sometime next year and so far it sounds really promising. But if you’re asking about live shows and stuff, I have no idea whatsoever. We have preliminary touring plans, but the way things are going there’s no point in even speculating. We planned to start touring a year ago. I know you’ve lightened up a bit in the US when it comes to restrictions, but in Europe every country has their own set of restrictions and getting an international European tour going right now it’s mission impossible, I guess. We’re trying, as soon as we can be sure that we can do all the shows and that we don’t risk the safety of our fans then we’ll be the first one to get on the bus.
It’s still a very uncertain time. You can have the tour and then somebody can get COVID and you have to postpone it. We’re in a strange timeframe right now.
Like I said before, I’m a doctor myself, a medical doctor, that’s my day job. I’ve been working with COVID patients and I have good friends who are doing quite highly esteemed research on COVID, and so I’m quite well-read when it comes to the whole pandemic thing. And even the top researchers and experts in the world they’re still a little bit unsure and it sort of pisses me off, when everyone has gone out on social media and thinking that they know the truth, when there are people that have devoted their entire lives to virology and epidemiology, still being a bit unsure on what’s right, it’s a shame that.
It’s very sad seeing people think they know more than doctors and scientists. It’s a mess. It’s a very strange time.
It’s also the human psyche. If you have a bunch of doctors and professors and scientists saying that you should be careful, then you have some random dude sayingt, “I heard that it’s safe and we can just do whatever the fuck we want and drink beers and go to a rock festival.” Of course, if you’ve lived with this pandemic for years of course you want to believe that dude, who says it’s safe and it’s all fake news and everyone’s lying to you. I can totally understand why you would choose that alternative if you’re not willing to listen to facts, that’s just the way it is, that’s human nature.
I guess it’s because nobody knows anything, so they’re making up their own facts. But speaking of good things, is there anything else that you’d like to say about the new album?
Strangely enough it’s been a difficult year, both on a global level and for me on a personal level, I’ve gone through a lot of bad stuff. But at the same time it’s really when I listen to it, I don’t listen that much to my own stuff but I’ve listened to it a couple of times since it’s been finished. And I think it comes across as a really positive album, strangely enough, I guess it’s some sort of reaction or subconsciously, we want to create some antithesis to all the negative stuff that’s happening with a pandemic and everything else. So even if you have the Swedish melancholic undercurrent in the lyrics, the overall feeling of the album, I think it’s quite a positive album, probably the most positive album we’ve done so far, which I think is something that people need these days. I’m a pessimist by nature. I think it’s going to take quite some time before we can do some proper touring, but at the same time it feels as if the people liked us, they appreciate the fact that we’re still releasing music and that we’re trying to entertain them even if it’s from afar. But we’re there, we’re keeping up our presence and we don’t want to disappear quietly just because the world is going to hell, we want to entertain people.