By the begging of 2016 we found out about an album that became, inmediately, one of the best melodic black metal albums of the past years. We are talking about Seraphical Euphony, by the Swedish band HYPERION. A jewel which we don’t want any of you to miss, a band that we are really pleased to present with the following questions:
Subterráneo Webzine: Welcome to Subterráneo Webzine. Who’s answering these questions and what are you listening to meanwhile?
HYPERION: Hello and thanks for featuring us in Subterráneo Webzine. This interview is answered by Erik Molnar (guitars), and Anders Peterson (drums, keyboards and symphonics). We are currently sitting here, sipping some red wine and listening to Beethoven while answering these questions.
Subterráneo Webzine: Where does the name HYPERION come from? Does it have anything to do with the highest sequoia sempervirens or is it related to Dan Simmon’s novel?
HYPERION: The name originates from Greek mythology. Hyperion was the titan of the sun before the Olympian Gods came to power. He was later overthrown alongside his fellow titans. The name has nothing to do with Dan Simmon’s work; however we are familiar with the novel, but not the “highest sequoia sempervirens” which you mentioned. The name is a very descriptive word that captivates the spirit of our music. It is epic, grand, and has a very ancient type of feeling to it. The name also holds significant symbolic value to us.
Subterráneo Webzine: Your first work was a demo, Blood of the ancients, which was well received among the listeners. But it wasn’t quite the first thing you released. What about Live på Kylengalan? Why starting your career with a live album?
HYPERION: We actually released another demo prior to the release of Live på Kylengalan. This demo was only released in digital format on our Myspace page and some live clips on YouTube followed after that. This old demo featured songs that reflected a very early an immature version of HYPERION, although, you can clearly distinguish our musical roots, which are still very present today amongst other influences.
The Live på Kylengalan album or whatever you want to call it was actually recorded by the owners of our rehearsal place at the time. We played a show at their local stage and when they offered to give us the songs they had recorded, we naturally did not hesitate to seize the opportunity. That in turn led to the impulsive release of that live album. We did not want to make a big fuzz about it. We never even printed copies for it for selling, or released it on YouTube. We had better things in store for the release of the Blood of the Ancients demo.
Subterráneo Webzine: Are them both still available in physical format? Where can we find them?
HYPERION: There is only one copy of the live album and that is hidden somewhere within the abyss of my vast record collection. The Blood of the Ancients demo has long since been sold out, but we are actually working on a re-release of that demo, but a proper one this time. This new version will include a proper booklet, a nicer CD design, some pictures from that time period and possibly even one bonus track. We will unveil more news about that in due time.
Subterráneo Webzine: As we mentioned on Seraphical Euphony’s review, we think it is, by far, one of the best albums of the year and one of the best of its style for a long time. What kind of opinions have you had so far?
HYPERION: So far our opinions have been very positive. We think the album sound way beyond our original when we handed it over to Sverker Widgren for mixing and mastering. Before that there were badly sounding drums, weird guitar parts that we did not know what to do with, etc. These factors lowered our self-esteem and also created some doubts regarding the sound of the album in general. In the end, however it turned out just the way we wanted it.
As for the response we got, it surpassed our wildest dreams. Some claim it to be, not only the “album of the year” but one of the best albums since DISSECTION’s masterpiece Storm of the Light’s Bane. We have no comments to that acclaim though. We’ve been caught by surprise time and again. Since the album’s release, our own motivation has been enhanced greatly and we always look forward to answer fan-mails, interviews, working on material, organizing future plans etc. In general, we would say that this new album has taken us to greater heights in all regards. As Joel said in another interview: “The story of HYPERION truly begins with this album.”.
Subterráneo Webzine: Which albums from 2016 have you enjoyed the most? Any particular one that you are awaiting for?
HYPERION: Quite honestly, we haven’t checked out any albums that came out this year. However, there is one VERY good album that several members of the band enjoyed quite a bit from last year that caught us all by surprise. That album is Litourgiya by the polish band BATUSHKA. It is not often these days that you discover really dark, haunting and fanatical black metal. That album definitely has had an impact on us.
Subterráneo Webzine: Which are HYPERION’s top 10 albums?
HYPERION: Oh, we like this question a lot. We will both list our favourite albums of all time:
The Jester Race – IN FLAMES
Storm of the Light’s Bane – DISSECTION (An obvious choice perhaps)
Somewhere In Time – IRON MAIDEN
The Evil One – ROCKY ERICKSON
Salvation – FUNERAL MIST
Brave New World – IRON MAIDEN
Somewhere Far Beyond – BLIND GUARDIAN
Whoracle – IN FLAMES
Still Life – OPETH
WASP – WASP
Beethoven symphonies conducted by Karajan.
Iron Maiden – IRON MAIDEN
Moving Pictures – RUSH
Kind of Blue – MILES DAVID
Individual Thought Patterns – DEATH
Covenant – MORBID ANGEL
Abigail – KING DIAMOND
Images and Words – DREAM THEATER
Still Life – OPETH
South of Heaven – SLAYER
Subterráneo Webzine: Do you guys know anything about Spanish extreme scene? Any bands?
HYPERION: Nope. Not at all I’m afraid. We are familiar with some South American acts, but none from Spain. Are there any good ones?
Subterráneo Webzine: What about the emergent Swedish scene? Which new bands do you like, or think are going to have a promising future?
HYPERION: Hmmm… That depends on your definition of “new”. According to me (Erik), I would consider any band that formed after the year 2000 to be “new”. In any case, we would like to give a heads up to our fellow colleagues in NETHERBIRD and DESCEND. We have shared stages with both bands many times and each band respectively has produced some great work that is worth some attention. AGES is a quite new band that I know Mikael likes. They are quite good in my opinion and they definitely have proven to have great potential.
Subterráneo Webzine: Getting back to your album, the cover is a wonder which reflects quite well the essence of your Seraphical Euphony. Who was the artist that created it?
HYPERION: The man responsible for the artwork of our album is a Russian artist called Alex Tartsus. He is indeed an exceptionally talented man and has a very original touch to his drawings. It took us about 6 months of constant feedback and discussions back and forth to end up with the final result that became the actual artwork. We agree on the fact that it indeed reflects the essence of what the album is all about both from a musical standpoint and from a lyrical point of view. It really captures it all in one single image.
Subterráneo Webzine: We also reviewed French combo VINDLAND, which are also part of Black Lion Production’s roster, have you any contact with the bands from the label? How is working with them and how did you manage to start working with the company?
HYPERION: We are familiar with VINDLAND and we have to say that their album, which was released via Black Lion sounds promising indeed. We are not in contact with any bands on Black Lion, no, but we have very good contact with Oliver, who is the main driving force behind Black Lion. He has been an avid supporter of HYPERION for a long time. He also helped out MIST OF MISERY a lot in the past with promotion and what not, so when the time came for HYPERION to release Seraphical Euphony, it felt like a natural choice to sign to Black Lion Records. Oliver is an insanely dedicated man and it is because of people like him that the metal scene is alive and well today. The cooperation with Black Lion is perhaps not always stable, but all in all we are very happy with their efforts and what we have accomplished together.
Subterráneo Webzine: You can tell, in a very discreet way, some elements more of power metal than black or death, in your album. Do you like power metal? Which bands are your favorites?
HYPERION: You are actually one of the first ones to take notice of that fact! We are glad that you did. Yes, at least both I and Anders are huge BLIND GUARDIAN fans and we also like bands like GAMMA RAY, old HELLOWEEN, old HAMMERFALL, FALCONER and some SABATON even, so yes, we definitely like power metal! To some extent, I suppose you could call our music “power black metal”, haha! HYPERION is very much based on melody and delivering an epic atmosphere, which are perhaps the 2 most crucial ingredients of quality power metal. In that sense, I suppose it is not a strange thing that our music and the power metal genre share some similarities.
Subterráneo Webzine: Do you listen to other bands/styles not related to metal?
HYPERION: Erik: Oh yes, very much so. Around 50 % of the music I listen to nowadays is either movie soundtracks, game soundtracks or some type of melodic, instrumental or ambient music. The elements I look for the most when I want to discover new music are epicness and melody. They don’t necessarily need to appear in combination, but those are certainly the two sides of music which I tend to appreciate the most. Those types of emotions are expressed not only in metal, but in the kind of music which I just mentioned. I also enjoy listening to classic rock and some classical music.
Anders: Nowadays, I prefer to listen to classical music only. Since I always work day in and day out with the genre then I feel the necessity to study whatever there is to the classical world. Though, I’m not that narrow-minded. It also depends on my mood but I go from Jazz to folk-music from Bulgaria if I want to. I have a lot of different genres around me all the time and I truly enjoy listening to Spanish guitarists like PACO DE LUCIA or VICENTE AMIGO. Other than that I love the old ladies from the blues era like BESSIE SMITH or BILLIE HOLIDAY. Even HOWLIN’ WOLF is a favorite of mine or ART TATUM. I listen to pretty much everything I feel is really good music, no matter what it is really but what I listen most to is of course, as earlier said: classical music. For me, good music is good music, no matter what it is or where it comes from. If it’s good and has substance and soul, then I’m in.
HYPERION: As of now, we have only performed one show since the release of Seraphical Euphony and that was our release-gig in March. We have never performed outside of our hometown of Stockholm and that is certainly a fact that we want to change in the near future. We have actually just recently booked a show in Motala, another city in Sweden. There are no plans to perform in Spain, no. That would of course be very exciting, though. If anyone reading this has any contacts, or know any local promoters, please let us know.
Subterráneo Webzine: You album’s on sale in digital and physical format, but, did you guys made just 500 hard copies? How are the sales over digital format?
HYPERION: Initially, that was our understanding of the situation as well, but the fact of the matter is that our record company printed a total amount of 1000 physical copies of the album. Those copies are disappearing fast, but we are naturally working on a new edition of the album of around 500 copies and our record company also has some reserves. It will basically be pretty much the same print as the last one, but with some minor details added to it.
The digital sales for the album have also sky rocketed to my understanding. I have no exact sales numbers, but they certainly exceed the physical sales for sure. People really seem to want to support us whole-heartedly, even though the music is available on seemingly every digital platform on the internet. We cannot even begin to express how thankful and delighted we are.
Subterráneo Webzine: Most of the contact we have had with the band has been through Erik Molnar, your guitarist. Is Erik the one taking HYPERION to spots where Black Lion doesn’t get you?
HYPERION: Erik: I don’t know about that. To a certain extent, I suppose that is true. It is not only the record company’s responsibility, but also the musician’s responsibility to actively reach out to people and interact with your audience. Black Lion is a really capable force when it comes to promotion however and we have great trust in their network and dedication.
To be honest with you, though, people usually reach out to us first and propose an interview, a feature in a magazine, or some type of promotion. All in all I would say that the combined will of HYPERION and Black Lion is the main driving force behind the success of HYPERION.
Subterráneo Webzine: Speaking about Erik, we know he also plays in MIST OF MISERY, a symphonic black metal band, whose last album came out in 2014. Are you working on new material?
HYPERION: Erik: Yes. 3 weeks ago, we actually released a single to promote the release of our upcoming full length album, Absence. The album has been in the works for about six years now and we are really looking forward to finally share it with the world. It will be released around August via Black Lion Records.
Oh, and just a small correction from my side. The Temple of Stilled Voices EP you refer to was actually released in 2013, but only in digital format.
Erik: Well, Harry has his own band called MUDCAST, which is more like thrash metal with some experimental death metal and some progressive elements in there as well. Joel is also a member of that band and I used to play live bass with them for a long time. They seem to be on a bit of hiatus now though as Harry is still working hard on an album that he wants to release. Really great stuff, though. I hope the album gets finished. Raul has a progressive band called SEMMELWEIS REFLEX. Joel is also involved with his own solo Project and I believe Mikael is writing some more rock oriented stuff as well on the side. I personally write some atmospheric melodic music as well when I feel the need for it.
Anders: Except for HYPERION, I’ve always been a part of many different projects or being a session musician of some sort. However, these past couple of years I’ve been focusing on classical music only, with the exception of HYPERION. Now, I do not wish to enter any more projects more for the fact that I do not feel it would lead me to anything because of my past history with many different bands. I feel that HYPERION and the classical department is more than enough for me at the moment. Other than that I always plan future things or help others get their stuff together whenever someone needs me. Also I compose my own material so I guess you could call it my own “solo-project”.
Subterráneo Webzine: For now there are no clips or lyric videos from by HYPERION, do you not contemplate this option or we should be expecting some video release?
HYPERION: We have some visual plans in the pipe for the future, yes. I will let time tell about that, however. All I can say is that you will definitely see something like that in the future, for sure.
Subterráneo Webzine: And that is it for now, guys. Thanks a lot for your time, and, please, keep on creating great music. Anything else you would like to add?
HYPERION: Thank you for having us! We really appreciate your support and dedication. We would like to thank everyone that has supported us in any way imaginable. We would never have come this far if it wasn’t for you, our faithful listeners! Cheers keep supporting good music!