Swedish alternative metal quartet, We Are The Catalyst, are set to release their third album Ephemeral on February 13, 2019. Discussing the themes around the album content, the band explain: “it explores depression, the darkness within us all, hope, loss, dystopian world views and existential themes”. Ahead of the album release, the band are exclusively premiering the track “Over Pale Waters” with us.
Cat Frey had this to say about the track: “”Over Pale Waters” is a song about wanting more out of life, and struggling to reach it. Not letting anything stand in your way, even when it might seem hopeless, as well as being an encouragement to stay strong and shine bright in a world where all colours are fading and everything is turning pale.”
2019 promises to be a big year for the Swedish band who, since forming in November 2012, have played in China, toured the UK, played many festivals and have even had Jerry Springer make an appearance in their music video for the cover “Don’t You Worry Child” presenting the song and talking to the viewer about the band.
Following the release of the album, the band will be heading over to the UK for eleven shows.
We grabbed time with We Are The Catalyst to talk about the album and the upcoming UK tour dates:
1. The album “explores depression, the darkness within us all, hope, loss, dystopian world views and existential themes” – would you describe it as a concept album, if not, where do you draw your influences from?
We Are The Catalyst: “I would say from real life mostly, as I myself am fighting depression and anxiety on a daily basis and basically have been all my life in various degrees. Of course this affects everyone in the band to some degree, mostly Cat as she and I are married and have two daughters together. In another way it is a concept, but more the concept of our band, and not just an album. So far all our albums have been about these themes in some degree, as we feel it is very important to shine a light on the large amount of people that suffers from mental illnesses in their life. It is kind of our mission, to strengthen others with our music.
The dystopian world view is just something that we feel is a potential future coming, and we feel it is important to talk about where we are all headed, and if something can be made to change our course. Of course, you could argue that we are already there, at least to some degree, and in some parts of the world, which makes it even more interesting to talk about.
Also, on a side note I´m a sucker for dystopian movies and books etc. So it´s also an “interest” (laughs).”
2. What was the writing process for the material on the album?
We Are The Catalyst: “We have a pretty good process in place these days that have worked well for us for the past 6 years of WATC, where I start wrting the songs in my studio, sometimes starting with (and scrapping) 3-4 songs in a day before I actually find one that feels worth investing time in. Some days it’s like I need to get the “shit” songs out of the way so the good songs can appear.
For many years when I was alot younger I used to give up after I couldn’t start writing a good song after say 2 tries in that work session, but I learned from experience that sometimes the ideas just suck, but there WILL be something good after a few tries worth working on. I guess the trick is not trying to “stress” something out, and rather accepting if you are having a drought of inspiration. On a side note I am very much inspired by music in movies and series. Sometimes outright stealing a melody and reworking it to something unrecognizable.
When I write a song I feel is good enough to work on I basically make all the music, program drums, synths, record demo bass and guitars etc. Often starting with just a synth these days, to set the mood. Most often I finish the first draft of a song the same day I come up with it as I get in a “flow” and it just pours out. Not always, but when I find a song that I really feel for, it is usually a fairly fast process. Though there are exceptions. “Open Door” for example from our album Elevation took several years of picking up and stopping work on before we felt it was shaping up. And I think it´s one of our best songs. But most often the process from start to first “good” draft is a couple of days. I´d say about 80 percent of our songs feels like that. Like they “write themselves”. I think “Over Pale Waters” was one of those fast songs.
I then present that particular song I have made to Cat, and if she likes it and feels she can work with it we move on to start writing the vocals and lyrics. The melodies are 90% of the time VERY quickly written. Mostly Cat just tries something out and we agree it’s awesome, it’s just so natural for her to write good melodies without any huge effort. The slowest part of our work process is definitely writing lyrics. None of us really LIKES doing it as it just slows down the process so much compared to the music and melody writing, even though we both agree it´s very important! We just hate the feeling of standing still I guess, hehe.
And when we have most of the vocal parts in place I might go back and change certain things, try out some of my vocals, rearrange, or scrap some things altogether in the song before deciding it´s ready to be recorded for real. That is in itself a whole other process as I will listen and judge the songs for months most often before being satisfied they are as good as they can be and deserve a spot on an album. Me and Cat then sit down together to decide how to shape the album. Our songs aren’t really written with the other songs in mind, which is probably why our sound is varying a bit from song to song. And we like that. We don´t want to write albums where every song just sounds like the song before it, which seems to be very usual in Rock and Metal.
The recording process itself is very fast in contrast. Joni and Håkan gets the chance to listen to the final demos a few weeks before it´s time to record, and decide if they want to try changing something on their instrument. Otherwise we just do one thing at a time as it has been decided it should be. Not that much changes in our songs from the final demo to finished recorded product as we do so much work on the demos. We basically just record the songs in my studio again with better instruments and all the “right” settings etc.
Funny thing is; as a challenge to ourselves we have said that our next album IS going to be written in a much more connected way, striving for a certain feel running through the entire album, to see if we can actually make it so, but we will still strive towards some clear differences in the songs of course. And in the end, if we feel it makes the album boring, I bet we will just revert to our regular way of doing things. If it ain’t broken, right?”
3. The themes covered on the album open up plenty of avenues for videos and a live show, what are your thoughts on this?
We Are The Catalyst: “Well, so far (with “Over Pale Waters”), we have released 4 singles with 4 music videos, so yes, we’ve definitely had it fairly easy to connect the songs to visuals with this album! And at least one more video and single will be released before the album release on the 13th of February. It´s actually part of an “experiment” we´re doing, testing to build up towards the album release with a bunch of singles AND videos to stay on peoples radars and hopefully get media coverage, instead of just one or two singles.
I always have grand ideas for live shows, but as always the problem is funding it! You are indeed right though, it can make for some very interesting shows, and hopefully will! We are always trying to expanfd the live shows to be more interesting, as I myself don´t like to go to concerts to just watch a band perform outright. I want something more to happen, something special between the audience and performer that makes it feel more unique. I believe I am not alone in this, as you can see by the success of bands like Rammstein or Lordi or Sabaton for that matter. “
4. You’re touring the UK in February, what can we expect from the show and what are you expecting from the UK?
We Are The Catalyst: Since we are flying in we won’t be able to bring alot of “props” or whatever, but we will still try our best to make something special for the shows of course, be it using some cool led stripes attached to
the mic stand that flashes etc (I built one that we hopefully will be able to bring if it fits in a bag), or just being our energetic selves on stage! I hate watching musicians that don´t seem to enjoy themselves on stage.
We haven´t toured the UK since 2015, when our first show was opening for Delain, which was awesome! So we are very eager to see what kind of draw we will have and how the crowds will feel, since our band only really started getting noticed after the release of Elevation in 2016, which I´d have to say have been a huge success in many ways, as after that we have amassed close to 4 million plays on streaming sites like Spotify etc as well as 700 000 views on youtube among other things. So it will be very interesting to see if the crowds have also grown!”
5. Just to finish, what are your plans for the rest of 2019 in terms of promoting “Ephemeral”?
We Are The Catalyst: Well, we are in serious talks with several bigger bands about supporting them on EU tours, MAYBE in the Spring but so far no decision has been made but we are definitely going to do some kind of tour in the second half of 2019. Hopefully Germany, Poland and a few other countries in that area, as we have a pretty big following there, but have never performed there! SO am really interested in seeing what we could do there. And hopefully we get to announce some festivals as well, none booked so far though, not for lack of trying (laughs).
In other seriously BIG news there are things I am not yet permitted to talk about, but that will most probably lead to HUGE things for us. I really hope it gets official soon, and that we can start talking about it as it is something we are VERY much looking forward to and that might be life-changing!”
02/15 – Whitchurch – Percy’s Bar
02/16 – TBA
02/17 – Blackpool – The Waterloo
02/18 – Edinburgh – Bannermans
02/19 – Newcastle – Trillians
02/20 – Huddersfield – The Parish
02/21 – Birmingham – Subside
02/22 – Cheltenham – The Cotswold Inn
02/23 – TBA
02/24 – London – The Unicorn