Way back in my teens I came across an Åland inhabitant guitar hero, with a true penchant for the neoclassical. Lars Erik has been around for thirty years, developing, and making excursions into other realms, but always with classy and atry touches. I was very pleased to see him do this new album, "Aurora Borealis", and to see him return to his true kingdom. In fact, I was really thrilled to have him describe the why´s and where´s. Nice to hear from you Lars Erik!
FP: Please describe the album, and what made you do this kind of music, and sort of return to your past, after the latest MATTSSON outings and Tango?
LEM: Aurora Borealis – Concerto for Orchestra and Electric Guitar is very different from my previous releases as it’s all instrumental music with a string orchestra plus drums bass and my electric guitar fusing classical music with progressive rock and metal. I have wanted to do this for more than 10 years and now I felt that I was ready for the challenge, even though other musicians have mixed rock and classical music in the past I don’t think there has been anything that sounds like this made before. It’s not really just another instrumental guitar album, the compositions and the total experience is what makes this album what it is, not the guitar… Classical music has always had a big influence on me and it felt natural to me that I should at least once in my lifetime try to compose and produce something where these influences would be more than just a small gimmick.
FP: Could you please tell us something about your gear and set-up, and the orchestral elements on the album?
LEM: On this album you will only hear one guitar at once, so there are no rhythm guitars while I solo , just like it if would have been performed live. I mostly used either a Fender Stratocaster with true temperament neck and Seymour Duncan pickups or a ca 1991 Valley Arts Custom Pro. On a few spots I played a Boel MC7 7 String guitar. The amp was a Peavey 6505+ with a 4x12” Mesa Boogie Cabinet for most parts. A few softer parts were played through a Fender twin reverb. For pedals I used a cry baby wah wah and a tube screamer on a few solos but mostly no pedals at all.
The orchestral instruments were partly played by some friends of mine but also mixed with some sampled instruments due to financial limits.
FP: How will you promote the album, any live concerts etc?
LEM: I am trying to find a good solution as I would like to take this project to the stage.
FP: Uli Jon Roth is not exactly releasing albums at a high pace, and Ritchie Blackmore is still in a bard costume, what´s your views on the neo-classical instrumental genre at the moment?
LEM: I stopped listening and keeping track of what these guys do long ago! I think you cannot just keep on looking back, you need to take your music into new territory or your creativity will die, even though the audiences seem to prefer the opposite. What has been done has been done, we don’t have to recycle stuff forever, but the truth is that it’s very long since I last heard any music that gave me goosebumps. That music may be my fault though, as I have been doing this for so long.
FP: Where are your largest markets (as an artist)?
LEM: I think I have a tiny market all over and that it is changing all the time.
FP: What can we expect next? Is there anything you want to do, and would never dream of doing as an artist?
LEM: I am finishing a vocal track as “Mattsson” with Adrienn Antal singing again; it’s called “Mother” and will be part of a charity album for the victims of the Japanese Earthquake and Tsunami. The album will be called “Embrace the Sun” and should be available on June 17.
FP: Aw well, in all honesty, who wouldn´t want to see this live? With Blackmore in Bard´s clothing and Uli Jon Roth relaxing most of the time... I really recommend this album, for those who like the neoclassical, for the metal head in need of relaxation, for the... the list goes on. Don´t miss out on this, it´s a fine outing that I would be poorer without.