Michael Eriksen, the man behind the mic of Circus Maximus, interviewed on PerfectProg!

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Michael Eriksen, the man behind the mic of Circus Maximus, interviewed on PerfectProg!

Continuing with the sequences of interviews, this time PerfectProg.com got deep into another highlighted progressive musician, and it is… Michael Eriksen, the voice of Circus Maximus!!!

What happened with the band this last time, what’s coming for them and what about their forthcoming album? Find out about that and more by reading the entire chat below:

Hey Mike!!! First of all I wanna thank you for your time and kindness for agreeing to do this interview, I really appreciate it.

Michael: Anytime brother, anytime…

Now let’s start the round of questions…

So far you have released 2 albums, 1st Chapter (2005) and Isolate (2007), and it’s been a while since the last one so I guess now you can see and analyze them with a more ‘‘external and global point of view’’… So what’s your vision or opinion about each one of them?

Michael: Our debut is definitely a good album from which we are very proud of. It is embossed by us being younger and the most of the material is based on ideas from the early years. Isolate is more complex and consists of better songs and melodies. Although a darker approach it`s the one we gained the most attention from in the media.

With only 2 years of difference between these albums, there’s a big sound-gap between them. The first one has that harmonic, light and ‘‘classic’’ technical sound, instead the second one has a more aggressive, heavy and ‘‘Technologic/Industrial’’ (But still technical) sound… How much had to do the arrival of Lasse with this change?

Michael: When Lasse joined, it naturally had an impact on the songs. He has a completely different type of sound than Espen and he was more involved in the writing process.

What about the writing process for the albums… Do you work all together from the very beginning or there’s just one of you in charge of creating the spinal and then everyone else get involved?

Michael: We all contribute one way or the other. Some of us write lyrics, while some of us have a riff or two lying around that might end up in a song. Early on in the writing process we decided to let Mats do his thing and be the “main man”. I have been writing songs with Mats for many years and can easily say that he is one talented son of a b****! He and I can sit down and write an idea for a song with our acoustic guitars in hand, when he suddenly has the whole song in his head, being a piano pattern or a drum fill. Never stops to amaze me that guy!!!

I know you have been trying to record your third album since last year but you had some unexpected problems that forced you to postpone it, especially Mats… What can you tell us about that?

Michael: Yeah, we feel like we`re Def Leppard or something hahaha! Truls have had some trouble with his knees, and may end up doing surgery. Mats had some really bad issues with his right arm, and I recently had an issue with my voice where my doctor told me to be very careful, or I might end up injuring my vocal chords.

So as you can see it hasn`t been easy, and that is also why this album has taken so long. For instance Mats`s injury took 8 freaking months to heal!!

Your last official statement about the new album was that you finished the drum tracks late last year… so where are you right now? How much progress has been made in the recording sessions?

Michael: Actually Mats and I were in the studio yesterday, where Mats recorded some acoustic guitars for the album. We have everything ready except for the vocals. We have already written most of the lyrics and melody lines, so I am guessing the final mix will be ready early 2012.

On your Youtube Account you’ve been uploading some ‘‘catch-up-with-our-recording-process’’ videos where the most remarkable thing that shows up it’s your great chemistry and sense of humor… I guess that spark is something really important for you as a part of the functioning and dynamics of the band (because you know… today you can hear of a lot of bands that get burned because of the loss of that all-as-one feeling)… isn’t it?

Michael: You are so right Joan. To evolve as a band and to become ONE, you have to have more then just the music to keep the band intact. We love having fun and when the five of us get together all we do is laugh, hahaha. I remember when we were to play at ProgPowerUSA one time, we changed our tickets so we could get there 5 days prior to the show, just so that we could spend a whole day at Six Flags ( themepark ) in Atlanta…

This year Mats became part of the Ibanez family (Congrats for that, He deserved it long ago!). Can you tell us exactly what’s his guitar gear for the new album?

Michael: Yeah, FINALLY!! With the new album out Mats SHOULD be on every cover of every guitar-mag out there, cause man I can tell you the guitars on this album is flawless!! I can easily compare the guitars on this album to Extreme`s Pornograffitti, nothing but awesome guitars going on down to every last detail! I LOVE IT!! I am very proud of Mats and what he has created on this album. Gearwise he is using Fractal Audio Axe FX on the whole album. Sound awesome!

What are you gonna do for this third album… will you continue the line of Isolate or will you explore some new corners of your sound? What can we expect?

Michael: First of all you can expect a totally new sound! We still have elements that will please the progressive-fans, but I feel with this album we can really reach out to the masses. We have 5 songs that could easily be some cool singles and we plan to do just that. It is time to step it up, and I believe we have grown naturally over the years. This time around we will be doing videos and more full tours in most parts of the world if everything goes as planned.

Do you know how many songs will be included in the album? Can you tell us some tittles? Or tentative date for it?

Michael: I can reveal that there will be 9 songs on the album. An official statement announcing the album title, song titles and release date will come sooner than later!

In your previous releases you were in charge of production and Tommy Hansen was on the mixing and mastering… how is going to be this time? (And if there’s any change, why?)

Michael: We are still in charge of our own production but when it comes to mixing, we´ve chosen someone completely different from Tommy Hansen and I think it´ll justify the songs more than ever.

If I’m not wrong, you had an inactive live-shows-calendar during 2010 and during this year you did a couple of shows in May, so I guess you are really excited and anxious to hit the road soon, don’t you?

Michael: Yeah, we are really looking forward to start playing live again. The reason why we haven`t played live recently is because we wanted to have the whole focus on finishing the new album , yes it has taken us almost 5 years , BUT I promise you it is worth the wait!!

What is the song that you enjoy the most to play live?

Michael: I really like "A Darkened Mind" and "Sin".

What song do you think the audience enjoys the most to hear live?

Michael: It depends on the listener, but as time goes by we can easily see that songs with a lot of "air" are songs that really makes the crowd go! Songs like "Abyss", "Sin","A Darkened Mind" really make them go.

Do you wanna say some final words to your fans on PerfectProg.com?

Michael: We hope you enjoyed the interview and we hope to see you on tour next year, stay tuned for a killer album!!!

That’s all Mike… thank you so much for your time! Wish you well.

Michael: Thank you Joan for spreading the word about us, you have an awesome site!!!

Joan López