Forever Still are a young Danish Alternative Metal band who have without a doubt came out of nowhere, having released their debut album 'Tied Down' and then end up signing with Nuclear Blast; 'Tied Down' was then re-released', to then secure a slot on the Ronnie James Dio stage at Bloodstock is a tremendous achievement given the band has been around 7 years... well actually it's Maja Shining and Mikkel Haastrup who lead the front-line and are supplemented by live musicians (who include Rune Frisch).
Despite their seemingly sudden explosion onto the metal circuit, they've been around since 2010 and have released 3 EP's prior to their big break. Denmark has had a decent record of metal exports from Artillery to King Diamond and from Mnemic to Raunchy and are still delivering more and more top notch metal bands like Akoma and of course Forever Still.
Mikkel was up for the task of informing us what makes the band tick, the state of the Danish Metal scene, Mikkel's music tastes among other things that make Forever Still as equally if not more important than Denmark's biggest exports besides metal... bacon and Lego.
"In Denmark, we have this 'jante law ' which says that you can't think you're anything, it's just a weird concept [regarding the lack of Danish music exports'.
How long has Forever been around? What does the band name mean? What style of metal do you play?
"We released our first EP ["Breaking Free"] in 2013, and have just been going on from there.
It's a long explanation [meaning behind the band name], Maja came up with it, we talked about it and it's just the feeling of being stuck, you feel like you're forever standing still but also the feeling of when you feel at ease, you're 'forever still' - so it's a double meaning, Maja is apparently very poetic I guess :)"
It's definitely melodic, so it's like we're one of the softer bands at this festival [Bloodstock], if not the softest. But we've always been into these pretty huge choruses, that's what we really focused on the first album [Tied Down]. Maja played a concert with another band, I was like wow she's just amazing and I wanted to focus really on the vocals, so that's what we did on that.
The new one we're writing now we're trying to focus still on the big choruses, but we want to do heavier riffs cause we're really into that, and our new drummer is really really f*cking cool... I love playing with him I play bass myself so you like love him with the drums so... it's going to be like heavy riffs and big huge choruses."
So Mikkel how did you get into metal music?
"Ah, I had just started when I was really young, I started listening to... I can't even remember, I think I started off with softer bands like Placebo and then I just went into liking Nine Inch Nails, and then I got into heavier stuff like Marilyn Manson... it's just a gateway into heavier stuff and it's been an upward slope like heavier and heavier, but still I think this band [Forever Still] is into softer things as well... I enjoy listening to all kinds of music, I've been listening to a lot of electronic music lately and I really enjoy that. For me it's just melody and that's what I sometimes miss in metal right, for me at least I miss the... like if it's only screaming I get a bit bored so I like a combination."
So as a band you're Melodic Metal, but have different sounds going on at the same time?
"Yeah yeah, on the new album we want to like focus on... like I said I'm really like into electronic music so I want to make that a bigger part of the next album, but like I said still focus on the riffs and I'm into really interesting rhythms at the moment so we do a lot of songs and try to play in different time signatures that are really weird but try to make them sound easy to listen to"
Is the Danish Metal scene still as strong as it has been? Would you say it's the smallest in Scandinavia?
"Nah I think it's getting better, but like we're really focused on getting out of the country because there's not a lot of like... the audience there is too small so we really enjoy in playing outside Denmark especially in the UK, you've got such a strong community for metal.
Yeah I think so, Denmark didn't used to be that much into metal, I think when we started there was like this feeling that you had to sound like an 80's metal band to be anything big in Denmark and it just doesn't work outside the borders. But in Denmark, we have this 'jante law (Janteloven)' which says that you can't think you're anything, it's just a weird concept and I think that's the reason why you don't see that much music coming out of Denmark"
So what do your parents think of metal music Mikkel, what support do you get from your family / friends?
"My parents aren't into music, actually my mum really hates music so she's like if there's any kind of music... when I grew up she was like 'can you f*cking just turn that off!'. My dad is really into jazz and stuff, but really doesn't like heavier music so yeah I didn't get anything from them heh.
The way we built this band it's just Maja and I doing everything ourselves without any support from anyone else and that's how we started, I think the first album has quite an isolated sound as well and that's just because we were like 'we can do this'. We just do everything ourselves, so we recorded it and mixed it, shot our own videos and everything. I think that it worked out really well"
Having just finished your set, opening the main stage at Bloodstock, what plans have you got for the rest of the year?
"We're playing Sabaton Open Air next week [was 19th August], then we're going back to the studio to just record and write, so that's the plan for the rest of the year and then hopefully the album will be out early next year and we'll start touring a lot. We've been on some amazing tours at the end of last year and at the start of this year with Lacuna Coil and Children of Bodom, so hopefully we'll get some great support for us and then do a headline tour as well"
Aside from the core Scandinavian countries, would you play in the Faroe Islands? What do you know about the metal scene there?
"Yeah I would love to, they've got the G! Festival up there, I would love to play that and I would love to see the nature up there. My best friend is from the Faroe Islands, so yeah, we'd love it.
I don't know a lot about the music from up there actually, they've got all these strange names as well because they call themselves something from their own language [Faroese]"
Finally do you have any greetings, thank you's that you wish to send out?
"Yeah I would just love to thank Bloodstock for letting us play this festival, it's been amazing!"
'Tied Down' is out now via Nuclear Blast.
Truth be told, Israel is one of the more active metal scenes in the Middle East (let's not get political here) alongside the likes of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, the Gulf States (Bahrain and Kuwait; Qatar less so) and to a certain extent The Lebanon.
Salem, Orphaned Land, Arallu, Melechesh, they've all graced and kissed the golden sands of this Mediterranean nation, the latest to walk in their footsteps are Nothing Lies Beyond. A Melodic Death Metal force with enough ferocity about them to challenge the already-overloaded Swedish (nay Gothenburg) Metal scene.
So what makes this Israeli outfit an exciting one to watch? Well let's find out.
Guys in recent years the Israeli Metal scene has been flourishing and breaking international ground, what would you put this success to?
"Hey! I think that the reason that the Israeli metal scene is flourishing in the past 3-4 years and actually getting some recognition on the global ground is because there are more interest from the local bands to break into the global scene.
It's not something new of course, every band wants to get as much attention as possible, especially I think if you are living outside of the main music areas like the US and Europe, but the thing that helped us in the past years is mainly in my opinion, the whole digital era. There are more ways to bring your music to other people then there were before, when you needed in the past to send physical CD's or cassettes, now you can send a digital version of the album and of course the whole Facebook and YouTube platform.
So to summarize it, I think that because of the digital platforms, many Israeli bands and also as I said, bands that are not from the US or EU, can now reach new exposure levels.
Would it be right to say that metal music offers Israeli's a means of expressing discontent during dangerous times? E.g. war, attacks, etc. But also can metal music bring the world together regardless of social, political and religious differences?
"Well, you can say that the music that we make gives us a way to get our words out, about politics or any other difficulty that we face in our country.
But I can say the same thing about any kind of music from any part of the world. Music gives us a way to express our feelings and thoughts, no matter what separates us – religious, social status, political differences.. We can hear the music that somebody else created and just enjoy.
I don't know if metal music in specific, or any music for that matter can "bring the world together", but I'm sure that nobody would pay any attention to the artist's nation, religion, etc.. if the actual music is good for the listener.
Your debut album 'Fragile Reality' came out 22nd July, could you give us the background behind it and what your messages are?
"The album's main topic is the struggles that we have to face in our life, I think that "Closed In Chains" and also "Lost" are the songs with the lyrics that pronounce the idea behind "Fragile Reality" in the best way. We tried to present our music in the best way, and I think that the outcome was perfect."
How supportive is Israeli society of metal music, does the Government know about it? How hard is it for metal music to exist in the Middle East?
"I can say only our opinion about the whole Israeli's music preferences so maybe some people will think differently about the whole situation..
In my opinion, metal music is not so "big" in Israel, there were times that the crowd in shows was bigger and there were more local bands, but I think that it depends on the whole environment and "musical era" of the specific time..
Nowadays, people connect more to pop or electronic music because it's catchy, and in our country specific also for Middle Eastern style (not my cup of tea to be honest), so I do think that maybe in the 90's, the connection to metal music and the whole genres that it includes was bigger.
I think that metal music could exist in any place, as long as people keep listen to it. Maybe in some countries in the Middle East it's "forbidden" or something like that, but in Israel we can play as much as we want and whatever we want to play."
Will you be embarking on a European or 'Eurasian' tour to promote the album? Surely the UAE would be an ideal location as well as Israel in the Middle East?
"Actually, we are not planning to go on tour yet, there are some private issues that deny us from touring at this moment, but I do think that in the right time we will start planning our first tour.
We will try to play our music as much as we can and in any place that will be available, not only Europe (that is our main goal for now), but also maybe in Japan and other places in the East that in my opinion has great potential."
Talk to us more about the Israeli Metal scene, what festivals are there, clubs, markets, in fact what is a day like in Israel?
"OK, so first of all, the metal scene in Israel is not so big. There are many people who love metal music over here, but if you compare it to the numbers in Europe... It's really not so many.
Nevertheless, there are local producers that try to bring over here an international band every couple of months, so we do enjoy a variety of metal bands that come to Israel and perform. Regarding festivals and clubs... usually there aren't any festivals over here, not in metal anyway, we do enjoy the shows over here, but usually it consist of a local band as an opening act (as we were for Children of Bodom), and the headliner.
The clubs for metal are also few, as I said before, I know that in the early days there were more clubs that gave metal bands an opportunity, but one after the other they closed the gates and now there isn't as much as used to be.
In terms of the day here in Israel, it's pretty much the same as in any other place (only probably hotter haha)... we do live in a country that has its own problems, if it's local problems or international problems, but I think that every person here in Israel just try to live his life quietly as possible.
Is it true that Israeli's have to do service be it army, navy, air force? Have any of you done this?
Yes it's true. In Israel, when you turn 18 years old (not at the very moment... it could take up to a year until you can get recruited, but usually its at the age of 18), you are joining the army. For men its about 3 years and for women it's 2 years of service, they are changing it a little bit now but it will remain in the area of those numbers.
Usually everybody has to recruit to the army but you know..There are special cases sometimes. Alon and me already finished our service, and the rest of the guys are doing it now or about to start, we can't elaborate on what we did during our service but I can honestly say that this experience toughen us and made us ready for the "real world".
I do know some bands that the army torn apart because the band members couldn’t meet on a regular basis due to their jobs... so it really depends on what you are doing in your own service.
What plans have you got for the rest of the year?
"We are now focusing mainly on the album release and all the things that it includes, if it’s the CD release and after that we are planning a massive release show, so mainly this is what we are focusing on for the next 2-3 months. After the release show we will continue performing and maybe start planning our tour, and beside that we will start in early 2017 to work on the next album's music.
So it's going to be a busy year!"
Finally have you got any greetings you wish to send out?
"Well first of all, we want to thank you guys for the interview, it was a pleasure. We also want to thank all of our followers around the world for the support that they give to us. We hope to see everybody soon on stage and we hope that you will like our album."
Spanish Modern Melodic Death Metal outfit SynlakrosS have been rampaging around the block since 2008 and since then have released one demo and two albums, the second "Death Bullets For A Forajido" dropped back in May. With their sharp rise in the Spanish Metal scene and the line-up only changing the one time, things are looking bright for this hot property.
Check out their music video "Curly Wolves" below.
We aimed to keep the band cornered but as they ran and hid, the band's front-woman Patricia Pons was more than happy to seek the members up and bind them together, whilst she directed her answers to our questions.