Alex Haber of Heavy New York recently conducted an interview with vocalist Joacim “Jake E” Lundberg (ex-AMARANTHE) and guitarist Jesper Strömblad (ex-IN FLAMES) of CYHRA, the new modern metal band that is rounded out by bassist Peter Iwers (ex-IN FLAMES) and drummer Alex Landenburg (LUCA TURILLI’S RHAPSODY). You can listen to the full chat below. A few excerpts follow (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On whether the idea behind CYHRA is to combine the sounds of AMARANTHE and IN FLAMES:
Jake: “We never had the idea like, ‘Oh, let’s do a hybrid thing between those bands,’ at all. But we’re both songwriters and we have our way in writing songs. I think that this thing that you hear in [lead single] ‘Karma’, it’s just something that is what it is.”
Jesper: “We had a ‘hybrid theory.’ [Laughs] Maybe we flirt a little bit with some of our backgrounds, so to say, but it’s still very representative for the album, but, when you’re going to hear the album, you’ll hear it’s a very diverse album. It’s everything from up-tempo, upbeat songs, to really, really, well, we have a ballad so to speak, but yeah, it’s very diverse and when I listen to it, I don’t get tired of it because every song offers something new. It’s not the same format. It’s not the same, we don’t write the songs in the same format all the time. It grows on you a lot. I can say that, well, objectively because after the mix, we had heard the songs a thousand times. I couldn’t stand it because it wasn’t because it was bad, it was because we had worked with the songs for so long. The last days in mixing, I think both of us were, like, ‘Just bounce it out and let’s go home.’ We had worked so long with it. For me, I don’t know how it was for Jake, I put it aside for a good three weeks, like two or three weeks. Then I listened back to it and I was like, ‘Wow. We made something really great here.’ And the greatest feeling of it was that, one of the greatest feelings, I didn’t for a second think that this sounds like IN FLAMES or AMARANTHE. This sounds like CYHRA; this sounds like we created our own sound. That’s my opinion. That was an accomplishment. We didn’t know that before we started writing the songs and went into the studio. We’re super-happy with that fact.”
On trying to avoid bringing in elements from their previous bands:
Jake: “These elements that we had in our former bands, of course, it comes from sub-consciousness because that’s the way you write your songs. You always have these specialties within your songwriting that defines you as you, but we never thought about it. We were just sitting down and started to write songs that we liked. ‘Karma’ is the song that everyone has heard now and that sounds one way, but as Jesper said, the album is really diverse. We really brought things from ourselves that we’ve never done before in any of our bands. There are some songs that you can completely hear where we’re coming from in the past and there are some songs that completely show a new side of us.”
Jesper: “Exactly. We never tried to sound like anything. When we got together, the chemistry was there immediately. We just started writing song after song after song. We work so well together. If there was something missing, it was like ‘I tightened up that song’ and the other way around. We worked together with the melodies, even I think I put in a word here and there, lyrically. That had never happened for me. Ninety-nine percent Jake is the main lyric writer. We just made songs. We didn’t think about it. Jake usually sits earlier and I come in and I hear something ‘What the hell is this? It sounds awesome!’ ‘I’m just playing around.’ Maybe that’s the thing: ‘This is a song. We have to do a song with it.’ Then when the day is over, we have the skeleton of a new song.”
On whether they think CYHRA has a unique sound:
Jake: “It’s hard in music to have a unique sound. When we first started off with AMARANTHE, for example, that was pretty unique because we had three singers, but that was because we had three singers. No one else had that. If you break down the music, you could relate it to hundreds and hundreds of bands. If you remove the vocals, there would probably be all these Danish bands and also SOILWORK and so on, but the same with us. What defines us is the melodies and catchy choruses. At least for myself, I will never stop writing catchy choruses because I don’t want to listen to music that doesn’t have choruses. At least that part we will always keep. But then it’s a matter of adding instruments, changing the beats.”
Jesper: “We’re not reinventing the wheel here, but I will not describe [it] as I did in radio yesterday because that backfired. But we will continue to just write good songs. We don’t even think, I think, like when we sit writing the songs, like ‘Hey, we should incorporate something like this. We should do something that applies to this kind of artist or this kind of artist.’ We’re not afraid of using drum loops, synthesizers, whatever makes the music more powerful and makes the wall of sound huger. If that’s a keyboard, then it’s a keyboard.”
Jake: “Or someone slamming the doors.”
Jesper: “But I know people they want… metal is metal. Don’t add keyboards. We are very close to finding our sound, but I know the least of our problems is to make songs because when it was time to record, we had to more or less [say] ‘Time out. We have to stop making songs now because we have to prepare them.’ Maybe we’d go back and [tinker] with the arrangements. When it’s time for the next writing sessions, then it [will be easy].”
CYHRA‘s debut album, “Letters To Myself”, will be released on October 20 via Spinefarm Records. The disc was recorded at Top Floor Studios in Gothenburg, Sweden.
CYHRA will make its live debut on October 27 at Nosturi in Helsinki, Finland.