Stoneflower: At Long Last!
Stoneflower: At Long Last!
Stoneflower is a dynamic melodic rock collective from Norway whose exhillarating new album on AOR Heaven is practically years in the making. Ironically entitled Finally, the exhilarating endeavor is jammed packed with AOR anthems that are positively wondrous to behold! Highwire Daze recently interviewed Stoneflower founder Tom Sennerud to discuss the unveiling of Finally at long last, how John Masaki from Norwegian Idol became the new lead vocalist, working with Per Hillestad from the ranks of the legendary A-HA, and a whole lot more. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Stoneflower, and how long the band has been together.
Hi, I’m Tom Sennerud, guitar player and producer of Stoneflower. We have been together for some time now, but have had long breaks between the releases. We started out from the band Diezel (Diesel Dahl/TNT, Tindrum) with the release of Crack A Little Smile in 2003. In Norway at the time it was absolutely no interest of the 80´s style music, but we got quite a lot of good vibes from the AOR community. So, we started on the second album, but almost done we couldn’t find any reason to finish it. Frode Henriksen (singer) moved to another part of the country, and the band broke up. After about ten years, I fixed and mixed Destination Anywhere and released it on my own label.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We are based in Oslo, and there are actually quite a few clubs here now that have good interest for AOR music.
How did you wind up signing to AOR Heaven?
Since we released the second album Destination Anywhere on my label Late Night Music, we didn´t have any promotion capabilities, so Georg at AOR Heaven was kind enough to buy all our CD’s and sell them through AOR Heaven. For Finally, we actually had a few other labels that was ready to sign, but we felt that AOR Heaven was the right place for us.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the Finally title?
Well, since the first song was written in 2012-13 (Most of Believing even before that) I think Svenn thought it was a good title. His song Finally is about his personal life, so it has double meaning maybe 🙂
Select two songs from Finally and what inspired the lyrics.
Then I have to take two of my own Let You Go and Through The Fire. Very personal of course, since they were written right after breaking up with the relationship that I thought was going to last forever.
Who produced Finally and what was it like working with them?
I was the main producer, but with good help from John and Svenn of course. I think they may be looking for another guy in charge next time. Ha-ha. So, it doesn´t take 8 years to finish…
Stoneflower features John Masaki who was on Norwegian Idol. How did he become involved with the band?
Since I ran a commercial dubbing studio at the time, and was hiring singers for cartoon films, John shows up and delivers. He also did demo´s for Svenn and I since we were starting up writing songs with Stoneflower in mind. It didn’t take me more than 2 seconds demoing Through The Fire before I knew this was our guy.
One of the guest musicians on Finally was Per Hillestad who did some time with A-Ha amongst his many epic credits. What was it like working with Per and how did he become involved with Stoneflower?
We didn’t have a drummer at the time, and Per is at the top of every producers list in Norway when you need the very best. I always dreamt once in my life write a song and hire Per Hillestad (LAVA) on the drums.
AOR legend Tommy Denander also makes an appearance on Finally. How did he become involve with the making of the album?
We are all fans of everything Tommy has his hands on, and I met him a few times in Oslo when he played with Bobby Kimball (TOTO). He’s is such a nice guy, and both Svenn and I talked about contacting him to play on The Devil Never Cries. He said yes right away, and we are so grateful for his contribution.
What has it been like to have a brand-new album released right in the middle of a pandemic? Have you had any shows or tours cancelled?
Oh my. We had big plans for the release with a gig in the center of Oslo, all booked and ready when all hell broke loose. We haven’t even met since then, but we manage to make a corona video in our living rooms. (Me in the studio). We hope to get it out for the release date on the 15 of May.
What could one expect from a live Stoneflower show?
All the songs from the new album, and maybe some old ones. We are ready when it all opens to normal again.
If Stoneflower could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I have to talk for myself, and for me it had to be Work Of Art/Lionville or Toy Matinée. Why? The thrill of playing for just the right audience.
What’s up next for Stoneflower?
The release on Friday, and out to play when this virus is gone.
John Masaki – Vocals
Svenn Huneide – Bass, Vocals
Tom Sennerud – Guitars, keys, vocals
Geir Johnny Huneide – Drums
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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