The Ultimate AOR Experience of Wildness
The Ultimate AOR Experience of Wildness
Wildness is the studio project by drummer and songwriter Erik Modin. Together with guitarists Adam Holmström and Pontus Sköld, and singer Gabriel Lindmark, the project developed into a real band in 2014. Marcus Sjösund would join the Wildness lineup in 2016, and the band would soon find themselves signed to AOR Heaven and opening for the like of Pretty Maids, Dokken, Vixen, Arch Enemy and more! Wildness recently issued Ultimate Demise, their second melodic hard rocking magnum opus via AOR Heaven. Highwire Daze recently interviewed Wildness mastermind Erik Modin to find out a whole lot more about this amazing collective and their Ultimate Demise extravaganza. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Wildness and how long the band has been together.
My name is Erik Modin and I’m the drummer and founder of Wildness. I started it all around 2013 with the main purpose to create some kind of studio recording project with me as the main songwriter and producer with different friends and guests on vocals and guitars. Our guitar players Adam Holmström and Pontus Sköld were in on a pretty early stage since we were been friends and had been band mates in other bands for a few years prior to that.
When our original lead singer Gabriel Lindmark joined the team and we started to make plans and jam together, and it didn’t take long until we all agreed on that we should view Wildness as a band instead of a studio project. So we’ve been around since 2014.
Where is the band based out of and what is the local music scene like there?
We’re based in Stockholm, Sweden and from what I know we have pretty good amount of great bands from here like Eclipse, H.E.A.T, Dynazty, Bonafide, Thundermother, Crashdïet and others.
How did you wind up signing with AOR Heaven?
We were contacted by them around early 2016 after they stumbled over some of our early demos online and offered us a recording deal for our debut album which were released on November 24th in 2017.
Is there any overall story or concept behind Ultimate Demise title?
No, not really. We decided to name the album after the closing track since we all felt that it was a cool title. The song itself is about a fictional astral journey from a dying planet to restart humanity on another habitable planet somewhere in the universe. So the album itself doesn’t grab on to a specific theme, even though there is a red thread within the song arrangements themselves.
Select two songs from Ultimate Demise and what inspired the lyrics.
I’ve already mentioned the title track above, but two other songs worth to mention is our first released singles Cold Words and Die young.
Cold words is another science fiction inspired song which is about an alien invasion that from my imagination takes place in a vintage black and white cartoon environment like The Phantom or similar style. The aliens hacks the radio frequency to simply send out the message to humanity: ”We’re coming to get you”.
The other song Die young is a homage to a close friend of the band who decided to end his life a few years ago. He was a hard-hitting energetic guy and the funniest of dudes, and was a big fan of the same kind of 80’s hard rock and heavy metal as we in the band are. Instead of a ballad (which is the most regular song type for memorial songs to fallen heroes) it felt more natural to give him a song that was just like him. Up-tempo, fast, melodic and energetic. He was one of a kind and we miss him dearly.
How did new vocalist Erik Forsberg become involved with Wildness and what was his background prior to joining the band?
After looking around for a new singer for a couple of months, we stumbled across an ad from Erik Forsberg where he was looking around for something new. He ha a lot of vocal cover videos up on is YouTube page and it was pretty obvious that he had a good range when it came to musical styles and stuff. We sent him some of the songs, met up in our rehearsal space for an audition and it all felt really good right from the start!
His background prior to Wildness is that he was in a Swedish power metal band called Blazon Stone and released four albums with them.
Who produced Ultimate Demise and what was it like working with them?
This album is entirely produced by me. I studied to become a professional music producer between 2012 and 2014 and have done a fair amount of professional productions since then. I’ve worked with band like Reach, Sister, Captain Black Beard, Strÿkenine and have a lot of cool collaboration coming up within the next few months!
Ultimate Demise was recorded in my studio at home, and was mixed and mastered by Erik Wigelius who also produced and mixed our debut album.
Who did the cover art for Ultimate Demise and how much input did you have on it?
The album cover is made by graphic artist Anton Atanasov who is a great artist for that nostalgia sci-fi art style!
What has it been like to release a new album right in the middle of a pandemic? Have you had any shows or tours cancelled because of it?
It hasn’t affected us that much since we were still in the search for a new permanent singer when the virus started to spread around the world, so no shows or tours was up for discussion until the band had a solid lineup again. So ”luckily” we’ve been able to spend our time off the road to finish the album and promote it. Let’s just hope for the best for 2021!
You have opened for Pretty Maids whose vocalist Ronnie Atkins is currently dealing with Stage 4 cancer. What was that experience like and did you get to meet or hang out with them at all?
Yes, opening for Pretty Maids was a really cool experience since we all love them! We didn’t hang out with them that much, we simply just said ”Hi” and gave them our best before they did their show. We were in separate dressing rooms backstage and the best thing you can do as a support band is to respect the main act and their privacy. We’re friends with their keyboard player Chris Laney (who is also Swedish) from before so we got to hang out with him for a bit. Pretty Maids were super professional and they did one hell of a show with their bombastic music.
I was devastated reading about Ronnie’s health status, and I sure hope that we get to keep him as long as possible because he is really one of the greatest singers from the 80’s bands that are still around.
If Wildness could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I think I would say Whitesnake or KISS there! Simply because in both cases we would get to play in front of a huge audience, but also because both of them are big favorite bands for us in Wildness.
Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside Wildness?
Yeah, I have my own Synthwave project called Taekwondo. It’s a one-man-project where I’m creating 80’s inspired and nostalgic synthwave-music with vintage keyboard layers and drum machines. I’ve only released two independent singles so far, but there’s more music in the works and I’m planning to get some more stuff out as soon as possible.
What do you hope 2021 brings for Wildness?
First of all, I really hope that the world will start to turn back to normal again. The world need music, and we all need to get out there and give it to the ones who needs in their lives.
I really hope that we will be able to do shows with our new lineup some time in 2021 cause we all believe so hard in our new material and lineup. We are booked for Wildfest in Belgium for May 2021, so let’s keep our fingers crossed!
Any final words of wisdom?
I like to make a reference to the best movie ever made, Back To The Future, Part 1:
“If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions! Take care and be safe in these crazy times!
It was my pleasure! Thanks to you and stay safe where you are, cheers!
(Interview by Ken Morton)