Sweden’s Incrave has been delivering its catchy brand of melodic metal since 2001. The group actually got started under the name Evergrace, releasing its self-titled Ulterium Records debut in 2006 before changing its moniker to Incrave the first part of 2007. After re-issuing its debut under the new title The Escape, Incrave returned to the studio and recorded the follow up effort Dead End, which came out in the winter of 2008 also on Ulterium Records. Angelic Warlord had the recent opportunity to interview guitarist Jon Bålefalk. Please read on as Jon expands upon the history of Incrave, the details surrounding Dead End and his views on the state of the music industry as well.
I would like to start by discussing your musical background. How long have you been playing guitar? And who are your favorite guitarist and how have they inspired you?
I started to learn some acoustic guitar when I was about 12 years old. Just learned a couple of songs and chords and played for myself occasionally. When I was about 15 years old, I bought my first electric guitar and started to play on a more regular basis. A year later we decided to start a band and I guess it’s since then I’ve been playing guitar seriously.
This is a really hard question. I have a lot of them and I change my favorite from time to time and I differ whether it’s lead parts or rhythm parts. I suspect you want a lead guitarist so I’m going to pick Zakk Wylde and Slash as favorite.
Tell us about the history of Incrave. Specifically, when did the band form and how did its members meet?
We started the band back in 2001 with the same line-up as of today. My brother, Josef, and me had talked for a while that it would be cool to have a metal band. We asked our cousins David, Martin and Jonathan if they were interested in putting a band together and obviously they were. Johan is the only one in the band who isn’t related to the rest of the band but we all have grown up with him as a friend so it was pretty natural to ask him if he were interested in singing in a metal band. The band was formed and we did play together for a couple of years and recorded two demos. Then Johan moved to study some music in 2003 and the band was put on hold. A couple of years later I got an e-mail from Emil at Ulterium Records asking if we wanted to record an album and of course we said yes.
What led to the group signing with Ulterium Records?
After Emil contacted me, we talked for a while and we realized that his intentions with Ulterium Records went hand in hand with our philosophy of the music. So it wasn’t a hard decision to sign with him.
How would you describe the music of Incrave?
I guess I would describe the music as melodic heavy metal.
Why did the group change its name from Evergrace to Incrave? Also, does the name Incrave have any special meaning?
The reason for the name change has more than one side. But the main reason is that we wanted to avoid confusion between us and our fellow Swedes, Evergrey.
The name Incrave is obviously from the beginning two words, In and Crave, that we put together to make it more unique to avoid any problems with the name again. The meaning of it is just as it sounds, we are craving for something more than the ordinary.
How often does Incrave perform live?
Due to big differences in our geographical locations we haven’t performed live as often as we want to. There needs to be a lot of planning for everything to work out but we’re hoping to do a lot of shows later this year.
Incrave released its new album, Dead End, last month. Why don’t you go ahead and tell us a little bit about Dead End, specifically the writing and recording process.
As I mentioned before, we live far from each other so we write the music with the help of the Internet. We’ve got our own home studios that we record our ideas and then put the ideas up on a closed site where the other members can listen, give critique and record their own ideas on each song. This has turned out to be a very good way to write the music since we automatically got pre-recordings of every song which we later use in the studio.
As for the recording process, I guess it’s pretty much the same as for other bands. Josef starts tracking the drums with help from the pre-recordings from the songwriting process and then we add the bass and guitars. Since my father owns the studio we don’t really have any time pressure so we can take the time we want. Therefore the order of the instruments that (are) being tracked after the drums can be in different order.
The mixing work of the album was handled by Per Ryberg at Studio Soundcreation. He (did) the mixing for our debut album as well and we really love to work with him. He’s a great guy and he really knows how to get our recordings sound good.
Are you happy with the way the album turned out? And how has the response been so far?
We are all very happy with the way the album turned out in every aspect. The cover art made by Kristian Wåhlin is really great and the rest of the cover, as well the photos, is made by Samuel Durling which also turned out to be fantastic.
The response has been very good from both fans and critiques so now we cross our fingers and hope that the album will sell enough to let us keep doing what we love.
How did you come up with the title Dead End? And what significance does it have?
The title “Dead End” is something I’ve wanted to put on an album for a while and it goes very well with our lyrics at this album. As you probably already know, our lyrics are about a lot of bad things that happens in our world today. We want to get people to think and try to do their best in their relations to other people and to themselves. So the title “Dead End” can be considered as a warning that if we continue to do all the bad stuff to each other and to the world there will soon be no turning back, it will be a dead end.
What songs from Dead End do you like the most and why?
My personal favorite is the title track “Dead End”. As for my own musical taste, I’m into much more heavy stuff than our music is. I listen a lot to bands like At the gates, In Flames, Dark Tranquility, Arch Enemy and similar and I think “Dead End” is flirting a bit with this kind of music.
What are the future plans of Incrave?
This summer and autumn we’re going to do some live shows in Sweden and a couple of other countries in Europe. After that I believe we’ll start to work on our next album.
What do you think about the state of the music industry today? Also, what is your view on the metal and hard rock scene?
I believe the music industry is in a pretty tricky situation today. Especially if you’re into the industry just to make a couple of bucks then the Internet and all the file sharing is a big problem. If you’re not, Internet is probably one of the best things that have ever happened to bands that are in the beginning of their careers. It’s so much easier to spread your music to people today than it was before the Internet came along.
As you can see of our band pictures, we are not the typical metal band. I have always thought that the metal scene have been a bit conservative and you really have to be in a special way to fit and especially if you’re in a band. This is a thing that I don’t like cause when you play I believe it’s important that you can be yourself and not someone who isn’t really you. I love metal and have done so for most part of my life but I’m not the typical metal person. If you ask me it’s all about the music, not about the image.
Any final comments?
Check out our myspace or our website for the latest news and of course, buy our albums, hahaha… Thanks Andy for letting us do this interview.
INCRAVE online: www.facebook.com/incraveofficial
Interview by: Andrew Rockwell