Guitarist Markus Sigfridsson is best known for his work in Harmony, a Swedish melodic metal act with three albums to its credit: Massacre Records full-length debut Dreaming Awake came out in 2003, while Ulterium Records follow up efforts Chapter II: Aftermath and Theatre Of Redemption were released in 2008 and fall of 2014, respectively. His body of work, however, is not limited to Harmony in that Sigfridsson has also recorded albums with Darkwater, including Ulterium releases Calling The Earth To Witness (2006) and Where Stories End (2010), and his side project 7 Days, with The Weight Of The World (2006) and Into Forever (2010) coming out on Rivel/Liljegren Records. Angelic Warlord had the recent opportunity to interview the artist, who goes into detail about the past, present and future of Harmony, Darkwater and 7 Days.
I would like to start by discussing the background of Harmony. When did you develop the vision for Harmony? And what inspired you to start the band? Also, what is the meaning behind the Harmony name?
Me and Tobias (Enbert – drums) have been friends since we were kids and we’ve shared the interest for the same kind of music for a long time. And we’ve played together since we were teens. But it wasn’t until I got my own computer based home studio around 2000 that we decided to do something more “serious” with our interest. I started to noodle around with some song ideas and he heard them and suggested that he could improve the drums on the songs. And that´s how it started, we started to write songs and arrange them together. Our vision has always kind of “let see what happens”, we have never had any great visions, we are more happy that people seem to enjoy our music. We were kind of surprised that our first demo with like the first songs we ever wrote gave us a record deal with Massacre Records. Tobias came up with the name Harmony, we thought it was a good name that suited our view of music and life.
What led to Harmony signing with Massacre Records and later Ulterium Records?
For the demo that gave us a deal we had a couple of proposals, where two were really interesting but we decided for Massacre since they seemed more professional.
The first time I met Emil, from Ulterium, was, I think, at our premiere concert in 2004. This was before he had started the label (I think), and we have kept in contact more or less since then. So it was natural for us to sign with Ulterium when Masssacre Records was not interested in releasing a second Harmony album.
What are your thoughts on the first two Harmony albums, Dreaming Awake and Chapter II: Aftermath? Which of the two is your favorite and why?
The first album is always special I guess, the second album is probably better as a whole. They are kind of different, maybe the first is more diverse since me and Tobias split the song writing on that one. I wrote all songs except “Inner Peace” on the second album. I think some of our best tracks are on the first album so I would say Dreaming Awake, but I don’t listen to them a lot so maybe it would change if I did...
Harmony recently released its third album, Theatre Of Redemption. Why don’t you go ahead and tell us a bit more about Theatre Of Redemption, specifically the writing and recording process.
We did, as usual, record the drums in a “real” studio. Everything else was recorded in our own home studios which is really smooth since you don’t need to keep an eye on the clock. We had all songs written before we had a full line up actually. But when everyone was onboard it went really smooth. I think I made about 12 songs that we chose from for this album, six of them ended up on the album and Tobias came up with five songs and we chose four of them. We recorded twelve songs and ten ended up on Theatre of Redemption. We obviously chose songs that would make a very diverse album. We mixed the album at Studio Fredman where we also reamped the rhythm guitars. We then mastered at Criteria Mastering (Thomas “PLEC” Johansson). I also have to mentioned Ulrik Arturén who did an amazing job recording back up vocals on the album.
What are your feelings about Theatre Of Redemption? Are you happy with the way the album turned out? And how has the response been so far?
Yes, we are happy, it feels good to finally have an album out after six years. The production is really good and we have evolved on everything I think. The response has been really good so far, I think it’s by far our best album.
What are some of your favorite songs off Theatre Of Redemption?
My favorite tracks at the moment are “Son Of The Morning”, “Theatre Of Redemption” and “Inhale”, but I´m sure that will change by time :).
It was six years between the release of Aftermath and Theatre Of Redemption. What led to such a long wait between albums? And what challenges and obstacles did you face along the way?
It´s a long time, but we’ve been busy doing other things. The main reason is that we are involved in another band called Darkwater, which Henrik (Bath - vocals) and Magnus (Holmberg - keyboards) decided to focus on. We have released two albums with Darkwater during these twelve years and I have also released two albums under the name of 7days. We also have full time jobs, and some of us also have families and other things that happens or keep you busy. So it’s just not that easy to release albums, but it won’t be five years to the next album.
There have been quite a few changes in the Harmony line up since the release of Aftermath. Specifically, I would like to know more about how new vocalist Daniel Heiman got involved with Harmony. Why was he selected to front Theatre Of Redemption?
We hade some auditions for the new album but we felt that none was as good as Henrik and we always thought about Daniel since his guest performance on the track “Inner Peace” on our second album Chapter II:Aftermath. So it was a natural choose and we are really happy that he sings on the album.
We came to know Daniel through a friend who knows him really well, so we are just lucky to know him this way since he gets a lot of proposal and he usually does´t do much guest vocals. Daniel is only a guest singer, but we hope to work with him in the future swell.
What is in the future for Harmony? Have you started work on the fourth album? And when do you anticipate it being released?
We haven´t started on a new album yet, although I always have ideas laying around. We will have a new EP out 2015 that already is finished, though. We recorded these songs simultaneously with Theater of Redemption.
I would like to talk about some of the projects you have been involved in outside of Harmony. Why did you start 7 Days? And how does 7 Days compare to Harmony? Is there a third album planned for 7 Days?
Like I said, I have a lot of song ideas laying around and I wanted to do something with them, that’s why I started 7 Days. I’m not really happy with the 7 Days albums, I think they are ok but they could be better, but, I’m working on a new album though. Basically the songs on 7 Days are songs that do not fit Darkwater and Harmony style wise, they are a little more symphonic and epic sounding.
What led to the formation of Darkwater? Is another Darkwater album in the works? Will it feature the same line up as the first two Darkwater albums?
Me, Henrik and Magnus stared Darkwater since we shared the same feelings for progressive metal, and since Tobias and I had started Harmony about a year earlier it was natural that there would (be) cooperation between the bands so to speak. We have just finished the writing process for the next Darkwater album, and we will start recording early 2015.
I would like to close by thanking you for honoring Angelic Warlord with this interview. Do you have any last words you would like to offer our readers?
Thank you, It was my pleasure. Please visit and like us on Facebook, we have presented some special releases for the fans. We hope you we like the new album.
Nice talking to you.
HARMONY online: www.facebook.com/harmonysweden