Jorn Lande (Norway)

You have one of the most celebrated voices in Rock and Heavy metal, you have been involved in at least a dozen musical projects, with some of the most talented singers and musicians alike, all of which received praise from critics and fans alike. Now finally bringing your powerful voice to Australia with the phenomenal Avantasia.

Metal-Roos: Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me. Is this the very first time you have ever been able to visit our shores?

This is the first time for me to visit your beautiful country. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia but have never got to do it so, finally, I can. It’s going to be great and I can’t wait.

M-R: Is there anything specific you are looking forward to in your visit?

There are so many things I would like to see in Australia! Your country has so much variation. I’ll have to come back with my wife for a holiday or something, just to see everything. I’ll see what I can when I’m there that week, but there’s just too many great things about your country. You can’t just see it all in a few days. I’ll have to come back, and I’ll start with some drinks and some food!

M-R: I would love to hear the story of how you found your voice. How you became involved in music in the beginning?

Well, my father was a musician. He actually still plays and is still around, but it all happened when I was a kid. He went to rehearsals for his band and I tagged along, fooling around with the instruments. He also has a good taste in music, he bought a lot of records in the 70s that you normally wouldn’t get where I grew up. My father’s drummer used to have a record store and I was lucky enough to be able to borrow albums from the store. I could get the albums and bring them home, he would always say: ”Jorn, please don’t scratch them”. I started off liking the artwork. I didn’t really know about the music much, but I really liked the artwork. I would borrow them on Friday and take them back on Monday or Tuesday, then I would buy the records I would like after listening to them over the weekend. The 70s is like the Holy Grail of music to me, the 70s had so many great artists coming through. I used to listen to everything from Kate Bush to Peter Gabriel, 10 CC, Manfred Mann, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, so many people. I also remember the import section in in the record store with a couple of boxes of records and we would always go through those because we didn’t really have too much to choose from. When I was quite young, I was very keen and finding new stuff. Then when the 80s happened things changed, CDs came around, which gave you access to everything, although not like now with the internet. So then to me it was Elvis Presley, Rod Stewart, Cliff Richard and let’s not forget your own Johnny Farnham and his Little River Band. That was one of the records that I brought home from the import section, which allowed me to discover other Australian music like Jon English. I didn’t come from a metal or hard rock scene I grew up more with contemporary singers and a lot of Australian music back in the day.

M-R: You have been involved in so many incredible projects and have been involved with Avantasia from the very beginning. How did that relationship start?

Tobias is a bit younger than the rest of the band, so he used to be a fan of the music that we did or the bands that we used to be in. He was just a fan from the beginning, he contacted me back in 2007 for the Scarecrow album in the Avantasia project. He saw it is just as a side project in the beginning but the album took off and was very successful so he called me and asked to do the next record also. I didn’t expect much from this to be honest in the beginning either, but the first tour was also quite successful. I don’t know what it is actually, like how can you make ten to twelve minutes songs and people just love to hear them and they play them over and over again. It’s even on the radio over here in Europe these long songs on the radio is surprising to hear. It might be all the different elements in the music. There’re so many different elements in one song, and that’s what these modern times are all about, people like a lot of things roll up in one thing. Sometimes I wonder how can people really digest all of this, how do they have time to do that, but obviously they do! It’s just so different from when I grew up with three-minute-long songs, which you had to do it because you had to consider radio play and stuff. There’s definitely no political correctness to Avantasia releases, it’s fantastic actually. Also some great singers to work with there’s been some changes along the way which is also great. But this tour we have Geoff Tate he used to be with Queensrÿche, Bob Catley from Magnum he is the one that’s been around for the longest, he’s actually been with Avantasia from the very beginning. Eric Martin is with us from Mr. Big. He is a great singer I used to listen to him when I was younger in the late 80s. To be on stage with so many singers that you used to listen to it’s amazing. I’m not that young but I’m still about ten to fifteen years younger than most of those guys, Bob is in his 70s now, he seems to be the Gandalf The Grey of the whole thing! hahaha

M-R: You have some seriously powerful vocals. What is your usual maintenance schedule for your voice at home and on tour?

I don’t really do much at home, I get sloppy. I just do normal stuff when I am home. I like to sign out of everything, you know. I do write music at home, I mean there’s always something going on. But I work on the house and in the garden, normal stuff like that. If I go on tour it usually takes me a week to get back into shape. It’s usually quite a slap to the face, and I realise my voice is a bit rough and I should have practiced more before I went on tour, but it seems to work out ok. It’s a muscle like any other part of your body, you should maintain it, you should always be singing for a while before you go on tour. It’s hard to focus on that all the time especially when you come back home from tour. You just don’t want to do music at all, you just want to eat, drink and rest and all the other things in life. Also, all the years of work help, it’s like the people have worked out a lot in the gym if they have a rest it doesn’t take them long to get back in shape. It’s never really been a big problem for me to maintain my voice.

M-R: Your work with Russel Allen is some of the best duets I have ever heard. How did that relationship start and how does the writing process usually go for these albums? Do you have any favourite moments from these albums?

This project was more or less the record company’s idea. They wanted some kind of project and as we always do in this business, we sign some contracts when we’re younger. Sometimes we’ve signed contract that we’re not too happy with, to be honest. So sometimes you do some package deals which is basically what happened. I was approached to do something, and we started discussing how to proceed with things and this was one of the suggestions. I’ve known Russell from the past, we used to play on some of the same festivals. I met him back then in some festival in the United States in Atlanta, Georgia, actually. So, I knew him already and his work. It was easy to say yes to the project. Writing wise, we had a great guitar player for the project in Magnus Carlson in Sweden who is also a fantastic song-writer, he wrote the music at his own studio. It was just a within the family type of thing. Russell also did music for my label outside of this project which was great. I guess the first couple of records are my favourite just because it was a fresh collaboration. I never thought we would do more than one or two records but then it was quite successful. Then people asked for more and we had some good offers to do another one and it escalated from there. Now we’ve had four of those but I don’t think will do more because it was more of a side project to be honest.

M-R: Finally, do you have any Avantasia songs that you look forward to performing Down Under?

While I love a lot of the songs but to choose one song that really has a special effect on the both the band and the crowd every night is Let the Storm Descend Upon You. It’s such a great song to perform live, something happens with that song every time we play it, people go crazy and we really feel great from the energy on stage. That’s my favourite song to sing and to interact with Ronnie Atkins and Tobias. It has a terrific arrangement and the whole thing just clicks with the band and the audience, it’s a great track.

Tour dates and ticket links
May 12th – Sydney, Metro Theatre
Tickets: https://bit.ly/2IMBZMr  
May 14th – Melbourne, The Forum
Tickets: https://bit.ly/2Uk2c6E

 

Interview Date: 2019-04-22

Interviewer: Jonathan Hurley