Sweden’s Eclipse released their first record in 2001 but really found their footing with 2012’s Bleed & Scream. Since then, they have been at the forefront of the melodic rock scene. They are about to release a new record called Megalomanium and vocalist, guitarist, and writer Erik Martensson returns to the site to discuss it.
Please press the PLAY icon below for the MisplacedStraws conversation with Erik Martensson –
On if he has noticed the evolution of the band and his writing – That is something we actually aim for all the time. AC/DC is my favorite band ever, but after 1980 they kept on repeating themselves and for every record, it just got worse and worse. I don’t want to end up there, paint myself into a corner. For every record, we always added something new, maybe try something different that we’d never tried before. If that was successful and we liked it, then we had like a new door we could open and find new ways of doing this music. It’s still Eclipse. I really appreciate that you like the evolution because that’s super important for us. Even if some fans complain, they think Bleed & Scream or Armageddonize or whatever record is their favorite. If we would do those records over and over again, they wouldn’t appreciate it either. So I think it’s good for both creativity for the band and for the listener as well, to challenge them with something new every time.
On always looking for another door to go through in their music – If I sing a song and it’s a rock song, it’s going to sound a little like Eclipse. Talking about Bon Scott, if Bon Scott would sing in another rock band, it would sound a little like AC/DC, of course, because it’s the signature of the band. But I think the melodic things and add influences, new influences, it can be everything from black metal to classical music. It can be anything. If we add something and we can make it work, then it’s, it’s cool.
On being influenced by My Chemical Romance after touring with them – I always liked the kind of emo rock thing, even back in the day. There are songs, even on Bleed & Scream, there’s a song called “SOS”, which has a little of that emo rock thing. I always try to add that because I really liked that vibe. I always liked that. I love My Chemical Romance, of course, and a lot of those bands. We even managed to add some kind of skate-punk vibes to this one as well, which I really like as well.
On adding some pop influences to the record – I think it’s fun. Try new stuff. It takes some time to understand, to see if it works or not. In a few years, I will have a listen back to the record and see if it still holds, I don’t know, it’s very hard to tell. Some stuff, just some of the stuff I really liked on previous, older records or maybe nowadays, I think, “Ah, that was maybe not that good”, but back when we wrote it, we thought it was cool. Well, but it’s something new. We did “Viva La Victoria” that was also a new vibe for us and it worked out pretty well. You got to take chances.
On keeping this current lineup for almost 5 years – It’s the best lineup we’ve ever had. We are having a really good time together. Finding musicians, it’s easy to find people who can play Eclipse songs, that is pretty easy, but to find people you like to hang out with all the time (is most important). When you’re on tour, the least thing you do is play music. Most of the time you’re sitting together being bored or drinking beer or watching a movie or whatever. When you kind of live together so much, it’s gotta work, the chemistry has got to be right. This time it’s perfect, it’s wonderful. I think that affects the whole vibe of the writing as well, of course, because you enjoy being in the band.
On the possibility of touring America – Yeah, we discussed this a lot. I think the only way for us to make it, to do something for real in the US is the opening act thing, otherwise, we would start playing in bars from scratch because it’s a brand new market, we’ve never been there before. We are discussing this, these things, and eventually, it’ll happen. We said we always will go to do some South American dates and next year is actually going to happen for the first time. So, who knows? Hopefully, fingers crossed. It will happen. Hopefully.
On the importance of the cruises in the American market – It’s unbelievably good for us. The cruises are fantastic. Of course, it’s meeting all the people and hanging out for five days, having drinks and watching the rest of the bands are my favorite bands as well. So I enjoy it just as much as everyone who’s paying to be there. I think one of the biggest challenges for us as a small band, as we are a small band in the US, we are nothing. So, it’s so hard to get the visas. I think that is the biggest challenge for us. It’s not getting the flight tickets. It’s not getting the gigs. It’s actually getting the visas, which are for every year. It’s just getting harder and harder. After the pandemic, it’s just even worse. It costs a shitload of money to get those visas. So we gotta have like a proper tour or well-paid gigs, otherwise, we will lose a lot of money and that’s the reality. That’s why it’s easier if you go to Japan, it’s super simple to get a visa. You go to Australia, super simple, South America, easy. But if you go to America, it’s a lot of work.
On any upcoming music with W.E.T. – We are making a brand new record right now. I’m actually tracking guitars today for it, so, it’s completely written. Jeff (Scott Soto) has done most of the vocals. It’s happening. It’s probably going to be done in one or two months. We have a tour coming up here in Europe. So that’s going to make a little break from the recordings, but otherwise, it’s happening.
On if it is different to write for W.E.T. than Eclipse – I think it’s a big change challenge to write Eclipse songs because we always try to come up with something new, find our own way of doing things. With W.E.T., it’s more like if it’s a good song, it’s on the record. If it sounds like an 80s song and we like it, then it’s going to be on the record. With Eclipse, if it sounds like a Whitesnake song, it’s not going to be on the record because you can listen to Whitesnake. We always have that. We have to evolve all the time, which makes it kind of more relaxing to write W.E.T.. It doesn’t mean that we don’t care as much. We still care. We still want to write the best possible songs, of course, but it’s different challenges.
On upcoming tour plans – This week we’re playing a festival in Portugal. Then just a few days later, we are starting off a headline tour, a co-headline tour together with HEAT, Swedish band HEAT. We’re going to be out for two and a half or three weeks. We’re going to tour throughout mostly Germany and some France and Austria, and so like middle Europe. First time ever we’re going to play together. We have been talking about it between the bands because they are friends of ours, of course, and fans have been asking for it. So hopefully let’s see it worked out, but it’s some of the shows are already sold out, so it’s going to be good.
On the future and if he’d ever do a solo record – Solo record, I think you got to wait for that one because I have enough projects to write for. I think I can do, not everything I want to do, but most, with Eclipse. It’s not a solo project at all, but we can do whatever we want. If I have one song and I really want to do a song like this, then everyone’s like, “Okay, let’s do it”. So I think we have artistic freedom enough so the world doesn’t have to see an Eric Martensson solo record. I can spare the listeners. I always work with other bands. I mix a lot of records. That’s what I do for a full-time job for me, mixing and mastering records for different bands. It’s everything from symphonic metal to country music.