Deep down in the catacombs of Paris, between piled-up bones, damp air and our own mortality, Candlemass mastermind Leif Edling unexpectedly found new and sinister inspiration. The Doomsday Kingdom was born! We speak to Leif Edling about the new band and future plans with it as well as his ongoing health issues and his work with Candlemass.
Taking the call while in Stockholm, Sweden, Leif is an easy going person to chat to despite all that he is going through. The upside to today was the decent weather for a change in a country known for freezing temperatures. “I’m in Stockholm right now, at home right with some pretty decent weather today”, Leif says. “So Spring is coming and things are starting to look alright after a long winter. A rather short Spring in Sweden so it can be snow and blizzards and bad weather in April and then we have a couple of Spring weeks in May and then the Summer is on [laughs]. It’s a bit strange but the winter can be for like 5 or 6 months, even if they say it’s Spring it can be fucking blizzards outside but that’s how it is.”
At least it’s not scorching high temperatures like in Australia which the extremes of both sides of the weather can at times become very tedious which Leif happens to agree with. “Sometimes it’s good to have the [change], I like the seasons. I like the winter, I like the spring, the summer and autumn but sometimes it can be a little bit too much of winter when it’s dominating like this I guess.”
We move on to the new project that Leif is involved with, The Doomsday Kingdom which has a strong New Wave Of British Heavy Metal vibe happening which comes from his passion for the early heavy metal of the 70’s and early 80’s
Leif: Yeah absolutely! I’m a big fan of early metal like Dio, Accept and Anvil and that New Wave Of American Heavy Metal too so it’s like a combination of that but it’s an integral part of my metal upbringing! I had been burned out for a couple of years and I rediscovered my record collection and those early records by early Ozzy or Iron Maiden or Witchfinder, all those records I rediscovered as I had not listened to them for a long time. I just got a huge kick out of listening to these wonderful records again so I guess it showed in my song writing so The Doomsday Kingdom became a vehicle for more metal this time I guess but I think it’s cool. Candlemass is more towards doom metal and this is more heavy metal than doom in a wider box I think so to me it’s two separate bands But I’m sure people can hear it in the songs somewhere anyway and I really like The Doomsday Kingdom record as it shows my metal upbringing.
Andrew: Yeah it’s great, the songs I have heard so far sound fantastic. Where did the idea to do these songs come from? At what point did you start writing these songs and did it start out that way with the classic heavy metal sound or was it something completely different and it turned into that?
Leif: I discovered my record collection because I was sick. I couldn’t watch TV, I couldn’t work in front of the computer, I couldn’t read books so I just picked up my old acoustic guitar up and I played on it whenever I could so that was my therapy. I opened up all the boxes I had in my storage facility and in the basement and I brought up the vinyl and I listened to the old records again which was fantastic, Black Sabbath I listened to every fucking day! But these old records, the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal stuff or the American stuff, I hadn’t listened to these records for a long time so that was really like getting to know an old friend again I think and those songs I wrote just came out. We wanted to try to catch the same feeling as those old records which of course is impossible because those records were recorded back in 1980 like the first Iron Maiden record and the first Angelwitch record but you listen to them and you try to get a drum sound near to what the drum sound on the first Dio record. We tried to get a nice crunchy, Marshall sound from 1981 [laughs] so that was the vibe and it’s not contrived or anything because this is where my heart belongs to, to Black Sabbath and this kind of metal. I think the sounds of metal you can hear that you are sincere with the stuff and that you know what you’re doing even though you don’t have to buy the record or anything, I’m just happy that people don’t slag it because it’s a trend. Maybe this album is the most fucking untrendy album that will be released this year, maybe it will become popular just because of that. I have no fucking idea! I hope people can listen to it with an open mind and if you’re into metal you might dig it even though it’s not retro or power metal or doesn’t sound like Sabaton or In Flames.
Andrew: Yeah I think those that grew up on the stuff from the 70’s and 80’s will certainly dig it. I wouldn’t say it’s a trend but it seems the music scene always comes and goes in waves and they always go back to the originals so I guess it’s hard to get away from the Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath type thing I guess.
Leif: If you didn’t grow up with that stuff I think it can be pretty hard to incorporate it into your music. I’m sure some bands succeed with it and some bands not but I really like the 70’s bands, I’m an old 70’s freak. Hard rock and early metal freak so I kind of have a hard time listening to new music because I really like the riffs from the 70’s and the song writing and a lot of times with the bands today I think it is more energy than song writing in most bands and some bands don’t even care about melodies or song structure. They have one heavy riff that fits and they succeed, people like it and I cannot slag it because people like what they like and next year some other band will be super successful that I cannot listen to [laughs]. And it’s going to be like that so I like what I like and I play what I play and other bands play what they play so that’s how it’s going to be and if people like our album then that’s going to be fantastic but sometimes it’s like roulette if you’re going to succeed or not. But you do what you do and you do it as good as you can and hopefully you will still be there [laughs] and be able to tour and still be there a couple of years later releasing another album. So if you do your best hopefully fans can feel it in the music that the heart is there, I think that is the most important thing
Andrew: What are your plans with the band for the rest of the year? Will you be taking these songs out on the road?
Leif: Yeah we will play Roadburn in a couple of weeks and we will play Stockholm in a months time opening for Manilla Road which will be great I think. We will play the Hammer Of Doom in Germany and I try to book a few more gigs, I will also do some gigs with Candlemass where we will do Nightfall special anniversary shows. Only a couple of them as I’m still under doctors orders that I can’t play too much this year so I’ll have to do 10 shows and we will evaluate how they went and how I feel and blah blah blah and hopefully everything will turn out just great and then they can say next year I can play as much as I want. So yeah it’s progressing but you have to do what the doctor says, you have to follow their orders so I can’t overdo it this year so if I survive this year then I can be back on full speed next year.
Andrew: That’s good to hear, hopefully we get to see you more and more. I know it might be a silly question to ask but I should ask for all the Candlemass fans in Australia but if you had the opportunity to tour down in Australia, would you be able to take it?
Leif: Definitely consider it but under doctors orders I can’t do it this year but if the opportunity would come next year I’m sure we are going to do it. I’m still in the band but I have health issues so I have to be very careful and listen to the doctors and play with one band at a time, that’s very important. I can’t mix things but if you do a tour with Candlemass in Australia then we can play some shows with The Doomsday Kingdom and after that I’m sure we can do that next year. I can only hope that this year will be good so I won’t have any more with my health and then next year I can run a fucking marathon if I want. So it’s progressing, things are slowly coming more and more towards full speed ahead again [laughs] and hope I survive.
Andrew: [laughs] Well it’s good to see you back and making music again, a lot of fans definitely appreciate it. Congratulations on the new album, take care on the road and maybe someday we can see you in Australia. Thanks for the chat today, really appreciated.
Leif: Absolutely Andrew, thanks a lot for the interview. Take care and I hope to see you somewhere, someday in Australia!