Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Special Christmas surprise from Symphony Of Sweden

Even though Symphony Of Sweden’s latest song has just been released, that doesn’t stop them: the band has decided to treat their fans with a special Christmas present. However, this time it wasn’t Linus “Lee” Wester who hold the microphone, but the band’s keyboardist/producer, Pontus “Evan” Hagberg.

Evan’s statement:

“It all started when Lee and I were in the studio, playing some random YouTube videos for each other, and suddenly Lee showed me Tommy Johansson’s (Majestica, Sabaton) one-octave challenge version of “You Raise Me Up” where he sings well, pretty high… I found it really cool and said to Lee, I can sing that high as well easily, I added with a smile…
However, to be honest, it was not that easy but starting more like a joke we decided to go on and have me for the lead vocal on this particular track, and the timing was great as Lee is still recovering from some vocal issues he has had for the last couple of weeks. But needless to say, this is a one-time only thing that I am singing the lead. Then I will be happy doing backing vocals behind Lee again. So don’t worry, Lee will keep singing the lead on all forthcoming Symphony Of Sweden tracks. I promise!

Actually, ‘You Raise Me Up’ has a very interesting story that I have been mesmerized about over the years. The melody for the verses is identical to an Icelandic song called Söknuður even though the original Icelandic composer Jóhann Helgason got no credits for it. Also, a friend of mine Åsa Jinder did very beautiful Swedish lyrics to the song which has been released by several popular Swedish artists. So, ‘You Raise Me Up’ has been circulating around my mind for years!

I started recording the song with the vocals and I didn’t take it too seriously, however after listening to the vocal took the day after I thought, maybe this could be something. I sent an e-mail to Henrik Bodin-Sköld that eventually, he must help me add electric guitars to a cover song in the coming days if the vocals will sound good…

I listened to the vocals once again and decided I could do it better… So, I did it better and sent a version to Henrik with some instructions that I wanted him to go wild in the last choruses, with shredding and all kinds of metal power…

First I used pre-recorded drum loops but now that the arrangement turned out to be pretty serious I wanted to record our own drums of course. I wanted the fastest metal drummer in Sweden for the task but I had no idea who to call, so I asked Henrik, and he said to give Jon Skäre a call, he is really fast! Lo and behold, I already had Jon Skäre as a Facebook friend and I sent him the track and asked if he was about to visit my town in the near future to record the drums in my studio. He replied he could record it himself in Stockholm and also include a video take… Wow, what a service! So, being short of time if releasing it before Xmas, Jon Skäre should have all the credits for being super fast and helping us out with this unique cover!

Speaking of Christmas, yes this is a Xmas present to all our followers and fans! You raise us all up! Happy Christmas from Symphony Of Sweden!”