Last October, Sweden’s Beyond Visions released their melodically gothic epic Catch 22 which is equal parts melodic metal and power metal but with one hell of a singer. Rebecka Heijel’s range is awe inspiring but with the backing of her bandmates this really is the total power package. The band lists influences as wide ranging as Opeth, Metallica, Slipknot and Dream Theater and with one cursory listen to Catch 22 all of these influences come through in grandiose style but with a powerful prose. We had the opportunity to ask the band our set of Profile questions so head inside to see what they had to say and SUPPORT!
How did you first get into playing music and have you achieved the level of success that you always hoped to achieve?
Alexander Berg (guitar): Personally I got in to music by being inspired by a friend at the age of 13 when he started playing guitar and taking lessons I wanted to do the same. Took lessons, started in bands and been doing it ever since. As for the level of success, I’m having a great time and music has given me so much personally so I cannot thank it enough for all it has done over the years in terms of stories, memories, music, experiences and meeting some amazing people. However one could always hope in declining sales and the ever changing music business, especially in such a sub-genre as we are within it’s a struggle financially that there will ever be enough money in return. Sounds cliché but support the bands you like, buy records, merchandise, listen to digital music on legit platforms and you will help support us in making more music.
Rebecka Heijel (vocals): I started to sing at a real early age. I think I was on stage for the first time when I was 2-3 years old. It was in church and as time went on I continued to sing in choirs but also as a soloist. I have the church to thank a lot because it raised me to be a singer and to perform and entertain. I’m happy to be where I am right now musically, however there are still dreams to fulfill…
Ludvig Garnâs (bass): I come from a really musical family so creating and playing music has been around me for my entire life. I was a bit of a “late bloomer” so to speak as I didn’t really start playing any instruments until I was like 15 or so. I was never of the idea that I just wanted to play music to get famous. I want to play music that I enjoy and that I would listen to myself, and then if people want to pay us money to do just that then who am I to refuse?
Erik Forsberg (drums): My interest in music began when I was in the second grade in my music class. My music teacher was going to introduce to the whole class the drums. He started to play a simple beat and at that moment I felt bpm running through me and I yelled “I WANT TO TRY IT!” When I sat down at the drums, I played at a higher level than my music teacher. I have played the drums ever since. I have come a long way in music but I can’t really say that I have achieved my goal in my music career.
What’s the most you have ever debased yourself to get your band onto a show, into a magazine or otherwise promoted, covered, debased and praised? If you don’t have a story please tell us any embarrassing story.
LG: when I auditioned for my first band that I didn’t even get into they told me they played heavily on live performances and jumping around and what not. This was a rockabilly/punk type band. And so I went there, nervous as hell, played my ASS off not really having the courage to really look up from my bass while jumping around. Turns out they filmed the thing to watch later. I’ve never looked dumber in my life then I did that afternoon…
What do you see as some of the great things happening in metal and what are some of the worst things happening inside the scene right now?
LG: The best thing in my opinion is that there is still so much great music being made, no matter what people are saying metal is NOT dead! And the worst part, in my opinion, is that a lot of bands are making some really TERRIBLE music, although that’s been the same for years though.
EF: I think that bands in the deathcore/metalcore scene are producing some awesome songs and records lately, like August Burns Red – Phantom Anthem, Wage War- Deadweight and Architects with the song Doomsday. And you can’t forget Butcher Babies new album “Lilith” that was released the same day as our album Catch 22.
It seems that now everyone has a passion for some cause and that those people are very open about displaying their passions. This is probably a very, very good (and progressive) thing socially. What are some of the most important issues (social/political/humorous/etc.) for you and how do you insert those issues into your music? (This question is especially appropriate for you since your music is quite an outlet for your physical and emotional pains).
RH: Our songs are about life. I write the lyrics and therefore it’s mostly about things that I’m going through, angry/happy/thinking/hearing about etc. The lyrics describe happiness, faith, sorrow, anger, fear. Good hate is one of the lyrics that’s closest to my heart. It’s about that some people think that it’s ok to hate because they hate for a good cause. This is something I’m really upset about because I think hate is hate, and there is nothing good about it. There is no good cause. Hate develops hate. And who can really decide what is wrong and what is right? Why can’t we just talk about things instead of hating each other.
EF: I think we have written our music so people can relate to the meaning of the songs and maybe have their own interpretation
What, or who, got you into metal and how old were you? How did your family take the news?
AB: It all started when I started playing guitar, learning how to play and then to know further about guitar playing, metal was the music having the coolest songs and riffs. It just came as a natural progression for me. I used to have System of a Down’s Toxicity album as a wakeup call every morning for a year. Playing the first song Prison on loud volume was a great wake up for me. Got me straight up on a good mood ready to rock the world but for family it was sheer panic and sounded like a war zone. I don’t know how many times my mother rushed in to my room yelling, TURN THAT MUSIC DOWN!!!! Great times!
RH: I’ve listened to all kinds of music, some metal included, throughout the years but it wasn’t until I started Beyond Visions, with our former guitarist Sauli that I ever got the idea of starting to sing it. During a jam session Sauli started to play some metal riffs and I loved it! I was mostly into pop/rock-music at the time and Beyond Visions was more like a grunge band but I tried to sing some of his songs that were a bit heavier and we both loved it! And from that moment Beyond Visions made a turn into a more metal sound and that’s also how my way into metal music started for real. My family is very diplomatic about it and says; “It’s not our kind of music but there is some good melodies that you have made. The most important thing is whatever makes you happy… “
LG: I think I was about 10 or something? I had been listening to mostly classic rock and blues and such because of my dad, and then my friend played me BYOB by System of a Down. I was blown away. Had never really heard anything like it and for me it was the best thing ever. Quickly discovered Slipknot and In Flames, all three of these bands are also my absolute favorite bands to this day.
EF: A year after I first got into music I began to listen to couple of bands from the big four, and those two bands were Metallica and Slayer. I think I was eight years old when I heard my first Metallica song “Master of Puppets.” But a band that has been my favorite band since I was like ten years old is Slipknot. Slipknot’s music made the person and the type of drummer I am today. My family has always supported my music taste, even IF they hated it. Today I listen to all kinds of metal and could name hundreds of bands I listen to.
What advice do you have for aspiring music critics and outlets out there? How can we all better serve the genre in the eyes of a hard-working musician?
AB: Keep sharing, writing about all types of metal bands. Tell those good and bad things and what you think about the music. The feedback and comments are invaluable and much appreciated. Sharing is caring!
LG: Look out for more of the smaller bands, there are a lot of us, but if you weed through some of the… not so great stuff, you can find some real awesome music.
What’s your goal? You guys thinking world domination? Maybe saving a continent? Maybe invading one? Any interest in starting a cult? Do you guys have day jobs or hobbies you want to share? Whatever it is, please let us know.
It would be great to reach people all over the world, cause our music deserved it!
LG: All I want to do really is to play my music and for people to hear it. I love playing bass and just fiddling around, maybe make new riffs, some weird dissonant stuff that makes you cringe and then feel bad when I lay off practice for a while. Spend a lot of my time just listening to music as well. Finding new music I haven’t heard before is the best!
EF: Our first goal is to come out and play shows, that’s one of the reasons we made the record.
When you’re not obsessing over your own material, what are some of your favorite albums to listen to currently? (Feel free to include non-metal)
RH: I think there are good songs in every genre and I guess I’ve been into most of them. Therefore I’m not so good in albums, I’m more into songs. But since I heard Sonata Arctica and Nightwish for the first time I really loved them. I also recommend Theocracy and the songs “I Am” and “The Master Storyteller.” I have always loved music from the 80s, especially Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan from that time. And I am really down with Eurovision Song contest – there you can find everything!
EF: I currently listen to albums such a, Deaweight – Wage War, Lifelines- I Prevail, Phantom Anthem- August Burns Red, Look at Yourself – Emmure, Lilith – Butcher Babies.
AB: I grew up with classic nu-metal acts such as Slipknot – Self Titled, System of a Down – Toxicity, Korn – Issues, Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory, love those. Got me in to heavier music such as Children of Bodom – Follow the Reaper, At the Gates – Slaughter of the Soul and lots of black metal like Dimmu Borgir – Death Cult Armageddon, Cradle of Filth, Borknagar, Behemoth, Emperor and Cannibal Corpse – The Tomb of the Mutilated. Fast forward 10 years and I got into odd acts such as Myrath – Tales of the Sand, Rammstein and some power metal, Kamelot – Karma & The Black Halo, Symphony X, Avantasia – The Metal Opera, Dream Evil – The Book of Heavy Metal, Helloween – Rabbits Don’t Come Easy, Nightwish with Tarja and Dream Theater. A couple years further, The Black Dahlia Murder, Parkway Drive, Scar Symmetry – Pitch Black Progress, Dark Tranquility, The Devil Wears Prada, August Burns Red, For Today, Fleshgod Apocalypse – Agony, Suicide Silence – The Black Crown, Protest the Hero – Fortress, Tesseract – One, Lamb of God – Ashes of the Wake, The Agonist – Lullabies for the Dormant Mind. Nowadays in to heavy acts such as Whitechapel, blessthefall some mid acts such as Love and Death – Between Here and Lost, Avatar – Torn Apart, and recently I heard some more soft acts like DON’T KNOW HOW THEY FOUND ME song Choke, amazing voice!, Paramore – After Laughter, her voice is like golden and such a great groove on that album!, Some Muse with guitar is never wrong. So much great music to name drop, I can go on forever!
LG: I listen to a lot of different music but a lot of it revolves around metal and punk/hardcore. Been listening to a lot of prog metal lately as well, Karnivool, Tool and Periphery are a few of my favorites right now.
Summarize your band in exactly one word. (Disclosure: If you include additional words, we will select our favorite for the final publication.)
AB: Struggle – both in life as reflected in lyrics but also in getting achievements.
Passion – love for music keeps us creating, support us help us create more music and let’s enjoy it, together!
LG: Loud! Everyone single one of us gives it all at rehearsals and playing live. Erik is hammering the drums so hard it looks like they’re going to break, myself and Alex slam our strings as hard we can and Rebecka sings her heart out! Bring hearing protection kids.
EF: Challenge – we have always taken hits when it feels good in the band and that makes it hard to move forward.
Many thanks to Beyond Visions for their time!