Formed in Sweden in 2006, the mission of Grand Design is a simple one, to capture that big 80’s rock sound and songs…and that they certainly do! Having released their first album Time Elevation in 2009, they captured the melodic rock world by storm and capped it off with an appearance at the iconic Firefest Festival in the UK.
Now in 2011, the guys are back and on October 28th are set to release second album Idolizer which follows on straight from Time Elevation, except everything is BIGGER. Bigger songs and an even bigger sound…if that was possible!
We checked in with vocalist and producer Pelle Saether to give us more of an insight into the new album!
Hey Pelle, thanks for taking this time to do the interview! In a couple of weeks your new album Idolizer will be released to the world…. How do you personally think the new album compares musically to your debut?
My goal with the Idolizer was to create an album that would walk the same path soundwise and songwise but with a little difference in arrangements. I also tried to build an atmosphere in the songs. Some critics have told us the new album is slightly heavier – so maybe it is.
Having had the benefit of writing, recording, and producing your first album, in what ways do you think you were wiser as a band coming into this album?
Since we all in the band think we found a working formula for an 80’s rock production to work in the 21st century on the 1st album we didn’t need to change it. It was more around the 1st album that could have been done better – video release, gigs and tours. This time we have the benefit that a lot of rockers know who we are – we just need all rockers around the globe to discover us and that’s a task!!!
The production on Idolizer sounds massive, what did you do differently this time around in a production sense to try and improve on the first album?
I’m glad you noticed the differences in the production on Idolizer. We actually did a reverse way of recording – guitars first!!!! I programmed some drums then we recorded all layers of guitars, even solos. Then we added the real drums and that made us really making the drums fit the guitars.
Then vocals and choirs – a lot of choirs!!! Last we recorded the bass.
Did you feel any major pressure coming into the 2nd album like having to match the expectations that you no doubt will have had both from yourselves, but also the fans?
I told myself over and over to ignore all expectations. I got a lot of emails from fans asking about the new album, even some saying please don’t change anything. But of course I leaned over to the old songs sometimes to check out how we did it to get some inspiration.
How is the songwriting handled within the band, is that largely left to a couple of key players?
Well I write all songs and lyrics but we do the arrangements together. But some stuff changes during the recording process. Also the mix process is a kind of slaughter session – hehehe – I removed quite a lot of stuff to make the songs work.
As far as the songs that appear on Idolizer, did you write all these in specific sessions for this album, or were some of them tracks that didn’t make the first album?
All songs on Idolizer are written specific for this album, we did a cover also and it will be released as bonus or maybe as a Christmas gift J. I have a hard time to write like 20 songs and then choose 10 songs for a album, I write material enough for one album.
What influenced you lyrically when it came to writing for Idolizer, was there any specific themes you explored?
Every song on Idolizer has a story through the lyrics. My influences are all that happens around me, in my backyard or on the other side of the globe.
A specific song I can’t help but ask about is “OughtoGraugh” which is a unique play on words, what is that song all about?
OughtoGraugh is a fast pace rock song and is about total idolization, stalkerism (can u say that?) When you idolize someone so hard it tips over and it becomes a part of your life with your idol as a personal matter, it turns really scary. This is what OughtoGrauph is about.
I love knowing the reasons behind a bands decision for titling an album, so what was the background behind titling your album Idolizer?
From the beginning we had named the album Idolization, but it was too hard for us to pronounce so we simplified it to Idolizer. The meaning behind the title is about idolization, we have a lot of fans that idolize Grand Design, but………………Grand Design wouldn’t be anything without our fans so we really idolize them for idolize us.
You proudly wear your 80’s influences on your sleeves and play/write/record the style of music that you wish to play and in 2 albums you haven’t deviated from this. Does it annoy you when bands that adopt that kind of approach often get slammed for living in the past and not being “modern” sounding enough?
We are delivering what many rockers around the globe think is the sound and songs of classic rock. We get mails every day from new fans who thank the lord having found a band (Grand Design) that deliver this 80s sound. So anyone talking shit about a 80s rock inspired rock band should think twice, there are sooooooo many rockers out there who adore the 80s.
Now here’s a random question…Def Leppard are one of your strongest influences and I don’t understand how any Def Leppard fan could not enjoy the music of Grand Design. So in saying that, have you ever been specifically told by a fan of Def Leppard that they don’t like the music of Grand Design?
Well we are a typical love or hate band. On our 1st album we got a lot of 9/10 or 10/10 reviews- but also a couple of 4/20 or 1/7 reviews. Most of the Def Leppard fans think Grand Design delivers songs and a sound that Def Leppard sounded like in the 80s and they love it. But there are some who think we are interfering on holy ground – hehehe!
It’s been pretty much exactly 2 years since you released your debut album. Do you think the melodic rock scene has become stronger in those 2 years and that it’s a better time to be releasing an album in this genre?
I think it’s a strong uprise in the melodic rock scene and I’m soooo happy about it. New young bands deliver melodic rock in a great way, so I think it’s here to stay for a while.
Grand Design originate from Sweden, you have played Firefest in the UK last year and here you are doing an interview for an Australian website…are you aware of a growing international following for the band outside of just Europe?
I think we are pretty known in the melodic rock world and we are working our asses off to make more rockers discover Grand Design. So the fan base should grow after all work we put in it.
What touring plans do you have at this point for getting out and promoting the album?
We have more people helping us out this time, so hopefully we will visit some European countries next year. To play in the U.S, Japan & Australia would be a dream!!!!!
Sounds like: Melodic rock
Band members: Pelle – Vocals, Peter – Guitars, Dennis – Guitars, Anders – Bass, Richard – Drums
Latest release: Idolizer (October 28th, 2011 – AOR Heaven) (You can pre-order Idolizer through the Grand Design Facebook page, or by clicking below!