If we could ever try to discover all the musical talent that lies beyond our Colombian borders, our task would be endless. But in a first attempt we wanted to explore far beyond the Atlantic and this is how we had the opportunity to contact Francis Lecquian, vocals in SOMEWHERE BEYOND, which is precisely in line with our exploratory search. Heavy Metal is just a general description to their sound and we would definitely end up limiting the band´s sound at its core. While talking about their current EP "Continuum," which is already in spotify, we can listen to some Heavy songs but we can also come up with more progressive, atmospheric nuances, medium tempo ballad and finally a more Speed, Thrash sound. It is what they define as Full Metal, which means several Metal styles merged in the songs of the band.
After some talking, we can finally bring this interview to the Latin American readers of our site.
Hey there to all the guys in the band. First of all let´s talk about the composition process of this material?
The songs on the EP represent a wide span through the bands life.
The title track ‘Continuum’ is actually one of the oldest SOMEWHERE BEYOND songs and dates back to the early days of the band; the winter and spring of 2007. Both music and lyrics was written by Rune (Generally, so far all lyrics are written by Rune.)
Fun Fact #1: The song was recorded in a demo in 2009 (with growl vocals!) and only minor adjustments was made to the melodic harmony lines and guitar leads for the EP-sessions.
‘Death of A Clairvoyant’ was written a few years later – around 2010-11 - and is probably the song on the EP that represent the band the most. This was a song where Rune presented a partly finished song (up to the mid-section, to be precise) and where Kevin, who played guitar in the band at that time, jumped in on writing the midsection and ending section. Then it was more of a collective process arranging the song.
The last 3 songs on the EP, ‘Uprising’, ‘Cold’ and ‘Guardian Angel’, are all from around 2’nd half of 2014. At that point, the future of Somewhere Beyond was quite uncertain, once again being without a drummer.
Then Kevin took over the drums, leaving SOMEWHERE BEYOND a single guitar band for the first time in the bands history. Only one guitar and a “noob” drummer made the approach to writing songs a bit different. So these 3 songs is more the result of jamming in the rehearsal room, where Rune presented ideas, riffs or sections of a song and then either working with Kevin – now as a drummer – or the full band to arrange and complete the songs.
Fun Fact #2: ‘Cold’ is actually the first song where all band members contributed in the process of writing a song.
Much of what can be heard on the EP is also the result of ideas that came up during recording. Especially in vocal lines, backing vocals and guitar harmonies.
¿What about the production and mixing process of Continuum?
We booked Toproom Studio for the recordings, including a producer to help us out with the technical aspect of the process
The recording sessions took a lot longer than expected. We thought we were sufficiently prepared, but that just wasn't the case. Some things that we were used to doing live strangely enough just didn't work out in a recording and needed to be changed. Other times, we started adjusting melody lines, harmonies and vocals during recording and that stuff really makes hours fly! That being said, and in full retrospect, we can honestly say that every change and adjustment made was worth it!
Lesson learned: Next time we will make a demo first to set all these issues before going into the studio!
The process of post-recording production wasn't ideal. Without going into details, it is fair to say that what was initially agreed upon before starting in the studio, wasn't what really what we ended up with, and the result isn’t quite what we hoped for. That being said, our producer (Mathias Aaveren) was a real treat to work with. He has a good ear for music, is creative, technically skilled and – perhaps most important – patient. (Cheers, Mathias!)
Fun Fact#3: The hours spent working closely in a studio is inversely proportional to quality of the humor of those involved.
¿Who was on charge of all these duties?
Tough question. Rune is the founder of the band and has so far been the main songwriter. That might in some ways admit seniority in the band, depending the situation. However, SOMEWHERE BEYOND is very much a democracy. We believe that an issue settled by common agreement, or at least through a majority vote, is probably a better solution than if one member insist on a specific matter. Now, this doesn't mean that a band member is forced into doing something against his own will. We try to find a middle ground. But up to this point, our democracy haven’t really been tested on any big issues… ?
¿For how long did this process take place?
Recording took 3 weekends and an evening or two in addition. How many hours spent, we don´t know for sure. We had a fixed price agreement.
Mixing took longer than we expected. Partly because we had a lot of comments during the process but also because we felt the mix went into a different direction than what we initially imagined.
Focusing on SOMEWHERE BEYOND, let´s talk a little about the history of the band the guys in it.
Rune Arnesen (Guitar)
“I originate from the small island community of Bjarkøy in the northern region of Norway. I grew up listening to bands like METALLICA, JUDAS PRIEST, IRON MAIDEN, BLACK SABBATH, MEGADETH, etc. and I have played guitar “since forever”, but it wasn´t until attending college I actually regularly and seriously started playing in a band. First bands (“ICH HABE ANGST” and “EVIL”) were hard rock or heavy metal cover bands, but after moving to Oslo I joined the ranks of the melo-thrash band “ARCHON”. That was in 2004 but after about 3 years of constantly getting nowhere, the band was mothballed. That led to the initiation of SOMEWHERE BEYOND.
I’m still very much rooted in traditional heavy and thrash metal but now also with influences from progressive bands like MASTODON, DREAM THEATER, STEVEN WILSON and TOOL, extreme bands like SEPTICFLESH, CARACH ANGREN and IHSAHN/EMPEROR and many, many more.
I strive to write songs that are both appealing and challenging to the listener. By that, I mean there should be a certain “catchyness” to a song, but a song should also be musically interesting enough to make it last a while. Lyrics… some are fantasy based, some are metaphorical, some personal and some have a certain element of critique of the establishment and society we live in or deal with self-realization/enlightenment (in a non-religious way, if I may!). Some are a mix of all of the above. There are certainly reoccurring elements but there is no consistent concept even though some songs may have a thread that binds them together.”
Kevin Galåen (Drums)
Born in Harstad, Norway and moved to Oslo at the age of 4. in the early days, VAN HALEN and Yngwie Malmsteen was a great inspiration for me, but I didn't really start taking guitar practice seriously until the age of 14. Around that time ialso started listening to bands like DREAM THEATER, SYMPHONY X, MAYHEM, DIMMU BORGIR and other more extreme bands. One thing that always fascinated me about these bands was the drumming, even though I wasn't a drummer at the time. I started the extreme metal band "CREPERUM" with some friends in 2003, and was the lead guitarist and main songwriter there for over 10 years, but due to constant lineup problems the band is in hiatus these days. I started playing guitar in SOMEWHERE BEYOND in 2009, but due to constant line-up problems there as well I switched to playing drums in late summer 2014. It's been two years now and I'm starting to get to a point where I actually consider myself a drummer, not just a guitarist trying to survive behind the drum kit. I'm allergic to sameness, so I mostly check out anything that is a bit unusual and where you can hear that the musicians have put a lot of effort into the music - SEPTICFLESH and FLESHGOD APOCALYPSE are among my fairly recent discoveries that comes to mind. I'm constantly working and trying to make this mentality bleed into my music and playing as well.
Martin Sikstroem (Bass)
I was born at an early age in a small village in Sweden and joined my first band at an age of twelve. Some years later i was in a band first named “VALCYRIE” and later renamed to DEPICT PATHOS and we were world famous in all of Gothenburg. After i left they moved on as PATHOS and today some of them are part of the renowned folk-metal band “FEJD”.
Late 90’s i moved to Norway and in 2007 i joined SOMEWHERE BEYOND and the rest is, as we say, history. Various members have come and gone yet i have always decided to stay as SwB has the unique mixture i desire of the music i want to play.
As the bassplayer, my job is to fill the space between the drums and guitar and in SwB i am at freedom to do so in whatever manner i see fit, as long as it fits the structure and melodies of the song of course.
So in short - i just wanna play rock'n'roll and have fun while doing so!
Kristoffer Somby (Guitar)
"Kristoffer joined the ranks of SOMEWHERE BEYOND early 2016. He's been a friend of the band's for some time and has previously been in the black metal band "Creperum" with Kevin. Kristoffer is also a decent bass player."
Francis Lecquian (Voice)
I was born in Coya, a town in the commune of Machalí, near Rancagua, Chile. Musically I gave my first steps in a classic heavy metal band called "HIDDEN TRUTH" (1996) in Concepción. On my return to Rancagua my first band was called "APOCALIPSIA" (1998), we made a classic heavy rock and after that, i go to study Bachelor of Arts majoring in Music Theory at “Universidad de Chile”. In Santiago i participated almost in parallel of some bands with which i recorded an album with "BLACK MOUTON" progressive metal (2000), and some demos with the heavy rock band "DAMAM NEGRA" (2001) and the band of experimental metal " FUELA METAL JACKET "(2002). In my last year of college with my friend "Niño Pablo" (Grrero Arcaico) we create "EMBELECCOS" where i dared to compose my first songs, as in my previous bands just engaged me to write lyrics and sing the songs that others composed. This band would be the prelude of what later would lead to initiation with my solo band. But before that i had some steps with two bands from Rancagua; the heavy thrash band called "TRAINYELLS" (2005) and onother progressive metal called "XKIZOFRENIA" (2005). With these bands playing in parallel for two years while launching my solo career as "LECQUIAN" which officially began in 2004, publishing a "Promotional" EP (2005) and a LP "Rockerazo" (2007). With LECQUIAN I produced a serie of events and concerts in Rancagua and managed to play in Argentina. After that reaches local television and channel Sextavisión VTR, i host for 3 years a rock music program called "Rockadictos" which in 2009 was transformed and professionalized into "Rockerazos". In 2009, launch my first acoustic album entitled "Existencial" consisting of a disc with 9 songs recorded just with guitar and voice.
In 2010 somewhat overwhelmed and tired for being a kind of “the Rancagua’s Rock face” due to over-exposure on local TV, i decided to escape from Rancagua cause’ it was difficult to deal with some curious idiosyncrasies of people from my beloved city and i travel for the first time to Europe. After a difficult time to adjust in Norway, where i disappeared completely from the area of musical production until 2012, i auditioned for singer to SOMEWHERE BEYOND, because i was struck by the style of this band able to mix different genres of metal in their songs. With SwB, we recorded a demo of two songs that year with the songs "Evil Enigma" and "Somewhere Beyond", until 2015 we recorded our first professional production, the EP "Continuum".
In the summer of 2016 i take a tour by Chile with "LECQUIAN" and the friend band "Grrero Arcaico" and on my return to Norway with SwB we produced the 1st. "Rockerazos Festival" in Oslo. Besides, this year will be important for us, because we will get our first gig "somewhere beyond" Norway! ... Be alert! ... Keep firm in the underground and thanks to all those who are interested in what we do!
Now talking about the way the band works, Is SOMEWHERE BEYOND booked by a record label or it is self-produced?
The EP “Continuum” was produced by an independent way and for now we just have a digital distribution deal with “Indigoboom”.
Who was in charge of the cover artwork of Continuum?
The artwork was created by Sigbjørn Galåen (www.siggyart.com) a digital designer who also happens to be Kevins older brother. We had some thoughts and ideas as a starting point, but we left the main work and design to Sigbjørn. And yes, we’re very happy with the result! We feel it captures the essence of the title track ‘Continuum’ and also picks up a common theme that flows through a lot of the other songs.
In the future, the SwB-sigul on the EP-cover will be used as a band logo.
What are SOMEWHERE BEYOND social networking sites for our readers to visit?
Thank you guys for sharing your music. Wish you the best with the band and Festival Rockerazos.
Hummingbird Press would like to thank Francis Lecquian for making this interview possible.