With their debut album „Armoured IV Pain“, ShadowQuest put a remarkable piece of melodic metal together. As of now there is only little known about the guys from Sweden, so that’s why we tried to draw as many basic pieces of information about the origin of the band from Ronny (drums) as possible. But we did not only want to get the facts on paper, no. At some point there are questions on the line which reveal a lot about the people behind ShadowQuest. When you can feel that a musician, in this case Ronny from ShadowQuest, is living his dream with his entire heart while the interview is being made, then you know, that this interview is worth every single word. Before this conversation took place a certain song ‘Live Again’ – and it’s video for the track - caught our attention in particular. In this interview Ronny is giving away what the song is actually about and why he is associating so much with this song.
Sandra:There are not many German interviews of you guys on the internet – we want to change that. So I want to start off asking some of the basic stuff: Who of you guys founded the band ShadowQuest?
Ronny: I mean it’s a new band but in one way it’s not a new band because Ragnar our guitarist was actual the original guitarist of my old band Saint Deamon. We actually composed to get him for three years when we did the first Saint Deamon album. And afterwards he had to quit because of his family situation and stuff like that. So that part never changed. We just continued to compose like we always did and also got Kaspar involved. That was before he was a father of three kids. He always wanted to play but before it wasn’t really possible since we played in Dionysus together. So I guess we three started everything but I think I asked Patrik who was on a show in my town… and this is at least three years ago… So in one way you can say that Ragnar and I started the band but the vision we had and who is going to play on it, that was planned from day one I would say. But it was more for the fun of it. It wasn’t planned as a serious thing. We planned who was going to play on the album but later on when everybody got together so well and we met, it just came natural to make a real band out of it. But from the beginning on it was only because we wanted to write songs and record a good Metal album. We longed for it and we missed it
Sandra: What are your guy’s future plans and targets?
Ronny: The closest goals now is that we rehearse a couple of times now… we are rehearsing for gigs in May and we are going to start on the Metallsvenskan festival with Motorhead and then we are also going to play in Gothenburg as a support for Blind Guardian for example. So this are our closest plans and then we have some club gigs which are going to be confirmed in a couple of days, so maybe some more festivals and then the plan is to do as many gigs as possible during this year and then start to record the next album early in 2016. We actually already composed the whole album for the second album. Everything is running really smooth with this band. I’ve been doing this since 1999, my first Sinergy album and I can honestly say I never worked with better people. I mean musically as well but first of all on the personal level. I mean everyone has kids and we’ve been around for a while so we know how we should treat each other and show each other respect. If there’s a gig somebody can’t do, we won’t walk over dead bodies just to have some fame. We want to earn some money from gigs but it’s never going to be like a full time job for us, it’s impossible. It’s really hard nowadays.
Sandra: So I guess ShadowQuest is not a temporary project, because you mentioned so many future plans?!
Ronny: Yeah of course that was never the plan, that it should just be a temporary job. Everyone felt this way. So even when Jari recorded the base, we finished it and then went to the pub and he said “Ronnie you need to go on fucking stage with this band, we need to play these songs, they are fantastic.” Yeah so everybody felt it from day one.
Sandra: Some of you are playing in famous bands such as Masterplan or Bloodbound. How do you manage to find the time for two bands when you want to commit your heart and soul to what you are doing?
Ronny: Maybe it’s easier because…. Maybe for example just to show how smooth things are running with all this members. I was actually asked to join Bloodbound on the tour. There is no competition or something like that. It’s just a matter of what kind of people you are and how you treat every special logistic moment and how you fix it. There are nice guys and everybody says for example if there’s a gig that Bloodbound was already booked for of course Patrik needs to take that gig. But of course we are not AC/DC, there are not that many dates that can be messed up. Since we also don’t really release our albums at the same time it’s not a big deal. Also ShadowQuest might do 10-15 gigs this year, so it’s not that many dates that can go wrong I guess.
Sandra: How often do you actually see each other to make music together or is a lot happening the digital way?
Ronny: The composing process was done by internet I would say. But after that… I mean we rehearsed as a band. For example next time we rehearse on Thursday. So it’s really a band it’s not just a project. We rehearse in my Studio, Studio Seven, where we also record the album. Four of the members are living just an hour from the studio, so it’s not that complicated for us to meet up.
Sandra: Do you guys mind that people find your band quite similar to other bands?
Ronny: Not at all, no. My goal as an artist is to make people feel the same way that I felt for the first time I listened to “Keeper of the Seven Keys” or “The Painkiller” or something like this. This is what I aim for, just for example yesterday a fan emailed us and wanted to have our logo because he wanted to make a tattoo and for me I don’t really care about sales numbers… I mean of course I want to sell CDs but for me it’s more important if you sell hundred records to people that really really love your music. I have so many emails from people that say that they use the songs to get over their girlfriend or whatever and this is really what I want. I want to touch people on a deeper level and. I don’t want to be too deep about it but I can even explain it for myself. If I have an album that can be like a hundred cups of coffee if I feel bad… to me music is so important. So doing the album was not something fun to do for me it was a matter of life and death almost because it was like therapy to me. At that time I was really on the lowest bottom of my whole life actually. I was totally drained of power and stressed and things happened with the health in my family and it was a lot of stuff to handle. I almost broke down, I actually went to the psychiatry emergency room and said that now I need help. I come to the point where I can’t do this anymore, I need help. I always got emails before from my fans before for example we had a song with Dionysos “Forever More” that people played on weddings or even on funerals or stuff like this. Now I am 40 years old and now is actually the first time I really understand what they meant when they emailed me this, because now I know how important music can be in a hard, difficult situation.
Sandra: Is there a song on the new album, that you like in particular and want to explain its content to the fans in more detail? Or is there a story, which developed while recording a certain song?
Ronny: Yeah, for example when we did the video for the song “Live Again”, we did it with a lot of humor and we did it yoga in it and we did kettlebell in it and boxing and stuff like this but underneath because music can have humour and it can still be good but it can also have deeper meaning but it if you look at the lyrics and stuff and what we did in the video and the deeper meaning is that actually this was the kind of things that made my life turn around. I had to struggle through life with depressions and stuff and so I had to boxing and I had to do yoga. Everything had to deal with getting a peace of mine. So this is why we did the video the way we did because those were actually the things that took me out of a really hard time and got me back on track. It was yoga, it was training and it was this music and this band.
Sandra: Is ShadowQuest currently your only project?
Ronny: Yes, I am a single father with three kids, I can’t start another project, then I would get a heart attack I guess (laughs). But I mean in one way I have a different project because I have my Studio Seven where we record the album and I was part of the new Anger album and the last Kreator album so I meet a lot of interesting and talented people in my work as a studio engineer and producer. So I am also involved in other projects but that is like a 9am-5pm work when the children are at school so that is actually what I make money from. But it’s also very inspiring in some ways. This has also a lot to do why the album sound is so good and why we got so good reviews because I work with a lot of nice people that really affect you in a good way.
Sandra: Okay, this actually leads me to my next question. Is there someone you would like to work with or produce his music?! Someone in specific?
Ronny: I always wanted to work with Halloween in some way. I would like to produce it and maybe mix it or something like this. I already worked with Uli Kusch and did four albums with him in my studio. As a producer I would definitely say Helloween or Yngwie Malmsteen.
Sandra: Why did you guys decide to launch your own label instead of joining a famous record label?
Ronny: It was like this actually. Before I was signed to Frontiers with Saint Deamon, I sent them the hardest song on the album, which was “All One” and they didn’t understand it. Honestly, I think our music was too heavy for their label. But they said that they loved the production and actually offered me a production job. Not that it was bad quality, they just didn’t understand it. Then we were in contact with some other labels as well, but we actually didn’t get any offers that we thought were good enough because I believed in this band. I think I can say it today that I was right, because if you look at the reviews and how many albums we sold today and the response we got, I believe I was right to believe in the band when the label didn’t. This is why we started our own label because we believed that it was such a good album and that if they don’t believe in us, we have to do it ourselves. We know that we have a good fucking product and that we worked our asses off. So we started our own Gerlock Label Records. I could write a book about it, you know the fun stuff about learning this side of music because I was always on the other side of the music as the artist, you know? Now I had the chance to learn the other side of it. So we have started to make deals now with the distribution. Japan sold out directly so you see that everything is running really smoothly. It was not planned because we really were not good business men when we started. We released one single on the first of October, one in November, and one in December. We waited until January 26th to release the album in Sweden, and now the worldwide release on the 20th of February. So we really had a chance to fix the mistakes we made for each single. That was probably the best thing that happened, that we released it over a long period of time.
Sandra: Well we can come to my last question that I have. Do the German fans get to see you live on stage this summer?
Ronny: Oh I hope so! There is nothing official that I can tell you yet, but I think that since the album was just released, I think it needs at least 1 or 2 months before a live performance. But since everything went so fucking good in Sweden and also in Japan, I find it very unrealistic that we wouldn’t get some festival or something at least in Germany.
Sandra: That’s it. Thanks a lot for the interview and we from metaltalks wish you all the best for your new Album!