My love for Imminence’s new album is not a secret. For me, ‘This is Goodbye’ is the strongest album this year has offered so far and I’ve had it on repeat since its release. I spoke with singer Eddie Berg and guitarist Harald Barrett about their album, their change in direction and how the band got together.
Where did the band name Imminence originally come from?
H: We were looking for a band name that felt iconic and effective on the first look at it, and “Imminence” (being a one-word-band-name) came up as a suggestion. Giving some more thought on the actual meaning of the word itself, it felt even more suitable and we’ve felt closely connected to it ever since.
How did you all get together in the beginning?
H: Me and Eddie went to high school together and have been sort of an unbreakable duo throughout different garage bands since we were 14 years old. Since the band’s first line up back in 2010, we went through different drummers and bass players and eventually found Peter and Max. Originally, Imminence always had two guitarists, but we’ve decided to carry on as a quartet since about 6 months ago.
What inspired you, personally, to become a musician?
H: I know for a fact that we’ve always loved music and have very different musical backgrounds. What inspired any of us to pick up an instrument was probably the same thing that inspires anyone else, but to make the deliberate choice of becoming (or aspiring to become) a professional musician was something that came with time. There was always a will to work full time with the biggest passion in our lives, but to actually dare visualizing ourselves in this position was something else. With Imminence, we have really proven to ourselves what we want to do with our lives.
E: I started playing violin when I was 5 years old, but when I was in high school a couple of friends started playing in the garage, playing covers for the fun of it. I think it was the bands at that time that inspired me to start a band. It was bands like ‘In Flame’ and ‘Linkin Park’.
Was that always what you wanted to do?
E: I changed my plans a couple of times. At one point I wanted to become a chef, so I was learning to become a chef. Now I am actually an educated chef. I also wanted to study classical music, but at the same time, we started taking Imminence more seriously, so I had to make a decision of what I wanted to go for.
Do you direct the music videos? Is that another thing you like to get involved in?
E: The music videos are completely my own production, I direct, I do the pre-work, the post- work, everything around it.
Do you feel like this can help with the authenticity of the video?
E: I like to work with other people, so I am not afraid to do that in the future. But yeah of course, it is good to have creative control over the video to match the song.
What song would you recommend to someone who hasn’t heard you before?
E: That depends on who’s listening. I would say maybe ‘This is Goodbye’ because it pretty much sums up our sound in a good way.
H: I would personally recommend the title track of our new album ”This Is Goodbye”. I think that the song sums up our current sound and message in a pretty effective way.
Your new album ‘This Is Goodbye’ is brilliant – one of my favourite records of all time. But there has been a change in sound from your older material, what motivated this and was it a conscious decision?
H: Thanks a lot, I’m really glad you liked it! I can see why people react over the change of sound, even though it wasn’t really a deliberate choice for us. We spent about two years writing this album and practically scrapped 2-3 albums worth of material during this process. We were trying out many different directions in the pursuit of the new sound and wouldn’t settle until we found what we were looking for (without actually knowing what that was in the first place!). The sound progression was a rather natural process after all, but without hearing all the changes along the way, I could understand why it appears to be a sudden change of direction!
E: We knew we wanted to do something different. We worked a long time to just do that, we think it was a natural progression. We never wanted to set any boundaries for ourselves on this album.
It is fairly unusual to have the acoustic version released on the album instead of separately. Why did you decide to have those as part of the original album?
H: Acoustic music was a very important part in the history of Imminence, most obvious in the release of ”A Mark On My Soul”. We love to interpret our own material in a completely different way and wanted to try out the same with the new album. I think that making acoustic versions was also a nice contrast to the way we were working with the original versions of the songs and was the perfect way to finish off the very long writing process.
E: For us they were the bonus tracks. We think that it is quite common to find on an album. Both us and the label wanted to have extra tracks on the CD, so that’s why we chose to have them. Actually, the label wanted us to put ‘The Sickness’ and ‘Can We Give It All’ as bonus tracks, but we were strongly against that because they were not really part of our new sound or what we think is representing us now, so our suggestion was to make acoustic versions and we feel that fans appreciated that too.
A lot of your songs deal with a lot serious themes, they’re very honest. Do you ever find that hard to perform it and put it out to the world?
E: I think in the process of writing and then of course, you’re getting over it a bit when you’re getting it out to the people because by that point you’ve heard it a hundred times and played it so often that it is hard to get into the same feeling you had when you write it. What I think is amazing is when you play it live and you see people connect to the songs and it can stir up emotions – it’s a powerful thing.
When writing songs, what do you find is the most important part, the easiest part to write and the hardest part to write?
E: I think there is not really an example of that because every song is different. It’s just, for us and our writing process, some songs have been super easy to write. Some songs we’ve had to work with for a very long time. We had 30 drafts and then we were still changing it when we were in the studio recording it.
H: It’s quite hard to tell what exactly makes a song work, but I don’t think it has to come down to a specific part such as chorus, intro, C-part etc. As long as there’s something in the song that catches your attention for whatever reason it will work. For us, song writing is about making the difficult part easy. In order to find “that” in a song (a nice hook, catchy chorus etc) you have to build the song around the strong elements you find in the writing process and daring to just have some fun with it. We’re always trying to find the right vibe from the material we’re coming up with and using that as a starting point for how the song should turn out.
What is your goal, like what would you like to achieve through music?
E: My dream is to live my life as a musician because I love everything that revolves around it, I love playing music, I love writing music, I love taking it out onto a stage in front of a live audience, connecting to people, seeing places in the world. It would just help a lot if we could survive solely on music of course.
H: The most important thing for us has always been to reach out to people. Connecting with someone around the world with something that we’ve created with our deepest honesty and passion is really what it’s about for us, and through that, anything is possible.
In terms of musicians that influence you and you admire, do you think there is anyone that has influenced your sound and how you’ve grown as a musician?
E: Uhhh, obviously some of my biggest inspirations were ‘Linkin Park’, Hybrid Theory was one of the first albums I bought with my own money as a kid. Chester from Linkin Park and Mike Shinoda were big reasons why I wanted to start singing in the first place. Other than that, I get inspiration to a lot of different artists. I enjoy listening to a lot of different genres and different types of music to try and get a little bit of inspiration from here and there. Another big inspiration for me is Ed Sheeran I would say.
H: We really have so many influences from all sorts of genres, but I would say that Imminence as a band were quite strongly influenced by Linkin Park, 30 Seconds To Mars, Bring Me The Horizon, twenty one pilots etc.
In terms of a dream collaboration, if you could work with anyone, maybe even to write a song or produce a song or to like sing a long side. Is there anyone you would really like to collaborate with?
H: Being a big influence on the band and simply a monstrous song writer, we’d love to do some writing with Ed Sheeran! The result would probably turn out to be something completely new and unexpected.
E: I think that would be Ed Sheeran
My mum makes me ask this in every interview, she wants to know what is your favourite app on your phone?
E: Oooo, good question. I think, well, I use VSCO, it is a really good app for editing pictures.
H: Wow, we have tons of apps but I don’t think we could live without; Spotify, Facebook/Messenger, Instagram and Twitter.
Can we expect to see you playing shows in the UK anytime soon?
H: Currently, nothing is really planned, but we’d love to come back to UK as soon as possible!
Do you have any pre-show rituals?
H: We all have our individual warm-up routines, but we’re always making sure to assemble a ”power circle”. Basically, we gather the band in a circle for a minute or two, checking up on everyone’s focus and just make sure that we’re feeling fine before its show time.
So, when you are buying music, how do you tend to do it? CD, vinyl, digital?
E: I am a streamer, definitely.
H: We all love vinyl’s, but CD’s are probably the most convenient alternative. This way, we always have something to listen to in the tour van!
As a band, you are all very active on social media, do you think that is important in your journey as a band?
E: Yeah, well for us, we think it is important for us to be present on as many places as possible and to show the fans that we really appreciate if someone is shouting us out or writing about us or anything.
H: It’s very important for us. We have to interact with the people that makes us who we are, and we love to talk with fans either on shows or on social medias. It’s a way for us to be a bit more personal and show another side of ourselves than just band members.
What would you say is the hardest song to play live, it could be a song that is hard to hit the notes or it could be hard for the lyrics, which would you say?
H: I think we’re pretty serious when it comes to practising and rehearsing, so nowadays we feel quite comfortable with playing our material live!
E: Right now, we haven’t played the whole album yet, but from the ones we have played so far, for me, ‘Cold As Stone’ is the hardest because it is really really high.
What would you say is your earliest musical memory?
H: Probably the fascination of how Michael Jackson could seem to walk frontwards while moving backwards by his moon walk! I was actually a huge fan when I was 6-7 years old.
E: My dad really liked rock ‘n’ roll and heavy metal, so I grew up on that. I have some memories of me rocking out in the house. Like listening to Kiss’ albums in my dad’s stereo with the headphones and blasting ‘Hooked on a Feeling’.
What would you say is your fondest musical memory?
E: That’s a really tough question. It’s hard to say just one specific moment. Obviously there has been a lot of great stuff happening. I met my girlfriend, or my to be girlfriend, in tour last year, so obviously that is a really fond moment. It’s not a specific memory, but when you’re on the stage and you have a real connection to the crowd and it’s just indescribable sort of energy and adrenaline going on and when we visited the headquarters of our label for the first time in 2015 was also a really really kind of special moment when you felt like ‘wow we’ve finally made it somewhere with this band’. We were all growing up on bands coming from that label when we were kids, so everyone knew about the label, so it was sort of a recognition for how far we came in our career.
H: Wow, there are so many, but I think hearing In Flame’s ”Reroute To Remain” for the first time. The 15-year old me thought my earphones would explode from the width of their sound and opened up a whole new world of music for me!
What is your favourite type of desert?
E: I love cheesecake!
What would be your dream tour, like who would you want to play alongside?
E: Well, I would have to pick bands that fit even a little bit of our music. I would love to tour with ‘Linkin Park’, ‘30 Seconds To Mars’ and ‘In Flames’ all in the same times that would be awesome!
H: We would absolutely love to go on tour with some of our big influences, such as Linkin Park, 30 Seconds To Mars or Bring Me The Horizon. However, an acoustic tour with Ed Sheeran would also be a true dream scenario!
What would be a dream location, like where would be the venue where you’d think ‘we’ve made it’?
E: Of course Wembley is one of those places. If you got to play that it is one of those place where you think ‘wow we did it’.
H: Well, playing at a sold out Wembley arena would truly be one of our dreams!
Do you have an ideal place you would like to be in 5 years time?
H: We just want to keep on going with our music and are not setting out any specific scenarios for ourselves. We’ll keep doing what we love and are looking forward to the future!
E: What is important to us is getting greater achievements for Imminence and we will be working hard still and do everything we can to make this dream a reality.
What would your advice be to any aspiring musicians, what would you encourage them to do, like how to approach the music industry?
E: My advice would be to be ready to really invest. Invest time, invest money, invest your life. Just be ready to sacrifice things and give it everything you’ve got because you can’t do it half-hearted.
H: Believe in yourself, but don’t be afraid to try something new. Everyone grows and changes as individuals, and you never know what the right path is for you. Find out what really works for you and dare to give it more than you could ever have imagined.
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