2021 marked also the beginning of a brand new record label: Atomic Fire Records. While the label’s staff are certainly no strangers, some of the bands they have signed already still are. We thought we’d invite some of them to talk about their 2021 and how what we can expect from them in 2022. One of those acts is POWER PALADIN. We talked with keyboardist Bjarni Egill Ögmundsson and guitarist Ingi Þórisson about how the year has been for him.
What musical goals did you set for 2021? Did you achieve them?
Ingi: To get the final product of our album into our hands (it basically just needed to be mastered) and then release it onto Spotify. I guess we kinda surpassed that goal by a lot by signing to Atomic Fire! We also just wanted to play some gigs, managing to shove (in between COVID restrictions) one 50-person seated gig and a live tv gig, so we did alright considering the situation.
Bjarni E.: Finishing the album was kind of the only goal we had, so being signed to Atomic Fire kind of blew all other goals out of the water. Now suddenly, we are booked for multiple interviews per week and getting tens of thousands of views on the music we have released, so I think any goals we could have set would have been met easily by now.
Were you able to dedicate as much of 2021 to your project/band as you had hoped?
Ingi: Probably more than we expected! We would have loved to be able to play more concerts but in light of the situation, I think we did pretty well. A lot of 2021 has gone into practicing and then having gigs canceled, but also a lot of work in setting everything up for our album release in 2022!
Bjarni E.: Well everything is kind of weird at the moment so it’s hard to compare to what could have been. But considering the situation, we are probably doing okay. Iceland hasn’t had it as bad as many other countries so at least we managed to get some practices in. It’s definitely going to be a few more months until concert bookings are going to take off again so we are just going to have to wait it out like everyone else.
What were some of the highlights you realized in 2021?
Ingi: Playing at the Listeners’ Awards in Iceland (a massive TV broadcast) was a pretty big highlight and just a unique experience, but the definite winner is when we got in touch with Markus Wosgien and the Atomic Fire team! We would never have guessed a label would show us any interest, let alone one fronted by all these bigshots from the scene!
Bjarni E.: It’s been a surprisingly busy year considering most of the world has been on lockdown. The signing with Atomic Fire plays the biggest part in that and since the signing was announced it hasn’t gotten any less busy. Personally, I am just waiting until the album gets released so people can hear the rest of it. That is definitely going to be a highlight, it’s just going to be in 2022.
Is there anything you learned during 2021?
Ingi: Power metal isn’t dead! HELLOWEEN proved that with their self-titled release this year – mind-blowing music. Also, shooting music videos is a lot more fun and additionally, a lot more work than I thought. Let alone two videos in one day. Our cinematographer, Glen Mountford from TRUEView media, deserves a lot of praise for actually creating a full-blown video out of our bullshit ideas!
Bjarni E.: There is a lot more to signing a record deal than just playing shows. There are interviews to attend, videos to shoot, social media to manage many more things.
Have you (re-)discovered any new music during 2021?
Ingi: I really got into GALNERYUS again. Found out there’s a 16 minute and 49 second live YouTube video of them playing “Angel of Salvation” and I’ve watched that more times than I dare to mention. I also got really into some non-metal bands that I won’t name drop out of fear of being shunned by the rest of my bandmates (I’m just sayin’, Ariana Grande’s song “Into You” is basically a power metal song without the guitars).
Bjarni E.: I have been giving SYMPHONY X and KAMELOT a spin again lately. I have also been playing a lot of ANGRA and PAGAN’S MIND. I’m also guessing DREAM THEATER will pop up soon since it’s been a while.
What can we expect from you in 2022?
Ingi: You can expect us to release our album on the 7th of January and hopefully many, many gigs after that if the situation allows us to! If not then maybe we’ll just jump into writing new material. In any case, it should be safe to expect the unexpected.
Bjarni E.: Definitely but considering the pace everything is moving at right now it’s so hard to predict. The only sure thing is the release of the album apart from that I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.
Written by Laureline Tilkin