During summer Cyhra started recording their new album, which is set for a spring release. Before their show at On The Rocks in Helsinki, we had the chance to catch up with the guys and talk about their upcoming release, and food.
Watch the interview here, or alternatively read the text below.
Thanks for taking the time for this interview. You guys had a show with Amorphis. How did it go?
Alex: It went great actually.
Jake E: Fantastic.
Alex: I think it was a good show. It was sold out.
Euge: It was completely sold out. 1700 people I think.
Jake E: Unfortunately, we can’t take credit for that, because it was an Amorphis show.
Euge: Maybe a little bit credit?
Alex: A little bit credit.
Euge: The Amorphis manager told me that in the first place around 1000 tickets were sold, then when we were announced, it became sold out in a few days. So, I guess we had a little something to do with it.
Jake E: I guess we had an impact. Thank you, Amorphis for bringing us along. We would love to do that again.
Alex: It was fun. It was a good show and it was just great to be back on stage.
Jake E: Yeah, absolutely.
Has it been a while since you have been on stage together?
Alex: We had shows in summer, like summer festival shows. But then we went off to record the new album. So it was the first show we played after the recording. Was it?
Euge: Yes, it was. We had a month and a half to two-month break.
Jake E: Yes, we did this Skögrojet show and then we went straight into the studio.
And you had a baby, right?
Jake E: Not me. My girlfriend [looks at camera] Hi! But I took part in the making of the baby yeah. (laughs)
So, how’s the baby doing now?
Jake E: He’s fantastic. She [Jake’s partner] just updated me about all the poops and the pukes. I feel really bad being away from her now that the kid is only two weeks old. But hopefully, he will not remember that. No, he’s great. He’s one of these kids… Well, I have two kids now, my firstborn she was screaming a lot when things didn’t go her way. This one is not, he doesn’t. So, it’s nice… (pauses) Oh wait, you were talking about the baby. I thought you were talking about KJ. (laughs)
Well, hey! I don’t know him that well. (laughs)
Jake E: KJ is our social media guy, by the way.
Euge. A jack of all trades. He’s a photographer, videographer, you name it.
Euge: You name it. He can do it all.
Alex: Hairdresser, barber, the list goes on and on.
Jake E: He’s actually a bartender.
Alex: And he’s actually a pretty decent chef, he cooked a couple of times.
Euge: Yeah! He actually cooked a lot of times when we were recording the album.
Jake E: But he sucks at slicing onions. Yeah, that’s actually true… Okay, continue…
So, how are you looking forward to the show tonight? It’s quite a contrast than the venue you were playing in yesterday since it’s way more intimate.
Jake E: Yeah, come on. As an artist you can’t judge the show by its size, every show is as important as the other.
Alex: And it’s our show, our headlining show tonight. Of course, we’re totally looking forward to it.
Euge: Sometimes the smaller shows can actually be really intimate in a good way, sometimes in a big festival the audience can be like 40 meters away. You’re isolated on the stage by your in-ears and stuff. In a smaller environment, you feel the crowd’s energy. If they are energetic.
I can take care of that!
Jake E: (laughs)
Alex: Sometimes smaller shows are also smaller.
Jake E: And intimate usually means something good.
So, do you prefer in a way kind of these intimate shows or?
Jake E: As Euge said, they’re good and great in two separate ways. Like, let’s say you’re playing at a big festival in front of 20,000 people, it’s massive in a way that when you ask the audience to scream it’s loud, and you see all those hands up in the air, you have the giant stage to play on. But then when you have the intimate shows, you can high five the audience and you can interact with them in a completely different way.
Alex: Of course, at a big festival, the people are not necessarily there for you. So, you might be playing to 30,000 or 50,000 people which is great, and of course, it’s great promotion for a band. But it’s not only your audience, and that’s the negative side to it. So I think my thing actually is the sold-out club shows, bigger clubs from a 1000 to 2000 people, with the audience close to the stage, that’s what I love most. You see the people, you get an immediate reaction, that’s probably my favorite kind of show.
Cause also you, as a drummer, must be really really far out on a festival stage, right?
Alex: Yeah, I’m always so far in the back, exactly. Sometimes I just have to… I don’t even see my band. I’m like where are they?
Jake E: (laughs)
So, the first album was mainly written by Jake and Jesper? How has this changed with the new material?
Jake E: It started off with me and Jesper sitting down and making the foundations of songs and then Euge came in and he had tons of song ideas and then we sent them over to Alex. We threw stuff back and forth, so it was a complete band effort this time. Everyone was involved in musical writing and in lyric writing actually.
Alex: It was very organic, cause a lot happened actually in the studio. Because this time the demos were rougher and less detailed than on the first one. On the first album, Jake and Jesper worked out a couple of songs to the detail already and then you don’t have much space anymore to do things, because you’re just used to what they sound like. This time it was very organic and it was really like a real collaboration in the studio, it was great.
Euge: Yeah and we actually wrote songs in the studio.
Jake E: Yeah, that we did!
Euge: It was really inspiring cause we were all there [Hansen Studios in Ribe, Denmark] at the same time. On the first album I recorded my guitars alone in my home studio but now we were all living together for 2-3 weeks. So it was really a lot of inspirational collaboration.
Jake E: I don’t get how we did it last time. So, first album Alex recorded the drums in Gothenburg together with the guitars. Then we switched studio for the bass to a completely different studio in Sweden. Then, I flew to New York to do the vocals and then Euge did his parts at his home studio and then we mixed the album in Denmark. So, it was like the biggest fucking puzzle last time. (laughs) This time we decided that we’re going all to one place.
So, you also have more control or like sight over the whole process then?
Jake E: Yeah.
Alex: Although, I don’t think the sound is that much of an issue. Because you have control over the sound and ultimately the person mixing it, in both cases Jacob Hansen, has a lot of control on the sound and we just say if we like it or we don’t like it. But it’s much more of a creative thing. It’s obviously more direct and organic if you can actually work together.
How has that changed your sound?
Jake E: Not really, the sound hasn’t changed at all. We found our sound with the first album, we knew already what we wanted to play and how we wanted to sound like. Of course, two albums will sound differently. But not to the content that they will be over here [points at two different places].
Alex: We have a band sound that is clearly from the same band. I do I have to say it has evolved, of course. It has changed and evolved. But it’s mostly Euge having a bigger part in the writing and the playing on the album. And having the mindset of having two guitarists on the album. So naturally, it’s more riff-oriented, more guitar-oriented than the first one. That’s probably the biggest difference. More is more.
Did one of you do the bass tracks on the album?
You’re still not planning to have a session bassist?
Jake E: No, since Peter left, and unfortunately he left because he did not have the time to do this, we decided it was better not to have Peter off and on; the fans would not know whether he’s going to be on a show or not etc., so he decided to step off. We decided that for now we’re gonna continue with Peter on bass but on the backing tracks.
Euge: That’s for this album cycle. We have discussed the possibility to bring in bass player in the future. But since this has worked so well, with these songs and with our chemistry, there hasn’t been a need for it now.
Jake E: Not to mention, we now fit into a regular car. (laughs)
Euge: Logistics also! So at least these shows that we’re gonna play like this on this first album’s cycle, we still have a couple of these Finnish shows and Swedish shows. When the new album comes out, let’s see what happens.
Alex: Let’s see what happens, yes. There has not been a decision made yet.
Euge: We haven’t really thought about it that much, because we have been just doing the shows, wrote the album, recorded the album and we didn’t want to bring anyone there, because we knew what we wanted with the bass. And although I played it, Jake made most of the arrangements and how we wanted it to be done so it could be basically any of us, but I just ended up playing the bass. It’s easier and consistent if one guy is doing it, although I was playing a lot what Jake had already written for the bass parts.
So, while you were at the studio you did some live streams as well.
Jake E: Yeah, we did a lot of live streams. And we had a lot of fun. It was KJ that was behind those things (laughs)…
Euge: KJ! Yes! Again! KJ. (laughs) KJ was responsible for the inserts and everything and he filmed and…
Jake E: It was a lot of fun. We are all gonna cut them together in one way or the other. But they’re still up on our Facebook page if you wanna see them.
Euge: And some of them are up on our YouTube page!
Jake E: Yeah, on our YouTube page as well.
Euge: I don’t know why they’re not all there. I dunno if there was some technical issue, but at least on Facebook if you scroll down the feed, they are still there.
Alex: And one of them was nominated for an Oscar.
Jake E: Absolutely!
Alex: It was the third or fourth.
Jake E: The Oscars are usually in February.
Alex: Best visual effects, again KJ.
In the live streams, I notice you include your fans also a lot, is there any other methods you use for that?
Jake E: Yeah, everyone that joins our fan club, you get free VIP treatment for a year and free meet and greets at least once during one year. Stuff like that. We try to interact with our fans as much as possible.
So what can we expect from the new album?
Jake E: New songs, new material for live shows.
Alex: Really? I thought they were the same songs again.
Jake E: Don’t tell them that! Come on. I told you to be quiet during interviews. (laughs) It will be a little bit more live-oriented. We figured out that a lot of the songs, some of the songs of the first album, didn’t end up being that much of a party. We can call them a little bit of party poopers actually because they’re great to listen to in general, but in a live situation some of them don’t necessarily work that well. You know, it’s hard because as with us, when you have this one album, you usually get like a couple of shows. And then, you release a couple of more albums and your career takes off, we were fortunate enough for our career to take off pretty fast. And, then we have to play the whole album, all the songs because we don’t have any other songs. But, now with the new album, there are some songs that are faster, harder and… Scooter.
Euge: And, I guess Alex said it before, a bit more guitar-oriented, riff-oriented, there are more of those twin guitar harmonized melodies and riffing on it than on the first album. But there’s still nice orchestrated stuff, so it’s an evolvement from the first album to…
Alex: And also, in many aspects, I think the drums are more diverse than on the first record. Just because on the first record, as a band, you kind of have to find your sound and you have to test the waters and see how far you can take things, what fits the band and I think all of us got an idea of how the band sounds when we started touring and playing more. And then you realize okay this is something I can do in this band and it works and naturally than on the second record you can go a little bit more for that.
When I talked to you last time, Euge, you said something about how Swedish metal is inspired by Abba. What do you guys think about that?
Jake E: I would say that it’s probably true. I mean Abba has been the catalyst for a lot of Swedish bands and musicians and Swedish music can be heard everywhere. You have bands like Abba, Roxette, Avicii, you know, you have like these giants in the music business and it has infected the metal business as well, I mean like all those chord progressions and the catchiness that Swedish music usually has, it has to come from somewhere and I think Abba is the reason, I don’t say that they should get all the credit, but it’s a big part of Swedish culture.
Alex: And of course, it goes on and on. Then you have somebody like whatever Max Martin who writes even American pop music.
Jake E: Exactly.
Alex: That’s why they have the Swedish influence in there as well. Max Martin, by the way, who should have his own Swedish signature burger from Max (laughs). I’m just saying that. That’s something we just discussed earlier this year.
Jake E: I don’t think that they have Max in Finland, though.
No, but I know about it. I have been there.
Jake E: See, that would have been a funny joke if this would have been a Swedish interview. (laughs)
Alex: Sorry Finland, Max is a burger chain in Sweden and they have excellent vegan and veggie burgers as well, which is a rare thing.
Jake E: I’m gonna send this interview to Max. (laughs)
Alex: Just saying. Alright.
What’s your favorite burger there?
Alex: They have a vegan pulled pork, which is actually amazing. Because I’m trying to live as a vegetarian for nine weeks now or so. I started throughout the last couple of years to look for things and we tried this at the airport at Stockholm I guess. It was fantastic. It’s great.
Jake E: I have been vegetarian for two years now.
Alex: So vegan pulled pork at Max. Amazing.
Euge: (confused) Vegan pork…
Alex: It sounds like it doesn’t make much sense, and maybe it doesn’t.
Jake E: It does.
Euge: I have to admit that I basically eat everything, but I have reduced my meat eating and some of the vegan dishes are really good.
Jake E: They’re fantastic.
Euge: Cause some people are asking when I order something vegan if I turned vegan, but I’m like no, I just like this dish. I don’t care if it’s made from you know pork or chicken or tofu. If it tastes good and does the job then I’ll eat it, so I don’t differentiate.
Jake E: And in the next episode of what do you eat, we’re gonna eat Kirk Hammett.
Alex: That’s amazing.
Well, those were the food questions then…
Alex: Oh god, you really had food questions?
Jake E: You had a food question?
Alex: Oh no, a whole page of questions! Gone!
Jake E: For real though, you had tons of food questions?
No, just one (laughs) gotta ask something less serious once in a while.
Alex: So what was your food question then?
Just what your favorite dish is.
Alex: No, no, no, no, no. That’s a whole different story.
Jake E: Yeah, I hate to do the dishes.
Alex: (pause) That was a good one. That was surprisingly good, man.
Jake E: (laughs)
Alex: So here’s the thing. As I said, maybe in a few years or months from now, I’ll manage, but so far the veggie thing for me it’s like 98% veggie, because the other 2% is when I go and have a spaghetti carbonara and there’s a little bit of ham in there, because I love spaghetti carbonara.
Jake E: Next time, I’m gonna make you a vegetarian version of that.
Alex: That’s really nice of you, but I doubt that you will make it as good as… An Italian grandmother.
Jake E: I’m gonna import a vegetarian Italian grandmother to make it for you.
Alex: But in general Italians have great food, also then for example bolognese you can have a fantastic veggie bolognese, with lentils or fake minced meat, whatever. I love sushi too, I could talk about food for hours.
Euge: (laughs) Now you opened a door.
Alex: I’m stopping now.
What about you guys?
Alex: Yes, favorite dish. I was just talking on and on forever.
Euge: I don’t know.
Alex: You don’t eat dishes.
Jake E: I actually hate food. But I’m starting to like cooking actually…
Euge: … Indian dishes!
Jake E: I hate Indian food!
Euge: Curries, vegetarian curries, chicken curries, and really spicy ones. That’s actually my favorite.
Alex: That’s also really good.
Euge: Cause really usually…
Jake E: Hey! I was talking. You, fuck off!
Euge: But I remembered, so I had to share it. You hate food, so that was the end of the discussion.
Jake E: No it was not, it was not!
Euge: But yeah, Indian and curries. And spicy. Because usually they make the curries too mild and you always need to ask to make it spicier.
Jake E: Make it like you mean it! (laughs)
Euge: Now we’re talking!
Jake E: Nonii.
Jake E: So what’s it called… Macaroni and cheese.
Euge: Well that’s good if you make it properly.
Jake E: It’s energetic, it has a lot of vitamins and…
Euge: Yeah, it’s really healthy.
Alex: Of course, sometimes the basic dishes are the best. It doesn’t have to be fancy.
Euge: Yeah, like Swedish köttbullar.
Alex: Mmm. I should not be advertising stuff… But…
Jake E: Hey Max, in Sweden.
Alex: But if you guys are interested. So, here’s the thing. I was in Dublin a couple of weeks ago, I went to a place called… I don’t remember. But it was so good. It was in the main street where also the Temple Bar is and everything and there’s an Italian place. Oh, it’s called La Gondola and they have the absolutely best spaghetti pomodoro I have ever had. I actually ask them to tell the cook because it was so good. I’ve been talking about it ever since, for weeks now, Dublin, La Gondola… It’s close to the…
Jake E: (laughs) It’s closed.
Alex: It’s close to the Temple Bar. Oh no, hopefully, it will never close.
The interview gets interrupted by the bands backline tech and monitor guy entering the backstage without realizing there is an ongoing interview. We then realize time has come to end our passionate discussion about food. So, time to wrap up the interview…
So guys, what are your future plans for let’s say the coming year? Do you already have a release date of the album?
Jake E: We don’t have a release date yet, but we are aiming for a spring release, probably Q1 or Q2, we don’t know yet.
Euge: We know when the album is ready and then the parts and then, but it’s hopefully scheduled spring, late spring.
Jake E: The first single is gonna see the light of the day in like February. Hopefully.
Alex: February or March.
Jake E: Hopefully, we’re gonna tour intensively for the rest of the year. That’s good. Until then, check our first album out if you haven’t already done that. And, if you’re in Sweden, go to Max.
Alex: And if you’re in Dublin, go to La Gondola.
Jake E: Yeah, but it’s closed.
Alex: No, no.
Jake E: So let’s sum up this interview. If you’re in India please ask them to not have it too soft, make the dishes as if they mean it.
Alex: Maybe just ask a local to order it for you.
Euge: Yeah cause last time, when I went there with my wife, you know they always on the maybe third of the fourth day, know you actually want it spicy. Because we were always asking to make it hotter.
Jake E: How the hell did this interview come to this. Hi, we’re a band, we’re gonna sell our music to you guys, but…
Euge: We’re advertising other restaurants… (laughs)
Alex: It just goes back to food. (laughs)
Jake E: That one time at Bandcamp, we ate bananas! (laughs)
Euge: Well, food is important. Without eating food we wouldn’t be able to make music.
Jake E: If there are any scientists out there that are inventing a pill that you could take so that you don’t have to eat food, sign me up. I would love that. And I would have more time to write music.
Alex: That’s sad. I’m just saying. But it’s okay. Some people just don’t want to have pleasure in life. (laughs)
Jake E: I don’t care what you think.
Alex: I wish you could eat…
Euge: Yeah… I wish that someone could eat in that way that you could become full without the actual action.
Alex: Well, that’s the next thing.
Euge: It’s too fucking sweaty.
Alex: I’m confused. Let’s get back to work. I need to write more music. Let’s go to Max, they will fix that.
Jake E: So, thank you very much for having us in this episode of what do you eat.
Euge: We’re Cyhra and kiitoksia Suomalaiset and…
Jake E: Suomi Finland Perkele
Alex: Töttörö töttörö töttörö.