METAL PULP AND PAPER: Hello Linnéa, so glad to be catching up with you. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us here at Metal Pulp And Paper. We appreciate it.
LINNEA VIKSTROM: My pleasure!
MPAP: How are you? How are things going?
LINNEA: I'm ok! A lot spinning around in my head. Trying to get some kind of routine in my life.
MPAP: Is it a big deal that 2018 is coming to a close soon? Have you accomplished everything on your to-do list so far?
LINNEA: I don't think it's a big deal. You know, I could always have done more, but this year heavy touring has taken a toll on the mind, and my energy levels are way down but slowly coming back to some kind of ok level. My focus has lately been on my mental and physical health which unfortunately has made other endeavors being 2nd on my priority list. As I said, I'm coming back, and every day I'm feeling more and more ready to push down the gas pedal.
MPAP: We’re going to talk about your new musical endeavor here in a moment, but first let’s introduce you to everyone, alright? We are proud to have Linnéa Vikström here, which most of you might know her from the Swedish symphonic metal band called Therion. What is something else you want to say to everyone either about you or your new solo project that will grab everyone by their eardrums and have them wanting to check it out?
LINNEA: I have a lot of different musical experiences, and that really comes through in QFT's debut album! So, if you like diversity and a whole lot of feeling I think you should check it out!
MPAP: Now let’s talk about your new solo project, or I guess you could say your new band outside of Therion, called QFT, shall we?
LINNEA: Sure! I would say it's my solo band, haha!
MPAP: To put it in simple terms, your band QFT, short for Quantum Field Theory, is about the Big Bang, space travel, black holes, singularity, aliens, stars colliding and the inevitable end of the universe. Just that description alone can blow your mind, right? It is a fascinating subject, to say the least, isn’t it?
LINNEA: It is most definitely fascinating! That's why I wrote an entire album about it! Haha.
MPAP: To explain even further, Quantum Field Theory (QFT) is the mathematical and conceptual framework for contemporary elementary particle physics. In a rather simple sense, QFT is the extension of quantum mechanics (QM), dealing with particles, over to fields, i.e., systems with an infinite number of degrees of freedom. This subject is something usually most stay away from, but what got you this?
LINNEA: I got into it from the fantastic invention – the internet! I always almost had an aversion to anything that has to do with science and math, but brilliant educators on the web got me interested in it, and now I'm finally a person who has a deep fascination for these things. I could not go into perfect detail into any of these things because I'm not properly educated to do so, but there are people out there with super pedagogic powers who in an easy way can explain it to a layman such as myself using metaphors and animations to explain the mysteries of the universe!
MPAP: Was there a definitive style that you wanted QFT to be like and sound like with no exceptions? I am sure you didn’t want to do a Therion part 2 band correct?
LINNEA: On the contrary, I had no idea what it was gonna sound like when I started. I went into it having no end goal at all, musically. After this album, I know much more about who I am as a musician and songwriter, and I feel much more confident in my abilities. I've learned to trust my instinct despite what other people say.
MPAP: Is this a musical project that can change from day to day, from release to release, because all that was previously mentioned; black holes, stars colliding, and the universe is something that has never been the same. It’s constantly changing. And we are also discovering more and more with our growing technology?
LINNEA: I could change, absolutely. It's mine to do whatever I want with haha! With new scientific discoveries, it's even possible that future releases will include already visited subjects but including new facts. Science in itself is an infinite source of inspiration since there's so much to explore!
MPAP: Tell us what we can expect to hear when we listen to the Live In Space, your debut on Despotz Records?
LINNEA: You will hear a diverse set of tracks that are all bound together really well, in my humble opinion. You will get straightforward hard rock tunes, ambient spacey tracks and mighty power ballads all in one record. You will hear real people playing real instruments and a real human singing.
MPAP: What about some of the songs that can be found on it like "Big Bang," "Aliens," and "Light Speed"? What can we gather when we hear them?
LINNEA: Three quite different tunes, I guess "Big Bang," and "Aliens" are most alike in the way they sound. More melodic and regular in the way they're 'built.' That would include "Light Speed" as well I guess, but it's more aggressive and quite 'punk-rock' in the way it sounds.
MPAP: The opening track, "The End Of The Universe," was there a rhyme or reason for having a song that’s about the end at the beginning, and then having "Big Bang," that’s about the beginning the 2nd song?
LINNEA: Absolutely there's a reason for that. It's my wish for how the universe works! It’s most probably very very wrong, but a girl can wish! If you listen to the lyrics of "End Of The Universe," I think you'll get a lot of answers!
MPAP: Would you say there is a different vocal style between Therion and QFT?
LINNEA: In a way, yes. I have more and more land in the way I want to sing, and that has translated into Therion as well, but Therion requires me to do a lot mot classical singing!
MPAP: Omer Akay, who is the Despotz label head honcho, said this about QFT. "Imagine if Black Sabbath and Pagan’s Mind gave birth to a star child; thus, QFT is born. This is the mastermind of Linnéa Vikström.” Is that any pressure at all to stand up to the comparison of Black Sabbath and Pagan’s Mind? Do you feel you accomplished it on Live In Space?
LINNEA: I am a mastermind! I think it has equal parts straightforward rock as in Black Sabbath and a sprinkle of the Pagan’s Mind progginess, so yes! Maybe.
MPAP: Going back to the opening track for a moment, "The End Of The Universe," you can read about it everywhere, and of course google it and see the damages that humanity has done to our earth, especially over the last 100 years. Some say we are racing against time to save our planet; others are saying it’s too late. What do you honestly feel and believe? Do you think we are a doomed planet now?
LINNEA: I'm trying not to believe anything, I'm trying to get informed about what I can do. The information that I have gotten is that we’re pretty much fucked and there's no way to reverse the damage that we've already done. We can, however, reduce the damage by changing the way we all live. A difficult thing to do in today’s society, especially as a traveling musician where you make trips around the world regularly with long distance flights. I feel really sad about the fact that people seem to not give a shit about it and not at all change their lifestyle to be more environmentally friendly. I think everyone can do at least one thing. Take the bike or train instead of the car, be more conscious of the products that you eat, etc. etc. No one person can do everything, but everyone can do something. Step one should be – get informed.
MPAP: Recently you were quoted as saying, ‘I’m so tired of hearing good bands on the stereo, only to later realize that they aren’t that competent when I see them live. I think it’s more honest to record everything live – what you hear on the album is what you’ll also get on stage.” Have you, or do you expect to get a backlashing for saying something like this? I’m sure a lot of music producers out there would like to take you aside for a moment and fill your ear full of profanities, correct?
LINNEA: In a way, I disagree with myself on this quote. A lot of journalists has asked me about this quote, and I do think that there is a difference in an album and a live experience. With all the technology we have today it's possible to do a metal album without anyone ever touching an instrument, and I think that's sad and I think the trend will go in the direction of more live sounding recordings. However, just as with people, it's the flaws and faults of a person who gives them character, and I feel the same thing about music. When I see a band play or hear a record, I want to feel that there's a living human being performing it. And when that equation doesn't work, (album and live performance are vastly different) it makes me feel a little fooled, and I can no longer appreciate that album in the same way, if it makes sense? That quote would be me trying to make sense of about 1000 different thoughts regarding music in general, but I could write a whole book about that, haha.
MPAP: And is that the reason why you recorded Live In Space entirely live?
LINNEA: Yes! And as an experiment, and because it's more fun to sing with others rather than alone.
MPAP: One last question before we bring this interview to a close, what did you think about when the United States President announced in June of this year, that he wanted the Pentagon to create a 'space force' as a new, sixth military branch to oversee missions and operations in the space domain?
LINNEA: Like a military force? I'm all for space exploration, but isn't that why you have NASA? Why not give more funds to NASA rather than start a 'space force'? Sounds really cool though, 'space force.' Might steal it for the next release, haha! I'll have to read up on this more, don't have enough information to give a proper statement about it!
MPAP: On behalf of myself, and Metal Pulp And Paper, I’d like to thank you, Linnéa, for doing this interview. We look forward to what QFT does to finish out 2018 and beyond.
LINNEA: Thanks to you!
MPAP: Any last words for all the readers and your fans out there?
LINNEA: Have fun in this life, play music and laugh! I hope this album can give something special to your life as it has done to mine.
FIND/FOLLOW/LISTEN QFT HERE:
Linnéa Vikström / October 7th, 2018/ Interview #123