Hi Martina, the last time we spoke was in December of 2015 for the release of your second album ‘Unity’. What did that album do for you from a commercial perspective compared to you debut?
The day after the release we went on a North American tour and after that we went to Argentina and in both places we were able to attract lots of new fans. Later on we went on a European tour with The Whinery Dogs, so the ‘Unity’ album really created the possibility for us to do some extensive touring. Furthermore it provided us with a broader audience as many people really welcomed the album.
For this important third album you again worked very intensely with Jona Tee from H.E.A.T. Was this matter of never changing a winning team?
Since I really liked and enjoyed working with him on the ‘Unity’ album, I told him afterwards that he should be a producer but he was kind of reluctant to the idea. So when I was planning to do the third album I asked him again but he didn’t immediately want to do it because he had so many other things to do. But luckily for me eventually he accepted and that’s great because we work so good together when we write songs.
What was the game plan that you had in mind for this third album ‘We Will Align’? What did you want to change compared to ‘Unity’?
I wanted to use my experience on stage and the reaction from the audience on what kind of songs they really seem to like. So I told the band that I wanted so have the material for the new album to be more in the vein of the songs that we play at the end of our set, which were the more energetic and typical hard rock songs. So in my opinion the new album ‘We Will Align’ contains more hard rock oriented songs than those that were on the ‘Unity’ record.
When did you start with the actual preparations for ‘We Will Align’ and how did the planning of the process look like?
First I always start to write lyrics and melodies and I started with that about one year ago. During the autumn and winter period I connected with some people who wanted to co-write with me and the idea was to have a lot of songs that we could pick the best from. In March I met Jona to do some more song writing and we went into the studio late spring to start recording. The album was finished at the end of June or beginning of July timeframe.
What are the decision criteria that you use to choose these ten songs for the ‘We Will Align’ album?
It’s something that you discuss with the producer as you want to figure out which songs fit well together. So it wasn’t just picking the ten best songs, but also looking at the balance of the whole album. It’s always a difficult and time-consuming process to determine which songs you will use for the album.
What are you going to do with the songs that didn’t make it to the album?
We recorded twelve songs and one of the extra songs will be used as a bonus track for the Japanese release. We didn’t want to use the other song that we recorded for this release, so we will probably keep it for the next album.
Besides Jona also Erik Martensson, Jonas Hornqvist, Benny Jansson and Billy Sheehan were used as co-writers. Why was there an urge to use more song writers and how did you get these people interested in this?
On ‘Unity’ I already did a song with Erik, so I asked him if he wanted to do another one for this album and he was in for that. Jonas Hornqvist contacted me, introduced himself and asked if I wanted to listen to some songs that he wrote. I used some of the material that he wrote, put some melodies and lyrics on there and used them for my album. With Benny I’ve been working already for many years and I remembered a song from several years ago which we used. With Billy Sheehan it was quite funny, because I just took a chance and shot an e-mail to him asking if he was interested in co-writing with me and much to my surprise he said yes! So I went to Los Angeles and we wrote two or three songs together, of which one of them is on the album.
You start with the lyrics and the melodies, but what are some of the subjects that you try to cover in your lyrics? Where do you get your inspiration from?
I’m not really thinking about what I’m going to write, it just comes out of me. Mostly the lyrics are about things that I feel are important and what I always try to do is give hope to someone. I usually write about positive things as I’m not really the person to write about disasters and negative emotions.
As a first single the mighty ballad ‘Face The Mirror’ was released. Why did you choose for this particular song as the first single?
First of all I’m not the only one who makes that decision as it is really a team effort. We thought that a ballad could make a difference compared to the previous singles which were more up-tempo.
You also shot a video for this track. Who came up with the script for the video and what do you think about the actual end result?
We shot this video with the same person that did the ‘Come Alive’ video as well. I asked him if he could do a video that explained what I was singing about in the song and I really think that we have been capable of capturing the essence of the song.
How important is a video still nowadays as Youtube is about the only channel that is used to broadcast these? Are videos still worth the investment?
I think it still quite important to have a video, because people are exploring the internet to search for information about the artist and to get a picture on what an artist is all about they check out the videos first.
Are you going to shoot more videos from this album?
I don’t really know right now. Of course I would like to do more videos but of course it’s also depending on the commercial side of things.
The album will be released by AOR Heaven. How did you get connected to them and is it a one records deal or a multi-record deal?
I’m not too familiar with the business side of things, but AOR Heaven was very supportive to my music. That’s why we believed that the cooperation could work, but I don’t really know how the deal in itself looks like.
I know it’s always a difficult question, but if you had to pick one song from this album that would represent Martina Edoff best, which one would that be and why?
It’s indeed a very hard question to answer, but a very strong song for me is ‘Turn Our Pages’ as it has everything in it that I’m looking for in a great song.
With the high-quality level of your previous album people have quite high expectations for this third one. Did that put any extra pressure on you during the writing and/or recording sessions?
It always does, yes. However, the pressure comes mostly from me I guess as I really want to do something that people like and I always want to improve the music and the songs.
What are you own personal expectation from this album? When will it be a success for you?
Success for me will be when people start asking for me to come on tour and to play live. Then I will have reached out to people who want to listen to the music and as a result of that want to see us perform.
Last time you told me that a tour under your own name would be a dream come true. Do you feel that you are getting closer to this dream with the release of ‘We Will Align’?
I have no idea, but I hope it will. When you write music and when you sing the dream is to reach out to people and to play for as many people as possible. Hopefully ‘We Will Align’ will contribute in a very positive way in that.
What can we expect from you concerning the live promotion of this new album? Are there any concrete touring plans already and if so, how do these look like?
We’re going to England in October and in December we will be off to Germany. For next year I don’t really know yet as it depends on how people will react on this new album.
Besides touring, what other plans do you have for the next six to twelve months?
When you have been working on releasing an album for about a year, I think that I’m not going to write new music for quite a while now, so I’m just going to focus on touring and playing live as much as possible for the next coming period.
What is the ultimate ambition level that you have with your solo career?
It’s quite hard when you make music that’s not played on the mainstream radio stations. With this kind of music you really have to build up your fan-base gradually by making great albums and doing great shows. If I would play pop music, things would have been much easier because that’s the kind of music that is played on the radio. I’ll just take things one step at a time and see where that’ll bring me.
Okay Martina, I would like to thank you for your willingness to answer my questions. Is there anything that we didn’t cover that you want to express to our readers?
Please listen to the new album and give it a fair chance. Although much of your readers are true metal fans, just give the album a try as it’s heavier than anything we’ve done before.