Interview Roine Stolt (The Flower Kings)

"Fewer keyboards mean more guitar more bass guitar and more drums"

(July 2012, text by Martien Koolen, live picture by Henri Strik, edited by Peter Willemsen)

The Sum Of No Evil the penultimate album of The Flower Kings dates from 2007; in the meantime guitarist and singer Roine Stolt has been working with other musical projects like The Tangent, Agents of Mercy and of course Transatlantic. After five years we now can enjoy the new album Banks Of Eden (see review), an album dominated by Roine Stolt's guitar and progressive in the true sense of the word. The core of the band's line up remained the same with Hasse Fröberg (vocals, guitar), Tomas Bodin (keyboards) and Jonas Reingold (bass guitar). Only drummer Zoltan Csórsz has been replaced by Felix Lehrmann. I talked to Stolt on the birthday of his son.

Congratulations Roine with the birthday of your son!

Roine Stolt: “Thank you very much.”
Roine Stolt (Symforce 2007)

Let me start with a natural question. Why did it take five years for TFK to record the new album?

“Nicely put. Well, I think that it was necessary for us to pause for a while. Like many other bands we needed a period of silence, a moment to consider what we're doing. Why we're making music, for the money or what? What is our goal? Should we make a new album and should we go to the same places to play our songs, or are we stuck and in a rut? That kind of questions, you know. So, we needed this break, but we never had the intention to stop. A year and a half ago I was mixing a DVD with Jonas Reingold. Then we thought it was about time that we did something with The Flower Kings again. We had some fresh, interesting ideas and the inspiration came along without any problems at all, as we had been working with bands and projects all the time before. So, we started with the album and it was a real kick in the butt for us; we were more focused and the new songs in fact composed themselves.”

Could you please tell our readers something about the title of the new album?

“The title is meant to trigger the imagination of the listener. A bank could also be a monetary bank and as you know we have quite some problems with those banks lately. It could also mean the bank of a river, so it deals with nature and of course we all know the Garden of Eden from the Holy Bible. The title is used in a cinematic way, it's kind of poetry like a movie with words. It suggests a lot of things; so use your own thoughts and ideas as much as you like. It's all in the game.”

The Flower Kings (2012)

Your guitar riffs, hooks, melodies and solos dominate this album. Did you do that deliberately or is it sheer coincidence?

“It was done on purpose, all right, making the album more dynamic, more pure. You now hear all the instruments a lot better than on our previous albums as there was always that layer of keyboards dominated these albums. Now, you can hear Jonas Reingold playing the bass guitar since you hear fewer keyboards in the mix. So, obviously, fewer keyboards mean more guitar, more bass guitar and more drums! The wall of sound on our older albums was too much, it was too bombastic. Now this album has a rock edge and it's more emotional.”

Once again you have a new drummer in the band...

“Yes, indeed, it's kind of scary, isn't it? The Flower Kings always had good drummers and because they were so good they always went to other bands, ha ha! Well, Felix Lehrmann, is an all-round drummer and he's the perfect match for us as he can play jazz, rock, hip hop, metal, you name it...”

Could you please elaborate on the lyrics?

“The lyrics are of course rather personal, but they aren't about my family or my life. I observe our modern society and I write about that, I write about greed for example in the second song on the album called For The Love Of Gold. But I also write about the problems and the abuse in the Catholic Church in the song Pandemonium. The lyrics are rather dark on this album I must admit, but the world we are living in is only ruled by the economies of countries. It's all about money, or as I state in the opening track, it's all about Numbers. The world we live in is ruled by numbers and we trust these numbers. Just look at the world right now; it's really depressing but luckily I'm an optimistic person and I think that we can solve all of our problems. The world can and must change. We must spread the wealth and we must care about other people and not about money. I know this all sounds very hippie-like, but I'm really convinced that we must stop being so egoistic and selfish. We can be better people, so start with yourself. I know that some people think that I'm full of hippie shit, but I don't care about that.”

What about touring to promote the new album?

“We will start with a short one, just a couple of gigs in Sweden and one in Germany at the Night Of The Prog Festival. Then later on from September until November we will be playing in other countries in Europe and we'll do a gig in Israel for the very first time! Next year we will be going to Japan, Russia and the USA.”

What is your current favourite album that you listen to a lot?

“Well, normally I don't have much time to listen to albums, but if I have to choose I would say a live album featuring Alan Holdsworth, or the new album of Pat Metheny.”

What is your favourite album of all times?

“That's a most difficult question I mean, it's almost impossible to answer that one. I still love Shine On Brightly the second album of Procol Harum a lot, and I listened to the Yes album Tales From Topographic Oceans very, very often. I still like Joni Mitchell, especially her lyrics and Vangelis is always nice to listen to.”

Thanks for your time and see you on tour. Cheers.

“Thank you.”
Roine Stolt

More info about The Flower Kings on the Internet:
       Website The Flower Kings
       review album 'Banks Of Eden'
       review album 'Tour Kaputt'

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