Editor’s Note: It was a lovely chat with Niclas Engelin, the legendary guitarist of In Flames, who also has done music with Dromriket, Passenger and Engel and now We Sell The Dead. On February 21st, We Sell The Dead released their album entitled “Black Sleep” on February 21st via earMUSIC. The band has explained the following in regards to “Black Sleep”:
“The term “Black Sleep” of course, is a metaphor for death, “Eternal sleep” is a somewhat more frequently used term, but we wanted an expression that sounded both sinister and soft at the same time. Because it is a quite beautiful thing, this short life of ours. Blink and it’s over. And, most importantly, death is not the enemy. Indifference and life without meaning are. We are all going to die, eventually, all of us, sometime sooner or later. Life isn’t about sitting and waiting for that to happen. Life is about taking what you’ve got and squeezing the most out of it”.
In this interview with Madness To Creation, Niclas Engelin of We Sell The Dead discusses mental health awareness, the writing process of the album and so much more. Fans can find We Sell The Dead at the following locations:
Madness To Creation: Hi Niclas, thanks for talking with me today, how are you doing?
Niclas: I’m fine, how are you doing?
Madness To Creation: “Black Sleep” was released February 21st via earMUSIC. How was the writing process different for you in We Sell The Dead as opposed to In Flames?
Niclas: The big difference from the first album to this second album is the first album was more of a project, a different project because I was writing music to an animated movie, it was based upon Jack The Ripper, where the moved the whole story to Gothenburg around that same time, I was writing music to movie features, which is a little bit different from what I’m used to. As soon as we released the first album, we did a couple of radio acoustic sessions, we formed this hard rock band, so I started to write the second album quite sooner after the first album was released, this one differs in a way that we are a full time rock band this time around, and we wrote the music together, I wrote the other songs in the studio with the other guys and Sam put the magic on top of all of this.
Madness To Creation: Let’s go through each band member and tell me one positive attribute that they bring to We Sell The Dead.
Niclas: The cool thing about this band is that we are having a lot of fun, and we have the same visions, we share the same goal, which is really important, and we are just music lovers, we just love music, especially hard rock and heavy metal, especially the early 80’s stuff, which you can hear on the album “Black Sleep”, for me I would say arranging the music, and Jonas would be for writing the lyrics and song melodies, Apollo brings the magic through the whole thing, and then we have the Pro Create Studios, where we just work from there, everyone just has their roles that they play in the band and then we have Petter who plays all of the keyboards, we don’t interfere with each other’s work because we just trust each other, I just put down my guitars and it’s just a really smooth recording at work.
Madness To Creation: I dig the vibe behind “Across The Water” and the video, can you take us into the song and what can people can get out of it? Also describe We Sell The Dead using a movie title.
Niclas: The theme for “Black Sleep” works pretty good together, I don’t know if I can put a movie title there, it’s not that commercial, there’s even some black metal elements to it. As a vibe for the “Across The Water” song, it’s a classic hard rock, it’s a celebration of hard rock!
Madness To Creation: You brought up vibes earlier from the early 80’s heavy metal era, can you give me your three favorite metal bands from that era?
Niclas: Definitely Rainbow, Rainbow Rising, Black Sabbath “Heaven and Hell”, Nazareth “Hair of the Dog”, they can’t be denied, and the list goes on.
Madness To Creation: If you could tour with any band, who would you pick?
Niclas: We’d love to tour with Deep Purple.
Madness To Creation: What’s your favorite Deep Purple song?
Niclas: We play a lot from “Stormbringer”!
Madness To Creation: Do you have big plans in support of this album?
Niclas: Yes, we played some shows in Germany over the Christmas holidays, we had a listening party, we played some shows in Sweden, we were going to start a European tour, and we will take it from there.
(Editor’s Note: At the time they had a spring tour, but due to the COVID-19, that tour was postponed)
Madness To Creation: What is one reason why people should see We Sell The Dead in concert, and what is a pre-show ritual that you do?
Niclas: People can expect good hard rock, there’s no fuss, and you can tell that we are having fun, and you want to be a part of it in the audience. We have a ritual from a old Swedish wrestler, he had a thing which is a really nerdy thing where he yelled “Let’s Do This”, and we just go for it!
Madness To Creation: We focus on mental health awareness at Madness To Creation, we believe in normalizing mental health conversations with one another, what is some advice do you have for our readers and what are some things that you do to help you get through when times get tough?
Niclas: Rely on friends and family, I gather strength, love is important, it is important to feel love and to give love.
Madness To Creation: What else would you like to add?
Niclas: This was a really good interview with good questions. Our album “Black Sleep” needs to be listened to and it needs to be heard, we love the new album, I hope that people listen to it and get it, we are really proud of the album, just to get the recognition that it deserves.
And there you have it! On Saturday, May 9th, We Sell The Dead will be performing at West Coast Rock Festival in Kungalv, Sweden. For tickets and further information on the gig, click here.
Fans can also check out the music video for “Carved In Stone” below: