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In Words: Soul Sign

- Björn Englen - Nov. 2011 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

Soul Sign
© Soul Sign

Björn Englen - November 12th 2011 (by email)

Soul Sign is another band which some might tag as super group.. Their album Life In The Dark was released awhile ago, time to learn more about Soul Sign! Thanks to Björn Englen for answering my questions.

First of all, please tell us about the beginning of Soul Sign!

The band was initially formed in 1995, right after I left Quiet Riot, by me and a good friend of mine and guitar player named Magnus Andersson. We wrote some really good songs together and performed around Southern California. Because of me and other band members staying busy working / touring as session players for various artists the band was put on hold for about 5 years until late 2006 when the current line-up was formed. This time were serious!

Was it easy to find the right guys for Soul Sign? And what do you think about being named a 'super group'?

It wasn't easy but none of them went through an official audition process. Most of them were natural choices for the band; people I had known or played with for years and had in mind for Soul Sign for awhile before they joined. Being called a super group is flattering, but it’s much more important to us that people like the songs and enjoy seeing us live.

Why the name Soul Sign?

It's mysterious and sounds good. When I named the band in 1996 there were very few bands named 'Soul'-something. Now there's tons of them unfortunately...

Do you write songs as a band? Or is there a main song writer?

I'm the main writer although I love to collaborate with other writers. I think writing with someone else can be very effective because you sort of act as each other's producer.

When did you start writing songs for Life In The Dark? Please tell us where you recorded the album, and how long did it take?

Some of the songs are from the late 90s but a lot of them were written between 2006 and 2009. All drum- and bass tracks were recorded live in two different locations (Glendale and West LA, CA). For various reasons I wanted to go back and re-track the bass, but because me and Mike (Taylor) played everything together it was, regardless of better tones etc, impossible to make it sound any better so I left all the bass tracks untouched. All the guitar tracks were recorded at my studio (Grand Mercy Studios) in Los Angeles and the vocals were done at Michael's (Olivieri) studio Olivejar Studios in Corona/Stanton, CA. Because of endless technical issues the whole recording process took almost 2 years. Lesson learned.

Life In The Dark... What does this title mean to you? Is there a story behind the title? And who was responsible for the cover artwork?

It's a reflection of my past living in depression and going through rough times, most of them being subconscious or suppressed feelings that weren't dealt with. Most of the lyrics are about Life In The Dark. (The next album certainly needs a brighter title refelecting better times, lol.) The cover photo was taken by Micke Persson, who's a good friend of mine and an amazing photographer. The artwork was developed by another great friend of mine Lars Fransen who did a fantastic job!

You did a video for Sign Of Your Soul, why this track? And why in black&white re using very few colors like the candles flame? Please tell us about the video shot!

I thought it was the best and most representative song at the time and that the story would make a great video. The editor and I decided that black & white would be the best approach. I think it turned out well. The shoot was done in 2 days. 1 day band and 1 day story. I think we did a good job with the resources that we had. When I found the location for the band shoot I was stoked. Thought it was perfect. The vibe there was very unique - very industrial and 'L.A.' at the same time, and very raw.

Which other song(s) would you like to visualize? Anything planned?

Remains a secret, lol, but there's a song on the album that most people seem to love...

The music you make is made for the stage, it's best live and I guess you want to hit the road... Anything on the way? Or do we have to wait for the next festival season?

The spring time of 2012 is possible for a European Tour. Nothing's been confirmed.

You are all involved in other bands / project, is it difficult to schedule activities for Soul Sign?

Yes, unfortunately, but I think it will be easier from now on.

Is it an advantage to work or have worked with some renown musicians? Or is it just rising expectations?

Both. Regardless of the band members' recognition the band's music and presentation has to speak for itself. That's something that we've definitely learned.

What's next on your schedule?

Rehearsals and some warm-up shows in the Los Angeles and Southern California area including a CD release show. We're looking at shooting another video for the album as well.

So, let's hope for a European tour and that they can soon hit stages around the world. And hopefully not too much time passes by til they offer a follow up of Life In The Dark!

Claudia Ehrhardt


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