Grand Illusion Interview June-22-2001.

Grand Illusion - The Book of How to make ItSwedish AOR gods Grand Illusion has released their first album.
But under the moniker Promotion they have released two albums before: The self titled album from 1997 and "Yeah Yeah" from 1998.
Now have changed the name and they have got themselves a deal with Escape Music and this new album called "The Book Of How To Make It" is much more straight ahead AOR and melodic that the prior recordings which had a large amount of Westcoast tune in them.
I talked to producer/bassist/guitarist and keyboard player Anders Rydholm to get the latest deails on this very fine outfit from Sweden called Grand Illusion.

The Interview:

Q: You have been around for many years already - and have made yourself pretty known in the Westcoast genre before as PROMOTION - can you tell me about the change in name and musical direction?

Grand Illusion - Swedish AOR A: We took the name PROMOTION when we started in 1986 and that name followed us over the years. When we decided in 1999 to return to AOR and our original style we had in 1986, a name change also seemed natural especially since we have had a lot of confusion about the band name PROMOTION.
We got a lot of good feedback from our two first albums but still some people didn't like the horns so we decided to get back to our roots and play tougher, heavier and skip the horns.

Q: You have a very significant, big sound on the new album how do you do that - it sounds very Scandinavian?

Promotion's second release A: The base is simple songs with the melody in focus and the sound is based on massive guitar overdubs and lots of background vocals.
We have two excellent singers, Peter Sundell and Per Svensson that sound brilliant together so we use a lot of background vocals to make it sound big.
On many songs there are as much as 40 - 50 voices in the choir parts. I have not used so many keyboards on any of our records so if it could be done with a guitar, that's the way, we do it.
I hate all this pads that's so typical in a lot of AOR songs.

Q: You have a deal now with Escape Music how did that came to pass?

A: We have looked for a record company since 1996 but it was not until may 2000 we got a positive response.
We sent six songs of our new material and Escape liked our new more AOR based sound and wanted to sign us.
For us it was a big step forward to get help with marketing and distribution. It's not easy to both write, record and sell your own music.

Q: Have you any plans after the release - like a tour or some concerts to keep the fire burning - in Sweden I know there are a couple of rock festivals?

A: There are no plans for any concerts at the moment. Right now we working with the recordings of our next album and that will be even heavier than "The Book Of How To Make It!" We hope that we someday will be able to do a tour but for the moment we are to unknown to draw any people to a concert with our name.

Q: The Westcoast genre, AOR and melodic rock has suffered from less attention the last 10 years, but I think I can sense a certain optimism nowadays with new record companies, lots of web-sites, and lots of discussion groups on the Internet - how do you see the genres? And do you think the Internet is the rescue to the genre?

Grand Illusion Grand Illusion - when they where known as Promotion

A: Internet is good for this kind of music. You learn about new acts and could keep track of your old favorites but still you need the old classic distribution to sell records.
It's hard to sell music through the Internet right now but that would probably be easier in the next years. The technology exists but people don't buy so much over the Net yet, I don't do it myself.

Q: In Denmark today it is very difficult to get records from especially narrow genres like AOR and Westcoast music in stores - and I dont think Escape Music has a Danish distribution. How do you see this fact in Sweden - a lot of new bands are coming from The Scandinavian countries - but I think Denmark is a bit behind Sweden here?

A: Even if Escape has distribution in Sweden (through Border) it's hard to buy our record in Sweden.
I have friends that orded our album two months ago and they still haven't received it so the distribution company's don't seem to be interested unless you sell at least 50 000 copies.
But it feels like this genre is coming back more and more and I hope that we could gain something of the return of the big bands: Journey, Bon Jovi etc..

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Ha det så bra!

© Steen Peitersen 1999-2001