Interview – Christian Liljegren (Narnia) – Personally I think that we never have played and sang better
Jonny: Hello Christian.
First I would like to congratulate for the amazing reviews your new album “From Darkness to Light” have got. You seem really happy about it and you describe it as your best ever. What is the biggest difference between this album and your previous?
Christian: I am extremely proud over our backcatalogue but with “From Darkness to Light” we have developed our sound and become more seminal within our genre of melodic metal. We have more symphonic and progressive elements now where the keyboards and the guitars are in perfect balance with the melodies in focus. Personally I think that we never have played and sang better. It feels extremely good that after 24 years as a band we can still continue to develope.
Jonny: You wrote on your Facebook page that with this album you had made your biggest effort ever, what did you mean by that?
Christian: This is the first album under our own label, Narnia Songs, where entirely nine products are avaliable in form of CD’s, LP’s, streaming and digital downloading with different partners all over the world. Sound Pollution above all is handling all distribution in Europe and USA. We pay for most of the material like producing videos, studio mix and mastering, printing costs for CD’s, vinyl’s and merchandising and so on. The list can get very long. If you run a band like Narnia it requires a lot of resources and knowledge in many levels and we are happy that we in the band have most of the knowledge about what services to get to keep this ship rolling on.
For instace to print as many products on vinyl as we do is very expensive but it also very fun for us and the fans. The albums don’t sell itselfs though, it takes a lot of time of promoting. But above all, we have a vision and a mission with Narnia that with our heavenly dimension lyrics give the listeners strength. That is the driving force to keep Narnia going on.
Jonny: What is you favourite song on the album?
Christian: It is very hard to pick one single song since I really like them all but at the moment “I Will Follow”, “A Crack in the Sky” and “The War that Tore the Land” are my favourites. It’s a very varied album that gives the listeners something new every time you listen to it. I felt from the beginning when Grimmark presented me the songs that this was going to be a very strong album and now with all facts on hand it’s our best ever.
Jonny: Once again you will tour in South America and this time with Stryper. You must be really happy with the feedback over there. Is there any difference between the responce from the audience there if you compare with Sweden for instance?
Christian: Yes, they are more “direct”. It is fun to play in Sweden but the warmth and love we got from our south american fans is overwhelming. The knowledge that we will return there makes me warm and we will visit some new countries like Peru, Chile and Paraguay this time.
Jonny: is there any swedish gigs booked?
Christian: At the moment there is only one and that is the tourpremière in Kungsör which takes playes in August the 30th but there might be some more, we are in touch with other organisers.
Jonny: Iron Maiden plays some stuff from their “Blaze-era” sometimes. Do you have any plans to play something from “Course of a Generation” (where you have made some lyric contribution) where Germán Pascual sings on this tour?
Christian: We don’t want to reveal the setlist too much but there will be some exciting songs on this tour. We get a lot of requests from fans even from this album.
Jonny: When I saw you live in Metallsvenskan 2014 a friend of mine told me that you where the best band that day and he had never heard of you before! A lot of this depends on your energy on stage. Is this something that came naturally for you or do you got inspired by some artist?
Christian: I decided to become a singer at the age of 11 and I knew from the beginning how important it is to be able to communicate on stage and be one with the audience. I watched VHS-tapes with Joey Tempest (Europe), Brian Connolly (Sweet), Ronnie James Dio, Freddie Mercury (Queen) and Stryper and found out what it takes in that way. I want to deliver strong connection between the band and the audience. The people have been paying for expensive tickets so we in Narnia wants to deliver.
Jonny: During a time a lot of albums were released by you from a various amount of bands. If I got the facts right you got burned out. Have you now pulled down on the pace?
Christian: That is right. I have kept a rough tempo since my teenage years and you can’t keep too many balls in the air at the same time and that combined with a lot of stress at my work as a labor consultant. When that happened in 2017 I had to take a break and get some therapy help. It’s slowly getting better but I am a person who wants a lot and I have a great appetite for life.
Jonny: A while ago your other band “Audiovsion” released a video on Youtube namned “To Live For the king”. Is there any plans for a full album with them?
Christian: When it comes to my sideprojects there might be some recordings in the future. I don’t have the strength to be part of any more touring bands. I do some solo, duo and sometimes even trio concerts though. It takes a lot of energy, time and logistics to keep a touring band going but some recordings might definitely happen if everything falls in place for everybody’s family situation.
Jonny: As a music nerd you often invite people to buy their records to support the bands they like. Do you have any tips for new good albums?
Christian: Yes, it’s important to support the bands today since digital streaming brings low financial compensation.
Good albums from 2019 that I highly recommend is Gathering of Kings, Neal Morse – The Great Adventure, Neal Morse – Jesus Christ – The Exorcist, Cats in Space – Daytrip to Narnia, Prins Svart, Misth, Toby Hitchcock to mention a few.
Jonny: Finally, is there anything you want to add about your new album “From Darkness to Light”?
Christian: Support your bands and buy their records on CD or vinyl. This album is really something to give away to yourself or a friend no matter how you feel. It will give you strength while you listen to it. If you don’t buy a lot of albums today buy our new “From Darkness to Light” on CD or vinyl. I hope to meet you on a concert in the future.
Thank you for the support Jonny and I wish everyone of you who have read this interview all the best!
Long Live the King / Christian
Jonny: Thank you for the interview Christian!