Swedish Progressive Rock supergroup, The Night Flight Orchestra, are back and have taken their time to deliver the greatest work of musical art that they have yet to put together. The Nuclear Blast Records family members are on the brink of the release of their third studio album, ‘Amber Galactic’, and gearing up to hit the road in the Fall in support of the record. I caught up with vocalist, Bjorn Strid, to discuss bringing ‘Amber Galactic’ to life, his journey in the music industry, tattoos and more.
First and foremost, introduce yourself to our readers. Who is The Night Flight Orchestra?
We are a band that’s on an important mission of providing a soundtrack to being in motion. I guess you could call us a classic rock band, we’re very much capturing the era of 77’ to 83’ but believe we have a very personal take on it. Most retro rock bands get inspired by early 70’s, but we prefer the latter and believe that it’s a way of composing and producing songs that have been lost for a very long time. The band and the whole concept was formed while being in motion and also the band name.
Congrats on the upcoming release of 'Amber Galactic'. Tell us about the creative and recording process this time around.
Thank you! It’s been a very creative two years and we were really excited about following up our previous two albums on a bigger label with better distribution. We also feel that we’ve found our sound a bit more with this new album. I would say it’s slightly more flirting with the 80’s compared to our previous efforts. Especially keyboard wise. The whole band basically contributes with songwriting or arrangements and we like to record stuff live as much as we can. We divided the recording of the album in 3 sessions and they were all really intense and very much felt like a classic rock boot camp in a good way.
Any upcoming tour of festival appearance plans that you can fill us in about?!
Album doesn’t come out until May 19th so it’s been hard to book many festivals since most of them get booked at least half a year in advance. However, we will make our first show outside Sweden at the Rock Hard Festival in Germany in the beginning of June at an amphitheater - a perfect setting. We are also working on fall tours on both sides of the Atlantic for the fall and also next year.
Bjorn, tell us about your journey in the music industry and the best words of wisdom that you have ever received.
It’s honestly been a very bumpy journey and maybe I was naive enough to think that I was going to focus solely on the music when I got into this business in the first place. That was 20 years ago. I think I’ve learned a lot and I still try to not let the business side get in the way of my creative side. I’ve seen it happen to a lot of people and it does kill a lot of creativity and one day you end up asking yourself, why the hell am I doing this to myself? The business side of things is a necessary evil but it’s important to keep it on a healthy distance I think.
Bjorn, if you could magically erase one of your tattoos and get it covered up by any artist in the world, what artist would you choose and what would you erase/get tattooed?
I think I’m lucky enough to have been around such great artists from the get go and a very famous Swedish tattoo artist, Johan Finné of Evil Twins tattoo, did my first 2 tattoos - the Soilwork symbol and a good ol 90’s tribal tattoo. I would still pick him any day but there are a lot of great artists from my area, like the Pedersen brothers at Crooked Moon Tattoo. I have a giant squid on my right arm that didn’t turn out the way I hoped for and it’s really dark. I probably will need like 3 laser sessions to brighten it up before I can do anything with it. Expensive. Ouch.
What is your perception of the artistic benefit of tattoos within society?
I think we’ve come a long way when it comes to tattoo culture - I mean it’s sort of rare to run into anybody in the age of 25-45 who doesn’t have a tattoo. No tattoos almost seem more rebellious nowadays, haha. The art of tattoo is way more diverse nowadays and there are no limits to what you can create, which gives the artists more freedom and a whole new world to work with stylistically. It used to be limited to Chinese symbols and dolphins. Things are a hell of a lot more interesting nowadays.
What do fans of The Night Flight Orchestra have to look forward to this summer and beyond?
To begin with, a great soundtrack for the summer and any road trip, plane trip (preferably a night flight) or BBQ. We’re working hard on getting this show on the road and also might start recording the next album already in the summer. We don’t like to stay away from each other too long. At least not yet, haha. It’s a very creative unit and we probably have another 15 songs or so, ready to go.
Tell us about your experience so far as a family member of Nuclear Blast Records. What is the most positive thing about working with the record company?
I’ve been with Nuclear Blast since 2001 and I don’t see any reason for changing label. I know the staff very well and can be very straight up when it comes to just about anything. I definitely treasure our relationship and I’m glad they’ve been brave enough to give TNFO a great shot, especially since they’re mostly known for putting out metal records. They did the right thing I would say.
Last but certainly not least, any closing messages for your fans?!
Whether you’re a metal fan or not, this album will take you to places that you haven’t been to before. It’s a promise and a journey. Thank you for listening.