Kings of Tomorrow
Together since 1979, Europe raised to fame in 1986 with the extremely successful album and single “The Final Countdown”, selling over twenty million copies worldwide. After releasing two more albums they went on a very long break that lasted 12 years. Finally, in 2003 they came out of hiatus announcing that the original line up was getting back together to write new material. The long break helped recharge the creativity and breathe new life into the band that since their resurrection has been very active releasing five studio albums and touring the world. Their latest success “War of Kings” produced by Dave Cobb is another exquisite and perfectly executed example of Europe’s commitment, passion and devotion to music which makes the waiting for their new album, coming out in February, a lot more exciting. We caught up with the band during the Ramblin’ Man Fair to chat about their success and what the future holds for this unstoppable machine.
HMA: Your latest album ‘War of Kings’ came out in 2015, what went into it and how has it been received by the fans?
John Norum: We picked a great producer, Dave Cobb. We found a new studio in Stockholm that we liked, brand new. I’m not sure it still exists though. Just came together really natural, it really worked out well with Dave. I think it went down pretty well with fans from what I’ve heard. We usually hear the good stuff. Feels good.
HMA: Your sound has changed over the years, do you consciously try to bring something new to every album or is that a natural progression or do you?
JN: We try to find new ways and try different paths that we haven’t gone through. We are like, If you want to want to be a little bit spaced out… I mean, I look at it as we are on a journey in our own musical universe. We take a left turn here, or a right turn there or try different stuff to feel that we are not slowing down too much or just standing in one place. We want to check out what’s going on in our musical universe.
HMA: Do you feel that the brake the band had (before the 2003 reunion) has actually helped to recharge and breathe new life into the band?
JN: Yeah definitely. We did a lot of musical things and we learned a lot by playing with other people and stuff like that and brought that back into Europe when Europe got back together. Also, when we played the first time together it was a one-off thing in New Year’s Eve, 2000 or 1999 actually. We played together for the first time in a long, long time. We felt what we’ve missed over these 12 years we were gone. We have a chemistry that we couldn’t find anywhere else with people we played with. It was a good little break.
HMA: So did it feel natural and easy to record an album together after the big break?
JN: It felt pretty natural; everybody was pretty much the same and we were on the same wavelength. It felt good to come back.
HMA: Do you still feel the magic when you step on stage after so many years?
JN: Yes, absolutely it always feel the same for us.
HMA: When ‘The Final Countdown’ came out and you had the big success break-out, did that influenced the band in the direction you wanted?
JN: Back then we didn’t think in terms of recording hit songs or anything like that.
HMA: You are really young.
JN: Yeah. We were 22 maybe. The record company decided they were going to release it as a single and it took off. We had no idea it was going to be such a huge hit so it was a good thing for the band.
HMA: Do you like playing at festivals and how much does your set-list changes compared to other shows?
JN: It’s a shorter set list today. We try to squeeze in the goodies but we also want to play some new stuff. Obviously … There are certain circumstances when we can’t. We said once that we are not going to do “The Final Countdown” tonight but that’s a bad thing, we can’t really do that so we do it as the last song, the encore.
HMA: What is next for Europe, do you have new material, are you planning a new album? What are your next touring plans?
JN: We just started to write material and the plan is to go and record in February. We will still do festivals and do a few tours during the fall. We are also sort of celebrating 30 years since The Final Countdown” album. We are doing the tour especially dedicated to that album and we are actually playing the whole album along with some other songs as well. That’s the newest plan we have I think.
HMA: Do you like being on the road?
JN: The time we spend on stage together is the great part, but to be honest the traveling, not so much.
HMA: You have been together and around the rock and roll scene and industry for a long time. How do you think it has changed?
JN: In a way, think the live scene is probably better now. There are lots of festivals and stuff. There are all these possibilities of checking out new bands and old bands for that matter. When you are talking about record sales that’s gone down the drain totally, but we don’t care. We love making new albums. I don’t think we can see ourselves be here and just rely on touring, not doing any new material. I would say that we don’t really care. It’s sad in a way. On the other hand, I love things like Spotify or whatever you have, like the streaming sites where you can pay 10 Euros per month and you can get all the music that’s out there. I’ve discovered so many new bands that I wouldn’t have discovered if I didn’t have that streaming thing. On the other hand it’s killing record sales. I love having an album and just check out The booklets, read the lyrics, all the features and I miss that part.
Interview by Manuela Mattera, photos by Andrea Saini – Copyright 2016 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved.