THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA interview. New album, ‘Aeromantic II’, out now.

Once again I spoke with David Andersson from THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA, this time about their latest album, ‘Aeromantic II’. We spoke about combining playing in 2 bands, whilst also holding down ‘a real job’. I don’t know how he does it, but he does it.

MAL-
How have you been?
DAVID-
That's a complicated question. But yeah, it's been a strange 18 months for sure. But yeah, I mean things are looking pretty up at least in our corner of the world right now, but you never know. But yeah, I'm really happy and excited that we're finally getting to release this album and that we've been able to stay busy despite the circumstances, even though we can't be out there playing shows but still, you know, productive and creative and working on stuff.
MAL-
Did you manage to get out on the road with the last album at all?
DAVID-
Yeah, we started a European tour last March, but we have to cut it short like after a little more than a week because of the pandemic it struck really hard all of a sudden and the borders start to close down and so we had to like cut cut the tour short and take a flight home because otherwise, we could be stuck somewhere for months. So, yeah, it was really sad because the shows that we did get to do, we manage to play some shows in London England and, and you know, some shows in Spain and Germany and, you know, a few other places, it was really good. It was some of the best shows we've done so far. And, you know, we had great crowds, and great reactions, and it felt so good. And then we all know what happened, but at least we ended on a high note. It would have been worse to like, if we'd had a miserable tour and no one came and, and then we had to go home. So at least we know that once were able to get out we will probably hopefully it will be even better.
MAL-
Discussing forming this band in the back of the tour bus all those years ago. Did you think you'd be six albums in?
DAVID-
No. The one thing I've learned after spending so much time, you know playing music, it's often the less thought you put into it, the better it gets. I mean when me and Bjorn started discussing this like back in 2006, it was just crazy idea. Something that we thought like, oh, we need to do this before we die, otherwise, we'll hold regrets because it just felt as a really fun thing to do. And once we found the right people to do it with and you know, we started playing together and it just felt right from the beginning. We just had this chemistry and we had so much fun and it has never been calculated or I mean, it's all been a very spontaneous and organic process and I think that's why we have this longevity, whereas if we'd started thinking too much about what we do it probably wouldn't have been going this well. But of course, I'm still surprised but I mean we didn't start it for any commercial reasons, we started the band because it was something that we really wanted to do and even if we didn't have any commercial success, I think we'll still be doing it somewhere. At least being together every once in a while in some sort of funky rehearsal space and just to hang out and play some classic rock.
MAL-
Let's talk about the latest album then what can you tell us about it? How did you manage to get together? Was it all done basically online swapping things online? Did you manage to get together as a band?
DAVID-
Yeah. I mean, we're all living in Sweden and I mean, we haven't had, you know, any really strict lockdown rules. And I mean, we all managed to get covid after the last tour we did, so we all had antibodies. So it felt quite safe to get together and a lot of our creative process happens in the studio, and we're not the kind of band who could do an entire album, just sending files back and forth online, because it's very crucial to have everyone there having their input. And you know, even if it's me and Bjorn and Sebastian writes songs, the others have their own strong personalities on their own. I mean, they bring a lot to the creative process. And so yeah, it's been business as usual basically, when it comes to recording and that whole thing, and we're always recording and producing everything ourselves. So it's very much a group effort and because of everyone's busy schedules we don't spend months and months in the studio. We get together for like a week or two and then we take a break and get together for another short session. So we always have things going on, then it's just a matter of picking the songs that seemed to go well together and sort of theme and, you know, so I mean to me the six albums that were done so far, it's a continuous process and you can see how we develop and mutate over the years.
MAL-
Yeah, you've called this one 'Aeromantic II', which means the one before is 'Aeromantic (1)' How have they linked together?
DAVID-
Oh, it just felt very natural. It wasn't something that we planned. But, you know, the albums before 'Aeromantic', 'Amber Galactic' and 'Sometimes The World Ain't Enough', they had more of a space theme in a way, was this album and 'Aeromantic one'. It's more of a down to earth, you know, aeroplane atmosphere, the stratosphere thing as opposed to escaping to space, circling the earth instead. But it's not like a concept album that way, but it felt like these two albums belong together in a way. Just like the previous two albums did. And I guess from the next album we'll head in a slightly different direction, but it felt quite natural to have this as some sort of like a sequel to 'Aeromantic' and just like our whole, our whole processes, it's all very
spontaneous and we don't overthink things, it's just like, let's call it 'Aeromatic II' because it seems logical and I think it could have been a double album, but no-one does double albums these days. I think they go well together. I don't know what you think, but they sort of have a similar feel to them.
MAL-
Yeah. A vibe, a common vibe. I can think of one band that you might be familiar with the did a double album.
DAVID-
Yeah, of course, but that was another era in a way. I mean, it sounds really boring, but Nuclear Blast, our record label they're lovely. We have a great relationship with them and the physical sales of stuff iss still declining and and you know, when SOILWORK released 'The Living Infinite' almost 10 years ago, it was still worth it and we really wanted to do it on an artistic and creative level. And it was a novelty factor and something that we gained a lot from. But these days, I mean, the physical sales are quite small and it's just the way it is and you can't really do much about it. And, I mean, I'm fine with people streaming our music as well, and as long as we are able to keep doing it on this level and you know, I'm happy, I would love it if people were buying more physical products, we could make even more extravagant stuff like videos and Stage Productions and stuff, but it is the way it is and we're doing fine. And I'm as long as people like it, I'm happy. Coming from a small town in Sweden, growing up and just being able to play in 2 bands on this level and having so many people listening to what you do, I'm still amazed that I've come this far.
MAL-
Tell us about the new keyboard player. Tell us about him and what he's brought to the band.
DAVID-
Oh, John, I've known him for a long time and he is from the same area as me and Sebastian and Jonas, the drummer, and he's a really nice guy. He's a classically trained, pianist and he is also a great jazz musician. And he can play pretty much everything. He has a great ear for music and, you know, but it just felt very natural. And like I said, we've known him for a long time and he was, I mean, basically, we didn't really have to look around much. It's like, oh, if John's available and he was fortunately, so so and he's a great guy. He's a fantastic musician. He even looks good. (The bastard) Yeah, so it's been a very natural thing, him joining the band, and I think he does a great job. And for me, I'm more of an improvisational musician as well and you know, just like him, so for me. It's been really fun to.. we have lots of fun in the studio just goofing around and you know quietly sneaking in some weird Jazzy chords here and there but he also loves all the stuff that we I mean, he loves all the great AOR classic rock stuff as well. And you know, he's just a great all-round musician.
MAL-
Any songs on the album that have got any story related to them that you care to relate? There's got to be a story behind white jeans. There just has to be.
DAVID-
Oh, yeah, it's mostly Bjorn's song. We wrote the lyrics together, but it's been like internal joke for some reason for quite some time. I don't know why, but we just found the concept of white jeans was quite funny, just internal band humor and then we finally managed to get Sharlee D'Angelo the bass player, you know, he's always dressed in black, and one day he just showed up for a show with white jeans. If Sharlee can buy white jeans. I mean, and the Bjorn came up with the song idea. I mean, it's not that funny to anyone on the outside I guess, but yeah, we thought a lot about white jeans like five, six years and then Bjorn came up with the concept for the video with this guy that is like a TV personality in Sweden and Bjorn knows him personally, and this lovely, having a bearded man cross-dressing and shaking his arse in the white jeans. And yeah, it's just, I love it. I love it, how it turned out.
MAL-
Where to from here. The album comes out this Friday. What have you been able to plan? Have you been able to plan anything?
DAVID-
No, you have plants obviously, but you know, we were booked for festivals already for the summer of 2020 and last the summer too, and we've had tours that were booked, you know that's been postponed four times and, you know, so yeah, we have loads of plans, but still no idea whether I mean, when or if it will happen, and I mean in the meantime, I guess we'll just continue to create music. And I mean, we were still doing it because we love creating music together and then, who knows? I mean in a perfect world, we would be out there touring this album next week, but hopefully we'll be able to play some shows but I mean, I don't dare to expect anything but it would be lovely, at least next summer to do some festivals or something.
MAL-
Now you spoke about busy lifestyles before. Are you still working as a gastroenterologist. ( David-Yeah) How have you managed to get time in your schedule to to do this and SOILWORK as well, by the way?
DAVID-
Well, I have a deal for the hospital that I take a leave of absence whenever I need to do music, so I don't get paid from the hospital when I'm doing this and they're fine with it. I mean, there's a shortage of specialist doctors like this everywhere, and so they allow me to take time off whenever I need it. And it was part of the deal when I started working there, which was almost 10 years ago. So, it's working out fine. I mean, of course, it's tough sometimes, but especially, when you have a tendency to say yes to too many things at once, but I'm getting better at it. And, you know, trying to balance the whole thing and yeah, but it's difficult sometimes. But to me music is still my number one priority. It's what I grew up wanting to do and always dreamt of doing. And the doctor thing was more of an afterthought because I sort of gave up on music in my early 20s. I did get a few records and, you know, did some session work and work as a guitar teacher, and it just didn't go anywhere and I sort of got a bit fed up, and a bit bitter and grumpy and it's like, oh I was always good at school. So just oh, better go to university and get a real job. So I went to medical school and worked as a doctor and then this whole thing, the chance with SOILWORK came up and I did my first four with them back in 2006. We did a US tour when I was just a session musician and that was when I got to know Bjorn and we started planning for THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA and then I played with SOILWORK and eventually joined them as a full-time member and it's been a long journey to get here. But you know, I'm fortunate enough to be able to do what I love and you know, I'm happy as long as it lasts.
MAL-
We're just about out of time, David. Was there anything else you wanted to touch on with the album release coming up?
DAVID-
Yeah. I just hope that people will appreciate it and I would love to come down under someday. We've been there with SOILWORK lots of times and I always like going there and with every NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA album we do get more and more interest from the media. And we do almost as many Australia / New Zealand interviews as we do European interviews. I mean, not really, but almost. I mean, I have no idea really but there seems to be a growing interest in our music down there. So it would be fantastic to be able to go there and and do a tour with THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA one day, depending on the pandemic situation. But yeah, so I just hope that more and more people down under will discover us and spread the word. And so that one day, we'll be able to get there in person. I think it would be a success.
MAL-
I think so. I'll do what I can.
DAVID-
Let's make THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA the new Abba.
MAL-
Why not? David, thanks so much for taking the time and chatting to me today.
DAVID-
No worries.
MAL-
Really good luck with the the new album 'Aeromantic II', excellent stuff and good luck with that. And yeah, hopefully we see you down here one day soon.
DAVID-
Absolutely. Nice talking to you. Take care

THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA is back! The band that formed as an idea of friends from several well known rock/metal bands (SOILWORK, ARCH ENEMY, MEAN STREAK) back almost a decade ago and has been dropping jaws ever since. With 5 albums already under their belt, 2 nominations for the Swedish Grammies, countless live shows and praises from fans and media alike, TNFO have steadily upped their game when it comes to paying tribute to a decade that influences all sorts of people and even industries to this day - the 80s. With hits like „Domino“, „Lovers In The Rain“, „West Ruth Ave“, „Divinyls“ or „This Time“, the band manages to maintain a variety of vibes and emotions within every album. From hard rockers, poppy digressions to progressive epics, disco-esque songs and almost cheesy yet loveable ballads.
Enter 2020, TNFO had just released their recent record, »Aeromantic«, and kicked off their European tour in support of it, when the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Björn Strid, the AOR dictator helming this exceptional collective called NFO, recalls “We made it one week into the tour after some absolutely amazing shows and then it all went south and we had to go home. Just about everyone on the tour got sick when they came home, with varied conditions.”

The band didn’t step back and accept the situation but decided to do what they do best instead: “It was pretty clear after some months into the Covid madness, that it was here to stay and that we weren’t gonna be able to tour for quite some time. So we made the best out of it. The remedy was simply to hit the studio again as soon as everybody was well again. It ended up being an incredibly creative 1,5 years and so many amazing songs came out of it.”

That being said, the second part of the »Aeromantic« saga really captures what this band is all about: being in motion and romanticizing traveling, sometimes even with a broken heart - accompanied by the good things in life. Namely with songs like „White Jeans“, yet another jaw dropping classic rock gem about hot young love, cramped with nostalgia, or “Change”, which encompasses all the vibes you know from your favorite decade: Urgency, emotion, warmth and excitement. But also groovy danceable songs like “Chardonnay Nights”, a groovy, dreamy, yet uplifting homage to parties and hot love, or “Burn For Me”, a true feel good anthem for the summer - driving people to dance in the streets, all worries aside, to a brighter future.

On the other hand there are tracks like the almost progressive “Amber Through A Window”. A little throwback (at least titular) to the NFO’s epic 2017 album »Amber Galactic«: “Amber is with us wherever we go and I think she’ll keep coming back. She’s our mascot of escapism. The song was very interesting to compose. It takes you on quite a journey with key changes and goes from minor to major when you least expect it and throws you between different set of emotions. At the same time it feels pretty direct and operates like a mini epos. Really happy with how it turned out“, cites Strid.

With new keyboardist John Lönnmayr in their ranks, the NFO has also added fresh talent to their unique sound as Strid puts it: “John is definitely a keyboard and music wiz. He’s been playing a lot of different music styles, from fusion jazz to straight up commercial pop. He has a brilliant ear and have brought so much fresh blood to the band, both on a personal side but also musical side. John is a childhood friend of Sebastian so it was Sebastian who recommended him. We always trust Sebastian’s judgement.”

Besides all this, the band has also stepped up their game when it comes to music videos for their timeless anthems. “White Jeans” for instance features Swedish TV personality Fredrik Lexfors and is a sweet little homage to the LGBTQIA+ community. “Fredrik is a good friend of mine and has loads of experience in the musical/theatre world and is super creative. He created this character called ”Kantorn” (The Cantor) some years ago and became a hit on YouTube. He has a very twisted and unique way of singing and acting, which is very funny. He was a part of Sweden’s Got Talent TV Show and went really far and became a crowd favorite. Fredrik has a lot of friends in the LGBTQIA+ community and I also have quite a few. We saw it as a joyful tribute and we’ve only gotten really good response. It’s of course also humorous but has a very nice balance and a very positive message.”

The bold and jovial video for “Burn For Me” on the other hand maybe among the biggest and best productions, the NFO ever recorded for the depths of the internet: “I’ve had this idea to film a ”Dancing in the Streets” video, where curious people come out of the woodworks and join the party in the streets. It’s a very classic 80’s scenario and very common in videos back then. Sort of the video to IRENE CARA’s ”Fame”. You don’t see it very often these days. We felt that it was needed and after “Burn For Me” was done I immediately envisoned it being the perfect ”post corona dancing celebration in the streets-song”.”

Those two videos are by far not everything the band will have to offer visually, but we won’t tell any more just for now. To be continued…

With all that new greatness up their sleeves, NFO are ready to take the world by storm – again! Even though coming up with a setlist for their scheduled tour starting in September may prove to become problematic according to the AOR Dictator: “Making a setlist might end up being a nightmare haha… I would be up for doing only songs off »Aeromantic I« and »Aeromantic II« since that’s really where we’re at right now, but I think most of our the Midnight Flyers would like to hear some old stuff, too. Maybe we could get away with it as long as we play “West Ruth Ave” as the ending song and create the good old conga train?”

»Aeromantic II« in the NFO’s own, cryptic words:

Violent Indigo: …is, of course, about the inherent violence of indigo. It destroys.

Midnight Marvelous: Daylight will be the end of us.

How Long: 90’s Deep Purple on cocaine, and the anxiety of waiting for something to happen.

Burn For Me: How could you ever not want someone to burn for you?

Chardonnay Nights: The nights marinated in a full-bodied grape extract always seem to be the best ones.

Change: Because a tiny bit of invention never killed anyone.

Amber Through a Window: Fever is rising. And if you have never seen Amber through a window, you’ve never actually seen Amber.

I Will Try: If you haven’t been at that train station, you have no idea what I’m talking about.

You Belong To The Night: Because someone has to.

Zodiac: On the cusp of every sign, there is something waiting to happen.

White Jeans: What is there to say? Just that some of us has an inclination for lightly coloured jeans. And that they symbolise freedom.

Moonlit Skies: The end of an era, and the beginning of an empire.