NOVEMBER 21st 2012

We here,at MetalTitans got an exclusive opportunity to speak to Marko Palmén, guitarist and founding member of the Swedish Death Metal band, EVOCATION. The band formed in 1991, fizzed out a little bit in 1993, but raged back onto the scene of Death Metal in 2005. But, dont let me tell you about the band, read this interview and let Marko do the talking. ENJOY !!

Welcome to MetalTitans, Guardians of Metal entertainment, worldwide. We are here with EVOCATION’s guitarist Marko Palmén.  Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us.

Thank you for doing the interview with us, the pleasure is all ours!

1. Evocation is the act of calling or summoning a spirit, demon, god or other supernatural-- is this the reason the band is called this?

Actually the story behind the band name is much simpler than that hehehe...The band name actually comes from the track named “Evocation” on the ever classic album “The Rack” by Asphyx. I came across the track title one evening after partying with the guys of the band. The day after I introduced the band name to the guys and they all approved. So there was never a deeper thought behind the band name except for the fact that we of course looked up the meaning behind it and we all liked the meaning of it. It felt like all the pieces of the band name worked out really well for us – Evocation sounded great for a death metal band, it wasn’t taken by any other band at that time and the meaning behind it fit the concept of the band. From then on we made Evocation the name of the band.

2. You are about to release your new album “Illusions of Grandeur” on October 22nd. This is your 4th album, but 1st with your new label Century Media Records. Are you excited about this release?

Yeah, we are definitely excited about the release, and naturally since this is our first release with Century Media Records, we are also really looking forward to people’s reactions to the new album. I’m really pleased with us being signed to Century Media Records and now after having worked with them for almost a year I can say that it feels as if we have finally found our label home. I know all bands say this but “Illusions of Grandeur” truly feels like the opus of Evocation, and at the moment I’m having difficulty seeing how we will top this off with the next album…

3. How did you come up with the album title “Illusions of Grandeur”? Was it one person’s idea, or the whole band?

Hahaha the first inspiration to the title actually came from a Star Wars movie. It’s from “The Return of the Jedi” when they are at Jabba the Hutt’s palace on the planet Tattooine. Han Solo has just been thawed from his carbon freezing and talks to Princess Leia in disguise as a bounty hunter. Leia explains what has happened in the period when he has been frozen and says that Luke Skywalker has become a Jedi. Han Solo answers; “I’m out of it for a few seconds and all of a sudden everybody gets Delusions of Grandeur.” That’s where I initially got the inspiration for the title. I just liked the phrase very much and saw that there was also a deeper meaning behind it as well. Then I did a small change to the phrase when I switched the word “Delusions” to “Illusions”. I just thought it sounded better with “Illusions” instead of “Delusions”.

4. You have 10 supreme death metal tracks on this album. Who wrote the lyrics for it?  And where did the inspiration come from?

Thank you very much! Thomas Josefsson our vocalist does all the lyrics so I’m not really the right guy to talk to when it comes to that part but I will give it a try. Thomas always writes lyrics about things that he gets affected by. It can be psychological phenomena, people doing irradical things, etc. For this album I think Thomas has been writing about things circulating around his favourite phrase; “don’t let the fools guide you blind.” What he means is that he wants people to start thinking for themselves and make up their minds on their own without being influenced by other people. Other people might have their own interest in making you think in a certain way.

5. Does the whole band come together to write the riffs, drum blasts, etc.? Or does each come with it already done?

Actually we do both. Sometimes we just have riffs, pieces or fragments of a track and then we work with them together in our rehearsing room until we have something that resembles a track. But sometimes Vesa (lead guitars) comes up with pretty much finished song ideas – he is the only one in the band that has a small recording studio at home and hence he is able to work with the tracks until they are pretty much done. Vesa is and has always been the sort of spider in the web when it comes to the song writing for Evocation. Me and Janne (drums) are contributing as much as we can, but Vesa is the guy who mainly puts all the stuff together so that it becomes songs that are working together.

6. The cover artwork was created by Xaay, who also did the work for “Apocalyptic.” Now do you give the ideas to Xaay, and you get the image you want? Or did he create it on his own? And is it what you wanted?

Yeah, Xaay is the guy responsible for the artwork this time again. We were just so pleased with all the stuff he has made for us on the previous album that we wanted to continue working with him for this album as well. We were just totally blown away by the artwork and I think it captures the title “Illusions of Grandeur” perfectly. One can see a vision of an ancient empire that is at its peak but if one studies the artwork a bit closer one can see in the foreground that parts of the temple have begun to crumble. The prefaces of the empires fall...And then one can see that the empire was merely an “Illusion of Grandeur”. When we work with people doing the artwork or layout we try to give as little guidance as possible in order to let the artist express himself freely. For the cover artwork we just gave Xaay the album title and the lyrics for the title track and then we just let him get to work. I think it works best this way and it feels almost as if Xaay thinks the exact same way as we do. Every time he delivers something to us he has captured the exact thing that we wanted him to capture. I think we will continue working with him for a long time ahead.

7. You used a special guest (Johan Hegg/Amon Amarth) to lay down vocals on the track “Into Submission.” What made you choose Johan to do this on your album?

Yeah, Johan did a guest appearance on the new album and it turned out just fantastic I must say. I think the main reason for the guest appearance of Johan was the friendship we made with him when we were on tour with Amon Amarth in 2011. We had a really good time together with them and stayed in touch with them afterwards. So when we were working with the new album we talked about if we should have some guest appearances and that’s when Johan’s name surfaced. We instantly felt that it would be a cool addition to the album if he would do some guest vocals. For us Johan is a great down to earth guy with an amazing sense of humour and also one of the very best death metal vocalists out there today. We met up with Johan after a show with Amon Amarth in Gothenburg in February 2012 and asked him if he would be interested in doing some guest vocals on our upcoming album. He immediately replied that it would be an honour to do it. In May 2012 he had some business in Gothenburg which is closely located to our hometown where Evocation Studios is also located. So we just picked him up there and then we drove off to Evocation Studios. It only took him 90 minutes from the moment we entered the studios until all the vocal parts were finished. And as always when Johan is around growling one starts to wonder whether the thunder is roaring outside until you realize it’s his mighty vocals that makes you think so... Thanx Johan for the amazing guest vocals!

8. Do you have a favourite song on this album? If so, why that one?

That’s a tough one… Last time I checked though the tracks there were 8 tracks that I felt that we could easily have on the live set list and all those tracks are strong as hell. The last two tracks are not less strong; it’s just that I think that we really can’t do them proper justice live. But anyways, maybe I would choose “I’ll Be Your Suicide” because it’s just a straight forward death metal track with a really nice early 90s Gothenburg sound to it.

9. Are you planning to do a tour in support of your new album? Where would you like to tour for it (Europe, North America, etc.)?

At the moment we are making up touring plans for the new album and the goal for us on this album is to take Evocation to as many continents as possible. We already have toured Europe twice together with bands such as Amon Amarth, Arch Enemy, Cannibal Corpse, The Black Dahlia Murder, Dying Fetus, Obscura, etc., so with this album we naturally want to tour Europe again but we also want to take Evocation to places we haven’t played before. Playing shows in North America would be of the highest priority and also something really special for us since it would be the premiere for us on that side of the Atlantic Ocean. But in the end it all comes down to how the offers for possible tours will be. Summer Festivals for 2013 are also in the planning stages and we already have plans to make those shows something really special.

10. When you were growing up, did you have anyone that inspired you to play music?

I think the main inspiration for me came from the band Kiss in the 80s. I remember I saw this TV-show on the national Swedish television that had a video of “Shout It Out Loud” with Kiss. It was an amazing video with Kiss in all their suits, make-up and the awesome pyro-show. After that I was totally hooked and knew that I wanted to become a musician. I guess that was the moment and the band that got me hooked and made me choosing the left hand path of life.

Is there anything that you would like to say or add that I might have missed, but you would like fans to read about?

We have a new video coming out any day now with the track “Divide and Conquer” from the new album “Illusions of Grandeur”. We shot it together with director Carlo Oppermann from Germany at an abandoned hospital. I just saw the final edited version and it turned out quite amazing. We are really looking forward to having it released and seeing people’s reactions to it. Keep an eye open the next few days and I hope you enjoy!

Thank you Marko for taking the time to do this interview with MetalTitans. We also would like to wish you much success on your new album “Illusions of Grandeur”.

Thank you very much for doing the interview and hope to see you all on the upcoming touring cycle for “Illusions of Grandeur”! In the meantime buy the new album or I will kill your parents!!!


Marko Palmén – Guitars tuned in B-flat since 1991