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Lars Chriss – Guitar for Lion’s Share

Date: 05/04/08
Interviewed By: Rich Catino

1. Lion's Share has a very classic metal sound. Tell us about the band's influences and how often you try to incorporate them into your sound?

LARS: We grew up with the 70s and 80s metal style so this is the style we love and what comes out naturally when we write. We’ve never cared about following trends. We write from the heart and try to make the records we would like to buy ourselves. Our style is very guitar riff based. On top of this we want a catchy vocal melody. We try to have a good mix of faster and heavier songs. Our biggest influences are Black Sabbath (especially with Ronnie James Dio and Tony Martin), Judas Priest, Accept, Megadeth, Saxon, DIO etc but we’re also influenced by newer bands like Rammstein, Marily Manson, Soilwork, In Flames etc.

2. Do you find it hard to sound traditional without ripping off your influences?

LARS: We don’t try to sound traditional. We’ve been playing this style since we started out playing our instruments so it’s 100% natural. Hopefully we’ve managed to incorporate some other more recent influences as well. Of course we want to sound like Lion’s Share and not some other band no matter how much we like them. I think we keep a good balance since we never get compared to the same band in two reviews after each other. Most people seem to appreciate our mix of traditional song writing with the energy and aggression from more recent metal.

3. What is different about your music in 2007/07 than when you recorded your 1995 debut and the follow up "Two"?

LARS: The band was formed by me and a keyboard player so there were much more keyboards back then. We were also quite influenced by the prog metal thing and bands like Dream Theater, Queensryche, Rush etc. For “Emotional Coma” I feel I have returned to my roots, playing the style I started out playing as a teenager. We also have a lot more up-tempo songs now. I wanted to bring more energy to the songs so the drumming style is much more “modern” too. The old drummer came from the old school style created by drummers like Cozy Powell, Carmine Appice, Tommy Aldridge and those guys. Here are some samples from “EC” www.fanbay.se/buy/index.asp?movie_id=1897&company_id=39 .

4. You did a cover of Judas Priest's "Touch of Evil". Are you happy with the results and what other metal songs would you like Lion's Share to cover?

LARS: It was a great tribute album with liner notes from KK and Glen from Priest and all acts were approved by Priest and their management so it was an honor to be included there among bands like Saxon, Testament, Helloween, Devin Townsend, U.D.O., Fates Warning etc. We also included the track on our third album “Fall From Grace “. On “Emotional Coma” we covered “Sorcerers” by classic NWOBHM act Angel Witch. Their debut from 1980 is great.

5. How did Patrik Johansson become your singer for "Emotional Coma" and will he be on the new album?

LARS: I heard a Space Odyssey mp3 on the net in 2003 and got in touch with Patrik who liked what I was doing so he joined LS. I was officially on a break to re charge my batteries so we didn’t go official with it until a couple of years later but we started writing songs and make plans for a Lion’s Share comeback. My favorite singer of all time is Ronnie James Dio, so I like singers in that style like Jorn Lande, Russel Allen, Tony Martin etc. Patrik is a full time member of the band and has been for the last five years so of course he’ll be on the new album. He actually already recorded his vocals for it. We’ve also played many live shows since the European release of “Emotional Coma”. Check out the new Manowar DVD “Magic Circle Festival” to see two live videos from our show at their festival in Germany last year. I think it’s on YouTube as well.

6. Does his involvement with Astral Doors and Wuthering Heights interfere with Lion's Share?

LARS: For WH he’s only a hired gun. He spends like four days in the studio every second or third year to record the vocals and that’s it. Patrik share his time 50/50 between AD and us. Read his official statement about it here www.lionsshare.org/patrikspeaks.htm .

7. Is Patrik bringing anything to the table for the new album songwriting process?

LARS: Absolutely! Sampo, Patrik and me wrote the songs for the new album together. Patrik wrote all lyrics and some vocal melodies for “Emotional Coma” too. He is 100% a member of Lion’s Share and is very happy about that.

8. How far along is the new album and what is it sounding like?

LARS: The response on “EC” has been absolutely awesome so we just continue do what we do best in being ourselves. The new album is probably a bit more direct and catchy though. Some people that ended up loving “EC” though it took a couple of listens before they got “into” it so we figured we should try to be a little more direct this time. Sometimes you forget you’re not playing to other musicians. You want to be clever but you might end up shooting over the regular record buyers head. Everybody that have heard the new songs think the album’s gonna be huge. I think it shows we’ve done one album plus many shows together. We’re even more together as a team this time. We can’t wait to release it. The mix will be done during the summer and we hope to release it this fall. So far we have recorded the drums, rhythm guitars and lead vocals.

9. Trying anything musically different on the new album?

LARS: We continue to develop our style. Bring out what people liked best about “EC” and take it one step further. Since we are only three full time members we have another drummer on the new album. Richard Evensand that did “EC” has moved to Australia so we have this death metal hot shot drummer doing some very fast and cool stuff on the new cd. It will be mixed by Jens at Fascination Street that did the new Symphony X, Amon Amarth and Opeth albums.

10. What has been the most successful tour Lion's Share has been part of?

LARS: We did a month playing big ice hockey arenas with Manowar, Dio and Motorhead. The tour was a dream come true playing to amazing crowds with our teenage heroes. All bands were very cool to us and of course to hang with my fav singer of all time every day didn’t suck either.

11. Do you have an American audience and have you ever been offered to play the States?

LARS: We’ve always gotten a very good response from USA. Through the years most fan letters have come from over there. Unfortunately Grunge and Hip-Hop killed our kind of music in the 90s so we’ve never released anything officially in North America until now. We got the advice it was better to not release any of the albums we did between 1995-2001 back then, so USA fell off our radar and we focused on Europe and Japan which still were good markets for traditional metal. We would love to play over there but right now we don’t have the contacts among U.S. managements and promoters to make it happen. Hopefully there will be some demand from fans and some person will pick us up and bring us over.

Keep an eye on our site for news at www.lionsshare.org .
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