Rock Eyez Webzine
Rock Eyez
Rock Eyez Webzine


Interview with Nightvision
(Mikael Szemler, Peter Högberg, Stefan Fjellner)

Mikael SzemlerPeter HogbergStefan Fjellner

Interviewed by Rob Benaquista
Date: February 9th, 2006

Who were your biggest influences in music growing up?
Mikael: For me it started out with Bob Marley I think. Also, Kiss, ZZ Top, Thin Lizzy, Whitesnake, Van Halen, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, etc. Mostly music from the 70´s and the 80´s has influenced me.

: One influence is my father, who was a singer in his early years. I also started to listen to bands such as Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Badlands, who have influenced me a lot through the years.

How did each of you come about forming Nightvision?
Mikael: Well, I guess that since I’m a member of the mob they didn’t have any choice but to bring me along in Nightvision. You don’t want to wake up with a horse’s head in the bed! (laughing) "NOT!" (laughing) Peter and I have been working in lots of different bands together. It goes back to 1993 where we played original tunes in a band, and since then we have been working together in many bands.
Stefan met Peter and started the project Nightvision in 2001. Our keyboard player Mårten Sandén arrived with us in 2004 and bassist Johan Peterson came along in 2005.

What are you currently up to? Feel free to plug whatever you'd like.
Peter, Mikael: For now, we are rehearsing for our 2006 tour, and we are writing new songs for the next album as well; at the same time, we’re booking/playing live gigs in Sweden.

Any plans to tour the U.S. in the near future?
Mikael : Hey! That would be awesome... hook us up for a tour, will you?!!

Well, we are open for suggestions and in the near future, we hope to get gigs/tours around the world.

I view your debut album "Nightvision" as one that greatly stands out from many European metal bands that are at the forefront nowadays. How has the response from the general metal audience in Europe been since your album was released?
Mikael, Peter: Thank you very much! We have received a great response from the audience and it has only been positive reactions so far, to our knowledge.

Name four bands that you would love to share the stage with?
Mikael: Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Ozzy Osbourne, Van Halen... and many more…

Dio, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Black Sabbath.

How do you view the current state of music in Europe, in 2006? I mean, in America much of the rock music in general, especially metal, is always watered down to appeal to the masses.
Mikael, Peter:  We think it’s kind of the same phenomenon in Europe! But we haven’t really been thinking about it so much.

When did all of you finally reach the epiphany that music was something that you wanted to pursue for the rest of your life?
Mikael, Peter:  It’s been a dream since we have been kids but now it seems, as the journey has started, more serious.

What can you remember about the writing and recording of the following songs: “Silent Cry,” “Thin Line Between Love And Hate,” and “Break the Chain?”
Peter: For me, Silent Cry was very emotional lyrically because the lyrics are written about a real situation in my life, as most of the lyrics are on the album. 
On Thin line Between Love and Hate,” we worked on the vocals to be more intense. On the demo version, a lot of the vocal lines on that song were written one octave higher so we had to redo the vocals on it to get it to fit more with the music.
Break the Chain actually has one of my favorite choruses, even though it doesn’t appear until the ending of the song; I like that, though. About the recording of these songs in the studio, I seem to remember that they came through well, but with some errors, of course. That almost always happens.

Hey, drummers don’t remember stuff! (laughing)

What was the biggest highlight of your musical career?
Peter: For me it was when I got the “Outstanding Student Award” at MIT (Musicians Institute of Technology) Los Angeles in 1999, which gave me a lot of confidence and experience.

Mikael, Peter:
A lot of the highlights for us have been to have the opportunity to play with many different musicians throughout the years... and of course to make this album with Nightvision.

Peter, who were your biggest influences on vocals, what made you decide to take up singing as your major musical priority?
Peter:  Ray Gillen is my favorite influence as a singer, but also Ronnie James Dio and, of course, Robert Plant. Actually, I started out playing the guitar. Later on, I took up singing and it became a part of me. It developed me in all kinds of ways. It’s also the need to express my feelings that makes singing so soulful for me.

What is the songwriting process like for Nightvision? Are lyrics written first or is the music written first, or does it all come at once?
Mikael, Peter: Often Stefan comes up with an idea and together we develop the songs. The lyrics are written later on.

Stefan, how old were you when you first picked up a guitar? Who are your biggest inspirations of playing and writing on the guitar?
Stefan: The first time I picked up a guitar...hmm. I think I was about seven years old and my dad bought me a 12-string acoustic guitar and said, "Here son, here you have it. Don’t waste your time on that electric loud guitar shit you’re dreaming of.” So, I laid the idea of being a great guitar player on the shelf and took it back again when I was in my teenage years. I bought myself a Gibson Les Paul copy that I found at the local music store for about 1000 Swedish crowns. Ace Frehley was on my mind a lot in those years, so it had to be a Les Paul. Then practice was a factor... and I still to this day have that old 12-string in my possession. After that, I played in a lot of different bands until the year of 2001, when I met Peter and we started writing songs together.
My biggest sources of inspiration are John Norum and Zakk Wylde. I like John Norum for his way of playing and writing songs. I also like his voice; he’s awesome! What I like about Zakk is that over toning bending stuff he does, also the sound...especially the sound he had on Ozzy Osbourne’s “No More Tears” album. It’s raw, electric and powerful. Just the way I like it!!

Rate the following guitarists on a scale from 1-10 (based on your opinion): Zakk Wylde, Steve Vai, John Petrucci, John Norum, Kai Hansen, Alex Skolnick.
Stefan: That is very hard. It is very difficult to rate guitarists like that. I mean, they are great players and songwriters, each one of them.

What equipment do each of you use? Is your studio equipment the same or different from what you use for live shows?
Peter: I use mostly a Shure 58 wireless [mic].

:  I use Ludwig drums and Zildjian/Paiste cymbals. I use the same gear for both live shows and for studio recordings. Sponsors, feel free to contact me! (laughing)

Gibson Les Paul with EMG pick-ups, Line6 HD147 top with Marshall 4x12 cabinets and 2mm picks by Dunlop USA. I use it all live as well.

If you could go back and change one event in history (anything in the world), what would you do?
Mikael:  Pass me a beer, will you Peter? It’s right there in my fridge!! Where were we?? ... Ohhh, look! No, watch!!!

: If I could change an event, I wish that the atomic bomb had never been made. … Hey! Give me a beer, MIKE!!!  (long pause) ...that was a heavy question to swallow.

Name 3 CDs that you are listening to at the moment.
Mikael: ZZ Top - First album is spinning at the moment; Ozzy Osbourne:Ozzmosis”; Thin Lizzy:Johnny The Fox.

Badlands:Voodoo Highway”; Black Sabbath:Born Again”; Dio:Lock Up the Wolves.”

What are your ultimate goals in Nightvision, and where do you see yourselves in 10 years?
Mikael, Peter: The ultimate goal is to play as many gigs as possible around the world on festivals and in arenas to deliver our music to people, so they can experience us live, too. And of course, make more albums and to have fun with the music we love to do.

Nightvision, thank you very much for your time and effort in answering the questions; Keep on rockin' and never lose the passion for music!
Mikael, Peter:  Thank you, Rob, for a great review and the opportunity to do this interview with Take care and may the force be with you! © 2005 All rights reserved. The contents of this site may not be reproduced without the expressed written consent of
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