Michael Stenberg and Björn Luna of Ashes To Ashes - Back
1. How did the band get started? How did you meet and how long have you been together?

Björn Luna: It goes all the way back to 1992, when I met Michael and Kristian at a local rehearsal place. Usually there wasn't many people who shared my musical view, and finally I found someone who did. We got together to play and share musical experiences. We had then, like now, a wide range of music that we wanted to create. So the first years we experimented quite a lot, searching for the ultimate sound that we could be comfortable with.

2. How would you describe your music?

Björn Luna: It is in fact quite difficult to categorize it. It is indeed progressive, because of all the different themes in the music. We've been called so many things through time, that it is rediculous. I think it is a fine line between Doom and Power Metal, plus a mountain of other things.

Michael Stenberg: Melodic and atmospheric metal. Atmosphere is very important. Sadness and melancholy are elements that we often use to create certain atmospheres. It's important however that the approach differ from one song to another to maintain diversity.

3. What are your biggest influences?

Michael Stenberg: I have no big influences in music.

Björn Luna: In the beginning there were of course bands that inspired us to play. Bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne etc. But nowadays there's no one who influences us, except our own writing and development.

4. What influence do you think your bands has in music and metal today?

Björn Luna: I'm that confident with our material today, that I find it very hard to believe that no one will care. But how strongly we will influence others, the future will unveil.

5. What made you want to be in the band? And if you weren’t in the band what would you be doing now?

Björn Luna: I'm in this band because it is my main interest in life. And if, by any reason, I wasn't in it, I had been in another. It's that simple.

6. Are any band members in side projects? If so what are they, and explain a little about them.

Björn Luna: No one in the band have any side projects. I have been helping out some bands with the bass occationally, but nothing that have gone across the rails of Ashes to Ashes.

7. How would you feel if a band took their sound from yours and became very well known?

Michael Stenberg: If a band would say they were inspired by us I would take that as a great compliment. Ripping us off on the other hand... of course not.

Björn Luna: If someone steals from us, we kill them! :)

Michael Stenberg: Yep, I would sue them and get money.... THEN Bjorn would kill them.

8. What current bands do you like or respect?

Michael Stenberg: Sympony X and Shadow Gallery are maybe the bands that has impressed me the most over last 5 years. There are of course some others but the problem is that to many are trying to sound like someone else and do not simply play from the heart. You can hear those things right away.

Björn Luna: I have Mr. Bungle as a fave. It's just an incredible and totally unpredictable band. It's not many parallels to our own music, but I think, strangely enough, we have one thing in common. And that's being unpredictable. It's very important to surprise the listener all the time. In the Metal genre I'm found of many different bands. Like Dimmu Borgir, DHG, Sigh, Devil Doll and such. Basically bands that have something special and diverse attracts me.

9. How many demos/albums do you have? Tell me about them!!

Björn Luna: We have released two demos. "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea" ('93) and "The Temples of Ice" ('95). These recordings were done in the establishment phase of the band, and varies in quality, as demos usually do. There are some parts, riffs etc. that is to be found on "Shapes of Spirits" ('00), our debut album. And the obvious way to start, to get to know Ashes to Ashes. This album sums up the bands history in the way that some of the parts in the songs goes way back, it also tells about the way we wanna go. The true Ashes to Ashes spirit are established, and now we are currently working on the continuation.

10. What demo/album do you like the best?

Michael Stenberg and Björn Luna: "Shapes of Spirits" obviously.

11. What is the meaning behind the songs?

Björn Luna: The lyrics for "Gabriel" is based on reflections on the struggle between good and evil in Christianity. About abandoned angels, such as Gabriel himself, planning to conquer heaven in a "rematch" with God. That eventually culminates in a second war in heaven. "Sacrilege" is about ignorant humans that steps into a world they don't know. An ancient temple with surrounding spirits guarding the forlorn sacred environment.

Michael Stenberg: "Castle in the air" is about believing that death is the saviour and that as soon as life is over, "heaven" awaits. The unsolved question is: is it life or is it death who is the castle in the air ? "The mourning" is about standing alone with your pain and that it's only you and no one else that can do something about it in the end. "Dying room" were directly inspired by children who are placed to die in so called dying rooms in China..these places exists in the third world...Romania... The children are left to die because of physical or mental disabilities...or just that their parents can't or will take care of them. These kids are left with little or no care and end their life without even having been given the chance to live. Our singer prior to Kenneth wrote the lyrics for this song.

12. What are the bands favorite songs?

Michael Stenberg: Each track stand out on it`s own as well as fitting nicely in with the others. With the risk of sounding cocky, we love all of the songs... there's a song for every mood and it's rather impossible to choose a fave.

Björn Luna: I couldn't agree more. However, I would like to point out "Gabriel" as a winner after all. I think we managed to create a really special mood / atmosphere on that particular song.

Michael Stenberg: I second that too.

13. What does the future hold for the band?

Michael Stenberg: I think there's no limit to how successful this band can get. We are 100 % confident about the music and ourselves. There are a lot of elements that has to work together at the same time to achieve success... things that we can't control... you have to have a real amount of luck of course.

Björn Luna: As I mentioned, we are working on the follow up to "Shapes of Spirits" as we speak, and I am very excited about the result so far. We have five songs ready, and the new album is really taking shape. I can reveal that we are going in a more powerful direction. More up tempo stuff, and more aggressive riffing. On the other hand, we are going the other way to. More calm and atmospheric stuff, that surely will outstand all of our previous recordings. The production will also be much better and more powerful.

14. If you could play with any band who would it be and why?

Michael Stenberg: I don't feel like playing with any other band than AtoA.

15. Who writes the majority of the music?

Michael Stenberg: I come up with 99% of the music and then Bjorn and I arrange it together. I usually have a strong idea of the direction of the song and I feel fortunate to have a companion like Bjorn who instantly hear the things I hear and that makes the working process very smooth. Most of the songs are made on my acoustical guitar.

16. Where did you get the band name from?

Michael Stenberg: I just played around with words really. I think the name fits us perfectly.

17. Describe what the band is like live?

Michael Stenberg: We have earlier spent a lot of money on fireworks, lights and so on to give the audience a visual thrill on top of the music. It's something we would like to continue to do but it's all a matter of finances really.

18. If you are gonna do any kind of video what would be in it?

Björn Luna: Naked chicks and monsters :)

Michael Stenberg: Naked monsters are supercool! :-)

Björn Luna: No, seriously I think when that time comes, the most important thing is to visualize the mood that is meant to be in the song. So it fits nicely together. It's also important to make something original, even though it is hard to differ in this overexposed world.

19. Are there any touring plans made; if so tell me about them?

Michael Stenberg: There are no touring plans for moment. I guess there will be when the second album is being released.

20. Where do you think the band will be 20 years from now?

Björn Luna: Intriguing thought. I hope we still have the same eager to play then like now. And I think either way we go musically, we'll always stay independent, and make intelligent and mature music. Right On!!!