Karin Axelsson - Sonic Syndicate - Back
Interviewer: Jeffrey D. Adkins

Falkenberg, Sweden is the home of modern metal band Sonic Syndicate. The Swedish metal veins run deep in this band and with the added shot of American hardcore adrenaline they have been blasting their brand of metal for five years now. After a series of demos they released their debut album, "Eden Fire," in 2005. At the time all members in the band were between 17 and 24 years of age. In the summer of 2005 with a contest and a record contract from Nuclear Blast on the line Sonic Syndicate pulled out all the stops and landed the contract with over 1,500 bands in the competition. In early 2007 they put this contract to use with their album "Only Human." Sonic Syndicate continues to grab metalheads attention in the scene and with a European and North American tour lined up they will present their form of metal to masses. Join me as I talk with bassist Karin Axelsson about their creation, her beginnings in music, their latest album and music video and much more. Itís time for the loud rumble of thunder known as Sonic Syndicate...

Metal Fanatix: Hey Karin! How are you and Sonic Syndicate doing?

Karin Axelsson: Hey there! We’re doing good. Right now we are having some time off touring. We’re just done with a small Scandinavian tour with Dark Tranquility which was a great tour by the way, and now we are just preparing for our Eastpak and US tours.

Metal Fanatix: Lets talk a little about the origins of the band. The beginning of Sonic Syndicate can be traced back to 2002, but under the name Fallen Angels. Can you tell me about the formation of the band, and what you set out to create?

Karin Axelsson: The band was formed in late 2002 by the three brothers Roger, Richard and Robin Sjunnesson. Set under the name of Fallen Angels, they started out with melodic death metal a la Swedish westcoast style. Changing members back and forth, recording three demos, finding their sound.

I myself as a bass player joined the band in 2004, the first time I met the guys I was actually interviewing them for our local magazine, little did I know I was going to be their new bassist. Anyway, Roland came in as our second lead singer about one and a half years ago and John, our drummer boy joined us a few months before that.

Our goal then was of course to see how far we could take the band and if we could make this our full time job. That of course is still the main goal today.

Slowly get our music out to the world, playing live as much as we can and having fun along the way.

Metal Fanatix: What was the reason for the name change? How did the name Sonic Syndicate get chosen?

Karin Axelsson: When the time came for us to release our first album “Eden Fire” we all thought that we really needed to do something about our band name. “Fallen Angels” didn’t suit us nor the music we created anymore. We needed something new, something modern, something that would make people wonder and somthing that no band had called themselves anymore. One day Richard came up with the name “Sonic Syndicate” and we all agreed that was it.

Metal Fanatix: If you had to describe Sonic Syndicate to some one who hasn’t heard your metallic onslaught what would you say to them?

Karin Axelsson: Two words – modern metal. For me that’s the best way to describe our music. I don’t wanna put ourselves in a box saying we’re playing this or that. We want people to get their own opinion. Modern metal, that’s it.

Metal Fanatix: I’m familiar with both your studio efforts. They are equally solid through and through. What tracks do you think are your strongest material?

Karin Axelsson: On “Eden Fire” I don’t really know, I don’t have a favorite track on that record. But if I would have to choose something fast it would be “Enhance my nightmare” because I got to sing in the chorus and that was fun.

“Only inhuman” on the other hand is a record that I am really happy with. My favorite track there is “Flashback”. I just love everything about that song, the lyrics, the way it feels to play live – it speaks to my heart.

Metal Fanatix: A couple years ago Nuclear Blast had a competition for recording contract. Out of over 1,500 bands that entered, Sonic Syndicate came out as a winner. How did that make you and the band feel?

Karin Axelsson: Unreal. It was hard to believe we won the competition. And it still is. We were all excited about the fact that we were in it, but to actually come out as the winners with a record deal with a label we’ve only been dreaming about singing with – that’s unreal. A dream coming true.

Metal Fanatix: “Only Human” was your first album recorded for Nuclear Blast. How was it working with Jonas Kjellgren of Scar Symmetry at Black Lounge Studios?

Karin Axelsson: Jonas is a very easy-going, nice guy. It was very nice working with him for all of us, and we would gladly do it again.

Metal Fanatix: My favorite tracks from “Only Human” are “Blue Eyed Fiend,” “Double Agent 616,” and “Denied.” The last of which, “Denied,” is the first single off the album. There has also been a video recorded for the song with distinguished producer Patric Ullaeus. What do you think of how it came out?

Karin Axelsson: I’m happy with the way it came out. Since it is our first one, we wanted it to be a presentation video of the band and I think we managed to accomplish that. Patric is full of ideas and very easy to work with. We also did our second video “Enclave” with him.

Metal Fanatix: Where does the band get inspiration from when writing songs?

Karin Axelsson: We are a very open minded band when it comes to music. All of us are kind of all music listeners. But for the inspiration of our writing I would say we get it from the Swedish metal scene mixed with alot of the American hardcore-metal.

But we also get inspiration from touring, people around us and the world itself.

Metal Fanatix: Who writes the majority of the material?

Karin Axelsson: I guess you could say that Roger is our main writer. He writes all the basic stuff, shows it to us and then we work on the rest together as a team. Richard is the brain behind all our lyrics and we never interfere with that.

Metal Fanatix: Does the band work on new songs while on the road?

Karin Axelsson: Yes we do, actually we are working on a couple right now. And at the moment we have some time off so we’ll start rehearsing new stuff very soon.

Metal Fanatix: What are Sonic Syndicate’s goals when playing live?

Karin Axelsson: To keep the energy up until there’s nothing left to give. On stage we want to interact with the audience as much as we can and give them the energetic poweful live show they came to see.

Metal Fanatix: Your band played some festivals this summer. Did you have a favorite? How were the Wacken Open Air Festival and With Full Force this year?

Karin Axelsson: This summer has been great, I’ve got to expierience alot of festivals that I’ve never been to before. Wacken and WFF being two of them. Our first big festival gig was at Full Force and that is actually my favourite one this summer. The audience were amazing and the show was alot of fun. Of course playing at one of the two biggest stages on Wacken for the first time is a feeling that I can’t describe.

I can’t wait to next summer and new festivals!

Metal Fanatix: What bands have you had the most fun with when on tour?

Karin Axelsson: Well we’ve only been on one “real” tour, and that was our just finished one with Dark Tranquility. Before that we’ve just done alot of shows. You meet new bands everywhere and make new friends. It’s always fun to meet new people and mostly all of the bands are really nice and you wish you had more time to talk. The Dark Tranquillity guys are a really nice group of people and I look forward to charing the tour bus on Eastpak with them, and of course to meet the other guys in Soilwork and Caliban and the other guys we’re gonna be on tour with shortly.

Metal Fanatix: I see that you have some upcoming tours in Europe with Soilwork, Caliban, and Dark Tranquillity and a North American tour with Amon Amarth, Decapitated and Himsa. What do you expect from these tours?

Karin Axelsson: A lot of fun and new expieriences! It feels really good to be able to tour both Europe and America so shortly after our first release on such a big record label. I really think we’ll learn alot from these tours and I hope that we’ll gain new fans all over the world.

Metal Fanatix: How were you influenced to play the bass? Are there any other instruments you can play?

Karin Axelsson: When I joined the band I could barely play the bass actually. I’m a singer from the beginning, and in school I took both guitar and singing lessons. I can also play a little bit [of] piano but there I’m all self-taught. When the guys asked me to be their new bassplayer I said: sure I can try. Fortunately my mother is a bassplayer so we had a bass in the house for me to practice on before I bought my own.

Metal Fanatix: What do you see as the most important part of a bassist for a metal band?

Karin Axelsson: To keep it heavy and distinct. As I see it the bass and drums are two basic stuff and something for the rest of the band to rely on.

Metal Fanatix: Some bassists like playing with picks and others with their fingers. Do you have a preference? Why?

Karin Axelsson: I started out by using my fingers only. Later I wanted to learn to play with a pick instead to learn the difference and to have the ability to use both. Now I use a pick all the time.

Metal Fanatix: What are your personal music goals?

Karin Axelsson: I would like to see how far we can take Sonic Syndicate, and of course I would like to learn new stuff and become a better bass player as time goes on. My main goal though is to be able to have the band as my full time job.

Metal Fanatix: If we were to look into a crystal ball, what will we see Sonic Syndicate accomplish in the future?

Karin Axelsson: Well, if everything goes as planned we will continue this journey. Making new albums, touring around the globe, having the times of our lives.

Metal Fanatix: Well Karin, I’m just about to wrap things up. I want to thank you for the interview. However I have one last question for you. Do you have anything you want to say to the Metal Fanatix of the world?

Karin Axelsson: Really not much to say except thanks to all who support music and magazines. We just do what we love and are so happy to to come out and play for everyone, THANK YOU!

Metal Fanatix: Thanks! Later…METAL!!

To keep up with all the latest news & much more on Sonic Syndicate check out the following websites:

http://www.sonicsyndicate.com/ - Official Sonic Syndicate Site
http://www.myspace.com/sonicsyndicate - Sonic Syndicate MySpace Site

© Jeffrey D. Adkins September 2007 Not to be re-printed in any form without written permission.