1. Hello Vanguard and thank you for joining us at ALTvenger. Why Vanguard? How did you choose that name for your project? Can you tell us how the word Vanguard relates to you and your work?
Jonas: Vanguard is the forefront of an action or movement and I remember that we liked that, and also we did use a soft synth a lot during that time that is called Vanguard. I think the name fits our music.
2. Since your formation in 2008 it took a while for your first album “Sanctuary” to be released (in 2012). Was it a hard breakthrough process to the market that is already a bit saturated with electropop? Since you do have an audience of your own, it seems you suceeded, so how hard was it to get through to people and get recognition?
Jonas: Well, I think it’s always hard to get through as a new artist. But it also has advantages being a new band in a way. A lot of people are willing to give new bands a chance, often more than bands that have been around for a while but not really had had their breakthrough yet. It’s something new and fresh, or maybe Sweden is just a really good country that way, a lot of new bands get the chance to play live here in clubs and at festivals. About the market being saturated with electropop, I am not sure if that is true. There will always be room for new bands in every genre. One could say almost all genres are saturated with all the music and bands out there today, but as said, hasn’t it always been a bit like that? I think it’s good if there’s a wide selection of bands out there. I remember a lot of not so famous bands in the 80s and 90s too. Not to mention the demoscene..
3. I would say your music can be characterized as synth-pop/electro-pop. Would you add anything else to that definition? How do you see yourself in terms of music making?
Jonas: I actually prefer not to put a label on it, maybe that’s a boring and typical answer from a musician but we tend to spand between electro-pop to more more ebm-pop I guess.
4. Your first album “Sanctuary” is diverse in its general feel and differs from song to song, from some more melancholic tunes to some braver musical statements, but how about the lyrics? It seems that one theme is persistant throughout the album – sharing a lot of emotional thoughts. Are the lyrics a personal reflection or just fiction?
Jonas: We always try to write stuff that is personal. At times you try to describe a more general feeling and in some songs more a state of mind at a certain point in your life. Most of the lyrics are personal reflections though.
5. Only two years later “Retribution” was out. How much do you feel you grew as a band during those two years and how much did some new experiences in music making, playing live and even personal lives influence your musical evolution?
Jonas: Yes. I think we are growing as a band all the time, Retribution is different from Sanctuary because with Sanctuary we had songs made during a four year period and some of the songs were even older songs we made separately on our own. With Retribution we wrote new songs, together during two years. And Retribution is probably even more personal, it has a lot of reflections from that time in our lives. We worked a bit differently, and we grow all the time when it comes to figuring out how to get the sound we want to make the songs justice. Playing live did affect as well, but we usually do live versions of album songs that differ a little bit from the original.
6. You kept your sound very close to the first album, but there is a feeling that you wanted to push it a bit further into the dance direction that can be already heard on the opening track “On my Own” and even though you exchange those up tempo tracks with the slower and more emotional ones, the overal impression is that you did go for a bit more of a dancy sound. Can you comment on that?
Jonas: That can very well be true. On my own is more uptempo than say Goodbye from the first album. I think we wanted to do something more uptempo that would work good live, but still keep that album feeling and diversity with slower emotional songs as well.
7. Lyrically you kept the course, expressing the emotional side without any restrictions. Do you think people can relate easily with the lyrics or is it just your personal statement?
Jonas: I hope so. It’s not something we reflect on when we write the lyrics, then they are more personal feelings and reflections, but I think most people have experienced a lot of the things we describe in our lyrics.
8. You released a couple of videos. How much do you consider video making and visual statement an important part of your artistic expression?
Jonas: We know it’s important, and we hope we can make more and even better videos in the future. All visuals are important, some bands even become successful for their visuals alone. It’s something we are trying to develope all the time.
9. You recently released the single “I want to live” from the upcoming album “Never Surrender” where you once again prove you are on your way to make some serious dancefloor hits. What can we expect from the album?
Jonas: The album will be a definite Vanguard sounding album, people that like us already will recognize our sound, but we probably also made some changes. It will contain some more uptempo dancable songs but we also have included a few ballads.
10. As I have not seen you live yet, tell us what one can expect from your live performances.
Jonas: Live is another part we try to work with and develope all the time. At the moment me and Patrik do a lot of shows just us two but sometimes we also take in extra “live members” on stage. At the moment we play keys, drums and vocals live, both of us. And we are also trying out some new things that might appear on future live gigs. We are always trying to make it interesting to watch and interesting to do for ourselves. And we try to bring energy to the stage!
11. How much do you follow the scene yourself in terms of listening to other bands and where do you seek inspiration, in music or somewhere else?
Jonas: I grew up with this scene so I would say I follow it a lot. But with that being said it’s hard to follow everything. There are some bands we like a lot and that can be inspirational when it comes to development of their sound etc, but we also take inspiration from other sources. Other music, other things in life.
12. How do you feel about this kind of scene in general?
Jonas: The electronic scene? I would guess it’s like any other genre. About the scene in general, how it’s going to grow and renew itself, find it’s way to young people is another subject, a long one.. But we like the people that support this scene and keep it alive and everyone that works with giving new bands a chance, trying new concepts, people going to shows and supporting bands.
13. How present are you on social media and where can people turn for more information about your band and music besides your official web site http://www.vanguardofficial.com/?
Jonas: Yes, we use facebook a lot more but we try to keep the homepage fairly updated as well… you can find us at http://www.facebook.com/vanguardofficial
14. Any last words for your fans or us here at ALTvenger? 😉
Jonas: I hope you will all enjoy our new album that will be out at the beginning of the next year, and that if you get the chance, come and see us live. Also, all support is much appreciated.