We recently covered the excellent new release Crossroads from Portrait (our review of which can be seen here). Interested to find out more about the band, we caught up with guitarist Christian for a chat.
Can you introduce yourself and tell me a bit about the band?
Hello, I am Christian Lindell, guitarist of Portrait. We are a heavy metal band from Sweden and we have been going on since 2006. We have released three albums of which Crossroads is the latest one. Right now we are celebrating the fact that the album is out and we are in the middle of preparing for upcoming tours, so beware!
You recently released your excellent new album Crossroads – can you tell me a bit about the writing and recording process of it?
Sure, me and our drummer Anders Persson started to write songs in November or October 2012 and we had a very inspired 6 month period when everything was written. The other members were also involved of course and for example bassist Mikael Castervall wrote the song Ageless Rites. Everyone really had their say and were eager to contribute this time around which is quite different from how things have been happening on our previous releases, where it was mostly me and ex-guitarist Richard who wrote everything, and then presented already finished songs to the others. The recording part is not that interested, but we used three different studios in the southern part of Sweden and then mixed everything in Necromorbus Studio, and I really like the production of the album. It is clear and yet has a lot of atmosphere to it.
I felt it had quite an old-school feel to it, yet it still retained a fresh and modern feel throughout – would you say that’s what you set out to do?
Yes, I understand what you mean. To us, heavy metal is timeless music and of course we want the production to go hand in hand accordingly. Heavy metal is not something belonging in the past, it is just as relevant today as it was in the 70’s and 80’s.
Were there any tracks that were more of a challenge to complete than others?
The song Lily took the longest time to finish. We had quite some different versions of the arrangement for that one until we found what we thought was perfect.
What track are you most proud of?
I would say Lily here too. It is the strongest song I have ever written, on many levels.
My favourite track is Black Easter – could you tell me a little more about that one?
Black Easter was written mostly at the rehearsal place. I came up with the intro/main riff of the song and we took it from there. The song turned out pretty theatrical so I wanted the lyrics to tell some kind of story as well, so we asked our friend Peter Svensson to write something based on James Blish’s book Black Easter and he delivered really quick.
Any interesting stories from the studio?
Not really, when we were finally there we tried to focus on the recordings, but we had some troubles before starting. Our drummer hurt his back and could not play at all for some month, and when the drums were recorded and it was time for guitars and bass, a storm hit Sweden and of course some trees fell upon the studio, knocking out all electricity for weeks so we had to postpone things even more. Really annoying, but they won’t break us…
If you could collaborate with any artist or band, who would it be and why?
I think we could do something together with Swedish band RAM because we have the same outlook on what heavy metal is, how important it is and how important it is that bands like us and them don’t let go of the genre.
If you could choose an animal to represent Portrait, what would you choose?
Easy one: snake.
And if Portrait could put their name to any product, what would it be?
Probably a knuckleduster made out of martial lead.