Oslo’s FLIGHT originally started out as a trio in 2012 with Chistoffer Bråthen on guitar and vocals, Jonas Bye on bass and Herman Holen on drums. FLIGHT’s overall sound is rooted in classic late 1970s heavy rock, with inspirations drawn from Judas Priest especially. With their new album “A Leap Through Matter” they strengthen that bet with an addictive and classic sound.
Hello Chris! Flight started as a trio but you completed the line-up with a second guitar in 2013, right?
Hello! I think that’s right. We weren’t quite sure what line-up we would have in the start, so we started with three people, seeing as that is basically what you need to have an OK sound at rehearsal – drums, bass, and one person doing guitars and vocals. But I was never a singer, so we didn’t really have any vocals until maybe a year after we started. We first had a good friend of mine test his singing skills for the band, but it didn’t really work out. So yeah, maybe after a year or so I started singing, and we got a second guitarist to complete the sound – The Kribb.
Afterwards, you recorded your first album “Flight”, did you have your ideas clear from the beginning about your sound?
Yes, I think our vision for the sound was pretty clear from the start. Judas Priest’s album Sad Wings of Destiny was basically saving my life in late 2012/early 2013, with its beautiful clear sound, the heaviness mixed with pure sensitivity really got me. So heartful and fragile, yet heavy and solid as fuck. So we all had a love for 70’s/early 80’s heavy metal, but it really got focused in on the sound of Priest, that type of sound I just described, maybe because we felt that even though almost every weird branch of heavy metal was sort of filled with bands, that heartful, sensitive, yet heavy and solid style was lacking. So the sound – from the type of lyrics, to guitarstyle, guitarsound and overall style for the album – was pretty much decided in our head from the start. Did we succeed in getting that sound? I think to some degree – yes – but the drum sound was off, we should have had better vocals, and some more interesting twists and turns in the songs.
It was premiered at London’s “Live Evil” festival, how was the experience?
That was great. All the gigs are getting mixed in my head, so I don’t really remember the specifics of each night, but the overall feeling of Live Evil is awesome. A very cool festival, with great people and great bands. I think that was the time we discovered Bashful Alley in the record collection of the Amulet-guys. We discovered the Bashful Alley song Running Blind and realized that that was exactly the feeling we were trying to create in our sound, with some of that minor 7-chords, and “memories of a forgotten time that you remember even though you have never experienced it”-kind of vibe.
On november 23rd you are realesing your second album “A Leap Through Matter”, in my opinion it shows a big growth and much work behind
That’s right! I’m glad that it shows big growth, because that was what we were going for, and all the songs have been approached with a more adult attitude when it comes to writing, structuring – “killing your baby”, and so on. We worked harder on it, were focused on the details, and at least I had the attitude that if this was maybe gonna be the last album we did, then I had to put my whole soul into it. I was satisfied with the material for the album from the start, and felt the pressure in the studio to perform to the standard that the material needed, although that was a difficult thing to try to do. I think that’s a challenge for every artist; having a perfect vision of the creative product you want to create, and at the same time feeling the lack of skill in performance to achieve the end you have in mind. Hard work, structure and genuine inspiration seems to be the most important things for a creative person wanting to achieve his or her ends.
For those who hasn’t had the chance to listen to your music, we could define Flight’s sound as classic heavy rock, right?
I think that’s approximately right, although you would of course miss some nuance with that description. ‘Cause I don’t think the songs sound like the standard prejudiced idea of “classic heavy rock”. We may start with a “classic heavy rock”-riff to make the foundation for a song, but I tend to then add more jazzy chords that probably wouldn’t fit the standard idea of heavy rock, or compose the riffs in ways that are somewhat unusual for that genre. And I have actually been more influenced by 70’s soft rock the last 3 years and therefore also on this album, and have actually used alot from that style in making my songs on this album. So maybe “classic heavy rock with a soft and occasionally jazzy twist” would point more to the truth, although that would probably repel 99% of our listeners, haha.
The new album shows a wide range of influences, from Judas Priest, Diamond Head to rock bands as Camel and always with a cool personal touch of your own
I’m glad you hear the Diamond Head and Camel inspiration! I sort of see a commonality between those three bands you mention in that they all can be put in their “classic heavy” or “classic prog” genres, but that still wouldn’t give them the praise they deserve, because they all have their “touch of their own”, as you say, that differentiates them from all the other bands that can also be put in that genre. So even though they don’t necessarily have the same special touch that Flight try to incorporate, they still have the commonality of “a special touch” as such, and maybe that is actually the reason why we are so influenced by them – because it fits our band-philosophy and vision better, or more accurately that they obviously took part in shaping that way of thinking for us. And to expand a bit more on the personal touch; I have fell in love with the slick, structured and “problem-free” sound, style and way of composing that many jazzy soft-rock bands have, so I hope that “slickness” can be noticed in at least some degree in some of the songs as well.
Anyone listening to your new album “A Leap Through Matter” could believe you are a band from England in the early 80s, instead of grown vikings from Norway
I take that as a huge compliment, and other people have actually said that as well – at least that it’s not obvious that we’re a Norwegian band. I like that. There’s a charm to having your background shine through in your creative endeavours, but I think Flight would have missed its vision if it had more of a Norwegian sound. So I’m glad to hear that, and I happily agree. As you can understand, my eclectic taste in soft music doesn’t really foster a strong viking..
This second label will go out through High Roller Records, no doubt those guys have the expertise but what else to make you choose them?
Having had bad experiences with labels in the past (as most bands have, I guess), we wanted someone trustworthy and generally known for releasing cool bands, both old and new. High Roller fits us perfectly in that regard. They seem professional and have released a lot of the albums we listen to, so that’s why we chose them.
How long did you need to finish “A Leap Through Matter”? Easier of more difficult than you expected?
It was pretty quick, and I think we should have used more time on it (as always). I think the drums were done in two days, the bass in two days, guitars took a bit longer, and the vocals took A LOT of time, haha. I don’t really sing that much, so we used a lot of time on getting the vocals right (or as good as I could manage, anyways), double-tracking, etc. The vocals were done in some days a week over several months. Salvador, our engineer/producer, helped a lot in that process. He was very hard and selective, and that yields results. But I think we all felt the material in itself as a sort of judge, and that we probably couldn’t live up to that ideal. From that point of view, I think we all did a great job, because pretty much everything was done and performed the way it should have been. So it wasn’t more difficult than expected, because at least I expected that we wouldn’t manage it at all, but we still worked our asses off to get it right.
I have to confess that, as a fanatic of classic heavy metal, I love how the guitars sound in your new album and the masive threads you are capable to build with them
That’s great, thank you! I think we got the sound we wanted for the guitars. I had in mind the 70’s sound of Priest, Rush, Winterhawk and generally a sound that was heavy, but could still leave a space open for details. It’s pretty massive at times, but still sneaky and thin some places. I’m most satisfied with the solosound, and think we got a good mixture of 70’s and 80’s feeling.
In all the songs you show layers and layers of tracks that give the composition that extra point of freshness
If you mean having different guitartracks with different playing complementing each other, then yeah, that was something I planned a lot on this album. And not only on the guitars, but having all the different instruments complement each other to make the best grooves was something I thought alot about. We have played many different versions of the songs to find the versions that ended up on the album, and that was a useful process to go through. Finding the place in the soundscape where all instruments complement each other instead of fighting for the sound can be a really useful guideline, not just to avoid the different instruments fighting for the sound, but also to make the instruments “lift eachother” together to make a sort of “union” or coincidence of opposites. I’m not saying we actually achieved that, but, to quote Jung, “the goal is important only as an idea”.
Song as The Traveller or Reviving Waves brings us near to the rock spectrum, you feel yourselves more as rockers or as the classic heavy metal act?
I think we’re really right in between! Just like we’re trying to find the middle way between instruments fighting for space and their divine union, we’re seeking the middle way between “too heavy” heavy metal and “too straight-forward” hard rock. That’s why I generally like the description “heavy rock”, because it keeps the straight-forwardness and sensitivity that is associated with “rock” (we all know that hard rock can be pretty damn sensitive), but adds the strength, magic and fantasy of the heaviness associated with “heavy metal”.
If you were back in the 80s you would pay to share stage with…?
Judas Priest! Of course. Motorhead. Saxon. Diamond Head. Kiss. Iron Maiden. Pat Metheny. Casiopea. The usual.
Bands as FLIGHT are the proof that heavy metal and classic rock are almost eternal?
Flight is at least one of the proofs that heavy metal and classic rock are just a few decades old! Haha. I’m thinking a lot about this. What will music be like in a hundred years? Are bands just doing almost the same thing over and over and over again? I think a lot of progress can be made and new styles can be investigated and tested, but it would be interesting to come back in the year 3000 and listen to some music. They’ll probably just say the same as us: “Damn, you just missed the great 70’s and 80’s!”
Plans to tour around?
No! Our focus was on this record, and then maybe focusing on making more albums in the future. A realization that death is always around the corner, and that time is limited, has made us shift our focus towards the act of making sustainable music that can be listened to (hopefully for some generations, at least). The short-lived happiness of playing on a stage can’t be weighed against the effort that is made for that short-lived happiness, and especially not against the ever-lasting happiness of continually working on making the music itself, and not re-rehearsing old stuff. For me, at least, that has become a regurgitation of the past, and I find it much more fulfilling to stay in touch with the continually evolving present moment. If time was more adjusted to our modern lives, than maybe it could be done, but as for now the enjoyment of the creative process of music-making is greater than touring. I’ll maybe never see Steely Dan play live, but damn, I can listen to Aja several times each day til’ I die, and be as happy as I can be. I’m eternally grateful for them spending all the time they did making that album (and many others) the best they could be, and I guess that’s also my philosophy.
Thank you very much Chris and congratulations for your second album!
Seeing as the last sentence in the previous answer ended on a rhyme, I think I’ll just say thank you for the great questions, and then I’m fine! Chris