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10 Quick Ones with JONATHAN THORPENBERG from THE UNGUIDED – November 2017

According to a recent press release: “Those Swedes incubate a heavyweight of Melodic Death Metal which would freak out all Metalcore forerunners in their greatest era. With a sense for overwhelming hooks and sweet sentiments, their creamy guitars celebrate themselves! The new single and music video for “The Heartbleed Bug” is another amazing example!”  We get Jonahtan Thorpenberg to answer our 10 Quick Ones about new music, his influences, and more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets the band put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our latest release is quite special for us. First of all it´s the first full length release after Roland Johanssons departure so it is a huge step for the band both socially and musically. We really tried our best to introduce some new elements to the overall sound whilst keeping with tradition and not losing grip of what made us who we are in the first place. This is done in the music but there are also a bunch of nuggets in the lyrics, which are very eloquently crafted by Richard, that will probably remind the diehard fan of The Unguided´s past and give hints of our old songs and of our story together. For instance, there is a passage in the song ”Legendary” were Richard sings ”Unguided we were, Unguided we´ll be.” This passage is uttered during the outro of the song ”Hate (And other triumphs), which is the final song on the ”Lust and Loathing” album and has since become sort of a battle cry at our shows (and a pretty sweet hashtag at some occasions). It also reflects on the recent line-up change within the band. Even though some of the faces you see have changed over the years, we will still be The Unguided and the fans will always be a part of our great big family. This is just one of many, many examples of how the lyrics on this album reflects on the bands past and present.

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

To this day, I can still remember the first time I got blown away by music. My father is a guitarist since his childhood and ever since then he´s been really influenced by the late great Jimi Hendrix. Growing up in the 1990´s we regularly recorded TV-shows and movies to our state of the art VHS-player so that we could watch them again when we wanted to. One night they were showing Jimi Hendrix´s legendary concert from Woodstock 1969 and as a pleasant surprise my father recorded it and showed it to me the next day. Seeing Jimi with his band play with such an overwhelming display of feel, passion and attitude was truly awe-inspiring to say the least and I knew right away that playing guitar was something I simply needed to do in my life. That same night I grabbed and old tennis racket from our attic, painted some strings and pickups on a piece of paper, put it on the racket with some duct tape and played along all night. A few weeks later, as he noticed my passion for music was growing increasingly, my father bought me my first guitar: a child-sized Falcon Stratocaster that looked a lot like the one Mr. Hendrix was playing on Woodstock. Ever since that experience I have always known that I want to be a musician.

3. Who would be your main five musical influences?

When it comes to playing guitar, no one has had a greater impact on the way I play today than God (aka. Yngwie J. Malmsteen). When ever I feel uninspired I just bust out an old clip from ca. 85´ and let the creative juices flow. But there are of course other guitar players that really inspire me. Per Nilsson for his excellent blend of jazz fusion and metal (plus a vibrato that simply is divine), Jeff Loomis for his relentless shredding and originality as a player. But, let´s not forget that I also happen to sing and when it comes to vocals, a huge inspiration of mine is Bruno Mars. Yes, Bruno Mars. Bet you didn’t see that coming? It might even be a bit unsettling seeing a metal vocalist even mention a commercial pop artist as being influential. However, I have never seen a guy do what Mr. Mars does with his voice. The level of control, pitch, range and overall feel he brings is simply amazing and I try to bring the same level of passion into my own vocal performances, even though our musical genres and singing styles vary tremendously. Lastly, because I work as a music producer as well as being a part of The Unguided, I have to mention an influential person on the production side of things as well and that person is none other than Joey Sturgis. Not only has he produced some of the biggest names in the industry and created what could arguably be described as a unique and very recognizable sound but he proves, with his educational forum URM, that he also loves sharing his deep knowledge of the craft which is really inspiring to me. Would love to work with the man at some point of my career.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be?

Would be awesome to have a guitar-battle with God (aka. Yngwie J. Malmsteen) at some point even though I would most definitely lose, haha!

5. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before?

Metal. That is about as far I wish to go into the deep abyss that is ”styles of metal”. My opinion is that is better for the listener to decide what style we are.

6. What’s the best thing about being a musician?

The best thing about be a musician according to me is to constantly and actively pursuing your ambitions and your long and short-term goals in life. Whenever I´m on stage I feel as if there is no other place in the universe I should, or want to be and that I´m doing what I truly love. That to me really means everything.

7. When the band are all hanging out together, who cooks; who gets the drinks in; and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

I would cook (because it´s a hobby/passion of mine), Rille (our drummer) would provide the drinks since he has a large passion for craft beers and always shows some new favorites of his. Finally, I have a strong feeling that Henric would be the guy to pick up the good ol’ acoustic and play some campfire songs… and some really kvlt666 stuff as well.

8. If you weren’t a musician, what would be your dream job?

Chef. Without question!

9. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over”?

Ever since I was young I´ve been working very hard to be part of an established band, doing tours, albums and everything that entails. I’m fortunate enough to be living this scenario right now which I am more than grateful and happy about. It sort of feels like every choice I’ve had to make and every hardship I’ve encountered over the years has brought me to this moment. Thus, I wouldn’t wanna go back do anything that would change this position I´m currently in.

10. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Nevermore – This Godless Endeavor. This album, which came out in 2005, is easily the album that I’ve listened the most in my entire life. The songwriting, the performances, the production and the overall feel of the album is something that still tickles my sentimental senses to this day. Since it was also produced, mixed and mastered by Andy Sneap, which is one of my favorite producers, it would be really cool to see both him, Jeff Loomis (who was a part of Nevermore at the time) and the rest of the band put together the songs which became a part of my angry-and-misunderstood-teenage-soundtrack.

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10 Quick Ones with JONATHAN THORPENBERG from THE UNGUIDED - November 2017

Filed Under: Interviews

About the Author: ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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