‘Sad, melancholic tunes make us feel comfortable,’ says Swedish musician

‘Sad, melancholic tunes make us feel comfortable,’ says Swedish musician

‘Turkish fans always welcomed us warmly. When we come to Türkiye, our expectations are always high,’ says Joel Ekelof of Soen band

By Omer Faruk Yildiz

ISTANBUL (AA) – Sad and melancholic tunes make us feel comfortable as “we love to dwell in mystery,” said Joel Ekelof, a Swedish musician, in an exclusive interview with Anadolu.

Ekelof, a vocalist for Swedish progressive metal group Soen, told Anadolu about the making of the group, its style, the artists that inspired it, and the emergence of the duet they made with Fuat Guner from MFO, a Turkish pop and rock band.

Ekelof said that they formed the band with the former drummer of the Opeth and Amon Amarth bands, Martin Lopez, in 2010, adding: "Martin had a few demo songs, like metal demo songs. And when I heard it, I was like, let's put in clean vocals and see what happens and just something happened. Metal music with the clean vocals together, blend that into something new. And that was unique enough so that we could start the Soen.”

On deciding the band’s name, Ekelof said that Lopez called him one day and asked what would he think if they called the band Soen.

“We knew we didn’t want something specific because it's so tiresome,” said Ekelof, adding he agreed on Soen.


- ‘Turkish, Arabic and Latin music inspires us’

Ekelof emphasized that the members of Soen were inspired by many musicians.

He said that he is generally inspired by bands like Alice in Chains and Pink Floyd, as well as Latin folk music.

“Martin, on the other hand, was very influenced by Arabic and Turkish music. Middle Eastern music influenced him in the environment he grew up in. He even suggested that I listen to Ibrahim Tatlises once. I liked him too. As you can see, not only metal music but all kinds of music inspire us.”

Ekelof also touched upon the criticisms Soen gets for their music being emotional, saying: “We chose it from the start. We have never been afraid of having dark music and a little bit of aggressive music, and also very emotional music. And those that can actually blend together.”


- ‘Sad, melancholic tunes make us comfortable’

Ekelof said that there are many bands in Scandinavian countries.

“I think what separates Swedish music from the rest of the world is that it's quite melodic. If you just take an overview, you know, it carries a lot of melodies, and maybe that's because, in Swedish tradition, we always have a lot of melodies everywhere.”

He said that metal music is popular in Sweden because it has a comforting effect on people.

“It's dark and cold here. And we love to dwell in mystery. When you're a kid in Sweden, these bedtime lullabies are very sad, so, in a way we're just brought up with that. It's comfortable for us. It's a funny contradiction,” he added.


- Duet with Fuat Guner of MFO

Ekelof said that they met Fuat Guner from the Turkish pop and rock band MFO last year in Stockholm.

“He visited us and we were singing together. We made a show for Turkish television. He is the most loving person I met. It's fantastic. We had a good, very good chemistry in Stockholm when we met and when we came back to Istanbul, we asked him if he would like to be a guest on our show,” he said.

“And then we actually sang a song by MFO, Vurgun Yedim, together. He's just a very lovable person. And I think our friendship will last long,” he added.

Ekelof also said that he was deeply saddened by the death of MFO's Ozkan Ugur last month and wished members of the group continue music in his absence as well.

Emphasizing that they are always happy to include Türkiye when they are on a tour, Ekelof said: "Turkish fans are among the best in the world. Istanbul is one of the most important cities for us. There is a special bond between Soen and Turkish fans. They have always welcomed us warmly. That's why when we come to Türkiye, our expectations are always high."

Soen will meet with their fans in Türkiye on Sept. 3 at Zorlu PSM as part of its "Atlantis Live" European tour.

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