Radio Rivendell interview (10/6 2012)

Last interviewed by Radio Rivendell in 2007, Lost Kingdom has continued to create inspiring and unique music. With a classical style, the brothers Daniel and Mikael Tjernberg have composed and produced several albums. Radio Rivendell revisits to discover what they have been up to since we last spoke with them.

Radio Rivendell (RR): Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed! Could you give a brief description of your music to our newer listeners, or those who are not acquainted with your compositions?

Daniel (D): Well, thanks for having us! The music of Lost Kingdom is first and foremost orchestral music, not rarely centered on fantasy worlds and tales. The aim is never the big and bombastic, nor the cliché of a specific orchestral setting, but to always have the music evolve depending on what feeling or story is to be told. That being said, we tend to emanate from a Viennese classical orchestral setup.

Mikael (M): Musically speaking, the influences are plentiful and diverse, and we think that should be pretty obvious when listening to our music. Hence, a Lost Kingdom album opened by a track of more or less traditionally orchestral, romantic style can be followed by a jazz song, or something more contemporary – almost approaching 20th century popular music – or by a track with its tone language in Nordic or Northern European folk music. However, we always strive to strike that balance, where there’s a certain amenity in the mix of styles, genres and influences. We don’t want you to feel like you’re listening to a compilation of music by a regiment of composers, but the music should have a certain amount of uniformity. The “Lost Kingdom-sound”, thus, has little to do with sound picture, sonic landscape and basic interpretational choices, but is to be found in the bigger picture where all the different compositional choices come together to form a bigger whole.

RR: What have you been up to since then?

D: We’ve been introduced to the art of writing for the movies. Most recently, we’ve written music for The Chronicles of the Black Monks, a Swedish film project starring Swedish actor Per Ragnar among others. The story is quite inspiring and the writing process therefore has been both enjoyable and rewarding. Currently the film is in post production, and we’re eagerly anticipating the outcome.

RR: Have any new albums or E.P.s been produced, and if so, can you talk to us a little about them?

D: The music we wrote for The Chronicles of the Black Monks caught the interest of Waerloga Records, and we soon received word that they were interested in publishing an original motion picture soundtrack. We accordingly began reworking and arranging the musical ideas into separate thematic tracks, and the resulting album is available through Waerloga Records since the beginning of the year.

M: The release is made as by “Daniel & Mikael Tjernberg”, as to separate it from an album in the Lost Kingdom suite, but Lost Kingdom-followers should feel quite at home nevertheless. The music has its emphasis in an orchestral setting, but you will hear jazz, folk, contemporary as well as other influences from track to track.

RR: What instruments are you using now, and have you had a chance to utilise a live choir yet?

D: As mentioned, we have a certain orchestration which we tend to emanate from, but in the end, that orchestration very rarely is the same as the one we began with. The philosophy is to let the music dictate what means are necessary for it to communicate itself. That being said, our standard setup is a more or less Viennese classical orchestra: woodwinds (flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons), brass and percussion (horns, trumpets, timpani) and strings (1st and 2nd violins, violas, violoncellos and double basses); we more often than not also tend to throw a piano in there.

M: The size of the sections vary quite a lot, but a common model for us is that of 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons; 4 horns, 2(3) trumpets; 1 percussionist (timpani); piano; strings (the size of the sections varying so greatly, that mentioning a standard formula wouldn’t serve a purpose). As for a live choir, we have not had the opportunity to work with one as of yet, but this certainly is something we are looking into and are eager to incorporate into our music.

RR: In your previous interview, you stated that composers such as Beethoven, Bartok, Wagner, and Stravinsky inspire you. Yet I feel your music has more of a Baroque feel to it. Have the likes of Mozart, Bach, and Handel influenced your works at all?

M: Certainly, there are baroque influences in our music. In The Bridge over Grudhok (available on the compilation Radio Rivendell,Vol. 2 as well as on the 2008 Lost Kingdom album As the New Dawn Awakes), this is obvious. Another example of strong baroque influences is The Meeting from our second album Meant for Great Things (2010). The influence of Johann Sebastian Bach is always present, if not directly (as in the given examples) so indirectly, as his legacy can be traced in the music of our later musical influences.

D: And the music of Mozart (not to be classified as baroque but rather Viennese classical, I would argue) is always inspiring and enjoyable, too.

RR: Perfection is important to you. Has this caused delays or friction at all?

M: Undisputedly so. Had the choice been fully ours, there never would have been a single Lost Kingdom-release. You always feel like you don’t want your ideas to go into that final stage, but you want that evolving phase to kind of be a part of it.

RR: Can you describe the philosophy behind your music?

D: The philosophy behind the music of Lost Kingdom is to let the music take you on a journey. Whether being for a brief visit by a pouring stream or for portraying the drama of a raging battle, we feel that the music let us express these settings.

M: And we’ve always wanted to be able to tell stories, an urge to express ourselves. It’s not as intellectual or thought-out as it may sound though, but rather a more or less natural thing.

RR: There is a lot of discipline and precision in your music. Does this reflect your personality traits?

D: When it comes to music, we’re both finical perfectionists. In everyday situations though, we can be pretty sloppy, often causing a mess of coffee stains and whatnots at our workplace.

M: It’s a matter of priority, I guess. And besides, coffee stains do have a certain appeal to them.

RR: In the last interview, history was touched upon as being inspiring to you. Are there any particular events or periods that stand out, and could you explain why?

D: The medieval time truly is inspiring. There are so many strong ingredients: brave warriors, power-hungry kings and rulers, the friction between the social classes, the haunt of the plague… a lot of it is part of our actual history, other are fictional or fantasy inspired, the common denominator being the medieval setting.

RR: Do any fiction and fantasy works give you inspiration?

M: The entire Lost Kingdom suite is more or less fantasy inspired. There are no specific fantasy work giving us the inspiration, but it’s more of a mashup of impressions we’ve drawn from different worlds and eposes.

RR: What are your ambitions for Lost Kingdom?

M: There have never been a particular goal or specific ambition, the incentive rather being the conviction in music as the only truly universal language: an unsurpassed form for communicating expressions and feelings.

D: We would never be comfortable in not evolving, though. You could say that there’s an ambition in refusing not to surpass previous efforts with the new ones.

RR: Do you have any musical side projects?

D: Besides working on a third Lost Kingdom album, another major project at this time is a musical sci-fi/space odyssey under the working title of Cosmic Connections. You should expect a jazz/fusion oriented approach with appreciable elements of progressive rock, folk and ambient. Moreover, we’re both somewhat involved in two additional projects, namely those of metal bands Dark Legacy and Korseld respectively, both of which are currently recording material in our Goatman Studios.

RR: Are you involved in anything else creative besides your music?

D: I paint. There are primarily comics and comical illustrations, but from time to time drawings as well.

RR: Finally, the obligatory daft question. If you could live in any fantasy realm as any creature, what would it be, and why?

D: If only for one day, I guess there’s no point in being too cautious about it. I would find it interesting to live a day as a dwarf – perhaps that would give me new perspectives on some matters! Besides, I’ve always felt dwarves are to be respected for what they can achieve despite their bodily shortcomings.

M: I would be interested in some kind of supernatural power. The question is, would seeing into the future be limited to this particular day? I would be too afraid of using it otherwise! Being a big enthusiast for the beauty of nature, I’d choose to be an elf and live in Rivendell or Lothlórien for a day.

10 June, 2012 – Elrond
(Thanks goes to Lilu for the question writing).

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