Konstantinos –mindcrimek- Vlachos tries to contain himself for the new album of the Norwegian progsters Conception. Roy Khan and Tore Østby talk about their return, the album «State of Deception», and a live performance that was cancelled 23 years ago…

Rockpages.gr: We’ve missed you guys! Was that big gap just a huge break?

Roy: Let’s just call it that. Feels great to be back anyways! 🙂

Tore: A pretty long break one could say, and then we took a break from the break to do some shows in 2005.

Rockpages.gr: What made you bring back the band again? Who was the first one that brought the idea and was it easy to make it happen?

Roy: Tore played me some basics for songs three years ago that we felt could fit Conception well. We went ahead and did five different writing sessions up in the mountains and ended up with the songs for the EP that came in 2018 and now also the new full lengther «State of Deception».

Tore: It was in the cards that we would create new music together sooner or later, and we all felt the time was right.

Rockpages.gr: Two decades later is there still passion and lust for music?

Roy: Absolutely! I don’t think we’d even consider doing this if we weren’t still hungry.

Tore: The passion for music is constant, and it almost felt like we were back in the 90s when we started writing again.

Rockpages.gr: Is this new material, or stuff you’ve written in the past? Maybe some old riffs etc?

Roy: The basic guitars and harmonies of «Waywardly Broken» were actually written back in the early 2000s when Tore and myself still lived in Oslo. Tore also started working on «Feather Moves» while he lived in France a little later. Most of these songs are brand new material though.

Tore: Some parts of “She Dragoon” was jammed out with Arve in the early 2000s as well, but the rest is written in its entirety during the later years.

Rockpages.gr: Did you follow a specific way of writing music this time? All together jamming, or the main parts of each composition was ready before you got into the studio?

Roy: The main part of each composition is pretty much always set before we hit the studio. Here and there we even keep little parts from the demos. Things are refined all the way up to the last minute of production however.

Tore: In most cases I put the basic music together first, then we continue working to them together and Roy is normally jamming out his vocal lines during our mountain cabin writing session. Then we continue refining the songs all the way up until the recordings are complete.

Rockpages.gr: I loved the general dark atmosphere through out the album but was this reflected in the lyrics too? I noticed some hints of hope here and there

Roy: Spite many a thing to worry about these days we have to look forward and allow ourselves to fight for our own existence. Hope is a helpful tool in that regard.

Rockpages.gr: Seth Siro Anton is responsible for the beautiful artwork. Did he managed to catch what you had in mind?

Roy: He did an awesome job on the cover for «My Dark Symphony». I barely thought he’d be able to do another one as dark, cool and beautiful again, but on «State of Deception» he actually took it a step further. Different altogether, but unmistakably Seth style. Perfect match for this set of songs.

Rockpages.gr: In 2018 I got excited because you brought back nostalgic memories of a band I loved in the 1990s. But now I’m really happy with the full length and I can proudly put it next to your old iconic works. Do you also see the connection with your past?

Roy: There will always be connections to the past. Some are easier to see than others. It truly makes me happy that you like our new album.

Tore: Thanks you very much for your compliments! We have been on a musical journey since our first album, always exploring new ways to express ourselves. The Ep and the new album feels like a natural continuation of this journey, based on all the experience we have had in life an music between the records.

Rockpages.gr: You decided it to take care of the production but also the release of the album yourselves. Is freedom the most important thing for an artist?

Roy: Freedom and control over our own time and careers is the key element, but we have had some tremendous moments in connection with the crowdfunding campaigns. We are super thankful to everyone whom have helped us realize this.

Tore: It has always been important for us to have creative control. Doing the production ourselves also let us be in control of the sound. We have put together a professional team working for us to be able to handle all the business aspects around the release and live performances. If we would do everything ourselves, there would be no time for music…

Rockpages.gr: It seems the fans got excited. Did you notice the same thing during your recent listen-party? Would you consider to play a couple of songs live from the studio or at home now that there are no gigs due to the pandemic, or you’d wait until next year and your scheduled dates?

Roy: Fans seem very excited about the new album. It gets really good reviews all over the place too. Second to everyone’s well being I hope people take the time to enjoy «State of Deception» as much as possible before we eventually hit the road again.

Tore: We are situated in different countries, and with the current boarder restrictions we can’t get together for the time being. We will see if we can do some live streamed event soon, and then we will have to take things as it comes.

Rockpages.gr: Will we finally see you here in Greece? One of the biggest disappointments for me was back in 1997 when you didn’t come with Stratovarius. 23 years of waiting are more than enough! 🙂

Roy: Aaaah….don’t remind me of that Stratovarius tour – haha :)) We will definitely play in Greece at some point – and I agree; 23 years is really more than enough. Stay safe and healthy until we meet!

Tore: Yes, that was extremely disappointing for us to. We were all prepared and ready to leave for the tour when we were told we could not be part of it after all. I really look forward for us to finally perform on stage in Greece!