Swedish formation Agent Side Grinder saw the daylight in 2005. Their previous and successful full length “Alkimia” was released in 2015. It took time to achieve their fifth album “A/X”, which also marks an important change in the line-up. Emanuel Åström became the band’s new singer. We all know it’s not an easy thing to move on with a new vocalist, but “A/X” (again released on Progress Productions) is a fully accomplished work. It reveals the band’s passion for the 80s mixed with a very personal touch. If their previous album already was a successful opus, “A/X” has the potential to do better. This is what Johan Lange has to tell us.
(Courtesy by Inferno Sound Diaries)
Q: Agent Side Grinder was set up in 2005, has released multiple productions and went through several line-up changes. How much of the early Agent Side Grinder do you still recognize in the newest album “A/X” and how did you see the band evolving throughout the years?
Johan: I hear all eras of ASG in “A/X”, both the early industrial stuff and the later more melodic and grandiose. We tried to distill the best parts of ASG into this album. We’ve developed our sound a lot through the years, from being punky minimalists to become very detailed, almost sophisticated. But the core has always been intact, you can always tell it’s a ASG record.
Q: “A/X” features your new singer Emanuel Åström. The singer often is the ‘image’ of a band so how did the integration happened and what has been the impact of Emanuel on the sound and influences of “A/X”?
Johan: Emanuel has a both personal and versatile voice and it’s inspiring to work with him, both on the new material and when re-working our older stuff. He helped us revitalize the band, that’s for sure.The collaboration has been great so far and for each concert he’s taking giant leaps.
Q: Let’s talk about “A/X”; what kind of album did you try to accomplish, what has been the impact of producer Jon Bordon and where do you place this album in the band’s discography?
Johan: We wanted to make an electronic album, keep it tight and harsh, with a cold European feel to it. We wanted to expand our sound, but yet not frighten old listeners away. Jon was great fulfilling our ideas and helped us both polishing the production and make it more sinister. “A/X” is a crucial album to us, it’s the rebirth of the band, but yet it ties it all together.
Q: The sound of Agent Side Grinder always has something ‘retro’ / 80s-like mixed with multiple other influences. What can you say about the impact of 80s music and other influences in your own creation and music?
Johan: The 80s is always present in our music, not just sound-wise or how we use analog synths etc, but also how we write music, we enjoy good old songwriting. But we’re not trying to recreate any era, instead we’re blending ideas from many periods to create something timeless.
Q: Two EP’s (cf. “Döppelganger” and “Stripdown”) have been released as teasers before the album. A clip has been made for each song. Tell us a bit more about both songs plus the impact of EP’s and clips today?
Johan: “Doppelgänger” instantly became important to us, both the lyrics and music. It paved way for the new incarnation of ASG, but mysteriously also connected to our past. “Stripdown” is more a straight-up, fun track with a lot of hooks. It took long to finish, but we always knew it was a single. The response has been great on both releases.
Q: Agent Side Grinder clearly is a live band. What kind of spirit do you try to create on stage and what’s the importance of playing live today?
Johan: We want to create an intense, strong experience for all senses. Our machines come alive on stage and the room is filled with strange and beautiful music.