FEBRUARY 12th 2016

Welcome to Metaltitans, Guardians of Metal Entertainment Worldwide, we are here with Samuel Nyman of Swedens Manimal. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview for us and the fans.

Thanks for having me, Rita.

1. First I would like to know how you came to be called Manimal. If I search it, the first thing that comes up, a TV series that focused on a man who could change shapes into any animal he wanted. Does this have anything to do with your band name at all ?

Our idea of the band name was to basically use the combination of “man” and “animal”, and we really feel like we can relate to the name. In some way, our music brings out the animal within us, expressed through the rhythm of drums, guitar riffs and primal screams. But I guess that’s all natural. I mean, after all we’re all animals, aren’t we? By the time when we chose the name Manimal, we weren’t aware of the TV series with the same name. So it has nothing to do with it.

2. Tell us how each of the band members came to be in the band .. yourself, Henrik Stenroos, André Holmqvist and Kenny Boufadene….

When I joined the band back in 2001, Henrik and our former band members, Richard and Pether, had already been playing together for many years. Together the four of us formed Manimal. When Richard and Pether decided to leave the band a couple of years ago, we started to search for a new drummer and bass player and found André and Kenny.

3. Your first album The Darkest Room which was released 2009, and right away hit the charts in Sweden, what do you think put you up there ?

Firstly, we had made a good album, which people apparently liked. Then, by hard work, we managed to get the word out on the street, making people aware of the album. And with a little bit of coincidence and luck on top of that and the chart entry was a fact.
4. You have a new album "Trapped In The Shadows" about to be released January 22 by AFM Records, tell us what we can expect to hear on this album ?

To try concretize the sound of the album in a way most metal fans can relate to, you could say it’s an unholy fusion of Judas Priest and Queensrÿche. The album is characterized by solid grooves, heavy riffs and strong vocal harmonies often delivered in high-pitch, in true power metal spirit. Then add a moderate dose of melancholy and you’ve got what we like to call “The Manimal-sound”, and that’s what the album’s all about.

5. Why do you have a more melodic sound, over others ?

Because we’re suckers for harmonies. Simple as that.

6. "Irresistible" is the music video you picked to be the first single off the album, how did you go about picking this song over the others ?

Irresistible: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aZw645XebaQ

Irresistible shows a side of Manimal that we wanted to expose. The song’s pretty straight forward and uncompromising, which makes it easy to like. The main riff is hard and heavy and the song has a simple and sticky chorus that stays with you already after the first listening. Also, our video producer Chris Westerstrom had a vision of a story for a music video, for this particular song. So, the decision of picking Irresistible as the first single was pretty easy, I must say.

7. You have a guest vocalist on this one, Udo Dirkschneider (U.D.O. / ex-Accept), tell us why you chose to have UDO as the guest vocalist, as there are so many talented vocalists out there ?

Sometime after a tour we did with U.D.O, we wrote this song - a ballad more or less, which was meant to be a duet. And even though Mr Dirkschneider’s not mainly known for doing ballads, we believed he’d fit perfect on this specific track. So we sent him the song along with a request, and he accepted it!
Udo has been an idol for us ever since we were kids. We are very happy and proud to have him singing on our album.

8. Achim Koehler (Primal Fear/Brainstorm/Sinner) handled the mixing and mastering, did he do the first album as well, and that is why he was chosen ?
It was the Swedish producer Tobias Lindell (Europe/Avatar/Lost Horizon) who mixed our debut album, so it was the first time we got to work with Achim, now with our second album. For long we had admired Achim’s previous work with bands like Primal Fear and Brainstorm, for example. And we are extremely satisfied and grateful for his work on mixing and mastering our album. It came out exactly as we’d pictured it – Heavy and punchy. To work with such a talented, humble, nice guy was certainly a true joy.

9. Who wrote the lyrics for this album ?

All lyrics of the album was written by me alone, with two exceptions - the song “Psychopomp”, which was written by our drummer André and the song “The Journey” which was co-written by me and our former drummer Richard.

10. Where did the inspiration come from to write ?

The lyrics of this album follows the same dark path as on the debut. Like many other songwriters I find inspiration in things I see and hear in my everyday life. I often tend to return to “death” as an inspiration and topic for many of my lyrics. Death’s always present in our lives. If not in our closest surrounding, then on distance through media. Another recurring topic is mental illness, in different forms. Both death and mental illness are interesting, but yet frightening subjects to dig in to and write about. It’s also something we all can relate to, in some way. 

11. You know I have to say, that I always thought that no ‘one’ vocalist could ever replace Bruce Dickinson when it came time for him to retire, and I will say, I was wrong, after listening to this in the background as I write up the interview. You could definitely fill his shoes. Great voice. Would you ever consider doing that if the opportunity came up ?

To be compared to the mighty Bruce Dickinson is a huge compliment to me. Thanks! But the choice would not be obvious, if I had received the question of filling Dickinson’s shoes. He’s the singer of a legendary, almost iconic, band. And members of bands like that are always hard to replace. You will always be compared with the “original” singer and you risk not being accepted by the band’s fans. Just look at Blaze Bayley – he’s a great singer, but was never completely accepted by the Iron Maiden fans.
But man what an honor it would have been just to receive the request of replacing the singer of a band like Iron Maiden.

12. Who was the artist who created the album cover ?

It was Mattias Norén. Mattias is probably mainly known the artwork he’s created for bands like Evergrey, Kamelot and Sabaton and since long we’ve been fans of Mattias works, so it came natural to ask him to create the album cover.
13. Did you use that artist for the first album as well ?

No, the cover artwork of our first album was created by a Swedish illustrator called Michael P.

14. How did the cover come to be, what was the inspiration behind that image ?

We wanted to create a character which would incorporate the combined concept of man and animal. Our guitarist, Henrik Stenroos, came across the Egyptian character Anubis. However, since ancient Egypt is quite far from the ordinary MANIMAL lyrics we then decided to contact Mattias Norén and asked him to create something new around the given loose basic idea. The story behind the handheld heart and feather derives from the story of Anubis who leads the newly deceased persons to the afterlife and presents them before the Scales of Justice where their hearts, i.e. their life deeds, will be judged. Furthermore, the heart also connects our first album's cover art with this album's dito. What you now see is the result of weeks of developing the new MANIMAL character.

15. Do you yourself have a favourite song out of the 10 ? If so why that one ?

One of my favourite songs of the album, right now, is “Psychopomp”. The songs has it all – soft parts, heavy parts, fast parts and a strong chorus.

Is there anything that you would like to add to this interview that I might have missed asking you ?

Not really. I think you covered it all J

Tack så mycket (Thank you very much) for taking time to do this interview with us here at Metaltitans, and we wish you much success with "Trapped In The Shadows".

Thank you Rita.

One last question if you are a Star Wars fan ... did you see the new movie "Star Wars the Force Awakens", and did you enjoy it ?

I haven’t seen it yet, but I will surely do so.