Life in a band is full of unexpected twists and turns. For Swedish group Normandie last September proved to be a turning point. When their founding vocalist/screamer and bassist left, the remaining members re-evaluated and went to work on a new record which would eventually become ‘Inguz’. It is a record that sees the quartet shake off their metalcore shackles and taking on a “bigger is better” approach. Recent singles ‘Fight’ and ‘Collide’ demonstrate their intent through anthemic chorus and sky-high riffs. Over the course of eleven songs, Normandie take on the changes they have faced and produced an explosive and bold rock record.
With ‘Inguz’ set to be released later this month, Already Heard recently spoke to vocalist Philip Strand to discuss the line-up change, their new direction, the meaning behind the album title and more.
AH: Let’s jump straight into the album. ‘Inguz’ marks a new chapter for the band. Can you talk us through the changes Normandie have gone through?
Philip: In September, with almost half the album written, our screaming vocalist and bass guitarist (both founding members) left us. It came as a huge surprise and we didn’t see it coming at all. One of the main reasons, as far as I know, was that the lifestyle and commitment as a touring band wasn’t for them. Either way, we of course accepted their will to change and move on and had to have an emergency meeting about the future and the album and somewhere there INGUZ was born. “Where there is will, there’s a way” became our motivation to put out this record no matter the obstacles.
AH: The new record takes a more anthemic, bold approach. Who/what influenced the bands move in that direction?
Philip: It has always been my favourite genre. Me and Håkan actually talked a few years back about starting a side project that would sound like a mix of 30 Seconds To Mars, Coldplay, Kadawatha and Foo Fighters, and I guess it just became Normandie when we didn’t have any screamer left.
I have always loved melodies that grabs you by the balls. Melodies that haunts you for weeks and makes you wanna sing it loud on the subway, it’s just an amazing feeling.
AH: Although you’ve had a slight change in style, songs like ‘Fight’ still have heavy elements. What is important to still have that edge to the band’s sound?
Philip: ‘Fight’ is in my opinion as poppy as ‘Collide’, but just with a more aggressive tone that fits the lyrics. But I get what you mean, and yeah in some ways we wanted the transition to go as smoothly as possible for our old listeners. We still want to invite them to like our new record, and opening with a pretty heavy song is a way for us to say “Hey, we care about you, thank you for your support so far. Will you accept us for who we’ve become?
AH: We understand there’s an interesting meaning behind the album’s title. Care to explain?
As I mentioned in the first question, it became our strength to finish the record. ‘Inguz’ stands for change and to strive. Every song on this record is about change, and that made it easier to accept that two members left because they wanted change in their lives. Now we want to encourage people to make changes, to cut some ropes that holds them back.
AH: For new listeners, what impression do you hope they walk away with after hearing ‘Inguz’?
We want them to not be able to sleep because of all the melodies that they’ve got looping in their heads haha. Really.
AH: You’ve just released a video for ‘Collide’ which has already had over 13,000 views on YouTube. It must be reassuring that people are responding to the new songs?
Philip: Well, yeah of course, but it’s also a broader crowd so it’s hard to see if it’s better, but people seem more eager to write to us on social medias now to tell us how much they like it instead of just pressing ‘like’ or ‘share’.
AH: With your new style, how have you adapted your live show?
Philip: Well, first of all, I chose to have a hat in both videos and I guess that’s becoming a thing now with people saying that I’m a mix of Harry Styles and James Bay, and I can’t run around and go crazy on stage with a hat so I guess I’ll be less wild. But I just think that we’ll try to have a more personal connection to the crowd instead of just going bananas! Oh, and we’re not playing any of the old songs from the EP or singles ‘cause there is no way I can scream as good as Johan did.
AH: In terms of touring, can we expect to see Normandie over in the UK anytime soon?
Philip: Definitely. You can expect to see, hear, hug and fear Normandie in the UK later this year!
‘Inguz’ by Normandie is released on February 19th.
Words by Sêan Reid (@SeanReid86)