Soen showcased they have started finding their own sound with their sophomore album. That was the next and the most important step for the band which was achieved excellently. The drummer and songwriter Martin Lopez talked to Grande Rock again and gave Soen’s new musical trademark as well as what’s to come – among other very interesting things…
Soen band pic 2014
Hi Martin… I’m pleased we’re given the chance to chat about your second album “Tellurian”, which made it (like the first one) into our “Gems” category! I guess it ain’t a coincidence huh?!!
M: Hopefully not. We worked really hard since “Cognitive” to write a better record on all fields and judging by ourselves, our audience and the media, we succeeded.
Let’s start with the obvious… Steve Digiorgio is not a part of the band anymore and he was replaced by Stefan Stenberg. Why’s that change? Did it have to do with the band’s live appearances?
M: It was only a geographical issue. We couldn’t fly him over to Stockholm for rehearsal/touring, and then get him over here again every time we started writing and recording new music. We needed someone who was available and Stefan is a great musician and has been with us since “Cognitive” so in many ways he was already a part of Soen…
Which were the criteria so as to recruit Stefan as the band’s bass-player? He surely has some big shoes to fill right?
M: We knew he could handle it, he has the mind and the skills needed. He has taken the task bravely and has been outstanding so we’re very pleased with how this turned out.
Can you tell that in these two years between your debut and this new album, Soen has become more cohesive and mature as a band?
M: Yes, we have had more time to develop and find our own way musically. That together with the experienced gained from the writing and recording of “Cognitive” helped us to develop further and make a better record.
You seem to have evolved both as a band and as songwriters but you are also building your own personal sound with every new step. What’s your say?
M: It comes naturally. We are still discovering what we want to sound like and discovering each other as musicians. The more we play together the more our identity shapes into something of our own.
Do you think that this Tool comparison on the debut is now of no importance as your music approach is more emotional, lyrical and atmospheric?
M: I love Tool, they’re a great band, and it’s flattering if people compare us to them but we’re far from them musically and lyrically now. Our music tends to be a little more straightforward and based on raw emotion.
What are the new elements that you introduce with “Tellurian”?
M: Keyboards. We used a lot of keys on “Tellurian”, also more percussion and a we focused a lot more on the flow of the songs.
What do you say to those who claim that Soen have become somewhat “pop” on the new album?
M: Pop? Really? We just wrote the music in the most honest way we could. I can understand if people see it this way since “Tellurian” does have more catchy parts than “Cognitive” did. But not because we were trying to do that, but because we did not censor ourselves when those parts came out. Still, if “Tellurian” is played on the pop charts please let me know. (i.n.: Hehehe…)
How did you come up with the album title “Tellurian”?
M: It was one of a few choices we came up with for the album title. We talked about it within the band and we all felt that, just as the artwork, the title “Tellurian” sort of held the same feeling that the music does.
The cover artwork is very imaginative and “bizarre” at the same time. That Rhino with a crown and it enjoys eating tiny humans… whatever. What’s your point of view?
M: It’s a beautiful piece of art, and the first time we saw it we felt that it somehow said the same things to the eye that our music was saying to the brain. Besides that we don’t want to point the way and ruin the perception of the beholder.
I know that you do not fancy talking about each track separately, but can you give us an overall idea about the lyrics of the album?
M: The lyrics are mainly our thoughts about the society, humanity and nature.
Once again you worked with the renowned David Bottrill (Tool, Smashing Pumpkins, Muse, King Crimson, etc.) for the album’s mixing. Kim Platbarzdis did the production and the mastering was done by the celebrated Adam Ayan (The Animals, Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Def Leppard, etc.). Did they all manage to deliver the desired sound – which the band had in mind initially?
M: Yes, they all did a terrific job. Like always, if you have more time you can probably get things a bit better, but we’re quite happy with the result.
What are the band’s touring plans?
M: We have a European tour between the 25th of February and the 4th of April. We do have plans for autumn as well, but nothing’s set.
When I asked you what your expectations from your debut album are two years ago you told me that you hope to reach a wide audience and broaden the minds of as many people as possible. Do you think that you have achieved that thing and what do you wish to achieve with “Tellurian”?
M: We want to reach an even wider audience and hope that “Tellurian” will find its way into the minds of our old fans, as well as new listeners.
Also in another question regarding if you’d like to please the fans and the press with your music, you told me that good music comes first but everyone is important too. Did you start working on “Tellurian” by having this thing on mind?
M: We still think that everyone’s important. But while writing the music there’s only what sounds good or bad for us and what fits the music on that very moment. Honesty is very important while writing and we can only be our own judges when creating our art. We can only hope our audience and the media share our taste and enjoy our art. Creating with sales in mind is something we’re not up to, manufactured emotion is shallow and following a pattern like that would kill our passion for the music we love.
Do you feel freer artistically/musically on Soen now than in the past? Was that another reason why you decided to go your own way at some point?
M: Of course. I write most of the music in Soen and that gives me total freedom to express myself artistically. We also share a vision within the band of what kind of band Soen should be and work together towards that goal pushing and supporting each other. Yes that was a huge part of why I decided to go my own way.
By the way what’s your opinion about Opeth’s new musical style and their latest album “Pale Communion”?
M: I think it’s great.
Is there any chance to see you back in Opeth someday in the long future? Not only as a permanent member, but as a live or album guest?
M: No, there’s no animosity between Mike, Mendez and myself, I love those guys and they were a very important part of my life but that chapter is closed and I’m not into melancholy trips. I feel happy and comfortable where I am and that’s all that counts. (i.n.: That’s an honest answer…)
Sone band pic 2014

Time for our “weird questions”!!! What do you think about this “Views, tweets & Likes” mania of our time?
M: Love and hate it.
Top 3 drummers of all time…
M: Horacio “El Negro” Hernandez, Dave Lombardo & Trilok Gurtu
Best 3 metal (of any genre) albums of all time?
M: Sepultura – “Beneath the Remains”, Slayer – “South of Haven” & Metallica – “...And Justice for All”…
Which are the top 3 sci-fi movies and books according to you?
M: Tough one, I’m not a sci-fi consumer but “Star Wars” and “Open Your Eyes” are movies I really enjoyed.
Can reality surpass sci-fi or not?
M: Yes…
What is that “element” which makes rock/metal music dominate over all other music styles?
M: Authenticity…
Can music still be considered art? Are things better now than they used to be 20 or 30 years ago?
M: Music is art. Or at least some of it. It’s like a painting, it is art but when mass produced it turns into something else.
Which track can describe today’s world situation perfectly?
M: “Hey You” by Pink Floyd…
What’s the worst thing you can say right after sex?
M: Thank you?!
Which of the Seven Deadly Sins do you reckon is the one, that’s more likely to send you straight to Hell, in the afterlife?
M: Definitely lust!
What’s your personal goal that you haven’t achieved thus far and you wish to accomplish in the next years?
M: To do a full South American tour playing cities I’ve never been on.
Thx for having you on Grande Rock Martin. Wish you the best for the new album… and a Happy and Rockin’ New Year. Close this interview in your own words… take care!
M: Thanks to you Thanos for supporting the band, I hope we get to play in the beautiful Greece very soon. (i.n.: Hope to see you soon here dude!)