“Imagine if ABBA and Within Temptation had a love child…”, well imagine no more, for here comes Swedish duo Flight Of Icarus with their brand new album ‘Cleo’. Consisting of vocalist Elisabeth Särnefält Rösehag, and multi-instrumentalist Oskar Frantzén, Flight Of Icarus successfully meld together powerful pop songs in the vein of Roxette with a tasteful touch of Heart and Starship, all embedded in a massive fusion of orchestral metal reminiscent of Nightwish and Within Temptation. Oskar joined us to talk about the album, as well as the origins of the band named after an Iron Maiden song.
What are the origins of Flight Of Icarus? How long have you been playing together?
Five years now. It started as a studio project but when the first album was ready we felt that we wanted to put a band together for live shows because we really liked the songs.
How did you feel performing your first gig as a band? And how was it?!
It was a night to remember. It was the release gig for our first album and all our friends and family were there.
What should people expect when they check Flight Of Icarus out? How would you describe yourself?
Imagine if ABBA and Within Temptation had a love child.
‘Our Burning Star’ was the first single to be lifted from the forthcoming new album ‘Cleo’, what was it about this one that made you choose it as the first single?
The song is about when our hero presents herself to the world and it felt just right to release this because of the hit potential. I think the song has a very strong chorus!
It must have been a special moment when Planet Rock Radio in the UK picked up on the track and aired it!?
Yes! It was truly a great honour to be played on Planet Rock!
Who is ‘Cleo’, and what is her story?
Cleo is the girl, our hero. The saviour of a grey world. Cleo is also the name of Elisabeths daughter and of course that inspired us in the songwriting.
What was the gestation period of ‘Cleo’ like? How long had the songs been brewing for?
When the first album was released I started to write a song for the Swedish Eurovision. That song didn’t make it to Eurovision but became the title track for our new album (Cleo). I remember I wanted to keep the atmosphere from the first album but I wanted to add some more elements, like double bass drums (Our Burning Star), some heaviness, and also I wanted to have some power ballads on the album. The songwriting process took me a year maybe. And then the recording took us one year due to covid.
What goes through your head in the run-up to releasing new music? Are you excited? Nervous? – Both?!
I’m very excited about showing to the world what we have done. We really love the new songs and I think they deserve a big audience. But in the same way, I feel a little bit sad because we put so much work into this and we know how hard it is to reach out. But I have to be better to enjoy the ride. In the end, I do this for myself because I love creating music.
‘Cleo’ is obviously a personal project where a great deal of heart and soul, and effort has gone into it; but can you be too close to a project? And did you find yourself having to take a step away from it at times?
We have worked so hard in many ways. Creating art, recording videos, writing a story. Right now, we are just independent artists and everything costs money and time. We both have families and jobs so sometimes it’s hard to find time to get everything ready. And also energy to organise everything. The project became bigger than I thought from the beginning. And it was sometimes hard because me and Elisabeth sometimes had different visions in the project. But In the end, I think it’s worth it! I will look back on this project with pride.
‘Cleo’ comes as a standard CD or as a deluxe edition which includes a 20-page story & art book, it seems important to the band that not only do you have a physical product for fans to hold in their hands but it is of the highest quality and more than a simple jewel case…
I had this idea from the start with this album. I wanted to do something bigger than just an album. I wanted to tell a story and when I presented this idea to our manager he was really into it. He has a very strong vision and likes to think big in everything he does. We have worked with four different artists for the artbook and they have all brought their visions to the project.
In what ways has the band grown since the release of the self-titled mini-album in 2018?
When I hear the album I really can hear how Elisabeth has grown as a singer. I think the new songs were more challenging for her and she had to really push herself to the maximum. I also think this album is more mature and more a statement that this is our sound. The first album is great but the songs on the new album are on another level. The first album was also more of an experiment and I didn’t have an idea or a vision about the sound. Now we have a sound that we can stand for 100%.
In terms of a similar audience: who would be the ideal act for Flight Of Icarus to support?
I think our sound is original and fresh and it’s hard to find this perfect match. We are somehow between pop and metal. But maybe Meat Loaf and ABBA with special guests Within Temptation.
What are your first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?
I have always been interested in music and I remember that I listened to a lot of music. But I really was into Euro Techno when I was a child. When I didn’t know better. But then I heard Iron Maiden for the first time and I haven’t stopped listening.
Personally, who has been the biggest influence on you becoming a musician? Would it be a teacher? A family member? A fellow musician?
I would say Iron Maiden here. That’s why I started playing the guitar and wanted to start a band.
What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?
I think it was Evergrey and Dark Tranquility at a festival here in Gothenburg.
What current social issue are you particularly passionate about?
Education. I work as a teacher and I’m passionate about my work and love to see my children learn and grow as humans.
What album do you have in your collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?
I love Backstreet Boys! They are amazing and some of their songs are maybe the best songs ever written.
Although 2020 was a year to forget, there was some great music released; what would be your album of 2020?
Avatar – Hunter Gatherer
What are your plans for 2021 should COVID ever disappear?!
Yes, it will! We want to play our new album for people! That is my wish!
How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?
We try to be active on Facebook but I try to post things on Instagram and Twitter also. Go to worldoficarus.com for all relevant links!
‘Cleo’ is available May 14th, pre-order information, here.
Photo credit – © 2021 Blindfoldead International