I really don’t know how to start and can’t really wrap my head around that I’m actually writing this right now. This is what I never thought I would write – although something I always feared would eventually come. But now that I’m here, I actually feel very fine with my decision. But of course there’s a lot of mixed feelings about the whole thing.
A year ago, there was some sort of deep sub-conscious spirit of my own thoughts swooping past my head, asking: “Is this really what you want?”
“Of course it is what I want”, I insisted inside my head. “I’ve done this for almost ten years, I can’t stop now. This is my dream!”
As time went by, I kept hearing that exact same question in my head – over and over again. The more I ran from the thought, the more bad I felt about my present situation. I started thinking about all the things I really wanted to do, but couldn’t due to all the time spent on 40h work week and the rest on meetings, rehearsals and planning for everything regarding the band. On top of all that I became a dad to a beautiful little girl in August last year. I have felt trapped in time for a while now and had this stressful and heavy feeling in my stomach for months. Don’t get me wrong, all the time spent with the band has been totally worth it, but in the end I got some different perspectives on things. All the obstacles and problems got too much for me.
I’m tired of fighting for likes and publicity in a constantly changing business that doesn’t respect independent hard-working artists of all sorts.
An example is this: For years we built a strong fan base and could share updates with them on mainly Facebook, but since the new rules on FB we lost the connection with almost all our fans – due to greedy profit behavior. Our fans chose to follow us and wanted updates from us, but we lost them all if we weren’t willing to pay for our updates to reach them. Hard-earned followers from hundreds – maybe even thousands – of hours in nice but also really uncomfortable cars and busses, on our way to play our music at venues thousands of miles away from the comfort of home. Of course, the whole idea was to reach the life of the road and earn a living while doing so. The point is, isn’t it enough that the majority of bands today need to pay to play or at least play for free? Now we have to pay so that fans can see our updates? That’s ridiculous.
However, I feel that the business is dying – or is at least broken. The music business today isn’t controlled by people who love music and talents that performs it. It is controlled and led by greedy people who collects gold like Smaug in Erebor. These people control every mainstream channel and now choses what the masses wants to listen to. This is hurting the independent music scene so hard that it’s hard for everyone that doesn’t sound like Rihanna, Beyoncé or Bruno Mars. Once again, don’t get me wrong. There are still a strong scene out there, with a lot of great bands, honest labels and artists of all sorts that keeps on doing this only because of the love of the music. A long time I’ve been aware of how the music industry works, and I have accepted it to my breaking point, which is now.
All the effort, money and time I’ve spent on the cause of Beyond All Recognition has been worth it, definitely, without doubt. But as of now, my perspectives have shifted and my connection with our type of music has sort of faded away. There’s so many simple things I want to do that I never could do in my position in life. Simple things like randomly go fishing, look at stars through a telescope or go camping with loved ones without having to consider economy and time to the band. I would love to finally manage to save money to travel the world with my family and friends, without playing shows each night – even if I have loved doing so. Most of all, I want to make sure to spend a lot more time with my family – which I always down-prioritized even before I became a dad. As of now, I want to make sure to be a present dad, and grow side by side with my daughter.
As of my personal career, I have always wanted to be my own boss. My dream of starting a company that can bring freedom to my everyday life is a door that just opened with this decision. What it might be, the future will show eventually. Wish me luck here!
Although, nothing says that my career in music or as a singer is over with this decision. To be honest, I really can’t say what kind of a man I am without the band, and that is exactly what I’m about to find out. If I find that I feel empty without the life I’ve had – of course I’m going to pull my way back into this business once again. Today, I feel the exact opposite. That I’m tired of the life I had. Now I feel alive, excited of what opportunities that might show up for me and of course a little scared with my decision. It would be weird to say something else.
I have experienced the best days of my life with my brothers in the band. I have done things many musicians only dream of, and I’m still as young as 24. I have toured almost all of Europe, Russia, Scandinavia and the Baltics several times. I have signed two record deals and released two full-length albums during this “short” but intense period since the beginning of the band in 2008. I have released several awesome music videos and played big festivals. I have shared the stage with childhood idols and played my first arena show with a legendary band such as Megadeth last year. When I think about it, I almost fulfilled all my dreams and goals with the band. When I first picked up a guitar, the first thing I thought about was fangirls (of course – jokes aside), to release an album through a label and to play arenas and festival. So, yeah. I’ve actually experienced almost everything I wanted from the beginning and feels that I leave it there and avoid it from being a sick hunt for more.
For people who have gotten this far and keeps on reading, I salute you. I have always been that kind of guy that can’t put things in short simple words – and since this is my biggest decision in my life so far, I think it deserves a long read.
At last, I like to thank my brothers, my business partners and friends during this epic adventure I’ve had with the band. I’ve slept in bumpy busses for hours down in Siberia, I’ve slept in a cabin up in the mountains of Italy, I walked on streets in almost all major cities in all of Europe, I have got an infection in my stomach which required surgery and got locked in for two nights at a Russian Infection Hospital in Moscow, I have gotten drunk by happiness as well as alcohol in a Nightliner in Germany, I’ve experienced a dozen different cultures, I have drinken beer with the lads from Soilwork and Mickey Dee from Motörhead, I touched Lemmy’s bass-rig while being backstage in Poland and watched him almost fall off the stairs, entering the festival stage due to maybe too much Jack? I have walked in the darkest alleys of Hamburg, followed by some creepy gang recognized by their face-tattoos, I have crowd surfed and made almost five-thousand people yell “AOUGH, AOUGH, AOUGH” from my question and command from stage (yes, I also had a dream of hearing a real life army respond in that sort of way), I have gotten wasted on tour and shared freezing cold apartments with my best friends in the band – to mention a few. These are memories that will be forever printed in my mind and I will always smile when I think of them. I want to thank all my fans, friends, business-partners and family that has supported me in my biggest career-achievement as a musician. I wish my brothers in the band all the luck in the world, and yes, I will be jealous when they manage to achieve what I couldn’t from my list of dreams – to tour the USA. But I will be just happy for them.
Thank you for the greatest chapter of my life so far! I know look forward to another one.