The Whipping Post presents...
Wisdom Call Interview - Added 05/31/02
Wisdom Call is the side project of Narnia's lead singer Christian Liljegren. This revised interview is actually what was left over from the interview that will be in the July/August issue of HM Magazine. I had so much that I couldn't fit into that interview and wanted to share the rest of it here. This is not the complete interview, but close. Enjoy!
Whipping Post: For all the readers who are just now being exposed to Wisdom Call, tell us a little about the history of the band.
Christian Liljegren: The band was formed back in 1999 when I had material that didnīt fit into Narnia. Then I had some good friends and musicians in the Stockholm area that told me their interest to join me and form a band together with me; and Wisdom Call was born. It is my solo project besides Narnia. We thought it was better to have band name instead of my name. My intention for this band was also to use two guitar players playing harmonies like Stryper, Iron Maiden, Queensryche etc. So the style was classic 80īs kind of metal. One reason I formed Wisdom Call was that I needed a band to rehearse with because we never rehearse with Narnia. We only rehearse before a new studio recording or when we plan to have a new setlist for a new tour. Sometimes we donīt rehearse for several months and I need to rehearse to have my voice in good condition.
WP: What kind of responses have you received on your debut album from fans and the press?
CL: Both good and bad. Some people love it more than Narnia and some people donīt like that Iīm singing about my relationship Jesus. With Narnia we are used to get both good and bad press. My mission and goal with my music has always been and will always be and will continue to be until the day I die, to spread Godīs kingdom through my music. He called me very clear in the springtime of 1989 about my mission to be a band leader for bands that will spread the kingdom of God through rock music and reach thousands of young people and fans of hard rock and heavy metal. I am so thankful to God that he uses me as his tool. Before 1989 I was more interested to be a rockstar then to serve God.
WP: It seems like there is a lot of good metal coming out of Sweden lately. How do you guys feel about this and who are some of the bands that you think really stand out?
CL: It is great that good releases are coming from Sweden and if we are talking about Christian bands that really stand out it will be Blindside and Sanctifica. The new Sanctifica album got really great responses here in Sweden. I believe we will see more new interesting releases coming from Sweden. The quality is very good.
WP: Does the band get many chances to play live? Who have you had a chance to play with?
CL: Everybody in Wisdom Call have different bands that they are involved in and some of the members run a recording studio. Andreas Johansson is the drummer in Narnia and Wisdom Call, running his record label and a rockclub in Stockholm more into the pop scene. So it is hard to book dates where everybody is available, so sometimes I have to hire another drummer or keyboard player. We have done shows in Sweden and Finland. Recently we played at the most important hard rock club in Stockholm called "The Anchor" where people from Europe, Malmsteen, Talisman, Candlemass, and Electric Boys always hang out, and also big bands have been playing there like John Corabi from Motley Crue, Bruce Kulick from Kiss etc. Dokken will be playing there on the 22nd of May. We were the first Christian band to play there and the response was great. Two weeks after we played with Wisdom Call we played with Narnia at the same place and after that we have heard that a lot of people in Stockholm took notice of our shows and it really touched their hearts because we got the chance to talk about Jesus with several people at the club. At this place "The Anchor" a lot of Swedish Hellīs Angels hang out and they bang their heads to the music. To this date we have only done single shows or have a local band as an opening act for Wisdom Call.
WP: What is the current lineup of Wisdom Call?
CL: The current line up is:
Christian Liljegren: Lead Vocals
Stefan Olsson: Guitars and vocals
Fredrik Aberg: Guitars
Andreas Olsson: Bass
Per Hallman: Keyboards
Andreas Johansson: Drums
WP: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard your music?
CL: Classic metal in the vein of Dio, Judas Priest, Europe and Stryper.
WP: What are some of your musical influences as far as other bands?
CL: I love 70īs and 80īs hard rock and heavy metal and I am also a record collector. I have a lot of favorite bands like Dio, Stryper, Grand Funk Railroad, Head East (John Schlittīs former band. People who can help me to get their albums on cd please get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org ) The Sweet, Whitesnake, Deep Purple, Pretty Maids, Royal Hunt, Impellitteri, Kansas, Uriah Heep, Free, Bad Company, Styx, 2nd Chapter Of Acts (I have all the albums on CD except the first one With Footnotes/In The Volume Of The Book. Someone who wants to sell it to me please mail me at the address above. The list can be endless. I have around 1500 CDīs in my collection. It is one of hobbies. I loooooove hard rock and heavy metal!!!
WP: What kind of things are all the band members involved in outside the band?
CL: Stefan Olsson is working as a producer and he is the main writer in the band called Bishop Garden. They released a cd called Garden Of Relief back in 1997 and it is out of print. They are now working on a 2nd album with a release hopefully late this year. He is producing the new album with one of the biggest christian pop bands called B.I.G (Brothers In God). He is also the guitar player in a great hip-hop and soul band called Samuel. Their debut album will see the light somewhere in 2003. He runs a studio also, so he is a busy man!
Per Hallman runs a studio too and he is producing my Swedish album that I am doing right now with a more acoustic sound with great arrangements done by Per Hallman. Per will also be involved in another recording project we are working on sounding like Kansas, Alan Parsons project, John Miles, Styx, Yes, etc. - a symphonic rock album. I have always wanted to do an album in this style of music with Christian lyrics and a lot of harmony vocals. We are writing songs for that project right now.
Fredrik Aberg is doing session works in different projects besides Wisdom Call.
Andreas Johansson works as professional drummer in big bands and musical cover bands etc. besides Narnia and Wisdom Call. He runs a record label called POPMATE and a rock club on a boat called Patricia Night Club in Stockholm.
Andreas Olsson is the new bass player in Narnia. He is also involved in a Europe cover band called The Seventh Sign playing classic tracks like "The Final Countdown", "Rock The Night"...and their show is very good. They are doing shows here in Sweden. You should invite them to U.S.
I am the band leader in Narnia and Wisdom Call. I am also running my label, C.L Music & Publishing where I have released 8 albums so far and one full length video. This video "Power from the Sky" is the first video here with Christian bands from Sweden whoīs ministry is to serve God through heavy music. I am recording a Swedish album and I am in the writing process for the new Narnia album and the symphonic project where Carl Johan Grimmark from Narnia, Mick Nordstrom from Modest Attraction and Per Hallman from Wisdom Call will show thier talents.
WP: Do you consider Wisdom Call a ministry?
CL: Yes, our purpose and goal with the band is the show people that Jesus can change your life into a great releationship with God!
WP: What do your family members and friends (parents, spouses, brothers, sisters, friends, etc...) think of the style of music you play?
CL: I have tons of support for the music I am doing from my fiancee and my family and friends and the church me and my fiancee are going to.
WP: How much attention do you guys place on your lyrics? Do you think they are less important, more important, or just as important as the music?
CL: For me the lyrics are as important as the music. Music & lyrics have to work close together.
WP: How are Christians treated in Sweden? What, if any, hardships do Christians in Sweden face?
CL: We are living in a country where you can worship everything. Many people in Sweden say they donīt need Jesus and He is not the only way to Heaven. Many Swedes say "I believe in myself and that is enough."
WP: Have you guys began work on your next album? What direction do you plan to take? Something very similar to your debut or a new course?
CL: Right now we still do shows to promote the album and I have the new Narnia album and all the other projects, so there is no plans yet for a follow up album. We will see what the future holds in his hand.
WP: What are some of your goals for the future of Wisdom Call?
CL: Right now Wisdom Call have taken a break because I have to concentrate on the new Narnia album, the new Swedish album, and the Symphonic rock project is the plans right now. Hopefully there will be a 2nd album. Only God knows.
WP: What is something unusual you can tell me about yourself or some of the guys in the band that your fans may not know? Interesting hobbies, weird habits, etc..?
CL: We are just ordinary guys that like to play sports, watch movies, travelling etc. The music takes a lot of out time in our lives. Nobody in the band has children yet so we can sacrifice a lot of time for the music.
WP: Who do you say that Jesus Christ is?
CL: I say that he can change your life completely. He is the most perfect ideal man that has walked on earth. He is my only idol.
WP: What bands have been in your CD player in the last week?
CL: Rob Halford, 2nd chapter of acts, Kansas, Free, Impellitteri, Sweet, Rough Diamond, At Vance, Vixen, Alan Parsons Project, and material for the new Narnia album.
WP: You also run the label CL Music & Publishing. How is this coming along? You seem to have a good collection of bands so far. What kind of releases can we look forward to in the rest of 2002?
CL: It has gone well with the label and I am negotiating with distributors to help me spread the releases all over the world. Right now Iīm promoting the new releases Oblivion: "Renewal" - a band sounding like Sepultura, Living Sacrifice & Meshuggah, and the new Sanctifica: "Negative B" - progressive death metal with both clean and growling vocals. Future releases on the label during 2002/2003: Bishop Graden, Sons Of Thunder, Circus Of Power, Heaven, Crimson Moonlight, my new Swedish solo album, Brighteye Brison- A good symphonic band in the vein of Yes, Kansas etc., and the symphonic project including members from Narnia, Modest Attraction, Wisdom Call and Brighteye Brison.
My label will change name to Rivel Records in August this year because Iīm getting married with my fiancee Jannine Rivel the 27nd of July and I will change my name to Christian Rivel.
WP: You guys had 3 cover songs on your debut album. Was this just to keep it from being a EP, or were they just songs that you really enjoyed and thought they should be heard?
CL: Yes, the cover of Europe's "Wings of Tomorrow" was a tribute to one of my favorite bands since I was young. The 2 tracks with Modest Attraction...we are preforming the song "Time" live and we will include "15 Years" into the set. Maybe there will be reunion of Modest Attraction for some shows. There is a good chance that we will play on BOBFEST 2003. We had more songs with Wisdom Call, but they didnīt sound good enough.
WP: If you had to pick one song on your debut and say "This song is what Wisdom Call is all about"...what song would it be?
CL: The first track "Power from The Sky." That song shows the power in the music and the passion for heavy metal and the power that only God can bring if you are an open channel for HIS KINGDOM, and it is so fun to do this and to have life together with JESUS!
WP: Who is the greatest band of all time?
CL: Musically for me it is Deep Purple, The Sweet, Rainbow, Kansas, and Yngwie Malmsteen.
WP: Do you have any final comments?
CL: The most important thing is where is your focus in your life. If you put God first he will take care of the rest. That is the lesson I have learned during my 31 year long journey so far. Keep the good Metal spirit Alive!
God bless you and thank you for all your support and all your prayers!