Interview: Thomas Henriksson / The Isolation Process


We’re slowly getting to an end, so I’d like to finish it off in a slightly lighter note. Please tell me some more about this gibberish language that you use when you try vocal melodies on new songs.

(laughs) I can divide the answer to this one into two parts. Emotions and music come first for me. Lyrics are important, sure, but the music and how you deliver it always comes first. That is why I have this gibberish, fake English mumblings just to take sound notes. They are mostly vowels, actually. Some choruses sang with “a” can be harsh, some can extract special feeling, in others cases an „o” or “u” can take totally different tone out of my vocal range. So I’m playing around just making noises and remembering them. Now as for the second part of the answer, after I play with the gibberish stuff and I find perfect sounds in terms of feeling and timing, I start writing lyrics to those mumbling notes and what was done the first stage is often destroyed. For example the syllables are too long and they decompose the timing, so in many cases a song tends to not come out as good as the gibberish version (laughs). Because in the first form it was just melody and emotion.

So you basically adapt lyrics to the melody line?

Yes. Usually I have about 90% of the vocals lines done before I start writing lyrics. Only then I sit back, see what this song is about to me, come up with some subject matter and try to focus around that. Fit it to the rhythm and sound wise, pick proper words or sometimes even letter as usually letters “I”, „y” and „a” do not sound too good, especially if you really push them in high notes. If you imagine your chest as an acoustic guitar and your body as a resonator box, you can feel, that some notes come out stronger, while others don’t. I try to use my voice as an instrument, that’s why melodies always come first, the lyrics after, but the lyrics of course have to express what I feel. They must be like a mirror of me. It is a bit hard to explain that process. Sorry if I’m not making any sense here.

No no, it’s all clear to me. I think we’re talking about pretty complex process here. Everything that is within you, connection of all the thoughts, words or vocal melodies. Everything you think and feel inside and probably all of that flows within you everyday. It is echoing inside somewhere in between all the casual things you do in an ordinary day. I’m not a composing musician myself, but as much as I can imagine everything you say, that’s pretty clear to me.

To be honest I never talk about my writing process.

Because you don’t want to talk about it or is it rare for you to talk about it?

It’s just rare. You know, me and my band mates have been doing this for so long, that we don’t actually have to talk about it. It all comes naturally for us. Me and our drummer Patrick have been playing music together since 1994, soon it will be 20 years. Anders has been in the picture for 14 years, so with that kind of amount of time you grow into one another. Even on the stage, if one of us makes a mistake or misses a beat, you don’t have to look back at him in anger, because you know that in the next bar he will be back there. So when you get a question about that process and all of the sudden you need to speak about it , there is a large deal of thought organization, that needs to be done before you get it out, so I really had to think hard when answering your question (laughs).

(laughs) Sorry about that. I know some of my questions can be a little „demanding”.

No, it’s all good. I liked them, they were interesting.

Thank you and as this was the last one, thank you for the whole conversation.

Thanx man!

Interviewer: Chris Bienkiewicz

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