Jan Örkki Yrlund (IMPERIA) on Rock Overdose:” I’m sure next year we start working on our new material”.

Rock Overdose and Chris Brintzikis had a very interesting conversation with IMPERIA’s guitarist Jan Örkki Yrlund, who said many things about their new album “Flames of Eternity”, and about their upcoming performing at Release Athens Fest.




Rock Overdose: Hello Jan. Welcome to Rock Overdose


Jan Örkki Yrlund: Hey, great to be here – thank you!



Rock Overdose: Can you give me a short bio of the band? When and how did it all start?


Jan Örkki Yrlund: The band was started in 2004 in The Netherlands and the first released song was a cover song - “Lotus Eaters” on Dead Can Dance tribute. It was released by the Greek Black Lotus Records. Later that year the debut album “The Ancient Dance Of Qetesh” was released on a small Dutch Label.


In 2006 Imperia moved to Massacre records and released “Queen Of Light” and toured extensively. This album was a milestone in the band's oeuvre. 2011 the album “Secret Passion” was released, followed by “Tears Of Silence” in 2015 and as the latest the new album”Flames Of Eternity” that was released March this year.



Rock Overdose: Four members from four different countries. Did you face any obstacles regarding composing songs, rehearsing and band cohesion in general?


Jan Örkki Yrlund: Yes, we all live in different countries. I live in Finland, Helena in Norway, Steve (drums) in Germany and Gerry  (bass) in  Belgium. I write all songs in my home-studio so the distance does not really matter for that, the other musicians add their input and suggestions and Helena always creates her own texts and vocal melodies. For the recording an album this does not matter too much, we just record in different countries and send the result to Jacob Hansen, who mixes it all in Denmark.


But obviously for touring this does give challenges as the distances are great and so are the costs involved. We can only do a few thing once and a while. In the past we toured a lot when Helena and me lived in Holland, but nowadays it's harder.  For example for this Athen's show, we all travelled to Cologne to rehearse. Some of the songs swe have never played together live or at the rehearsals.






Rock Overdose: Which bands influenced you the most?


Jan Örkki Yrlund:  That is a good question indeed as I listen to different types of music from thrash metal to classical music. But my first encounter with mixing orchestra with metal was the time I played in Lacrimosa. The Inferno album was one of the important milestones in the gothic metal genre and definitely has left it's mark in my songwriting too. I like sometimes to write more varied stuff, from poppy catchy tunes to complicated progressive songs.


With Imperia we are luckily in the position that we can do whatever we want. I always try to have some memorable hooks in the songs and use as many real classical musicians as possible.



Rock Overdose: Your newest album, “Flames of Eternity” was released in February 2019 via Massacre Records. How is the reception so far?


Jan Örkki Yrlund:  Oh great! For the first time we got big features in the German magazines, which is cool. I think our promo team has worked very well this time and it's great to read all the reviews. Of course the taste and taste is two, so I know our music is not for everybody, but so far it all seems to go really cool. That of course makes one happy as you have worked really long and hard for it.



Rock Overdose: Was this album a step ahead from its predecessor? What changes did it bring to Imperia’s sound?


Jan Örkki Yrlund: I think our “Secret Passion” album got really progressive at times and the previous album “Tears Of Silence” was really long (which I like though), but this time we tried to compact the songs more and maybe make them easier to listen to, still keeping the style. We changed our beloved studio in Germany to one in Finland on purpose and recorded the drums there – to have a different feel and sound to it.


We were lucky to get Jacob on board for the mix again, which makes a huge difference. I think it's a very solid album in many ways. For the first time we also released the album on 12” vinyl too, btw.



Rock Overdose: You said that the new album title is symbolic. Is there any story behind it? Is it a concept album?


Jan Örkki Yrlund: It is not a concept album as such, however all songs are more or less about sadness and grief when you loose somebody or something important to you. The eternity is  of course a never ending and the flames refer to the passion, love. On the cover of the album you'll see how the flames actually are so great the even the eternity symbol starts to melt. It is a strong image and message I believe. Our music is about real emotions. Everything Helena writes about is from her own life in some way.



Rock Overdose: On the 14th of June you will hit the stage of Athens Release Fest and this gig will be your first ever in Greece. Are you looking forward to it?


Jan Örkki Yrlund: Absolutely! It is indeed our first concert in Greece and I'm sure a day to remember for us. It is a great city and people are wonderful. It's an honor to be part of this event. It is also our first concert in 5 years and we bring our old guitar player John with us all the way from Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire. We haven' t played with him in some 10 years I believe so it's is a family re-union for us at the same time. Very thrilled about it!



Rock Overdose: How exciting is it to share the stage with legendary bands such as Manowar and Rhapsody of Fire?


Jan Örkki Yrlund:  Actually, we have played a few times earlier with Manowar, in 2007 Magic Circle Festival in Germany (we even appear with 2 live-videos that were shot on that festival and released as a double DVD) and in 2014 at Magic Circle Festival in Helsinki. So we know the band and also know what to expect, it will be very cool I'm sure and it's really cool to see them too. We haven' t played with Rhapsody Of Fire before, so I'm really looking forward to see their show.



Rock Overdose: What are Imperia’s future plans?


Jan Örkki Yrlund: We will have more shows coming up in the Autumn and are working on a short tour too.  I'm sure next year the latest we start working on the new material. But right now we are busy with “Flames Of Eternity” obviously and would like to play as much as possible.



Rock Overdose: Thank you for your time! Would you like to send a message to the Greek Metalheads?


Jan Örkki Yrlund: It's really great to visit the legendary city and this festival and I hope people that show up will enjoy our show, we've worked hard for it and the set will be a “best of” selection of all our 5 albums. This is the first time that we ever perform 5 of the songs in the setlist too, so we are excited about that too! Thanks for the support!




For Rock Overdose




Chris Brintzikis