Red Room Ensemble was formed in early 2014 at the initiative of guitarist Kari Sundstrom, who by then had been secretly working on riffs that would eventually turn into some of the songs on the debut album. We had been playing together for several years, performing covers of our favourite metal, and honestly were starting to get fed up with the difficulty of coming up with new, interesting tunes to play. The five of us go way back, and have jammed together in various constellations, but when we began playing as Moonburn, our cover act, things started working out really well. Forming Red Room Ensemble was both a way of re-energizing the band and realizing a long term goal of each of us.
2.Recently you have released an album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording?
During the process, we had problems pinpointing under what heading to sort our music. The tracks on the album all have a slightly different feel to them, possibly since the musical preferences within the band diverge quite a bit. With a bit of distance to the production, it is pretty fair to place us under the heavy metal genre, but influences from progressive metal are obvious, and to some extent, also from thrash, doom and power metal.
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music?
The lyrics were written by Stjarnfelt, Darmark and Sundstrom, single-handedly or in collaboration. Generally speaking, the lyrics to “I Am Hunger”, “The Hoarse Whisperer” and “Everything Went Red”, all deal with the psychology of insanity and violence, taking a “first-person view”, while “Sheherazade” and “We Come At Night” delve into areas of fear and fantasy.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Red Room Ensemble'?
The name of the band was the result of an agonizing process, during which many suggestions were tried and discarded. We wanted a name that conjured up images of violence, but in a subtle and more mature manner.
5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Hehe, so far we’ve only had one show, as Red Room Ensemble, so that would have to be it! Our focus during the last year has been the completion of the album, and our live performance still has to be polished. Our ambition is to put together a theatrical act, we believe that a metal show should be about more than the music!
6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
We are signed up for the Dark Water Metal Fest in the Aland Islands in august and are also scouting for venues in Scandinavia.
7.Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
It’s still a bit early to say. It is not our top priority at the moment, and all would depend on what a label would have to offer. Certainly, there is room for improvement, especially regarding marketing and booking, areas where we have very limited experience.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of metal?
We are happy with the reception. The feedback has been mixed, but generally positive.
9.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
We have already started to work on ideas for a future release. Many of the traits from Red Room Ensemble can be expected to influence upcoming material, such as the interaction between melodic, guitar based, mellow sections and more rhythm driven parts. To achieve a heavier sound, we are thinking of further tuning down the instruments and also including more backing vocals. Hopefully, we will have more time to complete our next project, letting us create a more coherent end product.
10.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Sundstrom and Darmark grew up with thrash bands such as Kreator or Nuclear Assault as well as the death metal of Entombed, Carcass, Amorphis and Dark Tranquillity, while Stjarnfelt is more into the heavy metal of the 80’s, Judas Priest and Kiss being absolute house gods. NWOBHM is a genre that we can all agree on, as well as the bay area thrash represented by the big four. It is easy to get stuck with the bands from ones earlier years, which is certainly true of us as well, but a great advantage of producing an unsigned album has been to discover the underground scene that seems to be thriving!
11.What are some of your non musical interests?
A bit tricky to answer, since we are five different individuals. Together we basically just have the band and all that it involves, as well as the occasional beer binge, but separately we cover everything from sailing, hunting or fishing to gaming, calligraphy and flint knapping.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
We thank Extreme Underground Metal Zine and all other supporters out there!