After his departure from Falconer and Destiny back in 2005, Kristoffer Göbel did somewhat vanish from the power metal scene. But that didn’t mean he was completely gone from the music business. Since 2009 he has been a full-time musician, and now he’s back with his new band: Six Foot Six.
For me, and I guess for a lot of fans, you are most known for your albums with Falconer and Destiny. But in 2005 you left both bands. What have you been up to since then?
Kristoffer: Well, I’ve been a full-time musician ever since 2009. I have been in some different cover bands, but mainly in one called Rock Circus. We do various shows, such as large corporate events, After Ski and so on. I have also been the music producer of Gothia Cup and Partille Cup, two of the wolrd’s largest tournaments for football and handball. There are more than 50.000 people attending those opening ceremonies, so that’s been a blast.
And now you are back with a brand-new band, Six Foot Six! First of all: what’s the story behind the band name?
Kristoffer: Haha! It’s quite simple. It’s a mix of two things. I think names are quite hard to come up with, but this one, for me, was quite easy. It’s a bit of a pun, really. Metal music often contains skulls, flirts with the occult and so on. 666 is often used. And I’m very tall. Can you guess how tall I am? I am actually six foot six. So that’s that! We are actually all quite tall; probably the tallest band out there, haha!
The band was founded by you; can you take me back in time and to the moment you decided to start a band? Why and how did it all begin?
Kristoffer: Yes, I can! It was on my birthday last year, October 23rd, my wife and I had dinner with some friends. And during the conversations something set me off, I can’t really say what exactly. The following day it all began! I started writing and recording, and didn’t stop until it was finished.
Was it a band all along, or was it at one point meant to be a «one man show»?
Kristoffer: From the beginning it was just me. I had no plan. Just wrote everything for my own wellbeing and to give myself a pat on the shoulder. I thought «this would really appeal to my 15-year-old-self» and just did it. All with a big smile on my face.
When I later felt that there was some good stuff there, I made it into a band.
What can you tell me about the songwriting process? For how long have the songs for the album been in your head?
Kristoffer: They were mostly written during the seven weeks up to Christmas . Two of the songs, «Virus Inside» and «Falling Sparrow», were co-written by Johan Eskilsson from Chiper System. We wrote some songs ten years ago for a project called Reactor 4. But the songs sounded very different from the ones ending up on this album. «Anomina» was also written back then, but just as a stand-along song. The rest are newly written for the Six Foot Six Project.
The songwriting process for me is in general of two completely different kinds. Sometimes a melody just comes to me, for no special reason. Suddenly there it is, and I have to do something with it fast. Otherwise it will disappear forever. Don’t know how many great songs that were never written because I forgot them, haha!
In the other case I just decide to write a song. I sit down with my guitar and kind of waiting, just sitting there noodling. If I’m not by the guitar when the idea comes, it’s lost…
Lyric wise my inspiration comes from kind of everywhere. Books, movies, documentaries, or just life itself. Some lyrics I have to work really hard for, and others are written more or less from start to finish in one single take. I wish all of them were that easy, haha!
In the press release it says that you are inspired by your childhood music heroes and all the way to modern metal acts. Can you compliment that; what kind of bands do we talk about, and how would you describe the music of Six Foot Six?
Kristoffer: Just to mention all the bands in my record collection from past to present would take too long, but I’ll give you some ideas: Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Accept, Helloween, Queensrÿche, Gotthard, Soundgarden, System Of A Down, Ghost… It is almost endless, really!
I don’t really know how to describe the music other than it’s very melodic in my opinion. And the songs variates in style quite a bit, which I find satisfying. They are all still in the genre of rock, but quite different.
I always use Queen’s A Night At The Opera, as an example. That is in my opinion an epic album. The songs variate so much that today a modern label would never allow even two of the songs on the same album. But put together as it was back then, it’s bloody brilliant!
I totally agree with the album being, in addition to great, very diverse. «Test Of Time» is maybe a song that sticks out with its good old power metal tune, where other songs are more «modern» in its sound.
Kristoffer: Yes, you are right! This is also my opinion. «Test Of Time» went from being a quite soft song, with a cool intro riff, to a grand power metal song. Both music and lyric wise. When I discussed the song with Henrik [Hedman], our drummer, we said «what the heck» – let’s do a «power-metal-kick-in-the-face» song! We did 48 overdubs with 4 different singers for the massive chorus. You will find warriors, noble men and even dragons in the lyrics (heavily inspired by Game Of Thrones). I’m really happy with the outcome!
During the making of the album you invited Niklas Stålvind, Magnus Winterwild and David Åkesson as guest musicians. That’s a lot of vocalist! What are their part on the album, and why did you choose them to contribute?
Kristoffer: This is easy. I just want to start with saying that Stålvind only play a guitar solo on «Falling Sparrow», no vocals from him. Magnus was invited because: A) we are old friends from a tour with Falconer when Axenstar opened for us, and B) there is a line in «Test Of Time» which says «see the blind lead the blind». Back in the days one of Axenstars most popular song was «Blind Leading The Blind». So, when I realized that it sounded so similar, I just had to have Magnus on that song.
David Åkesson from Qantice and I worked together on the first Aldaria album with Frode Hovd. David is such a great singer, so he was very high on my wish list. I popped the question and he was happy to contribute.
Christoffer Borg co-mixed the album, and has later become a permanent member of the band. Could you tell me some about the band memebers and how, and why, you ended up with them?
Kristoffer: Borg was a guest at first. We are first and foremost very good friends and it felt natural to work together. It was while mixing the album we really felt like this should be a band. So I asked if he would honor me to join, and he did. I am as happy as can be.
The rest of the guys are already members of Rock Circus. We tour all year around and are as brothers. I sometimes think I spend more time with them than with my wife.
And now the debut album is soon to be released! Are you excited about the response, or how do you feel about that?
Kristoffer: I truly am and I can’t wait to release it! I’m proud of the result and I stand for every second of it. I can’t please everyone, but I bet you there is a fair share who will appreciate it just like I do. I made myself a promise: only Write music I would listen to myself; don’t do it for anyone else.
Review: Six Foot Six – The Six Foot Six Project
What are the future plans with this band?
Kristoffer: In the nearby future we will have a gig at the release party on November 16th. We have started to rehearsal and I can’t wait to perform the songs live. No tour is planned, but we will be happy to find some gigs next year.
This album is mainly to get the music out to listeners and build a fanbase. We have already started to write material for the second album, which we hope to do more shows on.
And I must ask you some Falconer questions!
How did you end up as the vocalist in Falconer?
Kristoffer: Two of the members in Falconer, Peder [Johansson] and Anders [Johansson], saw me at a cover gig in their hometown of Borås. I made a show there with a band consisting of some members from HammerFall; Magnus Rosen and Stefan Elmgren. They approached me after the show and asked if I was interested in singing in their band. I was told that Mathias [Blad] had made it clear that he did not have time for live shows and touring when the rest of the band wanted to. So it took off from there.
Falconer was known for the good melody lines, but also for the vocals in Mathias Blad. Was it hard to replace him?
Kristoffer: Yes! I can’t say anything else. I was at this point a huge Falconer and Mathias fan, but didn’t really understand how very unique he was. I just saw it as a fun task. But I very soon realized that it was a mountain to climb. Fans didn’t accept me and kind of gave me the blame for Mathias getting sacked. Believe me – I had nothing to do with that decision.
I actually talked very briefly to Tim Owens [ex Judas Priest] in Ohio. He was having a really hard time in Judas at that point, so we had a mutual understanding in the matter, haha!
You ended up doing two albums with Falconer. Thinking back: what do you think about those two albums, and were you involved in the songwriting process in any way?
Kristoffer: Yes, a little bit. On the Sceptre Of Deception I just sang what had already been written, but on Grime vs. Grandeur I wrote a song and some lyrics. This was just because Stefan [Weinerhall] invited me to do so. He felt that he was a bit «locked» by his own creation, so he saw the opportunity to make something different.
I still to this day think it’s a very good album. We got some great reviews on it from different magazines and radio stations. But unfortunately it was too far out for the major part of the fan base.
And why did it end with Falconer?
Kristoffer: I got sacked. Just like Mathias in the first place. When Stefan wrote the new album he just heard Mathias’ voice in his head. Stefan and I are also two very different persons. Perhaps not as much today, but back then. I guess our communication was a bit unclear in some aspects. I was the happy innocent puppy, while he was the grumpy old dog that knew better, getting fed up with my enthusiasm and ideas, haha! And I’m pretty sure he was not happy with not doing so many live shows. But you have to ask him about that!
I want to be very clear on this: there are in no way any hard feelings between any of us. And it never has been. We are still very good friends. I’m still a massive Falconer fan and wish them nothing but the best!
Six Foot Six debut album, The Six Foot Six Project, will be released November 16th.