A short while ago we learned that the members of Arctic Void have gone seperate ways. But fear not! Per Stålfors soon after the split founded a new band, and now Oxidize is just about to release its first single. In addition to Stålfors, Oxidize’s members are Anton Darusso (Wings Of Destiny) on vocals, Niclas Karlsson (Zonata, ex-Crystal Eyes) on lead guitar, Mika Vainio on drums, and Tommy Larsson on bass.
First of all: what happened with Arctic Void? What’s the reason behind the split?
Per: We had a sat back with the record company Power Prog in Germany. Everything seemed to good to be true. When the album Entangled  was released we got great reviews from most of the webzines and magazines who reviewed it and everyone was happy. But it all started with the distribution in Sweden that didn’t work out. So, then we asked «why?», and the answer was that the contract had been terminated because of overdue payments. After a while he didn’t answer our mails or nothing – he was gone! He had fled the country with the money from all the bands he had contracted. Because of that, everyone lost their energy to do music for a while. We talked about changing style etc., but we didn’t agree and after a while I got tired of it all and quit Arctic Void.
Was it ever a chance that you could have continued with Arctic Void, just with other members?
Per: I wanted to, but couldn’t. The other guys in the band didn’t want me to continue under the same name.
I see! Because, as you said yourself in the statement on Facebook, the music in Oxidize is quite similar to the one in Arctic Void?
Per: Yes, the music is quite similar. Less keyboards though. It’s a style we have played since 2010, and it has formed me as a guitar player and songwriter. We released a promo CD back then, with a band called Earthrise 2011, and since then we have kept that style.
So, how would you describe the music of Oxidize, and in what way does Oxidize challenge you as a musician?
Per: The music is heavier with a lot of harmonies – a little mix of everything that has inspired us over the years as musicians.
And before the fans of Arctic Void had time to react, you announce your new band. How long has that band been in your mind?
Per: I slept on it, and the next morning I had a new band in mind. I began to contact people that I liked and wanted to work with. I called them up and they liked what they heard. So, three hours later I had a band.
About the foundation of Oxidize, could you elaborate how the lineup fell in place? I am especially curious about the vocalist, Anton Darusso from Wings Of Destiny; how did he end up in a band from Gothenburg, Sweden?
Per: It all felt natural to call these guys and ask them, as I said. I have known them for years. The foundation is friendship, and the key is to have fun doing it.
I contacted Anton after having heard his solo album Darusso. I was totally blown away of his voice, and said to myself: I can work with this guy! So, I asked him if he was interested to do an EP with me and some guys from Sweden. He heard the songs «Hey Angel» and «Titanic», wrote the text and vocal lines, and then agreed to record the songs. It has now evolved to an album, and here we are.
I must say it’s quite a strong lineup, almost «supergroup» kind of strong, with members from well-known bands. Is this you dream team?
Per: Yes, the lineup is really strong! I love the guys and yes, this is my dream team. That I can agree on.
But, «almost a supergroup»? I like that comment, haha, but we don’t think so, from our point of view. I think that is up to the listener to decide!
The latest news from the band states that you have produced eight songs and are working on another four. How has the songwriting process been like?
Per: Yes, we have produced eight songs and four more is in the pipeline.
The process has been both up and down. In the beginning we had some difficulties. We had another drummer, Anders Johansson, that recorded «Hey Angel» and «Titanic», but he also plays in Strokkur and after a while he figured out that he didn’t have time to play in both bands. So, he quit. It did take a while before I thought of Mika [Vainio], but when I did, he felt like the real deal.
After that it has gone really well. I love to work with Mika as he has good arrangement ideas, and he and Tommy [Larsson, bass] makes the perfect motor in Oxidize.
The songs will be mixed and mastered by Arnold Lindberg in the near future.
Are you writing and working towards a debut album, or what are the plans ahead?
Per: The plan for the moment are to release a lyric video for «Titanic», then «Hey Angel».
Meanwhile we are working on the debut album of Oxidize.
What can you tell me about the two singles, and when will they be released?
Per: The first singel, «Titanic», we hope to release real soon. We have some percussion left, but as soon that is done, it goes to Arnold Lindberg for mix and mastering. «Hey Angel» will be released some time in the end of January beginning of February.
How has the recording process been like? Have Anton travelled to Sweden, or how has that worked out?
Per: Niclas and I have been in the studio working on the material. Then Mika and Tommy have listened to what we have done and a few days later stopped by the studio to do their parts. After the initially idea has turned into a song, we send it to Anton where he makes the the vocals and writes the text. Then it goes back to our studio where we add the quire and keyboard. And finally Niclas [Karlsson, guitar] records the solo parts.
Regarding Anton; it’s a digital world and because of that there are no borders or distances between us. Thank’s for Dropbox and digital transfer. No, he hasn’t been to Sweden yet, I hope he will come over here in the spring.
Arctic Void released one album; what are your plans with Oxidize?
Per: Oxidize will release and write songs as long as we think it’s fun and inspiring to do so. And for the moment it seems it will be a while.
When will the debut album be released?
Per: We are aiming for May if everything goes as planned.
Are touring a part of the future plans, and how will that work out with Anton living on the other side of the planet?
Per: We take things as they come; if there is a possibility for us to go on tour, under the right conditions, there won’t be a problem for us that Antons lives on the other side of the ocean.
I’m also thinking that we can go over there…