After awaking from a good night’s sleep in his home country of Norway, Einar Solberg of the mighty progressive metal band Leprous answers my call to discuss the band’s upcoming shows in Australia. Leprous will be headlining the annual Progfest which takes place in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.

The conversation begins with a discussion of how it feels for Einar and the rest of the band to be coming down to headline our premier prog festival.

“Well we were in Australia over two years ago and it was a fantastic experience for us. We really really can’t wait to get back and it’s probably gonna be even better this time. We can’t wait to see our mates in Voyager again, and Alithia who we’ve just been touring with. To meet all the fans, it’s gonna be great… and to have some sun! January in Norway is like the coldest month of the year. It’s snowing here actually.”

On the topic of the kind of show the Progfest audience can expect from Leprous, Einar explains,

“Well, we’ve become a bit less predictable as a live band, because now we’re doing different setlists. Kind of a different show every night. We had a really really good experience with that from the tour we just did. We had 33 different setlists across 33 different shows in Europe. That was a great experience. The only thing is it required a lot of preparations and a lot of work of course. Once we were done with that it kept us on our toes. It kept us excited, it kept the crowd excited. It was kind of creating a different kind of vibe than before because nobody really knew what was coming. We barely even knew it ourselves actually.”

Einar continues on to talk more about how the revolving setlist system worked on the band’s recently concluded tour of Europe in support of their latest studio effort Malina.

“We were like okay this is the setlist. And we didn’t think that much more about it after programming it. And then we just go on stage and ‘oh so what’s the next song?’ If I really didn’t remember, I needed to check the list and go ‘ah, okay that one cool.’ I had to admit that I was pretty directly inspired by Radiohead to do it. I went to their show and I realized that I got super intrigued by the fact that ‘oh they played that one yesterday but not today.’ It was very interesting to me.  Then I realized that I really missed that with our show as well because it’s really just been a machine running throughout the entire tour. Even the smallest transitions were rehearsed down to the smallest detail. And that’s pretty bulletproof but after 10 shows you’re not very excited anymore.”

The discussion turns from there onto what Einar hopes that both the audience and the band will be able to take away their performances on the Progfest stages,

“Well our goal with the show is to make the audience feel something. Not just to impress or… For me music is all about the emotions, and we’re a pretty emotional band as well. So, I would say to make people feel something. That’s our main goal actually. You have different forms of art and entertainment. Some things are purely meant to entertain and to make time pass and we don’t want to belong in that category. We want to make an impact on people’s emotions.”

This train of thought ushers us onto the topic of the deeper meanings and themes on the new album which Einar touches upon,

“It’s on a little more of a personal level than before. Writing very much in images and in metaphors. In general, the lyrics that I’ve been writing is about tough times that myself or people close to me through the years have been going through the years.”

Moving onto more technical topics, I press Einar for information on his process when composing a song for Leprous, asking about things such as what comes first and how the process has evolved through the years.

“I actually write guitar and drums first. Sometimes I start with keys, but vocals always come later. What is very important for me before starting to make an actual song, is to have a nice foundation before I start adding details and layers to everything. It’s easier for me to work that way. Maybe I will do it different next time. But that’s how I’ve been writing the last couple of albums at least. it was like I’ve made this thing on my keys at home and the guitarist has made this riff at home and there was no like overall idea.”

As is tradition, we wrap up our conversation with Einar imparting the best advice he can give to younger bands just starting out.

“Well first, the most important thing is to be self-aware. Is this going to be a hobby? Is this what you really love? Or what you really have the talent for? It’s important to know that. Are you talented enough? Or not? You can be doing it for your whole life and try and try and try but if it’s not gonna good enough, it’s not good enough. They’re brutal words but that’s just the truth. But then again if you have the talent, which most bands have I think, then it’s a matter of patience and really hard work over a long time. The fastest way is never the best way in my opinion. Always evaluate what you’re doing. Never be too proud. You can always become better. And don’t party too much!”