About Me

Interview with Conception

Conception was started back in 1989 by guitarist ‎Tore Østby. The band was completed with Arve Heimdal in the drums, Ingar Amlien in the bass and Roy Khan on vocals. They formed their own label in 1991 and recorded their first album “The Last Sunset” in a home studio. 
After that, in 1993, they were discovered by Noise Records, recording their second album “Parallel Minds” also released in 1993. In 1995 they released “In Your Multitude” and “Flow” in 1997. In 1998, Roy Khan was invited to join the band Kamelot as their new lead singer and Conception disbanded. ‎Tore Østby focused on his other project ARK and Ingar Amlien formed the black/death metal band Crest of Darkness. 
In 2018, they reunited and released their EP “My Dark Symphony” and, this year, they released their brand new album “State of Deception”. We talked to Roy and Tore to tell us more about this new album.

M.I. -  For those who don’t know Conception, what can you tell us about the band? 

Roy: Whoa - there’s a lot to say about Conception if you don’t know the band at all. We started back in the 90s and took a very long break after the album «Flow». We are right now out with a critically acclaimed full-length album entitled «State of Deception». My best tip as to get to know the band quickly would be: listen to the new album! 
Tore: The music of Conception is heavily rooted in hard rock and metal from the 70s forward, we have always introduced influences from other genres and mixed a heavy groove with emotional and technical musicianship. And for those who want to know more, please visit our website www.conceptionmusic.com 

M.I. -  You have released your new studio album “State of Deception” on April 2020. Can you tell us a little bit more about the album?

Roy: The songs for the album were written together with the songs for the EP that came in 2018 but thoroughly grouped together for each release. 80% of the material was written in the period between 2016 and 2019.  
Tore: It’s a musical journey based on our music and life experiences and reflection of the world during these last years. A dynamic album, a variety of songs with different stories and expressions. 

M.I. -  What inspired the title of the album?

Roy: «State of Deception» is an attempt at a reflection of society and our inner turmoil. We live in a time where the human race and even humanity itself is being put to the test on so many levels. 

M.I. -  How was the process of songwriting for this album?

Roy: It was lots of fun and hard work. We always write from the depth of our heart and soul, being inspired by life and events around us. It is always important to express what we feel in the moment we write. The songs have different background stories, some written over a short period, some over longer periods. For example, Tore and I started jamming out some parts of “Waywardly Broken” when we were sharing a house in the 2000s, while he was in ARK and I was in Kamelot. Then wrote some more to it in 2017 and completed it in 2019. “She Dragoon” has roots from Tore and Arve jamming back in the day whilst songs like «By The Blues» and «The Mansion» were composed when we isolated ourselves for cabin-sessions up in the Norwegian mountains. I believe Tore wrote the basic music for «Feather Moves» while he lived in France. 
Tore: I wrote the basic music to «Anybody Out There» when I was on holiday with my family and friends outside Silves, Algarve. The music started to flow when we discovered an abandoned house not far from the house we were renting. All the walls were filled with writings, and when we got them translated, it was clear they were written by a very disturbed and lonely man, claiming something really bad had happened. I think especially this crazy man’s loneliness and hopelessness got to me, and when this music came to me, I simply had to spend some of my holiday getting the basic orchestrations down on my laptop. I even had to leave the dinner table in the middle of dinner with friends to get some parts down as they just came. We are going to Portugal every year, and I found this house is now sold and fully renovated. But even if the writings on the walls now are covered by paint, they still somehow live on in the music of this tune. So, we have no recipe on how to write, but normal procedure is basic music first, then adding vocal lines. Then finally Roy is completing lyrics as he is recording. Lyrics and compositions are never completed until we do the actual recording. 

M.I. -  “Waywardly Broken” was the first single released. What is the song about?

Roy: This song tells a story of victory coming from sacrifice. Life from death. New ways of seeing the world and yourself. This song, more than anyone, is saturated with hope and belief.

M.I. -  “By the Blues” was the second single released. What is it about?

Roy: «By the Blues» is a song about living in denial making it a way of survival. I love the lyrics for this one.

M.I. -  What has been the reaction from the public to the album so far?

Roy: It’s been flat out awesome! We are stoked about it! The reviews are really great too.
Tore: It’s been amazing and very rewarding to see that our music means so much to so many people out there!

M.I. -  What’s the meaning of the cover of the album? Who thought about the design?

Roy: Seth Siro Anton did a marvelous job on «My Dark Symphony» and we wanted him to do the LP as well. He came up with some ideas that totally clicked with what we felt our new music should «look like». 

M.I. -  You have the album on YouTube in your official page. Do you think the new technologies are a good way to reach more people? What are your thoughts about them?

Roy: You definitely have the possibility to reach a lot more people with today’s technology. It all boils down to how well you handle all these new tools combined with the talent you bring to the table in the form of your art. In our case you also have to have the right people in your organization to handle label business. New technology enables us to work with good people around the world.

M.I. -  You took different paths in 1998 and reunited in 2018 with the same lineup. What was is it like to play together again since you all had different experiences through these years?

Roy: It was very natural. We have kept in touch all these years and occasionally even played together just for fun. 
Tore: The foundation we built in the 90s has always been there. It’s amazing how it felt we were just continuing from back then.

M.I. -  How did the fans react to this reunion? 

Roy: We were all excited about this - band and fans alike. And the welcome back was heartwarmingly wonderful. 
Tore: It’s quite humbling to receive so much love! The love is mutual!

M.I. -  How did this time apart and the different experiences contributed to this new album?

Roy: We have grown and matured as musicians, songwriters and human beings. Combine that with the accumulated experience the four of us represent and we come out this end of the 20s as «State of Deception».
Tore: We have all been through a lot of different experiences and got through various challenges. The urge to express various emotions and thoughts had been growing for a good while.

M.I. -  Due to the current situation worldwide you had to postpone the dates of your tour. What are your thoughts about this current situation we are going through?

Roy: The main thing now is to get things back to normal as fast as possible in a safe way. I fear the aftermaths of a financial disaster more than the virus itself and there are people dying and people losing their jobs. Guess there are worse places to be than in a rock band right now. I just hope this doesn’t last too long. In my business you are quite dependent on being able to play live. In a perfect world we should have been out touring the new album now, but let’s cross our fingers. Find out more about the new dates at conceptionmusic.com 
Tore: It is tough times for so many people now. Some are sick, some are worrying for loved ones, there are tragic deaths. People are losing their jobs, or being worried about what the future holds. It is very important to stay patient now and take care of one another. Then I hope the world is learning that we are all in this together, no matter where you’re from, religion, political or sexual orientation… Let’s hope it will lead to more tolerance, solidarity and hopefully even a lasting positive effect on the climate change.

M.I. -  You have a date planned to play in Portugal in 2021. What are your expectations for this concert and for the tour?

Roy: I hope a lot of people will have discovered «State of Deception» by then. As far as I remember, we can expect an intense music loving audience with respect for band, crew and fellow concert goers. I am definitely looking forward to touring after all this.
Tore: We had a great experience finally being back on stage doing the 2019 shows. There is always a special energy between stage and audience when we play, and I can’t wait to experience more of that!

M.I. -  Do you want to leave any special message to your fans in Portugal?

Roy: Thanks for reading this interview and thanks for all love and support! See you in Lisbon, on April 10th 2021.
Tore: My only time of performing in Portugal was in a wedding in Sintra for some very close friends. Now I can’t wait to finally be on a stage in Lisbon! Hope to see you all there! Until then, take good care of yourselves and each other!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Isabel Martins