TOMORROW’S OUTLOOK – A Talk With ØYSTEIN K. HANSSEN (Guitar)

Posted on April 07 th. 2018

Questionnaire by Officer Nice on behalf of METAL TO INFINITY WEBZINE BELGIUM



Hello, here Rico; aka as Officer Nice from the Metal To Infinity webzine. How are you guys doing? I have some questions for you, hope you’ll enjoy them.

Officer Nice: Tomorrow’s Outlook might not be familiar to all our readers, so please, can you introduce yourself and the other members?

A: My name is Oystein Kvile Hanssen, and I handle the guitar duties for Tomorrow’s Outlook.

I’m one of the core trio of the band, which as of this moment includes bass player and main composer Andreas Stenseth, and our manager, idea generator and all-round person who makes things happen; Trond Nicolaisen.

We’re a merry gang of lunatics from a small but awesome place called Sorvik, strategically located in the Arctic Northern Norway.

 

Officer Nice: I wrote in my review that I’m not sure if Tomorrow’s Outlook is a band or a project. Can you enlighten us?

A: We definitely started as a studio project, but our goal now is to break away from that status and function as a band. We’ll do our best to form a fantastic lineup and take our music to any stage that will have us. As you know we’ve been fortunate to work with some wonderful performers, and we need to make sure their quality is well represented. Not an easy task, but we’ll persevere.

Officer Nice: It is clear you guys are experienced musicians. Tell us more about it….

A: Andreas and myself have been playing in various constellations for quite a few years now. Nothing huge, but bands like Cat Eye, Cyclophonia and Insanitarium are where we cut our teeth. Come to think of it, my first exposure to actual live music was playing the trumpet in a school band from age 8. I loved it, but switched to guitar after a while, after discovering (like so many others) Metallica. I’ve also worked as a guitar teacher for a while, and on the side, I make commercial/production music with another friend of mine. So yeah, the past 25 years for me have pretty much been all about music, in some form or other.

 

Officer Nice: There is no singer, there are actually multiple guest singers. This was the concept on the first album and is it the concept now again now. What’s the goal behind this way of working?

A: The thought behind this approach is to find a specific singer to suit the specific mood of the song. But as you no doubt have noticed, we have reduced the number of singers drastically – on the debut we had a whole bunch, but now we’re down to three. Like I said, we’re going more in the direction of an actual band, and though we still have more than one singer, we felt it important to reduce their number so as to create a more cohesive whole.

 

Officer Nice: It is obvious that at least one member of the band is a huge fan of US Metal. Working with members of Heir Apparent, Deadly Blessing, Reverence…  It means he knows the scène!  Ski was there on the first album, once again some first-class singers are present on this newbie. Tell us more about the love for the American underground scène…

A: This is a direct result of the boss, Trond, being massively into the metal underground – his favourite thing is discovering unknown, sometimes underappreciated bands, and spreading the word on social media. You name the underdog, he’ll go to bat for them. It’s pretty great. And sometimes he’ll get in touch with them, like he did with the guys from Deadly Blessing and Reverence.

That said, both Andreas and myself absolutely love several of the US Metal bands from the 80s. Crimson Glory and Queensrÿche, naturally, but we’re also long-time fans of the lesser-known ones, like Heir Apparent.

 

Officer Nice: What are the main influences anyway and can you tell our readers, ignorant about Tomorrow’s Outlook, what the music stands for?

A: Each member has their own favourites, which I’m pretty sure shines through in certain aspects of our music. We’ve of course got to mention the big ones, Maiden and Priest, but there are so many more. Helloween, Gamma Ray, Manowar, Metallica, Yngwie Malmsteen, Crimson Glory, Queensrÿche, Savatage, and I could go on for hours and still have left some of them out. Me, I’m currently on a binge with Magnum, Winterhawk, and Bal-Sagoth! Also, I might have an unhealthy obsession with the Broadway recording of Jesus Christ Superstar. Barry Dennen’s Pilate is as Metal as anything.

But any self-respecting band aspires to being more than just a clone of those we worship. We always want to create songs that have their own identity, and on “A Voice Unheard” we do feel we’ve accomplished this. For a concept album such as this, we wanted to create music which complemented the story we wanted to tell. It needed to function as a supporting piece to the lyrics, to create a specific mood for each part of the tale. Fast when fast is needed, slow and deliberate in some places, epic and massive on occasion.

 

Officer Nice: How did you get in touch with these musicians and how do you convince a man like Terry Gorle (Heir Apparent) or Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear, Gamma Ray…) to be a part of your new album? How was the cooperation with all these musicians anyway?

A: In this modern world, the internet allows for all kinds of strange and wonderful occurrences. The credit again belongs to Trond for making this happen. Sometimes, if you just ask nicely enough… Well, whatever he did, we’re all very proud to have these amazing artists on our album.

Thankfully, they all have turned out to be very cool, down-to-Earth people, who are just a joy to work with. We’ve communicated by email and Skype, sent demos and raw tracks to each other, and sometimes sat in on a recording session via the aforementioned Skype. Not much direction was needed, though, as I have to say they all exceeded our wishes and expectations.

 

Officer Nice: It took a few years before the new album was released. Can you tell us more about the first album, the reviews and how it worked out? What happened ever since?

A: The first one was a huge learning experience for Tomorrow’s Outlook. At that time, only Andreas and Trond were actually in the band. They had written a bunch of songs and decided to make an album, and to see how many cool people they could get to participate. The biggest names I suppose were Graham Bonnet and Michael Kiske, and I have to say, that’s not too shabby!

Anyway, I know the recording process was a slightly messy affair, as they had no previous recording experience. Colin Davis, who also did the mastering for “A Voice Unheard”, did a huge job in unifying a bunch of sound files from all over the planet and making them into an actual album. The guys learned a lot, and after they asked me to join the party and we started writing for the current album, we made good use of that education and did quite a few things differently – and we’re pretty sure that fact is audible.

The reviews were largely in favour of the album, and we’ve spent the years since cultivating a following on social media while creating “A Voice Unheard”. We’ve kept active, released teasers and updates every so often. Since we’ve all got full time jobs, work on the album hasn’t been the fastest – but we’ve dedicated ourselves to achieving the highest level of quality all across the board.

 

Officer Nice: The new album sounds more mature, the song writing is stronger and to me it makes Tomorrow’s Outlook a band that fans of Progressive Power Metal can’t deny anymore. Do you agree? What are the main differences between both albums to you?

A: Thank you very much for those words. That is exactly what we were going for this time around; to raise the bar of our own song writing. Like I said, we learned a lot during the process of making our debut and this time around we really wanted to benefit from that experience. That’s why I think we all agree that “A Voice Unheard” is a much more cohesive album with a clear direction, focus, and unified sound, which is what sets it apart from “34613”.

 

Officer Nice: Can you tell us more about the concept of the new album? What are the lyrics about and who’s responsible for them?

A: The concept takes place in a world on the brink of destruction from global strife, where a solitary soul has a vision of Armageddon and must make the decision to try and prevent this dire end. It delves deeper into his thoughts and fears, and along the way we may say a thing or two about the human spirit and how it will rise up in the face of overwhelming odds. It’s actually quite positive for a piece about the end of the world.

Trond first came up with the rough idea for the concept, which then he, Andreas and myself worked into a story. We outlined the major plot points and figured out what we wanted to say and chose the music for each event. Then I wrote the lyrics.

 

Officer Nice: Did you read our review? Agree or disagree, please tell me…

A: Good Sir; we all read it, and on behalf of the band, I thank you for your very kind words. It really means a lot to us, knowing there are people out there who appreciate what we do.

I was a bit surprised by the comparison to Ayreon, which I have to say is a project I absolutely love. I’ve been following Arjen with eager ears ever since his “Into the Electric Castle” album, and though it never struck me as a sound we would be compared to, I’m immensely honoured. Perhaps some of that flavour crept into our work.

 

Officer Nice: The front cover is again fantastic! What’s the story behind it?

A: Thank you, we are very pleased with it. It is a scene directly from the lyrics to the song “One Final Prayer”. Our protagonist has been misconstrued as the source of all the things that have gone wrong, and so he is hunted by a mob. The artwork shows him kneeling in surrender, as he knows he has failed his mission and everyone is doomed. It is literally the moment when the Earth’s fate is sealed.

 

Officer Nice: Is there a chance that Tomorrow’s Outlook will play on stage with all of these guest musicians? In my review I mentioned Ayreon…Arjen Lucassen did it… So?

A: The motto for Tomorrow’s Outlook, if we ever had one, is “never say never”. I would say the biggest restriction is monetary, and for a band of our current underground status this would be a gargantuan feat – but stranger things have happened, and nothing would make us happier than being able to bring all these amazing people together.

We will do our best, and promise you this: In some form or other, we WILL take Tomorrow’s Outlook to the stage!

 

Officer Nice: Any last words for the readers and the fans? Where can they buy the album anyway? Will it be available on vinyl too?

A: To our fans; thank you so much for your patience. We took our sweet time getting this album ready, and we hope you agree it was worth the wait.

To those of you who haven’t heard of us before and/or may be on the fence; we’ll be grateful to any of you who decide to check us out. Some of you may know, some may not, but just a few more views, listens, or clicks mean the world to a small band such as ourselves. We have a couple of songs off the new album available on both YouTube and our Facebook page, as well as a trailer for the album.

“A Voice Unheard” is now readily available for physical purchase in most major webshops, as well as Battlegod Productions’ own website. If CDs are not your thing, it’s available for streaming on Spotify/iTunes and such places. As for vinyl; we will see. We have gotten this request from a few different people, and I would love to have one for myself as I am an avid collector. Let’s just say that we’re on the case and we’ll see what we can do.

I feel like that last sentence should end with a smileyface.

Anyway; a million thanks to yourself and Stefan, thanks to our loyal and awesome fans, and maybe we’ll see you all somewhere soon!

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