If sunsets had soundtracks they would sound a lot like Immanu el. Their dramatic guitar melodies and piercing vocals fill you with a rush of emotions as they awaken something deeply spiritual in you and wrap you in a musical journey of the human condition.
Immanu el is a Swedish post-rock band with a growing fan base spanning from Europe to Asia and now the United States. Their debut album They'll Come, They Come was released on And The Sound Records (Sweden) and Thomason Sounds (Japan). Fans of mainstream acts like Explosions in the Sky and Sigur Ros will enjoy Immanu el's arrival to the music scene. With stand out tracks like "Astral Days", "Under Your Wings I'll Hide" and "In Valleys" Immanu el proves that they have something special to bring to the world of independent music. But how can they not? With a name like Immanu el, which means "with us is God" in Hebrew you can definitely feel a Heavenly power in their sound. But don't try to box them into a cookie-cutter label of what a "post-rock" band should be. Their music and artistry speaks for itself.
The lead singer, Claes Strängberg, was generous enough to answer a few of my questions about the band and his take on the post-rock music scene.
1. How do you go about creating new songs? What's your process like?
Basically I compose the songs at home or in the studio and we'll take that finished idea and arrange it together when we rehearse. My brother wrote a couple of the songs as well... i guess we're not the band that sits down for hours and jam to find something, we work better out of finished ideas someone created at home. When we come to the point where the arrangements feel good we start to work with the lyrics and the vocals.
2. What are some interesting things you've learned from touring all over the world?
Well this far we've only made one European tour (even though we have two more scheduled and a further one being planned). Of course you learn a lot about how the music industry works and how to handle issues related to that while being on the road. I also think the most interesting part is that you learn about how you and your bandmates work together under pressure and how to handle social issues as well. Its very important that you work well together as a group.
We also got to learn many different kinds of cheese and beer, haha.
3. What epitomizes a great live performance? And what’s your approach to performing on stage?
I think that you need to stay true and believe in what you do, when you're being honest to your music there is so much easier and natural to feel some kind of a connection with your audience. If you radiate that kind of simple honesty then I think you're halfway there.
4. What do you think about the state of post-rock music?
I must say that I'm a little bit fed up with post-rock sometimes, even though I still listen a lot to it. Some post-rock bands make music I simply can't live without but at the same time there are a lot of bands iIdont really like because I can't feel that special tension in the music. I like the ideas of mixing the original sound and effects of post-rock with a more direct and energetic sound.
5. Have you noticed a difference in how your music is embraced between Europe, Japan and the USA?
Not really, its basically the same and I'm kind of happy with that. Somehow the music of ours reflects the same thoughts and feelings wherever we go and for that I'm very grateful. I just hope we get the chance to actually go to the US and Asia for touring as well, then I would definitely know more about it.
6. What core beliefs have you promised your bandmates that you would stay true to?
I would say there aren't any promises like that...it would in that case be to always make the music we really feel like doing and not being that dependent on what people think about it.
7. What's the biggest goal you want the band to accomplish by next year?
That must be to finish the new material for the next record and to get to the point when you feel very good about it. We already made a couple of new songs and got more ideas coming up.
8. Lastly, anything else you'd like to share?
Well, we just posted our tour dates for summer/fall at MySpace. If you or somebody else are interested in experiencing us live you should go and take a look!
9. One last question, are you guys Christian?
I am, some of us are but I couldn't speak for everyone. We're not a Christian band (if there are any such thing), more like a band with a couple of Christians in it.