Unveiling Crown Shift: Daniel Freyberg Discusses Band Dynamics, Musical Influences, and Creative Process

Crafting Crownshift's Sound: Daniel Freyberg on Album Recording Secrets...

Interview by: Smudge


Smudge: All the members of the band were previously in other Finnish bands, well-known Finnish bands. How did you get together to form Crown Shift?

Daniel: Well, me, Heikki and Jukka, we already knew each other from our previous band, through our previous band, so it was already back then we were talking about that someday we’re gonna do another stuff together, but something together. And then we talk about that during the years and along the way we find Tommy, because we needed obviously a singer, and I knew Tommy from like, I think for a long time anyway. And he came to my mind first, as a first option, and he was really when he heard the songs and we tried a couple of ones and then it was like, yeah, let’s do the whole record.

Smudge: So, but I mean, as I said, you’ve all been in prominent Finnish bands, Nightwish, Children of Bodom, WinterSun, FinTroll, four very different bands musically. So, how have you created your own identity within all those spheres?

Daniel: Well, I think it’s still work in progress. You can probably do that by one album, I guess. No. You need a new album. Basically, the music is just, you know, it starts basically, it started basically that I wrote, write the core song, then we were gonna arrange it a little bit together. And so on. But you know, it’s just the music that I want to write, and we want to do it. So, there’s not really that much. We never really talk about that we should do this kind of music or this kind of music. It’s just what came naturally.

Smudge: How would you describe it?

Daniel: I don’t know, crossover metal.

Smudge: Cross-over metal, okay.

Smudge: So there’s elements of, of what in it?

Daniel: Well, yeah, it’s like a melting pot for several genres, I think, and metal genres. There’s a little bit of this, well, obviously there’s the Finnish melodic death metal, whatever people want to call it. And there’s a little bit of progressive metal in the mix. And then there’s even that hard rock vibe, like a little Whitesnake vibe. If you like a, let’s say song, “My Prison”, that has a little bit for me, that kind of vibe.

Daniel: So there’s many, a lot of stuff in the mix.

Smudge: What can fans expect from your album? Thematically, as that. What are the themes of the songs?

Daniel: Well, there’s not like any, any certain team or one theme, but some of the lyrics, most of the lyrics they are like about transformation, self-battle, stuff like that. And musically it’s a, it’s a really rollercoaster of different metal genres.

Smudge: Cool. So that moves me nicely onto the next question. Who are your musical influences?

Daniel: That list is a long. Is it? Yeah. Well, obviously this Gothenburg metal scene is being very big inspiration for me. But there’s a lot of other rock metal bands like Dream Theater, Symphony X, Periphery, Devin Townsend, also like some of my old heroes, Alice Cooper, Guns N’ Roses, Ozzie. It’s a very, very long list. So here’s just a few.

Smudge: So you’ve been in bands with three of the guys before. I think you’ve all gone in several ways. There weren’t any arguments regarding any of that. Was it just because the bands came to a natural end or are you still doing those bands?

Daniel: No, it was, like you said, it came to an end. It was the very final phases of that band. It was called Norther and it doesn’t exist anymore. And yeah, but we were always like the same page, the three of us. And we got along very well and on and off stage. So we always felt that we should do something together later on.

Smudge: Then you broke. Then it took a little while.

Daniel: Yeah. Then it took a little while.

Smudge: Then you bring Tom. Where did you find Tom, you said you knew him, but where did you actually find him?

Daniel: Well, actually, I got to know him because we were, our previous bands were of the same label at the time. I think this was 2005 or something. And I met him through our label at the time and that’s how I got to know him.  Also we became friends during the years and that’s why he was like my, and he’s an amazing singer he could do like anything. That’s why he was like first choice.

Smudge: So no one else on the list?

Daniel: No we didn’t actually even. We didn’t have any. And yeah, we didn’t have to, luckily.

Smudge: So four people in it, you write the core of the songs, but then you will arrange it. So how, I mean you’ve got four people, four different personalities. So how did their personalities impact on the songs?

Daniel: Well, sometimes a little bit less, sometimes more depends, but they all usually bring something. And they also have very distinctive personal way to play their instrument. And it’s only a cool thing because you know, when I’m writing some bass line I don’t necessarily are not that focused on you know, what it could do. I’m just doing like basics or something and then Jukka can go from there on. The same goes for drums, you know, programming drums and I don’t think like a drummer maybe. Do drummers think? Do drummers think? Yeah. They do quite a lot. Sometimes a little bit too much. But yeah, you know, Heikki can come up with ideas, I would never come up. But it’s also vice versa. Sometimes I do some programming that he would do. He said that to me many times. I would never ever imagine to play this like that, but it’s actually a cool thing. So yeah, and the vocals we did like, actually when we were recording the vocals, we wrote the lyrics on the spot. So basically we arranged the whole vocals, lyrics on the spot. So that’s the thing which is like we don’t do any demos, we just, you know, execute when we record them.

Smudge: Keeps it fresh.

Daniel: Yeah, exactly. Immediate. When you do much demos, it’s kind of takes something away. So yeah, it’s not any fresh anymore.

Smudge: Okay, so a new band, although you are sort of known within the various metal genre circles, how did you end up with Nuclear Blast?

Daniel: Well, it’s actually funny. First of all, we hooked up with our management, which is same management as Nightwish, which is Nightwish and Beast in Black. So we had a connection there. And they, of course, they’ve been working with Nuclear Blast a long time. So obviously they go and talk to Nuclear Blast among the other labels. But then it was a funny thing because our, when we were at that previous band called Norther, we worked with Century Media and the artist relation guy from Century Media got hired by Nuclear Blast recently. So he was already somebody who we know and he was really into Crownshift. And yeah, we had a couple negotiations and well, it was a done deal. Nuclear Blast is probably the label everybody wants to be in.

Smudge: So how do you think they’re going to help you take off? I mean, they’ve got a big machine behind them.

Daniel: Well, that’s how they got their resources. And yeah, they have a track record that you know what really has, you know, there’s very few bands that have left Nuclear Blast. So I think that that speaks for itself.

Smudge: Yeah.

Daniel: Okay, tell me about the recording of the album and the production, you know, anything that challenged you or any memorable moments you encountered during the recording or its creation?

Daniel: Well, it was a kind of a challenge, the whole album, because it was basically recorded by me except the drums. So it was kind of a new territory to be a producer.

Smudge: You’ve never done that before?

Daniel: Well, not a full length album. So I’ve been doing co-producing here and there, but not really engineered the whole album. So it’s another kind of challenge and a lot to learn. So that was a kind of a what took time. And yeah, but otherwise it was on the second thought it was kind of a it kind of gave me a freedom or asked to freedom to spend more time with it and basically tweak the songs a little bit further than maybe if you’re you’re in a commercial studio because there’s always clock ticking. Clock ticking and the clock is money, isn’t it? Yeah. Exactly. So yeah, it was a little bit different process than before, but it was a lot of fun though.

Smudge: Okay. Did Nuclear Blast offer you a producer or anything like that?

Daniel: No, we actually did the album before we approached Nuclear Blast.

Smudge: So before you had everything in place?

Daniel: Yeah

Smudge: Okay. And were they they were obviously happy with the result?

Daniel: Absolutely. They were loving it. And yeah, there wasn’t any assistance from their side that they you should do it here or here or maybe mix it again. They were super happy.

Smudge: And you have your own studio?

Daniel: Well, I have my home studio which I recorded except the drums. But then there’s another guy mix it in Finland. So that was handled in a different place.

Smudge: Yeah. Cool. Okay. What can we expect from you when you do live performances?

Daniel: Well, you can expect very surprising shows. Let’s say that. And I don’t know, we’re just going to do our best and try to kill it on stage and let’s see where it take us.

Smudge: Okay. Are you going to remain a full piece for the live shows?

Daniel: We’ll see. You have to come down to the show. That’s the only way to find out how they’re going to go.

Smudge: Okay. So what shows are you doing? Have you got a tour booked?

Daniel: Well, we have a lot of summer festivals coming up. And our, plus our album release show, which is our first show in, ever it’s going to hold in Helsinki, Tavastia Club. But after that, it’s summer festivals only. And we’ll see maybe fall 24. We could have a possibility to go, but it’s too early to promise anything, but we are talking about it.

Smudge: Could you provide some insights into the thematic elements and visual aesthetics associated with the singles that you have released?  Tell us about the singles (Videos) you’ve released, the themes and the visuals that are associated with them.

Daniel: Well, there’s not really a story behind it. It’s just, we thought that this would look great. This would look cool to this kind of, I think the last one, the studio video is kind of which fits very well in that kind of song. It’s like nothing else matters. So a little bit of, that was a little bit of an inspiration for that video. But yeah, the others were just, let’s, some brainstorming with our director and lighting guy that was actually pretty cool. The first one, it had a kind of the unique lightning set up there. Which I never actually seen before. And when our director suggested that he had some demo that the lightning guy did make for him, it looked so cool that we were like, yeah, let’s do this.

Smudge: Okay, that’s right. So what’s next for you? I mean, you know, it’s all very new, all very fresh, Crownshift’s debut album. What’s next? Have you got a backlog of songs ready for a second album or?

Daniel: Well, there is a lot of songs already existing, but I don’t know, it’s too early to say, are they all going to make it to second album or there probably will be a lot more songs along the way. So we’ll have to see when we are like actually start the whole process then, because it depends what mood you are in that particular time. And yeah, I think the next thing is to play live shows as much as we can. And the second album is not really something that we are thinking right now. But yeah, of course, will get there eventually.

Smudge: Have you signed on with Nuclear Blast for more than one or is that to be negotiated?

Daniel: I think we’re going to do more than one. Yeah, hopefully.

Smudge: Are you always writing? Are you constantly writing? Music.

Daniel: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And I think I write actually more than we could put out. So well, but that’s a positive problem to have. But yeah, it’s something that happens even there’s not any blast that goes to the order. There is like the music keeps coming up.

Smudge: Okay, what about the other guys? Do they constantly write or are they happy to let you do it?

Daniel: Well, I think they’re happy to let me do it because they really don’t write. I mean, Tommy, he writes lyrics and we work a lot of the vocals together. But when it comes to just the music, it’s usually my job.

Smudge: How do you find writing in a second language?

Daniel: Yeah, it’s tricky, but I guess in a way it’s easier than Finnish language. Well, because all the music I hear or listen are in English, so it would be kind of weird to write in Finnish. But of course, English isn’t your native language. It can be a little bit tricky. But luckily you have a lot of references because the world is full of English music. Yeah, yeah. So that kind of eased it out a little bit. But yeah, I mean, it’s not like first time I write English, so yeah. It’s all right. Okay. And it’s funny. It can be tricky, like not necessarily because it’s English, but just trying to make something fit into that song in a certain way. So that’s kind of a, you have to do a lot of compromises or adjustments.

Smudge: So where do you see yourself in five years, ten years?

Daniel: Hopefully we’re doing still a Crownshift and yeah, established our place in the music industry.

Smudge: So are there any festivals that you are doing that you can talk about or is it just the album launch at the moment?

Daniel: I think there was nine or ten festivals total summer. So there’s pretty couple of cool ones like Graspop. Barcelona Rockfest. What is that one motto culture in France? And then there’s couple in Finland too, which is cool. And yeah, Switzerland. So a couple of ones are in Germany.

Smudge: What are you endorsed?

Daniel: Yeah. I’m an ESP artist, also Engl Amps. I’m Engl artist as well. Well, I’m an artist for many brands, but GR Strings, then I use Morningstar Controllers. So an EMC pickups. So those are my tools and various different pedals. 

Smudge: Okay, Daniel, thank you for your time, sir. I’m going to send this off to my boss and hopefully he’ll put it on the website at ASAP.

Daniel: Okay. More power to you.

Smudge: Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get into the nuclear blast iPall. I don’t know why. But as soon as I can, I will be listening to your album.

Daniel: Okay, please do.

Smudge: I will. I hope you’ll like it.

Daniel: I will. I mean, have you had any feedback from it yet at the moment?

Daniel: Yeah, a couple of words. I made, people seem to like it a lot and which is a good thing. Because you know, it’s, you never know when you start a new band and if it’s interesting to other people, but luckily there’s been a lot of interest for CrowdShift and everybody who’s actually heard the whole album says that it’s a lot of good album. So I’m really happy.

Smudge: Good. That feedback.

Daniel: Good. Anyway, did our best, people like it or not, I’m happy with it. That’s what counts.

Smudge: That’s what counts.

Daniel: Yeah. That’s the only thing you can do basically. Then it’s not in your hands anymore.

Smudge: No, I mean, you don’t play for anybody or write it for anybody else. It’s for yourself.

Daniel: Exactly. That’s exactly the thing. Okay.

Smudge: Okay, thank you, Daniel.





Tommy Tuovinen: Vocals 
Daniel Freyberg: Guitar, Backing Vocals 
Jukka Koskinen: Bass 
Heikki Saari: Drums 



15.05.  FI   Release Show, Tavastia, Helsinki
17.05.  DE  Open Air Am Berg, Eichstätt
19.06.  FI   Nummirock, Nummijärvi
23.06.  BE  Graspop, Dessel
06.07.  ES  Rock Fest Barcelona, Santa Coloma de Gramenet
02.08.  HU  Fezen Festival
03.08   RO  Rockstadt Extreme Fest
09.08.  FI   Hellsinki Metal Festival, Helsinki

About Author



Photo Credit: Chris Rugowski

Imminence - The Black

Experience the Grandeur of Nightwish’s ‘Yesterwynde’ with New Single Release

ORDEN OGAN Set to Unleash New Album “The Order of Fear” on July 5th, 2024!

Blood Opera – Songs In The Key Of Death Review

Def Leppard – Pyromania 40 Review