Interview: The Night Flight Orchestra takes off with 'Amber Galactic'
Courtesy of Nuclear Blast Records

Here’s a flight that fans of classic rock and progressive music won’t want to miss, and it’s not even necessary to go to the airport to get on board. All it takes to go on a sublime journey is to pick up a copy of Amber Galactic, the new release from the Night Flight Orchestra. Lush and super melodic, Amber Galactic is informed by the classic rock and classic prog eras, perhaps a little surprising considering the guys that make the music. The Night Flight Orchestra features Swedish metal stars David Andersson (guitar) and Bjorn Strid (vocals) of Soilwork and Sharlee D’Angelo (bass) of Arch Enemy.

The Night Flight Orchestra is more than just something for Andersson, Strid and D’Angelo to do when they’re not busy with their other bands. In fact, the throwback sound of Amber Galactic will likely land the album on a bunch of “best of” lists as the year progresses. Strid has a voice that channels the era perfectly, and songs like “Gemini” and “Something Mysterious” recall the proggier side of Toto as heard on albums like Hydra and Turn Back. Rounding out the band are keys player Richard Larsson and drummer Jonas Kallsback.

While juggling multiple bands keeps Andersson, Strid and D’Angelo very busy, Andersson found the time to let us pick his brain a little and gave us the good news via email that the Night Flight Orchestra is looking at touring this autumn. Andersson’s commentary below is given exclusively to AXS.com.

AXS: Band members were just kids in the ‘80s, the time frame you channel with the Night Flight Orchestra. Were you exposed to classic prog rock then, while it was happening, or did you come to it later in life?

David Andersson: I don't know if I was exposed to prog rock per se at an early age, but my parents had a great record collection that included lots of classic albums by the Beatles, Rolling Stones, ELO, ABBA, etc., so at least I was exposed to classic, timeless tunes at an early age. Later on I discovered all the other stuff including prog rock like Yes and Genesis.

AXS: “Star of Rio” and “Josephine” include female vocals, something that is a first for the Night Flight Orchestra. What was it about these particular songs that made you give it a try?

DA: Like almost everything we do, it was very spontaneous. We were in the studio and someone came up with the idea that it would be nice to have some female vocals on the album. We checked with our contacts, and Johanna Beijbom, who's a fantastic singer, had the time to stop by the studio and sing on a few tracks, and we figured that those two songs would really benefit from having some female vocals on them.

AXS: The band has stated that the Night Flight Orchestra creates music that doesn’t belong to any genre. Do you sometimes have to rearrange songs that come out sounding too much like a particular genre?

DA: No, never. We obviously do a few things that are very typical of certain genres, but that's okay. Our main goal is to keep on doing diverse albums, where it never gets boring, and that's the main reason why we don't want to get pigeonholed in a specific genre. We'd prefer to just call it rock, and if we write a reggae song or a fusion instrumental, we'd still be able to include it.

AXS: The band is now signed to Nuclear Blast Records. What benefits of having the Night Flight Orchestra signed to a larger label have you already experienced?

DA: The media exposure has been bigger, and we've gotten enough money to make a couple of music videos as well. And we really hope that we'll be able to reach a bigger audience this time around. So far, no one outside of the metal community has really heard about us, but I think we do have the potential to appeal to music fans in general.

AXS: It looks like some band members are committed to touring with their other bands this summer. Will there be a Night Flight Orchestra tour or festival appearances this year?

DA: We just played an exclusive show at the Rock Hard festival in Gelsenkirchen, Germany and we hope to do a European tour this fall. After that, we'll see. If the album does well, we'll hopefully get some more offers.

AXS: Would you care to give a shout-out to any other bands that you like who are working in the prog revival genre?

DA: Personally, I really like Big Big Train. And they just keep getting better and better. Folklore is a fantastic album.

Follow the Night Flight Orchestra here.