What do you think are your roots and wings – in artistic as well as personal terms?
Good question! My roots in music are certainly the 70s and all the legends of that era; especially the bands from Britain, like Deep Purple and all their offshoots, UFO, Nazareth, Thin Lizzy, Black Sabbath, and Status Quo… I’m also a big KISS fan. What could be better than quality songs performed with a great show? Personally, I grew up in a working-class family, in a small village on the west coast of Sweden. Everybody knew each other. Mostly a good thing... mostly (laughs). Wings are challenges. I’m trying to basically do my tiny little piece for a better world, a good glass of red wine, and most of all, love! Too much hate going on these days…
Is Major Instinct a continuation of M.ILL.ION or rather a whole new chapter?
Well, I guess so, yes in several different ways. I formed M.ILL.ION, I’m the only guy who was there from day one, during 25 years – through all the line-ups, seven highly critically acclaimed records, charting and international touring…. I own the name and I wrote or co-wrote a lot of the songs... But, Major Instinct is a new band, and at the same time, although I’m very involved in this one, I guess you can hear that it’s new. We will of course also play some M.ILL.ION songs in the live set. And the M.ILL.ION legacy will be kept alive as well.
Why have you decided on starting a new band?
At the end of the 2014 UK tour with M.ILL.ION and Heaven & Earth, I became very ill. I spent two weeks unconscious in Colchester General Hospital – cheers guys, you saved my life! Then I spent three months in intensive care in Sweden. In that situation, you have a lot of time to think and reflect on a lot of things… Like what do you wanna do with your – remaining part of – life? Music-wise, I needed new energy and a new team. M.ILL.ION was my baby, now I’m a father of two cool bands!
Can you tell me about the circumstances which saw the band’s line-up formed?
Alexandra Mrozowska interviews B.J. Laneby
Is Major Instinct, a new band formed by B.J. Laneby, a sequel to his previous brainchild M.ILL.ION? Fireworks caught up with B.J. to find out and discuss the new album, symbolically titled ‘Roots & Wings’.
I had already talked to Stefano Marchesini (lead vocals) before the last M.ILL.ION tour about doing something together... a side-project or something similar. He’s a fantastic singer and a great guy who I produced in the ‘90s, when he was in a Rainbow tribute band…. I’ve had him on my mind ever since. We met up in November last year and in December four fifths of the band were in place. Johan Häll (drums) I brought in from the last M.ILL.ION line up and a guitar hero Magnus Mild was recommended to me by Stefano. As for our guy behind the Hammond Organ, Gabriel Glamheden, it took a little longer to find him, but he was recommended to me by my bass sponsor EBS and now he’s in too. He’s just twenty-two years old but plays the shit out of that organ, and his hero is Jon Lord, may he rest in peace. Suits me just fine!
Major Instinct has that 70s Hard Rock feel to it, different from M.ILL.ION. What’s been your source of inspiration as far as lyrics and music on the new album?
The lyrics are mostly very, very personal. ‘One In A Million’ is about what happened to me last year when I almost died. ‘316’ is about the circumstances surrounding my twins’ birth; they were born three months early and started life in intensive care for their first six months… Serious stuff. That being said, you’ve also got some party songs like ‘I Need A Drink’ or ‘High Five’. Life has its lights and shadows, you know? What you won’t find here though is dragons, knights, Vikings and castles... I leave that to all the Power Metal bands out there. As for the music, I wanted to go back to the roots a bit more. The 70s and the early 80s. More Classic. More Blues vibes. Less Metal, more Rock! Still powerful
and with lots of melodies and hooks, but definitely not the standard Metal or AOR project. However, it’s not coming from another planet, you know? I’d like to think that a lot of M.ILL.ION fans can relate to Major Instinct as well. After all, I was really involved in M.ILL.ION’s music, lyrics and productions… the same as I am now. This is a new team and a new constellation though and it’s interesting to form and be in a new team. You may be the brainchild or the leader that set up the direction, but it’s still about letting everybody paint together to get the best possible common picture. In some ways I could allow myself to take a step back but just because I have the right team, I’m even more motivated to do this. Magnus is my hero on the album. He did such a huge amount of work recording it and he’s an extra-ordinary guitarist knowing that more notes and faster is not the same as better. Stefano then is, simply the best singer I have worked with and I’ve had some good ones in my earlier teams. Johan Häll is a swinging drummer and a great musician overall and Gabriel is Lord Jr, he can also sing some cool Glenn Hughes and Ian Gillan falsettos as well... so not a bad combo if you ask me...
Any comment upon the songs themselves?
I love ‘Roots & Wings’, ‘One In A Million’… as well as the rest (laughs). Favourites differ every day. I’d like to think that people telling us we’ve made a no-filler album are right. ‘Mother Of All’ is dedicated to my dear, late mother. The finest woman ever – rest in peace. Stefano and Gabriel did a brilliant job on it and every single person I’ve played it to have had tears in their eyes. I normally don’t want to see people cry, but I appreciate that it seems to touch people’s hearts. As for re-recorded version of ‘Follow Your Trends’ (originally from M.ILL.ION’s 1995 album), basically, it’s a middle finger to bands and musicians without integrity, selling their souls to the commercial industry by joining every new trend or music style that happens to be popular at the time. I think it turned out cool and the subject is unfortunately still as relevant 20 years later…