Interview: Ken Sandin (Alien, Kee Marchello Band, Timecode Alpha)

By now most journalists had their chance to listen to the new Alien album and I must say its a real treat. We made an interview with Alien Bass player Ken Sandin and he had some interesting answers.


HRH For how long have you been talking about recording a new album?

KS We reunited a couple years back only to do nostalgic shows with the debut album material.
There have been hints and what if’s thrown around, but I think the game-changing moment was our first Firefest performance (2011), where our fans from all over the world showed their love and wish for a new album. We finally decided a year ago, and just took on writing… head first.

HRH How come you started work with Barlow/Minto again?

KS When we had the album written, more or less, we just thought it would be a cool thing to add something with them again, as homage to the debut album co-work. I knew of this 80’s song, and the guys were all up for a try. Pam & Janet were happy to hear, ‘cause they always believed in that song, but somehow thought we had passed on it back then. Truth is we never got to hear it, then.
Then, along the line, we invited them to write some lyrics as well, and it turned out just great.

HRH How many songs have you written together with them?

KS We have seven new lyrics of theirs to our music, plus that 80’s song.

HRH And how many songs will there be on the album?

KS 12.

HRH What can we expect of the new album?

KS An album in line with the debut, song wise. Melodic pomp rock. Goal was to stay true to what we did best back then. We think we’ve got a strong album, and I’m very happy with the production this time. Hope you’ll like it as much as we do.

HRH I’ve seen you a couple of times since your gig in Kungsbacka 2010 and naturally you’re a better live act now. But at Firefest I realized you’re not only better but it’s by far. Do you rehearse every week or is it just prior to your gigs?

KS Thanks. No, we just prepare prior to gigs or recordings

HRH How would you describe the guys playing today compared to the days when you where at your peak as a band?

KS Different story, altogether. Back then we worked together full time, no such time for preparations today. Experience and routine hopefully make up for that.

HRH And your own progress?

KS That’s for others to say. I always wrote music, lyrics, sang and played but I’m very confident in all areas nowadays, besides my playing. Thirty years down the line… 

HRH Will we get to see a full scale tour with Alien after the new album?

KS Not sure, not that I wouldn’t love to! More likely, occasional clubs and festivals, as of yet.

HRH When Jim Jidhed left Alien got Pete Sandberg to front the band. What can you say about the different versions of the band?

KS Well, we were facing the international launch of the debut album and had to keep it up best we could. Still sounded good, and we wrote a pretty good follow up, although scrapped when we disbanded (late 89).

HRH Are you still in contact with Pete?

KS No. Didn’t even hear a word when he had a live album with us released (2001) –
no agreements, statements, money, reference copies, nothing. The most disrespectful thing anyone ever did to me!! …and I got him the gig, mind you. Insane, when you think of it, not to mention illegal.

HRH You’ve managed to stay as a full time musician through the years. What has been best and not so good through the years?

KS A variety of styles is both demanding and fulfilling. The love for your work is essential.
Challenging the boundaries of your comfort zone is an important thing to develop.
The places you get to go, people you get to meet… I love it!
The downside is of course the lack of consistency and security.

HRH What are your influences?

KS I feel confident in writing for various styles. Broad influences over the years gave me that
Lust for music is the most important inspiration to get going, today, and possibly A.C.T. has given me more inspiration than anything else, last 10 years or so. I’m just blown away by their lustful sense for melodies, composing, playing (like monsters), vocal arrangements etc. I’ve actually been listening to V (Japan edt) while answering your Q’s, haha.
Besides, I hear my childhood influences in them! Queen, City Boy, Rush, Saga etc. Respect.

HRH You’ve also played with ‘Legends – Voices of Rock’ a project with lots of interesting guest vocalists. At the end I felt that it became less and less known names on the bill and also some cancelled gigs. What is your opinion to why the interest faded?

KS I think you might confuse Legends with a Swedish tour (also) named Voices Of Rock, which was cancelled halfway through. The Legends band was on that tour and brought a few of ‘our’ singers. Other than that, it had NOTHING to do with Legends. The last singers I came across in Legends were Eric Martin (Mr Big) and Alex Ligertwood (Santana), and they are nothing but legends to me!
It’s sad it ended, though.

HRH Are you still with Kee Marcello Band?

KS Our band was put on hiatus when Kee signed for the “Rock Of Ages” musical, which premiered in Stockholm a year ago. Our latest album Judas Kiss was released last April, but we haven’t had a chance to tour with it because of ROA. I love working with Kee , we just have to see what happens.

HRH Any future plans to tell us about?

KS I’m dying to finish up the second Timecode Alpha album, it’s gonna be good!
I’ll keep you posted on tours and stuff…

HRH When can we expect the release of the new album?

KS April 25th, for Europe.

HRH Thanks for making time for us.

KS Thank You. Hope you’ll enjoy the new album!


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