– Hello, thanks for taking your time, how are you holding up?
Hey Tania, sure thing, I’m good, just took a walk, it’s beautiful outside, snowy and still.
-First off; where did the need of forming the band sprout from?
Oh well, I think the need of having musicians playing the melodies, simple as that. I had many ideas in my mind, many songs that I wanted to share. So, the right people joined.
-You are hailing from Uppsala. It seems like there’s a lot going on there. There’s creativity it seems. Do you feel like you’re part of something there?
I’m hailing from Stockholm, but today I live in Uppsala. In my opinion Uppsala has of course marked its music with great good bands. Big bands. The art is respected by the great artists here. Also there’s a lot of bad shit, like any city else hah. I don’t know if I feel that I am a part of something, it’s not like that for me, I write the music and then I ask the person I think could add some good shit to the album to collaborate. But I think that I’ve marked my music pretty good, here in Uppsala or around.
-You’ve been recently “releasing” a trilogy of videos recorded live. Of what songs and why? What’s the story behind these?
Yes! We chose three songs that we liked to play, Lunar Crater, Traveler and Lifes Coma. -Also the thought of having three different kinds of energies to play with. We got bored and wanted to do something special for the album, since all the shows were cancelled/postponed last year. So I asked Gottfrid to collaborate with me again. And I pretty much gave him free hands to film the songs and edit them too. I wanted the videos to sound a bit different from the album, they are rawer. Actually, it reflects exactly how we sound live, it’s always more intense and more dirty. And voila!
-Your debut album is “Sculpture”. It came a while ago but the second press came out last September. The main focus of the album it seems to be on lyrics and vocals, am I wrong? And how do you work on vocal lines having three different voices? What does this add to your creation?
That’s right! Since I am a singer from the start, before I started exploring my writing skills, it falls naturally that my songs rely on the vocals very much. I often sing melodies here and there, unlike taking the guitar and just play. Of course I focus on the instrumental too. Actually, for the next album I am writing now I am beginning with the instruments, why go safe all the time. But when I write the vocals, or so it was for Sculpture, I don’t think «who should sing this or that?», I just try to create and put all the vocals in there, and while I’m in the process it falls quite naturally which part belongs to whom. You got us three that are very different but very complete together. I love to put Linnea on the higher vocals, especially when I want something to sound very strong and powerful, she got a voice that lifts the vocals up. Nathalie got this dangerous hysteric vibe that I love to experiment and go crazy with as much as her deep voice that adds this calm steady ground that I love.
-Your sound is as desperate as it is beautiful. What are your non-musical inspirations? Other artists, moments, trips…
Thank you very much. I find inspiration in music a lot, I love to explore and get inspired of the sounds, dig deeper and experiment with it. But there is a lot of inspiration coming from reading and just living this crazy intense life, etc. I would say. I listen to a lot and to many different things, I am very open as much as I am strict. The point is, give me good music and I will listen, as long as it is not reggae. But Lately I have been listening to TAPHOS, a death metal band from Cph, very good shit.
-In fact when I first listened to it came to my mind a quote by Kenneth Anger that goes “I have found the definition of the beautiful. It is something intense and sad […] so that I can scarcely conceive a type of beauty which has nothing to do with sorrow.” How is sorrow part of beauty or vice versa? Does sadness have socially a bad reputation?
That was very beautifully put. In my opinion, it is for the observer to decide where beauty lies, and then for you to choose how to define it. Sorrow is something very powerful to me. I can express a lot with it. When you feel something overall it triggers other emotions, and when you are getting there a lot can happen on the way. Especially in the writing process, to me sorrow got a lot of sides and that is beautiful. I would say: dare to show what the fuck you are feeling and don’t think that much. In the end, music is a matter of taste, but in my opinion the less you try the more genuine something becomes. No, I don’t think that sadness got a bad reputation socially, why? We are humans, we feel, sadness is power, attitude, when you feel sad, you can do a lot, to me, I dare more when I am sad.
– Overall it feels like the most important in your music are the vibes, the energies that it channels. It seems like you don’t allow any rationality interfere with your creativity. And I think this way you manage to create a certain trance-inducing feeling. Is this kind of feeling something you want your music to convey? What tools or processes do you use to get to this trance-like state?
Yes you can say so! I like mystery.. Actually sometimes I do ”let rationality interfere», it opens many interesting doors to my creativity, things that I wouldn’t dare to play with I think. But yes, mostly when I create I shut the door to the outside, and try to be with just myself and the ideas I’ve got. I like what you said about trance-inducing! Even though it’s nothing that I actively thought about. It makes me think that I maybe took you to another place that you hopefully felt something for, marked your thing there, and left. That would be a nice thing to convey. Also passion, and daring to loose it in the mind, go crazy and then land steady on the ground. I don’t know if I got any tools, maybe it’s just my self portrait that is coming out. I don’t focus on that much, I want the music to be as honest as it is without trying to reach a special sound that I maybe don’t have in me, if you get me. In that way you connect with your music on a different level.
-Is the main source of inspiration in SHAAM LAREIN Inwards or Outwards?
I don’t really know if I got that question 100%. If by inward you refer to me, my inner self and my private sphere and by outward you mean my surroundings; the world I live in -I would say the both. When I write I am 100% open with my creation. To hear the theatrical in the music, different elements that change in the songs, the combination between the mysterious/dramatic/hysterical and the fragile (for example), it reflects myself very much, that is my inner self that I allow to emerge in my writing. I am not so much affected by the outside even though it is sometimes needed, what I mean is, life outside my own bubble has a lot to give, but I am very careful about what I choose to take in
-So what’s your music to you? Or what does it portrait? Yourself?
Oh well, it is a lot, but to give you something, it’s my inner thoughts and emotions that I put together to create freely my own world where I dare to test my limits without hesitating. A friend that I am getting to know more and more the more time we spend together. You can say it’s my weakness and my strength put together to form this sound. Sculpture was like this, it definitely portrayed me in a way, but also it portrays the world through the filter of my eye and mind.
-And what is “Sculpture”? Is it a Symbol? Both the title (which is quite evocative) as the album itself.
As I reached the end of the writing process, I was looking at something fragile, powerful and dramatic. The songs got their own body and story, but they are very dependent on each other too, they had a bond I saw, together they made a journey from the start to the end, and by that I mean with the opening track “Aurora” to the final “traveler”. When I listened to the album I felt that I was looking at a one sculpture itself. So yes, it became obvious to me what the album should be named.
-And the artwork? Is beautiful and again feels quite symbolic, and it seems like visuals/aesthetic are important for you. Are they another aspect of your body of work?
Thank you! Ofc ofc ofc! The artwork is very important to me! To be able to let the visuals speak for the music, let you think and reflect. It’s beautiful, It is the outward face of the album, I put a lot of passion and time into choosing the right elements. I also prefer working with art over choosing a picture of the band/me to put on a cover. I mean, that’s just boring. This one was made by Pelle, the artwork was already done, but when I saw it I couldn’t think of anything else. I had to have it. It was Sculpture! I also like working with what may not always feel so obvious, I mean to take a different turn. Unlike the two singles that we dropped; ”Aurora” & ”traveler” (made by the great Luciana Lupe Vasconcelos) that has covers more specifically for them.
-Tell us about the song “Zaman”, which is sung in Arabic. You’re from Sweden but have Middle Eastern roots. Is it important for you, not only in a creative context, to make these origins shine through?
Zaman is a very special piece to be honest. It was the last song that I felt completed the album. I like to keep that song ”hidden” but overall it’s about the past that marked itself in your life, leaving you to defeat what it brought with it and never asking or looking back at you. The song is sung in Arabic because of the need of it. It wasn’t my first intention, but I realized that my expressions felt more real when I changed the language to Arabic. When I sing mostly to myself I hear that I’ve got a lot of the middle eastern vibes in me, I feel it even though I see myself as 100% Swedish. My parents taught me a lot about my culture. I don’t know if I think of it as an important thing to put attention to, But something has marked something in me when it comes to my roots, I don’t brag about it, I appreciate it and respect it because of what it gave me.
-All this about “Sculpture” being said; how would you describe it in just 3 words?
Shaam Larein- Sculpture
-And finally, what are now your near-future plans in these uncertain times?
For now, we are writing new material and all focus on that. And if the circumstances look better maybe some shows/festivals. I’m not gonna lie, miss the stage pretty much.
– That’s all from our side, thanks again for your time. If you’d like to add some final words, feel free to do it.
Thank you for this interview!