– Hello and, first of all, thanks for taking your time to answer to our questions. How’s everything going in the band’s camp? How’s the tour going?
Rikke: Hi! It’s going great, thank you. We are on the final leg of the tour going to London tomorrow and Oslo next Friday. After that, we’re planning on writing new music and we’ve already got plenty of ideas to work with. Having recorded and released an album have been very inspiring.
– How was KONVENT born? What was the purpose behind forming a band like this? What’s your music background?
Rikke: When our first drummer Mette started taking drumming lessons in 2015, her teacher (Nicolai from the band Dirt Forge) told his roommate that he had started teaching a girl. His roommate was our bass player Heidi and she instantly contacted Mette, asking her if she wanted to start a band. It had been a dream of Heidi’s to start a band for a long time but all the musicians she asked didn’t have time in their schedules to start a new project. Given that both Mette and Heidi were more or less on the same level on their instruments, a band also seemed like an ideal opportunity to practise as well as write music. They looked for a guitar player and asked Mette’s study buddy Alexander (also from Dirt Forge) if he would suggest the idea to his girlfriend Sara, who Mette knew had previously played in a band. They also needed a vocalist and asked Mette’s sister Rikke, who had been taking extreme metal vocal lessons with a metal vocalist for about six months at that time. She was game and we all met up at a rented rehearsal space for an afternoon and tried jamming to The White Stripes’ 7 Nation Army. The vibe was good and we decided to form the band and get our own rehearsal space. After three years, Mette had to quit the band due to her studies and we were very lucky to find Julie. Julie was only 18 at the time but had played the drums for six years and blew us away with her talent when she auditioned, and it was a no-brainer. Our final formation was established. The fact that we’re all females is completely random. We just wanted to start a band and the people who wanted to join happened to be women.
Sara: I got a simple acoustic Spanish guitar for Christmas when I was around 14 years old. My mom bought it after I had been using my older sister’s western guitar – but it totally crushed my fingers, ha ha.. Shortly after, I got my first electric guitar because I was really happy with playing Nirvana songs at that time. My first electric guitar is actually the one I use now. Pretty funny that i haven’t changed it for another one since. It’s a Squier (Fender’s cheap brand) and the model is ‘Jagmaster’ which is a mixture of a Fender’s Jaguar and Jazzmaster. It’s not the obvious choice for a metal guitar, but I have always loved the sound of it and it’s so nice to play on. Since it’s a Squier it was also really cheap. They don’t make it anymore and it was only made for a limited period.
Julie: I started playing the drums when I was 12 years old because Eric Singer from Kiss was my biggest idol, ha ha. In my later teenage years, I started a punk band and played in that for a few years before joining Konvent.
-You released your debut album earlier this year. What does taking the step of releasing a full-length album mean to you?
Rikke: It means that we get to show people more of who we are as a band and that we have a lot more material to work with before playing a concert. And booking wise it’s great to have more material to show potential promoters.
– «Konvent» is a very powerful name, quite dark, it instantly paints a somber picture. What did you want the band’s name to provoke?
Rikke: Storytelling. Convents and monasteries have always been very secluded and closed off from the public and that leads to a lot of storytelling. What is going on behind those walls? And there’s a lot of rituals and hierarchies involved which outsiders don’t understand. We decided to replace the C with a K simply because we think it’s a heavier letter.
-The title of your album is quite harsh too, very provoking. What’s the significance behind «Puritan Masochism»?
Sara: The title ‘Puritan Masochism’ (which is also the title the first single) is about how everyone has a tendency to do things, or thinking things that actually hurt us, but we keep thinking/doing those things because we feel like we have to – in order to fit into something or to live up to some imagined expectations. And sometimes we keep doing these things without even realizing it because you just go on autopilot. It’s sort of our way to say that we don’t have to live like that.
But we would really like people to listen to the album and create their own stories and images listening to the music and their own meaning of the songs. Hopefully, it’s music where there’s nothing forced on the listener. We don’t like to go into too much detail with the lyrics, because we value the listener being able to create their own stories and images in their heads.
-«Puritan Masochism» came out earlier this year. Do you approach differently the work of a demo compared to the work you did behind this full-length?
Rikke: Actually no. When we first recorded our demo, we were definitely blown away by all the things you have to think about and do in the studio compared to the rehearsal space. We felt more prepared going into the studio this time around but off course it was a heavier workload compared to last time.
-And how has the band changed or evolved since you released the demo in 2018?
Rikke: First of all, we feel more confident playing music now and there is a general feeling of wanting to challenge ourselves more. We know each other better and the way we work together has become easier. There are still challenges for sure but we know how to handle them better now.
-Doom Metal (Doom/Death in your case) a very visual music style. It’s very dark and depressive. Do you work around the Doom Metal trademarks? Do you build a specifical imagery for an album and then make the other elements (lyrics, artwork, etc.) fit in it? Or how is the creative process for KONVENT?
Rikke: Our approach isn’t to fit into a certain style or genre box. We want to be as open as possible. Our process usually consists of Sara and Heidi meeting up and jamming riffs. Then they send them to Julie and me and we try to come up with some drums and lyrics. But sometimes a song will begin with someone in the band pitching an idea for a lyrical theme and then we base the riffs and the drums around that.
-Where do your inspirations come from? What does evoke your sense of darkness? Not just musically. It can be bands, the Renaissance or German Expressionism.
Rikke: Mostly events in our own lives. The ups and downs (but mostly the downs, ha ha). But also the darker sides of the human mind like trauma, manipulation and, of course, the masochistic approach to ourselves that everybody tends to have. Lyrically, I have also been inspired by architecture. The lyrics to our song ‘Bridge’ formed ,when I was riding my bike over an actual bridge here in Copenhagen (this one) and that became a metaphor for making tough changes or decisions in your life.
–The sound on the album is as gritty and thick. Do you have a clear idea on how you wanted the album to sound like? Is this why you decided to work with Lasse Ballade (and Dan Swanö as well)? He has mastered/mixed some of the heaviest releases of the recent years, such as HYPERDONTIA.
Rikke: When we wrote the songs, we didn’t really think about an overall sound. But we were big fans of Lasse Ballade and Dan Swanö’s work. They were the obvious choices for bringing all the songs together and we couldn’t be happier with the result!
–All this about «Puritan Masochism» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
Rikke: heavy, slow and hypnotising
– Metal has always been a male-dominated community and in art in general women have always been made invisible, so Metal is not an exception. Would you say the way the Metal world (and society in general) perceive women in our community is slowly changing? As it seems people are more aware nowadays or aren’t that afraid of speaking out and calling out on sexist (and other shitty) behaviors anymore.
Rikke: I think there is a small change, e.g. the 70,000 Tons of Metal Festival, which is a festival that takes place on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, have had a crew of pool girls each year but this year they stepped up their game and added a crew of pool guys. It’s great to see promoters recognizing that metal fans aren’t all just heterosexual men. 70,000 Tons of Metal do a recap video every year and in the videos it’s obvious that there are so many female guests, so for the promoters to recognize that is really cool.
– As I said, women in art and in masculinized spaces have always been made invisible, that’s why there’s not just less women metal musicians (even though there are tons of them), but less women in any artistic field. Because female artists have to face more obstacles, they have to fight against sexualization, invisibilization, infantilization, etc. By the simple fact of putting albums out and going on stage you are pushing other women to do the same. I guess this is something you are not really aware or think about when you are writing music but would you say you can also use your position as a artists putting our records and being on stage as an empowering tool even for other women?
Rikke: It is not our intention, we just want to play music, but if a girl or woman sees us and gets inspired to do the same then that’s just a bonus.
-Women always have to take the double amount of shit for doing the same work a man does, also to work harder to get to the same position… Do you have any mechanism to cope with different kinds of bullshit?
Rikke: Actually, I think it has been an advantage for us because we stand out in the crowd. We have been quite lucky and haven’t gotten a lot of sexist comments so far. We have reached a point where we are very confident in our abilities to write music and perform live, so if any one gives us a remark about we only get attention because we’re female, or whatever, we don’t even think about it because we know what we can do and we have worked very hard to get to where we are today.
-And before we wrap this interview up, what are now your near-future plans?
Rikke: The next step for Konvent is to write some new music and see what we can come up with to challenge ourselves even more. And this Summer we’ll be playing Gefle festival in Sweden and In Flammen in Germany and we can’t wait!
-That’s all from our side, thank you once more for answering our interview. If you’d like to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Rikke: No problem! Thank you for wanting to interview us. All the best from the Konvent camp!