– Hello, thanks for taking your time, how are you holding up? Even the end is drawing nearer, these are still uncertain times but it seems like you have kept yourselves busy and creative!
J- Hi, of course. It’s our pleasure. Well, of course the current state of the world could be a lot better but, for me personally, there has not been that much difference than prior to the pandemic. Although, if it would have gone as planned, we would have gone on tour, but instead we got time to enter the studio. The times are strange, but it can never hinder the creative process.
-How is it like to create an artifact during a world pandemic? While you’re working on it are you actually aware of how a dystopian situation is it? Does the album become a sort of haven, a means of escapism?
J- Music as a whole might become a haven in some cases. The songs of our «magnum opus» have been in the pipeline for a few years, so it began before the outbreak. But I guess a plague in modern times really puts the definition of doom in its true paces. Sweden has had a really different contingency in place regarding the pandemic so we have had a lot more freedom compared to many other countries. This has made rehearsals possible, although much more cautious. Which for a, let’s call it «not so keen on large groups of People» -esque type of person, as myself has been for the better. Music has always been a form of release for me. A way to vent the anger. If I didn’t write and execute, I would not really know how to cope with my emotions.
-The “artifact” is your newest album, “Doomkvädet”. What does the title means (literally and not)?
J- It is an end. A testimony of sorts. It is a tale of something dead, and the rebirth of something old and yet juvenile. The death of doom metal. Doomkvädet, the song of doom.
-This album just came out on CD format via Sun & Moon Records. How did you first get in touch with them and why? And are there any other physical formats planned?
J – When we recorded DOOMKVÄDET we did so without being signed to a label. We felt that High roller was not for us, as they did not seem to really understand neither the dark arts nor us. We searched a little bit everywhere, and that’s when we found Sun & Moon. They seemed to fit us well, and they have that understanding of the dark arts. Best of all they wanted to release our latest creation. As the pandemic has us all in its tight grip, we’ll see. Hopefully a vinyl will be molded into existence, some day in the future.
-This album is your first release with Björn’s drumming. What effect would you say this had on the final result?
J- A whole lot, I would be so frank to say. He brought a kind of weight to the drums that we had not experienced prior. He is a definition of doom. Slow and steady paced. He gave the songs the kind of drone that is now called DOOMKVÄDET. The earliest demos we recorded for the songs were a bit more energized, not faster though. Just different. You get the idea.
-Anyway you recently announced that he had left the band. How is the quest for a new drumming going?
J – Yeah, really unfortunate for us. But we still really cherish that we got to know him. I have been a fan of Ocean Chief since I was really young. As for the journey to find a new drummer, it is ongoing, as we speak. We actually had to realign our priority for the time being. We have two gigs planned kind of soon. So instead of searching we asked our friend Erik, who drives the battery in Ondskapt, if he could stand in for our empty void. So after we have those gigs out of the way, we can fully dedicate our efforts in searching and trying out potential drummers.
-Going to some of the songs on the album, how and why did you decide to have Christoffer again and Daniel Arvidsson on “Our Funeral”? What did they add/bring with their cooperation providing some vocals?
J – It all began when David came with that behemoth of a demo. «I have started writing another song» he said. And then I heard it. I already knew that I wanted both of them as guests, but I had not decided on which song. But when I heard the demo of Our Funeral I knew that this could become our funeral. I wrote their pieces for them and they put them down exactly as I thought they would. I have never been so proud of a single song, as when I heard the complete version with all its bits and pieces assembled.
-It feels like that song closes not just the album but a circle. What symbolical meaning does it have?
J – I might be a bit of a deviant in the doom metal scene, or at least of deviating opinion, but I feel that doom metal has been dead for a long time. The last great work was back in the 80’s and all of us since then and forward are maintaining a small glowing ember. Most doom albums and bands after that fall of heavy glory sucks (some people would probably put us in that dislike folder aswell). But I really do not mind. It is a great place to be situated at, to get to listen to all the ancient masterpieces and feel captivated over and over again. Our Funeral is the sensation and embrace of this death. To gather around this ancient marvel, and send it to its final sleep. And with it we stand tall, for we are not our predecessors. And we can never be.
-I’d say “Doomkvädet” is your most complete, darkest and heavies effort thus far. Was this something you were striving for or just how things flowed? How would you compare I or how does it differ from your previous albums?
J- Well, I guess. I felt that this time around I really wanted it to be «more» than before, and the rest of the guys agreed. We have not really changed our grounded view of what we want to achieve, we just wanted more of it. For starter it’s not as downtuned as on our past creations. David came to an understanding a few years ago; weight, darkness and atmosphere do not amplify with the further towards hell you go on the tune. And he sure was right. And the lyrical themes are more intimate.
-The whole album is terribly crushing and melancholic but I’d say it has some kind of beautiful darkness to it. Where does blossom from? What are your non-musical inspirations? Art, moments, trips…
J- Much of our common inspiration comes from Swedish musicians, like the tunes of Allan Edwall. Every year I also spend time in his old home town, where the valleys are deep and forest wild. For me personally, everything can become a source of awe. May it be a cat hunting or the wicked howl of the wind. The forest is almost a cliche or worn out niche for nordic bands, but it is just so captivating. One of the more monumental moments I have ever experienced was the peaks of Kebnekaise in the far north of Sweden. Few things are mightier than the glory of nature.
-All this mysterious, dark aura is rounded up with your lyrics but, what do they deal with? Would you label them as dark fantasy, something that comes from Inwards, codified experiences…?
J- Since Magna my mind has become a bit strange, I still can’t put my finger on why, if it has anything to do with age or just insight, I do not know. But you know how it goes, sometimes you just change. And the lyrical theme changed with me. Doomkvädet is about madness and the sensation to be lost and hopeless. It is about fears, and about the necro doom.
-So what’s your music for you? Or what does it portray/channel?
J- It is the outlet to which we collect our hearts desire. A way to make a mark on the world, even though we are not a big name on the scene, we at least now we have this music. If not for anyone else, for us at least. It has been so many years now.
-On the cover artwork there’s no sign of the fox. How come? And what does the archetype of the fox represent on the ANGUISH imagery?
J- Through the archdemons head, Mountain and Magna est vis Siugnah had a different kind of feel, emotionally. But Doomkvädet is of a different kind of nature. Another kind of narrative. The fox represented death and rebirth, the duality and the yearning of Siugnatha. It is still present om Doomkvädet, just a bit differently nuanced.
-The cover artwork was done by Louise Wik. How did she work on it? Did you give her any guidelines?
J- We gave her some basic ideas and thoughts. I sent her some demos and the lyrics, so she could get an idea about how our directions were aimed. But the rest was all her. I believe that you need to give an artist as much freedom as possible, I mean she is the professional, in this case. We wanted her art because of the haunting imagery and the gloom she is capable of manifesting.
-Before we wrap this interview up and all this about “Doomkvädet” being said; how would you describe it in just 3 words?
J- Pure Necro Doom
-And finally what’s next for ANGUISH?
J- We’ll start writing some new material and preparing for, hopefully, an end to the pandemic. The abyss waits for no one.
– 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.
J- Thank you for the well articulated set of questions. No matter what happens, we will persist and resist through the wavering musical trends.